TV Review: Twin Peaks: The Return Part 17 (dir by David Lynch)


I imagine that there are a lot of upset people right now.

Maybe you’re one of them.  Maybe, even as I sit here typing this, you are seething with rage.  “18 hours and it ends with Cooper trapped in yet another fucked up situation, with Laura Palmer still screaming!?  What the Hell!?”

Well, my advice would be to calm down.  Did Twin Peaks: The Return ends on a conventional note?  No.  Has anything about Twin Peaks: The Return been conventional?  Hell no.  This is a David Lynch production, after all.  And Lynch has never shown an interest in tidy endings.  In fact, if anything, Lynch has never shown much of an interest in endings.  Blue Velvet concluded with a fake bird.  Lost Highway ended with Bill Pullman appearing to transform yet again.  Even Mulholland Drive ended with that evil creature still living behind Winkie’s.

As far as I’m concerned, Twin Peaks: The Return provided 18 of the most intriguing hours in television history.  Am I little bit frustrated that it didn’t end on a definite note of conclusion?  Sure.  (With 15 minutes left in Part 18, I found myself saying, “Uhmmm … what about Audrey?”)  But I’ll tell you right, I’m going to have a lot of fun debating what it all meant.  Art is not about easy solutions.

(For the record, next weekend, I’m going to binge watch all 18 hours and then maybe I’ll post my conclusions.)

It could be argued that this should not be called a conclusion.  As Ryan pointed out in this week’s peaks, the story continues.  There may or may not be another season on Showtime.  There may or may not be another Twin Peaks movie.  Hell, Mark Frost may or may not write another Twin Peaks book.  And, if none of that happens, the story will continue in our imaginations.

I went back and forth on whether or not to review both Parts 17 and 18 together or separately.  In the end, I decided to review them separately because I consider Part 17 to be the conclusion on the third season of Twin Peaks while Part 18 feels like it’s laying the groundwork for a fourth season.

Let’s get to it!

Things open in South Dakota, with Gordon Cole (David Lynch) lamenting to Albert (Miguel Ferrer) and Tammy (Chrysta Bell) that he couldn’t bring himself to shoot Diane.  After Albert says that Cole is going soft, Cole replies, “Not where it counts, buddy.”  That line made me laugh, despite myself.  Lynch just has such a sincere way of delivering his lines.

Cole goes on to explain that, before his death, Major Briggs shared, with him and Cooper, his discovery of an extremely evil and negative force that, “in olden times,” was known as Jowday.  Jowday eventually got shortened to Judy.  Briggs, Cooper, and Cole put together a plan that could lead them to Judy.  Apparently, before his disappearance, Philip Jeffries said that he was on the verge of discovering Judy.  Cole theorizes that the Doppelganger is looking for Judy.

Suddenly, the phone rings.  It’s Agent Headley (Jay R. Ferguson), calling from Las Vegas, to announce that they’ve found Dougie Jones but that Dougie disappeared again.  Mullins (Don Murray) asks to speak to Cole and gives him a message from Cooper.  Cooper is on his way to Twin Peaks, to see Sheriff Truman!

In the Twin Peaks Sheriff’s Department, the lock-up is still nosiy.  The drunk (Jay Aaseng) and Deputy Chad (John Pirruccello) take turns taunting each other.  Eyeless Naido (Nae Yuuki) continues to whimper.  Freddie (Jake Wardle) and James (James Marshall) listen.

At the Great Northern, Ben (Richard Beymer) gets a call.  Jerry’s turned up in Wyoming, apparently convinced that he can kill people with his binoculars.  It might be time to say, “No more drugs for that man,” as far as Jerry is concerned.

The next morning, the Doppelganger (Kyle MacLachlan) wanders through the woods outside of Twin Peaks.  The vortex opens above him.  The Doppelganger vanishes.

In the building above the purple sea, the disembodied head of Major Briggs (Don S. Davis) floats between two pictures, one of the woods and one of the Palmer House.  The Fireman (Carel Struycken) waves  his hand.  In the background, we hear the electrical hum that been haunting the Great Northern.

