I’ll see you again in 25 years.
I’ll see you again in 25 years.
Annie (Elisabeth Shue) and Matthew (Kyle MacLachlan) are a married couple with an infant daughter and a macho best friend named Joe (Dermot Mulroney). When a suddenly blackout throws the city into chaos, Matthew and Annie can only watch as the world seems to go mad all around them. Matthew quickly goes from being mild and straight-laced to stealing medicine from the local pharmacy and purchasing a shotgun with Joe. When a potential burglar is killed by one of their neighbors, Annie, Matthew, and Joe decides that it’s time to get out of town and head up to Annie’s parents’ house. Things do not go as planned as one of the three ends up seriously wounded and the members of the group have to decide how far they’ll go to survive.
The Trigger Effect has an interesting premise and raises some relevant questions about how far people will go to protect themselves in a crisis. Unfortunately, the execution is almost totally botched. Shue, MacLahclan, and Mulroney are all good actors but none of their characters are that interesting and an attempt to insert some sexual tension between Annie and Joe just feels like a cheap cliche. Since the movie doesn’t make it clear who these three were before the blackout, it’s hard to be effected by what they do after the lights go out.
Michael Rooker has a cameo at the start of the film’s third act. It involves him yelling and, because it’s a big dramatic moment, you won’t want to laugh but it’s hard not to because his rant just goes on for so long. In that one moment, whatever reality has been created by the film goes straight out the window. It all leads to a predictable ending that feels like it was taken from the Giant Book of Hollywood Cliches. That’s a good book if you can find a copy.
This was David Koepp’s directorial debut and it has the weaknesses that you would expect to find in a first film. Koepp’s second film, Stir of Echoes, would be a marked improvement.
Happy birthday, Kyle MacLachlan!
Kyle MacLachlan is 61 years old today. While MacLachlan has appeared in a lot of different movies and tv shows and he’s also played a lot of different characters, he will probably always be best known for playing FBI Special Agent Dale Cooper on Twin Peaks. MacLachlan, with his combination of earnestness and darkness, was the prefect choice to play Cooper and it’s impossible to imagine Twin Peaks without him.
Of course, MacLachlan didn’t just play Dale Cooper during the third season of Twin Peaks. He also played Cooper’s evil Doppelganger and, for the majority of Twin Peaks: The Return, he played Dougie. Dougie could barely speak and usually had no idea what was happening around him but he still thrived in Las Vegas. MacLachlan’s performance as Dougie was both funny and poignant. At the same time, I do think that every fan of Twin Peaks breathed a sigh of relief when Cooper finally woke up from that coma, stopped acting like Dougie, and started acting like himself.
Today’s scene that I love comes from Part 16 of Twin Peaks: The Return. In this David Lynch-directed scene, Cooper — who has only recently reclaimed his identity — says goodbye to Dougie’s wife and son. Like so much of Twin Peaks; The Return, this is a scene that could be unbelievably mawkish in the hands of another actor. However, Kyle MacLachlan plays the scene with such sincerity that it’s actually very touching.
In honor of Kyle MacLachlan’s birthday, enjoy today’s scene that I love:
What if Hamlet was a hipster douchebag?
That appears to be the question at the heart of the 2000 film adaptation of William Shakespeare’s most famous play. In this adaptation, a young Ethan Hawke plays a Hamlet who is no longer a melancholy prince but who is instead a film student with a petulant attitude.
As you probably already guessed, this is one of those modern day adaptations of Shakespeare. Denmark is now a Manhattan-based corporation. Elsinore is a hotel. Hamlet ponders life while wandering around a Blockbuster and, at one point, the ghost of his father stands in front of a Pepsi machine. While Shakespeare’s dialogue remains unchanged, everyone delivers their lives while wearing modern clothing. It’s one of those things that would seem rather brave and experimental if not for the fact that modern day versions of Shakespeare have gone from being daring to being a cliché.
