Here we are, 1/3 of the way through The Return already. It seems like just yesterday we were anticipating the premiere. Damn, it is all going by way too fast. This week’s episode was equally violent, somber, and hilarious. What more can you ask for in an episode of Twin Peaks? Ok, let’s get started.
YEP, DOUGIE IS STILL HANGING AROUND: The Man Formerly Known As Agent Cooper is still hanging around the statue outside his workplace, only leaving when some cops finally decide to escort him home. Once arrived, he has dinner with Janey-E and does his best version of tucking Sonny Jim into bed for the night (really all he does is place a potato chip on the boy’s bed sheet and play around with the clapper device on the lamp in the bedroom — everyone should have a fun dad like this!). When he returns downstairs to his wife, she confronts him with the content of an unmarked envelope that was left at their door: a photograph of him and Jade the Friendly Hooker. This brings about what is surely the best exchange of the episode when Cooper blurts out ‘Jade give two rides’ and Janey-E responds ‘I bet she did!’ They receive a phone call from the men who sent the photo, the same men who Dougie owes $52,000. Janey-E sets up a meeting with these men at the local playground for the next day at ‘noon-thirty’. Who the hell calls it ‘noon-thirty’? I can honestly say that I have never heard that expression before in my entire life. This whole family is WEIRD. More weirdness: Shouldn’t Janey-E be completely freaking out that her husband is sleeping with prostitutes and her family is being hunted by a bunch of seedy criminals? She is very obviously upset about the circumstances, but she should be pacing the floors and tearing her hair out and screaming and crying. All she does is admonish her husband a little and say ‘Tomorrow is a big day’. This is either the best wife in the world or the worst wife in the world. You decide. Anyway, she heads off to bed, and Cooper sees a vision of the one-armed man in the Lodge telling him ‘You have to wake up. Don’t die’. Then Cooper settles in for a long night of drawing pictures of ladders and stairways all over the important case files from his office. Even though he seems to be following some sort of intuition from the Lodge in drawing these pictures, I couldn’t help but laugh and think ‘Oh boy, his boss is gonna flip when he sees this tomorrow!’
BUT I WAS WRONG AGAIN. The next day, Cooper sits and stares and makes love to a cup of coffee while his boss Mr. Mullins looks over the files. At first, Mullins is confused and angry upon seeing the pointless, childish drawings that make up Dougie’s ‘report’. But as he peruses the files, something clicks in his head and he ends the meeting by genuinely thanking Cooper for his report and saying that he has a ‘lot to think about’ now. Hmmm…Cooper’s drawings must have something to do with smarmy co-worker Tony and whatever insurance scam he is trying to pull off. Why is the Lodge helping Cooper excel in his Dougie persona? Will we find out next week? I hope so, because this is all we get of Dougie/Cooper for tonight.
JANE JANEY-E’S BAADASSSSS SONG: At the playground, the world’s most forgiving, neurotic wife meets up with the two men who are harassing Dougie for $52,000. She proceeds to rail on them for trying to extort money from her family while they just stand there in amazement. Naomi Watts really gives her all in this monologue. Who would have thought that she could stand up to two thugs like this? My favorite parts: when she tells them that ‘we drive cheap, terrible cars’ and ‘we are living in a dark, dark age and you are part of the problem!’ She gives them $25,000 and tells them that they are lucky to even get that, then she takes off. CONCLUSION: Janey-E is a lunatic. She has $450,000 at her disposal due to Dougie’s casino winnings YET she chooses to scream at two seedy criminals and give them only half the money they want, when she can easily afford to just pay them off the entire amount and be done with it. BUT HEY, it seems like it’s gonna work out for her. A tough woman, indeed.
BAD MOON RISING: Mr. Todd (remember him, from way back in the premiere?) sits in his office and gets a fax of a black dot. The black dot is NOT GOOD. I am going to assume that he forwards this ominous message to our favorite new character, an apparent hired assassin named Ike The Spike. Ike is a little person who is buff and angry and sits in a hotel room all day rolling dice and writing down the outcomes in a little notebook (is this behavior considered insanity or just intense boredom? We may never know). Ike likes his ice pick. When Ike receives an envelope with the black dot on it, he proceeds to take the ice pick and use it to butcher the hell out of the person whose picture was inside the envelope: Lorraine, the anxious woman who messaged Buenos Aires in the previous episode. Ike also kills two other people in the process because they got in his way. Ike is not our friend. Most disturbing of all is the other thing that Ike received in his envelope: a picture of Dougie Jones. Watch out, Dougie, because psycho killer is coming your way!
