There was a little something for everyone on this week’s Twin Peaks! Attempted murder, actual murder, romance, restaurant-related intrigue, arm wrestling, and we all heard a song that we never thought we’d hear again in a million years. Can you believe that there are just a handful of episodes left? Our story inches ever so closer to its conclusion — it’s time to tackle Part 13!
OVER THE TOP: Bad Cooper pulls in at a warehouse where Ray and a bunch of other degenerates are hanging out, waiting for him and watching his arrival. Cooper takes a crude elevator to the second floor and comes face to face with Ray and the rest of the motley crew. One of them, Renzo (a physically intimidating bald dude), is ‘the boss.’ He achieved his boss status by winning every arm wrestling challenge he competed in for the last 14 years. Sounds like a logical way to determine leadership, right? Ray sets up an arm wrestling competition between Renzo and Cooper in which the winner will become the leader of the warehouse crew. Cooper says that he doesn’t want to be the new boss if he wins (really, does he have time for a new job with everything on his plate already anyway?), he just wants Ray. With the terms now agreed upon, everyone heads downstairs for Machofest 2017. SIDE NOTE: Since its obvious that Ray just wants Cooper dead, why not just kill him right away? Ray has about a dozen subservient creeps with weapons to back him up. It would be a turkey shoot! Apparently the reason that Cooper isn’t dead on arrival is because the warehouse gang just wants to ‘mess with him first.’ These are not smart criminals, people.
On the way downstairs, Renzo takes a potshot to Cooper’s back, saying that his punch was ‘from the nursery school teacher.’ So this means that Cooper was somehow responsible for Richard Horne’s crimes? More on this in a bit. Renzo and Cooper sit down and assume their ‘starting positions’ for the contest. The arm wrestling commences and right off the bat, it’s obvious that Cooper is putting in very little effort and still managing to more than hold his own. Meanwhile Renzo is sweating and grunting and giving it his all. Soon it becomes evident that Cooper is just playing with Renzo, effortlessly moving Renzo’s arm back to ‘starting position’ and displaying his dominance over the situation. So Cooper has superhuman strength now? Ray sees that he is on the losing end of everything and tries to just shoot Cooper during the arm wrestling match, but the other warehouse freaks support bro code and stop him from doing so. The match ends with Cooper slamming Renzo’s arm to the table and then punching Renzo’s face so hard that his eyes cave in and he lies on the floor, really most sincerely dead. As winner, Cooper gets his alone time with Ray as the rest of the gang retreat to another room and watch the proceedings on closed circuit television. Ray tries to make a run for it but Cooper shoots him in the leg. Then he questions Ray at gunpoint and finds out that Phillip Jeffries (or at least someone pretending to be Phillip Jeffries) hired Ray to murder Cooper because he ‘has something inside that they want.’ Ray takes the owl ring out of his pocket (supposedly a guard gave it to him right before the prison escape) and puts it on his left hand, as per Cooper’s instructions. The ring was supposed to go on Cooper’s hand after his death, but now plans have changed. As the warehouse crew watches all of this transpire, Richard Horne walks in to join their viewing party (!!!). Ray says that Jeffries is at a place called The Dutchman’s, and then Cooper unceremoniously shoots him in the head and walks off. The ring disappears from Ray’s dead hand, then suddenly we are in the Lodge! Ray lays dead on the Lodge floor as a hand that looks like Mike’s places the ring back on the ornate table.
So many things happening in this extended scene! Has Cooper always had superpowers or did he receive them after Ray ‘killed’ him? Come to think of it, is BOB still inside Cooper? It seemed that BOB left him back in part 8, but we can’t be sure. And all of these references to Phillip Jeffries make me wonder if we are dealing with the real Jeffries or an imposter. And how does Richard Horne fit into everything? He obviously knew to come to the warehouse (and he didn’t even assault anyone this episode — a first!) but why? Is he really the son of Bad Cooper? And finally, I have to mention the owl ring. I have absolutely no idea how this ring works, how it gets around to so many people, or its exact importance in the universe. I don’t think I’m ever going to know, and I’m fine with that. I like a little eternal mystery in my life.
