To be a lady
The sexualisation, exploitation and rape of Laura Palmer before, during and after her death is a pretty brutal representation of the treatment of women. But almost all the women in the first season suffered from negative representation and many others had violent acts carried out against them. This is all something of the first season that I found more unsettling than the death of Laura in the first place. I had watched Blue Velvet before watching this series, but Lynch and Frost’s female characters did cause me much concern.
Most of the women in the series are either busy being exploited or busy exploiting (compare Shelly with Josie). With clear draws on the melodrama of soap operas, it was for me mainly the female characters in Twin Peaks who were greatly living out the lives of the series’ fictional on-screen soap opera “Invitation to Love”. And I hope that if a series like Twin Peaks were made today that we would be free of lines like the one Agent Cooper utters in “The One-Armed Man”, where he essentially says men are from Mars and women are from Venus, for Cooper women are, “drawn from a different set of blueprints.”
But maybe this was intentional on Lynch and Frost’s part? After all, if the male characters investigating Laura Palmer’s death seem to be unable to understand women, then that would perhaps explain their inability to understand what would drive Laura into the kind of secret life she had been living along side her one as a popular high school girl who had been homecoming queen. Yet I think this is being too generous.
I will admit that the way in which the first season ended was something I was not expecting. I could have lived with the murderer of Laura Palmer having yet to be uncovered, but there were a lot of lives in peril by the end of “The Last Evening”. Though in some ways it was a tad melodramatically over the top the way in which we see Laura’s killer (and possible accomplices) trying to deal with lose ends – we never see their face/s. And having had a touch of this in the previous episode, it takes things just that bit too far.
After all, we see Leo’s – suspect number one – face a great deal while he’s in the process of committing crimes during the first season, and he’s certainly framed as a potential murderer of Laura. But once it’s been established that he’s not her killer, hiding the face of the real killer just seems too much, considering where we’ve reached on our journey into Twin Peaks .
I’ve definitely enjoyed watching the first season all the way through for the first time, but a part of me is wondering how the heck the story can occupy the twenty two episodes of season two – guess I’ll have to find out. Until next time:
“Every day, once a day, give yourself a present. Don’t plan it, don’t wait for it, just let it happen. It could be a new shirt at the men’s store, a catnap in your office chair or two cups of good hot black coffee.”