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.
Having been respawned back into reality under the identity of dead-ringer Dougie Jones, Dale Cooper (Kyle MacLachlan) continues to score jackpot after jackpot at the Silver Mustang Casino. In his state of catatonia he has but one mission – “call for help” – which he tries to do by playing the slots. After cashing in, he wounds up at Dougie’s suburban home, where he’s received (and scolded) by Mrs. Jones, “Janey-E”, played by Lynch regular Naomi Watts.
It’s interesting that as Dougie Jones Cooper is both completely helpless and hopelessly lost, yet somehow manages to luck out and wind up with sacks of cash at a picture-perfect suburban household, complete with a wife and child, without even trying. Along the way he’s helped out by every single person he comes across, including Dougie’s WASP-y friends, played by Ethan Suplee and Sarah Paxton. Does this give any credence to the theory that Cooper’s trapped in a fake reality as the fake (non-existent, as the tree put it) Dougie Jones? Is it all a deliberate cover-up, perhaps orchestrated by the also Vegas-bound Todd? Or is it just Lynch’s way of portraying the cozy yet numb existence of the American Dream, where you can get by simply by aping the society around you?
At the FBI Gordon Cole (David Lynch) clears his investigation into the seeming reappearence of Dale Cooper with Chief of Staff Denise Bryson (David Duchovny). It’s not a scene that seems necessary by any appraisal of the story – it does little more than establish Bryson’s promotion – but it’s nice to see the character back and to perceive the camaraderie between her and Cole, who sponsored the transgendered agent back when nobody else would.
Meanwhile at the Twin Peaks Sheriff’s Department we’re finally introduced to the sheriff himself, Frank Truman (Robert Forster), back from fishing and filling in for his ill brother Harry. Of course this is the way the show has of getting away with “Sheriff Truman” both in dialogue and as a character without featuring the comeback of the original Sheriff Truman, Michael Ontkean, who has since retired. It’s not as inept as it sounds though – Forster plays Harry’s weary straight man mentality to perfection, and he’s essentially continuing his brief stint as a police officer from Mulholland Dr.
This leads to a very funny (probably divisive) scene in which Truman endures the visit of Lucy (Kimmy Robertson) and Andy’s (Harry Goaz) son: Wally Brando, played by Michael Cera of all people. In his one scene Cera sits atop a motorbike, dressed in The Wild One leather garb and talks with a very Brando lisp. He’s come to “pay his respects” to the sheriff and to that end sinks into a pretentious monologue about his travels and unending search for meaning. There are many such scenes but this is the first that feels that’s there purely for the sake of reliving the show’s past in awkward faux-pas comedy.
Even more weirdly, we find out there’re more deputies and employees at the station than the usual wacky suspects, the kind you’d find at an average police procedural show, including some buzzkill named Chad (of course) who’s probably the first person in the history of the town to roll his eyes at the Log Lady (much to Andy’s outrage). We also finally catch up to former trouble maker Bobby Briggs (Dana Ashbrook), now at deputy at Truman’s beck and call. When it appears the station is reopening the investigation on Cooper, and by extension his late gal Laura Palmer, Bobby breaks into tears.
We learn from him that his father, Major Briggs, died shortly after Cooper’s disappearence in a mysterious fire – orchestrated no doubt by the doppelgänger. This is significant because it was the Major who by the infamous second season cliffhanger finale held key information that would’ve sprung Cooper from the Black Lodge, had the show not been cancelled back in the day. It’s sad to learn BOB caught up to him, but also inevitable considering the passing of actor Don S. Davis.
Three very good scenes close the episode. The first has Cooper, as Dougie, sleepwalking through a family breakfast while his “wife and son” completely ignore the quirky behavior. Cooper seems condemned to this mimicry of a Norman Rockwell life when he starts behaving a little more like himself, returning his signature thumbs up at the child and then, crucially, sipping from a mug of damn good coffee (and hot! He spits it). This appears to bring Coop back to his senses, though the scene is cut too short to tell. Here’s hoping.
The other two scenes involve Gordon and Albert debriefing “Cooper”, who’s being held at a Buckhorn police station, and the worried council they later hold at the parking lot. There’s something off with this “Cooper”, who can’t help but slurr backwards (a telltale Black Lodge trait) and mimics the thumbs up sign with the kind of devilish mockery that inspired that damned quote: “How’s Annie?”. The whole interview scene is macabre for the way MacLachlan plays the character – like an alien puppeteering flesh – and how Gordon and Albert react in creeped-out disappointment.
They go out and consult over what they just witnessed. You know you’re in trouble when David Lynch flat out states “I don’t understand this situation at all” and worse yet, asks you about it. Albert mentions ‘Blue Rose’, to which Gordon replies: “It didn’t get any bluer“. It was never established in the show or the movie what ‘Blue Rose’ meant but at this point the fans have more or less agreed that it’s code for paranormal activity. Gordon then says they “need one certain person to take a look at Cooper“. Does Albert still now where she lives? He knows where she drinks.
While it’s still polite to speculate I’m going to make the assumption the person they’re referring to isn’t Audrey (they wouldn’t know about her) or Annie (Heather Graham isn’t listed in the cast) but Cooper’s treasured “Diane”. For all we ever knew about her, Diane could’ve been a figment of Cooper’s imagination, or even the recorder in which he dictated his thoughts. This bit of foreshadowing is dealt so coyly at the end of the episode we’re invited to speculate on her identity, and what better pay-off for this unseen character than the show’s most famous unseen character?
Even better, suppose she’s played by Laura Dern (last paired with MacLachlan in Lynch’s Blue Velvet, 1986)? She’s listed in the cast, fits the profile of Cooper’s historical confidant and would follow on the show’s premise of heartfelt reunion/revival. It couldn’t get any more blue than Blue Velvet.
Benjamín 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).