Since today is Sheryl Lee’s birthday, here’s one of the best all-time examples of foreshadowing.
From the 1991 finale of Twin Peaks:
“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 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:
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.)
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.
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:
As always, these are my initial thoughts. A full recap and review will be posted either later tonight or tomorrow.
Twin Peaks on TSL:
Here we go.
Tonight’s the night. Tonight is the finale of Twin Peaks: The Return. As always, I will be jotting down my initial thoughts while watching the episode. I’ll post a full recap and review either later tonight or tomorrow.
(And, as always, keep an eye out for the latest edition of Ryan’s This Week’s Peaks.)
Here are my initial thoughts:
Twin Peaks on TSL:
If you needed to sum up the latest episode of Twin Peaks: The Return in just two words, those would be the words to use. After spending 15 hours with just the Doppelganger and Dougie, it is so wonderful to finally have Dale Cooper back.
Tonight’s episode of Twin Peaks was the best since Part 8. In fact, I would rate Part 16 even higher than Part 8 because Part 16 shows that David Lynch is more than just a surrealist. He’s also a filmmaker with a heart. If you didn’t get emotional when Dale said, “I am the FBI,” then you have no feelings, it’s as simple as that. You’re a zombie or maybe you’re a doppelgänger yourself. As we learned tonight, there’s more of them out there than just evil old Mr. C.
Part 16 opens with the Doppelganger (Kyle MacLachlan) and Richard (Eamon Farren) driving at night. The Doppelganger pulls off to the side of a country road. He turns on his truck’s spotlights and shines them on a nearby rock. The Doppelganger and Richard get out of the truck. Richard asks why they’ve stopped. “Pay attention,” the Doppelganger replies, “and you’ll find out.”
The Doppelganger goes on to explain that he’s looking for “a place.” Three people have given him coordinates to the place. Two of the coordinates match. The Doppelganger says that the rock matches up with those two coordinates. The Doppelganger sends Richard to investigate the rock and, in a quite satisfying turn of events, Richard is electrocuted and violently killed. Bye bye, you douchebag.
“Goodbye, my son,” the Doppelganger says, confirming what we all suspected about Richard’s parentage.
Meanwhile, on a nearby hill, a stoned Jerry Horne (David Patrick Kelly) watches all of this play out. (Perhaps it’s because he was too far away or because he was too high but Jerry didn’t seem to notice that the man being electrocuted was his grandnephew.)
In Las Vegas, Chantal (Jennifer Jason Leigh) and Hutch (Tim Roth) are in a van, staking out Dougie’s house and waiting for a chance to assassinate him. As they watch, the FBI pulls up outside of the house. When Special Agent Headley (Jay R. Ferguson) knocks on the front door, no one answers. Needless to say, he’s not happy about that. As usual, he yells at Wilson (Owain Rhy-Davies). Poor Wilson.
The reason no one is home is because Dougie (Kyle MacLachlan) electrocuted himself during Part 15 and he’s now in a coma. Bushnell (Don Murray), Janey-E (Naomi Watts) and Sonny Jim (Pierce Gagnon) are all in his hospital room, looking over him. The Mitchum brothers (Jim Belushi and Robert Knepper) drop by, delivering flowers and finger sandwiches. They also announce that they’re going to go to Dougie’s house and drop off some food so that Janey-E doesn’t have to worry about cooking.
Meanwhile, Bushnell gets a call from the office, telling him that the FBI just came by and that they’re now heading to the hospital to see Dougie.
In front of Dougie’s house, Chantal and Hutch are still hiding out in the van and waiting for Dougie to show up. “It’s going to be a long day,” Hutch says. (Leigh and Roth make such an entertaining couple that you almost feel bad that they’re playing psychotic murderers.) They watch confused as the Mitchum Brothers and their entourage pull up to the house and drop off several trays of finger sandwiches.
Suddenly, a man pulls up behind the van. He’s driving a car that has “Zawaski Accounting” on the side of it. However, this guy doesn’t seem like your typical accountant. For one thing, he’s extremely angry about Chantal and Hutch parking in front of his driveway.
“GO FUCK YOURSELF!” Chantal yells.
The accountant gets back into his car and starts to ram the van. This really pisses off Chantal so she shoots the guy. However, the accountant has a gun of his own and shoots back. This leads to a violent shooutout, one that leaves Chantal and Hutch dead. The accountant surrenders to Agent Wilson, who was also staking out Dougie’s house.
Watching the fight from Dougie’s front porch, Bradley Mitchum wonders, “What the fuck type of neighborhood is this?”
“People are under a lot of stress, Bradley,” his brother explains.
Back at the hospital, Dougie suddenly wakes up. He sits up and he sees MIKE (Al Strobel) staring at him.
“You are awake?” MIKE asks.
