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Twin Peaks: The Return – Part 14

With only five hours left to go (four remaining after this installment), Twin Peaks: The Return has entered its endgame.  The pace is picking up as Lynch begins paying off plot lines that were set up in the early episodes.  This hour was filled with more head-scratching “did I just see what I think I saw” moments than most.  As Lynch got down to the business of ending his story, this was an episode about story-telling.

There are several scenes in Part 14 in which characters tell each other stories.  Early on, Albert tells Tammy about the first Blue Rose case.  The murder of Lois Duffy was investigated by a young Gordon Cole and the mysterious Phillip Jeffries.  The case presented a paradox in that there were two Lois Duffys and one was charged with murdering the other.  As a point of clarification, Albert assured Tammy that the victim did not have a twin sister.

If someone told you this story in the real world, it would seem impossible.  But as viewers, we are already familiar with a similar story.  We know Agent Cooper has a doppelgänger running around.  Albert tests Tammy by asking her what is significant about the tale.  She answers correctly.  Before she disappeared, the murdered Lois Duffy said she was “like the blue rose”.  The implication being that this person was not natural.  She was conjured up or manufactured.

Tammy called her a “tulpa”.  The term comes from Tibetan mythology of which Agent Cooper was a fan.  Tulpas are mental creations.  One description which is particularly relevant to Twin Peaks is that they are “extra bodies that were created from one person’s mind in order to travel to spiritual realms.”  That sounds more than a little like Dark Coop, but it could also describe Dougie Jones.

Next, it’s Gordon’s turn to tell a story.  He describes a dream he had in which he had coffee with actress Monica Bellucci (playing herself).   In the dream, she tells Gordon “We’re like the dreamer who dreams and then lives inside the dream. But who is the dreamer?”  The dream then shifts to an earlier time.  Specifically, we’re show a clip from Fire Walk With Me in which Phillip Jeffries appears.  Jeffries points at Agent Cooper and demands to know who Gordon thinks he is.  After watching Coop struggle to regain his identity for fourteen hours, it’s a valid question.

As Gordon finishes his story, he is surprised by his own memories.  He said he hadn’t remembered these events until he told the story just now.  Albert agrees that he is starting to remember Jeffries’ appearance as well.  We have seen these two men struggling to remember inexplicable events before.  When Hastings’ head exploded, both Gordon and Albert had trouble remembering the specific details.  Gordon says “this is something interesting to think about.”  Essentially, we can’t fully trust our own memories much less the stories told to us by others.

Speaking of things that are untrustworthy, Diane joins the group.  They have just one question for Diane.  On the night she was visited by Agent Cooper, did he mention Major Briggs.  At first, Diane says she doesn’t want to talk about that night.  But reluctantly, she admits that Cooper did mention Briggs.  The agents share the details of the Major’s disappearance and the discovery of his body many years later (another tulpa?).

When Diane learns about the ring that was found in Briggs’ stomach, she tells a story of her own.  The inscription on the ring reads “to Dougie Jones from Janey-E”.  Diane reveals that she has an estranged half-sister nicknamed Janey-E who is married to a man named Douglas Jones.  It will be interesting to see how that family relationship plays out.  Is Diane a mirror of Janey-E the way that Dopplecoop is a dark version of Agent Cooper?

In Twin Peaks, Bobby leads Sheriff Truman, Hawk and Andy to Jack Rabbit’s Palace where he and his dad would sit and “make up great tall tales” (more story-telling).  The men search the area until they find a naked woman lying in the grass.  It’s Naido, the eyeless woman Agent Cooper met way back at the beginning of the season.

Following their discovery, a vortex opens in the trees above them.  Andy disappears into it and comes out in the world of the Giant.  I have been calling this character the Giant all season, but he has actually been credited as ???????.  He identifies himself as the Fireman.  Whether or not he is the same as the Giant who appeared in the original show is a question that may never be answered.

Much is revealed to Andy in the black and white world.  Rather than using words, the Fireman shows Andy highlights of the cosmic imagery from Part 8.  When he returns to the real world, Andy knows exactly what to do.  They have to take Naido back to the sheriff’s office and keep her in a cell where she will be safe.  They can’t tell anyone.

