Thanks, and welcome!
My avatar is from the Black Mirror episode "White Bear," one of the best episodes of TV I've ever seen.
Speaking of which, I also highly recommend The Leftovers — last night's episode was truly remarkable, and heavily Lynch-inspired. Season 1 is mixed (though worth watching), but Season 2 is on a new level.
I love your interpretations of IE. I think it's really the case here that Lynch didn't grasp the entirety of what he was making; I don't think one human mind could.
I like the examples of trios/trinities you found! I'm sure they're in all kinds of places I haven't noticed before. When you say "This is a bit of a silly interpretation," well, that's just how the entire movie works. There's a lot of silliness and off-the-wall symbolism throughout... What keeps it from being dumb is the foreboding, and the ever-present sense that something else is going on.
I honestly feel like there's an argument to be made for this dynamic pervading the film: one + one's other half +(vs.) fear/evil/negativity. What is striking to me is that there is always one of the three missing, it's not always the phantom, either...as far as I can tell there are no scenes that include sue, lost-girl AND the phantom together. I feel like the two-lights theme is related to this. (Two candles at the seance, two lights reflected on the TV, and two candles lit by the rabbit)
This is fascinating. I wonder what conclusions can be drawn.
The Polish mediums seem to be manifestations of the spirit world rabbits. But the rabbits are still a bit of a mystery — their role is very fluid. Not only might they be the mediums, they might also be Janek and Mr. K.
With the other trios, what is Lynch getting at? My theory has been that direct correlations are being drawn between Old Poland and Inland Empire to show what reincarnation can do. I think that's true and that it's the core of the film. But it might go beyond that — I think there's a lot of room to expand on the idea of trios/trinities, because you're right, it pops up in other areas of the movie.
'There are only two, the third does not belong and must be purged so the two can become one.' This pertains to quite a few dynamics, just think of what a love-triangle murder actually is.
Ooo I definitely like this! Have to let it sink in.