Review: Twin Peaks 2017 E03

“The absurd mystery of the strange forces of existence.”

by Benjamín Harguindey

A weekly review of Twin Peaks, the 2017 revival of the 1990 cult classic. Created, produced and written by Mark Frost and David Lynch. Directed by David Lynch. Spoilers.

Episode three sees Dale Cooper’s (Kyle MacLachlan) apparent escape from the Black Lodge and into another supernatural predicament. Following his trip through that mysterious glass box, Cooper finds himself in another otherworldly waiting room populated by the eyeless Naido (Nae Yuuki of Inland Empire) and one ‘American Girl’ (Phoebe Augustine, who played Ronette Pulaski in the original show). The room appears adrift in space, contained in a black box perhaps analogous with the glass one.

The whole sequence is a good 20 minutes long and is shot with a low frame count, which gives it a stop-motion quality, and the action is sometimes reversed or looped for a glitchy effect while the ambient sound has a distinct scratch to it. It’s a scene straight out of Eraserhead (1977), complete with a threatening banging on the room’s door as well as the disembodied head of Major Briggs (the late Don S. Davis) floating by and muttering that famous mystery term: Blue Rose.

It is 2:53 (already code 253 pays off) and Cooper’s return into his own body is imminent, but as he phases through a gigantic electrical outlet something goes awry and instead of retaking his body from his doppelgänger he ends up taking the place of one Dougie Jones… also played by MacLachlan. With Cooper seemingly back in the real world (or is it?), Dougie is spirited into the Black Lodge, where he spontaneously combust (dozens of people do it each year, it’s just not really widely reported), leaving a single golden bead behind.

Believe it or not it is the One-Armed Man (Al Strobel) of all people who clears up what has just happened: “Someone manufactured [Dougie] for a purpose“, which has “been fulfilled“. He later holds up the golden bead as proof that Cooper has “been tricked“. Evidently this was BOB’s plan to avoid going back into the Black Lodge: diverting Cooper into taking another identity, that of someone “non-existent” if that’s what the tree was talking about before.

Consequently Cooper is now trapped in a state of catatonia, ambling cluelessly around, aping other peoples’ behavior and repeating back words to anybody that talks to him. In another bout of absurdist comedy, he gets a ride from Dougie’s whore Jade (Nafessa Williams), survives an assassination attempt (apparently Dougie was mixed with the wrong people) simply by bending over and wounds up hitting multiple jackpots at a casino, guided from one slot to another by visions of the Black Lodge.

Meanwhile, Cooper’s doppelgänger has been apprehended by the Buckhorn police, having fainted and crashed his car during Cooper’s reinstitution to the real world. Word gets all the way to the FBI headquarters, where Gordon Cole (David Lynch) – now Deputy Director – and Agent Albert Rosenfield (Miguel Ferrer) are just catching up to the grisly murders by the glass box. With Cooper suddenly back on the radar, they plan a prompt trip to South Dakota to debrief him. They’re joined by agent Tammy Preston (Chrysta Bell), gorgeous but rather stiff.

As for the rest of the episode, we catch up to Hawk’s (Michael Horse) “investigation” into whatever’s missing from Cooper’s case files. In a moment of aghast stupidity, Lucy (Kimmy Robertson) freaks out at the sight of a missing chocolate bunny. Is that it? Who knows. Maybe it’s another joke at Lucy’s expense, maybe it’s an oblique nod at Dougie’s “chocolate bunny”: Jade. We also catch another glimpse of Dr. Jacoby (Russ Tamblyn), keeping busy by spray-painting those shovels.

So Cooper’s doppelgänger is in jail and about to get a visit from unsuspecting friends, while Cooper himself is out of the Black Lodge but trapped in the reality of Dougie Jones. Is there something to the fact that the desert suburbia in which he spawns is owned by Rancho Rosa estates, the production company whose title card shows up at the beginning of the episode?  Is Cooper – or rather actor Kyle MacLachlan – trapped in the show that features him?

BenjaBenjamín Harguindey / Managing Editor, Writer (Mar del Plata, Argentina – 1989) Screenwriter graduated from Universidad del Cine, Buenos Aires. Benja’s worked for EscribiendoCine as a film critic since 2010, covering the Biarritz, San Sebastián and Venice festivals. He judged the CILECT Prize and won several writing & criticism contests. He’s published one novel, Noches de Tartaria (2006).

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