“One hundred per cent,” Dougie replies in a confident and authoritative voice…
OH MY GOD, COOPER’S BACK!
“Finally,” MIKE says. MIKE goes on to explain that the Doppelganger is still out there. He hands Cooper the owl ring.
Cooper gives MIKE a strand of his hair and says, “I need you to make another one!” (I assume Cooper is telling MIKE to make another doppelganger.)
“I understand,” MIKE says before vanishing.
It quickly becomes apparent that Cooper really is 100% back. He is no longer blank-faced. He is no longer blandly repeating the last two words that he heard. Instead, he is back to being the talkative Cooper that we all know and love. After getting the doctor to “verify that my vitals are A-okay,” Cooper tells Bushnell that he’s a good man and tells Janey-E and Sonny Jim to go to the car.
(“Dad sure is talking a lot,” Sonny Jim says.)
Before leaving, Cooper is told that the FBI is looking for him. Cooper smiles and delivers the line of the episode: “I am the FBI.”
(Cooper also borrows Bushnell’s gun and calls the Mitchum Brothers, telling them that he’s going to need plane to Spokane, Washington.)
As Cooper, Janey-E, and Sonny Jim drive away from the hospital, the classic Twin Peaks theme music swells on the soundtrack, letting us know in no uncertain terms that Cooper is back and things are going to be okay.
In South Dakota, Diane (Laura Dern) gets a text from The Doppelganger. “: – ) All” As a distorted remix of Muddy Magnolias’s American Woman plays on the soundtrack, Diane takes the elevator up to Gordon’s room, where Gordon (David Lynch), Tammy (Chrysta Bell), and Albert (Miguel Ferrer) are all waiting for her.
In a scene featuring some of the most brilliant work of Laura Dern’s career, Diane tells them about the last night that she saw the Doppelganger. She reveals what the show had already heavily implied, that the last time she saw the Doppelganger, he raped her. Afterward, he took her to “some place like an old gas station.”
Suddenly, Diane says, “I’m in the sheriff’s station. I sent him those coordinates. I’m in the sheriff’s station because I’m … it’s not me.”
Diane pulls a gun from her purse, just to get shot by Tammy and Albert. Diane immediately vanishes.
“Wow,” Tammy says.
Suddenly, we’re in the waiting room of the Black Lodge. Diane sits in a chair. MIKE is across from her. MIKE tells her that she’s not real, that she was manufactured. “I know. Fuck you,” Diane says before her face disappears in a puff of black smoke.
At the casino, the Mitchum Brothers greet Cooper, Janey-E, and Sonny Jim. Cooper tells Janey-E and Sonny Jim that he loves them but that he has to go away. However, he promises that he will return. Even though Cooper is no longer Dougie, he still loves both of them. “We’re a family,” he says, “Dougie — I mean, I will be back.” Cooper reassures Sonny Jim that he is his dad, whether he’s Dougie or not. “I have to go but I’ll see you soon,” Cooper says, “I’ll walk through that red door and I’ll be home for good.”
Cooper leaves with the Mitchum Brothers. As they drive to the airport, the Mitchums ask Cooper if he really works for the FBI. Cooper says that he does. The Mitchums explain that they typically don’t get along with law enforcement. In a classic Cooper moment, Dale says, “I read you 100%. Friends, that’s about to change. I am a witness that you both have hearts of gold.” The Mitchums are touched.
At the Roadhouse, the MC (JR Starr) announces that the Roadhouse is proud to present Edward Louis Severson (Eddie Vedder, whose real name is Edward Louis Severson). As Vedder sings Out of Sand (which, no offense to you Eddie Vedder fans out there, is perhaps the most boring song ever to be performed at the Roadhouse), Audrey (Sherilyn Fenn) and Charlie (Clark Middleton) finally show up. They get a drink at the bar. Audrey raises a toast to Billy.
Suddenly, the MC announces: “And now … Audrey’s Dance!”
Everyone on the dance floor moves to the side, retreating to the shadows. The house band starts to play Audrey’s theme music from the original series. Audrey appears to go into a trance and she starts to do the same dance that, 25 years previously, she did at the Double R while everyone else in town was wondering who had killed Laura Palmer.
Suddenly, a fight breaks out in the Roadhouse. Two men are fighting over a woman named Monique. Audrey snaps out of her trance and runs off the dance floor. She goes to Charlie. “Get me out of here!” she says.
Suddenly, Audrey is in a white room, staring at herself in a mirror. “What!? What!?” she says as the mirror shakes…
And, for now, that’s where we leave things.
Oh my God, what a wonderful episode! Twin Peaks: The Return concludes next week. As much as I want to see where Lynch’s journey is going to lead, I am going to miss this show and its mysteries. After Twin Peaks: The Return ends, it’s going to be hard to just watching mere television.
Twin Peaks on TSL:
As always, these are just the initial thoughts that I had when I first watched the episode. Later tonight or tomorrow, I will rewatch the episode and post a full recap!
