Review: Twin Peaks 2017 E16

I am the FBI.

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.

As the episode begins, Mr. C (Kyle MacLachlan) takes Richard Horne (Eamon Farren) to the place in the desert designated by the coordinates he got from earlier. He hands Richard a tracker and sends him to scout for the precise location atop a rock on a hill while he remains behind. Richard goes to climb the rock and is suddenly consumed in smoke and flames, disintegrating without a trace. Mr. C bids goodbye to his “son” and leaves, not knowing that the scene has been witnessed from afar by none other than Jerry Horne (David Patrick Kelly), still lost and zoned out.

The revelation that Cooper’s doppelgänger was Richard’s father is pretty backhanded and raises a number of questions. Did he rape a comatose Audrey 25 years ago? Was fathering a child part of his machinations? Did he merely use Richard to test out the coordinates or did he serve a bigger purpose? The whole scene takes on Biblical connotations if you read Mr. C as Abraham sacrificing his trusting child Isaac (Richard) atop a mountain.

Meanwhile in Vegas, Hutch (Tim Roth) and Chantal (Jennifer Jason Leigh) are waiting in a van outside Dougie Jones’ house to carry on their final hit. Random luck has it that they’re parked in front of the house of one “Polish accountant” (Johnny Coyne), who gets into a surprise shootout with them when they refuse to leave. He guns down the couple and is then taken in by FBI agents on a stakeout. The Mitchum brothers see all of this, if only to joke about how stressed out everybody seems to be these days.

Following last week’s episode, Dougie Jones (MacLachlan) is at the hospital in a coma, surrounded by his wife Janey-E (Naomi Watts), his son, doting boss Bushnell (Don Murray) and the Mitchum brothers Rod & Brad (Robert Knepper and Jim Belushi), never without their entourage of blonde escorts. Dougie’s gathered himself quite a fan following these past few days. Left alone in the room, he’s visited by a vision of Phillip Gerard (Al Strobel) and voilà, Special Agent Dale Cooper wakes up!

It’s a fantastic scene, and credit once more goes to MacLachlan, who plays the character like it hasn’t been 25 years since. Good old Coop is back, cheery and on top of things, marshalling the characters around him and acting with Boy Scout confidence and precision. He’s awake “100%”, as he puts it. He suits up, leaves a message for Gordon and when Bushnell asks if they shouldn’t call the FBI, Coop turns and drops this gem: “I am the FBI”. Cue the swelling chords of Laura’s Theme. This is the scene every Twin Peaks fan has been waiting for and it lives up to every grain of hype.

But now we’re back in Buckhorn, where Diane (Laura Dern) receives from Mr. C a disturbing text message that reads “ 🙂 ALL.” She gets up from the bar – we see a revolver in her purse – and heads up to Gordon’s hotel room to the creepy slowed-down tune of American Woman, which you may recall served to introduce Evil Coop in the very first episode. Diane goes in and delivers a chilling monologue about the last time she met Cooper.

It’s a suspenseful scene: she keeps reaching into her purse and we know she’ll pull out that gun any minute; we also see that Gordon (Lynch) suspects something. Diane seems at war with herself, with what she’s about to say and do. In th end she reveals Cooper (as in his doppelgänger) raped her that night, that she was taken to a gas station and says the phrase “I’m in the sheriff’s station”. Panicking, she repeats “I’m not me” and pulls out her gun… only to be gunned down by Albert (Miguel Ferrer) and Tammy (Chrysta Bell), and for her body to disappear.

The team agrees that this Diane was a “tulpa” – an artifitial being, from Tibetan mysticism, equal to the original Dougie Jones – and sure enough, Diane shows up in the Red Room and is greeted by Phillip Gerard, who watches as the tulpa disintegrates and collects the golden seed left behind.

Back to Cooper, he drives up to the Silver Mustang Casino and asks the Mitchums to fly him over to Spokane, Washington so they can make their way to Twin Peaks. He’s leaving Janey-E and Sonny Jim behind though, which cues in a tearful goodbye. Cooper retains his memories as “Dougie Jones” and has genuinely bonded over the past few days with the Joneses. His heartfelt adieu to his proxy son makes for a cruel comparison to Mr. C’s sacrificial blood child earlier in the episode. He does promise them that they will see Dougie again though: he got a golden seed from Gerard, presumably to manufacture a replacement.

And now for the coup de grâce. Audrey (Sherilyn Fenn) and Charlie (Clark Middleton) finally make their way to the Roadhouse, where Eddie Vedder plays “Out of Sand”. The lyrics pointedly address the theme of shifting identities (“And I am who I am / Who I was I will never be again”) that we saw this episode, with Cooper discarding the Dougie Jones shell for his older self and Diane being exposed as a fake double, while the repeated chorus line of “Running out of sand” may be acknowledgement of the show’s imminent end.

But the credits don’t play just yet. Vedder exits stage left and the MC presents, to everybody’s surprise, “Audrey’s Dance” – as in the track by series composer Angelo Badalamenti. Audrey gets up and takes to the dance floor, where she channels her younger self and performs her signature dreamy dance. But then a fight breaks out in the back, snapping her out of it and imploring Charlie to get her out of there. And with that she suddenly appears in front of a mirror, alone, scared and confused, wonder where she is and what’s going on. Called it.

Now “Out of Sand” seems to clearly be speaking to Audrey as well. From the second verse: “I stare at my reflection to the bone / Blurred eyes look back at me / Full of blame and sympathy / So, so close / Right roads not taken, the future’s forsaken / Dropped like a fossil or stone”.

This was probably one of the best episodes of the series, all thanks to the wonderful trifecta that is Cooper’s matter-of-fact return, Diane’s painful undoing and Audrey’s reality shock, as well as some unexpected nostalgic punches courtesy of “Laura’s Theme” and “Audrey’s Dance”.

And with that we’re all set for the home stretch, the two-part finale airing September 3. This is it. Cooper is finally back and making his way to Twin Peaks, on his way to face off against his doppelgänger in a rematch of the fateful events from 25 years ago. He’s got the Owl Cave Ring with him this time, and seems more adept at handling paranormal phenomena. Will his tenure as Dougie Jones have any impact in this last stand? Will we find out what happened to Audrey or the original Diane? How will Laura Palmer be factored in? What about her face-peeling mother? Or the band of freaks awaiting under the sheriff’s station? And the woodsmen, and atom bomb, and the glass box, and the anonymous millionaire, and…

Let’s rock.

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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