Warning: this article includes spoilers, do not read unless you have been following Twin Peaks: The Return
All is not what it seems in the poor old town of Twin Peaks. This week’s episode seamlessly flows from the horror-esque images of Hasting’s half mauled, half-chewed looking head to the dry-humour of Gordon proclaiming, “why, he’s dead!”. In short: episode 11 perfectly harmonises what the series has been trying to achieve thus far and, despite the different subplots, feels distinctly ‘whole’. The result is an episode that captures the same essence of the original series, but with a distinct 21st century feel.
No Country for the Young Men
Shelley’s problem child Becky (Amanda Seyfried) steals her mother’s car and shoots wildly at her husband’s apartment door after discovering his infidelity. We then see her hiding husband and his lover, and the more attentive fans might recognise her as being Gersten Hayward, Donna Hayward’s younger sister from the original series.
We then learn what we have all been yearning to know: that Becky, is in fact, Shelly and Bobby’s child. Sitting round a table at the R&R dinner, we see that while they couple are united for the love of their daughter, the relationship is long dead, and when Red the local drug dealer arrives at the window we see that Shelly has – yet again – fallen for the local bad boy.
But if there’s anything we know to expect from Twin Peaks, is that sentimentality doesn’t last for long. During this heartfelt family reunion, bullets shoot through the R&R dinner. Bobby goes outside to investigate, and discovers that a young but suspicious looking boy fired them supposedly by accident, and that a zombie-like girl in the car behind is violently being sick, before mysteriously floating up to him. What we get from these scenes is the ongoing theme of the series of youth corruption; with Richard Horne (presumably Audrey’s son) on a mad one, and Gersten yet another young girl in the town who has fallen at the hands of drugs and abuse, there appears to be nowhere to hide for the young generation.
One Step A-head?
Gordon and co go to the place that Hastings claims to have seen Major Briggs, and the area appears to be guarded by the mysterious ash-covered woodsmen who first appeared in the 8th episode (who look suspiciously like the black-painted tramped in Lynch’s 2001 masterpiece Mullholland Drive, but more on that another time), who fade in and out of reality. The Log Lady has already warned Hawk about the sound of electricity, and the low rumble of electricity soundtracks the scene. A portal opens in the sky above a pair of pylons, in which Gordon sees the mysterious woodsman stood on a staircase.
It is a scene that raises more questions about the intentions of Diane: she fails to warn everyone that she sees one of these woodsman approaching the police car before it savagely deheads Hastings, and then is seen trying to memorise the coordinates that are found on Ruth Devonport’s arm. After last week’s episode in which she fails to mention that she is communicating in coded texts messages with Bad Cooper, we are left questioning the intentions of this mysterious figure, who clearly has had some experience with Cooper that she isn’t telling us about.
Thinking inside the box
While we already know that Bad Coop and Dougie (Good Coop) are meant to be opposing epitomes of goodness and evil, there seems to be more at play here. Bad Coop has his mysterious glass box installed in a multi-million dollar apartment in New York that lead to the deaths of at least three people, while Dougie, conversely, has his own (cardboard) box. But in this box comes the return of one of the most anticipated comebacks of the new series: the return of the cherry pie.
Despite having set up the easiest kill in the history of TV murders, Bradley Mitchum is having second thoughts after a mysterious in which Dougie was holding a box, and in that box, was a damn-good cherry pie. When the brothers find not only find a cherry pie in Dougie’s box, but also a £13,000,000 insurance cheque addressed to them, they realise that Dougie is not the master-mind they thought he was.
But this leads to another point: Dougie doesn’t just symbolise goodness, but is emitting it. In the final scene, Dougie becomes surrounded by all the goodness that he has caused: the old woman who Dougie won thousands of dollars for at the casino returns, her life transformed.
The stunning and groundbreaking episode 8 seemed to suggest that BOB (now Bad Coop) was born out of the first nuclear test explosion in 1945, and considering BOB and MIKE feed off fear, it would make sense that this form of pure horror was born out of the most evil act of human destruction in history. What with the good fortune he has brought on those around him, Dougie/Good Coop is perhaps the counter to this evil, and it will be interesting to see whether Dougie’s good fortune continues.
It is important to note that Hawk and Truman look over a ‘living map’ of Hawks. The map reveals that in the place where Major Briggs is sending them, there is a ‘black fire’; ‘more like modern day electricity’. Electricity is becoming increasingly prominent as the series progresses, and what with the strong electricity sounds that occurred while Gordon saw through the portal to the Woodsmen and Good Coop exiting the Black Lodge through a plug socket, there is a clear link between the electricity and Black Lodge. Is this what Bad Cooper is striving after? Time will only tell.
In the closing scene, we finally we hear the words ‘damn good’ stumble out of Dougie’s mouth. While I am doubtful that Lynch will give us our beloved Special Agent Dale Cooper back to us just yet, the cherry pie clearly stirs something in Dougie, and the pianist playing in the casino corner also attracts Dougie’s attention. There is something incredibly mystical about the scene which has splashings of red (a sign of the Black Lodge) dotted about the restaurant.
With the closing credits this week a final piano piece sees the episode off. It is beautiful, it is nostalgic and, like the episode, it is hard to read. It shows Lynch’s talent at creating tone, and knowing how to combine the visual and aural to speak a feeling that words can’t.
This was an episode that felt like the old Twin Peaks, but also felt distinctly new: an electrifying mix.
For a more in depth look at this week’s episode, check out this podcast, which can also be found on itunes