There are a couple of other inhabitants in the jail cells that make me question Naido’s safety.  One if Deputy Chad who was arrested following his involvement in the cover-up of Richard’s assault on Murial.  The other is a zombie-like man who is drooling blood.  He keeps repeating whatever anyone else says.  Since Naido speaks in moans and noises, this sick man repeats the nonsense.  It’s a weird scene that calls to mind the sick girl Bobby found outside the Double R a few episodes back.

Back at the Great Northern, we catch up with James Hurley.  When he’s not reliving his glory days on stage, James (who apparently goes by Jimmy now) works as a security guard.  On a break, he and a coworker are enjoying some walnuts.  The coworker can crush them with his gloved hand, but he ends up pulverizing them because he is too strong.  After James/Jimmy prods him, the coworker reluctantly tells his unbelievable story.

It basically amounts to a super hero origin story.  However, there are similarities to what we just saw happen to Andy.  Like Andy, this coworker was sucked into a vortex where he met with the Fireman.  He was instructed to but a single gardening glove and when he did he was bestowed with super strength, but the glove became a part of him.

Then things got really weird.  Sarah Palmer sidles up to a bar and orders a Bloody Mary.  She just wants to drink her drink, but a trucker won’t stop bothering her.  The more she requests to be left alone, the more belligerent the trucker becomes.  So Sarah pulls off her face revealing a black void, a hand and a Cheshire Cat smile.  That’s disturbing enough, but then she lunges forward and takes a bite out of the man’s neck!

The trucker bleeds out on the floor and Sarah feigns horror.  But when she is questioned by the bartender, Sarah’s cold response lets him know he’d better not involve himself in this “goddamn bad story”.

The episode ends at the Roadhouse as most episodes do.  This scene is similar to the one from a few weeks ago in which characters we didn’t know discussed events we were unfamiliar with.  Once again, this story appears to be of little interest to the viewer until it is revealed that the bloody man who has gone missing is named Billy.  The girl telling the story says she thinks her mom had a relationship with Billy and her mom’s name is Tina.  So while we still don’t know much about Billy, we can be reasonably certain this is the person Audrey has been looking for.

Where these stories take us from here is anyone’s guess.  But Lynch is tying things together in unexpected ways and I can’t wait to see what happens next.

 

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Posted on August 14, 2017, in TV, twin peaks and tagged . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. The scene in the jailhouse also reminded me of the scene from a very early episode of the original series in which James is put in a jail cell not far from where Bobby and others are. Bobby and his friends then proceed to bark nonsensically at James as some sort of threat.

    The first 3/4 of this episode was some of the best we’ve seen so far from The Return. The sound design during Gordon’s telling of his dream is the sort you expect from Lynch and brings to mind some of his best work (the sound design on Eraserhead, for example, was particularly interesting). There was real tension through most of the episode. The air came out of it just a little with the green glove kid’s story, but at least that scene was interesting.

    By the time we got to the Roadhouse my feeling was that we knew the episode was winding down and the episode knew it too. That was okay, though.

    Dana Ashbrook has been really fun to watch for the most part. He really looks like he is having a great time with the material and with revisiting the character with all of his changes.

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    • Agreed on the jailhouse scene. There’s definitely similarities. But I’m thinking there is likely a direct parallel between the girl in the car and the zombie guy in the jail. They may both be suffering from the same illness. I have read one theory that the guy in the jail cell may be Billy who was last seen dripping blood. Another interesting thought was that the origin story of the kid with the power-glove was Lynch’s commentary on super hero movies.

      Any time we go to the Roadhouse, I’m in a closing credits frame of mind. If anything actually happens there, I treat it as a bonus. As with the previous Roadhouse conversation, I wasn’t riveted. I suspect these scenes are intentionally dull. But Lynch is making some kind of commentary. “Ah, look how your ears pricked up when you heard a familiar name.” I’m not entirely sure what point he’s making, but a theme of the season has been that we should all care a bit more about the well-being of strangers. Whatever the reason behind them, I can agree that these scenes are not among the show’s strongest.

      Agreed on Dana Ashbrook. A while back, he helped get the cast together for a Twin Peaks-themed episode of Psych which was a lot of fun. I read some interviews with him at the time and it was clear that he loved being a part of the original show and would relish any opportunity to revisit it. I think that comes through here. I wasn’t actually a fan of Bobby Briggs back in the day, but I have thoroughly enjoyed his story arc here. It’s genuinely touching.

      For all of the horrible things that happen in Twin Peaks, there are moments where characters’ innate goodness shines through. I like that Lynch maintains that balance.

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