Strap yourselves in tight because there’s just two weeks left and the action just accelerated into high gear! This episode had a little something for everyone. Romance, sci-fi surrealism, violence, and whatever the hell is going on with Audrey. Let’s get started!
THE CONVENIENCE STORE AT THE END OF THE WORLD: Is this taking place somewhere in New Mexico near the atomic bomb explosion? Forgive me if I’m wrong. Bad Cooper pulls into the same convenience store that we saw back in the infamous episode 8. A woodsman greets him outside and leads him upstairs and into a room. We can tell something is off about this place right away because of the way Cooper and the woodsman disappear as they walk up the stairs, and also because the room they enter has wallpaper on the ceiling (if that’s not a dead giveaway for insanity, nothing is). Cooper asks where to find Phillip Jeffries, which causes another woodsman to flip a switch that lights up the room with electricity, and we see the jumping man from Fire Walk With Me very briefly. Then yet another woodsman (which may be the first woodsman, I don’t know, there were lots of reappearing woodsman in this store) leads Cooper down a hallway, into a forest, up a staircase, and through a door that opened into a motel courtyard. It’s hard to believe that David Lynch has never done any psychedelic or dissociative drugs because he really nailed the drug experience in this sequence. Cooper knocks on one of the motel room doors, which is then unlocked for him by a mysterious woman and he FINALLY enters the realm of the long-lost Agent Jeffries.
Hmmmm, how shall I explain this now? In the past 25 years, Phillip Jeffries has morphed from a guy who looked very much like David Bowie into some sort of vaporizer/cloud machine/industrial inanimate object that can speak. I won’t speculate on how or why this happened. Let’s just say that Jeffries has been through a lot and leave it at that. Cooper talks to him about the last time they met in the Philadelphia office in 1989, which leads to a discussion about Judy and who she is — Jeffries knows but he’s not telling. Instead a bunch of numbers billow out of his swirling smokestack (damn, it’s hard to accurately describe this show sometimes), which Cooper transcribes on a notebook. What foresight Cooper had to stop off at a CVS pharmacy and pick up a notebook on his way to this interdimensional realm! The coordinates seem to be the same as the ones written on Ruth Davenport’s dead arm so at least we know that with just a few episodes left, everyone will be headed to the same place. Jeffries tells Cooper that Judy is someone he’s already met, leading to Cooper yelling out ‘Who is Judy?’ over and over again. A telephone rings, the Agent Jeffries vaporizer disappears, electricity fills the room, and suddenly Cooper is transported outside the convenience store where he just stands there holding the phone receiver like an idiot. BUT WAIT! Our favorite malcontent Richard Horne is standing there, pointing a gun at him! Cooper distracts Richard by asking him a few questions, wherein we learn that Audrey is Richard’s mother (which we all pretty much guessed by now anyway) and that Richard thinks that Cooper is still with the FBI. Cooper manages to get close enough to give Richard a quick ass-kicking, then orders him to get into the truck and go for a drive with him. One guess as to where they are headed…
About these scenes: Judy has to be Naido, the eyeless Asian woman, right? Is she the key to everything? I’m not even sure if I want all of this to come together and make sense in the last three episodes or not. Part of me wants to know how everything fits together, and another part of me wants to spend the rest of my life trying to figure it out on my own. Hopefully the ending of the series will leave things somewhere in the middle of those two options.
WAKING UP IN VEGAS: Hutch and Chantal the Slut are in town, ready to cause all sorts of trouble. First off, Chantal marches into the office of Mr. Todd and promptly shoots him in the head, then pulls the trigger on Roger for good measure (he was just an INTERN, Chantal! For the love of God, leave the interns alone! They’ve already made a huge career misstep by becoming interns in the first place and now you’re killing them). As she walks away, she talks to Hutch on the phone and makes a reference to having one more person to kill in Vegas — Dougie, they’re coming for ya. Afterwards, Chantal and Hutch share their customary after-murder fast food feast and she bemoans the fact that she hasn’t tortured anyone in a long time. You can’t have everything, honey.
Elsewhere in Vegas, the local branch of the FBI continues their incompetence by bringing in the wrong Douglas Jones. At the rate they are going, Chantal is going to find our Dougie waaaay before the authorities ever will. How difficult is it to find a woman who calls herself Janey-E? After seeing the incompetent investigative work done on this show, I truly believe I should be able to get a job in this field. I certainly would be better than the Fusco brothers, at least.
Our final scene in Vegas involves the REAL Dougie Jones eating a piece of cake and watching the movie Sunset Boulevard on TV. He hears one of the characters speak the name ‘Gordon Cole’, which seems to awaken something in Dougie. In fact, you can see behind Dougie’s eyes that it’s our Agent Cooper in there. DougieCoop gets down on the floor, crawling on his hands and knees to the nearest electrical outlet, which he promptly sticks a fork into (don’t try this at home, kids). All of the electrical circuits in the house blow out, Janey-E screams, and we have to wait until next week to see if Dale Cooper emerges at the other side of this. Man oh man, I cannot wait.
