One of the main reasons I decided to watch Twin Peaks: The Return was due to the advance notice that Trent Reznor would be amongst the cast. I’m a huge Nine Inch Nails fan, bigtime, I own 90% of the halos(look it up). I was spoiled on the fact that NIN appeared, as I binge-watched the episodes after it concluded on-air, but hot damn what an episode for the band to appear on! Episode 8 is the shining star in a season that has been incorrectly compared to The Wire and The Sopranos, when it can stand alongside Berlin Alexanderplatz and Dekalog. It claims a rarefied legacy that is absolutely justified to my eye.
It has been confirmed that “She’s Gone Away”, performed by “The” Nine Inch Nails in Episode 8, was written at the behest of David Lynch. This lends major credence that possibly a good deal of the album from which the song originates, Not The Actual Events, is about Twin Peaks: The Return also. The lyrics ‘I can’t remember what she came here for/I can’t remember much of anything, anymore/She’s gone/She’s gone/ She’s gone away’ are clearly about Laura Palmer and Agent Cooper. We learn in Episode 8 what Laura “came here for”; to be a force of pure light to counter evil. The ultimate horror of the first nuclear bomb detonation birthed BOB, which is one of the most spectacularly confounding and engaging sequences ever shown on television. Agent Cooper is the one who “can’t remember much of anything, anymore”. Cooper’s imprisonment in another dimension has caused him to forget himself(Bad Cooper and Dougie) and any knowledge he had of Laura’s purpose. Up until the very last moment of the series, neither Laura nor Cooper can remember “much of anything, anymore”. Their collective trips through alternate dimensions have degraded their memories to the extent that they are different people who arrive in a skewed replica of Twin Peaks.
Other possible allusions to Twin Peaks: The Return include the lyrics from “Branches/Bones” of ‘Feels like I’ve been here before/Yeah I don’t know anymore/And I don’t care anymore/I think I recognize’. Sweet, silly Dougie fits these lyrics as he’s a space case yet does view MIKE’s superimposed image while in the Las Vegas house. The lyrics in “Dear World” of ‘Dear world, I hardly recognize you anymore/And yet I remain certain there is an answer in you’ speaks to Cooper’s drive to suss out the answers to Laura’s fate despite not being on the same plane of reality that he used to exist. The lyrics ‘Oh and if I start to tell you anything, please don’t pay attention/That’s not really me in there/I would never do that/Just go back to the idea of me’ from the song “The Idea of You” could refer to Bad Cooper’s violent actions and how they are diametrically opposed to the honorable heart of Agent Cooper.
If my assertions of the symbolic connotations echoed in the lyrics of Not The Actual Events to Twin Peaks: The Return are slightly accurate, what an excellent treat that David Lynch and Trent Reznor cooked up for the audience. NIN knew that a few of the overly attentive in their fan base would start picking apart the words to find parallels to the show. David Lynch knew that not only would NIN look super badass on stage but that they’d deliver a song that would elevate Episode 8 sonically. The deliberate plodding of the drums, the repetition of the bass line, the affected wailing laugh of Trent Reznor are hypnotizing before the complete jump into nuclear hell. Leave it to Nine Inch Nails to sing us into the emergence of ultimate atomic destruction.