At the film’s start, the former CEO of the Denmark Corporation has mysteriously died and his brother, Claudius (Kyle MacLachlan), has not only taken over the company but he’s also married the widow, Gertrude (Diane Venora). Hamlet comes home from film school, convinced that there has been a murder and his suspicions are eventually confirmed by the ghost of his father (Sam Shepard). Meanwhile, poor Ophelia (Julia Stiles) takes pictures of flowers while her brother, Laertes (Liev Schreiber), glowers in the background. Polonius (Bill Murray) offers up pointless advice while Fortinbras (Casey Affleck) is reimagined as a corporate investor and Rosencrantz (Steve Zahn) wears a hockey jersey. Hamlet spends a lot of time filming himself talking and the Mousetrap is no longer a player but instead an incredibly over-the-top short film that will probably remind you of the killer video from The Ring.
I guess a huge part of this film’s appeal was meant to be that it featured a lot of people who you wouldn’t necessarily think of as being Shakespearean actors. Some of them did a surprisingly good job. For instance, Kyle MacLachlan was wonderully villainous as Claudius and Steve Zahn was the perfect Rosencrantz. Others, like Diane Venora and Liev Schreiber, were adequate without being particularly interesting. But then you get to Bill Murray as Polonius and you start to realize that quirkiness can only take things so far. Murray does a pretty good job handling Shakespeare’s dialogue but that doesn’t change the fact that he’s totally miscast as the misguided and foolish Polonius. One could easily imagine Murray in the role of Osiric. Though it may initially seem a stretch, one could even imagine him playing Claudius. But he’s simply not right for the role of Polonius. Murray’s screen presence is just too naturally snarky for him to be convincing as a character who alternates between being a “tedious, old fool” and an obsequious ass kisser.
Considering that he spends a large deal of the movie wearing a snow cap while wandering around downtown Manhattan, Ethan Hawke does a surprisingly good job as Hamlet. Or, I should say, he does a good job as this film’s version of Hamlet. Here, Hamlet is neither the indecisive avenger nor the Oedipal madman of previous adaptations. Instead, he’s portrayed as being rather petulant and self-absorbed, which doesn’t necessarily go against anything that one might find within Shakespeare’s original text. Hawke’s not necessarily a likable Hamlet but his interpretation is still a credible one.
At one point, while Hamlet thinks about revenge, we see that he’s watching Laurence Olivier’s version of Hamlet on television. There’s Olivier talking to Yorick’s skull while Hawke watches. It’s a scene that is somehow both annoying and amusing at the same time. On the one hand, it feels rather cutesy and more than a little pretentious. At the same time, it’s so over-the-top in its pretension that you can’t help but kind of smile at the sight of it. To me, that scene epitomizes the film as a whole. It’s incredibly silly but it’s so unapologetic that it’s easy to forgive.
To be honest, I didn’t actually watch the Emmys this year. For one thing, I was upset that Twin Peaks was not nominated for Best Limited Series and I was even more upset that Kyle MacLachlan was totally overlooked. It’s hard for me to take seriously an awards show that snubs Twin Peaks but honors Alec Baldwin’s uninspired Donald Trump impersonation.
However, I did kind of follow the ceremony on twitter. I was happy, for instance, to learn that Bill Hader and Henry Winkler won for Barry and that Thandie Newton won for Westworld. The Emmy that should have gone to Twin Peaks went to The Assassination of Gianni Verscace, which was good but uneven. (The first five episodes were brilliant. The final three felt somewhat superfluous.) Ryan Murphy beat David Lynch for Best Director. I mean, what the Hell?
Anyway, here’s the winners!
