Welcome to this week’s Doppel-Coop free edition of “The Waiting Room”. After getting his fair share of screen time throughout the first five parts, our anti-hero got the week off. It’s no coincidence that in his absence, a new villain walked in the door he kicked open last week and forcefully took his seat at the table of the most despicable characters we’ve ever seen in not just Twin Peaks but any Lynch film. Richard Horne; you’re no Bob, but you did knock Leo Johnson down a few pegs in the hierarchy of evil. Let’s get into this emotional gut punch known as “Part 6”.
We only had one scene with our badge-wearing heroes this week and that belonged to the “King of the Insult” himself, Albert. We see Albert driving in the pouring rain in what he calls a “34 degree night” in a town not identified with an onscreen caption. Gordon is talking to Albert while he’s parking his car and driving him crazy in the process (Side note: I really thought I would miss the bromance of Cooper and Harry. Gordon and Albert might be a more fun duo to follow). Gordon reminds Albert of the importance of what he’s about to do, which is to risk the rain and ongoing traffic to enter a bar. Within a minute, Albert identifies who he is looking for by her stylishly short blond hair: the often invoked but never seen Diane, played by Lynch’s most faithful collaborator, Laura Dern. The mystery is over. While Diane was always the leading contender as to both whom Dern was playing and also who Albert was referring to at the end of Part 4, I personally never wanted to see Diane. I liked that mystery lingering in the background. However, this part is obviously going to be instrumental to the plot moving forward, and Laura Dern is my favorite actress, so I really can’t be too upset. It does get the mind going: What’s it going to be like when Diane sees Doppel-Coop? Will she ever cross paths with our Cooper, currently playing the role of Dougie Jones, who’s trying not to die (per Phillip Gerrard’s instructions)? Can Diane help our Cooper wake up? There’s a lot of possibilities on the table now and with an actress the calibre of Dern being directed by Lynch, we know it’s going to be good.
Moving over to the town of Twin Peaks, we got to see a nice combination of old and new faces. We got a proper introduction to Red, the character being played by Balthazar Getty of Lost Highway fame. At the end of Part 2, we saw Red at the Roadhouse for only a moment making a shooting gesture at Shelly. At the time we knew nothing about this new man in town and speculated if he already had a relationship with Shelly or if he was trying to begin one. After getting to know Red a little better in Part 6, I’m firmly hoping that for Shelly’s sake she’s free of her bad boy kick and wants nothing to do with Red.
Red in his one scene in the episode emasculated Richard Horne in a manner that surprised me. It was just last week that Horne was introduced and seemed to be positioned as a force to be reckoned with in the show. To have him immediately brow-beaten and even more so mentally tormented initially struck me as a very odd storytelling choice. It would all make sense a few scenes later, however, back to the scene. Red is new in town and much like in the original run of the series, the drugs are coming in from Canada. As similar to Twin Peaks classic, a fresh-faced bad boy is doing the heavy lifting. Red establishes himself as a ruthless kingpin, accompanied by heavily armed muscle and equipped with sweet martial arts moves…and magic! Red flipped a coin, made it appear in Richard’s mouth and then vanished back into Red’s hand. Red’s final warning to young Mr Horne was that if he ever crossed him, he would split open Richard’s head and eat his brains. I believed him. I think Richard did too.
Prediction: Becky will choose her love of cocaine over her loser husband Steven and will wind up with Richard, ala Laura Palmer and Bobby Briggs. This is a pretty common prediction right now. The kicker: Becky’s mother, Shelly, will fall for Richard’s employer, Red, utterly clueless as to who Red actually is. Red’s control over Richard will carry over into their romantic lives, leading to Richard ultimately wanting to kill Red. From there Becky could go full LP and go down that dark path with Richard or Mama Shelly could swoop in and hopefully help break the cycle of bad men in both mother and daughter’s lives. I’m hoping for the latter.
Before we get back to Richard, there was a scene at the Double R that at first seemed like a nostalgia gag with Lynch overindulging in Heidi the waitresses giggle. A local teacher (Miriam I believe was her name) was established as a regular at the Double R, completely head over heels in love with Norma’s pies. As she was leaving, Shelly commented on how Miriam could afford to tip so much on her salary. There’s no such thing as a throwaway line in this show. Either it was meant to continue the ongoing theme of the generational differences (here the older generation still believes in kindness and other values), or this teacher is up to some shady shit to earn that extra cash. More will be revealed…
In a scene towards the end of the episode (sorry for not going in scene order but it just didn’t feel right considering the content), Sheriff Frank Truman was visited by his again distressed wife, Doris. Frank was as calm as he could be as he walked her out of the control room where the more modern-day police officers are. As they left, everyone’s favorite Deputy Chad begins commenting about how he wouldn’t put up with that if he were the Sheriff. The lady officer speaks up, asking him if he knew that their son committed suicide after he came home from the war. Deputy Chad mocks him, fake crying and all to end the scene. This accomplished a few things: one, Chad is an asshole that hopefully gets his at some point. Two, did anyone else think of the Gordon Cole line “Fix your hearts or die?” Lynch and Frost’s point about modern day America and the younger adults today lacking compassion, concern, empathy and a lot of other values people of both Lynch and Frost’s generation find to be important could not be any more apparent. Where they take it narratively is the question.
