So much to unpack, and a lot of terrific analysis in this thread. Loved TheGum's Buddhism post.
I don't think it's an accident that the final words Cole says to Cooper are "Be thinking of you, Coop." I think this is a clue that DKL definitely hasn't closed the door on future material in this universe. I'm all for ambiguous endings, and would be fine if L/F want to leave the story here (just as I loved the dark humor of the season 2 ending, I think the end of Part 18 is an existential masterpiece). However, DKL's endings tend to always have a firm air of finality (quite often the ultimate finality, the death of the main character). I didn't feel that same type of finality here. Certainly, artists evolve; but to me, this felt like a conscious move to set up a future story that L/F may want to tell, if the mood ever strikes them. I never thought I'd be saying this; I was firmly in the "closed ending" camp up until last night (both in terms of my desires and expectation). But I'm now convinced that they're at least contemplating going back to the well at some point, and after Part 18, I'm excited to see where the story would take them. I'm still skeptical that it will actually happen, but the prospect is tantalizing.
A strange thing about this season. Yes, there were a LOT of storylines set in motion that really didn't have conventional resolutions (the glass box, Red, Becky), which is truly odd since this was scripted and shot as one long "movie." And we can argue whether the lack of payoff on certain storylines is an intentional anti-narrative choice or just sloppiness. But the truly weird thing to me is how aggressively the show tried to give closure to so much stuff from the old series and FWWM. From defining Judy and Blue Rose to painfully literal degrees to giving Ed & Norma a happy ending, there was a real sense of "taking care of all family business" about the way TR dealt with the 25-year-old aspects of the franchise it chose to address, which stands in stark contrast to the way L/F conjured up brand-new prominent plots and characters just to abandon them. Again, this leads me to believe they may have more in store for some of this stuff.
If not, however, I am perfectly happy with the ending we got, which can act either as a Sopranos-style "Schrodinger's cat" type ending, or a MD "Silencio" moment where we can assume that Laura's scream of realization broke the universe and destroyed all of reality, shutting off the electricity that powers all life in the Lynchverse. (I particularly like the latter interpretation -- Sheryl has some powerful lungs after all these years!)
It's interesting how some people prefer to think of Part 17 as the "real" ending. I do think this structure was intentional (and as much as DKL protests that this is one long movie, both these Parts were clearly structured as cohesive "episodes" with their own internal logic and feel, very different from each other and from anything else in TR). It reminds me of the last four episodes of Breaking Bad. Each of those four could conceivably act as finale to the show in many ways, and each of them essentially acts as one of the four potential endings fans had been speculating the show could have (Walt gets arrested, Walt goes into hiding, &c.). This feels very much like a conscious choice on L/F's part to do the same kind of thing: to give us the more conventional story-based ending before plunging us into pure-heroin-Lynchland. Probably not a surprise to anyone who reads my posts here, I liked Part 18 a LOT more than Part 17 (although 17 got way better after Mr. C died, when it essentially shifted gears into "Part 18 mode").
I didn't love the extensive reused footage at the end of Part 17 and beginning of Part 18 (looong scene from FWWM, the "Laura disappearance" scene repeating in Part 18, and then a bunch of barely-altered material from Part 2 reused -- even the recycled Cruise track). I get the purpose of each of these, but it was a lot of reused scenes back-to-back-to-back. Not my favorite editing choice (although I do like the theory that Laura's woods disappearance in Part 18 is a separate occurrence, and that it keeps happening over and over). The "hero hiding in the bushes intercut with footage from a prior film/episode" is such a time travel trope, I didn't think it merited how much time we spent on the James/Laura scene. Now on future rewatches, we're essentially going to be watching this entire scene twice.
I love the theories that Coop's hubris is his downfall. I definitely sensed that he had merged with Mr. C -- when he tells Diane "You come over here to me," it felt like a Don Draper/James Bond bedroom power play moment. Not that there's anything wrong with that kind of thing, but it felt so alien to "our" Coop, who was so tender with Annie and Audrey. (Of course, every coupling has its own language and that might be Coop/Diane's thing, but especially given the rape in their history, that line really skeeved me out). When you think about it, Coop's mission since the beginning of the series is to solve Laura's murder, and the ultimate "solution" is to prevent it from ever happening! Detective-work taken to its illogically logical extreme. All the Arthurian allusions actually have a dark purpose: to shed light on Coop's Achilles' heel, his overreaching chivalry, his paternalistic belief that he needs to fix everything and help everyone, particularly pretty women. (Nice little character moment: Coop walks around to Carrie's side of the car at the Valero station to open the door for her.) At the outset of the season, I had conflicting impulses: I needed DKL to go all the way with the "doppel" idea, to explore Coop's dark underbelly the same way he has for other characters in LH, MD, IE, &c. using doubles, because if he didn't do that, what was the point of the device? However, OTOH I love pure sweet quirky Coop, and it was tough for me to even imagine what his dark side WAS. Throughout most of TR, it seemed like DKL was taking the easy way out: Mr. C was an engaging enough presence, but at his core came across as just another cliche evil clone/double. It was tough to figure out what if any culpability "our" Coop had in Mr. C's evil thoughts and deeds. The Mr. C resolution in Part 17 was pretty unsatisfying for me, but once the character merged back into the "real" Coop, I felt like that was the true payoff of the Mr. C storyline. I'm not sure that it justifies 17 hours of jabbering about coordinates and farms, but having seen Mr. C in action allowed us a shorthand in Dale's body language to let us know when that side of him was taking over, without him having to actually do anything particularly detestable. It was subtle and extremely effective, albeit tough to lose "our" Dale so quickly after getting him back. It leaves me to wonder: was this darker side always latent in him, or was it purely embodied in the doppel before they "merged"?
Sidebar: Has anyone yet mentioned how sleazy it is that Coop has sex with Diane after having screwed her sister repeatedly? Wonder if he ever even bothers to tell her this happened? It doesn't seem like Diane knows about Coop's time as Dougie.
A few of us last week were speculating that the "Phillip" Mr. C spoke to in Part 2 was actually Phillip Gerard. Given that theory, I thought it was hysterical when Coop says "Phillip?" and Jeffries responds, "Be specific" (especially since Gerard/Mike was in the scene!). I don't think this was intentional (he means he wants Coop to be specific about what he asks), but I was amused. Btw, isn't the smoke/steam that pours out of the teakettle just beautiful?
This has been noted a couple of times, but it bears repeating that the "listen to the sounds" record scratch is heard just as Laura disappears from the woods.
I guess most people know that Kristi the diner waitress is played by Clint Eastwood's daughter? She was in the most recent season of Fargo among other things. Nice to see the TP tradition of featuring famous directors' family members (Emily Fincher, Ted Raimi) continued.
I can't be the only one who half-expected Coop & Diane to start driving backwards once they reached 430, like the old "Harry driving backward into the Black Lodge" rumor. Right?
Coop intuitively knowing the third cowboy had a gun hearkens back to him knowing about Bushnell's gun. But I also took it as a Texas joke -- "You don't have a gun? Give me a break. This is Texas, EVERYONE is packing!"
The deep fryer thing was weird. Why not unload the guns before throwing them in? Why does he stand directly next to the fryer after telling the cook it was dangerous?
We've sure moved beyond White Lodge/Black Lodge, huh? We're gonna be unpacking these new mythological developments for YEARS.
Last edited by Mr. Reindeer
on Mon Sep 04, 2017 8:48 pm, edited 2 times in total.