Disclaimer: Twin Peeks is a recap/review series about the new season of Twin Peaks —…
June 16, 2017 at 11:25 am
Disclaimer: Twin Peeks is a recap/review series about the new season of Twin Peaks — which means there are gonna be spoilers here for everything old and new. If you’re not caught up yet, please do yourself a favor and at least consider it before reading this. If not, you’ll be pretty lost, and you need to get your bearings before diving in. Trust me on this one.
Every week on Twin Peaks, we are given an almost excessive amount of information. New characters, old characters, plot points, details, symbols — David Lynch is piling it on thick this season. This is fine. It’s his show, after all.
What has been frustrating so far is trying to discern what matters from what is extraneous. Often, when something seems significant, it turns out that it’s actually just a red herring or a Macguffin. Dr. Jacoby’s gold shovels or the glass box in New York seem to be the best examples of this, respectively. However, this week shook things up in a way I wasn’t expecting. We got reveals that felt significant for a change, and which may be the beginning of answers to years of questions. There were also plateaus, but let’s talk about our hard-earned rewards first.
When Gordon and Albert were talking about what to do with the Coop Situation at the end of episode four, they came to a conclusion. They had to visit the only woman they think would be able to help. “I know where she drinks,” Albert says at the episode’s close. After this, speculation ran rampant, with many (yours truly included) hoping for the return of Audrey Horne. Instead, we finally met the omnipresent-but-not Diane (Laura Dern). While we’re still on Hornewatch for now, we at least have a definitive answer and a face to match to an iconic part of the show. All we hear her say is “Albert,” but hey, it’s better than nothing.
The other rewarding event in episode six may also be the most important. It feels like it happened years ago at this point, but when the Log Lady told Deputy Chief Hawk that the key to finding Cooper was missing and had to do with his heritage, things looked like they were heading for a dead end. Thankfully, I was wrong.
After dropping a coin in the bathroom at the Sheriff’s Office, Hawk finds a logo featuring a Native American on one of the bathroom stall doors. This very door happens to have a crack in it, revealing something underneath. Some time later, Hawk jimmies the door open and retrieves some pages. Viewers familiar with Fire Walk With Me will recognize the potential for something huge in this discovery. Whether or not these pages are part of Laura Palmer’s diary, revealing to the world that Good Cooper was trapped in the Black Lodge, has yet to be seen. But really, what else could they be?
As rewarding as it was, there was something about this reveal that exposed one of the show’s biggest weaknesses. I love this series, but the fact that people of color in Twin Peaks are still as scarce as water in a desert infuriates me. Are we really supposed to believe that there’s been no significant progress in representation since the original series aired? Granted, there’s still more work to be done, but that doesn’t excuse the lack of effort. Even Hawk doesn’t seem to get much screentime or development despite being the person tasked with finding Cooper again.
When the Log Lady told him “something to do with your heritage” would hold the key to finding our Special Agent, it could’ve gone a million different routes. We ended up with a very surface level (literally a brand logo) version of this, which is frustrating and frankly disappointing. As someone who would love to see more meaningful diversity in the shows they love, it’s exhausting to see PoC relegated to the sidelines (or doorknobs) of the series.
As I mentioned earlier, this was an episode full of significant events. The return of Harry Dean Stanton as Carl from FWWM (he’s still a joy to watch, bringing it in every scene at 90 years old) and the appearance of the drug-dealing/coin-flipping Red (Balthazar Getty) are a just a couple. There was also a bloody assassination that left more questions than answers and exposed another weakness of the show that I’ve already touched on.
Towards the end of the episode, a man receives the envelope with a black dot on it that we saw last week. When he opens it, there are two pictures — one of the woman in Argentina who may have ordered the hits on Dougie and another of Jones himself. Weighing his options with an ice pick in hand, he stabs both pictures. Later, we see the woman being attacked in her office in tight closeups. Blood spatters across her face as she screams. A co-worker witnesses the murder and encounters the same fate.
As I mentioned in my recap of episodes 3 and 4, women in Lynch’s work occupy a tricky space. They can be complicated, strong, capable people and yet at the same time they can be objectified and attacked, not just by other characters but by the narrative itself. In her recap of episode 6, Vulture’s Laura Hudson writes that “this is a show that likes to tear women apart.” She’s right. Twin Peaks — old and new — has done this both physically and emotionally. The nagging wives, the coquettish ingenues, the scheming shrews; these are all characteristics present in many of the women in the series. They can be treated with respect and nuance but also be destroyed on a whim. We’ll see how the women of The Return fare as the season goes along but as of now, no one seems very safe.
Cooper-as-Dougie scenes are still as heartbreaking, and as constant as ever. “You have to wake up,” The One-Armed Man tells Coop in a vision. Six episodes in and Dougie doesn’t seem to be going anywhere. Cooper isn’t even closer to waking up by the end of the episode but seems to be succeeding as Dougie despite his near-catatonic state. When he doodles all over the insurance reports he was supposed to complete to save his job, his boss is upset at first. Then, he sees something important in them after placing the files side by side. It feels like it could be another mess for Dougie Jones to unknowingly tackle in next week’s episode, but only time will tell.
All of this aside, it feels like episode six is actually leading somewhere meaningful. Since this is Lynch, however, I’m trying not to get my hopes up too high. Then again, why bring out Diane and (hopefully) the missing pages if it’s not going to matter later on? It may take a while to work up to these kinds of answers again, but for now, I’m savoring the small tokens Lynch has given us this week. Other things worth mentioning include the latest act hitting up the roadhouse (hello, Sharon Von Etten), the return of the Fat Trout Trailer Park from Fire Walk With Me, and Richard “Shitface” Horne/Chad tying for the most despised character in the series. As we chug along through The Return, I can hope things get clearer but nothing is ever that easy.