Twin Peaks: The Return – Part 6
Mike, the One-Armed Man, arrives to Agent Cooper in a vision with a warning. “You have to wake up.” His words echo the thoughts of viewers who may be growing frustrated with the glacial pace of Cooper’s return from the Black Lodge. Through six hours of television, we have watched helplessly as our protagonist stumbles through someone else’s life. On some level, we all just want him to snap out of it! Little by little, that’s happening. This week Coop traded in his awful green blazer for his familiar black suit and one more piece snapped back into place.
Though he is clearly addled, most of the people in “Dougie’s” life turn a blind eye to the extent of his limitations. His wife treats him like a child and scolds him when she receives pictures of him with Jade the prostitute. Janey-E is a bit of a scatter-brain herself. After dropping her husband off at work, she forgets to pick him back up until the police bring him home.
Frustrated with the mess “Dougie” has made of their lives, Janey-E demands that he catch up on the case files he has brought home. As “Dougie” pours through folders of insurance claims, little lights appear on the pages similar to the signals he received at the casino. Holding a pencil like a toddler, Cooper doodles all over the forms.
When he goes to work the next day, “Dougie’s” boss demands to know “What the hell are all these childish scribbles?” How, he asks, is he going to make sense of any of this once again echoing the thoughts of viewers who may have been hoping for something a little more tangible by this point in the story. But eventually, the markings begin to make sense to “Dougie’s” boss and he ends up thanking Cooper for giving him a lot to think about. This probably doesn’t bode well for Tom Sizemore who Cooper accused of lying last week and who watches “Dougie” carefully from his office.
Is David Lynch sending a message that there is a method to the madness? That if viewers are patient, the pieces of the puzzle will come together? Probably not. Lynch seems to delight in tormenting those who attempt to solve his puzzle boxes. But he may be offering some advice on the best way to consume Twin Peaks.
Hawk, he drove himself to frustration poring over clues to the point where he seriously questioned himself about whether or not a chocolate bunny could be central to the mystery of Cooper’s disappearance, finally finds what he is looking for purely by coincidence. As the Log Lady foretold, Hawk would be lead to what was missing by his heritage. An “Indian-head nickel” drops from his pocket which leads Hawk’s eye to the Nez Percé logo on the door of a bathroom stall. The panel is missing a screw, so Hawk dismantles it to uncover several pages of notes.
In another big reveal, we follow up on Albert’s mission to hunt down the one person who can help sort out the issue of Agent Cooper and his doppelganger. If you’re reading this article, I assume I don’t have to explain the significance of the previously unseen Diane. Fans of the show have speculated for decades over whether or not Cooper’s secretary even existed. It turns out she does and she’s played by Laura Dern. We don’t get much more than a quick glimpse of Diane in this episode but if you are like me you have been waiting for this reveal for a long time and the payoff was definitely worth it. Who else but Dern could possibly play Diane? I can’t wait to see what her arrival means for Agent Cooper’s story arc.
In an even more unexpected nod to the past, Harry Dean Stanton reprised his role from Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me. Carl Rodd was the manager of the Fat Trout trailer park where Agent Chet Desmond investigated the murder of Teresa Banks prior to the death of Laura Palmer. Carl’s still managing the Fat Trout, but he visits the nearby town of Twin Peaks with tragic results.
We can see it all happening. A mother is playing with her child. He runs out ahead of her and she chases after him. Carl smiles approvingly as he watches the family bonding. It’s a heartwarming sight that we know will end terribly. A well-meaning motorist gestures for the mother and child to go ahead and cross the street not realizing that Richard Horne is driving recklessly.
When it happens, it’s almost comical. Lynch has built a sense of foreboding. We know this innocent little cherub is about to get hit by an oncoming vehicle. His fate is sealed the moment he walks into the intersection. But when the collision actually occurs it is almost cartoonishly violent. The mother of course races to her child’s aid, but it’s too late. Carl watches as a flame rises into the sky. Onlookers weep and I think more than one takes note of the driver before he speeds off.
I’m not inclined to defend Richard Horne, but if I was I would point out that he was understandably freaked out after his meeting with Red, a menacing and possibly supernatural thug played by Balthazar Getty. Red keeps throwing punches in the air which never connect. But his unpredictability makes him unnerving like previous Lynch baddie, Frank Booth. All of Red’s theatrics end in a coin trick which pushes Richard into panic mode. Still, you gotta watch where you’re going.
The episode also introduces us to another disturbing character. Ike “the Spike” is a diminutive hitman who dispatches his targets in gruesome fashion with an ice pick. When he first see him, he receives his orders in the form of pictures of Dougie and Lorraine. He stabs the pictures repeatedly and with a bizarre music cue that ends as suddenly as it began. Later, we witness Ike going about his bloody work as he kills Lorraine in her office. It’s messy stuff.
After six hours of television, David Lynch has given viewers a lot to think about. Slowly, a picture is coming into view even as Lynch continues to add layer after layer. If you follow Lynch’s work, you probably know better than to expect everything to come together in a neat, tidy frame. But it’s the messy bits that seem random and disjointed that make Twin Peaks so fascinating.