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Episode Studies by Clayton Barr

Twin Peaks: Gotta Light? Twin Peaks
"Gotta Light?"
Season Three, Part 8
Written by Mark Frost & David Lynch
Directed by David Lynch
Original air date: June 25, 2017


"When Man entered the Atomic Age, he opened the door to a new world. What we may eventually find in that new world, nobody can predict."


Read the episode summary at the Twin Peaks wiki


Didja Know?


The title of this episode, "Gotta Light?", may refer not only to the woodsman's refrain throughout the episode, but also to the ignition of the first nuclear bomb at the Trinity test site in White Sands, New Mexico, 1945, which seemingly released BOB and possibly Judy and Laura onto Earth from the other place.


The majority of this episode is presented in black and white. There is also very little dialog.


Characters appearing or mentioned in this episode


Mr. C

Ray Monroe

Darya (mentioned only, deceased)


Phillip Jeffries (mentioned only)

MC at Roadhouse (unnamed)

Judy (?)


Señorita Dido


Laura Palmer

New Mexico boy

Sarah Novack (identified only as New Mexico girl in credits)

Mary (mentioned only, New Mexico boy's former girlfriend)

KPJK receptionist (dies in this episode)

Auto Mechanic (unnamed)

Pop's Diner waitress (unnamed) 



Didja Notice?


Mr. C apparently has an app on his smartphone that detects tracking devices on the car he was given at the prison! He then enters the license plate of a passing delivery truck (DEGWW8) to somehow change the tracers to show the truck's location instead.


Mr. C remarks to Ray that he'd probably like to go to "that place they call the Farm." This would seem to be the criminal hideout called the Farm run by Renzo, as seen in Part 13: "What Story is That, Charlie?".


Ray shoots Mr. C with a gun he had secreted on him. But how did he get it? It seems like the warden of the prison must have given it to him before his release. This would also explain why the gun Mr. C has, which was left in the glove compartment as per his orders at the prison, was loaded with dud shells. This is probably why Mr. C later has the warden assassinated by Gary and Chantal in Part 12: "Let's Rock".


When Ray shoots Mr. C, a bunch of spectral woodsmen suddenly emerge from the woods and dance around and tend to the fallen man, smearing his blood all over him until a strange stony/organic sphere with the face of BOB emerges from his belly. Seeing this, Ray flees in terror in the car.


Fleeing in the car, Ray uses a cell phone to call and leave a message for someone named Phillip. Presumably, the message was for Phillip Jeffries. The message makes it sound as if Ray is working for Phillip to kill Mr. C.


The MC at the Roadhouse introduces the band Nine Inch Nails. They play their 2016 song "She's Gone Away". Nine Inch Nails also contributed to the soundtrack of David Lynch's Lost Highway and Lynch directed their music video "Came Back Haunted."


At 16:37 on the Blu-ray, we see a nuclear explosion take place at White Sands, New Mexico on July 16, 1945, 5:29 (MWT). This was an actual nuclear test, the first detonation of a nuclear bomb in the world. The MWT stands for Mountain War Time, which was in effect in the region by Federal law during WWII in order to conserve electricity (analogous to current day Daylight Saving Time).


The slow dive into the nuclear mushroom cloud and imagery after it, along with the music and flash cuts, are all evocative of the journey through space/time/mind via the Monolith experienced by Dave Bowman in the classic 1968 film 2001: A Space Odyssey. I am also reminded of the head trip scenes experienced by Dr. Jessup during sensory deprivation and drug experiences in the 1980 film Altered States.


The music that plays during the dive through the explosion is "Threnody for the Victims of Hiroshima", written by Krzysztof Penderecki in 1960, performed by the Warsaw National Philharmonic.


    Maybe it's just me, but after the dive into the mushroom cloud, the swirling white dots seen from 18:37-18:47 on the Blu-ray almost seem to be swirling/spiraling in a double-helix pattern like that of DNA. And the shot from 18:54-19:08 on the Blu-ray looks like thousands of spermatozoa. Are these symbols of sexual reproduction meant to suggest the "birth" of an entity? Such as BOB? Or Judy? Or Laura? (Though card #58 of the Twin Peaks collectible card set lists BOB's birth date as "From the beginning of time," and BOB's statement on the card is, "I have survived as long as man has been on earth.").

    Readers of The Secret History of Twin Peaks may be reminded of Jack Parson's attempts to bring forth the so-called Moonchild in New Mexico in 1947.


After the dive into the mushroom cloud has completed, a small, one-story structure bearing a sign of "Convenience Store" is seen, with two gas pumps in front. The generic name "Convenience Store" suggests it may be a mock-up, like the fake town structures that were built on some U.S. nuclear test sites to gauge the extent of damage. A stairway goes up on the exterior right-hand side of the building, leading nowhere (at least in our world), again suggesting a mocked-up building. In Part 15: There's Some Fear in Letting Go, Mr. C walks up the stairs and enters a realm above the convenience store. Recall that, in Cooper's dream in Episode 2: "Zen, or the Skill to Catch a Killer", Mike said he and BOB lived above a convenience store. And in Fire Walk With Me, Phillip Jeffries said he witnessed a meeting of extraworldly denizens above a convenience store.


At 24:08 on the Blu-ray, what appears to be a female form (referred to as the Experiment in the closing credits; is it Judy?) floating in a void spits up a long, phlegmy blob filled with eggs and a sphere featuring BOB's face. We later see an egg hatch an insect/amphibian creature. As for BOB, was the Trinity explosion responsible for unleashing him onto Earth? This seems to be the suggestion, yet the Twin Peaks collectible card set's card #58 states BOB's birth date is listed as "From the beginning of time," and BOB states there, "I have survived as long as man has been on earth."


