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.
Dreams have always been a vital part of Twin Peaks. Special Agent Dale Cooper first visits the Black Lodge in a dream in the third episode of the original series. Cooper is immersed in a world of symbols, sitting in the Red Room with the Man From Another Place and his “cousin” who looks like Laura Palmer. It’s not surprising then, to think about how much of a role symbols have played in the slow, and sometimes frustrating awakening of Dougie Jones. This week it feels like we might be getting closer than we think to the titular “return” we’ve all been waiting for.
Over the course of the series, we’ve been watching Dougie Jones (post-Lodge Cooper), rediscover the joys of his former self largely through symbols from his past life. There’s been coffee, badges, and small reminders of Cooper’s capacity for good. After a meet up in the desert with a mystery box and the Mitchum brothers that ends up thankfully avoiding a Se7en scenario, Dougie gets to experience another piece of his dormant past: cherry pie. As he shovels pieces of cherry pie into his mouth, a “damn good,” escapes his lips as his brow furrows like he’s remembering something. Another week, another symbol and perhaps another step closer to an awakening.
Dougie Jones isn’t the only character experiencing echoes of the past. Shelly’s daughter Becky is in an all-too familiar situation. She’s stuck in an abusive, tumultuous relationship with her husband Steven, and she doesn’t know what to do. As Becky, Bobby, and Shelly all sit together in a booth at the Double R trying to come to a consensus on how to move forward, another echo of the past comes out. Right after a pretty emotional conversation with her daughter, Shelly spots Red (you remember Red, right?) and suddenly, she’s like a teenager again. With a big smile breaking across her face, she runs out of the diner to steal away a few kisses and make plans with Red, yet another terrible man.
It’s heartbreaking when we cut to a stunned Bobby watching her leave. The tonal shift in between these two actions within the scene is enough to give anyone whiplash, but it also serves as a reminder that history has somewhat been repeating itself in Twin Peaks lately.
There’s also Hawk’s map (like the Owl Cave map from the original series) that is full of symbols, clues to unlocking another world. “It’s a living thing,” Hawk explains. There is fire, diseased corn, the stars directing the reader to a time and place. All we can discern for now is the impressions from the symbols: otherworldly powers, death, and destiny.
I’m convinced that there is most certainly going to be a meet up somewhere in South Dakota for all of the big players this season.
Speaking of South Dakota, Gordon and company venture out to the state with Bill Hastings to understand where and what “The Zone” could be. Gordon leaves his car and sees a looming vortex in the sky. It’s sucking everything in, beckoning in the onlooker. There are familiar faces beyond the whirlpool in the sky, however. Soot-covered, filthy, faces. Yes, the Woodsmen make a brief appearance here, and yes, it’s still creepy as hell.
While they only appear to Gordon for a moment standing in a stairwell (in what could be the house from Laura’s dream in Fire Walk With Me). Eventually, one random woodsman sneaks out of the portal and kills Hastings in a way that resembles the New York murders from the beginning of the season. Where this will lead is increasingly grim and still uncertain even after so much exposition.
All we can count on, for now, are the symbols that David Lynch and Mark Frost give us every week. We’ve gotten a pretty intricate map so far, detailing everything from the origins of Bob up until the events of the current season. The thing about this map is that much like the previous maps I’ve mentioned, it’s all spelled out in symbolism. Even though we’ve been given so much information over the course of the past eleven episodes, the majority of it has been delivered through impressions, symbols, and hints at what’s to come. The purest example of this has been the eighth episode of the series, but it’s always present.
Sweeping mountains, lonely jail cells, salvation in cherry pie, these all could be throwaway shots anywhere else, but in Twin Peaks, they carry a weight that makes the atmosphere of the show possible. Like a dream, we move through Twin Peaks not always understanding what’s happening but feeling it as strongly as ever.