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Twin Peaks "Traces to Nowhere" Just Leads To Dead Ends

Kevin Mooseles | 6 Nov 2014 08:00
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Twin Peaks Traces of Nowhere social

Sure, this episode doesn't really further the plot, but it does draw you ever further in to the bizarre world of Twin Peaks

Laura Palmer is dead. Agent Dale Cooper is going through his morning routine after spending his first night in the mountain town of Twin Peaks. He is hanging upside down, which might be to encourage an early morning burst of blood-flow to his brain, or an exercise routine. I'm inclined to believe that the episode opens with him in this position as a clever way for David Lynch and Mark Frost to tell the viewing audience that all of the norms they had come to expect from television were going to be very deliberately turned on their heads in Twin Peaks.

Cooper has a habit of dictating his thoughts, as well as business expenses and equipment/personnel needs to a contact at his field office headquarters: a woman named Diane. It is one of his many quirks, which are revealed in due time.

While upside down, Cooper tells Diane that he will check back in (to his cassette voice recorder) after he has had his morning cup of coffee. Cooper could have used a phone to relay his per-diem and other FBI related business, but that wasn't his style. He preferred to keep an ongoing audio diary on cassette, which he would then mail to Diane. I can't help but empathize with her task of sorting through various philosophical rants about JFK and Tibet while trying to translate expenses and nail down exactly what equipment or specialist her assigned field agent needs. All standard operating procedure.

The scene cuts to the hotel dining room, where Cooper has "a damn fine cup of coffee". As he orders his breakfast, he is approached by the sultry-but-entirely-too-young-for-him Audrey Horne, who shamelessly flirts with him. Audrey's father, Ben Horne owns the hotel where Cooper is staying, along with the town country club.

After breakfast, agent Cooper heads to the police station. He encounters Deputy Andy, chatty dispatcher Lucy, and Sheriff Truman: all with mouthfuls of food. Andy mumbles, "Good morning" as best he can, and Lucy tries to give detailed directions to the conference room through her doughnut, which Cooper mercifully cuts short. Sheriff Truman is stuck just chewing in silence as the fully-caffeinated Cooper rattles off the to-do list of the day.

This is the type of scene that is rarely depicted on screen, for several reasons. First, the number of potential takes, and therefore calories consumed and fresh, uneaten plates of identical food needed to make any given scene work is unknown. What looks like a single bite from a doughnut on screen could have required ten bites from ten different doughnuts (or more) before all of the elements came together. Secondly, if actors are eating they are not speaking (or at least, not speaking well). Often, when food is presented on screen it is ignored and talked over, but not here.

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