My thoughts on all of this: Surely Lorraine is the woman that Mr. Todd was told to hire. Her job seems to have been to dispose of Cooper when he exited the Lodge. So are Mr. Todd and Lorraine working for Cooper’s doppelgänger? Is he ‘the man you should never be involved with and never let into your life?’ If this were a normal TV show, I’d say yes. But this is Twin Peaks, so I’m gonna just hold out on making that assumption just yet. YOU NEVER KNOW. Regardless of who is calling the shots, Ike is coming after Cooper next and I honestly don’t know how our confused special agent is going to get out of this one.
MEANWHILE, IN TWIN PEAKS: At the RR Diner, waitresses Heidi and Shelly talk pie and coffee with Miriam, a local schoolteacher on her way to work. I can’t believe that Heidi is back and it’s not the first or last episode of the season! I also can’t believe that the diner has the exact same staff as they did 25 years ago! The tips in this place must be phenomenal. How else can Norma be so lucky as to have zero employee turnover in 25 years? At the sheriff’s station, Doris shows up again to bitch at Frank about her dad’s car. Doris really is the most insufferable woman on this show, although we find out that her horrible demeanor towards Frank may be related to their son’s suicide years ago. Deputy Chad takes a moment to make a crude joke about Frank and Doris’ dead son. HOW CHARMING. Elsewhere at the sheriff’s station, Hawk drops an Indian head nickel in the bathroom, which leads him to notice the Indian logo on the door of the stall and to finally decipher the Log Lady’s cryptic message from the premiere. Hawk rips apart the stall door and finds some papers hidden inside. Deputy Chad stops by to make a joke about this too. What an asshole.
What did Hawk find hidden in the bathroom stall? Could it be pages from Laura’s diary that were ripped out so many years ago? Perhaps the pages that mentioned Agent Cooper being trapped in the Lodge? It would seem so, but we will have to wait until at least next week to find out for sure. One thing I’ve learned is that with this TV show is to ASSUME NOTHING. Those papers could be anything.
RED RUM: Richard Horne, America’s sweetheart, meets up with a man known as ‘Red’. Red is a drug dealer who supplies Richard with a drug known as ‘Sparkle’. Sparkle sounds like a happy, fun drug but I have a feeling it isn’t either of those things. Richard’s intent is to distribute the drug around Twin Peaks, and it’s probably the same drug that is causing all of the local overdoses as of late. Red is a bizarre, scary man who does some sort of menacing Zen punching-and-posing routine in front of Richard as they discuss the drug deal. Red threatens to EAT RICHARD’S BRAINS if Richard screws him over on the drug deal, then the real fun happens. Red takes out a dime and tosses it into the air. The dime seems to hang in the air and then somehow materializes inside of Richard’s mouth. Richard, completely stunned from seeing this, removes the dime from his mouth and holds it in his hand. Suddenly the dime is gone from his hand and is back in the air again, where it finally falls and Red catches it. Did you get all that? This was actual magic happening in real life! I have no idea what this could mean for the show moving forward, but it is pretty mind-boggling and exciting. ‘Through the darkness of future’s past, the magician longs to see…’ Richard takes off in his truck, speeding down the highway, high on Sparkle and freaking out about the encounter with Red. More on that later.
BUT FIRST: At the New Fat Trout Trailer Park, Carl Rodd is getting his daily ride into town for coffee. Harry Dean Stanton is back! I could just watch him onscreen all day, it doesn’t matter what he is doing. As it happens, he shares his ride with a dude from the trailer park who wants to go into town to ‘pick up Linda’s mail’. Could this be the Linda of The Giant’s ‘Remember Richard and Linda’? We have our Richard, now we have our Linda as well. Is it 4:30 yet?