Twin Peaks on TSL:
Why am I posting this review so late? Check out my previous Twin Peaks post for the explanation.
I have to admit that I’m kind of kicking myself for taking so long to watch Part 15 of Twin Peaks. This was one of the best episodes of the revival. It was a deeply intriguing episode, mixing moments of soaring romance with haunting creepiness. In short, this episode was David Lynch and Twin Peaks at their considerable best. Because I’m pressed for time and I need to get this written and posted before Part 16 premieres later tonight, I don’t know if I’ll be able to do full justice to how wonderful this episode was. I’ll try, though. Be sure to check out Ryan’s thoughts on Part 15, as well.
Things begin, as they so often do, with a one-eyed woman and a shovel…
Nadine Hurley (Wendy Robie) walks through Twin Peaks, carrying her golden shovel with her. She stops at Big Ed’s Gas Farm and tells Big Ed (Everett McGill) that she’s changed. She says that she loves Ed but she knows that she’s been a “selfish bitch” and that Ed has “been a saint.” Nadine explains that she’s using her shovel to “dig” herself “out of the shit” and tells Big Ed that she wants him to be with Norma. “True love,” Nadine says, “is about giving others what they need to be happy.”
What follows is Lynch at his most deliriously romantic. Ed drives to the Double R and tells Norma (Peggy Lipton) that he loves her and he wants to marry her. However, Norma is busy conducting one of her corner booth business meetings with Walter (Grant Goodeve). She not only allows Walter to buy her out but she also dumps him. “Family reasons,” she explains before kissing Ed. A song about love plays in the background. The wind blows through the trees. The sun shines through the clouds above. Briefly, all is right with the world of Twin Peaks…
…so, of course, the very next scene is the Doppelganger (Kyle MacLachlan) driving down a dark road. Of course, the Doppelganger is always bad news but, for whatever reason, driving always seems to put him in an even worse mood than usual.
The Doppelganger pulls up at the gas station that, way back in Part 8, we saw taken over by the Woodsmen. (The music playing in the background is “Threnody for the Victims of Hiroshima.”) With electricity crackling all around, the Doppelganger enters the gas station, approaches a woodsman, and says that he is looking for Philip Jeffries. The Doppelganger is led to a dark room that is occupied by a strange metal device. Jeffries’s Southern-accented voice emanates from the device.
Considering the amount of time that these two have apparently spent trying to kill each other, it’s actually a relatively polite conversation. I have to admit that it caught me off guard seeing the Doppelganger asking questions for once. I always assumed the Doppelganger knew everything. (As the Doppelganger and Jeffries talk, Lynch inserts a flashback of David Bowie from Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me.) When the Doppelganger asks if Jeffries was the one who called him, Jeffries replies that he does not have the Doppelganger’s number. Jeffries says that he and the Doppelganger used to talk regularly.
“You are Cooper?” Jeffries asks.
“Why didn’t you want to talk about Judy?” the Doppelganger asks, “Who is Judy? What does Judy want from me?”
Jeffries tells the Doppelganger to ask her himself.
Suddenly, a phone rings. The Doppelganger sees an old landline phone in the corner of the room. When the Doppelganger answers, this is a loud surge of static and the Doppelganger suddenly finds himself outside the gas station…
And there’s Richard Horne (Eamon Farren), holding a gun on him and saying that he recognized the Doppelganger from a picture that his mother (who we all know is Audrey) used to carry with her. “You’re FBI!” Richard announces. (He’s probably Richard’s father, as well.) The Doppelganger proceeds to rather easily kick Richard’s ass and then tells him to get in the truck. “We’ll talk on the way,” the Doppelganger explains.
As they drive away, the gas station vanishes.
In the woods around Twin Peaks, Steve (Caleb Landry Jones) and Gersten Hayward (Alicia Witt) are freaking out. Steven has a gun and keeps saying that he did it. “You didn’t do anything!” Gersten says, “you were fucking stoned! What did she give you!?” Steven loads the gun and, as Gersten begs him to stop, he says that he’s going to end it. Steven starts to talk about how much he loves fucking Gersten when suddenly, a guy walking his dog wanders by. Gersten runs and hides behind a tree. Off screen, there is a gunshot. (This short but intense scene features some amazing acting from both Alicia Witt and Caleb Landry Jones.)
At the trailer park, Carl (Harry Dean Stanton) meets with the man who was walking his dog. We see the man point at Steve and Becky’s trailer.
That night, at the Roadhouse, the very excited Emcee (J.R. Starr, who is quickly becoming one of my favorite minor characters) announces that they will be playing “one of our favorites — Sharp Dressed Man by ZZ Top!” He even has a cardboard volume meter to show how excited he is over the song. The Emcee starts to dance along to the song. He’s so adorable!