TRANSMISSIONS FROM A LONELY ROOM: I’m not sure where or when this all takes place, but Audrey and Charlie are still playing the game of ‘Are we gonna go to the Roadhouse or just stand here and talk about it all night?’. Audrey seems to enjoy self-sabotage because yep, they’re gonna stand there and talk about it all night. She berates him for how he treats her and tells him that she prefers Billy’s company over his. Then, something odd happened that I was truly not ready for. Audrey says to Charlie that she ‘never really saw him before like she does right now’ and ‘it’s like she’s meeting a different person’. The look in her eyes as she said this, her words and the raw emotional honesty of the scene touched something deep inside of me and I was moved to tears. I am not easily affected by movies and television shows but at that moment, I WAS Audrey. Trapped in a room with someone who could never understand her. Anxious to go to a place where she would never actually arrive with someone who suddenly felt like a total stranger. I recently ended a long-term relationship and I realize that probably had a lot to do with my powerful reaction to the scene. Charlie tires of Audrey’s insults and games and decides to take his coat off and sit down. She runs at him and attacks him, screaming that she hates him, strangling him, and that’s where the scene ends. This was the most personally affecting five minutes of film I have watched in a very, very long time. I was just as moved during my second viewing, even though I had prepared myself for what was coming. I realize that not everyone will see this brief, bizarre scene the same way that I do. I believe this is just an example of how David Lynch can get inside your head in ways that no one else can. On a side note, these Audrey and Charlie scenes represent a unique sort of ‘kitchen sink surrealism’ that I absolutely love and I have never seen before outside of a Lynch movie. Now that we’ve all had our spiritual experience for the week, let’s move on.
LOVE AND OTHER DRUGS: In the town of Twin Peaks, Nadine walks to Big Ed’s Gas Farm. She looks determined as hell and is carrying her favorite worldly possession, Dr. Amp’s golden shovel. As she approaches Ed, I am a bit worried that she is just going to beat the hell out of him with the shovel. But instead, she tells him about her epiphany and how she is letting him be free so he can be with Norma, his true love. ‘True love is giving the other what makes them happy’. Indeed. Ed and Nadine hug and then she takes off back down the street, happy and probably at least partially insane. Ed hightails it over to the RR Diner, where he announces his freedom to Norma. Walter arrives just in time to cock block Ed and have a quick meeting with Norma wherein she decides to let him buy her out of the RR franchise. She sends an upset Walter on his way and while Otis Redding’s ‘I’ve Been Loving You Too Long’ plays in the background, she saunters over to Ed, kisses him, and accepts his marriage proposal. They’ve only waited about 50 years for this moment, and it’s perfect. It’s nice to see love win on this show, for a change. Let’s just hope that something from the Black Lodge doesn’t kill one of them in the final three hours of the series.
Meanwhile, Gersten and Steven the Little Junkie Who Could are curled up by a tree in the woods, high and being generally annoying. He loads a gun and talks about rhinoceroses and the color turquoise (no, really he does) while he slobbers all over her. A man walking his dog (hey it’s Mark Frost!) approaches and freaks them out. Gersten runs to hide behind a different tree because this tree is so much safer than the previous tree she was hanging out at. She hears a gunshot go off and let’s hope that it was Steven committing suicide because I don’t think I can take another minute of him treating Becky like dirt or him drooling his Sparkle-spit all over my television screen. Mark Frost runs to the Fat Trout Trailer Park and rats Steven out to Carl Rodd. Poor Carl, being the owner of this trailer park is really tough business. The Ropers never had to deal with this shit.
At the Roadhouse, the crazy old man MC cranks some ZZ Top and the crowd is treated to music that is a bit more upbeat than the romantic musings of James Hurley. Speak of the devil, James shows up with Freddie and makes the mistake of saying hello to Renee, who is his secret love or something. Renee’s husband Chuck reacts poorly to James’ presence and starts beating the crap out of him. Freddie comes to James’ rescue and uses his super-magical Thor glove to knock Chuck and his buddy halfway into oblivion. I really want a glove like this, it may come in handy some day. James and Freddie are taken to a jail cell, joining Deputy Chad, Naido the eyeless woman who makes bird noises, and the creepy, drooling, repetitive guy who mimics the eyeless woman’s bird noises. It’s a motley crew in the local jail this week, folks!
The Log Lady calls Deputy Hawk one last time to tell him she is dying and to make a few final cryptic statements about being under the moon on Blue Pine Mountain and her log turning gold (like Jacoby’s shovel?). Afterwards, Hawk gathers the gang in the conference room and mournfully announces Margaret’s death. We get some Angelo music, shots of the forest at night and the Log Lady’s cabin going dark, and it’s a tearful and fitting farewell for Margaret Lanterman and the late Catherine Coulson.
ONE MORE THING: Back at the Roadhouse, The Veils play a song as a mousy Asian girl gets forcibly removed from her seat by two bikers. She then proceeds to crawl across the dance floor for a bit before breaking out in a bloodcurdling scream. Yeah, life is tough sometimes. I’ve been there.
MORE THINGS THAT HAPPENED:
— Shelly watching Ed and Norma kiss in the RR Diner was about as classic Twin Peaks as we’ve seen in The Return so far, and it was fantastic.
— Is Bad Cooper going to be revealed as Richard’s father? And speaking of Richard, where’s this Linda that The Fireman spoke of? We heard her name mentioned to Carl Rodd but we don’t know anything about her except that she uses a wheelchair and receives mail like most red-blooded Americans.
— I’m more and more convinced that Audrey is still in a coma after the bank explosion and her interactions with Charlie are just part of some coma fantasy. I am actually HOPING this is the case, because I can’t imagine Miss Horne’s real life turning out to be quite this horrible. Also because coma fantasies are fun.
— During his Sparkle freak-out in the woods, Steven tells Gersten ‘I like your cunt. Sometimes, like, it’s so amazing’. Just sometimes? Guys, please don’t ever use this line on women you are trying to impress. IT NEVER WORKS. It only works on Gersten because…ok I don’t know why it works on her.
That’s all for this week! Personally I found this episode to be one of the best of the series. It was emotional and weird as all hell, and I think we might have gotten Dale Cooper back on top of everything. There are only three hours of the show left (which includes the two hour finale on Labor Day weekend), so I’m anticipating a mindblowing penultimate episode next week. Hang loose, Haoles! I’m going to go and find my Norma and get married and honeymoon in Vegas!