Review: Twin Peaks (S3 E13&14/18), Monday 7th and 14th August, Sky Atlantic

Any long-time viewers of Twin Peaks will have been at once beguiled, terrified and intrigued, as well as frustrated, by this extraordinary third series. We’ve been waiting patiently through all the errant, seemingly innocuous and scattered scenes and new characters, hoping that Good Coop is finally revived from his catatonic state and that Bad Coop is returned to The Black Lodge. Finally, finally, by the end of part 14, things looked as though they were on the move.

Part 13 meandered much in the same way the rest of the series has, with a few key, notable moments – it seemed that the most interesting scenes featured both Good and Bad Coop. I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again: Kyle MacLachlan’s performance in both roles is just tremendous; one moment dead-eyed and stupefyingly evil, the next a Buster Keaton-like, silent-movie character blankly and bumblingly innocent. It really is quite some performance. (Or performances.)

Anyway. Bad Coop visited Ray and his gang of rednecks in a bid to find out what Phillip Jeffries had told him (surely we won’t actually see Jeffries in this series?). Before he gleaned the information he needed Bad Coop had to take on the rednecks in a tense – and ultimately deadly – game of arm wrestling. It was a tense scene, but there was a feeling of inevitability about it – with The Woodsmen on his side and having survived a shooting that should have proved fatal, there was no way this undefeated arm wrestling champ was going to lay a hand on Bad Coop. And so it proved.

The rednecks watched Bad Coop’s subsequent interrogation and the assassination of Ray via a giant screen up on the next level. But again, I found this scene to be a bit cold and it didn’t have too much impact on me – I’m starting to find that whatever Bad and Good Coop do is deflected by my desire for this strand of the story to be resolved as quickly as possible. I’m sure the arm wrestling scene and the killing of Ray was meant to underline Bad Coop’s relentless evil and infallibility, but I was like, meh, throughout.

But… the televisions. It wouldn’t be the first time characters watched television in this episode, let alone this series. Whether it be sad, bitter and alcoholic Sarah Palmer watching primal natural history and a strangely glitchy loop of boxing on her television, or the aforementioned rednecks watching actual, real-world violence on their screen (add in the glass box/portal we saw Sam and Tracey guarding at the start of the series and the news report when Good Coop’s life was threatened by Ike The Spike), and David Lynch seems to be saying something about our ability to sit through violence and drudgery and accept it all as one homogenous mass. At least I think that’s what he might be saying. He might not be trying to convey anything at all and I’m looking into it all too much.

There was also another significant element to the Bad Coop/Ray scene – Ray was wearing the ring. Mike’s ring. The same gold-rimmed, jade ring that Teresa Banks was wearing back in Fire Walk With Me, and the same ring Laura Palmer wore at the time of her brutal death. Annie Blackburn also wore the ring at some point in her short life. Throughout Twin Peaks lore, the ring has been synonymous with The Black Lodge and death – indeed, we’ve seen it in this series, too, when the original Dougie Jones transformed into Good Coop. Now Ray wore it during his demise, passing into The Black Lodge and re-depositing the ring where it belonged.

The mayhem and intrigue continued into part 14, but there was a sea-change in pace, imparted information and action. We had it all in this fantastic episode – explanations, the return (albeit in flashback, dream form) of past characters, connections made and coordinates finally investigated. And a television, of sorts, too.

Aside from the first few instalments – and the extraordinary, never-to-be-forgotten eighth part – we’ve been engaging in a slow dance; one where all the fragments and shattered identities have been laid out before us, while its shards or characters have taken an age to fumble their way to some sort of reformation.

In part 14 there was a real sense that these elements were beginning to fuse. In South Dakota, Albert told the ever-pouting Tammy about the first-ever Blue Rose case, and then Gordon (there were some absolute comedy gold moments involving Gordon this week, mostly involving his hearing aid and a window cleaner, and a phone call from Lucy) spoke to Frank Truman, who had called to tell him about the found pages of Laura Palmer’s diary and that, within those pages, reference had been made to ‘two Coopers’. This made Gordon start, and soon a link was made between Janey-E and Dougie Jones. And then when Diane entered the room, well, a further link was made – she revealed that she had a sister called Janey-E with a husband called Dougie Jones living in Las Vegas. (Naturally, she hated her half-sister, who seemed to possess the same sort of aggression and self-serving attitude but shot through the prism of domesticity and suburbia.)

