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Twin Peaks: The Return – Part 11

A lot of things have changed in the two and a half decades since the end of the original Twin Peaks.  But a lot of things remain the same as well.  Agent Cooper may not be himself, but he still enjoys a slice of damn good cherry pie.  After a forkful of fruity goodness, you could see his taste-buds igniting resulting in yet another minor reawakening within dormant part’s of Cooper’s brain.  One piece at a time, Agent Cooper is being reassembled, but who will he be when he finally returns?  Surely twenty-five years in the Black Lodge and living another man’s life will change Agent Cooper despite his persistent love of baked goods and coffee.

This episode we finally saw Bobby Briggs and Shelly reunited for the first time.  It turns out Bobby is Becky’s father.  Shelly calls him for help after their daughter goes off half-cocked and fully loaded for revenge on her cheatin’ husband.  Becky speeds off in her mom’s car with Shelly clinging to the hood.  It’s at once comical and harrowing as Becky shows no concern for her mother’s well-being.  When she reaches her husband’s girlfriend’s apartment, no one answers the door so she unloads her gun into it.

Later, Becky’s parents come together to stage an intervention at the Double R Diner with a concerned Norma watching from behind the counter.  Bobby used to be the town’s hotheaded bad boy.  Now he’s a concerned father whose daughter is mixed up with someone who is a lot like he used to be.  He tells Becky he hasn’t busted her husband yet because he hopes he can turn things around.  But after hearing Carl’s warning that something isn’t right in their trailer, Bobby threatens to jail his son-in-law.

Becky, like Shelly in her youth, wants a divorce.  Shelly declares that Becky is staying with her, but then immediately runs off to embrace a bad boy of her own.  Some things don’t change.  Bobby watches as his ex-wife runs into the arms of Red, the drug-dealer who freaked out Richard Horne.

Speaking of Richard, things aren’t looking good for Ben Horne’s errant grandson.  Last week, he went on a rampage which included killing eye-witness Miriam to tie up loose ends.  Only it turns out tricky Dick didn’t finish the job.  Bloodied, beaten but still breathing, Miriam struggled to find help.  Here’s hoping she lives long enough to drop a dime on Richard.

Bobby didn’t have long to dwell on his ex-wife’s new boyfriend.  Bullets ripped through the Double R and Deputy Briggs sprang into action.  It was great to see how far Bobby Briggs has come in the last two and half decades.  He’s an honest-to-goodness good police officer.  Turns out a little boy got hold of a gun and accidentally shot up the town.  Once Bobby has deescalated the situation with the firearm, he sets about dealing with the resulting traffic jam and that’s where things get really weird.

The woman in the car behind the little boy’s family won’t stop laying on the horn.  When Bobby asks her to please stop, she starts shouting at him incoherently.  The woman’s state of panic is understandable once we see the strange girl in the passenger seat.  Her pallor is inhuman.  She’s vomiting sludge and her skin matches the color of her puke.  It’s disgusting.  We don’t get much of an explanation but I couldn’t help wondering is any frog-insect creatures had crawled into her mouth while she was sleeping.

Meanwhile, Gordon and Albert were investigating “the site” where Hastings had his life-changing meeting with Major Briggs.  They found the decapitated body of Ruth Davenport.  Albert took pictures of the coordinates which were scrawled on her arm.  Later, when showing the pictures to Gordon, Albert caught Diane trying to commit the coordinates to memory.  I’m not 100% convinced that Diane is up to something sinister but she is definitely up to something and it may very well be dark in nature.

As Gordon approaches the abandoned house where the fateful meeting took place, the sky opens up above him.  He sees an image of the Woodsmen and seems to be tapping into powers beyond human comprehension.  Gordon is a stand-in for the show’s creator, David Lynch, and I couldn’t help viewing this as Lynch channeling whatever creative vision he has for the world of Twin Peaks.  I’m sure there are all kinds of meta-textual ways to read the scene, but ultimately Albert reaches out and grabs Gordon/Lynch before he disappears into another realm (his own creation?).

