Sounds, Sons, and Smoked Turkey: Return Rewatch Part 12

(My rewatch of part 12, “Let’s Rock”, consists of this article as well as a short video that I made. The video comments on and relates to my writing on Part 12, and vice versa, so give it a look.)

July 31, 2017. Around 3 am on a Monday morning.

That’s right – that is when my Swedish timezone decided to align with the parallel world of a Sunday evening prime time in the US. Not for a single new Part did I wait until later in the day to see it. It had to happen as soon as humanly possible. Being on vacation certainly helped for some of the parts, but when I worked it wasn’t exactly the best time or day of the week to fit a Twin Peaks: The Return watching session in my schedule. In my case, that schedule had included a good amount of time for preparations while waiting for 3 am, and an unholy amount of time after I’d seen it. Why? Because immediately after Part 8, I had such an intense sense of “Oh gosh, I wish I could have seen my own reaction to that amazing craziness!” And that’s when I decided to make a reaction video of myself for Part 9. I did it mostly for fun, and just a little bit for nerdy reasons. I thought it’d be interesting to save my initial reactions and thoughts for the “future”, whatever that meant.

My reaction video to Part 12.

However, I continued to make reaction videos until The Return had ended. Getting up way too early or staying awake way too late, for that matter, wasn’t always fun and games. But as it turns out, I thank myself for continuing making those videos. Especially now. It’s been a whole year since I saw Part 12 for the first time that early Monday morning. Part 11 had been amazing and my mind was already racing. Part 12 was called “Let’s Rock”, that was all I knew. In this case though, “Let’s Rock” wasn’t just any old phrase. As all of you know it’s deeply connected to one of the mysteries of Twin Peaks: the disappearance of Agent Chet Desmond in Fire Walk With Me.

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Before I saw Part 12 I had some specific questions that were based on threads that I felt were hanging loose in the story so far – not exactly on a macro-scale (like the existential and spiritual big questions of the entities and the Universe), but more on the micro-level of things. Not that the big questions weren’t important, too. Maybe it’s just me now one year (and thousands of words about the mythological, mysterious and spiritual side of Twin Peaks) later, but looking back, I feel almost surprised about my initial questions before watching Part 12:

Will Chad finally get busted? Will Miriam tell on Richard and bust him for the horrible things he did to her? Will we see Mr C (who didn’t appear at all in Part 11) or maybe Ray (who’d been absent for way longer than that)?

Ok, fair enough, I was eager to see Jack Rabbit’s Palace. Would we go there in Part 12? I knew that was really gonna be something to look forward to. Jack Rabbit’s Palace was, after all, connected to Major Briggs – a character that only grew and grew for me during The Return. In my reaction video, I also ask “Will they find something peculiar in Ruth Davenport’s body?” One year later, that question seems…I don’t know…strange somehow? It was, of course, a legit question that I had at the time, and I’m guessing I based it upon the fact that Dougie Jones’ wedding ring was found in Major Briggs’ stomach. Knowing today what directions the stories would take, wondering about Ruth’s potential autopsy findings seems out of place now somehow. But still: What if? Right?

And then there was David Bowie. I expressed, again, my strong hope to see him appear again. It still makes me sad to this day that he didn’t. Bowie is gone, and we didn’t get to actually see him perform as our beloved Agent Jeffries again. Still, in July 2017 I was holding out hope.

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As Twin Peaks: The Return fans, we had quickly learned that each Part was named after something that a character would say. S who was going to speak the almost magical words of “Let’s Rock”? What connection, if any, would it provide to the mysterious enigma of Agent Desmond’s fate? In my reaction video, I’m manifesting an unusual (?) lack of imagination when guessing it could be The Evolution of the Arm tree. Well…Diane turned out to be the one saying “Let’s Rock” in Part 12, and when she did, I was visibly surprised. But, then again, I think I was still surprised that we even had a face on Diane to start with. Just imagine someone telling you back in the 90’s that Twin Peaks would return. And that (the until then unseen) Diane would speak “Let’s Rock” when it did so! No. But; yes. That happened. As Agent Cooper’s secretary, it doesn’t seem like a supernatural thing that she knew the story behind “Let’s Rock” from Cooper’s tapes. But we get no further information about what happened to Chet Desmond. On the contrary; Albert tells Agent Preston that Desmond is still missing. So is Jeffries. And Cooper.

