Being a fan of ‘Twin Peaks’ is an endurance test of delayed gratification. After waiting 26 years between the show’s second season and its third, it took 16 episodes before the one thing that most unmistakably defines ‘Twin Peaks’ finally appeared.
Dougie is dead! Dale Cooper has returned! Hallelujah!
(Before we get into it, yes, I acknowledge that we saw some version of Cooper in the Red Room and Lodge during the season’s early episodes – but that seemed to be just a fragment of his personality. The full man – the charming, quirky, heroic Dale Cooper – was withheld until now. I’m glad to have him back, but the delay was needlessly agonizing.)
Outside Twin Peaks
Mr. C drives Richard Horne to an empty patch of land in the middle of nowhere. He says that he’s looking for a place. He was given three sets of coordinates from three different people, two of which matched. He hands Richard an electronic device and tells him to climb a big rock. The device will beep when he’s near the right spot.
Jerry Horne, who got lost in the woods half a season ago and apparently still hasn’t found civilization, wanders into the vicinity of this and watches from a far hilltop, spying through a pair of binoculars he (perpetually stoned out of his gourd) forgets how to use and looks through the wrong end.
As Richard mounts the rock, the device’s beeping gets stronger until he hits the right spot and is electrocuted in a spectacular fireworks display that vaporizes his entire body. Jerry is horrified by what he’s seen, but Mr. C remains unfazed. He expected as much. “Goodbye, my son,” he says, confirming speculation that he’s the boy’s father, then sends out a text with a smiley emoticon and the word “ALL.”
Chantal and Hutch (Jennifer Jason Leigh and Tim Roth) park their van across the street from Dougie’s house and begin a stakeout. Within moments, agents from the local FBI arrive and knock on Dougie’s door. When they receive no answer, the abusive agent in charge instructs his subordinate Wilson and another agent to stay behind and do their own stakeout.
Mr. Jackpots, meanwhile, is comatose in a hospital following his attempt to shove a fork into an electrical socket. Wife Janey-E, son Sonny Jim, and boss Bushnell wait at his bedside. The Mitchum brothers stop by to pay their respects. They deliver flowers and food, and ask Janey for a key so they can stock her house.
After the Mitchums depart, Janey and Sonny Jim leave the room to find a restroom. Bushnell receives a phone call from the office telling him that FBI agents were just there looking for Dougie and are heading his way.
Wilson and the other FBI agent park their car just ahead of Hutch’s van, which Hutch and Chantal find a major inconvenience. They’re further confused when a limousine and a delivery van pull up to Dougie’s house and a trio of bimbos in pink dresses start unloading food and gifts.
Another complication arrives when a white car pulls directly up in front of the van and an irate Polish man bangs on the door, accusing Hutch and Chantal of blocking his driveway. When they tell him to fuck off, the man gets back in his car and rams the van. A furious Chantal pulls a gun and shoots at him, but the man is also armed and shoots back, hitting Chantal in the shoulder. Hearing the gunshots, the Mitchum brothers pull their own guns and watch from the sidelines.
Chantal smashes into the car, knocking the Polish man over, and tries to drive away. The Polish man then produces a sub-machine gun and sprays the van with bullets, killing both Chantal and Hutch. The van rolls uncontrollably down the street. Delayed in their reaction, Wilson and his partner order the Polish man to drop his weapon and are able to arrest him. This crazy situation resolved, one of the Mitchums comments, “What the fuck kind of neighborhood is this?”
Back in the hospital, Bushnell hears a ringing sound (the same one that has pestered Ben Horne at the Great Northern) and follows it out of the room and down the hallway. Suddenly, FBI Special Agent Dale Cooper bolts upright in bed. A vision of the One-Armed Man appears before him and says, “You are awake,” more as a statement than a question. “100 percent,” he replies. Dougie is dead and gone. Cooper is back!
The One-Armed Man tells him that “the other one” did not go back into the Lodge, and passes Cooper a ring. Coop asks him if he has “the seed,” to which the One-Armed Man produces a small metal ball. Cooper asks him to make another one and yanks out a few strands of his own hair to hand over. The One-Armed Man then disappears.