Best Comedy: “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” (Amazon)
Best Drama:“Game of Thrones” (HBO)
Best Limited Series: “The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story” (FX)
Best Actress, Comedy: Rachel Brosnahan, “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel”
Best Actor, Comedy: Bill Hader, “Barry”
Best Actress, Drama: Claire Foy, “The Crown”
Best Actor, Drama: Matthew Rhys, “The Americans”
Supporting Actress, Drama: Thandie Newton, “Westworld”
Supporting Actor, Drama: Peter Dinklage, “Game of Thrones”
Supporting Actress, Comedy: Alex Borstein, “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel”
Supporting Actor, Comedy: Henry Winkler, “Barry”
Best Actress, Limited Series or TV Movie: Regina King, “Seven Seconds”
Best Actor, Limited Series or TV Movie: Darren Criss, “The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story”
Supporting Actress, Limited Series or a Movie: Merritt Wever, “Godless”
Supporting Actor, Limited Series or Movie: Jeff Daniels, “Godless”
*Television Movie: “Black Mirror: USS Callister” (Netflix)
Variety Sketch Series: “Saturday Night Live” (NBC)
Variety Talk Series: “Last Week Tonight With John Oliver”(HBO)
Reality Competition Program: “RuPaul’s Drag Race” (VH1)
*Reality Host: RuPaul, “RuPaul’s Drag Race”
*Structured Reality Program: “Queer Eye” (Netflix)
*Unstructured Reality Program: “United Shades Of America With W. Kamau Bell” (CNN)
*Guest Actress, Drama: Samira Wiley, “The Handmaid’s Tale”
*Guest Actor, Drama: Ron Cephas Jones, “This Is Us”
*Guest Actress, Comedy: Tiffany Haddish, “Saturday Night Live”
*Guest Actor, Comedy: Katt Williams, “Atlanta”
*Documentary or Nonfiction Series: “Wild Wild Country” (Netflix)
*Animated Program: “Rick And Morty” (Adult Swim)
Writing for a Comedy Series: Amy Sherman-Palladino, “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” (Pilot)
Writing for a Drama Series: Joel Fields & Joe Weisberg, “The Americans” (“Start”)
Writing for a Limited Series, Movie or Drama: William Bridges & Charlie Brooker, “Black Mirror: USS Callister”
Directing for a Comedy Series: Amy Sherman-Palladino, “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” (Pilot)
Directing for a Drama Series: Stephen Daldry, “The Crown” (“Paterfamilias”)
Directing for a Limited Series: Ryan Murphy, “The Assassination Of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story” (“The Man Who Would Be Vogue”)
*Directing for a Variety Series: Don Roy King, “Saturday Night Live” (Host: Donald Glover)
Writing for a Variety Special: John Mulaney, “John Mulaney: Kid Gorgeous At Radio City”
Directing for a Variety Special: Glenn Weiss, “The Oscars”
*Awards presented during the Creative Arts Emmy ceremony on Sept. 8-9.
Earlier today, I posted my emmy picks.
Well, here’s what was actually nominated. As you look over this list, you’ll see that — while Twin Peaks did receive 9 nominations — it was shunned in the major categories. Kyle MacLachlan was nominated for Best Actor. Twin Peaks was not nominated for Best Limited Series.
Oh! But hey — Alec Baldwin got another nomination for doing his part to reelect Donald Trump.
The Emmys suck.
