How to follow part eight? That was the question heading into the ninth instalment of this remarkable series. It has had a week off – something I had forgotten about – which was probably a good thing after the sublimely extraordinary shenanigans of that episode. It was the episode where Lynch and Frost presented us with a step outside of the present-day timeline and took us back to the 1940s and 50s, to a black-and-white world where the advent of the atomic bomb had created an unspeakable evil that was to manifest itself in 1990s Washington State. Had we witnessed the birth of Bob in these crazy scenes? And what now, after a new dimension of political and visceral polemic, had been added to what was hitherto an invigorating whodunit (albeit and cross-dimensional procedural)?
I enjoyed that eighth episode so much. It was just so unexpected and so visceral and enthralling. I think we can all agree that Twin Peaks: The Return is a much different beast to that original, beguiling series that broke so many moulds and influenced a new generation of television makers. That’s not to say it isn’t bad – it isn’t, it’s extraordinary – but it’s certainly not anything like the original Twin Peaks.
And this was amply demonstrated in episode eight, where Lynch and Frost went off on a tangent to give us something spectacular. Part nine returned us back into the present, which in some way was a shame – I bloody loved last week’s detour.
We were back to the pace of before, and reminded that patience had to be exercised. To begin with we saw Evil Coop stride bloodily to The Farm, where he was greeted by Hutch (Tim Roth) and Chantal (Jennifer Jason Leigh). He instructed them to kill the warden, which they did later on.
After that, things zapped around a bit – Gordon, Albert, Diane (I’m loving her more with each time I see her) and Tammy did an about-turn, mid-air, after they received a call telling them Major Garland Briggs’ body had been found in Buckhorn. Elsewhere, we were in Twin Peaks itself, and with Dougie/Good Coop, too, who was perplexing the local police (who resembled a trio of silent movie idiots) – they could find no records for him pre-1997 – and perhaps edging out of his catatonic state a shade more.
The real intrigue in this episode surrounded Briggs, and what he had foreseen and subsequently bequeathed his son, Bobby. In Buckhorn, Agent Tammi Preston interviewed William Hastings (a gloriously, ridiculously over-the-top and overwrought Matthew Lillard) the school teacher, who we saw in the first few episodes when he became a suspect in the murder of his lover, Ruth Davenport. What he revealed to Agent Preston was quite remarkable: he said that he and Davenport had run a blog about a mysterious place called The Zone, a location that enabled them to contact Major Briggs. Briggs, in turn, gave them a message about Cooper, alluding to the fact there were two Coopers. (How his body appeared I’m going to have to watch again.)
Meanwhile, back in Twin Peaks we saw Truman, Hawk and Bobby uncover a secret message left by the Major. It had been hidden all this time in a compartment in his favourite armchair and guarded all this time by Betty, his wife. She was under orders from her husband to give Bobby and Sheriff Truman the message only when they came looking for Cooper. The message was in a kind of cigar case-style cylindrical vessel, and Bobby was the only person who knew how to open it. Inside there was a set of coordinates and the message, Cooper Cooper.
Bear in mind that Briggs wrote this 25 years ago.
The trio of hometown investigators went off to investigate this secret location.
Another mystery, and another riddle. It’s classic stuff, but to get to the good bits, there were plenty of slow-paced scenes in part nine. But there was gold, also – Andy and Annie’s process of buying garden chairs, and the way Gordon and Diane stood in silence smoking cigarettes was brilliant.
We’re now half-way through the series, and you can sense that we’re almost there with Cooper. Then again, we’ve been saying that for the past four or five episodes. Let’s face it: none of usknowsw what will happen next.
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