Yes, I’m a bit late with this review of part 15 of series three of Twin Peaks, but I couldn’t leave it be. I’m so engrossed in this new series – even though, on the surface of it, it doesn’t make much sense – that I really do think it’s having as much of an effect on me as the first two series did. Which is saying something.
It was another extraordinary episode, full of twists and turns and hugely unexpected moments and some brilliant off-kilter scenes that I neither expected nor fathomed. This episode really did have it all – some high surrealism and unsettling darkness, one of the most poignant and saddest scenes I think I’ve ever seen and one of the most joyous scenes I’ve ever seen.
During this series, David Lynch (and Mark Frost, who appears in a cameo in this installment) has really toyed around with the idea of nostalgia. Take Audrey Horne. One of the series’ most beloved characters, we’ve seen her in this series as a volatile, aggressive, exasperated and hugely unlikeable woman. We saw in this episode her ongoing war of words with ‘husband’ Charlie, her frequent mentions of Billy and her general confusion. It would have been easy for Lynch to allow us the luxury of familiarity and give us the Audrey Horne we remembered – the sassy, overtly sexual ingenue – but instead, he’s given us an Audrey Horne damaged by life. And this makes total sense. It’s been 25 years since we’ve seen her, and during that time she’s obviously emerged from a coma. But what if she emerged from that coma damaged mentally? What if it had taken years of physiotherapy to get her to a point of a barely functioning adult? Perhaps a lack of oxygen has done things – irreparable things – to her brain. With this in mind, it’s understandable she’s confused and aggressive. Frustrated, even. She wants to get to Billy, but what if Billy is someone or something that once existed or doesn’t exist? A figment or an echo? Again, extrapolating the theory that she’s mentally damaged because of the coma, her confusion over Billy is understandable.
We’ve had other interesting and plausible character developments, too. Bobby – that cocky teen ne’er do well in the original series – is now a stand-up guy, mellowed by age and now a policeman. Again, plausible. We also got – in the joyous scene I mentioned earlier – Ed and Norma finally getting together. It was a lovely scene, but only one that Twin Peaks fans will find joy in and understanding. And this is the great thing about Twin Peaks – whether it’s the first, second or third series – it’s a world you can immerse yourself into, care about the characters and, no matter what’s going on, feel you’re in some kind of place where nothing and everything makes sense; a self-contained world you can lose yourself in.
There’s also an acknowledgment that some people don’t change. Like Shelley and James, who seem to be the same people as they were back then, making the same mistakes (in Shelley’s case). The only characters that don’t feel plausible are Andy and Lucy – I wish Lynch had given them some sort of development, however odd or strange.
Also for Twin Peaks fans, there was an extraordinarily poignant scene involving Margaret Lanterman (The Log Lady) and dear old Hawk. She telephoned him to tell him she was dying. The scene was given extra gravitas and sadness because actress Catherine Coulson was dying in the real world. What incredible courage for an actress to play her final scenes on camera, confronting her own mortality, playing a character that has defined her career and who will go into the night with her. It was a sad, beautiful thing, and played and handled perfectly.
The key scenes in this episode involved the two Coopers (and Freddie, but we’ll come to that later). Dark Coop headed to the convenience store – THAT convenience store we saw in Fire Walk With Me and whose creation we witnessed in part eight (still the most extraordinary hour of television this year), a place where The Woodsmen live. (You wouldn’t really want to pop in there for a packet of cigarettes and a Mars Bar because it’s really not that type of convenience store.) Dark Coop was on the hunt for Phillip Jeffries, and as he entered the convenience store, he was guided by Woodsmen through layers and dimensions until he came to a motel parking lot and the door of one of the rooms. Inside the room, he encountered Jeffries, but not as we remembered him. Instead of a human, David Bowie-like creature, Phillip Jeffries was now the kind of vessel Lynch loves – smooth edges, black as onyx and skulking in the shadows, billowing steam from a small spout. If you were to compare this vessel to anything in this earthly world, it would have to be a cross between a Dalek and a teapot.
Phillip Jeffries as a teapot. Who’d a thunk it? But what was he? A prisoner? A spirit? It was difficult to say.
They had a conversation, Dark Cooper recounting the moment Jeffries walked into the Philadelphia office back in 1989. So you are Cooper, exhaled Jeffries, certainly implying (or at least confirming for me) that Dark Coop was indeed Dale Cooper, albeit a dark manifestation of him, one half of a whole, rather than a doppelganger.
Dark Coop was desperate to know who Judy was (aren’t we all?) and pleaded with Jeffries to tell him. There are loads of fan theories online about the true nature of Judy – some think it could be Josie Packard’s sister, some think it’s the victim in another Blue Rose case, some think it’s codename for Laura Palmer – but for now, Jeffries tells Dark Coop that he has already met her. He then puffs out some numbers (480551) which Dark Coop eagerly writes down.
Outside, and back in the conscious world, Dark Coop gets an unexpected visitor – Richard Horne, who confirms (finally) that he’s the son of Audrey Horne. They take a ride back to Twin Peaks together. I’m wondering if they are father and son. (Dark Coop was last seen going into visit Audrey in the hospital 25 years ago. Could the unthinkable have happened?)
While Dark Coop was visiting the convenience store, Good Coop was still dormant inside Dougie Jones’ body. But something happened, which suggested that next week’s episode might see the return of Good Coop for good. While he was eating chocolate cake, presented to him by now doting wife, Janey-E, he blankly played with the TV remote, punching buttons randomly, as if enjoying the spongy feel on his fingers. On switched the television to a scene from Sunset Boulevard. A character muttered the words ‘Gordon Cole’ (a minor character in the film) and Good Coop finally flipped. His expression changed, and he came alive.
He then crawled on his hands and knees to the electrical socket down by the television (Lynch really has a thing for the crackle of electricity, its power and provenance) and stuck his metal fork into it. It sent that whole house into a fused lightshow. Could this be the moment we’ve been waiting for? Has the previously inert Good Coop just defibrilated himself back to life? We’ll have to wait and see.
Oh, and Freddie. We saw the Cockney lad with the green super fist (is this Lynch’s version of a superhero?) severely injure a creep in the roadhouse. I have a theory – I think there will be a task force, Twin Peaks’ very own defenders (Hawk, Truman, Good Coop, Gordon, Albert, Tammy, and Freddie) who will gather to repel Dark Coop in the final episode.
What do you think?
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