Although the mysterious elements of Twin Peaks—the messages from the Log Lady (Catherine E. Coulson), Agent Cooper’s (Kyle MacLachlan) dreams, allusions to other cinema-have been extensively analyzed, comparatively little attention has been paid to the second of the Giant’s (Carel St r uycken) messages to Cooper, “the owls are not what they seem,” a message repeated, along with Cooper’s name, in the radio signals initially presumed to arrive from space. On one level, the meaning of this message is made quite clear, at least on a visual level, as the series increasingly features shots of owls, including one that flies directly at the camera at the end of episode 16, as if in answer to Harry Truman’s (Michael Ontkean) question, “where is BOB now?”-a question prompted by the episode’s revelation that he had been possessing the body of Leland Palmer (Ray Wise). In the years since the series aired, both ecocriticism and animal studies have emerged as new paradigms in humanities scholarship. Looking at Twin Peaks through these lens reveals that, although animals have been overlooked in existing scholarship on the series, images of animals and nature in Tw in Peaks are deeply enmeshed in the series’ meditation upon the inevitable loss of innocence to encroaching modernity.
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- “The Owls Are Not What They Seem”: Animals and Nature in Twin Peaks
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