The Doppelganger materializes outside of the Twin Peaks sheriff’s station.  As he walks towards it, he is seen by Deputy Andy (Harry Goaz).  At first, I was worried that the Doppelganger was going to kill Deputy Andy but instead, he greets him with a cold, “Hello, Andy.”

Andy leads the Doppelganger into the station, where they meet Lucy (Kimmy Robertson) and Sheriff Truman (Robert Forster).  When the Doppelganger turns down a cup of coffee, everyone knows something strange is happening.  Then, Andy starts to have visions of him and Lucy standing in the lobby, looking at something.

Meanwhile, in the holding area, it turns out that Chad has got a key hidden in his shoe.  He gets out of his cell and heads for the weapons locker.  When Andy shows up, looking for Hawk, Chad comes at him with a raised gun.  But fear not!  Freddie Sykes uses his green glove of power to throw open the door his cell, smashing Chad in the face and knocking him out.

Meanwhile, Lucy informs Truman that he has a phone call and he really needs to take it.  Reluctantly, Truman takes the call and finds himself talking to … DALE COOPER!  Dale and the Mitchums have just entered the Twin Peaks city limits and are on their way to the station!

The Doppelganger, realizing what is happening, reaches inside his jacket for a gun when suddenly — bang!  The Doppelganger crashes to the floor.  Standing behind him, holding a gun, is Lucy!

(Making this scene especially satisfying is that, during the second season Twin Peaks, Lucy was exclusively given comedic subplots that had nothing to do with the main storyline.  25 years, she finally gets to save the day.)

Way to go, Lucy!

Cooper tells Truman to make sure that no one touches the Doppelganger’s body until he arrives.  Andy steps into the office with Hawk, Naido, James, and Freddie.  Suddenly, just as in Part 8, the woodsmen appear and start working on the Doppelganger’s body.  While that happens, Cooper and the Mitchums show up.  And then Cole, Albert, and Tammy show up.  It’s getting crowded in that office!

Suddenly, the spirit of Killer BOB (represented by an orb that contains stock footage of Frank Silva) emerges from the Doppelganger’s body and lunges at Freddie.  Despite getting bloodied in the process, Freddie is able to use his green glove of power to smash BOB’s face into a thousand pieces.  Yay Freddie!

Cooper puts the ring on the Doppelganger’s finger.  The Doppelganger vanishes.  Yay Cooper!

Cooper gets the key to his former hotel room from Sheriff Truman.  “Major Briggs told me Sheriff Truman would have it,” Cooper explains.  (Yay Major Briggs!)

Now, what happens next is interesting.  A lot of positive things happen.  Bobby Briggs (Dana Asbrook) comes in the office and Cooper tells him that he and Major Briggs are proud of him.  Blind Naido is revealed to actually be the real Diane, in disguise.  (And yes, the real Diane still has eyes.)  Cole and Albert are reunited with their friend.  And yet, through the whole scene, we see the face of another Cooper, this one with a blank expression, superimposed over the action.

This was when I started to suspect that the finale might turn out to be a bit controversial.  Are we seeing reality or are we watching a dream, a memory, or a wish?  Not even the presence of the Mitchum girls in pink, passing out finger sandwiches, can change the ominous tone of all this otherwise positive scene.

Cooper glances at the clock in Truman’s office and sees that the minute hand seems to be stuck.

A distorted voice says, “We live inside a dream.”

Oh shit, I thought as I watched this scene, we’ve got 30 minutes left and things are about to get so seriously fucked up…

“I hope I see all of you again,” Cooper says, “every one of you.”

The room goes black.  Cooper’s superimposed face continues to passively stare.

Suddenly, Cooper, Diane, and Cole are slowly walking down a dark hallway.  I believe they’re in the Great Northern because, when they reach a door, Cooper uses his old hotel room key to open it.  He tells Cole and Diane to wait behind and then he enters the room.  “See you at the curtain call,” Cooper says.

Inside the room is MIKE (Al Strobel) who recites the Fire Walk With Me poem.  MIKE leads Cooper up a staircase and into the room the holds the metal device the contains the spirit of Philip Jeffries.  Cooper asks to be sent back to February 23rd, 1989, the night of the death of Laura Palmer.

