Throughout this new season of ‘Twin Peaks’, it has often felt to me like David Lynch has willfully set out to frustrate and alienate even longtime fans. As if to balance things out a little before the end, this week offers several significant pieces of fan-service.
The episode opens with Nadine Hurley, carrying one of Dr. Jacoby’s gold-plated shovels over her shoulder, marching through town all the way to Big Ed’s Gas Farm. Ed is a little confused to see her there without her car. In a very excited state, Nadine announces that she has changed, she acknowledges that she’s been a terrible bitch all throughout their marriage, and she apologizes for keeping Ed from his true love. She says that she’s setting him free, and encourages him to run to Norma. Ed assumes that she’s having an episode and will regret her words later, but Nadine insists that she’s finally happy and knows what she’s doing. She then turns around and begins the trek home, perhaps to find Jacoby waiting for her.
After a moment of puzzling over this, Ed hops in his truck and drives straight to the RR Diner. Just as he starts to tell Norma about what happened, unfortunately, her new boyfriend Walter walks in and cockblocks him. Ed sits dejectedly at the counter and asks for a coffee and a cyanide pill.
Walter sits at a booth with Norma, but before he can go over business matters with her, she tells him that she’s exercising her right to let him buy out her stake in the restaurant franchise. She’s giving up the other diner locations and will only keep the original store for herself. Implied in this is that she’s also breaking up with him. Walter tells her that she’s making a big mistake and leaves. Norma then walks over to Ed and puts her arms around him. Ed turns and immediately asks her to marry him. “Of course I will,” she replies.
The Convenience Store
Having started at one gas station, the episode then jumps to another, darker parallel to it – the convenience store where the mysterious Lodge inhabitants congregate. Its location unclear, Mr. C drives there at night and finds a Woodsman waiting outside. He walks Mr. C up a staircase on the side of the building that looks like it doesn’t lead to anything. As they approach the top, both men vanish and then appear inside a room in another dimension.
Another Woodsman is inside. Mr. C announces that he’s looking for Phillip Jeffries. The second man fiddles with an electrical device that causes flashing lights in the room, through which we glimpse someone wearing the white mask seen in ‘Fire Walk With Me’. Mr. C is then led up another staircase to a second floor. The geography of this location gets further distorted when Mr. C goes through a door that opens to ground level outside, a courtyard in the middle of a motel or apartment complex. He walks to door #8 and a backwards-talking woman in a dirty bathrobe unlocks it for him.
Mr. C does find Phillip inside the room… sort of… though fans hoping that perhaps David Bowie might have filmed a cameo before his death last year will be disappointed. Instead, Jeffries appears in the form of a giant black kettle issuing smoke from its spout. (For David Lynch, this probably makes perfect sense.) Mr. C asks why Jeffries sent Ray to kill him, and the kettle speaks in an exaggerated Southern accent that is vaguely close to the one Bowie used in ‘Fire Walk With Me’, denying the accusation. Remembering the last time Jeffries spoke to Cooper in Philadelphia (replayed in a clip from the movie), Mr. C asks what he meant when he said, “We’re not gonna talk about Judy.” He demands to know who Judy is. All Jeffries will tell him is that he’s already spoken to her, then offers Mr. C her number via a series of digits that form in the smoke from his spout. Mr. C writes them down.
When a phone rings, Mr. C answers it and is transported to a phone booth outside the convenience store. No one is on the other end of the line, so Mr. C hangs up. He sees Richard Horne waiting there with a gun pointed at him. How Richard found him is not explained. Nor does Richard seem at all surprised by the teleporting business.
Richard accuses Mr. C of being an FBI agent. He says that he’s seen him before in a photo that his mother (officially confirmed to be Audrey Horne) kept of him. Mr. C moves swiftly to disarm Richard and knock him to the ground. He tells the boy to get in his truck and they’ll talk. Before leaving, he sends a text message saying “Las Vegas?” to an unknown recipient.
As they drive away, the entire convenience store becomes shrouded in smoke and vanishes.
Gersten Hayward (Alicia Witt) and Becky’s husband Steven huddle under a tall tree. Steven appears to be suffering from drug withdrawal. He’s also holding a gun in one hand and obsessively rubbing his leg. Steven babbles a bunch of unintelligible nonsense about something he’s done and talks about suicide. Gersten cradles him and tries to talk sense to him.
