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.
This week’s episode of Twin Peaks: The Return covers a lot of ground, tying up the three central plot threads of the show, bringing the characters up to speed on many of the mysteries and springing a couple of surrealistic moments that hark back to the phantasmagoria of the eighth episode.
We begin at the Mayfair Hotel in Buckhorn, South Dakota, where FBI’s Gordon Cole (Lynch) calls the Twin Peaks Sheriff’s Department and gets in touch with Sheriff Frank Truman (Robert Forster), who relays the helpful info about the “two Coopers” (no mention of the hotel room key though). Meanwhile, Albert (Miguel Ferrer) continues to debrief Tammy (Chrysta Bell) about the history of their paranormal task force, named after the dying words of the doppelgänger of one Lois Duffy: “I am like the blue rose“. As in paranormal, or contrary to the laws of nature.
Next up, Diane (Laura Dern) joins them and is informed about the ring they found inside the headless body of Major Briggs, containing the inscription “To Dougie, with love, Janey-E.“. Diane reveals she has a half-sister in Las Vegas nicknamed Janey-E who’s married to one Dougie Jones, which prompts Gordon to call the FBI offices in Vegas and put Agent Headley (Jay R. Ferguson) to search for Dougie Jones.
Diane leaves and now Gordon recounts to Albert and Tammy a black and white dream he had about sitting in a Parisian café with Monica Bellucci (why not?). “We are like the dreamer who dreams, and then lives inside the dream,” she tells him. “But who is the dreamer?“. This sparks a flashback to a scene from Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me (1992), in which the hitherto disappeared Phillip Jeffries (David Bowie) reappers and questions the identity of Dale Cooper (Kyle MacLachlan). Eerily, the voice of Bowie has been redubbed by Nathan Frizzell – credited as The Voice – perhaps to account for the fact that the unseen Jeffries sounds different over the phone… if that is indeed him over the phone.
One quarter of the episode down, three quarters to go.
At the Twin Peaks Sheriff’s Department, Truman and his deputies arrest the bent Chad (John Pirruccello) and then set forth into the woods to look for the spot signalled by the Major, with Bobby (Dana Ashbrook) leading the way. Reaching Jackrabbit’s Palace they discover Naido (Nae Yuuki), the eyeless woman from episode three, lying naked in the ground. At precisely 2:53 a vortex not unlike the one from episode eleven opens up in the sky, transporting Andy Brennan (Harry Goaz) into the presence of the entity now calling himself The Fireman (Carel Struycken).
Andy is shown a montage of images from episode eight – The Experiment, BOB, Laura Palmer, the woodsmen, Cooper and his doppelgänger, Naido and his wife Lucy (Kimmy Robertson) – before being released back into the woods, apparently none the wiser but for the importance of Naido. Andy and Lucy lock her up for safety in a cell in front of Chad’s and next to a drunk’s (Jay Aaseng), bleeding profusely from the nose and mouth. A lot of howling and whimpering ensues between the three.
Night falls and we catch up to James Hurley (James Marshall), who is now working as a security guard at the Great Northern Hotel. His co-worker Freddie Sykes (Jack Wardle) has a story to tell about the green gardening glove that gives him superhuman strength. To summarize those lengthy 8 minutes, he got sucked up a vortex in the London sky and The Fireman ordered him to acquire the glove and meet his destiny in Twin Peaks, so here he is. James, unfazed, takes the story at face value, then tracks down that mysterious humming within the depths of the hotel.
The night is young and Sarah Palmer (Grace Zabriskie) makes her way to the Elk’s Point #9 bar, where she’s promptly accosted and harrassed by a repellent trucker. What follows is probably one of the show’s most surreal, violent faux pas: Sarah removes her face, revealing a hand and a big toothy mouth floating in a dark void within, then calmly puts her face back on and lunges at the trucker, tearing out his throat with a single bite.
This time around we’re spared any more nonsense from Audrey and jump directly to this week’s inconsequential tete-a-tete at the Roadhouse with randos Megan (Shane Lynch, no relation) and Sophie (Emily Stofle, wife of David). Actually we get something out of the scene: Megan’s mother is Tina, mentioned by Audrey, and they were the last to see the missing Billy, whom Audrey keeps referencing. She retells the night she last saw him, describing him as crazed and with “blood coming out of his nose and mouth (….) gushing like a waterfall“. Bet you a cup of coffee Billy’s the bloodied drunk locked up at the Sheriff’s Department.
This is the first episode not to feature Dougie Jones or MacLachlan, who barely appears through archive footage. It’s also the first episode to directly address the cavalcade of madness that was episode eight. With four episodes to go, it’s good that the show has picked up its pace and started tying things together, even if it requires the use of extensive exposition dumps (usually on behalf of the FBI) and scenes tend to revolve around characters recounting in great detail things of questionable importance that we don’t get to see anyway.
The assignation of “importance” to scenes, characters and plot details has been a complicated matter throughout the show. We’ve been spoiled by television into discriminating between the meat and the filler of a series, assuming only so much in an episode will be of importance to the next. In Twin Peaks every little thing is underlined as serving a bigger purpose than it seems at first, but with so many random cutaways and throwaway lines it’s tempting to dismiss the show’s numerous loose ends as arsty whims.
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).