BEST COMEDY SERIES
“Curb Your Enthusiasm”
“The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel”
“The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt”
BEST COMEDY ACTOR
Anthony Anderson (“black-ish”
Ted Danson (“The Good Place”
Larry David (“Curb Your Enthusiasm”
Donald Glover (“Atlanta”)
Bill Hader (“Barry”)
William H. Macy (“Shameless”)
BEST COMEDY ACTRESS
Pamela Adlon (“Better Things”)
Rachel Brosnahan (“The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel”)
Allison Janney (“Mom)
Issa Rae (“Insecure”)
Tracee Ellis Ross (“black-ish”)
Lily Tomlin (“Grace & Frankie”)
BEST COMEDY SUPPORTING ACTOR
Louie Anderson (“Baskets”)
Alec Baldwin (“Saturday Night Live”)
Tituss Burgess (“Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt”)
Tony Shalhoub (“The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel”)
Kenan Thompson (“Saturday Night Live”)
Henry Winkler (“Barry”)
BEST COMEDY SUPPORTING ACTRESS
Zazie Beetz (“Atlanta”)
Alex Borstein (“The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel”)
Aidy Bryant (“Saturday Night Live”)
Betty Gilpin (“GLOW”)
Leslie Jones (“Saturday Night Live”)
Kate McKinnon (“Saturday Night Live”)
Laurie Metcalf (“Roseanne”)
Megan Mullally (“Will & Grace”)
BEST COMEDY GUEST ACTOR
Sterling K. Brown (“Brooklyn Nine-Nine”)
Bryan Cranston (“Curb Your Enthusiasm”)
Donald Glover (“Saturday Night Live”)
Bill Hader (“Saturday Night Live”)
Lin-Manuel Miranda (“Curb Your Enthusiasm”)
Katt Williams (“Atlanta”)
BEST COMEDY GUEST ACTRESS
Tina Fey (“Saturday Night Live”)
Tiffany Haddish (“Saturday Night Live”)
Jane Lynch (“The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel”)
Maya Rudolph (“The Good Place”)
Molly Shannon (“Will & Grace”)
Wanda Sykes (“Black-ish”)
BEST DRAMA SERIES
“The Handmaid’s Tale”
“Game of Thrones”
“This Is Us”
BEST DRAMA ACTOR
Jason Bateman (“Ozark”)
Sterling K. Brown (“This Is Us”)
Ed Harris (“Westworld”)
Matthew Rhys (“The Americans”)
Milo Ventimiglia (“This Is Us”)
Jeffrey Wright (“Westworld”)
BEST DRAMA ACTRESS
Claire Foy (“The Crown”)
Tatiana Maslany (“Orphan Black”)
Elisabeth Moss (“The Handmaid’s Tale”)
Sandra Oh (“Killing Eve”)
Keri Russell (“The Americans”)
Evan Rachel Wood (“Westworld”)
BEST DRAMA SUPPORTING ACTOR
Nikolaj Coster-Waldau (“Game of Thrones”)
Peter Dinklage (“Game of Thrones”)
Joseph Fiennes (“The Handmaid’s Tale”)
David Harbour (“Stranger Things”)
Mandy Patinkin (“Homeland”)
Matt Smith (“The Crown”)
BEST DRAMA SUPPORTING ACTRESS
Alexis Bledel (“The Handmaid’s Tale”)
Millie Bobby Brown (“Stranger Things”)
Ann Dowd (“The Handmaid’s Tale”)
Lena Headey (“Game of Thrones”)
Thandie Newton (“Westworld”)
Yvonne Strahovski (“The Handmaid’s Tale”)
BEST DRAMA GUEST ACTOR
F. Murray Abraham (“Homeland”)
Cameron Britton (“Mindhunter”)
Matthew Goode (“The Crown”)
Ron Cephas Jones (“This Is Us”)
Gerald McRaney (“This Is Us”)
Jimmi Simpson (“Westworld”)
BEST DRAMA GUEST ACTRESS
Viola Davis (“Scandal”)
Kelly Jenrette (The Handmaid’s Tale”)
Cherry Jones (“The Handmaid’s Tale”)
Diana Rigg (“Game of Thrones”)
Cicely Tyson (“How to Get Away With Murder”)
Samira Wiley (“The Handmaid’s Tale”)
BEST LIMITED SERIES
“The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story”
BEST TV MOVIE
“Fahrenheit 451” (HBO)
“The Tale” (HBO)
“Black Mirror: USS Callister” (Netflix)
BEST MOVIE/MINI ACTOR
Antonio Banderas (“Genius: Picasso”)
Darren Criss (“The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story”)
Benedict Cumberbatch (“Patrick Melrose”)
Jeff Daniels (“The Looming Tower”)
John Legend (“Jesus Christ Superstar”)
Jesse Plemons (“USS Callister”)
BEST MOVIE/MINI ACTRESS
Laura Dern (“The Tale”)
Jessica Biel (“The Sinner”)
Michelle Dockery (“Godless”)
Edie Falco (“The Menendez Murders”)
Regina King (“Seven Seconds”)
Sarah Paulson (“American Horror Story: Cult”)
BEST MOVIE/MINI SUPPORTING ACTOR
Jeff Daniels (“Godless”)
Brandon Victor Dixon (“Jesus Christ Superstar”)
John Leguizamo (“Waco”)
