Twin Peaks: The Return – Part 7
Viewers who have been frustrated with the Twin Peaks‘ revival’s stubborn refusal to indulge their nostalgia for the original show had reason to celebrate during this, the seventh hour of the new season. Not only did the episode spend more time within the familiar city limits of Twin Peaks, but there were lots of familiar faces, references to old mysteries and even a few answers to be found. After six straight hours of keeping his audience off-balance, David Lynch finally let Twin Peaks fans find their footing for a moment or two. This hour was arguably less audacious than previous episodes, but in exchange it packed more payoffs than one is used to seeing in the weird world of Twin Peaks.
Last week, after nearly three decades of waiting and wondering, we were introduced to Laura Dern as Diane. We only got a glimpse of her, but that was enough to send Peaks freaks into a tizzy. This week, we get to spend more time with Diane as she reluctantly joins forces with Gordon and Albert to figure out what’s the deal with Cooper’s doppelgänger.
Early on, Diane makes it clear that she wants no part of Agent Cooper by showering vulgarities on anyone who brings up his name. On the flight to confront the man she once worked for, Diane drinks and chain smokes, clearly still rattled by something that happened in the past. Diane agrees to speak with Fake Cooper under the condition that she gets to call the shots. After Gordon assures her that she controls the curtain and the mic, Diane tries to get some answers out of the man (or thing) wearing Cooper’s face.
The more time we spend with Cooper’s doppelgänger, the more disturbing her becomes. While the details are never revealed, we know that after leaving Twin Peaks Dark Coop visited Diane at her home. Something horrible happened which has left Diane wounded twenty five years later. Following their brief interview, Diane confirms that this is not the real Agent Cooper. Gordon tells the warden to keep Dark Coop locked up until they hear from him, but Fake Coop has other plans.
Shortly after the FBI leaves the prison, the doppelgänger makes his play. He blackmails the warden with a few details of some dark secret. We don’t know what the warden is hiding, but whatever it is it is damning enough for him to facilitate Dark Coop’s escape. The real agent Cooper had better get his act together because his doppelgänger will likely be coming for him.
The good news is that we get our strongest hints yet that the real Dale Cooper is about to stand up. Ike the Spike attacks “Dougie” and Janey-E outside the insurance company, but Agent Cooper’s reflexes kick in and he makes short work of the diminutive assassin. (You see what I did there?) During last week’s assassination attempt, Ike seemed like a supernatural force of malevolence. But Coop has him disarmed in an instant.
Meanwhile, there was a lot going on in the town of Twin Peaks. We were treated to the comedic stylings of the Brothers Horne. Jerry is high and lost in the woods. He calls his brother shouting about a stolen car (the episode also included a lengthy scene dealing with the theft of Dougie’s vehicle). Deputy Andy is investigating the hit-and-run from last week and Deputy Hawk discusses his discovery with Sheriff Frank Truman.
Yes, those pages he found in the door of a bathroom stall were three of the four missing pages from Laura Palmer’s diary. Frank reads aloud a passage that will be familiar to fans of Fire Walk With Me. That movie frustrated many fans of the TV show in part by refusing to address the show’s cliffhanger in any meaningful way. But it did contain one scene in which a bloodied Annie Blackburn appeared to Laura in a dream. Annie gave Laura a cryptic message about Dale’s future and demanded that she write the words in her diary. A quarter of a century later, that message was finally discovered.
Hawk gives Frank a brief refresher course on the Laura Palmer murder. I doubt it cleared up much for the uninitiated, but if any viewers were uncertain about whether or not Laura and Dale ever met in the real world or how Leland could have stashed pages from his daughter’s diary in the police station bathroom, those details were explained.
Afterwards, Frank reached out to his brother for help on the case. Unfortunately, Harry’s condition seems to have taken a turn for the worse. Rather than burden his brother, Frank drops the subject of Laura Palmer and wishes Harry well instead. Robert Forester does a great job conveying all of the emotion of this scene with just one side of the conversation presented to the audience.
Fortunately, we get to see Doc Haywood via Skype. Doc Haywood was played by the late Warren Frost, father of Twin Peaks‘ cocreator, Mark Frost. This episode was dedicated to the elder Frost who passed away earlier this year. He was 91 years old. It’s a small miracle that we got this last scene with his character and I consider it to be one of the many blessings of the Twin Peaks revival.
Frank asked Doc what he remembered about the night the doppelganger escaped from the Black Lodge. Doc started his answer by saying he didn’t remember what he had for breakfast that morning, but he remembered the night in question very well. Later in the conversation, Doc goes into great detail about his breakfast proving that his memory is better than he let on. He tells Frank that something about Cooper wasn’t right. “I saw that strange face again.” Creepy.
Doc also dropped our first hints of what happened to Audrey Horne. Fenn’s involvement in the show has been confirmed, but seven hours in Audrey remains a no-show. This has some fans crying foul on the internet. But hopefully they will be somewhat comforted by Doc Haywood’s assurances that Audrey survived that bit of nastiness at the bank. Unfortunately, the explosion left Audrey in a coma. Making matters worse, she may have been visited by Dark Cooper in the hospital. That’s an unsettling thought.
At nearly the one-hour mark, we returned to the Bang Bang bar where most episodes end with a musical act. Instead, we watched for several minutes as an employee swept the floor. I wondered how long this would go on and if the episode would end with janitorial duties. But the scene was interrupted by a phone call. As he answered the phone, we got to see the bartender up close and he looked very familiar.
In the original series, Walter Olkewicz played Jacques Renault, a sleazy card dealer and bartender who was suspected of killing Laura Palmer and was ultimately killed by her father (as Hawk reminds Frank earlier in the episode). Over the phone, Olkewicz confirms that he is a member of the Renault family and that he is engaged in the same scuzzy business as Jacques . He’s listed in the credits as Jean-Michel Renault, so presumably he is a long-lost sibling? If so, that makes another brother in an episode that already included the Hornes and Trumans.
All in all, this was a really strong hour that gave Twin Peaks fans a lot of what they have been craving. We’re still waiting for Coop’s return and Audrey’s arrival, but those things are coming. Until then, Lynch and Frost are serving up one crazy mystery after another. It’s been a heck of a ride so far. One I look forward to revisiting after the conclusion.