Since it first aired on ABC in 1990, David Lynch’s Twin Peaks has fascinated millions not only inside America but around the world. The paranormal and other-worldly aspects of the show secured it a special place in the hearts of its fan. At the same time, many have wondered about the not-so-obvious meanings seemingly coded in the symbolism presented in the show. So one book explains a lot about this side of the show, Franck Boulègue’s Twin Peaks: Unwrapping the Plastic (Intellect Books, 2017).
In six chapters, film critic Boulègue presents his analysis of the different philosophical and spiritual connections that relate directly to Twin Peaks and its prequel movie Fire Walk With Me (1992). The book includes stills from various scenes in the show and the movie as well as some from related works of Lynch and a few others to illustrate the points of discussion in each chapter. The author explores the spiritual and the occult in the Twin Peaks universe through analysis of plot, characters, setting, and audio-visual elements. Among characters, however, he focuses heavily on those that directly experience the spiritual or other-worldly forces in the show: Agent Cooper, Laura Palmer, Leland Palmer, BOB, the Log Lady, and a few others.
Boulègue’s analysis is thorough. It builds bridges of symbolic significance between the show and its related works (the movie and other publications about the show/movie) and well-known traditions and philosophies dating back to decades , even centuries in the past. Thus you learn of Roman and Greek mythologies and their symbolic representation in Lynch’s work; of ancient Hindu and Buddhist spiritual teachings at play in the situations in Twin Peaks; and of Lynch’s personal favorites in film and literature/philosophy that influenced his screenwriting and direction.
Reading these chapters, you may or may not agree with Boulègue’s interpretations of the symbolism and semantic connections with other works of philosophy or the different spiritual traditions related in the book. Some of the connections may sound too far-stretched or weaker than others. However, the book does achieve what its title promises: unwrap the plastic. It presents its case in each chapter for the many parallels drawn and links built between and within Lynch’s masterpiece of a work.
It’s worth mentioning that Boulègue’s Twin Peaks: Unwrapping the Plastic was published before the release of the third season of Twin Peaks, and the author does express his excitement over the continuation of the series as he awaits the new season.
Disclaimer: This reviewer is a Twin Peaks fan.