The latest entry in Showtime’s ‘Twin Peaks’ revival is less an “episode” in the normal sense of how episodic television works, than a collection of incidents that (presumably) happen to take place around the same time as one another. As an hour of television, it has no clear goal or structure or narrative of its own. I have a feeling that a lot of the show is going to be this way.
I’ll break down some of the weird things that happen this week by location. Once again, very little screen time actually takes place in Twin Peaks.
The hitmen staking out the house where Dougie’s car is parked report back to a woman with a bruise on her face that they still haven’t seen him. She gets antsy and sends a coded message to an old beeper sitting on a metal platter. We’ll later learn that the beeper is located in Buenos Aires, which connects it to Phillip Jeffries somehow. At the end of the episode, it mysteriously shrinks to a tiny ball.
These two hitmen’s interest in Dougie competes with a new set of young punks who drive by the house looking for him as well. They blare music very loudly from their car, making them incredibly conspicuous stalkers. When the kid who lives across the street (the one with a junkie mother) goes outside to take a peek at the device the first hitmen planted under the car, the punks immediately drive up and shoo him away. A couple of them break into the car, setting off the bomb. At least two of the punks are killed and the others speed away.
At the Silver Mustang Casino, the manager is in hot water with his mobbed-up bosses (Robert Knepper and Jim Belushi), who assume that he was responsible for Mr. Jackpots’ huge winnings. One beats the crap out of him and the other tells him to leave town.
While getting her car cleaned, the hooker named Jade finds the key to the Great Northern hotel room, which must have fallen out of Mr. Jackpots’ pocket. She drops it in a mailbox.
Dougie’s wife, Janey-E (Naomi Watts), acknowledges that the man she believes is her husband is “acting weird as shit,” but is more concerned about paying back the $50k they owe. She tells him that his casino winnings total $425k, which she has hidden somewhere. Exasperated with his behavior, she drives him to work and kicks him out of the car, telling him that he needs to arrange payment on their debt as soon as possible.
From his ugly jacket and the fact that he had access to a realtor lockbox, I had naturally assumed that Dougie was a realtor. Apparently, he’s actually an insurance adjuster. After wandering into the office building and expressing a little too much enthusiasm for coffee, Mr. Jackpots is ushered into a staff meeting. His coworkers chalk up his strange behavior to Dougie having a hangover. He inadvertently creates a conflict with another agent (Tom Sizemore) when he sees a flash of light that tells him the man is lying.
Dougie’s boss dumps a bunch of case files on Mr. Jackpots and sends him home to work on them. Naturally, Mr. Jackpots has no idea how to get home. He winds up standing outside the building staring at a statue all night.
The coroner (Jane Adams) doing the autopsy on the murdered librarian and other unidentified victim finds a wedding ring in the stomach of the male part of the body. An inscription on the ring reads: “To Dougie with Love, Janey-E.”
In prison, Mr. C has flashbacks to himself cavorting with BOB in the finale of the original series. He looks into a mirror and expresses relief that BOB is still with him.
Later, Mr. C is granted a phone call by the prison warden (James Morrison from ’24’). While staring directly into the security camera to acknowledge that he knows he’s being watched, he asks if he should call someone named Mr. Strawberry. The mention of this name disturbs the warden. Mr. C then punches a long series of numbers into the phone, somehow causing alarms to go off all through the prison. The warden and guards have no idea what’s going on. Mr. C ends the demonstration by cryptically saying, “The cow jumped over the moon.”
An Air Force colonel (Ernie Hudson) is informed about a database hit on Garland Briggs, triggered when the South Dakota coroner tried to ID the decapitated corpse. He dispatches an aide to go look into it.
Sheriff Frank Truman speaks on the phone to his brother Harry (unseen or heard by viewers). The gist of the conversation seems to be that Harry is very ill and has received a negative prognosis from his doctors. Frank is interrupted by his wife, Doris (Candy Clark from ‘The Man Who Fell to Earth’), a nasty shrew who barges in to yell at him about a minor plumbing issue at their house. From Frank’s deadpan reaction, the scene is obviously intended to be a bit of comic relief, but the tone of it feels uncomfortably sexist.
Even 25 years later, Shelly (Mädchen Amick) and Norma (Peggy Lipton) are still working at the RR diner. Shelly is paid a visit by her daughter, Becky (Amanda Seyfried), who hits her up for cash, which she then promptly turns over to her dipshit junkie boyfriend (Caleb Landry Jones). While driving away, the both of them get high on cocaine. What little we see of her leaves the impression that Becky is living out Laura Palmer’s storyline all over again. She better hope that her version has a better outcome.
Hawk and Andy continue to look at old files pertaining to Agent Cooper. After a while, Andy asks if Hawk has found any Indians yet (because Hawk was told that the missing item has something to do with his heritage). An ace detective, Andy is.
Dr. Jacoby now goes by the name “Dr. Amp.” He’s seen broadcasting what at first appears to be a podcast for his loony rantings about insane conspiracy theories. By the end, it seems to be an informercial for those shovels he spraypainted gold, the purpose of which is to “Shovel your way out of the shit” for the price of just $29.95. Among his viewers are Jerry Horne and Nadine Hurley (Wendy Robie). This confirmation that Nadine is still alive disproves fan theories that she may have been the dead librarian in South Dakota.
This is the first episode of the series that doesn’t end at the Roadhouse bar. However, we visit it for a few moments to be introduced to a new bad boy (Eamon Farren) whose name isn’t given in this episode but who is credited as Richard Horne. How exactly he’s connected to Ben and Jerry Horne isn’t clear yet. In just a couple minutes of screen time, he establishes himself as the biggest creep in town. After slipping a payoff to a bouncer at the bar, he violently gropes a naïve teenage girl who tries to flirt with him.
My feelings on this ‘Twin Peaks’ revival continue to be mixed. I disliked the first two episodes, but found the third and especially fourth to be better. This one has a number of positive attributes, including a fair amount of humor and more connections to the original series and its characters. The mystery plot, while convoluted, is shaping up to be more interesting as we learn how the various pieces may fit together. In a lot of ways, I suspect that this new ‘Twin Peaks’ is probably what David Lynch had originally planned his aborted ‘Mulholland Drive’ TV series to be. I would have liked to watch that show, and I bet that a lot of its ideas filtered down to this one.
On the other hand, the series feels overly bogged-down in the minutiae of tying up loose ends from the old ‘Twin Peaks’. If Michael Ontkean didn’t want to participate, do we really need to spend time being told that his character isn’t on screen because he’s sick? This is 25 years later. It’s reasonable to assume that some people have died or moved away. Likewise, Garland Briggs plays a surprisingly prominent role in this story considering that the actor who played him has been dead since 2008. Is that tie-in necessary? The goofy Dr. Jacoby scenes also feel like needless fan-service.
I continue to be frustrated by the very fragmented and structureless nature of the narrative, but that’s sadly just the way David Lynch works these days. In the end, I mostly feel indifferent about this episode. I enjoyed parts of it, but I don’t know that I would have so much patience for it if weren’t called ‘Twin Peaks’.