Pity poor Hastings.  Having delivered Gordon to the site, the world had no more use for him.  A Woodsman, glimpsed by Diane, crept into the police care where Hasting was sitting and somehow he met a sudden and gruesome end.  We don’t see exactly what transpired, but we get a good look at the results.  Hastings is inexplicably missing the top half of his head.  Diane observes with a look of bemusement.  Later, she admits to having seen a Woodsman but she’s very sketchy with the details.

In Vegas, the Mitchum brothers have set up a meeting with Dougie Jones.  Based on the intel they received from Anthony Sinclair last week, they believe Dougie is their enemy and they intend to deal with him once and for all.  Bradley Mitchum is so worked up over killing Dougie that he dreamt about it all night long.  But that dream leads Bradley to reconsider his plans.

Before sending Dougie to meet the Mitchums, his boss explains that their claim was denied fraudulently.  Bushnell Mullins gives Dougie a check for $30 million dollars and walks him to the car.  In case you were concerned about the company’s ability to survive after such a massive payout, Battling Bud assures Dougie that he took out a secondary policy and will net a tidy profit as a result.  Crisis averted.

But Dougie is still on his way to die out in the desert.  Or he would be if not for a vision of Mike which temporarily diverts him from his meeting just long enough to make a purchase.  When Dougie shows up at the meeting holding a box, Bradley remembers that there was a box in his dream too.  He tells his brother that if the box contains a certain item, they can’t kill Dougie.  I can’t be the only one who wondered if the box contained Gwyneth Paltrow’s head.  Fortunately, it was a cherry pie instead.

After a pat-down uncovered the brothers’ insurance check, they take Dougie back to their casino for a celebration.  They call on the perpetually dazed Candy to bring Coop another slice of pie when he gulps down the first one.  Their impromptu party is crashed by Mr. Jackpot’s biggest fan, the homeless woman he inadvertently helped during his winning streak.  It seems she turned her life around after her winnings.  She sings Dougie’s praises and the brothers agree.  Even in his current state, Agent Cooper is changing lives for the better.

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Posted on July 24, 2017, in TV, twin peaks. Bookmark the permalink. 10 Comments.

  1. I’m sorry to see Bill Hastings go. I found him ultimately sympathetic and Matthew Lillard was doing a pretty good job with him. But I guess you’re right that he has served his purpose. Not sure that means he has to die, though.

    I was genuinely worried for Shelly’s safety when she was on the hood of her car. We have seen so little of the original cast and it would have been really upsetting to lose one of them this way. Shelly and Bobby were always fun in the original series, even as they were making dumb decisions. I hope they can find their way back together by the end of this season.

    Harry Dean Stanton is the one guy who really seems to fit with the original cast (FWwM doesn’t count).

    Dougie-Coop’s repetition of “Damn good” really struck a chord. Was it my imagination or was that Angelo Badalamenti playing the piano in the restaurant at the end?

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    • I felt bad for Bill Hastings. Seemed like a decent guy whose hobby got him in over his head. I can relate! Having said that, I was indifferent to his death. I was more interested in what it meant for the investigation and revelations regarding Diane’s duplicity. It’s not looking good for those of us who wanted Diane to be on the up and up.

      I was also worried for Shelly. I was pretty sure the scene was intended to be funny and that Shelly would be okay, but I was concerned nonetheless. I had a more-emotional-than expected reaction to this episode overall. I came away from the Double R scenes really hoping those crazy kids could reunite. Bobby seemed wounded after seeing Shelly run to Red. Hopefully Shelly will come around and realize that Bobby 2.0 is better than the latest bad boy. And maybe their daughter can find a nice young man who isn’t running round with Donna Hayward’s younger sister.

      Are you saying being in FWWM doesn’t make you a member of the original TV cast? I guess technically that is true, but I’m not scoring that way. Being in FWWM makes you a member of the Twin Peaks family, so it definitely counts in my book. All the new cast members count too as far as I’m concerned. But it is special when we see the original cast get together which is why I was surprisingly moved by the Shelly-Bobby reunion. I’m thinking we will get more scenes like this in the show’s final episodes what with Audrey still waiting in the wings for her reunion.