Hawk took a huge leap forward on his quest from the Log Lady in Part 6. Hawk dropped what at first appeared to be a dime in the men’s room. He followed the coin and got on all fours to pick it up when he realized that the coin was not a traditional dime; it was tribal. Following the stones in the path, Hawk looked up to see that the door was built by a company with the name “Nez Perce”. (If you were one of those people who discounted The Secret History of Twin Peaks, how many more times does Mark Frost have to tell you that you’re wrong?) From there Hawk saw a crack in the panel of the restroom stall, and he knew something was in there. He went and got tools, and a step ladder told Deputy Chad to get lost and found several sheets of paper inside the door.
What is written on these sheets of paper? Who wrote it? How did it get there? This feels like the discovery of Laura’s real secret diary all over again. Is it Sunday yet? There are two ways I can see this going. The first is that this is all Briggs and that the papers will shed light on both his murder and what he was working on (the dossier). Option number two is a throwback to Fire Walk With Me: “The good Dale is trapped in the Lodge. Write it in your diary”. If it is Annie’s message to Laura that Hawk found, I have no idea how they got there but it damn sure would be interesting. Remember dear readers; Lynch did tell us that Fire Walk With Me was important. At the same time, remember that Mark Frost is telling us on a weekly basis that his book plays a role in the series. At this point, I think it is a 50/50 on which it is Hawk found, but I don’t see any third options, at least as of yet.
Speaking of Fire Walk With Me, one of the most beloved characters from that film, Carl Rodd, appeared for the first time in “The Return”. Carl was about to be driven into town when a man named Mickey asked if he could ride with. The two exchanged some funny back and forth about smoking before the conversation changed to Linda, Mickey’s wife. Linda is in a chair and is relying on the government for assistance. Carl and Mickey talk about their dislike of the government and another reference to a war is mentioned. (What war?) At the same time that Carl and Mickey are talking about Linda, Lynch is cross-cutting to Richard driving like a coked out madmen. The tension is building as we, as an audience, know something bad is about to happen. That tension almost masked the name Linda being mentioned while Richard is being cut to. “Richard and Linda. Two birds, one stone” said the artist formerly known as The Giant at the beginning of Part 1. What does it mean? Too soon to tell. However, it was worth taking notice of.
Richard is furiously driving from both the drugs and the anger from his encounter with Red earlier. His rage is pouring through his skin. Lynch masterfully cuts back and forth between angry Richard, Carl Rodd on a park bench and a mother racing her son down the street towards his school bus. The feeling is there: something bad is about to happen; we just don’t know if Carl or the child/mother will be the victim. Last week Lynch took us to the edge of our seats with a scene where a bomb intended for Dougie Jones could have potentially killed a child. Last week’s close call turned into this week’s tragedy as Richard began driving on the wrong side of the road right as another driver signaled for the boy to cross the street. The world stopped, everyone around in disbelief. The sobbing mother held her deceased son close to her, screaming in the streets. Traffic stood still. Onlookers cried, stood in shock and held each other close. Carl Rodd, in an act of compassion and empathy, sat with the grieving mother in the middle of the road, without saying a word. Carl watched a ball of energy leave the boy and ascend towards the sky, before fixating on electrical wires. The world stood still, as Carl attempted to take on some of the pain and suffering from the grieving mother. The world stood still, except for Richard Horne. He was long gone. The only person to see the driver before he sped off: Miriam, the generous tipper from before.
By taking the life of a child one week after showing rapist like force and verbal harassment towards a woman, Twin Peaks has firmly entrenched Richard Horne as a truly despicable character. One thing that 24 hours later is really sticking with me is Carl sitting with the mother in the road. He wanted to be there for that woman, to ease her pain if he could. Lynch showed us pure darkness, but he also showed us the light. He showed that darkness couldn’t drive out the light; in fact, light shown brightly in spite of the darkness. The show has depicted Twin Peaks thus far in a depressive state, not nearly the vibrant, close-knit community it once was. Something’s changed. The light is dimmed there. Last night we saw it come back. Perhaps Carl Rodd was the first sign of hope we’ve seen in all six parts of “The Return”. Perhaps that scene was designed to tell us not to give up; there still is hope despite all of the bad we see. In a world full of Richard Horne’s, there are still Carl Rodd’s left. Until next time my friends…