The Experiment's head looks like the distorted ace of spades carried by Mr. C (notice the "antennae" on the head). Also the arms look to be attached backwards, with the thumbs facing to the back; in Episode 2: "Zen, or the Skill to Catch a Killer", Laura said, in Cooper's dream, "sometimes my arms bend back." Does Judy take possession of Laura in some timelines?
The Experiment playing card


The purple sea surrounding the castle-like structure where the Fireman seems to reside may be the same sea seen by Cooper when he paid an unplanned visit with Naido and American Girl in Part 3: "Call for Help". Possibly he was in the castle-like structure at the time. 


The castle-like structure somewhat resembles the Jack Rabbit Palace tree stump seen in Part 14: "We Are Like the Dreamer".
castle Jack Rabbit Palace
Castle Jack Rabbit Palace


Much (or possibly all) of the interiors of the castle-like structure seen here were shot inside the historic Tower Theatre in Los Angeles. Lynch also shot some scenes for Mulholland Drive there. 


At 39:29 on the Blu-ray, notice there are a lot of golden electrical transformers and mechanical gears on a trellis on the ceiling of the room where the Fireman and Señorita Dido send Laura's golden orb down to Earth.
golden transformers and gears
ceiling trellis


As we see Laura's orb float down to the globe of the Earth, it seems as if her trajectory is towards the Pacific Northwest (where the state of Washington and Twin Peaks are located).  


Over 11 years after the Trinity nuclear explosion, one of the eggs spewed forth by the female figure (possibly Judy) hatches a strange creature on August 5, 1956 in the New Mexico desert. The strange hatchling looks sort of part frog and part insect, with insectile wings. David Lynch has referred in the past to a creature he says he once saw in Europe that he called a "frogmoth". Twin Peaks executive producer Sabrina S. Sutherland has referred to the hatchling seen here as a frogmoth.

   It's interesting to note that Twin Peaks: An Access Guide to the Town has a mention of a Chinook legend about a house floating in the middle of a lake where a woman sits partially covered with flying frogs! Is the "house" also the castle-like fortress in the middle of the purple sea?

Chinook flying frog


Might the insect-creature have been partially inspired by the giant ants of the 1954 film Them!? In that film, ants are mutated into gigantic form, terrorizing humans, after the atomic bomb tests in White Sands, New Mexico. At the end of the film, one of the characters offers the observation, "When Man entered the Atomic Age, he opened the door to a new world. What we may eventually find in that new world, nobody can predict".


Two of what appear to be Ford model pickups are seen at a service station in 1956 at 42:50 on the Blu-ray.


The New Mexico girl walking with the boy at 42:56 on the Blu-ray is not named in the episode nor in the closing credits, but putting the pieces together from information in The Final Dossier and later episodes of this season, it is pretty clear that the girl is Sarah Novack, later to marry Leland Palmer and become the mother of Laura in Twin Peaks. The boy remains unidentified; it seems unlikely that he is Leland.


Young Sarah finds a penny face-up in the dirt. She believes that finding a penny face-up means you'll have good luck. Sarah seemingly does not have good luck this night.


The penny Sarah finds has the mint date of 1945. This is the same year the Trinity test took place 11 years earlier.


The car driven by the married couple who are approached by the woodsman is a 1947 Ford Super De Luxe.


The radio station where the woodsman broadcasts his message is KPJK. This appears to be a fictitious station.


    The song playing from the station as the woodsman approaches is "My Prayer" (1939) by The Platters. It's seen playing on a Western Electric phonograph. Western Electric was a real world manufacturer of electronics at the time, coming to an end in 1995 when parent company AT&T was spinning off and consolidating subsidiaries.

   This same song later appears on the soundtrack when Cooper and Diane have rather mechanical sex in Part 18: "What is Your Name?"


The car being worked on by the mechanic at 49:40 on the Blu-ray is a 1941 Chevrolet Special De Luxe.


    At Pop's Diner, signs for Coca-Cola and Hires Root Beer are seen on the wall. On a decorative shelf at the back of the diner, containers for Appfels and MJB brand coffees are seen.

    Pop's Diner was shot at Chili John's restaurant in Burbank, CA.


As Sarah is seen sitting on her bed listening to the radio at 49:56 on the Blu-ray, it appears that she has bruises or injuries or scars on her knees; the inside of the left knee and outside of the right. If scars, could they be an indication of surgery in the past due to polio? There is no suggestion in the series or licensed material that Sarah ever had polio or other problems with her legs. 


In the Twin Peaks fan magazine The Blue Rose #3, John Thorne points out that the KPJK receptionist is an homage to Edward Hopper's 1940 painting "Office at Night". David Lynch is a fan of Hopper's work.
Office at Night receptionist
Office at Night by Edward Hopper (1940) KPJK receptionist


At 51:34 on the Blu-ray, the radio that Sarah is listening to is a Silvertone. This was an electronics brand made by Sears from 1915-1973.


Somehow the woodsman knows just what to do to activate the DJ's microphone to deliver his repeating monologue, "This is the water and this is the well. Drink full and descend. The horse is the white of the eyes and dark within."


As the woodsman disappears into the desert darkness at 56:35 on the Blu-ray, the neigh of a (white?) horse (or possibly several horses) is heard faintly in the distance.


Memorable Dialog



gotta light?.mp3

this is the water.mp3 


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