We get so much information about the origin of the Blue Rose during this scene. So much so that my chin almost fell off the chair (and it’s on film, too). For 25 years, Lynch and Frost kept us in the shadows (at best) with the Blue Rose phenomena. As viewers, we literally held the same position as Agent Sam Stanley in Fire Walk With Me – We were smart enough to identify the mystery (like Stanley noticing the blue rose on Lil’s red dress), but still unable to figure it out the enigma (because only the initiated would know the truth).

In Part 12, Agent Preston is invited to join the Blue Rose Task Force. Albert tells her the first truths that she had ever heard about the Blue Rose until then, and through her, we are allowed a bit of the truth as well. This was a big deal. I can see it in my eyes from one year ago – the information about the Blue Rose that Albert reveals to Tammy was a huge moment in Twin Peaks history.

Enter Diane – through red drapes like, she’s entering the Black Lodge. Smoking, as always. Getting offered and accepting a drink, as always. Would the newly enforced Blue Rose Task Force confront her about double-crossing them with Mr C? They don’t. At least not in an obvious way. Instead, they deputize her “on a temporary basis”, which led me to believe it must be a trap. Surely they cannot let her continue to leak information to Mr C? As it turns out; no. They don’t. But we also learn that at a very minimum, they surveil her text conversations.

Never mind my mind and the connections it cannot help but make. Left: Part 12 vs. The Shining. Right: The French Woman’s shoes in Part 12, and Chantal’s shoes in Part 15.

We learn about this surveillance during a scene that starts off equally puzzling as it is…how to say this…a test of patience? Or is it cute, however a bit long? Silly, yet full of hidden codes? Or is it perhaps just a waste of time, no matter how good of an actress we are introduced to? Yes. I’m referring to the French Woman scene. Now, we’re not gonna talk about the French Woman. In fact, we’re not gonna talk about the French woman at all, we’re gonna keep her out of it!

No. Ok. Let’s talk about the French Woman. Just a little bit. I apparently had a lot to say about her during my first watch:

“Yeah, take your time, darling. What the hell, baby? You are not in a hurry, are you? I think I can do without…this. Yeah. Just leave, OK? I wanna know what happens! God damn it. Did you hear me, like, wait downstairs means can you please leave right now. Right, time to go. Oh, Jesus Christ! Just GO! Albert, say something sarcastic, please!”

I said all of this with a smile on my face, but still. The French Woman is on screen for an eternity. No, wait. I just checked. It’s actually only three and a half minutes. So why are many of us, the viewers, being so harsh on this scene (like the “infamous” sweeping-the- Roadhouse-floor scene)? If we were Sam Stanley left in the dark about the Blue Rose in Fire Walk With Me, in the French Woman scene, we are Albert. Waiting. And waiting. And waiting. There’s something important to to be told, to find out, to investigate. But that’s not going to happen until we’re allowed inside and initiated. We must wait – as viewers, and as fellow colleagues of FBI agents higher ranked and/or more spiritually advanced than us.

It’s been speculated whether the French Woman in her red dress could be a bearer of codes, just like Lil in Fire Walk With Me. I believe that the only code to decipher is this: We must wait. Not only that – it’s a gift to be able to wait and enjoy every moment. To be patient. To meditate or, at least, be in the now. Even if it tests our beings, especially if it does.

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Let’s Rock – The evolution of my arm.

I’m mentioning Fire Walk With Me a lot in relation to Part 12, and not only because it’s named “Let’s Rock”. There are also the sounds. Certain sounds that we know only from Fire Walk With Me can be heard in Part 12 as well. Realizing that I wanted to write about those sounds for my rewatch article I started to connect scenes from Part 12 to their “hosts” in the movie. And then I thought, what the heck, I better make a video collage to make the connections as clear as possible. So I did. Please take 7 minutes and watch my video, since I see it as a crucial part of this article.

Now that you’ve (hopefully) seen it, let me add that the Sarah Palmer scenes in particular are the key scenes to me. Those are the ones I’ll always remember most from Part 12. I’ll come back to them later, but please feel free to deep dive into my previous articles relating to what I bring up in my video.

Do You Really Want To Fuck With This? The Alternative Timeline Of Sarah Palmer
Black as a fire – Twin Peaks is diseased and war is coming
“It’s a living thing” – Analyzing Hawk’s map

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Part 12 brings up a lot of examples of fathers and sons. We get to see the assassination of Warden Murphy by Hutch. Murphy is a father, and we learn this in a quite horrible way when his dead body is discovered by his son on the stairs to their house. That made me cringe in agony, I tell you. For the viewer it’s a scene of a few seconds, however, this event probably guarantees a lifetime of garmonbozia for that child. There’s also the somewhat related story of the young boy who was run over by Richard Horne in Part 6, yet another lost family member involving a son. In Part 12, we learn from Ben Horne that “Richard never had a father”, something that fueled the suspicion that was later confirmed: Richard Horne was indeed the son of Audrey Horne and, most likely, Mr C.

After Frank Truman’s visit to tell Ben what Richard had done Ben’s worries once again turns to nostalgia in the Great Northern. He himself takes on the role of the son when remembering a green bike that his own father once had given him. Oh, how he loved that bike… . In the original run of Twin Peaks, few people were as nostalgic as Ben Horne. This new scene reminded me a lot of whenbhe’s watching old film rolls of himself and Jerry in Season 2. The brothers are making funny faces back in the 50s when the construction of the Great Northern Hotel began. It was nice to see that Ben again showed us some of his familiar nostalgic personality traits that we’ve know him for during many, many years now.

So what about Jerry? We saw him only briefly in Part 12, but that was all we needed to answer the question: Is he out of the woods yet? Quite literally, it seemed so. Metaphorically, however, not so sure. Running on a field like something was chasing him or like he was late for a meeting. Same clothes. Same hat (mother’s hat) and a fanny pack bouncing on his belly as he ran through the high grass. Jerry, what happened? Where are you?

Speaking of fathers: Mr C turned out to be absent during Part 12 too, but we did get to see Agent Cooper in his Dougie Jones shape. Well, at least for a short while. Admittedly it was a very short while – only 23 seconds to be exact. Sonny Jim is determined to play baseball with his dad in the backyard, but all that the boy gets when throwing the ball towards his father is a non-existent response. That’s it. Scene’s over. The fatherly presence of baseball Cooper is just a tiny bit stronger than the presence of Warden Murphy at the time his son finds him dead on the stairs. (Both fathers are hit in the head, though.)

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Part 12 features no other Kyle MacLachlan character. The baseball Cooper scene almost feels like a small reminder to us of the fact that the “real” Agent Cooper still is trapped in another reality. He’s yet unable to act on the threatening forces going on all around him and others that he cares for. As viewers, we are also once more reminded of the importance of patience. Enjoy these 23 second of awkward but admittedly funny here-and-now. No, Cooper won’t “wake up” this time, either. But at least he didn’t die.

Whether Carl Rodd is an actual father or not, I’m not quite sure. That, however, is less important in Part 12 where he’s manifesting some serious fatherly behavior. He’s a father of his community if you will. Compassion and empathy are clearly more important to him than money, power, or authority. The tenants of Fat Trout Trailer Park are dear to him, and he doesn’t want any of them “selling their blood to eat”. Carl Rodd is that kind and caring person we all want in our lives. One might even argue that the Carl Rodd that we see during Twin Peaks: The Return is pretty much the opposite of Mr C. Isn’t that an interesting thought? The complete opposite of Mr C seems to be Carl, and not Agent Cooper, who is really the “original” of the doppelgänger Mr C.

Hawk is another person with good intentions and the will to help others. After the incident at the grocery store, he drives over to Sarah Palmer’s house to check on her. In an eerie foreshadowing to the end scenes of The Return he knocks on her door and she answer it. Now when we’ve seen all 18 Parts we can conclude that the Palmer house of Part 12 and the apparent Tremond house of Part 18 do at least have the very same white curtains on the front door. Naturally, what wasn’t something I or anyone else knew at the time, though.

Instead, I think that what we all reacted to were the shots of the ceiling fan. The ceiling fan in the Palmer house. One of the shots stood out as extra creepy to me – the outside look inside of Laura Palmer’s bedroom, her door open, the fan seen spinning outside her room above the staircase. This is an iconic object in an iconic spot of an iconic house and arguably one of the most iconic environments of the Twin Peaks mythos. What’s more, it’s yet another strong connection to Fire Walk With Me.

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There’s “something” in Sarah’s kitchen. A sound. A rat? An open window knocking down some bottles into the sink? An entity? In the video that I made for this article the sound is repeated and if you wear headphones I believe you will hear the electricity. Other than that, I let you draw your own conclusions as to what the sound is or what it means. I’m not one of the “Sarah = Judy” people, at all (as you might have noticed). That said, Sarah Palmer is pretty far from a mundane and ordinary person. She’s deeply connected to the spiritual realm, and I do believe that the sound of the bottles that are knocked over by a force of electricity (thus related to the entities and/or otherworldly) is a sign that there’s “something” about her, too. Something that goes beyond the frog-moth creature and her psychic abilities. It’s all connected.

Whatever you choose to believe, Hawk offers Sarah help “of any kind”. I took his emphasis on “any” as a hint to Sarah, as if he was really saying: “I know that you have spiritual abilities, and I have them, too. I can really help you if you just let me.” But Sarah is being very short, almost rude, like she can’t wait to shut the door on the outside world again. Since there seems to be nothing that Hawk is able to do for Sarah at this time he leaves the house, maybe feeling that he still has some unfinished business of the spiritual kind with Sarah.

Another woman in need of help in Part 12 is Miriam, and thanks to Ben she receives it. She is badly hurt and unconscious in a hospital bed. Beside the bed is a bouquet of roses. At first, I thought they looked blue, but they were purple. To get purple, mix red and blue. Richard Horne – half human, possibly half entity? Possibly half candidate for a Blue Rose investigation? “Or is it just my mind, again..?” I (also) remember thinking. Who knows.

Can I just brag for a short moment? Ok, good. Then I wanna go back to Gordon’s hotel room with him and Albert, and just say I’m pretty pleased that I got Gordon’s turnip/turn up pun despite always watching The Return without subtitles. “She didn’t get it, either. Being French, it doesn’t translate”. Well, being Swedish, it did. Thanks! Send awards and golden shovels!

Jokes aside, this part of the scene was such a brilliant moment. There’s Albert, pretty pissed off in the only way that Albert know how to (besides being his usual, wonderful, sarcastic self): with silence. Like a cat staring down a dog instead of going into action, he just stands there. Staring and waiting for the dog to give up because it realizes it just can’t handle the non-existent reaction from the cat. But, of course, Gordon is not a dog. Gordon is also a cat, just a different kind. He’s not letting Albert the cat play him, but at the end, he’s still putting his paw (ok, no more cat metaphors: hand) on Albert’s shoulder and tells him that he sometimes worries about him. Gordon might be a authoritarian player with selective deafness and more than a little love for a fine wine, but he’s still a friend with quite a big heart.

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“Let’s just call a spade a spade.” – Audrey Horne, Part 12

Part 12 also gave us yet another Dr. Amp session, complete with a view of his biggest fan Nadine Hurley. I think that my initial reactions to these scenes are still able to speak for themselves now, one year later. I still love Dr Amp and I still want a golden shovel of my own. What else? Have I forgotten to write about something important that we got to see in Part 12? Oh…yes. That’s right. My first reaction to return of Audrey Horne was… I’d say almost matter of factually. I was actually more excited by what happened just before Audrey returned when Dr Jacoby mentioned“the ninth level of Hell” – a reference to Dante and just the kind of thing that gets me going. But there she was, finally. Audrey Horne, in the flesh.

“Here’s Audrey. I know many people will be very happy now that they see Audrey. I am more eager to see Big Ed, actually, but sure. Welcome to the party, Audrey.”

I have nothing against Audrey Horne. It’s nothing like that at all. I can’t exactly pinpoint why I wasn’t that excited or happy to see her again. Later I noticed how happy it had made other Twin Peaks fans to get her back, but I just couldn’t find the same feeling within myself. Maybe I felt that she was introduced a bit late? Maybe it was because of the scenes with her and Charlie? They felt awkward, almost theatrical. And to me personally, they felt uninspiring. This would slightly change during later Parts where we got to see Audrey’s dance and, most of all, when the Evolution of The Arm paraphrased a line originally heard from Audrey. The repetition of “Is it the story of the little girl who lived down the lane?” made matters complicated on that mythological, intriguing level that I’ve always recognizes and appreciated so much about Twin Peaks.

Part 12 gave us connections between Twin Peaks and the thus far more or less isolated story lines of Las Vegas and Buckhorn, thanks to Cooper’s old 315 hotel room key (mailed to the town by Jade) ending up in Frank Truman’s possession and Diane finding out that the coordinates on Ruth Davenport’s arm pointed to Twin Peaks. With six Parts to go, that was promising. But where was Mr C? And what about Ray? And the Mitchum brothers? I wondered as the end credits turned up accompanied by a second Roadhouse appearance by The Chromatics.

For me, Sarah Palmer’s scenes was, and still is, the highlight of Part 12. Her destructive psyche, lifestyle, and habits are further revealed to us. Her behavior towards Hawk and in the store was brilliantly painful to see. And the sounds! That sound from her kitchen but also the ones from Fire Walk With Me that David Lynch chose to set the tone of her scenes. Perhaps also to hint at connections across the dimensions? And the things what Sarah Palmer said. About that, I commented:

“It’s so easy to interpret that as ‘she’s just a drunk’ and ‘she’s just speaking rubbish or gobbledygook’. But I feel like her words are important. She said something about she’s gotta ‘find the turkey’ and ‘is it smoked?’. It’s connected to the Black Fire. And the turkey in the corn, maybe.”

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As I wrote earlier, I almost always watch without subtitles. When Sarah Palmer leaves the grocery store I heard her say: “Find the turkey. Get the turkey.”, and much later did I hear someone else refer to those line as really being “Find the car key. Get the car key.”  Listen yourself and see what you think. I still hear “turkey” in some of it, no matter what’s true. But what I first heard absolutely did contribute to my interpretation of this scene. Laura was the turkey that Sarah wanted to find (remember, Laura referred to herself as a “turkey in the corn” in Fire Walk With Me), and so did Leland (“Find Laura”). And what is that to the right of the corn in Hawk’s map? After Part 11, I saw it as a handprint. After Part 12, though, I saw a bird. A turkey in the corn. All of this, and more, eventually made me write about Sarah and how some of her scenes may actually belong in another time dimension, namely, the timeline where Laura Palmer didn’t die but disappeared. If Laura’s whereabouts were unknown, surely Sarah would like to find her, too. Maybe she just want to find Laura and release her from the fields of Garmonbozia where she’s been “long gone” by now… But that’s another story (and I called it Do You Really Want To Fuck With This? The Alternative Timeline Of Sarah Palmer).

It’s time to close the book on Part 12 for now. Thank you for reading. Did you have the same thoughts and initial reactions as I did, or did you on the contrary interpret Part 12 in a completely different way? Tell me in the comments!

Meanwhile…

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