THE YOUNG POISONER’S HANDBOOK: In Las Vegas at the Lucky 7 Insurance office, a conga like joyously works its way through the hallway. The Mitchum Brothers, Dougie, and The Pink Ladies are still celebrating their $30 million reversal of fortune. They dance into Bushnell Mullins’ office and present him with some congratulatory gifts — cigars, monogrammed cufflinks, and a new BMW convertible. Co-worker Anthony sees all of this happening and hides behind his desk, placing a frantic call to Mr. Todd. He is informed that he now has exactly one day to take care of the Dougie problem himself. At the police station, the world’s most inept detectives receive information about Dougie’s fingerprints. They discover that according to the analysis, Dougie recently escaped from a South Dakota prison and is a missing FBI agent. THIS IS IT, EVERYTHING WE HAVE BEEN WAITING FOR ALL SUMMER. Someone finally has proof to connect Dougie to Dale Cooper and WHAT HAPPENS NEXT? The detectives laugh it off and throw the fingerprint analysis report into the trash. THAT’S IT, I GIVE UP. Coop, you’re gonna have to find your own way out of Dougie. You only have five more episodes to do so. Anthony shows up at the police station to talk to Detective Clark and try to obtain some poison to use on Dougie. Apparently Clark is part of this insurance fraud scam and agrees to hook Anthony up with his toxin of choice. After Anthony leaves, Clark talks to his co-worker about calling Mr. Todd and notifying him of Anthony’s ongoing breakdown. Boy, Mr. Todd has his fingers in a lot of cherry pies.
Back at the homestead, Janey-E (still the world’s greatest wife) watches as a new gym set and BMW are delivered to her house. Later that night, she stands with Dougie and beams with happiness and love, knowing that her husband has finally come through and provided for his family. Just a few days ago, she was meeting with seedy gangsters at the local playground and Jade was giving him two rides. Now everything is finally coming together for their family. I have a feeling the Jones’ contentment is not going to last much longer.
The next day outside work, Anthony treats Dougie to coffee. When Dougie wanders off to salivate over the cherry pie inside the shop, Anthony mixes the poison into Dougie’s coffee cup. COULD THIS BE THE END OF MR. JONES? Not quite. Dougie returns to the table and pauses as he stands behind Anthony, transfixed by the specks of dandruff on the collar of Anthony’s suit. He gently moves the specks around with his fingers (who would ever have thought that the new Twin Peaks would involve Agent Cooper as a childlike zombie who plays with another man’s dandruff? THIS IS FANTASTIC). Anthony suddenly breaks down crying, grabs Dougie’s coffee, and runs off to the bathroom to dump it down the urinal. Dougie just sits down and enjoys his pie and coffee like nothing extremely weird is going on around him. Cut to Bushnell Mullins’ office where Anthony is crying like a bitch and confessing all of his sins to his boss while Dougie stands there and repeats phrases with a half-blank look on his face, like he always does. Anthony tells all about his murderous intentions and his connections with Mr. Todd and how he has been defrauding insurance claims for months. Bushnell (who I’ve been admiring for a while now, he’s a really unique and upstanding individual) takes pity on this pathetic mess of an insurance salesman that sits sobbing in the chair before him. He gets Anthony to agree to testify against Mr. Todd in court when the time comes although I suspect that with Mr. Todd’s far-reaching underworld contacts, Anthony would be lucky to make it to the courthouse alive.
WOMAN ON THE VERGE OF A NERVOUS BREAKDOWN: Somewhere on the edge of sanity, Audrey talks to her husband Charlie about how she feels like somebody else. She can’t even remember why she wants to go to the Roadhouse (she wants to go there to find Billy, for those playing along at home). Then she can’t decide on whether to go or stay home when last week, she was anxious as hell to go out and find her lover. Something is clearly not ok with Audrey. Is she mentally ill? Or maybe she’s being manipulated and driven to the brink of madness by Charlie (he never did tell her what Tina said, after all). Regardless of the cause, Miss Horne is not well. At the scene’s end, she is helpless and alone and crying in a chair (‘crying in a chair’ seems to be a major theme of this episode). I really hope we get to see some resolution to all of this pretty soon.
