Twin Peaks: The Return – Part 13
Last week’s episode suffered from a deficiency of Kyle MacLachlan. Twin Peaks: The Return‘s thirteenth hour makes up for that with a double dose of its leading man. Like a slice of cherry pie with a cup of black coffee, this episode served up MacLachlan as sweet Dougie Jones and bitter Dark Cooper. These two opposing forced have been on a collision course since the season premiere and this hour brought them incrementally closer to impact.
The episode opened with a scene that would have felt right at home in an episode of the 90’s version of Twin Peaks. The Mitchum brothers along with Dougie and their girls in pink are still celebrating their reversal of fortune. Anthony Sinclair, who was counting on the brothers to do his dirty work, watches helplessly as they conga through the offices of the Lucky 7 insurance agency instead. They have arrived to shower Dougie’s boss, “Battling Bud”, with expensive gifts. Much to Janey-E’s delight, the Mitchum brothers were equally generous with Dougie and his family.
Janey-E is surprised by delivery guys who have come to their house to set up the most elaborate outdoor playset imaginable. It doesn’t just light up. When Sonny Jim plays on it, there’s a spotlight on him. Janey-E watches her son and sighs that he is in “seventh heaven”. So is she when she drives her brand new car. Remember how Janey-E complained about driving crappy cars earlier in the season? Not any more. And boy oh boy does she love her mentally addled husband now that he’s finally bringing home the bacon (and pleasing her in the bedroom).
Janey-E moons over her hubby as she drops him off at work the next morning. She’s like a high school cheerleader and Dougie is the star quarterback if the star quarterback had suffered severe head trauma and needed to be pointed to the door. Dougie is still haphazardly sidestepping disaster as Anthony is forced to take matters into his own hands. Anthony’s plan to poison Dougie’s coffee seems fool-proof. Dougie has shown he will gulp down the black liquid. What could go wrong?
Turns out the easily distracted Dougie is distracted by the bakery section of the coffee shop. He shuffles in and drools over the display case until a waitress brings him out a slice of cherry pie. (I like this coffee shop. If the waitress ever charged Dougie for his pie, we never saw it.) On his way back to his seat, Dougie notices Anthony’s dandruff and he starts to poke at it. Whatever Dougie is doing, it comes across like a shoulder massage and it breaks down the stressed-out Sinclair. He throws out the poisoned coffee and confesses to his crimes.
Speaking of criminal activity, the Doppelganger has finally arrived at The Farm where he intends to get the coordinates from Ray. Ray is surrounded by thugs right out of central casting and I was struck by how much Dark Coop looked like an in-his-prime Steven Seagal. Squint, and these scenes could have been from a typical action movie. The goon squad confidently challenges DoppelCoop to an arm wrestling match with their boss, Renzo.
If Dark Coop wins, he gets to be the new headguy in charge. But he says he doesn’t want to be the boss of a bunch of lackeys. He just wants Ray. If he loses, he needs to answer to Renzo or die, but the outcome of this contest is never really in question. Renzo and his gang assume that their undefeated boss will make quick work of the stranger in their midst, but they couldn’t be more wrong.
This was never going to be a fair contest, but what the thugs don’t realize is that Dark Coop is in total control. After letting Renzo think the match is going his way, the Doppelganger resets to starting position over and over again. Each time further displaying that he controls the outcome of this schoolyard game. When it’s over, Dark Coop drives home his message by killing Renzo with a single punch to the face.
The men immediately offer their services to Dark Coop. They assume he’s their new boss, but the Doppelganger is only interested in extracting information from Ray. In addition to the coordinates, Coopelganger wants to know who Ray is answering to. Ray says he is taking orders from Phillip Jefferies – or somebody who is using that name. Jefferies is of course the FBI agent played by David Bowie in a cameo in Fire Walk With Me.
Then Ray reaches into his pocket and produces the Owl Cave ring which played an important part in the Twin Peaks prequel. He tells Evil Coop that he was supposed to put the ring on his finger after he shot him but presumably he was too distracted by the arrival of the spectral woodsmen to follow through. The Doppelganger orders Ray to put the ring on his own finger and then shoots him in the head. The ring and Ray’s body are both transferred to the Black Lodge where it appears Mike retrieves the ring. Is this what would have happened to Dark Cooper if Ray had placed the ring on his finger?
The episode briefly checks in on some of the peripheral storylines. Dr. Amp pays a house call to his biggest fan, Nadine. Her ex, Big Ed, is hanging out at the Double R with Norma, but they still aren’t a couple. Norma is spending her time with a slick businessman who wants her to compromise the integrity of her recipes to sell more pies. Bobby is also hanging around hoping to see Shelley, but he ends up eating dinner with Big Ed. These two guys are both pining for women who appear to have moved on to men who don’t deserve them.
James Hurley is also stuck in the past. At the Roadhouse, he performs his dreamlike song from the original series,”Just You,” accompanied by a couple of young brunettes who call to mind Donna and Maddie. Is there anything more to this scene than pure nostalgia? Doesn’t seem like it. But for a reunion show, Twin Peaks has been light on fan service so enjoy this scene for the simple pleasure it is.
We also get two scenes which are direct follow-ups to last week’s episode. Sarah Palmer is back in her living room watching violence on TV. (There are a lot of screens in the new Twin Peaks. Earlier the goon squad watched Dark Cooper dispatch with Ray on a giant monitor.) She’s watching a boxing match or more specifically, she’s watching the same knock out blow over and over again on a loop. Every so often, Sarah gets up and goes to the kitchen where we hear the same clinking noises we heard when Hawk dropped by unannounced last episode. Something unsettling is going on in the Palmer house, but we still don’t know what.
Meanwhile, Audrey Horne was carrying on her contentious conversation with her husband, Charlie. Last week, Audrey didn’t seem like herself and this week she openly questions both her identity and reality. “I feel like I’m somewhere else,” she says. “Like I’m somewhere else and like I’m somebody else.” Charlie, who is still refusing to share the “unbelievable” information he learned last week, responds with a cryptic threat. He asks Audrey is she is going to stop playing games or if he will have to “end her story too?”
What that means at this point is anyone’s guess. After last week’s episode, there was a fan theory floated that Audrey was still lingering in a coma or an insane asylum. I initially took this theory as wishful thinking on the part of Audrey fans. But now, I’m not so sure. Maybe Audrey’s reality isn’t real after all.
Back at the Farm when all the goons were watching Dark Cooper, they were joined by Richard Horne. More than ever, it seems that Richard is the offspring of Audrey and Coop’s Doppelganger. A twisted family reunion appears to be imminent.