Ricky Martin (“The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story”)
Edgar Ramirez (“The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story”)
Michael Stuhlbarg (“The Looming Tower”)
Finn Wittrock (“The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story”)
BEST MOVIE/MINI SUPPORTING ACTRESS
Sara Bareilles (“Jesus Christ Superstar Live In Concert”)
Penelope Cruz (“The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story”)
Judith Light (“The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story”)
Adina Porter (“American Horror Story: Cult”)
Merritt Wever (“Godless”)
Letitia Wright (“Black Museum” (Black Mirror)
“Nothing will die. The stream flows, the wind blows, the cloud fleets, the heart beats. Nothing will die.” — John Merrick’s Mother, quoting Tennyson, at the end of The Elephant Man (1980)
Was Twin Peaks: The Return a movie or a TV show?
As I sit here on January 9th, 2018, that’s a question that’s still on my mind. There are many critics who insist that Twin Peaks: The Return should be viewed as being a 16-hour movie. It’s a claim that I, myself, have made several times. In order to support this argument, we point out that David Lynch and Mark Frost didn’t sit down and write 16 different scripts. Instead, they wrote one 900-page script which they then filmed and subsequently divided into 16 different “chapters.” It’s really not that much different from what Quentin Tarantino did with Kill Bill or what Peter Jackson did with both The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit. As well, Twin Peaks: The Return was such a monumental artistic achievement that calling it a TV show just seems somehow diminishing.
And yet, the fact of the matter is that Twin Peaks: The Return did air on television. It aired in 16 different episodes, which were aired on a weekly basis. To many, that fact alone makes Twin Peaks: The Return a television show.
It may all seem like a silly question to some readers. However, for those of us who like to make best-of lists at the start of the new year, it is a legitimate issue. Should I include Twin Peaks: The Return at the top of my list of the best 26 films of 2017 or should I rave about it in my list of good things I saw on television in 2017?
My solution is to do neither. Twin Peaks: The Return was such a monumental achievement that it deserves a best-of entry of its very own.
(Of course, not everyone is going to agree. For everyone who loved Twin Peaks: The Return, there was someone else who hated it with just as much of a passion.)
Months after the show ended, Twin Peaks: The Return continues to haunt many viewers. As the Man From Another Place once told Agent Cooper, “She is full of secrets.” When the show ended, many of the show’s mysteries were left unsolved. Really, we shouldn’t have been surprised. As a filmmaker, David Lynch has always been most interested in mysteries than solutions. What happened to Audrey? Why did Laura/Carrie scream? At the end of the show, was Dale trapped in another world or another time? Was BOB really destroyed?
Interestingly, David Lynch actually provided viewers with two endings. The first ending, which occurred halfway through Part 17, was an ending that would have been perfect for a television show. Dale Cooper, back to normal, defeated the bad guys and was reunited with all of his friends. The second ending — also known as Part 18— was a much more Lynchian ending as two strangers took a road trip to nowhere. Part 17 gave us hope for the future. Part 18 ended with a dark reminder that the past cannot be changed, no matter how much we obsess over it. For me, Part 18 was the most important chapter of Twin Peaks: The Return. Part 8, of course, is the chapter that got and continues to get all the attention. And Part 8 was probably one of the greatest stand-alone episodes in television history. But, when considering the reoccurring themes of Twin Peaks: The Return and all of Lynch’s work, Part 18 was far more important.
