I recognize that plot advancement may not necessarily be the main focus or concern of ‘Twin Peaks’, but it’s nevertheless gratifying when the show buckles down and makes some solid progress in that area. After a meandering episode that I didn’t much care for, this week actually feels like a worthy (even necessary) follow-up to the original series.
In Twin Peaks
Those papers Hawk found hidden in the door to the men’s room stall are confirmed to be the missing pages of Laura Palmer’s diary. Most of them, anyway. One page is still missing. Among those found is Laura’s diary entry about her dream in which Annie Blackburn told her, “The good Dale is still in the Lodge.” Hawk has to fill Sheriff Truman in on what this could mean. He deduces that if the good Cooper is still in the Lodge, then the Cooper that left the Lodge must not have been the good one. Hawk believes that the pages were hidden in the men’s room by Leland Palmer, possibly when he was brought to the station to be questioned about Jacques Renault’s murder.
Frank attempts to call his brother Harry to ask him about the old case, but Harry is apparently far too sick and Frank lets him go without bringing up the subject. It seems puzzling to me why the show would devote so much screen-time to a character who won’t ever appear in it, unless of course the stories about actor Michael Ontkean refusing to participate in the revival are a ruse to keep a planned appearance later a secret.
Instead, Frank Skypes with Doc Hayward to ask him what he remembers of the night Cooper came out of the Lodge. (The appearance by Warren Frost marks the third cast member from the original series who has since passed away after filming scenes for this one.) Their conversation confirms that Audrey Horne survived the bank explosion in the Season 2 finale, though was left in a coma afterwards. Whether she ever came out of that coma is not revealed.
In a very sketchily developed subplot this week, Andy has some interactions with a redneck who’s extremely nervous about being seen talking to him and fails to show up to a planned meeting later. What this is about is unclear. It’s suggested that harm comes to the redneck.
In the woods outside of town, Jerry Horne has a paranoid freakout and desperately calls his brother Ben. It turns out that he’s just high and doesn’t know where he is.
That night at the Great Northern, Ben’s assistant Beverly (Ashley Judd) makes another appearance. (I honestly assumed we’d never see her again.) One of the rooms in the building is emitting a strange humming sound. This may have something to do with the return of Agent Cooper’s old room key, which arrived in the mail. Beverly flirts with Ben a little, then goes home to a dying husband, who’s suspicious of the late hours she’s been working.
Near the end of the hour, the episode has what feels like five straight minutes of watching some guy sweep the floors at the Roadhouse. Jean Michel Renault (who’s apparently a cousin of the late Jacques Renault, played by the same actor) then takes a phone call and has a conversation about underage hookers. I guess this means that he’s taken over the brothel business.
Most episodes of this series end with a band performing on stage at the Roadhouse. This one instead cuts to a scene of the RR Diner hopping with business.
Following orders from Col. Davis (Ernie Hudson), Air Force officer Lt. Knox travels to South Dakota to question the local police about Garland Briggs’ fingerprints. She expected that they’d been lifted from a crime scene, not aware that a body was found. She’s quite surprised when she sees it and the coroner informs her that the victim was only aged in his late 40s and recently died. The age doesn’t match up with how old Garland Briggs would be today. As she calls Davis to relay this information, a scary-looking homeless man who was glimpsed briefly in the season premiere (where he vanished into thin air from inside a jail cell) skulks through a hallway behind her.
Albert tells Gordon that Diane (Laura Dern) refused to help when he tracked her down. They go to visit her together. She’s unexpectedly surly and rude, and isn’t happy to see either of them. Gordon eventually convinces her to fly with them to South Dakota to talk with Cooper in prison. The prospect of this makes her feel uneasy.
On the flight, agent Tammy informs Gordon that the fingerprints taken from Mr. C were actually exact mirror opposites of Cooper’s.
Practically trembling with apprehension, Diane speaks with Mr. C through a glass partition in the prison. They barely exchange a few words before she leaves the room. Unspoken but strongly implied, he may have raped her during their last encounter. Badly shaken by the experience, Diane tells Gordon that the man in that prison is not Dale Cooper. Gordon instructs Warden Murphy (James Morrison) to continue holding him.
Later, Mr. C connives his way into a private meeting with the warden, and blackmails him with knowledge of some dark secret in the warden’s past involving a set of dog legs and the names Joe McCluskey and “Mr. Strawberry.” He demands that both he and his white trash accomplice Ray be released and provided with a car. The warden acquiesces, and has some guards sneak them out of the prison that night.
Back at the office, Mr. Jackpots is visited by police, who try to question him about the remains of Dougie’s car they found. Of course, Mr. Jackpots isn’t very responsive to their inquiries. Fortunately, Janey-E shows up just then to pick him up from work. She does most of the talking, and lies to the police when she claims that Dougie’s car had been stolen. The lead detective (comedian David Koechner) explains that the car was blown up and that the victims were known members of a car theft gang.
Janey ushers Mr. Jackpots out of the building as soon as she’s able. As they hit the front steps, the short and angry hitman leaps out and tries to attack them. Mr. Jackpots instinctively fights back and wrestles the gun away from him, sending the man running. During this, Jackpots sees a vision of the talking brain-tree from the Lodge telling him what to do. Afterwards, he and Janey are questioned about the incident by police (though strangely not the ones they just spoke to moments earlier) and by reporters. Mr. Jackpots is a hero.
Finally, this episode feels more like a legitimate extension of ‘Twin Peaks’ than any of the first six – and not just because it makes so many plot connections to the old show. The mystery is deepening and becoming more interesting, and the episode has just the right balance of narrative coherency and classically weird David Lynch moments. Other episodes have felt decidedly unbalanced toward the latter. Even the Dougie stuff is provided in a proper measure without overdoing it, and the extended sweeping scene is a sublime bit of zen comedy.
I’m not sure how I feel about the long-unseen Diane being such a rude and foul-mouthed character. That seems very out of touch with a person Cooper would have trusted with his innermost thoughts and feelings. On the other hand, it’s fair to assume that she’s grown this way as a reaction to whatever Mr. C did to her after Cooper disappeared. Her breakdown after talking with Mr. C is a powerful piece of acting, that perhaps inadvertently puts everything Naomi Watts has done on this show to shame.