Janey-E, Sonny Jim and Bushnell are shocked to see what they believe is Dougie awake and very animated. Cooper has all of Mr. Jackpots’ memories and knows them all. He’s in a hurry to leave and asks a doctor to quickly verify that his vitals are sound. Then he asks to borrow a pistol that Bushnell carries, and calls the Mitchum brothers to ask for a plane ride to Spokane. Janey is terribly confused, but Cooper reassures her that everything is under control.
Cooper tells Bushnell that a man named Gordon Cole will probably call, and gives him a note to deliver. Confounded, Bushnell asks, “What about the FBI?” Cooper looks him dead-on and replies, “I am the FBI.” Hell yeah!
The Vegas FBI pull into the hospital just as Cooper hops in Janey’s car and drives the woman and her child to the Mitchum’s casino.
Diane receives Mr. C’s text with the smiley face and “ALL” and is shaken by it. Suddenly remembering it, she texts him back a string of numbers, the coordinates written on Ruth Davenport’s arm.
With a gun in her purse, Diane takes an elevator up to Gordon’s room. Albert and Tammy are also there. Diane takes a seat and they take note of her nervously fidgeting with the purse. She decides to tell them about the last time she saw Cooper. She says that he showed up at her house three to four years after his disappearance. She was excited to see him, but he grilled her for information about the FBI and then raped her. (Clearly, she’s talking about Mr. C.) He also brought her to an old gas station (the magical convenience store).
Diane becomes more and more agitated as she tells the story. Realizing that the coordinates she sent lead to a sheriff’s station (in Twin Peaks, presumably), she moans “I’m not me” and pulls her gun. Albert and Tammy are prepared for this and fire on her first. As she’s hit, Diane’s body contorts into a weird shape, flies through the air, and vanishes from sight. Tammy gasps, “That was a real tulpa!” (In Tibetan Buddhism, a tulpa is a spiritual manifestation.)
Diane is transported to the Red Room, where she’s seated across from the One-Armed Man. He tells her that she was a manufactured being (like Dougie). She sneers that she already knows this with a “Fuck you.” With the same embarrassingly cheap and cheesy computer effects used earlier this season, Diane’s face cracks open, a metal ball floats out, her head pops and her body vanishes in a puff of black smoke.
Back to Vegas
Cooper drives straight to the Mitchums’ casino. He tells Janey-E and Sonny Jim that he needs to leave them there, but he promises that he’ll come back. Janey realizes that he’s not Dougie. Nonetheless, Cooper says that they’re his family and he loves them. Janey begs him not to go and kisses him. As he turns to leave with the Mitchums, Janey says, “Whoever you are, thank you.”
The Mitchum brothers are surprised at how talkative their friend Dougie is all of a sudden, and make a few comments about how something must have happened while he was in a coma. (I think this foreshadows the end of the episode.) They’re happy to help him out, though when Coper explains that he’s an FBI agent, they’re understandably nervous. He assures them that he knows their hearts are good and he will see to it that they’re treated as friends of the law.
Introduced by his birth name Edward Louis Severson, Eddie Vedder takes the stage at the Roadhouse and performs his song “Out of Sand.” Notable lyrics “I am who I am / Who I was I will never be again” seem very thematically appropriate to the episode.
After threatening to do it for several episodes, Audrey and her husband Charlie finally make it to the Roadhouse and order drinks at the bar. Charlie raises a toast to the two of them, and Audrey spitefully toasts to her lover Billy instead.
After Vedder is done, the presenter then announces “Audrey’s Dance.” Audrey seems confused and scared, but when Angelo Badalamenti’s music from her iconic scene in the original series begins to play, she instinctively drifts out to the center of the dance floor and sways to the rhythm. The crowd watches her intently. All of this is very strange and clearly unreal.