“Cooper,” Jeffries says, “remember…”

“ELECTRICITY!” MIKE exclaims.

Suddenly, Cooper’s back in 1989.  He’s watching Laura (Sheryl Lee) sneak out of her house and jump on the back of James Hurley’s motorcycle while a jealous Leland (Ray Wise) watches from his window.  Cooper watches them in the woods, listening as Laura tells James that Bobby killed a man.  (This is true.  Before he became everyone’s favorite lawman, Bobby shot a Canadian drug runner in Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me.  I always wondered if that would be acknowledged.)

Cooper watches the familiar scene play out but, when Laura jumps off of James’s motorcycle, Cooper steps forward and changes history.  Instead of allowing Laura to walk off to be murdered, Cooper tells her that he is taking her home.  “I saw you in my dreams,” Laura says.

The next morning, we see another familiar sight: Laura’s body on the shore, wrapped in plastic.  The body disappears.  In archived footage from the original Twin Peaks pilot, we watch as Pete Martell (Jack Nance) says good morning to Catherine (Piper Laurie) and then heads out to fish.  Except, this time, there’s no body to distract him.  Instead of calling the police and reporting a murder, Pete goes fishing.

(It’s a sweet image and it was nice to see that, despite having been dead for 21 years, Jack Nance, who starred in Eraserhead and was the former husband of Catherine “Log Lady” Coulson, still appeared in the revival.  Part 17 was dedicated to his memory.)

Where is Laura?  Despite not being dead, she’s not in her house.  However, Sarah Palmer (Grace Zabriskie) is.  Sarah is smashing the famous picture of Laura as homecoming queen into little pieces.  Disturbingly, this would seem to indicate that, at the time that Laura was being abused and eventually murdered by her father, Sarah was not a bystander but was instead possessed by the same evil that possessed Leland.

Cooper leads Laura through the woods.  Suddenly, Laura screams and is gone.

Standing in front the red curtains of the Black Lodge, Julee Cruise sings.

End credits.

On to Part 18, which I am about to rewatch after which I will write up a review.  It might be a few hours.  Until then, why not check out some of the other 81 Twin Peaks-related posts that we’ve published this year at the Shattered Lens!

Twin Peaks on TSL:

