This one really scratches that itch…
The works of David Lynch often get a pass in the way of relevancy to narrative when he presents his craft on screen. Much of his best assets are honed from ephemera and best appreciated therein. When Twin Peaks: The Return returned, we were immediately struck with new characters and bizarre storybeats that seemed isolated, perhaps even vignettes that existed to imply tone rather than implicit story.
As we are wont to do with Lynch, many viewers had already written off South Dakota’s Bill Hastings as merely a means to show Dark Cooper’s level of play before moving onto Twin Peaks proper. While he remains a pawn, Hastings involvement in facilitating Dark Cooper’s ends and his ill-advised trespassing into what we can assume to be the Black Lodge to do so presents a much wider game board than we thought we were operating upon. Even the trio of wiseacre detectives who at first appeared wallpaper to Dougie Jones story are now the prime movers in it.
What is most fascinating with Part 9 is its mathematical dovetailing of disparate elements coming together. Take for instance Dark Cooper’s call to Patrick Fishler’s character- he asks if the hit was carried out. Through implicit context we are told that the failed assassin was none of other than Ike the Spike whom Dougie disarmed in Part 7. This ties Dark Cooper, the nervous man in the office, the assassination order, the little person hitman, the trio of detectives who apprehend him, and blank vessel Dougie Jones into a single package storyline soon to unravel.
Hell, don’t be surprised to find junkie mom’s “119” mantra to play dividends at this point.
And we get Tim Roth and Jennifer Jason Leigh to boot! They play serial killer devotees of Dark Cooper, and further the theory that Dark Cooper has been establishing a murderous lackey network, possibly across the world as he plays at a game we still are not sure the rules of.
Time for a hot take- I would take a Diane, Gordon, and Albert multi-season procedural crime drama over Twin Peaks any day of the week. The caustic chemistry between Diane and her former FBI superiors is simply gold.
To date, the best monologue of all time on Twin Peaks was delivered this last episode. Deputy Bobby Briggs returns to his mother’s home to discuss a matter concerning his dead father. She cuts him off, informing her son that she knew this day would come. What makes this scene transcendent, beyond Charlotte Stewart’s superb delivery, is the weighted payoff that a literal twenty-five years elapsed can produce. To give this fated message its organic quarter-century to mature before reprising it with the same people offers unprecedented dimension.
The day before Bobby’s father, Major Briggs, died he gave his wife a hidden message to deliver to her son when he knew he would one day be ready. The faith that he kept in his wayward son, the love he held for him was incredibly palpable. The fact that the actor who portrayed Major Briggs has also passed in the interim adds poignant significance. This scene, in its quiet fragility does more to fuse The Return to OG Twin Peaks than anything the Red Room could conjure up due to the sustained character bonds and development that has been earning interest for decades.
Apparently, Hastings met with an entity appearing to be Major Briggs during his trips to the other dimensions he sought. The entity desired coordinates of Hastings in order to leave his plane of existence for another. Are we to believe this was Dark Cooper posing as Briggs or perhaps a possessed doppelganger version manipulating Hastings? Would this explain the not-old-at-all and also headless body that has the fingerprints of a Major Briggs? If so, where does that leave the real Briggs or at least his soul?
And speaking of Dark Cooper’s cabal, does it include Diane? Surely not after their tortured exchange in part 7, right? Right?! So why does she receive Dark Cooper’s coded message? She appeared to be expected the text, checking the phone repeatedly before reading the cryptic passage. Does she assume it to be coming from someone else? Who’s playing who? Is there a snake in the garden?
And lastly, if you can make sense of those two rough-living girls at the Roadhouse to close the episode then you’re a better person than I.
Notes from the Black Lodge:
- As these loose ends are beginning to tie together, the iconic music that drove OG Twin Peaks is beginning to return as a cue that we are beginning to see the forest for the pines.
- Andy and Lucy- still Andy and Lucy. Gotta respect Lucy’s lunchtime boundaries ‘though.
- Hi, Johnny Horne. Bye, Johnny Horne. Maybe this injury (death) will be the catalyst for his sister, Audrey, to return
- Albert flirting with the Buckhorn Medical Examiner is sooo cute! Their patter is perfect together.
- Krysta Bell’s portrayal as neophyte FBI agent, Tamara Preston, is certainly wooden but a serviceable cipher for the audience’s initiation into David Lynch’s world.
- That was one hell of a fast act change between sets at the Roadhouse.
Detective Fusco 1: “It’s like talking to a dog.”
Detective Fusco 2: “And she does all the barking.”
Betty Briggs (Charlotte Stewart): “This is the chair.”
Diane Evans (Laura Dern): “It’s a fucking morgue!”
Albert Rosenfield (Miguel Ferrer): “What happens in season two?”
“I know, I know, ‘fuck you, Albert.’”
Jerry’s left foot: “I am not your left foot.”