Finally, it looked as though Gordon, Albert, Tammy and Diane might soon find Good Coop and bring him home. (I felt a pang of disappointment for Janey-E when this scene unfolded, even though it really is about time Gordon’s gang found Good Coop. She’s just started to fall in love with her husband all over again and if he’s to be wrenched away from her, it’ll be heartbreaking.)

But there was more from Gordon. He told his team about another ‘Monica Bellucci dream’ he had, which featured the, yes, real Monica Bellucci, and one Phillip Jeffries, albeit in flashback form. (David Bowie, who played the missing FBI agent in Fire Walk With Me, was meant to reprise his role for this series. Bowie, of course, passed away early last year, and Lynch added an in memoriam line on the credits.) We’ve seen reference to Phillip Jeffries earlier in the series, thanks to several phone calls made to Buenos Aires, Jeffries’ last known address. Indeed he seems to be after Bad Coop in some way if Ray was to be believed.

Anyway, Gordon’s dream. Dreams have always played a central part in Twin Peaks, with the subconscious and conscious worlds often bleeding into each other. In Gordon’s Monica Bellucci dream (let’s face it we’ve all had a Monica Bellucci dream at one time or another), he was sitting with her at an open-air cafe – perhaps in his beloved France, I can’t remember – and things were all lovely and black and white and stylish until she pointed over his shoulder and looked a bit worried. Suddenly we were back to Fire Walk With Me, when Jeffries pointed to Cooper and asked, “Who do you think that is there?” in his thick, southern accent. This episode was filled with so much exposition, but it was all done in such an imaginative way. The Monica Bellucci dream helped to connect the past to the present, at least in Gordon’s mind, and it shat him right up.

Speaking of connecting the past and present, this was happening back in Twin Peaks, too. Frank, Andy, Hawk and Bobby finally followed Major Briggs’s coordinates and found a patch of forest (was this Glastonbury Grove?) shrouded in a misplaced mist. On the forest floor and beneath the mist was a naked woman – the same woman, Naido, Good Coop encountered as he strove to escape his entrapment in The Black Lodge. With skin for eyes and her language delivered in those unsettling, screeching chirps and tweets, the quartet was dumbfounded. Above them, a vortex opened, and Andy disappeared into the netherworld, finding himself sitting opposite the giant, who was now calling himself The Fireman.

The Fireman showed him all that had transpired – Bob, the explosion, The Woodsmen, Gotta Light, Laura Palmer, two Dale Coopers – and as they sat silently, watching a screen (there was that TV screen again), The Fireman seemed to impart some sort of knowledge to Andy, some secret knowledge. Why was Andy chosen to be the go-between? Why not Frank or Hawk or even Bobby? The only reason I can think of is that Andy has always been pure and good, more so than perhaps anyone else in this show, and he could be trusted with crucial information. Indeed, when he returned no one could remember what had just happened, but Andy strode purposefully out of the glade carrying Naido, insisting they take care of her because someone was trying to kill her.

And yet there was still time for more. A young man from London imparted a story to his security guard colleague, James Hurley, about how he came to Twin Peaks – he was told by someone called The Fireman to purchase a glove, which would give him superpowers, and go to Twin Peaks to fulfil his destiny. Elsewhere, Sarah Palmer peeled off her face to reveal a smiling, horror show of a being to kill an especially nasty man who hit on her in The Roadhouse. No biggie.

What does this all mean? Who can say, but one thing at least feels clear – all the strands are finally started to re-fuse, and everything and everyone seems to be heading back to Twin Peaks.

Paul Hirons

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2 Comments Add yours

  1. Michael says:

    Yet more doubles.
    The sisters and the cops.
    And the ferociousness of Bad Cop and Sarah Palmer.
    Sarah Palmer, who might be a force for good to reckon with, come showdown time.


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