A random man walking a dog through the woods happens to spot them. Both Steven and Gersten freak out. Gersten runs off and ducks behind another tree. She hears a gunshot. It’s not clear for a moment whether Steven has killed himself or fired at the dog-walker, but the dog-walker comes out of the woods a moment later and walks to the New Fat Trout trailer park, where he tells Carl Rodd what he saw.
The presenter at the Roadhouse announces that the next act will be ZZ Top, but instead of the band performing, a recording of “Sharp Dressed Man” plays. The crowd strangely reacts to this as if it were a live band.
James Marshall walks up to a booth and innocently says hello to a girl named Renee (the one who cried when he performed a couple episode ago). This infuriates her drunken husband, Chuck, who bolts out of the booth and lays into James with his fists, knocking him to the floor. James’ friend Freddie, the British kid with the green glove, comes to his rescue by walloping both Chuck and his drunken buddy. The glove hits them like a sledgehammer and both men are thrown across the room.
The local FBI bureau chief calls in Dougie Jones and his wife for questioning, but his underling brings in the wrong Douglas Jones, which makes him furious.
Mr. Todd (Patrick Fischler) is assassinated in his office by Chantal (Jennifer Jason Leigh). Chantal is later seen eating fast food in the van with Hutch (Tim Roth).
Janey gives Mr. Jackpots a piece of chocolate cake and says, “All our dreams are coming true.” After she leaves the room, Mr. Jackpots absent-mindedly pushes buttons on remote control until one turns on the TV. ‘Sunset Boulevard’ is playing, and Mr. Jackpots is suddenly riveted when the character “Gordon Cole” is mentioned by name. This seems to stir a memory inside him. He’s then drawn to crawl across the floor toward an electrical outlet. He sticks his fork in and is electrocuted. Janey screams.
Twin Peaks Sherriff’s Department
James and Freddie both get locked up for the bar fight, and are informed that the two men Freddie hit are badly hurt in intensive care. James is freaked out when he sees the eyeless girl. The drunk with the bloody face continues making loud animal noises, which drives Chad crazy.
Margaret Lanterman, a.k.a. The Log Lady (Catherine Coulson), calls Hawk again, this time to tell him that she’s dying. This isn’t a surprise to him. He calls a meeting in the conference room to break the news that she has died (which he knows preternaturally) to Frank, Bobby, Lucy and Andy. They have a moment of silence and Lucy cries. At Margaret’s cabin, a light goes out.
The soap opera drama between Audrey Horne and her husband Charlie has somehow turned into a remake of ‘The Exterminating Angel‘. Every time they talk about leaving the house, something prohibits them from going. Audrey wants to go the Roadhouse, and Charlie grudgingly agrees to go with her, but they argue about her lover Billy some more and never get out the door.
The Roadhouse (Again)
We return to the Roadhouse for the episode closer. A band called The Veils performs on stage. A nerdy girl in glasses, credited as Ruby (Charlyne Yi), sits in a booth alone when she’s approached by two burly bikers. She insists that she’s waiting for friends, but the bikers rudely pick her up and deposit her on the floor so that they can take her booth. As the band plays, Ruby crawls across the floor into the crowd and lets out a loud terrified scream.
I’m not sure that the Log Lady farewell was really necessary. We already got the message clearly enough that she was in ill health, and her last conversation with Hawk could have served as an adequate goodbye. Although the scene is a touching moment, it also feels uncomfortably exploitative, in that Lynch knew his friend Catherine Coulson was really dying when they filmed it.
The Big Ed and Norma scene, however, is utterly delightful. I also appreciate the way this episode addresses random clues from ‘Fire Walk With Me’ that have lingered unanswered for 25 years.
Mr. Todd seems to be done, and the episode suggests (though doesn’t explicitly confirm) that Steven killed himself. This leaves me questioning what the point of either character was, especially Steven. Perhaps he’ll come back around in the finale, but I can’t say that’s something I look forward to.
Are we finally through with Mr. Jackpots? My suspicion is that the electricity will transport him back to the Lodge, and the finale will be a very long two-hour mind-screw as Agent Cooper gets his senses back and wanders through the supernatural realm again. Of course, it’s impossible to predict what David Lynch actually has in mind for anything.