After last week’s incredible, dark, unpredictable start to the much-anticipated third series of Twin Peaks, there was no telling where things might go in episode three. Those first two episodes featured everything from two Dale Coopers – one in the conscious world reeking havoc and killing people, the other (the one we know and loved from the first two series) still imprisoned in the unconscious world of the Black Lodge – a brutal murder (or three), some mind-bending aural and visual thrills, visceral fear, and some familiar faces making a return. It had a bit of everything from the Lynch canon, and so, too, did these next two episodes. Just not in the way that anyone could have expected.
NB: Spoilers inside
Tumbling, tumbling, tumbling.
Good Coop had spent most of the last episode trying to find a way out of The Black Lodge after being told by a kind of tree-totem (and Mike) that there was a way out. And so we joined our trapped Special Agent tumbling through the layers of consciousness once again. Until he came to… god knows what. He landed in a mauve-hued metallic vessel floating in space, populated by a woman whose eyes were sealed shut. In this strange, purple-ish room (colours are important in Twin Peaks, and mauve – I looked this up – “indicates that you need to clear your mind of negative thoughts and think more positively”) a fire crackled in the fireplace, and time seemed to jump and flicker. The woman seemed desperate, anxious to convey something to Good Coop, but as she clawed at his face her words were garbled, like suppressed screams.
It was fucking terrifying; pure nightmare.
And it wasn’t over, either.
The blind woman led him outside of the vessel, to its roof. She frantically turned valves and then space took her. The distorted, elongated face of a man floated by (one of Good Coop’s erstwhile colleagues?), muttering, “Blue rose.” (the term blue rose, I investigated, dated back to Fire Walk With Me, and was used to describe the Laura Palmer case: a blue rose case; a case with a touch of the supernatural about it.)
Good Coop, naturally looking confused and disturbed, made his way back down into another room, where another woman was waiting for him. “You must hurry, mother is coming,” she told him in backwards language. A dial on the wall, with the number three above it, started to hiss and beckon him. “When you get there, you will already be there,” the woman riddled.
Out in the conscious world, Bad Coop was driving along a road. He was beginning to lose his shit, fade in and out of consciousness at the wheel until he spun all over the place and totaled his car. Back in The Black Lodge, Good Coop was nearing his escape; in the ‘real’ world Bad Coop seemed as though he was outstaying his welcome.
The dial and the contraption on the wall – looking like an old-school telephone operator’s booth – had sucked Good Coop in, leaving only his shoes behind. Good Cop had escaped The Lodge, and it looked as though for all the world(s) it would be a straight swap with Bad Coop, who was hunched over the wheel of his crashed car and had vomited up something so foul that even the police couldn’t go near him.
The first real curveball of this insane episode introduced us to another version of Cooper, or at least a look-alike. His name was Dougie Jones. Dougie was a chancer, a cheesily-suited, scruffy-haired wannabe who had just finished a session with a sassy sex worker, Jade, in an as-yet uninhabited new-build in the suburbs of Buckhorn. While Jade showered, Dougie Jones started to feel strange. He wore a ring; a ring we’ve seen before. He staggered to the middle of the bedroom and began to vomit. Meanwhile, black smoke came out of the electric socket. This is how Good Coop came back into the conscious world – through a plug socket.
When Jade came back into the room, her client had been replaced by a clean-cut, black-suit-wearing man who looked like Dougie, but wasn’t Dougie. He couldn’t speak. He couldn’t fathom where he was, or who he was.
It was mind-boggling, strange and really not what was I was expecting. Normally in crime dramas, you get a twist, a reveal of some sorts. Here we got a twist – Good Coop taking the place of Dougie Jones, not Bad Coop – but the twist just deepened the mystery and confounded. What had happened to Bad Coop? Who was Dougie Jones? Why did Good Coop replace Dougie? Was Dougie some sort of decoy?
As it turned out, it was a yes to that last question. Poor, doomed Dougie Jones sat with Mike in The Black Lodge, and subsequently shriveled and disintegrated into dust. “Someone manufactured you. For a purpose, but I think now that’s been fulfilled,” said Mike.