AND THEN IT HAPPENED: Carl sits on a bench in town, drinking his coffee and watching a mother and her young son play a game of tag in the park. Just as the boy is crossing the street, Richard Horne commits about three traffic violations as he speeds through a stop sign on the wrong side of the road and accidentally plows into the boy. And I mean like, he totally annihilates the poor kid with that truck. This scene is so difficult to watch because as a viewer, you know what’s coming and it is so heartbreaking to witness a young boy die, even if it’s on television and you are aware that it’s not real. That being said, David Lynch directs the scene perfectly. The music, the sadness, the onlookers so taken aback that they can only stand there in shock. A mother instantly consumed by horror and grief. Carl witnesses the accident and sees the boy’s ‘essence’ rise from his dead body and up into the sky, through the telephone wires. Electricity. A very familiar telephone pole, by the way. Carl runs to the grieving mother, who is now cradling her son’s body in the middle of the street. Nothing is said. There is nothing to say when life throws a black tragedy at you with no warning. It’s a dark, dark age and it’s a strange world.
ONE MORE THING: Albert Rosenfield takes a cab in a dark, rainy night in the city. He gets out at Max Von’s Bar, an upscale watering hole, and approaches a mysterious woman seated at the bar. YEP, IT’S NONE OTHER THAN COOPER’S FORMER SECRETARY, DIANE. I always disliked listening all these years to people say that Diane wasn’t a real person, that she was just a name Cooper made up while he was dictating his thoughts to his tape recorder. WELL SHE’S REAL AND SHE’S FABULOUS. And she’s obviously wearing a wig, which I didn’t expect. Of course, we had to wait weeks to find out that Diane is the mystery woman Albert was speaking of during his conversation with Gordon. Hopefully it won’t be weeks before we get more of the amazing Miss Laura Dern in the role, because I am very impatiently waiting to see how Diane fits into this story.
MORE THINGS THAT HAPPENED:
— There is a very brief scene where the police investigate the charred remnants of Dougie’s car. We get to see Junkie Mom again yelling ‘119’, which is always fun. I’m not really sure who she is or what importance this scene has. Maybe I will never know.
— Red asks Richard if he’s ever seen the movie ‘The King And I’. In season two of Twin Peaks, Leland Palmer sings ‘Getting To Know You’ from ‘The King And I’ at the Great Northern Hotel lounge. Pete Martell even mentions the movie by name to Tojamura/Catherine while they are sitting at the bar. Is this connection relevant at all? I just wanted to mention it because I thought it was interesting.
— Why does Cooper seem so entranced by the poster of his boss as a boxer behind his desk? Is Cooper reacting to seeing a picture of his boss as a young man or is it something more? I can’t quite figure this one out.
— Where is the New Fat Trout Trailer Park in relation to the town of Twin Peaks? This is not the same trailer park in Oregon where Teresa Banks lived. Carl must have relocated closer to town.
— Before the new Twin Peaks episodes started airing, I had wondered if the characters would still smoke cigarettes as often as they did in the original series. I thought that maybe the years of anti-smoking campaigns (especially the ones involving smoking on television) would prevent the town from lighting up this time around. After watching 6 episodes, I can happily say that the people in this show LOVE their cigarettes. The list of smokers is too many to count. Carl Rodd even takes pride in the fact that he has smoked for 75 years, every single day. I don’t smoke anymore, but I certainly get the appeal and I’m glad to see REAL LIFE like this on the show.
— I loved the scene with Cooper in the elevator at the insurance office, smiling ear-to-ear, enjoying his morning coffee. He was so happy and carefree that he didn’t even care when the elevator doors shut on him. I sort of love this childlike, naive version of Agent Cooper and he really should get his own spinoff series.
— Frank and Doris’ son was in the military before he committed suicide. Could his military involvement have anything to do with Project Blue Book? Just throwing it out there.
— ‘Fuck Gene Kelly, you motherfucker!’ Ahhh, you gotta love Albert. He’s definitely not a ‘Singing in the Rain’ sort of guy.
— The Roadhouse musical artist this week was Sharon Von Etten, singing her song ‘Tarifa’. Listening to this somber song and watching its performance, I couldn’t help but create an end-of-episode ‘One Tree Hill’ style musical montage in my head. All of the sadness and the lonely, disconnected people in the world of Twin Peaks. Lost people, stumbling blindly through their unfortunate circumstances: Diane sitting at a bar, Cooper wandering around as Dougie, Frank and Doris losing a son, Janey-E fighting for her family, a boy’s life ending in the middle of a road on a bright, sunny day. I felt consumed by a kind of emptiness as the show ended. But somehow it just felt perfect.
That’s it for what may have been the best episode of the new Twin Peaks yet, in my opinion. I will be spending the next week getting high on Sparkle and consequently drawing pictures of ladders while I’m at work. Hang loose, Haoles!