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Twin Peaks: The Return (Episode 17 and 18)

Twin Peaks: The Return is here and Remi is watching every episode! This time: Episode 17 and 18. (And needless to say: Herein are spoilers.)

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So, that was… Well, what was it? A surprisingly satisfying ending that resolved preciously little, yet, in a sense, resolved everything? I think that’s the greatest takeaway from all of this. Individual puzzle pieces were never put together, but the completed puzzle could still be seen. Hasn’t that been the case with the whole season? A confounding, yet straightforward story? That is all very much a result of the balance between Frost and Lynch, and I can’t help but wonder if we would have ended up with something closer to Inland Empire had Lynch solely been responsible for the script.

In the end we got right around half an hour of Cooper-of-yore and that was, thanks to MacLachlan’s pitch-perfect performance, just about enough. Having Lucy kill Mr. C was incredibly satisfying — I would have wept openly had James ended up being the hero (picture a slow-mo close-up of the gun firing to the silky smooth crooning of Just You) — and Freddie finally offing Bob (although probably not really, but more about that in a bit) was strangely not ridiculous for a scene involving a Hulk fist.

And oh Cooper.

It’s too bad we never got the planned Philip Jeffries movie. The concept of being unstuck in time in time is fascinating — read Slaughterhouse-Five if you haven’t — and the hints of what that character was going through in Fire Walk With Me (and in the deleted scenes seen in The Missing Pieces) had the makings of… pretty much what we saw here?

Has Cooper always existed independently of time and space? Or did he transcend into becoming one with the Lodge at the end of The Return? I could be way off, and there is no way Lynch ever will reveal what happened (Frost might, I suppose), but I’m left with the feeling that Cooper will forever be trapped in a circle, either having to save parallel-Lauras or whoever lives in her Twin Peaks parallel-house. That the house once belonged to the Chalfonts (and never the Palmers) in the parallel-universe would suggest the latter might be true, and that Bob will return again and again, with parallel-Coopers being doomed to having to fight him for eternity. Maybe. Or maybe not.

A lot of potential answers lie in the many unresolved1 side-plots, and I’m sure fans will ferociously dig into them. At the center, if we are to take Lynch’s word about her importance to The Return, is Audrey. What was the white room she was transported to in episode sixteen? What world was she living in, be it literally or in her own head, during those infuriatingly frustrating scenes? I suspect the answer to those questions holds hints to the greater Twin Peaks lore.

(Side-note: That these lore related plot-points were never explained is a very, very good thing. Lost and The X-Files took frequent plunges into ridiculousness when they tried to over-explain the universes they existed in.)

Also not fully resolved was the humming sound in The Great Northern, though it is more than plausible it was related to the portal to the Lodge. Why the sound started appearing when it did is anybody’s guess, though it wouldn’t be crazy to assume it happened in tandem with Cooper’s return.

What was it Becky had done that drove Stephen crazy, and did he survive the gunshot? Did he even shoot himself? Red’s powers, The Woodsman, all of episode eight… We’ll never fully know what it was all about, nor should we — mystery is a good thing, and everything in this show did mean something. It was never random. Many mistake Lynch’s elusiveness for an excuse to make abstract, stylized films, and while the latter is partly what he does, it is always done with meaning. Even Inland Empire has a cohesive story-line.2

I doubt we’ll see another season of Twin Peaks, with Frost and Lynch getting up there. Writing and directing eighteen hours of TV would take years. A movie, though? Both writers have an affinity for the property, and I wouldn’t be surprised if we saw something related to Audrey at some point. (Mulholland Drive was, of course, based on the idea of making an Audrey spin-off.)

Time will tell. Next up is re-watching Fire Walk With Me and the eighteen episodes all over. Because, why not? We all have our things to obsess over.

1 In Lynch’s mind I’m sure they are done, though it wouldn’t be completely surprising if Frost touched upon some of these stories should he release another Twin Peaks book.

2 Exactly what it is I leave to smarter people to figure out

Twin Peaks: The Return (Episode 16)

Twin Peaks: The Return is here and Remi is watching every episode! This time: Episode 16. (And needless to say: Herein are spoilers.)

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I‘m fairly certain I could write a dissertation on Part 16, but neither you nor I would want that. Instead I shall treat you to some takeaways from the penultimate-ish1 episode.

Mr. C does what Mr. C does, and offs his own son who was tagging along to the location given in the last episode. (Wherever that was.) Choosing to go with the two matching coordinates over the conflicting third, it was clear Richard chose poorly.

Although…

Did Mr. C take him to the other location to hedge his bets? That seems plausible. Who needs as pesky son anyway?

On the lighter side, the Mitchum brothers have sailed up as my favorite Twin Peaks characters, taking care of the Jones family and all, right up to Coop‘s timely return. I mean, timely… I was off by 11 episodes, but who‘s counting? Ever the gentleman, Coop made sure a tulpa of him will be created as Dougie, and it seems that Twin Peaks sidestory got its happy ending.

Speaking of tulpas, apparently Diane was one, too. Who would have thunk it? Dern put in another home-run of a performance, before being transported back to the Lodge, delivering a literal fuck you to Mike. Her earlier monologue seems to indicate her actual self being Naido, something which is a popular theory among fans, and… I mean, proof seems to point in that direction, but they couldn‘t look more different. Very odd.

Returning to Coop, I find it hugely disturbing to find him on his way to Twin Peaks‘s sheriff station2. Why? Well, who will he find there? James. That‘s right. James. Mopey, pathetic, nice guy James. The odds of him joining up with Coop‘s posse for the (potential) final take-down of Mr. C looks increasingly possible, and there is no way he will do anything but get in the way.

On the plus side, the Mitchum brothers are in tow! This is literally the only show I‘ve seen Knepper in where he didn‘t kick some ass, so odds are the streak could be saved.

Audrey performed Audrey‘s Dance, and then confirmed what many of us had been thinking — whatever is going on with her is apparently happening inside her head. This brings with it questions about the Bang Bang Room which, going by a few select scenes, does exists in the real world, but how much of what we have seen there has been a product of Audrey‘s mind? Does Twin Peaks not get dozens of headliner acts after all? Did James actually not perform that idiotic song of his? The mind boggles!

If Audrey is in an institution or in a coma, or even in the Lodge, is hard to say. Is she the dreamer mentioned in the last episode? I suppose we will find out in a few days.

Maybe.

1 Yes, there are two episodes left, but they will air back to back.

2 By the way of Spokane — represent!

Twin Peaks: The Return (Episode 15)

Twin Peaks: The Return is here and Remi is watching every episode! This time: Episode 15. (And needless to say: Herein are spoilers.)

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If there was ever a doubt in your mind, doubt no more: James has never been cool. This is a man who, evidently, for the last 25 years has shown an affinity for married women, and who is shocked — shocked — when their husbands are less than pleased by that. As he gets his ass beaten to the rhythm of ZZ Top’s «Sharp Dressed Man», his fist-of-Lodge Cockney friend has to come to the rescue, leaving James and his puppy-eyes close to literally saying «but I’m just a nice guy!» as his ilk so often does.

But let’s not get ahead of ourselves…

By my count, Norma and Ed’s grand reunion could insert itself as Twin Peaks’s first happy ending. I say could, as there still are three hours left for everything to go to hell. For all we know, Norma could be a Black Widow serial killer who feasts on unexpected suitors. That’d be a long game with Ed, but as far as this season goes, would sort of seem fitting.

Meanwhile, with the lack of a Bowie to portray him, Jeffries has evolved into a tea kettle, which, again, within the context of this season kind of just makes sense. The convenience store has of course played a large role over the last episodes — and also to a lesser degree in Fire Walk With Me — and it’s interesting to see it represented as a physical location in the here and now. Well, sort of physical. Until it disappears in static.

We get confirmed that Jeffries and Mr. C have communicated, but apparently less so than Mr. C thought, which brings the question of who he has been talking to. The texting first thought to be between him and Diane appears to go through a middle-person — note the inconsistencies in the capitalization of what is sent and received if you hadn’t already noticed. Maybe it’s just a production error, though that seems doubtful with how closely it has been focused on, and how who is talking to whom increasingly becoming a major plot point.

Is this middle-person Judy (first referenced in Fire Walk With Me)? Jeffries seem to think Mr. C knows her, and, in best Twin Peaks fashion, gives him her contact information through a set of incomprehensible numbers. Numerology is not my thing.

Back in Twin Peaks, Margaret passes on, and it’s hard not to see the scenes as a tribute to actress Catherine Coulson who succumbed to cancer just a few weeks later. I thought it was all very well handled, and appropriately somber — the lights fading in her cabin seemed like the proper send-off for her character.

On the flip-side, I really don’t think we’ve seen the last of Stephen. Coked out and suicidal as he was, the gunshot occurred off-screen. And let’s be honest: this season has reveled in showing various types of face-violence. Odds are he accidentally squeezed off the trigger, shooting the last place the gun was pointed: his foot. Couldn’t have happened to a better guy.

And Dougie… Dead or alive? Well, I suppose Dougie already is dead, but Coop-as-Dougie? Common dramaturgy would suggest this is where Cooper comes back to life. With Cole’s name popping up in Sunset Boulevard shaking Dougie into something painfully close to Cooper, it would make sense, but then, how many times have we expected this to happen so far?

I doubt we’ll see Cooper in the next episode, and when we finally see… something… Then what? Maybe Dougie died from the fork-in-socket shock to reveal Coop; maybe Mr. C will turn into him; maybe Dougie will wake up in a hospital as his old self; maybe this is just the end for ol’ Coop?

Yeah, who knows where all of this will go… Duncan Todd met an untimely demise, and with Mr. C’s «Vegas?» message, many strings are coming together. The three hours left seem like they should be just the perfect amount of time for this to land at a satisfying ending, at least as far as puzzling oddities can be considered satisfying.

Twin Peaks: The Return (Episode 12-14)

Twin Peaks: The Return is here and Remi is watching every episode! This time: Episode 12-14. (And needless to say: Herein are spoilers.)

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I go on a quick holiday, and all I get is three episodes to catch up with. The world is a fickle friend, and instead of doing recaps full of meandering speculations, I will instead post only my meandering speculations based on the three episodes. You’re welcome!

Tulpa: The doppelgänger phenomena got an actual anchor in tulpa, a part of mysticism Lynch previously has incorporated into his movies. Defined as «a magical creature that attains corporeal reality, having been originally merely imaginary», it makes an abstract concept of Twin Peaks a bit more concrete. Of course, when put it into the context of Cole’s quote in part fourteen — «We are like the dreamer who dreams and then lives inside the dream. But who is the dreamer?» — one can’t help but wonder who is dreaming up the «imaginary».

Timeline: There is no question scenes in this season are not in sequence — Bobby confirmed as much in part thirteen — but it doesn’t seem to really make much of a difference as far as the narrative goes. It’s still easy to follow the main story-line.

But James talking about his birthday and The Roadhouse in the episode after him performing the stone-cold classic «Just You» brings with it questions: One, 25 years later, and that is still the song he chooses to perform? It’s time to let the crooner career go. And was his birthday the only reason The Roadhouse let him perform it, or has the song become a major hit, right up there with Chromatics and Nine Inch Nails? It seems plausible, seeing the girl weeping in the audience.

The enigma that is James just keeps on staying mysterious.

Phillip Jeffries: The second linchpin character portrayed by dead actor is becoming even more prominent. With Mr. C now knowing who put a hit out on him, a showdown is brewing, though who with… Well, not Bowie, but then, they did substitute The Man from Another Place with a tree, so I guess Jeffries can show up in any which form.

Audrey, Billy, Tina: Judging by the scene in The Roadhouse, Billy and Tina do exist, but the Audrey and Charlie situation appears like a bona fide nightmare. The feeling of futility when trying to make a point the other person doesn’t seem to hear is of bad dream, and I’m not convinced Audrey really is existing in reality.

Twin Peaks: Speaking of, can the inhabitants who resided in Twin Peaks during the Laura Palmer case actually leave the town? Seems they are are repeatedly going through the same situations (while growing older), purgatory style. Furthermore, I’m 25 years too late for the boat on this, but how can Twin Peaks be located in Eastern Washington? That makes no sense for so many reasons — foliage, people flying into Seattle to get there, etc. For god’s sake, if the Blue Rose cases started in Olympia (represent!), we’re firmly on the west side of the state.

Sarah Palmer: One can assume the person in the incubation scene in part eight really was her, judging by how she could remove her face, akin to Laura. As this revealed a dark… something… behind it, does that mean she is a tulpa, too? Or is this part of her after the aforementioned incident?

Robert Knepper and Jim Belushi heading a conga line? Sold!

Andy: I said he would have more to him than the original run in an earlier post, now confirmed with him being transported to the White Lodge to meet The Fireman. (RIP The Giant.) Nailed it! (Which makes it one out of roughly seventy-two for me.) This, of course, also re-introduced…

Naido: The lady from The Purple Room makes a triumphant return, and I wonder… Is she a tulpa? Or is she, like The Man from Another Place and Bob (I assume), an inhabitant of The White Lodge, or whatever world The White Lodge is part of? Either way, what is she doing in Twin Peaks?

Finally: Cole dreaming of Monica Bellucci just makes sense. The man loves the ladies.

Three weeks left — the last two episodes will air on the same night — and a lot of threads are coming together. I doubt everything will be answered (nor should it), and a second beginning-to-end viewing will probably reveal a lot more than we’ve currently caught onto.

Showtime has quietly started fishing for another season. I doubt that will happen — directing eighteen episodes in a row is inhumane — but I wouldn’t be surprised if we’d see a follow-up movie, just like how Fire Walk With Me book-ended the previous run.

Make it a James rockumentary, and I’m so there.

Twin Peaks: The Return (Episode 11)

Twin Peaks: The Return is here and Remi is watching every episode! This time: Episode 11. (And needless to say: Herein are spoilers.)

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There is plenty of interesting stuff going on in this episode, be it the reuse of Angelo Badalamenti’s «Heartbreaking» from Lost Highway or Amanda Seyfried‘s excellent portrayal Shelly’s daughter, Rebecca. (Never mind her almost killing her mother with a car.) My personal favorite scene involved Robert Knepper and Jim Belushi eating cereal together. Classic David Lynch humor, by two… lord, I am saying this about Belushi… great actors.

The episode, named «There’s Fire Where You Are Going», was a juxtaposition of classic Twin Peaks and Fire Walk with Me. On the one hand you had the welcome screen time of classic characters like Mädchen Amick’s Shelly, joined with darker scenes: Cole reaching for a vortex, revealing Woodsmen in a set of… stairs? The diner from Fire Walk with Me?

Speaking of the movie, what is happening in Hasting’s trailer yard? Matthew Lillard once again delivers a stellar performance, all until his head is cut off. What was the deal with the Woodsman doing so? Cole and Albert saw him, as did Diane, yet the two former claimed they didn’t, and Diane shrugged it off. On purpose? Or does the view into the Black Lodge do… something, anything… to those staring into it? The scene was freaky, with more than a touch of Fire Walk with Me.

Back in Twin Peaks, Alicia Witt had one episode in the original run as Donna Hayward’s sister; the odds of her being back as Steven’s — aka Rebecca’s husband — lover seemed slim to none, but there they were, with Rebecca shooting a gun through her door.

The revelation of her being Bobby’s daughter was interesting if for nothing more to show she is also Major Briggs’s granddaughter. For what it’s worth, Major Briggs is the major (oi, no pun intended) character of this season, dead actor be damned.

After learning of the gun incident, Bobby — Dana Ashbrook impresses again — has to investigate an(other) accidental shooting, finding a kid who triggered his dad’s gun in a car. The woman behind in the ensuing traffic jam goes hysterical, with Bobby finding a sick kid spewing what could look like garmonbozia. Maybe. Or something else. (Creepily awful as it was, it was also kind of funny, but that might just be my horrible self.)

Back in Vegas, the Mitchum brothers are ready to snuff off Dougie, who luckily is warned by Mike (projecting from the Black Lodge) about what is about to happen. The solution? Buy a cherry pie (what else?) and present it to the brothers, just as Belushi had envisioned in a dream. Receiving the previously withheld insurance check — I still don’t truly understand why Dougie’s boss changed his mind — they invite Dougie for pie and champagne. (Simultaneously giving the viewers a well-deserved laugh and a well-deserved wakeup call for Dougie.)

In Twin Peaks, Hawk receives another call from The Log Lady, which leads him to show a map to Truman with… well, apparently, you don’t want to know what, but it sure looks like Mr. C’s tattoo.

Dougie is about to change into Cooper sooner than I (at this point) had expected; it’s clear he’s tethering on the brink of the transformation. A fantastic MacLachlan performance, yet again. (Kyle, you deserve pimping your wine like you currently are on Twitter!)

As «Heartbreaking» plays us out, I can’t help but feel this was The Return’s most jarring and most fascinating episode. «Part 11» as it is, really does make more sense of a title in the arc, seeing season three fully is an 18-hour movie.

«Part 8» is still my favorite, but this one was close. Very David Lynch, very Mark Frost, very Twin Peaks.