Twin Peaks' Atomic Bomb-Sequence

Ich stecke nach wie vor bei Folge 4 der neuen Twin Peaks-Staffel fest und diese Atombomben-Sequenz aus Folge 8 hat mich grade davon überzeugt, endlich mal weiter zu schauen. What a blast! Oder wie Colbert sagen sagen würde: Awesome!

Matt Zoller Seitz bezeichnet die Sequenz in einem Review auf Vulture als „The most startling flashback in the history of American television“ und er hat damit vermutlich Recht. Die Sequenz zitiert Kubricks Stargate-Sequenz aus 2001 und das nicht nur auf visueller Ebene. Ich geh mal Twin Peaks bingen.

The most startling flashback in the history of American television is the one that takes us from a black screen to the first successful test of an atomic bomb in New Mexico, on July 16, 1945, at 5:29:45 a.m. (Lynch and Frost make sure to note the time as well.) It might or might not be significant that the first detonation was code named Trinity, and this series is built around a trinity of Dale Cooper figures: the BOB-possessed Coop, the “good” Coop who’s been trapped in the Black Lodge for 25 years, and Dougie Jones, an outwardly ordinary executive at a Las Vegas insurance firm who, in the Lynch tradition of beetles beneath green lawns, secretly has a mistress and a prodigious gambling problem. The mushroom cloud (CGI, not stock footage) is observed from a high, moving angle. This vantage point takes a godlike view of humanity assuming the power of a god, initiating a military-industrial complex Frankenstein narrative. The music, significantly, is Penderecki’s “Threnody for the Victims of Hiroshima,” an “unorthodox, largely symbol-based score” that “sometimes directs the musicians to play at various unspecific points in their range or to concentrate on certain textural effects.” (Rather like Twin Peaks itself.) Bits of Penderecki’s piece have been used in other genre works with a strong horror component, notably Children of Men, The People Under the Stairs, and The Shining.

That last film is notable because of the Stanley Kubrick connection. The section following the bomb blast is structured as an homage to the “Stargate” sequence that ends Kubrick’s 1968 classic 2001: A Space Odyssey. That work and this one are both so clearly concerned with ideas of evolution (and the role of weapons in furthering evolution) that it’s safe to say that Lynch is leaning into the comparison. Confidently, too.
It is the highest praise to say that, of all the filmmakers who’ve referenced the final section of 2001, Lynch seems to me the only one to have created something that equals it even as it humbly bows to its example. The post-bomb sequence takes us through what appears to be a series of tunnels, some comprised of nuclear hellfire but others of a more tantalizingly organic texture (as if to literalize the idea, expressed in Kubrick’s tunnels of light, that humanity was “reborn” after 1945). The use of the bomb claimed hundreds of thousands of Japanese lives, and was justified retroactively as necessary to make Japan surrender, but even in the immediate aftermath of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, historians, tacticians, philosophers, and pundits questioned whether any strategic objective could justify unleashing a genocidal monstrosity of science, the likes of which not even the prophet Mary Shelley could have imagined.