What’s interesting is that, while the show ended on a dark note, Twin Peaks: The Return was often Lynch at his most optimistic. For all the terrible things that happened, the show also featured a reoccurring theme of redemption. Two of the original show’s most villainous characters — Dana Ashbrook’s Bobby Briggs and Richard Beymer’s Ben Horne — were reintroduced as two of the most sympathetic characters to be found in The Return. Agent Cooper finally escaped from the Black Lodge and not only got a chance to redeem himself by destroying Bob but he also destroyed his evil Double. He even got a chance to turn Dougie Jones into a good husband, father, and employee.
In the end, it would appear that Cooper’s only mistake was thinking that he could change the past. He may have saved Laura but, in doing so, he just transformed her into Carrie, an unbalanced woman living in a house with a dead body on the couch. As her final scream confirmed, he could save her life but he couldn’t erase her pain. The past is the past but the future can always be better.
Of course, it wasn’t just the characters on the show who won redemption. The cast of Twin Peaks: The Return was truly amazing and, by the time the show ended, my opinion of several performers had changed forever. Who would ever have guessed that Jim Belushi would end up being one of my favorite characters? Or that Michael Cera would turn Wally Brando into a minor cult hero? Or that David Lynch would prove to be as good an actor as he is a director? Or that Balthazar Getty would get a chane to redeem his less than impressive work in Lost Highway with a chilling performance as the newest face of Twin Peaks corruption? Even the returnees from the original show — Dana Ashbrook, Wendy Robie, Sheryl Lee, Harry Goaz, Kimmy Robertson, Russ Tamblyn, Everett McGill, Peggy Lipton, Grace Zabriskie, James Marshall, Madchen Amick, and others — were given a chance to reveal new depths of character. Veterans like Robert Forster, Ashley Judd, Laura Dern, Don Murray, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Naomi Watts and Tim Roth shared the stage with newcomers like Chrysta Bell and Eamon Farren and they all came together to create an unforgettable world.
You could even argue that Twin Peaks: The Return was a comeback of sorts for Kyle MacLachlan. Hollywood has never seemed to really understand how to best use this appealing but quirky actor. Twin Peaks: The Return provided him with a chance to show what he can do, giving him not just one but three characters to play.
Twin Peaks: The Return gave us one final chance to appreciate some talented people who are no longer with us. Harry Dean Stanton was the face of old-fashioned decency. Miguel Ferrer provided snarky commentary, letting the audience know that the show understood how strange it was. Warren Frost returned briefly, still as reliable as ever as Doc Hayward. And Catherine E. Coulson, who was so often Lynch’s muse, got to play the role one more time.
(Jack Nance, Don S. Davis, Frank Silva, and David Bowie all made appearances as well, a reminder that they may no longer be with us but they will never be gone.)
In the end, it seems appropriate to end this post with a picture of Ed and Norma, finally together. The world of Twin Peaks: The Return was frequently a dark one but sometimes, love won.
Tomorrow, my look back at 2017 continues with my picks for my favorite songs of 2017.
Previous entries in the TSL’s Look Back at 2017:
The time is the 1950s. The place is the backwoods of Tennessee. Everyone is obsessed with three things: cars, sex, and moonshine. Jud Muldoon (Kyle MacLachlan) served his country in World War II and now he just wants to make a living. He is the best moonshine runner in Appalachia. When he gets behind the wheel of a car, no one can outrun him. As long as he gets his cut, Sheriff Wendell Miller (Randy Quaid) has no problem with looking the other way when it comes to the moonshiners in his county. Or at least he doesn’t until the feds show up and start breathing down his neck about all the money they’re losing through non-taxed liquor sales. Complicating matters even more is that when Jud isn’t running moonshine, he’s sleeping with Ethel (Maria del Mar), who just happens to be married to the sheriff.