  1. Twin Peaks: In the Beginning by Jedadiah Leland
  2. TV Review: Twin Peaks 1.1 — The Pilot (dir by David Lynch) by Lisa Marie Bowman
  3. TV Review: Twin Peaks 1.2 — Traces To Nowhere (directed by Duwayne Dunham) by Jedadiah Leland
  4. TV Review: Twin Peaks 1.3 — Zen, or the Skill To Catch A Killer (dir by David Lynch) by Lisa Marie Bowman
  5. TV Review: Twin Peaks 1.4 “Rest in Pain” (dir by Tina Rathbone) by Leonard Wilson
  6. TV Review: Twin Peaks 1.5 “The One-Armed Man” (directed by Tim Hunter) by Jedadiah Leland
  7. TV Review: Twin Peaks 1.6 “Cooper’s Dreams” (directed by Lesli Linka Glatter) by Lisa Marie Bowman
  8. TV Review: Twin Peaks 1.7 “Realization Time” (directed by Caleb Deschanel) by Lisa Marie Bowman
  9. TV Review: Twin Peaks 1.8 “The Last Evening” (directed by Mark Frost) by Leonard Wilson
  10. TV Review: Twin Peaks 2.1 “May the Giant Be With You” (dir by David Lynch) by Leonard Wilson
  11. TV Review: Twin Peaks 2.2 “Coma” (directed by David Lynch) by Jedadiah Leland
  12. TV Review: Twin Peaks 2.3 “The Man Behind The Glass” (directed by Lesli Linka Glatter) by Jedadiah Leland
  13. TV Review: Twin Peaks 2.4 “Laura’s Secret Diary” (dir by Todd Holland) by Lisa Marie Bowman
  14. TV Review: Twin Peaks 2.5 “The Orchid’s Curse” (dir by Graeme Clifford) by Lisa Marie Bowman
  15. TV Review: Twin Peaks 2.6 “Demons” (dir by Lesli Linka Glatter) by Leonard Wilson
  16. TV Review: Twin Peaks 2.7 “Lonely Souls” (directed by David Lynch) by Jedadiah Leland
  17. TV Review: Twin Peaks 2.8 “Drive With A Dead Girl” (dir by Caleb Deschanel) by Lisa Marie Bowman
  18. TV Review: Twin Peaks 2.9 “Arbitrary Law” (dir by Tim Hunter) by Lisa Marie Bowman
  19. TV Review: Twin Peaks 2.10 “Dispute Between Brothers” (directed by Tina Rathbone) by Jedadiah Leland
  20. TV Review: Twin Peaks 2.11 “Masked Ball” (directed by Duwayne Dunham) by Leonard Wilson
  21. TV Review: Twin Peaks 2.12 “The Black Widow” (directed by Caleb Deschanel) by Leonard Wilson
  22. TV Review: Twin Peaks 2.13 “Checkmate” (directed by Todd Holland) by Jedadiah Leland
  23. TV Review: Twin Peaks 2.14 “Double Play” (directed by Uli Edel) by Jedadiah Leland
  24. TV Review: Twin Peaks 2.15 “Slaves and Masters” (directed by Diane Keaton) by Lisa Marie Bowman
  25. TV Review: Twin Peaks 2.16 “The Condemned Woman” (directed by Lesli Linka Glatter) by Leonard Wilson
  26. TV Review: Twin Peaks 2.17 “Wounds and Scars” (directed by James Foley) by Lisa Marie Bowman
  27. TV Review: Twin Peaks 2.18 “On The Wings of Love” (directed by Duwayne Dunham) by Jedadiah Leland
  28. TV Review: Twin Peaks 2.19 “Variations on Relations” (directed by Jonathan Sanger) by Lisa Marie Bowman
  29. TV Review: Twin Peaks 2.20 “The Path to the Black Lodge” (directed by Stephen Gyllenhaal) by Lisa Marie Bowman
  30. TV Review: Twin Peaks 2.21 “Miss Twin Peaks” (directed by Tim Hunter) by Leonard Wilson
  31. TV Review: Twin Peaks 22.2 “Beyond Life and Death” (directed by David Lynch) by Lisa Marie Bowman
  32. Film Review: Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me (dir by David Lynch) by Lisa Marie Bowman
  33. Here’s The Latest Teaser for Showtime’s Twin Peaks by Lisa Marie Bowman
  34. Here’s The Newest Teaser for Showtime’s Twin Peaks by Lisa Marie Bowman
  35. 12 Initial Thoughts About Twin Peaks: The Return Parts One and Two by Lisa Marie Bowman
  36. This Week’s Peaks: Parts One and Two by Ryan C. (trashfilm guru)
  37. TV Review: Twin Peaks: The Return Parts One and Two (dir by David Lynch) by Lisa Marie Bowman
  38. 4 Shots From 4 Films: Special Twin Peaks Edition by Lisa Marie Bowman
  39. This Week’s Peaks: Parts Three and Four by Ryan C. (trashfilm guru)
  40. 14 Initial Thoughts About Twin Peaks: The Return Part Three by Lisa Marie Bowman (dir by David Lynch)
