TV Recap: Twin Peaks: The Return, Part 13
“I feel like I’m somewhere else…”
Twin Peaks: The Return (or Twin Peaks Season Three, or Twin Peaks: The Limited Event Series or Showtime is Proud to Present…The Twin Peaks, whatever you want to call it) is an exercise for David Lynch and Mark Frost in doing everything we either thought was impossible or joked about them doing. They’ve given us a revival that robs us of everything we love about Dale Cooper. They’ve spent an hour ruminating on the atomic bomb as the source of all evil on Earth. They’ve left us to watch two minutes of a man sweeping a floor. This week, they made every Twin Peaks fan’s wildest dreams come true with a scene none of us dared dream possible, a climax that will leave us tingling with excitement until the next installment.
Everything is coming up Dougie in Las Vegas, as the Mitchum Brothers’ party for the still-catatonic Cooper spills into the Lucky Seven Insurance building. Duncan Todd reminds Anthony Sinclair that the responsibility to ensure Dougie’s death now falls to him, and Sinclair attempts to poison Dougie’s coffee. He can’t, though, as Dale-Dougie’s sweet nature drives him to confess his dealings with Todd to Bushnell Mullins. Meanwhile, Janey-E is overwhelmed with joy over the gift of a new car (to replace that “terrible, cheap” one she’s been complaining about) and a gym set for Sonny Jim. As she watches her son play among a Lynchian ideal of childhood wonderment, all flashing lights and a Tchaikovsky music box, it’s impossible to shake the feeling that Dale Cooper’s work in Vegas is nearly complete.
Somewhere in Western Montana, Mr. C arrives at “that place they call The Farm”, where a menagerie of scumbags greets him with weapons drawn. Their leader, Renzo, challenges him to an arm wrestling match for leadership of the gang, but Mr. C doesn’t want to lead. He just wants Ray. The doppelganger conquers with a disaffected and otherworldly strength, and dismisses the others while he interrogates his former partner. Ray reveals that he’s been taking orders from Phillip Jeffries, who was actually the one who orchestrated their escape from prison. Ray had been assigned to murder Mr. C and place a ring on the finger of the corpse—the Owl Cave ring, back again. Jeffries is apparently at a place called “The Dutchman’s”. Mr. C knows exactly what it is, and he murders Ray after obtaining the coordinates in his pocket and ordering him to don the ring, which vanishes as Ray is transported into the Red Room. All of this is observed via security camera by the rest of the “Farmers”, one of whom is Richard Horne.
In Twin Peaks, Becky frets about Steven’s two-day absence, and Shelly offers to comfort her with some cherry pie. Bobby later stops at the diner, but his daughter and ex-wife have already left. Norma and Big Ed (finally, Big Ed!) are there, having what seems to be a pleasant meal together. They’re interrupted, though, by Norma’s flirtatious business manager, Walter, who wants to know why the flagship location of the RR chain isn’t making money. Turns out Norma’s the only one making her pies with organic local ingredients. “Love doesn’t always turn a profit,” Walter reminds her. It seems Ed is still married to Nadine, who is delighted when her hero, Dr. Jacoby, pays a visit to her drape store.
While all these plots lurch forward, several moments arise to stymie and tease us. The Detectives Fusco receive the results of their DNA test that confirm Dougie Jones, Dale Cooper, and Mr. C are all the same person, but trash them with a laugh while disregarding some police aggression happening in the next room. Hutch and Chantal continue the Tarantino movie they’re living in as they cruise through Utah. Sarah Palmer is watching an old boxing match (“Battling Bud” Mullins’s heyday?), eating creamed corn, and wallowing in what seems to be a tiny time loop. Most intriguingly, the argument between Audrey and Charlie continues, as Audrey deals with the anguish of not knowing who she is.
And then, at last, the moment we’ve all been waiting for, whether we knew it or not. David Lynch takes us back to the Roadhouse, where a very special performance is changing hearts and minds. James Hurley takes the stage to bless Twin Peaks with a reprise of the song we all thought was a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Yes, “Just You” is back, the very same lip-synced recording, with two young women filling the Donna and Maddie roles. And Renee, the young woman who caught James’s eye in Part 2, is very into it. Like, weeping into it.
Part 13 of Twin Peaks throws into sharp relief the opposite effects of our two Dale Coopers, and the melancholy stasis lingering in the titular town they both left behind. Everywhere the real Cooper goes, joy follows, even though he can’t communicate and everyone thinks he’s someone else. Where Mr. C walks, fear and anguish flow. And in Twin Peaks, relationships have stalled in the state of unfulfilled longing we left them in a quarter-century ago. Big Ed and Norma are still so close to being together, Bobby and Shelly still aren’t quite sure what they are, and Sarah is stuck in an ouroboros of stunted mourning. Audrey is trapped in a strange situation that may be the result of her trauma at the end of season two. If Dale Cooper wanders back into this web, the results will be very interesting indeed.
And James…well, James is still cool. He’s always been cool.