From then on in there was a huge tonal shift – from the nightmare of The Black Lodge and the Lost Highway/Mulholland Drive style of the first two and a half episodes to pure comedy. And farce. The next episode and a half saw Good Coop bumbling and shuffling around his new surroundings like a child, his mind a blank canvas. Everything was new. It was dizzying, it was brilliant, it was hilarious. He was in a casino, hallucinations of flame (fire gamble with me?) helping him to choose which slot machines to play and win on (he won THOUSANDS). His re-entrance into this world was not a quiet one. Cameras watched his every move. Surely someone would be alerted to his presence. Someone from the FBI, perhaps. It wouldn’t be too long before he was found, surely. (And don’t call me Shirley.) He repeated people’s words, he copied people’s mannerisms. He was like a puppy looking for an owner.
Finally, he made it back to Dougie Jones’s residence – a big red door, prominent – where he was met by his wife, Janey-E (the ever-brilliant Naomi Watts) who seemed to overlook the fact that this new version of Dougie wasn’t quite the Dougie she had seen leave the house several days before. Suddenly, we were into Life Swap territory – Good Coop was living Dougie Jones’s life even though he wasn’t Dougie Jones. Dougie’s son loved the new version of his dad, who once again shuffled around his new surroundings like a silent movie comic. He didn’t know how to wear clothes, he bumped into things and when he first gulped down some coffee at the breakfast table he spat it back out onto the floor. The coffee, however, seemed to stir a memory…
So now Good Coop was trapped in another world, albeit a conscious one.
Also in that world were FBI agents Gordon Cole (Lynch) and Albert Rosenfeld (the late Miguel Ferrer), and their new investigating partner Tammi Preston (Chrysta Bell). They were working on the Buckhorn murder, but Gordon received a call – they had found Cooper. They were to leave at dawn!
Glacial Tammi – coming complete with an over-deliberate hip wiggle when she walked – looked at Albert quizzically. He noted her confusion. “The strange mystery of the forces of existence…” he almost chuckled. The strange mystery of the forces of existence, indeed.
Gordon, Albert and Tammi were off to rescue Good Coop from his strange new surroundings. This is where the second twisteroo came in to play.
When Gordon and Albert, and Tammi, touched down in South Dakota (after he met with David Duchovny’s Denise Bryson, who was now the FBI’s Chief Of Staff. Go Denise!) it wasn’t to retrieve Good Coop – it was to meet Bad Coop, who was in jail after he was picked up from his car wreckage. He spun them a yarn, saying that had been working undercover all this time and was on his way to give them the information. Gordon, brow furrowed, shouted: “Albert, I hate to admit this, but I don’t understand this situation at all.”
They didn’t like it. This Cooper didn’t feel right.
So we had Special Agent Cooper seemingly shattered and fragmented, two parts living different lives. And because of this you have to take your hat off to Kyle MacLachlan – he’s being asked to do a lot in this series, when my initial thoughts before hand was that he’d pop up only now and again. Three roles; each incredibly different; each displaying different skills.
Back in Twin Peaks itself, there were things going on, too. Bobby Briggs (Laura’s old, bad-boy boyfriend) was now working with Hawk and Sheriff Truman (now played by the wonderful Robert Forster, with that familiar mix of patience and compassion still present). Hawk and Truman were working on the information given to them by the Log Lady – that something was coming, something to do with Agent Cooper – and so they had laid out evidence from the Laura Palmer case on the table. Bobby was taken aback when he saw that picture of his old flame. He wept.
Back in the original series, Bobby was all teenage braggadocio but underneath it all he had wept then, too. And this is what strikes me about Twin Peaks – it’s an examination of the levels of identity within us all. From the evil of Leland/Bob, to the underlying fear and emotion of Bobby et al… Lynch loves to play with this idea of layered, manufactured worlds, and expose what’s underneath. Whether it’s good or evil.
Andy and Lucy were on prime form, too (the chat about the chocolate bunnies was priceless), and we got to meet their son, Wally – a hilarious cameo by Michael Cera, who was dressed like The WIld One-era Marlon Brando, and who spoke in cool beatnik language. (Again, another front, another personality.) I laughed heartily at the sequence.
Something for all the family in these two episodes.
For our episodes one and two reviews, go here