Review: Twin Peaks 2017 E13

What Story is That, Charlie?

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.

Following the successful upturning of their 30 million dollar insurance claim, the Mitchum brothers (Robert Knepper and Jim Belushi) do the conga into the Lucky 7 Insurance offices and proceed to shower Dougie (Kyle MacLachlan) and his boss Bushnell (Don Murray) with gifts while a panicked Anthony Sinclair (Tom Sizemore) watches in hiding. When he calls his handler Duncan Todd (Patrick Fischler) with the news, he’s given one day to kill Dougie himself, lest they suffer the wrath of “Mr. C”.

Speaking of which, Cooper’s doppelgänger makes it all the way to a hideout in Western Montana, where he finds traitor Ray (George Griffith) living in a criminal community led by strongman Renzo (Derek Mears) and which also includes, surprisingly, Richard Horne (Eamon Farren). Rather than let Ray finish him off, the cocky Renzo challenges him to arm wrestling over Ray’s fate and the leadership of the gang.

Mr. C complies and, in possession of an inhuman strength, proceeds to humiliate the strongman by painfully toying with him throughout the match. Finally he breaks his arm and kills him with a single nasty punch to the face without so much as breaking a sweat or losing his cool, bored composure. Chalk up another badass scene to Cooper’s doppelgänger.

Now he shoots Ray in the leg and proceeds to question him about the elusive Phillip Jeffries. Ray reveals the coordinates he got from Hastings (so did he do the double murder?), that Jeffries is at “The Dutchman’s” and that he was supposed to put a special ring on the doppelgänger after killing him. He produces it: it’s the same ring from Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me (1992). The ring that, in order, was 1) picked up by Agent Chet Desmond at Fat Trout Trailer Park before vanishing, 2) mentioned by Phil Jeffries while recounting his disappearence and 3) worn by Philip Gerard (Al Strobel). Mr. C kills Ray, puts the ring in Ray’s finger and watches as it disappears – only to reappear in the Waiting Room with with Ray’s corpse.

Evidently the ring is a kind of spiritual snare that transports victims to the mysterious Waiting Room – probably what happened to Desmond and Jeffries before him. Does “The Dutchman’s” refer to this place? Is Jeffries calling from there, if that indeed is Jeffries and not, say, Mike (who picks up the ring after it vanishes)? And do the coordinates point to a gateway?

Back in Las Vegas, Sinclair gets poison from a bent cop (John Savage!) under Todd’s payroll and sets on to murder Dougie, but he cannot bring himself to do it and breaks up over coffee and cherry pie. He later cries and confesses to Bushnell. Meanwhile, the Fusco brothers’ looksie into the mysterious Dougie Jones comes to an abrupt stop when his fingerprints match those of an escaped Yankton con and a disappeared FBI agent.

The rest of the episode takes place in Twin Peaks, where nothing much is going on. Becky (Amanda Seyfried) calls mother Shelly (Mädchen Amick) distressed over Steven’s renewed disappearence and settles for some consolation pie (doesn’t everybody). Dr. Jacoby (Russ Tamblyn) runs into number one fan Nadine (Wendy Robie), who apparently has gotten her life together thanks to Dr. Amp’s shit-digging parables. Sarah Palmer (Grace Zabriskie) on the other hand continues to waddle in it, chugging Bloody Maries in her dark home while watching a looping clip of a boxing match.

Most notably this episode marks the return of Everett McGill as Big Ed Hurley, and with that the show has (apparently) ended rounding up all of its returning cast. And although we at first see him having dinner with highschool sweetheart Norma (Peggy Lipton) at the Double R, it soon becomes clear the lovers remain star-crossed. Here comes new boyfriend Walter (Grant Goodeve) to ruin the day by sending Ed away – and into Bobby’s (Dana Ashbrook) booth, the other heartbroken dude hung up on his ex – and pressuring Norma into changing the diner’s name and cutting corners with the cherry pie ingredients. Hey, at least she divorced Hank.

We get a new, context-free scene between Audrey (Sherilyn Fenn) and Charlie (Clark Middleton). She’s still freaking out over “Billy” and he’s still telling her they should go looking to the Roadhouse, even though none of them are actually leaving. Charlie’s infuriating calmness, leading remarks and overall condescension are reminiscent of a doctor treating a patient… is that Lynch’s private joke about married life, or is that what’s literally going on? These scenes feel like snippets of the same tedious, unchanging theatrical routine, with the difference that Audrey finally breaks and starts questioning her existence. “I feel like I’m somewhere else and like I’m somebody else (…) I’m not sure who I am but I’m not me“. Charlie handwaves Audrey’s plight as “Existentialism 101” – again, maybe Lynch’s joke on his audience, maybe an actual clue to Audrey’s situation, which by the way she describes it sounds a lot like Dale Cooper’s.

For the episode’s ending musical act, we get none other than James Hurley (James Marshall), who plays “Just You“… the same song he played 25 years ago in episode two of season two, only with two doll-like backup singers replacing Donna and Maddie. Say what you will about the corny, repetitive lyrics and James’ eerily effete register, but the whole scene is one big melancholy trip down memory lane, and moves Renee (Jessica Szohr) – Shelly’s friend from the ending scene of episode two – to tears. We’re left to wonder whatever happened to Donna, the sequels of James’ motorcycle accident, and the taxation of time over youthful love.

The credits don’t roll just yet: we get one final scene in Big Ed’s Gas Farm, where Ed sits behind his desk quietly sipping some takeout soup from the Double R Diner. He seems to be wrapped up in melancholy ruminations of his own. Like uncle, like nephew. Everybody’s heartbroken in Twin Peaks.

And with that, we’re probably – hopefully – done introducing new characters and plot threads to the show, which is only five episodes from ending for good yet still has a lot to tie up in its hands. It was refreshing to take a breather from the FBI’s Blue Rose task force, the Buckhorn police and the Twin Peaks Sheriff’s Department, and with Cooper’s doppelgänger finally in possession of Briggs’ McGuffin coordinates everybody seems to be on the same page for once. Everybody except Dale Cooper/Dougie Jones, who remains as detached from the plot as he is from reality. What’s it going to take to rope him in and make him snap out of it?

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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