Though Canada fills in unconvincingly for Tennessee and the movie is full of more corn-prone clichés than you can shake a stick at, Moonshine Highway is still a fairly entertaining tribute to old drive-in movies like Thunder Road and Moonrunners. Kyle MacLachlan is surprisingly convincing as a backwoods driver and Randy Quaid was always at his best when playing corrupt Southern law enforcement. (This was filmed before Quaid’s infamous meltdown.) This was the only film directed by famed stunt coordinator Andy Armstrong and he does a good job capturing all of the vehicular mayhem. Moonshine Highway was originally made for Showtime and it is not the easiest movie to find. It’s available on VHS and on DVD in Argentina.
If you do see the movie, keep an eye out for director David Cronenberg in a small role.
The Twin Peaks finale, which began with Part 17, concludes with an episode that we’ll probably still be debating 25 years from now.
The Doppelganger sits in the waiting room of the Black Lodge and bursts into flame. MIKE (Al Strobel) uses the Doppelganger’s soul to create another Cooper (Kyle MacLachlan). One scene later, that Cooper is arriving at his home in Las Vegas, where he is embraced by Janey-E (Naomi Watts) and Sonny Jim (Pierce Gagnon).
In the woods outside Twin Peaks, the real Cooper leads Laura (Sheryl Lee) by the hand. Again, Laura vanishes and we hear the sound of her screaming.
Suddenly, we are again in the waiting room of the Black Lodge. Cooper sits in his chair. MIKE asks him, “Is it the future or the past?” Events from Parts One and Two repeat. Cooper again meets the Arm but this time the Arm asks him not if he remembers the Doppelganger but if he knows the story of the little girl who lived down the street. Again, Laura whispers in Cooper’s ear before being pulled away by an unseen force. Again, Leland (Ray Wise) tells Cooper to find Laura.
And, once again, Cooper starts to walk through the Black Lodge but this time, he finds a room that is full of dead trees. And in that room, Diane (Laura Dern) is waiting for him. “Is it you?” she asks him, “is it really you?” Cooper is shocked but happy to see Diane.
(Is it possible that, even after saving Laura Palmer and therefore eliminating the event that led to him going to Twin Peaks in the first place, Cooper still found himself trapped in the Black Lodge for 25 years? But now, instead of being sent to destroy his Doppelganger, could it be that Cooper has been allowed to leave specifically to track down Laura?)
In the next scene, Cooper and Diane are driving down a desert road. It looks like the same road in South Dakota where the Doppelganger crashed his car when Cooper previously escaped from the Black Lodge. It does not look like it’s anywhere near Odessa, Texas, which will become important shortly.
They pull over to the side of the road. “Exactly 430 miles,” Cooper says. Cooper gets out of the car. He looks at the power lines above. Remember — in the world of Twin Peaks, electricity is magic. Cooper gets back in the car and asks Diane to kiss him. “Once we cross,” he says, “it could all be different.”
They drive forward. Electricity crackles. Suddenly, they’re driving down a highway in the middle of the night. They pull into a motel and get a room. They make love, with Cooper telling Diane to keep the lights turned out and Diane placing her hands over Cooper’s face.
(It was around this time that I started to realize that a lot of unanswered questions — like what’s going on with Audrey and why Sarah Palmer can remove her face — were probably destined to remain unanswered.)
The next morning, Cooper wakes up in a room that appears to be different from the one that he fell asleep in. Diane is gone but there’s a letter on the nightstand. It is addressed to Richard and it is from Linda. Linda’s letter says that she’s leaving because, “I don’t recognize you anymore.”
(Remember during Part One, when the Giant told Cooper to remember Richard and Linda? I’m going to assume that, just as how Cooper was previously Dougie Jones, the “crossing over” that he and Diane did transformed them into Richard and Linda.)
Cooper leaves his motel and it’s a totally different motel from the one that we previously saw him checking into.