THE CITY THAT NEVER SLEEPS: At the RR Diner, Shelly takes a phone call from a distraught Becky, who is worried about Steven’s disappearance the past couple of days. Is Becky crazy? This guy is a drug-addict and an abusive, cheating menace to society and she is worried about him? Shelly convinces her daughter to come down to the diner for pie, ice cream, and to talk. Later on, Big Ed and Norma sit at a booth and chat. Bobby stops by briefly and talks about his father and vaguely describes the information the police department found at his mom’s house. Norma’s business manager Walter shows up and she greets him with a kiss, squashing any hopes we had that Ed and Norma had finally become a couple after all these years. Ed moved to another booth and longingly watches as Norma and Walter discuss her 4 RR franchise diners. Walter wants to boost profits at the Twin Peaks location by trying to convince Norma to tweak both the diner’s name and the ingredients in her famous pies, but she isn’t having any of it. Meanwhile, Dr. Jacoby drives by the Run Silent, Run Drapes store and sees one of his golden shovels hanging in the window. He jumps out of his truck and furiously knocks on the store door until Nadine comes out. She gets all fangirl on him and he reminisces about the last time he saw her, seven years ago when she was on her hands and knees looking for a potato at the grocery store. LOOKING FOR A POTATO. Somehow this conversation outside the drape shop leads to the two standing there, looking at each other all mushy-eyed. YEP, I CALLED IT. IT’S A LOVE CONNECTION. Elsewhere, Sarah Palmer rounds out the day by drinking, smoking, and watching a loop of an old boxing match on television. Like, it’s literally a 25-second loop of the same boxing scene played over and over again. This woman has the oddest entertainment preferences. She must not have cable.
Last but not least, tonight’s musical performance at the Roadhouse comes from…James Hurley? He’s no Trent Reznor, that’s for sure. James sends shockwaves throughout the land by singing his latest song, the 25 year old tune ‘Just You And I’. I laughed out loud as soon as I heard him playing the opening notes on his guitar. And guess what? The Roadhouse crowd was into it. They were swaying and really getting off on the song. This is where Twin Peaks: The Return has shattered my suspension of disbelief. I can believe in some things: magical and murderous woodsmen, alternate realities, people’s heads disappearing into smoke. But I cannot realistically imagine a crowd of young people enjoying this song, even when they are half-drunk. And James hasn’t written any new songs in the past two decades? It’s as if ‘Just You And I’ was his grand musical statement and he just stopped recording new material after that because nothing could ever top it. He’s the Neutral Milk Hotel of the Pacific Northwest.
MORE THINGS THAT HAPPENED:
— There was a brief scene with Hutch and Chantel the Nice And Wet Slut driving through Utah. They discussed Mormons and Chantel made a joke I didn’t understand, even upon a second viewing.
— What the hell was going on in the Vegas police station? Some woman was yelling offscreen about shitting in someone’s mouth (always a good time), then she urinated on the floor and they had to taser her. Just good, clean, city living, I guess.
— ‘Let’s go back to starting positions’ has become a phrase that I interject into everyday conversation now. It joins ‘He’s still cool, he was always cool’, ‘I’m dead, yet I live’, ‘You’re not going to tell me what she said?’, ‘It’s a world of truck drivers’ and many others. My friends and co-workers must think I’m a madman.
— Audrey mentions Ghostwood during her breakdown. I wonder whatever happened to the Ghostwood development…
— Why does Dougie get obsessed with the dandruff on Anthony’s collar? I’ve heard some speculation that it reminds him of the stars that Cooper was falling through when he exited the Lodge. That may be a stretch, but it’s better than anything else I could think of.
— That accountant appearing from out of nowhere in the room with Cooper and Ray was a brilliant little addition to the scene. He asks Cooper if he needs any money and then walks away. Cooper doesn’t NEED, he WANTS. I thought we already went over this.
— Who was that woman who was crying while watching James sing? I mean, I was crying too but probably for totally different reasons.
— The end credits roll as Big Ed sits alone at the Gas Farm eating a cup of soup and burning a small piece of paper. This is very depressing. He’s alone and in his 70’s and eating the cheapest food known to mankind. And he’s eating it AT WORK. It doesn’t get much lower than that.
That’s all for this week! I can’t say this was one of my favorite episodes of The Return. It was just a good episode in my opinion, which is still far better than anything else on television at the moment. We only have three more episodes before the two-hour finale. I think the action is going to ramp up rather soon. I’ll be spending the next week holed up in my bedroom watching old sports DVDs, drinking like a fish in a percolator, and of course, doing massive amounts of Sparkle. Hang loose, Haoles!