What’s less adorable is what happens when James (James Marshall) and Freddie (Jake Wardle) are attacked by Chuck (Rod Rowland), who is Renee’s husband. Freddie, who is wearing his power glove, knocks Chuck unconscious with one punch.
In Las Vegas, Agent Wilson (Owen Rhys-Davies) tells Agent Headley (Jay R. Ferguson) that he’s brought in another Douglas Jones for interrogation. Apparently, Wilson and Headley are just tracking down everyone named Douglas Jones who lives in Vegas. However, as quickly becomes apparent when Headley goes down to the interrogation room, they have yet to track down our Dougie Jones.
Elsewhere in Vegas, Chantal (Jennifer Jason Leigh) assassinates both Duncan Todd (Patrick Fischler) and Roger (Joe Adler). Afterwards, she and Hutch (Tim Roth) eat out in their car and casually discuss the pros and cons of torture.
Back in Twin Peaks, both James and Freddie are led to a jail cell. Interestingly, the last time we saw James arrested was in the Pilot. James was put in a cell with Bobby Briggs (Dana Ashbrook). This time, it’s Bobby leading James to the cell.
Back in Vegas, our Dougie (Kyle MacLachlan) eats a piece of cake and watches Sunset Boulevard on television. When he hears Cecil B. DeMille mention the name “Gordon Cole,” Dougie responds by crawling across the floor and sticking his fork into an electrical socket.
(It’s interesting to note that, in the scene from Sunset Boulevard, DeMille and Gloria Swanson — in the role of Norma Desmond — were talking about getting everyone back together again and making another picture, despite the fact that Hollywood had changed quite a bit since Desmond’s heyday. In many ways, that’s exactly what David Lynch is doing with Twin Peaks: The Return.)
In Twin Peaks, The Log Lady (Catherine E. Coulson) calls Hawk (Michael Horse) one last time and tells him that she is dying. “You know about death,” she says, “that it’s just a change. Not an end. It’s time. There’s some fear, some fear in letting go. Remember what I told you. I can’t say more over the phone. But you know what I mean, for our talks, when we were able to speak face to face. Watch for that one, the one I told you about, the one under the moon on Blue Pine Mountain. Hawk, my log is turning gold. The wind is moaning. I’m dying. Goodnight, Hawk.”
“Goodnight, Margaret,” Hawk replies, “Goodbye, Margaret.”
Later, Hawk tells Andy (Harry Goaz), Lucy (Kimmy Robertson), and Truman (Robert Forster) that “Margaret Lanterman passed away tonight.”
“The Log Lady’s dead?” Lucy replies, and there’s something so heart-breaking about the way Robertson delivers this line.
(It’s made even more heart-breaking by the fact that Coulson died shortly after filming her scenes for the revival. This episode is not only about the residents of Twin Peaks saying goodbye to Margaret Lanterman. It’s also about Lynch saying goodbye to his longtime friend, Catherine Coulson.)
Meanwhile, Charlie (Clark Middleton) and Audrey (Sherilyn Fenn) continue to argue about going to the Roadhouse to look for Billy. Audrey complains about the way that Charlie talks to her. Billy never talks to her like that.
“I am Charlie,” Charlie says, “and he is Billy.”
“Yes,” Audrey replies, “and I like Billy better.”
“Sensational,” Charlie replies.
They argue a bit more. Audrey eventually ends up pouncing on Charlie while screaming, “I hate you! Do you realize how much I fucking hate you!”
At the Roadhouse, the Veils sing a song about drugs. A woman, Ruby (Charlyne Yi), sits in a booth. When two men tell her to move, she replies that she’s waiting someone. The men literally lift her out of the booth and drop her on the floor. Ruby crawls across the dance floor and screams.
The end credits role over an image of that gas station siting in the middle of nowhere. “Dedicated to Margaret Lanterman” the final credit reads.
Only three more episodes (and, because the final two are being shown on the same night, only two weeks) left! That makes me sad. I’m going to miss Twin Peaks.
Twin Peaks on TSL:
Obviously, I’m running very far behind when it comes to watching and reviewing Part 15 of Twin Peaks: The Return. Erin and I spent last weekend up at Lake Texoma so I set the DVR to record Part 15 so that I could watch it once we returned. However, this has been the craziest week and, as ashamed as I am to admit it, I just didn’t get a chance to sit down and watch Part 15 until around four this morning.
So, forgive the lateness of this review. Fortunately, the Trashfilm Guru watched and reviewed Part 15 when it aired and you can read his review by clicking here. As for me, despite being a week late with this review, I’m going to follow my usual format. I’m going to post the initial thoughts that I had while watching the latest episode for the first time and then I’m going to rewatch Part 15 and write out a full recap sometime later today (hopefully, before Part 16 airs later tonight on Showtime!).
Twin Peaks on TSL: