One For The Grandkids: Twin Peaks Finale Review, Part One

Welcome to my very late (but still insanely relevant) review of the Twin Peaks finale! Previously on Twin Peaks: Agent Cooper raced to the Pacific Northwest as his doppelgänger did the same. Audrey Horne was freaking out in a white room. Ed and Norma were probably making sweet, sweet love on top of a rickety table at the gas farm. Here’s what happened next!

IT’S BEEN A REAL HIP THING I’M TELLING YOU, SAYING THAT I WANT JUDY: Gordon, Albert, and Tammy sit and drink red wine and deal with the aftermath of Diane’s deception and tulpatic behavior (yeah I just created the word ‘tulpatic’, let’s move on). Gordon confesses to Albert that he’s been holding back information for the past 25 years concerning Major Briggs, Agent Jeffries, and ‘Judy’. The gist of all of this: Judy isn’t a person (so we were all wrong!), but a sort of darkness and evil that was originally called ‘Jowday’. I have no idea why Gordon felt it best to keep this information a secret from his Blue Rose team for all these years, wouldn’t it have helped if Albert had been up to speed? (SIDE NOTE: While I absolutely love this season of Twin Peaks, I have some serious issues with this particular episode and I will be sharing said issues with you throughout my review. This is not a condemnation of Mr. Lynch or the show, however it would be remiss of me to not confess my problems with the episode.) By the time Gordon is finished with his speech/confession, a ton of information has been thrown at the audience and lots of things start happening at once. Gordon receives a phone call from the Vegas FBI about Dougie Jones leaving the hospital; it is revealed that at some point, Gordon received a message from Ray Monroe about Cooper’s search for the coordinates; Tammy gives a full report on the attempts on Dougie’s life; Bushnell Mullins speaks to Gordon on the phone and relays Cooper’s message about heading to see Sheriff Truman.

Was this really the best way to begin the episode? A bunch of exposition followed by a phone call that leads to everything ‘coming together’ in the FBI investigation? Up until now, we have been moving along at a snail’s pace and the FBI, God love ’em, has been trailing far behind the actions of Dougie and his doppelgänger. Suddenly, it ‘all makes sense’ and Gordon and his team are up to speed and on their way to Washington state. It just all seemed a little too pat, like writers trying to hurriedly get Cole and his team on the same page as everyone else. Gordon keeping the Jowday story to himself was bizarre as well. But I won’t go on about this any longer, because we are headed for a showdown among the trees…

AND THE ROAD LEADS TO NOWHERE: Bad Cooper drives into the town of Twin Peaks and arrives at his final destination, Jack Rabbit’s Palace. He’s been searching for these coordinates throughout the season, NOW HE IS FINALLY HERE. He walks over to the clearing where the police found Naido. Suddenly the vortex opens up in the sky and electricity flashes around him. OH NO, WE KNOW WHAT THIS MEANS. Bad Cooper is transported to The Great Castle At The End Of Time. But he doesn’t get a fancy chair to sit in like Andy did. Instead he gets locked in a cage while he visits with our old friends: The Fireman, Major Briggs’ ethereal floating head, The Big Yellow Saxophone, you know the crew. The Fireman turns on a movie for everyone to watch which ends up just being shots of the Palmer house and the woods. Having seen enough of the movie, the Bad Cooper cage floats into The Big Yellow Saxophone, which gracefully transports him to right outside the Twin Peaks sheriff’s station (sans cage). I CANNOT STRESS HOW ODD IT IS TO BE WRITING SENTENCES LIKE THE LAST ONE. Or how difficult it is to put the events of this show into words sometimes.

Andy greets Bad Cooper outside the sheriff’s station, totally oblivious that this is anything but an overdue social call from his favorite long-lost FBI agent. Andy brings Bad Cooper inside the station to exchange pleasantries with Lucy, then Frank Truman takes Cooper into his office to get down to business (first order of business: Where the hell have you been for the last 25 years and oh by the way, do you know the eyeless chick who’s been chirping in our jail cell for the past day or so?). We see a replay of Andy’s premonition/vision he had when he was with the Fireman, the one where Lucy is being led out into the hallway. Not sure if this is just meant for the audience or if it’s something that Andy can sense. Inside Truman’s office, Andy offers Cooper a cup of coffee, to which the reply is ‘No thanks, I’m alright’. Yeah, this is definitely not our Agent Cooper. Andy then gets as giddy as a schoolgirl at a Justin Bieber concert and runs off to find Hawk.

JAILHOUSE ROCK: Deputy Chad, James, Drooling Weirdo, and Naido (who has been chirping and screeching even more than usual as Bad Cooper has neared the police station) are still hanging out in their respective jail cells. Chad takes out a key that he has hidden in his shoe and lets himself out of his cell. Did he really feel like he had to wait for Drooling Weirdo to fall asleep before doing this? The guy was hardly going to rat on him in any intelligible manner. Chad hides around a corner while Drooling Weirdo BEGINS TO RIP THE FLESH OFF HIS OWN FACE. What the hell is this dude being detained for anyway? When Andy enters, looking for Hawk, Chad jumps out and pulls a gun on him. Andy is dead as a doornail until Freddie uses his magical Thor hand to break the jail cell open, right into Chad’s face. Of course Andy couldn’t die, right? CRISIS AVERTED.

Meanwhile, Bad Cooper and Truman are shooting the shit in the office when Lucy receives a phone call from the REAL Dale Cooper. There’s nothing in the world quite as perfect as seeing our Agent Cooper drive past the ‘Welcome To Twin Peaks’ sign and ask Lucy ‘Is the coffee on?’ Despite her limited knowledge of how cell phones work, she becomes flustered and agitated upon realizing that something is very wrong here. She transfers Cooper’s call to Truman, who picks up the phone and talks to Cooper while he is sitting across from the other Cooper. This is where BOB’s ongoing production of The Parent Trap completely falls apart. Both men pull their guns on each other and Cooper shoots Frank’s hat (COME ON, MAN! YOU’RE A PROFESSIONAL! YOU GOTTA MAKE THAT SHOT), followed by Lucy (!!!) taking out Cooper with a gunshot from the hallway (hey, everybody has a gun!). As Cooper lays wounded/dead on the ground, we hear that strange music that sounds like the hearing test they gave you in 3rd grade and lo and behold, the woodsmen show up to breathe new life into his body. Andy shows up with the jailbirds from downstairs, followed by the real Dale Cooper and his mobster posse. Everyone watches as the BOB ball comes out of Bad Cooper’s chest and starts flying around the room, attacking people. The BOB ball zeroes in on Freddie and really starts pummeling him until Freddie somehow musters the strength to use his Thor gardening glove to punch BOB a few times, eventually sending him hurtling through the office floor. BUT WAIT! Fire starts to shoot out of the floor and suddenly the BOB ball is back, angrier than ever! Freddie throttles BOB one last time, which causes the BOB ball to break into pieces and disappear.

Ok, I am not a huge fan of this scene. It’s the climactic battle between good and evil in what may be the best television show of all time. Instead of a beautiful, horrifying, iconic moment, I felt like I was watching a video game. Maybe I will warm to the scene over time, but for now I am definitely underwhelmed. It wasn’t scary, even BOB wasn’t scary when he should have been most terrifying of all. It felt like a scene that was clumsily assembled because it HAD to happen to advance the story. It didn’t even feel like I was watching something written and directed by David Lynch. Also, what was Bad Cooper’s ultimate gameplan anyway? He finally found the coordinates, entered the palace with The Fireman, but nothing really happened while he was there. He ended up at the sheriff’s station but why was he even interested in meeting Truman at this point? Was his ultimate goal just to stay out of the Lodge? If it was, his best course of action would have been to get as far away from Twin Peaks as humanly possible. He murdered a lot of people to find this place, but I really don’t understand WHY he wanted to get there. Fortunately, the episode really picks up after all of this and I have no further tomatoes to throw from my director’s armchair.

ISLANDS IN THE STREAM, THAT IS WHAT WE ARE: Cooper asks Truman for the hotel room key for room 315 and Gordon and his team show up, as well as Bobby and Hawk. Even the Pink Ladies arrive with sandwiches (nothing like some hot girls bringing grub after an epic supernatural showdown). Dale Cooper’s face is superimposed over a long sequence where he touches hands with Naido, causing her to morph into Diane (the real Diane, not the tulpatic one). He kisses her because it’s been a long time since he kissed someone who wasn’t Laura Palmer and Diane is pretty hot and why not? He says his goodbyes to the ridiculous amount of people who are gathered in the office, then heads over to the boiler room of the Great Northern hotel with Gordon and Diane. He uses the key to room 315 to open a door (how the hell does THAT work?) and he walks inside.

IN THE DARKNESS OF FUTURE’S PAST: Mike greets him on the other side of the door to repeat the ‘Fire Walk With Me’ chant and lead him up the same stairway that is inside the convenience store where Philip Jeffries resides. How did they get to the convenience store? Was there was a portal in the Great Northern hotel all along? We briefly see the jumping man (from the FWWM film) as Mike and Cooper disappear around the corner and walk through the hallway/forest that leads to Philip Jeffries. Philip is still a giant vaporizing teapot (it’s nice to have some consistency in the plot). Cooper gives Jeffries the date of February 23, 1989 — the night Laura Palmer died. Jeffries replies by sending out the owl cave symbol, which turns into the number 8. Philip says that ‘this is where you’ll find Judy’. Ummm ok? Then electricity fills the room and Cooper is transported back in time to the night of Laura’s death. YES! I had been hoping for a time travel element to be introduced into the storyline and HERE IT IS. Cooper is hiding out in the woods, watching James and Laura during their very last motorcycle ride through town. Laura even sees a glimpse of Dale in the woods and screams, which is a nice little callback to the FWWM film where we have no idea what she is screaming at. When Laura jumps off James’ bike at Sparkwood & 21 and runs off into the woods, this time she never makes it to the rendezvous with Leo, Jacque, and Ronette. Instead she runs into Dale Cooper. ‘Laura Palmer’s Theme’ begins to play in the background as Dale takes Laura’s hand and leads her away from danger, telling her that he is taking her home. Whatever magical CGI effects they used to make Sheryl Lee look 17 again really worked for me in this scene, almost making me forget the less-than-stellar BOB pokeball effects we saw just 30 minutes prior. As Dale and Laura walk through that beautiful forest at night, Sarah Palmer sits on her living room floor and wails and smashes Laura’s homecoming picture. Hmmm that’s more than a little strange, but a harbinger of what’s to come when Laura suddenly disappears from the woods and away from Dale. We hear her bloodcurdling scream envelop the woods, much like the scream she unleashed in the Lodge as she was whisked away into the curtains. Dale is left standing there with an outstretched hand that is holding on to nothing, and we end the episode with Miss Jules Cruise singing ‘The World Spins’ in the Roadhouse. We are left feeling a bit sad and empty and full of anticipation as to what could possibly happen next…

MORE THINGS THAT HAPPENED:

— After Bad Cooper dies, his essence (which is a sort of floating black orb of nothingness) returns to the Lodge and just kind of hangs out there. What is left of Bad Cooper now that BOB is no longer inside of him? I guess we will never know, but it’s something to think about.

— There is a brief scene of Ben getting a call from the Wyoming police, informing him that Jerry has been found alive, well, and completely naked. Because of this brief segment of the show, I was forced to picture Jerry Horne naked and high, running through the woods. That alone is much scarier than BOB.

— I like how Bushnell Mullins refuses to give the phone back to the Vegas FBI. Don Murray shines in every scene he appears in this series.

— How did Gordon Cole know about Agent Jefferies ‘not existing anymore’? Is there something I missed?

— What happened to the eyeless woman? Is she Naido or is she even real? How did she change into Diane like that? Was she always the ‘real’ Diane? How many questions about The Return are still lingering in my mind?

That’s it for the first part of my two-part finale review! In a few days, I’ll be back with my take on the final hour. I can honestly say that this was not one of my favorite episodes, although a very high bar had been set during some of the previous hours. However, the episode really improved towards the end and set things up for a mindbending part 18! Until then, hang loose Haoles and keep your eyes on the woods…and the bunnies.

3 Replies to “One For The Grandkids: Twin Peaks Finale Review, Part One”

  1. Some excellent points, highlighting potential (if not yet consensus) flaws in the episode. That said, and somewhat in Lynch’s defense, some of those potential flaws (here and elsewhere) possibly emerge from the otherwise endearing strands of “goofiness” or “cartoonish-ness” that Lynch liberally mingles with mysticism and mayhem among the denizens of Twin Peaks. But I tend to agree that the final showdown between Bob and the Green Fist was not as satisfying as I wanted it to be. Reminded me of the fistfights of the 1960s BATMAN television series.

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  2. First of all, when presented like you have, it reads wonderfully absurd, ridiculous, hilarious, ambiguous etc. I doff my cap to your choice of tone and deftness of touch presenting it. Thank you.

    I’m not good at criticizing David Lynch, constructively or otherwise. That said, I could agree with your opinion about what some might call clumsy exposition by Gordon, but I’ve tempered it based on the FBI timeline duration, i.e. a few days (as far as I can discern).

    I think Mr C was wanting to tame / destroy Judy for his own ends, which when written doesn’t read that different from the Blue Rose team, hmm. I think the Fireman was able to cage him, and rather than send him to the Palmer house, which he Tinder swiped, Nah, he changed it to just outside the sheriff’s station. But as you say, once Mr C realised where he was, why didn’t he steal Andy’s keys and speed away to the Palmer house, if that is where he was going… Hang on a minute…Mobius Strip anyone?

    Taking the Bob fight, I think it was likely intended to resemble a 1960’s Batman tv fight, stopping short of the KAPOW, THWACK! A great deal of the show seems to have been an homage, or nod to such a lot of other work, including Lynch’s own, and also crossing the fourth wall to, as someone on here pointed out in the Readerly / Writerly post, include and arguably honour our participation in the show.

    Really excited to read your part 18. Thank you again. I’m still staring into the void that The Return’s end has left.

    Like

  3. Regrettably, the cutting of corners has happened before, perhaps first and most notably the final episode of Season Two. Outside of finishing up the bank storyline, we then had Pete at the Sherrif’s station talking about the Log Lady. Coop said she’d be there in a minute, and she just happened to have a jar full of scorched engine oil stuff with her, and lo and behold, Ronnette just happened to be right there in the wings to take a whiff and react in a terrified manner. Then it was time to drive off to the woods. It’s a bit disappointing when after things move for a long time at a slow pace, Lynch throws it into hyperdrive and ties up lots of loose ends at once. It happened a few times during this season as well. That said, I still loved the show completely, and think you’ve done a fine job with this.

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