  41. 10 Initial Thoughts About Twin Peaks: The Return Part Four by Lisa Marie Bowman (dir by David Lynch)
  42. TV Review: Twin Peaks: The Return Parts Three and Four (dir by David Lynch) by Lisa Marie Bowman 
  43. 18 Initial Thoughts About Twin Peaks: The Return Part 5 (dir by David Lynch) by Lisa Marie Bowman
  44. This Week’s Peaks: Part Five by Ryan C. (trashfilm guru)
  45. TV Review: Twin Peaks: The Return: Part 5 (dir by David Lynch) by Lisa Marie Bowman
  46. 14 Initial Thoughts On Twin Peaks Part 6 (dir by David Lynch) by Lisa Marie Bowman
  47. This Week’s Peaks: Part Six by Ryan C. (trashfilm guru)
  48. TV Review: Twin Peaks: The Return Part 6 (dir by David Lynch) by Lisa Marie Bowman
  49. 12 Initial Thoughts on Twin Peaks: The Return Part 7 (dir by David Lynch) by Lisa Marie Bowman
  50. This Week’s Peaks: Part Seven by Ryan C. (trashfilm guru)
  51. TV Review: Twin Peaks: The Return Part 7 (dir by David Lynch) by Lisa Marie Bowman
  52. Ten Initial Thoughts on Twin Peaks: The Return Part 8 (dir by David Lynch) by Lisa Marie Bowman
  53. This Week’s Peaks: Part Eight by Ryan C (trashfilm guru)
  54. TV Review: Twin Peaks: The Return Part 8 (dir by David Lynch) by Lisa Marie Bowman
  55. 16 Initial Thoughts on Twin Peaks: The Return Part 9 (dir by David Lynch) by Lisa Marie Bowman
  56. This Week’s Peaks: Part Nine by Ryan C (trashfilm guru)
  57. TV Review: Twin Peaks: The Return Part 9 (dir by David Lynch) by Lisa Marie Bowman
  58. 20 Initial Thoughts On Twin Peaks: The Return Part 10 (dir by David Lynch) by Lisa Marie Bowman
  59. This Week’s Peaks: Part 10 by Ryan C (trashfilm guru)
  60. TV Review: Twin Peaks: The Return Part 10 (dir by David Lynch) by Lisa Marie Bowman
  61. 16 Initial Thoughts About Twin Peaks: The Return Part 11 (dir by David Lynch) by Lisa Marie Bowman
  62. This Week’s Peaks: Part 11 by Ryan C (trashfilm guru)
  63. TV Review: Twin Peaks: The Return Part 11 (dir by David Lynch) by Lisa Marie Bowman
  64. 20 Initial Thoughts on Twin Peaks: The Return Part 12 (dir by David Lynch) by Lisa Marie Bowman
  65. This Weeks Peaks: Part 12 by Ryan C (trashfilm guru)
  66. TV Review: Twin Peaks: The Return Part 12 (dir by David Lynch) by Lisa Marie Bowman
  67. 22 Initial Thoughts on Twin Peaks: The Return Part 13 (dir by David Lynch) by Lisa Marie Bowman
  68. This Week’s Peaks: Part 13 by Ryan C (trashfilm guru)
  69. TV Review: Twin Peaks: The Return Part 13 (dir by David Lynch) by Lisa Marie Bowman
  70. 22 Initial Thoughts on Twin Peaks: The Return Part 14 (dir by David Lynch) by Lisa Marie Bowman
  71. This Week’s Peaks: Part 14 by Ryan C (trashfilm guru)
  72. TV Review: Twin Peaks: The Return Part 14 (dir by David Lynch) by Lisa Marie Bowman
  73. This Week’s Peaks: Part 15 by Ryan C (trashfilm guru)
  74. 24 Initial Thoughts About Twin Peaks; The Return Part 15 (dir by David Lynch) by Lisa Marie Bowman
  75. TV Review: Twin Peaks: The Return Part 15 (dir by David Lynch) by Lisa Marie Bowman
  76. 32 Initial Thoughts about Twin Peaks; The Return Part 16 (dir by David Lynch) by Lisa Marie Bowman
  77. This Week’s Peaks: Part 16 by Ryan C (trashfilm guru)
  78. TV Review: Twin Peaks: The Return Part 16 (dir by David Lynch) by Lisa Marie Bowman
  79. 18 Initial Thoughts on Twin Peaks: The Return Part 17 (dir by David Lynch) by Lisa Marie Bowman
  80. 16 Initial Thoughts on Twin Peaks: The Return part 18 (dir by David Lynch) by Lisa Marie Bowman
  81. This Week’s Peaks: Parts 17 and 18 by Ryan C (trashfilm guru)

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2 responses to “TV Review: Twin Peaks: The Return Part 17 (dir by David Lynch)

  1. Pingback: TV Review: Twin Peaks: The Return Part 18 (dir by David Lynch) | Through the Shattered Lens

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