Welcome to Diane… #22

Our theme is blackout, as the lights go off and we struggle for consciousness. Major Briggs is unable to recall his time in the woods, Jean Renault prays that the nightmare will end, and Leo Johnson wakes.

Things are happening out there in the dark, ladies and gentlemen.  Let us be your light.


The now deceased emperor casually asked Zheng: What is the place of the ruler of mankind, should he unify heaven and earth, should he move the ghosts and spirits, like in the Xiangjing with many binding rules, how shall I govern?

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Next episode: No lie – say ‘Hi’ to the bad guys!

9 Responses to “Diane… #22: Twin Peaks Episode 20 – The Black Widow”

  1. Anton B Says:

    That opening these of Major Briggs is so powerful. I too was reminded of Tarot imagery. Whether deliberate or not (and I suspect budget restrictions determined a studio set rather than a location shoot) the scene appears to be set simultaneously indoors and outside. The throne has no place in the forest (despite Glastonbury Grove’s Arthurian connection). The forest foliage has invaded an interior space. Yet the Major is recalling an event that we know occurred outside. He and Cooper were communing with nature on a night fishing trip. Cooper went to answer a ‘call of nature’ the owls hooted and contact took place.

    This interior/exterior conjunction is symbolic of the Major’s mental state. He is both ‘outside’ in the ‘real world’- physically in the room in the Sherriff’s office and simultaneously exploring an interior landscape manifested as an exterior forest location – A dream space. Yet, in this exploration he is sitting, a king of his own interior world. I was again reminded of the scene in Morrison’s ‘The Invisibles’ where Colonel Friday and Sir Miles have an occult meeting in a shared dream space.

    In ‘Seventy Eight Degrees of Wisdom’ Rachel Pollack explains how the Heirophant in Tarot is often interpreted (particularly by followers of Crowley, The Golden Dawn etc) as ‘symbolising the ‘outer way’ of churches and dogma…(and) initiation into a secret doctrine such as the various orders and lodges which flourished around the turn of the century…in England and America.’

    The word Heirophant or Pope is seen as a wise father guiding his children so it is appropriate that this image of Major Briggs recalls his fatherly chat with Bobby.

  2. Adam Says:


  3. John Says:

    I liked that scene before, but after Anton’s explanation I am Sold!

    And the scene later (per your thoughts on synchronicity) involving the Major and Margaret is Proof that, in the writing of the Secret History, Frost is paying close attention to what’s come before. The most important details maintain themselves while the other details are wont to wobble. Again, purposeful is the operative word.

    Nadine’s spin move vs Hank is vintage WWF of the day. Hulk Hogan and Jake the Snake would approve. Even the Bushwhackers.

    Renault’s speech here is why he’s my favorite villain of the series not associated with the lodge. Cooper being the bogeyman of the bogeymen is an excellent way to put it.

    That’s all I have today, besides the normal kudos…listening to your podcast, you’d think we were dealing with one of the more focused episodes but here we are still in the questionable territory.

  4. Ziah Says:

    Regarding Ben Horne’s Civil War obsession, there’s a bit more American connotations that I think the show is playing with than were mentioned:

    1. For starters, in American popular conscience, there’s a paradoxical understanding of The South (especially depending on what part of America you dwell in) as fighting for a certain idea of freedom, one that seemed to be a natural extension of the self-sufficient impulses of the Revolutionary War. Basically, that the loyalty to your home state and your neighbors outweighed your loyalty to a dignitary far from your home instructing you on your way of life. This, I think, is why the idea of the noble Southern soldier is so commonplace in American pop culture, one example being Jonah Hex. The idea that he might not have supported slavery, but he supported his home, in addition to the South’s decisive loss/retention within the Union allows for a more nostalgic telling of the war for many Americans than, say, a war with a foreign power.

    2. There’s also an understanding of the Southern gentry, fighting to preserve their wealth (and by extension, their slave trade) and way of life. Here, I think, is a closer connection to Ben Horne, whose way of life and wealth is absolutely at stake as he battles with the morality of his prior actions and the threat Catherine represents to his wealth.

    3. Finally, as an American, I don’t get the sense that we as an audience are hoping so much for Ben to succeed as a Civil War general as we are hoping for him to succeed in freeing himself from the delusion.

    Excuse any shoddy errors in communicating thoughts, this was all written a bit hastily on a break. Always glad to hear your thoughts on the show, all!

  5. John Says:

    I love all the civil war thoughts. Also about that war, the Ken Burns miniseries came out earlier that year and was a huge part of the zeitgeist at the time. I’m sure that was part of the thought process for why it was included.

    And you were asking for our synchronicities, so here’s one for you—

    One of my 3 year-olds started to talk like this a few weeks before Frost’s book was released:
    At bedtime, lights are out already, guys laying in their beds: “Tuck me in.”
    We don’t get there right away, so he says: “Tuck me in. So the owl doesn’t get me”
    My wife and I are lifetime Peaks fans, so we just look at each other making sure we heard what we thought we heard.
    He says: “I see the owls.”
    He says: “They come out over there” then point to the corner above the heat register next to the door.

    He’s still bringing up the owls, even this week.

  6. Anton B Says:

    Wow! Watch out for those owls! In a not entirely unsynchronous event, I received today one of those pleasing ‘I’d forgotten I’d ordered these’ deliveries from ebay. A package of badges (‘button pins’ for our American friends) which comprised one with a black star on a white background (a personal Bowie memento mori) one completely blank white badge (‘The Invisibles’ to replace one I lost) and one with the Twin Peaks owl ring symbol.

    Here’s a story. At the time of TP’s first broadcast I was studying TV production and also working occasionally as a compere for an alternative cabaret club. In the studio we, for some reason, had acquired a radio controlled toy that was Bob Hope playing golf. It was about a foot high and the Bob Hope figure was kinda stuck on the front of a little golf cart and you could scoot it around and make him swing the club. Anyway, I made a short video using the Badalamenti theme and the ‘Fire Walk with me’ poem over footage of the Bob Hope toy scooting around a scale mock up of the Black Lodge zig zag flooring. “Here’s Bob!” I announced much to my cabaret audience’s bemusement.

  7. James Wheeler Says:

    Another great episode Dianauts – particular loved the discussion of Twin Peaks’s confidence in its unique approach.

  8. Adam Says:


  9. Matt M Says:

    Adding on to the observation that the Renault/Coop dialogue serves as an auto-critique of the narrative, it’s also present in the earlier scene between Ed and Norma. Norma says of “the world,” “It feels like it’s designed to keep us apart.” Norma, the call is coming from inside the writers’ room!

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