      “Damn good” also delivered a nostalgic jolt for me. I keep waiting for something to trigger a complete Cooper resurgence and I thought the pie might be it. It wasn’t, but it was still satisfying to see another piece of the Cooper puzzle snap into place. I am hoping that once he’s fully returned (as the title suggests he will eventually be) that he doesn’t abandon Janey-E and Sonny Jim to return to his old life. I don’t know if a return to the FBI is possible at this point, but whatever career Cooper/Dougie pursues I hope the Jones family unit can remain in tact. I could be conflicted once Audrey shows up.

      I haven’t seen any mention of an Angelo Badalamenti appearance, so I’m guessing that wasn’t him on the piano at the end. Can’t confirm or deny 100% though.

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      • At least one of the songs from the episode was credited as not only written by him, but also performed by him. That’s what made me wonder. I guess I should go look it up.

        What I was trying to say about Harry Dean Stanton is that he has a quality which makes me feel like he could have been a part of the series from the very beginning in a way that most of the other late-comers don’t for me.

        I’m seeing lots of impatience about Audrey not having shown up yet, but I just don’t feel that way for some reason. She can show up later and it will be nice to see her, but I’m not in a hurry about it.

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        • If you find out it was him, let me know. I’m about to read Jeff Jensen’s recap at Entertainment Weekly. I’ll let you know if he mentions Badalamenti.

          I’ll have to consider your thought on Harry Dean Stanton. I do enjoy his character’s inclusion in The Return. Like a lot of other characters we have seen, he appears to have grown and matured in the intervening years. A lot of that I attribute to the actor as much or more so than the character. Since none of the other characters introduced in FWWM are likely to show up in The Return, I suppose it’s kind of a moot point. But I’d be pretty psyched to see Agent Chet Desmond or Phillip Jeffries make an appearance. How awesome would it be if David Bowie had secretly filmed a cameo?

          I’m not impatient for Audrey’s return. As I said before, her involvement with characters other than Agent Cooper and her father was pretty limited. I don’t have a pressing need to see Audrey again until Cooper has regained his faculties. But, I do feel a little more urgency after the Horne family drama of last week’s episode. We still have seven hours to go, so I’m confident we’ll get enough time with Audrey before it’s all said and done.

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        • I went and looked at a relatively current picture of Badalamenti, and while both he and the piano player from the episode are older white men with short white hair, I don’t think it’s him. I don’t see the piano player listed in the credits either, though.

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        • Yeah, I checked the credits as well. My guess is that if it was him, recappers would be pointing it out. So the lack of any mention of a cameo makes me think it probably wasn’t him.

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  2. Tonight’s episode really tested my patience. It’s not that nothing happened – it’s that what did happen could have been easily squeezed into half the time.

    Lynch has always tended to draw out moments and take time with certain scenes, but too often during The Return it just seems to be padding the time and simply comes off as bad writing, bad acting, bad directing, and bad editing. Just watch the original series, and there will be plenty of examples of scenes with pace. The scene tonight between Audrey and Charlie was painfully inept on this count.

    If you don’t exhibit pace at some point, then your drawn out scenes lose their impact and don’t mean anything tonally. Especially if there’s nothing particularly interesting going on.

    I’m in for 6 more episodes, but tonight almost made me forget the brilliance of part 8.

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    • I wasn’t as disappointed in the episode as you were, but I did think it was padded out. We had multiple scenes in which characters we may or may not know discussed events we didn’t see that involved characters we had never heard of. At length.

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      • Tonight’s Audrey scene featured the same two actors seemingly discussing the same topic in the same general location and using the same back and forth cutting style. But this time every moment was full and every edit was timely. In short, this scene looked, sounded, and felt professionally realized.

        Overall, the episode moved much better.

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        • This week’s Audrey scene had me thinking about a fan theory I read last week. The jist of it is that none of the scenes with Audrey are real and she is actually still in her coma or in an insane asylum. I didn’t necessarily buy it last week, but Audrey spent a good part of her scene this episode questioning her identity and reality. Something is not right.

          Overall, I agree that this week’s installment was an improvement. It did feel in many ways like a continuation of last week’s episode and I suspect that last week’s shortcomings won’t feel like flaws on a second viewing. Or at least not as much.

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