The dance is interrupted when a pair of drunks break out into a bar fight. Audrey runs back to Charlie and begs him to get her out of there. Just as she reaches him, however, Audrey is suddenly not in the Roadhouse at all. She’s in a room infused with white light, staring into a makeup mirror, terrified.
The episode’s end credits scroll over the band playing the music to “Audrey’s Dance” backwards.
First off, I can hardly believe how amazing Kyle MacLachlan has been in this series. David Lynch asked him to create several very distinct character personalities, and he’s nailed all of them. The return of Dale Cooper – hyper-competent and ready to take charge – gives this season a much-needed kick in the pants. Why did we have to wait so long for this?
The shoot-out with Chantal, Hutch and the random Polish guy is hysterical and belongs on a list of Lynch’s all-time best set-pieces.
On the other hand, those Red Room VFX are still atrocious. It’s frustrating to watch something so inept mixed in with other material that’s downright brilliant.
The Audrey cliffhanger is quite a mind-screw, though not entirely unexpected. I suppose this means she’s either still in a coma or is in the Lodge (perhaps the White Lodge?), or maybe even a loony bin. If this means that all her scenes with Charlie were a dream, and this scene in the Roadhouse was a dream, does that by extension mean that other Roadhouse scenes were not real? I’m thinking specifically of the girls in Episode 14 who chattered about the same Billy and Tina that Audrey has ranted about.
This Sunday brings a two-hour finale and possibly the definitive end to ‘Twin Peaks’ forever. I can scarcely imagine what David Lynch has cooked up for us.
The VFX are a purposeful stylistic choice. (They are not because of budgetary reasons).
When you have a good story, VFX don’t really matter. (I mean, obviously nobody has noticed how awful the Marvel movies SFX are now).
I think they are cool.
You can make all the rationalizations and excuses you want about the VFX being deliberately terrible as a joke, but at the end of the day, they’re still freakin’ terrible.
Oh, Josh. Always so stubborn and dismissive.
I love the stylized effects in the Red Room. They look like animated Magritte paintings, and the weird, low-fi quality of them gives an inhuman vibe.
I think the visual effects are bad because Lynch blew the bulk of his budget (which I’ve heard was as low as $9 million or as high as $30 million, so let’s just split the difference and say around $20 million) on Episode 8 and (quite possibly) Episode 18. Not only are the effects pretty bad elsewhere, there’s a lot of static shots…just actors sitting around talking.
The static shots are consistent with Lynch’s signature style, though.
Point taken. But that budget went somewhere. Maybe just some nice catering? 🙂
The FX were definitely intentional. The show is so weird that it fits right in, IMO. I don’t know what’s wrong with the Marvel FX. They look amazing to me.
I wish the real Cooper had shown up sooner, but I have to admit, the long wait made the moment feel all the more special.
I for one look forward to the entire town of Twin Peaks being turned into black goo for the Black Lodge Instrumentality Project.
I have not yet seen a single episode of the revival, but I have read Josh’s recaps, because I find them to be entertaining – I have quoted the quip “David Lynch’s Batshit Gonzo TV Experiment’ (inaccurately mislabeled ‘Twin Peaks’ by the network)” to at least 7 friends now.
Just one question: does the above mean that Audrey is no longer the miserable shrew? She’s back to being her old self?
Julian – I’m not sure Josh would agree with me on this, but the first half of this was rough. Some great moments, intertwined with Lynch’s artsy, often confusing style. But, to his credit, the second half of this season (starting with Episode 9, but really picking up the pace with Episodes 14, 15 an 16) have been remarkably coherent (at least by Lynch standards) and I dare say the last two episodes have been better than anything that appeared on the prior series. The big question now is will Lynch stick the landing or go off the rails? Who knows.
Audrey was still a miserable shrew when she arrived at the bar. What will happen to her next remains to be seen.
Ok, guys, thanks. Can’t wait to check this out. Have seen both seasons 1 and 2 (quite recently for the first time, 2015), but season 3 is a subscriber’s exclusive linked to one pay channel in Belgium for the time being. It will air on national TV/cable in the fall.