Mr. Reindeer wrote:There are also Roadhouse numbers that are just inserted in the middle of Parts, like NIN or “Green Onions”/sweeping. If you were watching the whole thing straight through, you wouldn’t know the difference between the ones that were credit scenes and the ones that weren’t. In that sense, I think they could work as just part of the weird ebb and flow of the thing. I wouldn’t want them to be removed, even if they do end up making it feel a little episodic. Notably, Lynch left the Cactus Blossoms performance in the middle of the combined P3/4 sans credits.
This is what I came here to say. There are Roadhouse sequences in the middle of episodes nearly as often as there are at the end of episodes,* and I personally like how the sequences contribute to the ebb and flow when watched in a single sitting. (I'm one of the crazies who has thus far watched this twice as an 18-hour film, and I think it flows absolutely incredibly.) Although it seems counterintuitive and almost unprecedented in narrative cinema, there is no rule that states a musical performance can't just be dropped into a film willy nilly or in the name of mood, regardless of its concrete connection to the plot. And especially in something as rambling and free form as The Return, the sequences would still make sense.
That said, I believe that The Return is unclassifiable, and functions as both TV and Film at the same time. So, those musical sequences that occur during the middle of the episodes both contribute to the ebb and flow of the film as well as serve to play with the format of episodic TV, in essence keeping the audience on their toes with fake-outs as it overturns expectations that the series was establishing weekly. For at least the first half of The Return, every time you think you have it pinned down, it knowingly breaks the formula it was establishing. And while I'd love a cut with the credits removed, the credits are a big part of the fun (figuring out who Richard Horne is) and gravitas (all those who have passed away). In a way, you can think of the credits as actual text within the film.
As far as Dougie playing catch, that's very interesting, but perhaps not a deal breaker. In Parts 10 thru 13, what was once almost uniformly linear and not at all episodic (those first 8 - 9 parts are 100% a non-episodic, effortlessly flowing film) starts to become jumbled, either because those Parts are structured not around narrative momentum but around thematic coherence within the hour, and/or because we are seeing time starting to slip off its axis. Either way, it felt very unorthodox even in episode format and contributed to the sense that something was definitely off relating to time. I think it could still work that way in film form. The question in all of this is whether/how differently Lynch would have edited it had he been given the chance to premiere this in, say, two 9-hour chunks rather than in 18 increments.
*Huge pet peeve of mine while reading articles across the internet (not here), whether just generally speaking or engaging in pointless debates arguing against the notion that this is a film: When people state that EVERY, or even nearly every, episode ends with a musical number. It's simply not true and drives me nuts, and I wonder at what point they started to misremember this as a fact. For one thing, it's not only false, it also disregards the fact that there are also musical sequences in the middle of certain episodes. And in the TV/Film debate, it's also used as a crutch to claim that the Parts are episodic - ALWAYS ending at the roadhouse - without taking into consideration that if the musical numbers didn't exist, the same songs could have simply been played over end credits simply because there had to be end credits since it was aired on TV. At the very least, in that very basic regard, they can be thought of as a more ambitious version of the end credits that accompany almost every HBO series since Sopranos.