A self-aware search for the hole in everything.
What’s so stunning about this episode is how dissimilar it is from what typically defines a Twin Peaks episode. One of the most striking absences of the revival is not in its cast but its score. There has been meager Angelo Badalementi thus far. Part four relies heavily on diagetic sound rather than soundtrack. This offers the scenes in the casino, where return to find Cooper still cashing jackpots, much more expansive. This really puts our characters out into the wilderness of this new world to which they’ve returned.
This is not by coincidence. Protagonist and newly returned Dale Cooper is still lost to his own personal memories of Twin Peaks. It only makes sense that we too are restricted from those nostalgia-laden bars considering it is through Cooper’s POV that we’ve perceived Twin Peaks existence in the first place. Here’s hoping that when he finally gets his memory back and perhaps returns to Twin Peaks that the music will follow. “Where we’re from there’s always music in the air and the birds sing a pretty song…” after all.
After four hours of Kyle Maclachlan being silent and looking confused at things it’s time for his story to progress lest the joke start to wear thin; more on Wally Brando later. Beyond heart trees, getting sucked through a light socket, and doppelgangers, what is most incredulous is that anyone can be around ‘Dougie Jones’ for more than two minutes and possibly think that it is the same person. Speaking of which, his wife played by Naomi Watts hearkens back to that same overacted melodrama that was a hallmark of OG Twin Peaks.
There was a running meta-commentary throughout the episode, arguing for the series place in this new world it has found itself. Not only is the protagonist hopelessly lost, the formerly anachronistic charms of multiple characters are now haunting burdens, most noticeably in the flighty sheriff’s station secretary, Lucy Brennan.
The revival’s recasting of series original Sheriff Truman with Robert Forrester is a bittersweet improvement who steps into the world quite naturally. Lucy’s wildly overreaction to witnessing him use a cellular phone has to have been played as a commentary on the rarefied world of Twin Peaks being dunked into the present day. While played for laughs, we linger on her stupefying confusion for so long after the joke has landed, after she has been left alone by the rest of the cast, one can’t help but wonder if this is an attempt to take a moment to finally hang a lantern on the very humanizing disconnect that she suffers for her art.
Fruit not falling far from the tree, Michael Cera enters as Lucy and Andy’s child, Wally Brando. Another self-aware portrayal, Cera does his best worst Brando impersonation for, well, quite a long time. I feel this scene will prove decisive, with myself in the minority of those that could have done without it. Tomatoes, tahmados. Let’s just hope he keeps to the open road from here on out.
Contrary to everything said so far, the scenes within the sheriff’s station are the most familiar scenes we’ve witnessed yet with the surprise revelation that former bad boy, drug dealer and murderer, Bobby Briggs has found the side of the angels and is now a deputy. The turn makes a clever sort of sense, as OG Twin Peaks often offered glimpses into the nascent Bobby, sowing his wild oats and gaining a crash course on the ugliness and compassion capable in mankind; albeit tangentially.
Part of another meta-commentary, Bobby’s reaction to seeing former girlfriend, Laura Palmer’s photo is so arch and overacted it has to be intentional. This plays as a satire of the overacted heart-wrenched soap opera narrative that drove the original series. It is as if Lynch is laboring to illustrate to us that despite our well-intentioned desire for easy fan service of what came before that it would fail miserably and be gallingly out of place in the new world we found our characters.
And how about the revelation that we can all but assume that one of Evil Coopers last acts in Twin Peaks before going AWOL twenty five years ago was the murder of Bobby’s father, Major Garland Briggs- last scene floating through space as a disembodied head. I’m wondering if Cooper and Bobby will have to come to terms with this ugly truth once and if there is a reunion.
And speaking of reunions how about that final scene? Despite the comedic tone that carried the bulk of the episode, the final sequence was one of the most chilling ever portrayed in Twin Peaks. Awash in blue light, Gordon Cole, Albert Rosenfield, and Tamara Preston enter South Dakota in search of Agent Cooper. This, after a bit of well-earned fan service with Cole’s of meeting with his now boss, Denise Bryson (David Duchoveny). I’m not quite sure what to think of this scene while it’s both winking and sincere at the same time, a string of groaning one-liners and salient takes on tolerance. Ultimately, it was good to see her, and like Wally Brando, if that’s the extent of her involvement perhaps all the better.
Picked up from his roadside crash, Evil Cooper is found with a hefty bag of cocaine, a machine gun, a dog’s leg, and is subsequently being held in something appearing close to a maximum security prison. “What? No cheese and crackers?” Alert quips in perfect form. Missing for twenty-five years after that bit of business with Windom Earle and found with this contraband, Cole is understandably apprehensive off the bat in meeting Cooper. His fears are only compounded the instant he sees this Dark Cooper.
The slow, steady, slightly slurred cadence of Dark Cooper, insisting to be debriefed and repeating himself on a plodding loop is a thoroughly unsettling. Others online have already pointed out that the first word out of Dark Cooper’s mouth is said backward (“Yrev” instead of “Very”, listen for it); a red flag signature of the Black Lodge entities that is not lost on senior agents Cole and Rosenfield. The evil that they countered so many years ago that is now inherent in this false vessel seems to be taunting Cole, nearly admitting its presence with calmly stated lines like “I’ve never really left home” and “I’ve left messages”.
To which an unnerved Cole later confesses to Albert, “I don’t think he greeted me properly, if you get meaning.” Coming on the heels of the massacre in the glass box room in New York, the agents can feel the unseen danger looming on the horizon and they don’t like, frankly, “they’re getting too old for this shit…” Albert is doubly horrified as he confesses that, years ago, he gave up sensitive information to likewise AWOL agent Phillip Jeffries in hopes of helping the missing Cooper; only to have aided this Dark Imposter in killing one of their men in Columbia.
They close the episode declaring that this is a Blue Rose case, in fact, “it doesn’t get any bluer” as Cole remarks. Twin Peaks fans who appreciates the deep dives know that when Blue Roses are involved things are about to get crazy. Before they jump the gun, they want to get another take on this man claiming to be Cooper.
Framed as a cliffhanger, the person is at least a woman and a drinker with an undefined relationship to Cooper. Many online are thinking this will be the long awaited reveal of the never on-screen Diane, Cooper’s trusted secretary. While this makes sense and hopefully will be portrayed by Lynch all-star, Laura Dern, don’t forget that Sarah Palmer has been inserted into the revival framed doing nothing else other than drinking. She has a long history of possessing clairvoyance and spotting supernatural entities lurking about. Even if this results in the reintegration of Sarah Palmer, the broken survivor of the Palmer family tragedy that led the original narrative, we will most likely still get out Diane debut sooner than later.
DISPATCHES FROM THE BLACK LODGE
- Dougie Jones’s son is named Sonny Jim Jones?
- The small comedy of the limo driver awkwardly standing next to the mind-wiped Dougie Jones was pretty good.
- “I am Dougie’s Coffee” written on his coffee mug, this could be a reference to Fight Club which also dealt with body doubles and psychogenic fugues and third-person declarations.
- Mind-wiped Cooper’s extended take when faced with his reflection in the bathroom mirror was c callback to the pivotal final scene in the original series and captivating example of the effectiveness of restrained nostalgia.
- Albert Rosenfield (Miguel Ferrer): “CARSICK!”
- Gordon Cole (David Lynch): “I told your colleagues, those clown comics, to fix their hearts or die.”
- Dark Cooper (Kyle Maclachlan): “It’s yrev very good to see you again, old friend.”