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Twin Peaks: The Return – Part 16

This is the episode we have been waiting for.  The penultimate episode of Twin Peaks: The Return moves all the pieces in place for next week’s two-hour finale.  The most important piece of all, Agent Dale Cooper, is finally back!  Despite the fact I have been waiting for more than fifteen hours for this to happen, the reveal was surprisingly rewarding.  The wait, which tested the patience of many a viewer, made the return which was promised in the season’s title that much sweeter.

But before Coop made his comeback, the episode picked up with the Doppelganger and his presumed son, Richard Horne.  Whatever talk they had happened off camera, so we’re still not 100% sure of their relationship.  After a Lynchian shot of a highway at night, the two men arrive at a boulder.  Dark Coop tells Richard that he received two sets of coordinates from three people.  This is the location he received twice.  He sends Richard to check it out.  Richard climbs atop the boulder and is lit up like a sparkler.  After a pyrotechnics display, Richard disappears from existence and probably from the show.

Dark Coop seems more relieved than upset.  He shrugs off Richard’s disappearance with a “goodbye, son” which seems like a pretty solid confirmation that Richard was the byproduct of the Doppelganger’s visit to Audrey Horne’s hospital room while she was comatose.  Meanwhile, Richard’s great-uncle Jerry witness the event from a distance.  He stumbled out of the wilderness just long enough to see Richard light up the sky.  Jerry being Jerry, he watched this play out through one lens of a pair of binoculars which he was holding the wrong way.

After sticking a fork in an electric socket last week, Dougie Jones was lying in a hospital room in a coma.  Janey-E and Sonny Jim were with him and they were joined by the greatest boss anyone ever had, Bushnell Mullins.  Before long, the room gets crowded when the Mitchum brothers arrive with tray after tray of finger sandwiches.  The Mitchums aren’t staying long.  They ask Janey-E for her house key so they can stock of the Jones’ house as well.  As this was all playing out, I realized I had really come to love Dougie’s supporting cast.  I’m going to miss them when they are gone.

After hearing the same noises Ben Horne and Beverly heard in the Great Northern, Dougie Jones woke up.  Only he wasn’t Dougie Jones.  This was very clearly Agent Dale Cooper.  He took charge of the room completely.  While scarfing down finger sandwiches, he asked the doctor to approve him to be discharged.  Coop had a lot to do and he was making up for lost time.  When he was informed that the FBI was looking for him, Cooper responded “I am the FBI” and Twin Peaks fans everywhere cheered.

The Joneses hopped in Janey’s new car to drive to the Mitchums’ casino where the brothers were gassing up the jet to take Agent Cooper to Washington.  No longer addled, Coop took the wheel.  The Twin Peaks theme swelled in the background.  All was right in the world.  Well, unless you were Janey-E and Sonny Jim who were about to lose the male figure in their family unit.  But Coop put in an order with Mike to create another Dougie.  He assured his sort-of wife and son that one day Dougie Jones would walk through that red door again.  Here’s hoping the new Dougie is more like Cooper than the old one.

Meanwhile, there was chaos at the Jones house.  The place was being staked out by Hutch and Chantal.  Chantal was onery because she was down to her last bag of Cheetos.  The Mitchum brothers arrived as promised with a large shipment of supplies.  Candie, Mandie and Sandie begin unloading all kinds of goodies for the family.  But violence erupts when Chantal and Hutch get into a parking dispute with a neighbor who is driving a company car for an accounting firm.  But based on what he’s packing, I’m guessing he wasn’t an accountant.

The Mitchums and the FBI watch a firefight in the suburban street.  Sadly, Hutch and Chantal didn’t make it.  One of the brothers speaks my mind when he says, “The fuck kinda neighborhood is this?”  His sibling replies “People are under a lot of stress, Bradley.”  This was one funny episode.

Of course every episode of Twin Peaks has to have some darkness.  After the incident at the boulder, Dark Coop sent Diane a text that read “: – ) ALL”.  The text clearly disturbed Diane who checked her firearm before meeting with Gordon, Albert and Tammy.  Diane finally told others about the night she was visited by Cooper’s doppelgänger.  Her story confirmed what most viewers had assumed, that Diane had been raped by the doppelgänger.

Laura Dern delivers the goods with a mixture of survivor’s strength and the vulnerability of someone who has been violated by a trusted friend.  Additionally, Diane is conflicted.  In a moment of clarity, Diane warns the others that she is not herself.  Then she pulled her gun with the intention of carrying out Dark Coop’s orders.  Fortunately, Albert and Tammy were ready.  They shoot first, but “Diane” disappears.  It turns out, we were dealing with a tulpa all along.