A city limits sign indicates that Cooper is in Odessa, Texas. (Lynch does not make my home state look very good in this episode but I’ll forgive him because he’s otherwise awesome.) As Cooper drives down the street, he sees a sign for Judy’s coffee shop–
Cooper pulls into the parking lot and enters Judy’s. He asks the waitress (Francesa Eastwood) if there’s another waitress who works there. She tells him that there is but it’s her day off. When a few rednecks in cowboy hats (really, David?) start to harass the waitress, Cooper beats them up and drops their guns in the deep fryer. Explaining that he’s with the FBI, Cooper asks for the other waitress’s address.
Cooper’s drives up to the waitress’s house. He sees that she has an electric poll (marked No. 6) outside of her house. When Cooper knocks on the door, it’s answered by Laura Palmer (Sheryl Lee)!
Except that she says that her name isn’t Laura Palmer. She insists that her name is Carrie Page and, when she hears that Cooper is FBI, she immediately asks, “Did you find him!?” Cooper tells her, “Your father’s name is Leland. Your mother’s name is Sarah.” When Carrie hears Sarah’s name, she appears to be momentarily shaken and asks. “What’s going on?” Cooper tells her that she is Laura Palmer and that she needs to come with him to Twin Peaks, Washington.
“D.C?” Carrie asks.
“State,” Cooper replies.
Carrie agrees to go up to Twin Peaks with him. Her willingness may have something to do with the dead man who is propped up on her couch.
Cooper and Carrie drive all the way from Texas to Washington State. That’s quite a long journey and, as I watched them slightly driving down yet another dark highway, I again resigned myself to the knowledge that the show would never reveal just why exactly Audrey was screaming in that white room.
(My theory is that, after raping her, the Doppelganger sent Audrey to the Black Lodge, and, just as he did to Diane, manufactured a replacement. But if Cooper saved Laura and the Doppelganger never entered our world, is Audrey in the Black Lodge? In fact, if Laura never died then Ben never had to sale the Ghostwood Estates to get an alibi, which means that he never pushed Audrey to become an environmental crusader and, hence, Audrey was probably not at the bank when the bomb went off.)
Finally, Cooper and Carrie reach Twin Peaks. They drive past the Double R. Carrie says she doesn’t recognize anything, not even the Palmer House.
Cooper and Carrie walk up to the house. (Rather sweetly, Cooper and Carrie hold hands as they approach.) What follows is Lynch at his creepiest, his best, and his most frustrating.
When Cooper knocks on the door, it’s answered by the house’s owner, Alice Tremond. (Longtime fans of the show will recognize the Alice Tremond name as belonging to one of the inhabitants of the Black Lodge. However, Cooper never met Mrs. Tremond. Only Donna met her and her odd grandson.) Mrs. Tremond says that, as far as she knows, no one named Palmer has ever lived un the house. When asked, she says that she bought the house from Mrs. Chalfont, another Black Lodge inhabitant that Cooper never met.
Stunned, Cooper and Carrie walk away from the house.
“What year is this?” Cooper asks.
Suddenly, from inside the house, we hear Sarah Palmer’s voice. “Laura!”
Carrie screams. We hear a burst of static electricity and it appears that lights in the house go off. The screen fades to black.
The screaming fades. Again, we see Cooper’s passive face as Laura whispers in his ear.
End credits. Sheryl Lee is credited twice. Once for playing Laura Palmer. Once for playing Carrie Page.
And so it ends.
We’re going to spend years debating what all this means and I don’t want to say too much until I get chance to watch the entire series a second time. (I plan on watching all 18 hours next weekend.) It does appear that, no matter how much Cooper and Laura try to avoid it, all paths lead back to not only Twin Peaks but also to the unspeakable horror that occurred in the Palmer House. Much like Dana Andrews’s obsessive P.I. in the classic film noir, Laura, Cooper is obsessed with saving a dead woman.
I’ll write more on this later, after I’ve had time to rest. For now, I just want to thank everyone who has followed our Twin Peaks coverage here on the Shattered Lens. And thank you to Jeff, Leonard, and Ryan for contributing!
It’s a strange world, isn’t it?
Twin Peaks on TSL: