If. as we surmised after Episode 6, that we are now at the beginning of the second act of Twin Peaks, David Lynch and Mark Frost have really delivered an episode (or hour of story) that gives us so much information, so many revelations, so many references to the past, that it finally felt like a really satisfying return to the series we all know and love. Not that there hasn’t been anything to love about the first six hours, but those six hours have certainly been more challenging for the viewer with the slow burn storytelling Lynch is prone to (and this episode definitely has more of Mark Frost’s fingerprints all over it). So where do we start? We probably spent more time in the actual titular town in this episode than the previous six combined but we’ll get to that in a minute.
After meeting Cooper’s faithful, unseen and assumed imaginary assistant for the first time in Episode 6, it was hard to imagine we’d see her again so soon considering how Lynch has been zigging and zagging through the story. But here she was in all of her profane glory, obviously bitter towards Albert, Gordon Cole, Cooper and the entire FBI in general, smoking, drinking and tramping her way through life, refusing to offer Gordon and Albert coffee or cigarettes when they pay her a visit (“I don’t have any”), while she drinks a cup of joe and smokes all the while. She finally relents on the coffee, and Gordon tells her he needs her for something of the utmost importance. But her response to hearing that her former boss Dale Cooper is in federal prison in South Dakota is a shock: “Good.” What happened between Coop and the woman he so obviously trusted all those many years ago?
That was most likely answered when Diane relented and accompanied the agents to the prison, but only on the condition that she spoke with Cooper alone. In the interrogation room with who we know as Mr. C behind a pane of glass, it was obvious through Diane’s facial expression — a testament to Laura Dern’s spectacular performance — that this was not the Cooper she knew, even before she spoke with him. And it only took one question and response to make everything certain for her. When she asked when was the last time they saw each other, Mr. C asked if she was upset with him, then he said they last saw each other at her home, and that he would never forget that night. She said she wouldn’t either and that was the end of the conversation.
Outside the prison, an emotionally distraught Diane confirmed what everyone suspected — this person who looks like Cooper, who has mirror images of Cooper’s fingerprints, is not FBI Special Agent Dale Cooper. Diane told Gordon that they would talk “sometime” but it’s clear that something bad happened to her, something that has led her down this path of sex, cigarettes and coffee of daily existence. Of course we have assumed this “person” masquerading as Cooper is actually the evil BOB, and BOB is known for his/its history of sexual assault, so it’s not too far out of the realm of possibility that he raped Diane in the guise of her trusted Dale Cooper. And we get more stunning hints to the possible results of more of BOB’s activities in this episode. But now that Gordon has had his suspicions confirmed, what will happen with Mr. C?
Well, that answer comes rather quickly. After Diane leaves, Mr. C requests an audience with Warden Murphy. Mr. C wants out and just the mere mention of the names Mr. Strawberry and Joe McClusky rattles the warden enough that he arranges for a beige rental car (yes, the script was that specific), the release of Mr. C’s cohort Ray Monroe, and a “friend” in the glove compartment (assuming this means a gun). But where is Mr. C headed? Vegas? Buenos Aires? Twin Peaks?
It’s been a while since we’ve thought about the headless body in Buckhorn, SD but this week Lt. Knox paid a visit to the police station to take a look at the prints, getting a shock to learn that the prints weren’t lifted from a scene but are still attached to the body … even if the head is not. Knox knows the prints belong to Major Garland Briggs, but is stunned to see this body which is about 30 years younger than Briggs would be today. But she confirms with Colonel Davis (Ernie Hudson) that this is Briggs’ body (while that same dark figure we saw two cells down from William Hastings in Episode 2 lurks behind Knox in hallway, accompanied by the crackle of electricity). Knox tells the Buckhorn police that no one has access to the body and that this may not be their case much longer. This is also where it becomes helpful to have some familiarity with the novel “The Secret History of Twin Peaks”.
This was a Dougie Lite episode, featuring the addled character for just a few minutes, and about thirty-five minutes into the show. But what a glorious few minutes they were! Starting with his frustrated wife Janey-E (Naomi Watts again stealing the entire scene) waiting for him outside his office, Dougie is once again scribbling all over some case files while his crooked co-worker Anthony Sinclair (Tom Sizemore) nervously looks on. But as a secretary announces that the police are waiting to speak with Dougie, Anthony decides to hightail it out of the office. The three cops, all with the name Fusco, enter and begin to question Dougie about his car and Janey-E barges in as well, basically acting as Dougie’s cover, confirming that the car has been missing for a few days, but never having a good answer as to why it wasn’t reported stolen. When the cops reveal the car has been found, exploded and with multiple casualties suspected to be members of a known car theft ring, Janey-E wants to know why they didn’t just say that in the first place. As they leave, Dougie’s boss wants to talk to him about his recent findings, but Janey-E makes it clear they are leaving.
Outside the building, Ike “The Spike” suddenly appears among the workers leaving for the day, brandishing a gun (since his trusty ice pick was damaged), and suddenly … Dougie pushes Janey-E out of the way and goes into full, highly trained FBI agent mode, punching Ike in the throat and holding down the hand with the gun (while Janey-E ably assists with her hands around Ike’s throat). During the confrontation, Dougie sees The Arm, that talking tree thing with the blobby brain, sprouting from the sidewalk, crackling with electricity, saying, “Squeeze his hand off! Squeeze his hand off!” Dougie karate chops Ike in the throat again and squeezes his hand hard enough for him to release the gun and run off, leaving a nasty chunk of flesh attached to the pistol. Is Cooper finally back? Unfortunately, he returns to Dougie mode as bystanders tell the news reporters how he was “fast like a cobra.” But while Cooper is still trapped in Dougie mode, it is very, yrev interesting that Dougie is not wearing his usual, now ill-fitting green blazer. Nope, on this day he is in full Agent Dale Cooper black suit, black tie, white shirt regalia as he gets closer and closer to “waking up.”
With all of the exciting reveals thus far in this episode, all of the really juicy stuff came while in Twin Peaks proper. First there was a seemingly innocuous moment with Jerry Horne staring off into the woods, then calling his brother Ben, freaking out that someone stole his car. Then he realized he was just incredibly high. This scene could mean nothing … or something depending on how closely tied this whole series is to “The Secret History of Twin Peaks” (hint: alien abduction is not unheard of in these parts).
Our most thrilling bit of information comes as Hawk shows Sheriff Truman the pages he found in the men’s room stall door. As suspected, these are the long missing pages from Laura Palmer’s diary, containing a message from Annie Blackburn delivered to Laura Palmer in a dream in Fire Walk With Me. Annie was one of Cooper’s love interests during the final season of the original series, so her message to Laura that she had been with Laura and Cooper and that the Good Cooper was trapped in the Black Lodge, was puzzling to Laura then because she had not met either of them when the movie takes place. But here, it is a juicy piece of the puzzle that confirms what Hawk and many others, including Doc Hayward (a wonderful cameo from Warren Frost, who passed away in February of this year), suspected — the person they saw leave the hospital those many years ago (and this was after Cooper smashed his head into the mirror in room 315 at the Great Northern) was not the Cooper they had come to know. What’s more, Doc told Sheriff Truman, Frank not Harry, over Skype (and how about that awesome computer monitor built into Frank’s desk?!) that he saw Cooper leaving ICU that night, and he saw that terrible face again. But why was Cooper in ICU? Well, that’s where Audrey Horne was, in a coma after “the incident” at the bank (a season ending explosion that has not been resolved to this point). Which leads to all sorts of speculation. Knowing this was not Cooper but BOB, and knowing BOB’s history, this information almost confirms that BOB may have assaulted Audrey while she was comatose (ew) and the awful Richard Horne is indeed the result of that ungodly encounter. But we still don’t know where Audrey is. Could she have something to do with that glass box in New York City? This entire reveal of the missing pages is probably one of the most satisfying moments for any long-time fan of Twin Peaks. We also learned that Harry Truman is so ill that his brother, who wanted to talk to him about this new information regarding Laura, decided not to reveal anything during their short phone call.
Elsewhere, Deputy Andy was trying to talk to a jittery man about the pickup truck Richard Horne was driving when he plowed down the child in the crosswalk. The guy was obviously in a panic but agreed to meet Andy in two hours somewhere else. The guy, whose name may be Billy, went into a house and Andy was later seen waiting for him, but the guy never showed up. Did something happen to him inside the house? Could Richard have been inside or did Red’s people get to him first? It was so nice to hear some of composer Angelo Badalamenti’s original Twin Peaks music play over the scene of Andy waiting.
At the Great Northern, we see Beverly Paige (Ashley Judd) again, this time asking Ben to help her find the source of a high-pitched electrical hum in her office. Ben says to close her eyes to see if she can determine the location of the hum, and it looked like he was just about to grab her breasts but restrained himself. Ben certainly has not been able to keep his hands to himself in the past, so we have to wonder if Beverly shares his sexual attraction. But the two can’t seem to determine where the sound is coming from as it moves around the room. Then Beverly remembers the key that arrived in the mail, the key to room 315. Ben is stunned to see this as the hotel had changed to key cards years ago, but remembered clearly that it was Cooper’s room while he was there investigating Laura Palmer’s murder. Beverly has no clue what he’s talking about, but he tells her it’s a very long story. And how! She leaves for the day and returns home to her very ill husband Tom (Hugh Dillon), who is not happy that she’s home so late, appearing to be suspicious of her for some reason. She told him she never wanted to go back to work but had to to take care of him, and that he was not going to mess this up for her. Whatever that means. Hmmmmm.
And then we’re back at The Bang Bang Bar, quite empty except for the ghost of Jacques Renault (Walter Olkewicz) behind the bar and a guy sweeping up the floor … in a two minute static shot covered by the song “Green Onions” by Booker T and the MGs. And we quite rightly expected the credits to begin rolling here but Lynch surprised us as the phone rang and the bartender answered. It’s not a ghost, but another Renault brother, Jean Michel, and the roadhouse is apparently still engaged in the business of supplying young women to their clients. This time he’s talking about two possibly under-age girls that he assures the person on the other end that they had good IDs and they are not going to bring down the Renault business. Does this mean anything in the greater part of the story, or is it just another Lynchian red herring?
From there we head to the RR Diner for what appears to be the dinnertime rush. Do Shelley, Heidi and Norma ever have a day off? As everyone goes about their business, a young man rushes in and asks a question, and getting a “nope” response, runs out just as quickly. Now here there is a bit of confusion as to who the man asked for. I had to play the scene back with the captions on, and according to that he said “Hey! Has anybody seen Bing?” Others elsewhere have said he asked for Billy. There is a Bing listed in the end credits as played by Lynch’s son Riley but it was hard to tell if the guy who ran into the diner was Riley Lynch. If it was and he was asking about Billy, then we can assume he was referring to the man Andy was trying to speak with about the pickup truck. For the moment, I’ll assume the captions were wrong and he was asking about Billy.
The episode ended at the diner appropriately, given the current state of Agent Cooper, with the song “Sleepwalk” by Santo & Johnny, giving us hope that Coop is finally on the verge of waking up, just as Phillip Gerard has implored him to do from the Black Lodge. And with such an eventful and insightful episode this week, we should probably brace ourselves for more challenging Lynchian goings on in the episodes to come.
What did you think of this episode? Is Cooper closer to coming back? Tell us what you think!