The tulpa reappears in the Red Room where, just like Dougie before her, she is met by Mike.  When Mike tells her that she has been manufactured, “Diane” responds with her trademark vulgarity.  Then her head cracks open and reveals a seed which Mike retrieves.  Bye, bye Tulpa Diane.  Time to start speculating about the location and identity of the real deal.

The episode ends at the Road House.  Eddie Vedder  (introduced under his birth name, Edward Louis Severson) is the musical act.  These performances usually signal the end of the show.  But this episode wasn’t done yet.  It turns out, Audrey and Charlie finally made it to the Roadhouse to look for Billy.  The MC comes back on the stage and introduces a new act, Audrey’s Dance.  The lights dim and familiar music starts to play.  Audrey begins to slowly sway the way she did way back when we were first introduced to her.  The audience sways along to the music and for the first time this season, Audrey is recognizable as the girl we knew.

But that doesn’t last long.  The reverie is interrupted by an old fashioned bar fight.  Audrey runs to Charlie and demands that he get her out of there.  Audrey’s wish is granted, sort of.  In a flash, Audrey finds herself transported to a white room.  Where previously, she was staring into her husband’s face she is not looking into a mirror.  One thing is clear, Audrey’s reality was not what it seemed.  Is she in some kind of hospital or somewhere more mysterious?  I’m sure this and other mysteries will be address in next week’s finale.

This hour was filled with fan service.  But Twin Peaks: The Return has never used nostalgia as a crutch.  If anything, Lynch and company have been withholding the familiar trappings of the original series.  Now that we are at the end of this revival, the show and viewers have earned the right to indulge in a little bit of past glories before heading into the conclusion.

 

 

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Posted on August 28, 2017, in TV, Twin Peaks. Bookmark the permalink. 11 Comments.

  1. I think you need to do a quick re-read of this & correct some grammar mistakes, but who can blame you for these mistakes in your haste to comment on what was a great episode in what’s proving a great series revival – looking forward to last two hours and sincerely hope Lynch can squeeze another series or movie out of this, despite loses of regulars.

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    • Upon rereading I caught a few grammar errors. Hopefully I’m not missing anything overly embarrassing. I know I switch tense a lot in these recaps. I can never decide between past and present when recapping. Don’t tell my boss, but these Sunday-night recaps get written Monday morning at work which provides less than ideal writing conditions. If only my coworkers would stop interrupting my TV recaps! 😉

      I am glad to hear you’re enjoying the show as much as I am. Like a lot of people, I was a bit frustrated early on when I just wanted to get Agent Cooper back in action. But over time, I have really come to appreciate the strange trip that was the Dougie Jones narrative. There is nothing else on TV like the Twin Peaks revival. When it’s over, I doubt there will be anything else like it for quite a while.

      If Lynch is able to get another Twin Peaks project out of this, I will give whoever is responsible my money right now. I don’t think that’s very likely, unfortunately. But you never know. I hoped for twenty five years that something like The Return would happen, but I never seriously thought it would. No matter what the finale is like, I view this season as a gift from the TV gods.

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  2. Actually I was excited to read your review after watching the Episode & going: ‘WOW’.
    Suffice to say I was not let down and enjoyed what you wrote. Personally, I’ve not been ‘disappointed’ at all by any episode thus far, Lynch has always been ‘hard work’ as far as viewing & meaning are concerned & he’s big on sub-texts and meanings. This series is majestic in my humble opinion, although was forced to re-watch both original series before getting back into this one – whilst series two disappointed on many levels after episode 10, this makes up for that fact. Again, another Movie could work with those actors still alive from the original cast, and the new faces have been a delight. This really is TV at its best and the work of a great auteur, people should enjoy it while it lasts!

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    • After parts 3 & 4 when we were introduced to Mr. Jackpots, I found myself thinking “they better not drag this on all season long!” There was still a lot to enjoy in those episodes, but I was initially frustrated because I wanted Agent Cooper back. Looking back now, I have come to really enjoy the gradual progression. When everyone was gathered in Dougie’s hospital room, I was taken by how much I loved all of these new characters. A while back, Daffy commented that he felt that only Harry Dean Stanton as Carl stood up to the original cast. I’m not sure if he still feels that way, but speaking for myself Janey-E, Sonny Jim, Bushnell Mullins and the Mitchum brothers (along with their trio of girls) all feel like full fledged Twin Peaks characters to me.

      I have gone back and rewatched some of the earlier episodes. Now that I know how the story progresses, I find myself having a lot more patience with all the Mr. Jackpots stuff. And let me just say that if Kyle MacLachlan is not nominated for an Emmy, it will be a massive oversight. I enjoy seeing him portray multiple characters (Cooper, Dark Coop, Coop as Dougie and plain ol’ Dougie Jones), but I’m truly amazed by his performance as Cooper trapped in Dougie’s body. Not only does he show amazing comedic timing in a mostly silent performance, but he communicates so much non-verbally. Cooper/Dougie was not just funny. Beneath the blank slate, MacLachlan imbued the character with a range of emotions that were often touching.

      I am looking forward to going back and rewatching the whole show from start to finish. I know that there will be rewards for doing so. Lynch has layered the season with hints, clues, subtexts and themes that will reveal themselves upon multiple viewings.

      Lynch has said he’s done with Twin Peaks after The Return. But then, Lynch says a lot of things. I am expecting next week’s finale to give Twin Peaks the send-off it deserves. But if Lynch can be lured back for a follow up, be it a movie or another season, I would absolutely tune in. For me, Twin Peaks: The Return has been one of my favorite TV experiences of all times. It’s completely unlike anything else I have ever seen including the original series.

      I do wish more people were tuning in.

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  3. With regards “more people tuning in,” it’s indeed sad that this is not drawing in large viewing numbers, but, unlike the early 90’s the distribution channel is larger today & with considerably more choice, this compounded by the fact that many viewers have tuned out – something to do with instant gratification I’m afraid. On a positive note, Twin Peaks has achieved ‘cult status’, it’s a niche & we live in a highly connected globalised World, so the niche is actually large – lets just hope the Producers understand this fact.

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    • I think Showtime knew going in that a Twin Peaks revival wasn’t going to pull in Game of Thrones numbers. They seem to be pleased with the record-breaking number of subscribers they got when the show premiered. And they also seem to understand that while ratings are soft on Sunday nights, there are a lot more people streaming the show after the initial airing. In short, I think they get the modern landscape. This was always meant to be a prestige project for the cable network. Something they can point to and say “Hey, HBO isn’t the only game in town. We’ve got something you can’t find on Amazon or Netflix.” They can say they took a chance and staked a claim. And they have been rewarded with one of the most buzzed-about shows among television writers if not actual viewers. I think they are satisfied with that.

      Would they write David Lynch another blank check? Or give him complete creative control again? They may not. And Lynch, who is 71, may not take them up on the offer if they did. I am going to go into the finale with the assumption that this is the last word on the story of Twin Peaks. But you never know. Sometimes you are gifted with little miracles.

      I wouldn’t be surprised if over time, people pick up on Twin Peaks: The Return. Years from now, I think it will be appreciated for what it is.

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  4. I will continue to argue that The Return has been frustratingly uneven. As great as some of the parts have been (last night’s part 16, the wonderful part 8, and others), there have been times when the glacial pace has been meaningless, something that usually can’t be said about Lynch’s work. There have also been times when scenes were both unnecessary and boring.

    Characters like the Mitchum brothers and their trio of female attendees, Janey-E, the assassins played by Tim Roth and Jennifer Jason Leigh, Bushnell Mullins, Ike the Spike, the nervous man at the computer, etc could have made Lynch an interesting show all on their own. It’s almost as if he had an idea for a different show and decided to make it into Twin Peaks. That wouldn’t be unprecedented for Lynch. Or maybe he just needed to find a way to put off the conflict between Cooper and DoppleCoop that has been building all series long.

    I am really looking forward to the finale. Here’s hoping it’s as great as this most recent part.

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    • I imagine a lot of people feel the way you do, but I have never been bored. Even the scene in which someone swept the floor for over a minute had me fully engaged because I was anticipating something happening. And I was also laughing at the increasing absurdity of the fact I was watching a guy sweep the floor.

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    • The Twin Peaks revival, that is the entire series to-date, has intrigued me, mesmerised me & put a big smile on my face – although, in fairness I’m very much a Lynch fan, but concede a lot of his output is hard work to watch – never able to make head nor tail of Dune – but this really has been a great series & having watched the first two series at the time of airing in the UK in the early 90’s just happy to view a master at work – so, really looking forward to the season finale, which is something I could not say about Season two after all the stunts pulled by the network that originally aired/paid for it.

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  5. Well, I’d not like to write a review of the final two Episodes of Twin Peaks: The Return, whilst some good material was evident, the closing shots were a ‘WTF’ moment & not in a good way. Surely Lynch has ‘closure’ somewhere, be it a Movie or another Episode – too many loose ends & not what I was expecting!

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    • I am working my way through the finale recap right now. If you were looking for closure – which I will admit I was – Lynch seems to be telling you that there is no such thing. This ending screamed out for a continuation, but I don’t actually believe that was Lynch’s intent. He teased us with the idea of a tidy ending and then very deliberately smashed it to pieces. I think we’re all going to have to learn to love or at least deal with Lynch’s loose ends.

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