Ever since Game Of Thrones turned killing off characters into a bloody art form, TV death scenes have become their own disturbing, violent cottage industry. Earlier this year, I thought the Fargo season premiere "The Law Of Vacant Places" would win 2017’s Most Disturbing Death Award, when Mary Elizabeth Winstead’s character Nikki drops an entire air conditioning unit on a man from three stories above. Then I watched the newest Twin Peaks episode, "Part 6." The cult favorite’s gory death scene has more shock, pathos, and brutality than anything Fargo’s "Vacant Places" can offer up. And that’s because the person who dies in the instalment is just a child.
We first meet the doomed youngster (Hunter Sanchez) — bluntly named "Hit And Run Boy" — through Carl Rodd’s eyes. As the much older man (Harry Dean Stanton) sits in a Twin Peaks park, he noticed Boy and his mom (Lisa Coronado), called Hit And Run Mom, playing a game. The boy runs, stops, and waits for his mother to catch him and give him a hug. Once she does, Boy runs a few paces ahead and the relay race starts all over again. It’s a noticeably innocent moment amid a show filled with drugs, murders, and metaphysical absurdities.
As Boy and Mom play their game, the very on-edge Horne (Eamon Farren) is having a tense conversation about cocaine with boss Red (Balthazar Getty) in some seedy warehouse. During their chat, Red pulls some bizarre magic with a coin and repeatedly calls Horne "kid," infuriating the young man, who’s just sampled some intense cocaine. Horne then furiously drives back to Twin Peaks proper, crying and ranting about the infantilising nickname. Eventually he gets his pride back and yells he’s going to "show" Red who’s a kid. However, his solution is mostly just screaming and speeding in his truck.
This decision brings the polar opposite Twin Peaks storylines together as Horne comes across a little bit of traffic. Instead of waiting in the short line of cars, the very high drug dealer veers into the wrong lane to bypass everyone else. He’s a man, dammit, and only kids wait in traffic. While Horne races down the street in the wrong direction, Hit And Run Boy continues playing his game with his mom. He waits at the crosswalk corner, gets the okay to walk from the driver first in line, and runs into the middle of the street, stops, and waits for his mom to join him. That’s the exact moment Horne races through the stop sign and drives straight through the kid, leaving him dead on the ground.
Most shows would hint at the damage done to Boy. They would show his screaming mother and maybe a single shot of her clutching his broken body, with his face politely obscured. But, that’s not what Twin Peaks does. They show us the exact moment Horne’s truck and Boy collide. There’s no mystery as to how terrible this murder of a child really was. Then, the camera rests on Boy’s bloody dead body, not daring to look away from the tragedy. His feet point in the opposite directions as they’re supposed to, the entire top of his head is matted with blood, and his body couldn’t be more lifeless as a wailing Mom holds her son to her chest. In true Twin Peaks fashion, we even see what’s meant to be the Boy’s sparkling "soul" ascend to the sky. Despite the fact this horrific scene’s choice to spend minutes staring at a dead child makes "Part 6" gut-wrenching enough, it offers yet another gruesome death only a little while later.
The episode ends with the murder of Lorraine (Tammy Baird), which is ordered by Mr. Todd (Patrick Fischler). She is killed by a little person assassin with terrible teeth, who wields an ice pick. Although, as our recapper pointed out, the absurdity of the death scene pushes the moment into camp, it’s still terrible to see just how the vicious, gut-spilling murder of a woman is filmed so gleefully. After all of this gore, let’s hope Twin Peaks doesn’t out-do itself next week.