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.
When I think of what I admire most about David Lynch’s work, I immediately think about his ability to recreate what it feels like to be in a dream. Sometimes, it happens when a character walks us through their dream, and other times it’s as if the world of the film itself is a dream (or nightmare, depending). Regardless, it’s always a spellbinding experience. This week’s episode of The Return tapped into Lynch’s recurring fascination with dreams in an episode that gave us a lot of answers we’ve been waiting for while also raising a fair amount of new questions.
First, and most notably, we were given a look into one of Gordon Cole’s dreams. After Albert briefs Tammy on more details of the history of the Blue Rose case squad, touching on tulpas, (and thus giving us a potential answer about the origins of Dougie Jones) Gordon joins the team and tells him about a dream he had recently. What follows is a narrated walk through Gordon’s dream that includes scenes in a cafe with Monica Bellucci, a moment from Fire Walk With Me, and something that makes it feel like it’s all coming together.
After Bellucci and Gordon sit down for coffee at a quaint French establishment, she begins to explain, “We’re like the dreamer who dreams and then lives inside the dream. But who is the dreamer?” She then gestures for Cole to look behind him, and there he sees himself, “many, many years ago.” What plays out here is a scene that should be familiar to anyone who’s seen FWWM — the return of Philip Jeffries (David Bowie) to the Philadelphia Bureau.
Watching Bowie as Special Agent Phillip Jeffries, pointing at Cooper and saying, “Who do you think that is, there?” lends credence to the idea that Jeffries may have time traveled and found out about Mr. C. The dream, shown to us in black and white, is both unsettling and beautiful in its own way. It refreshed Albert and Gordon’s memories, and hopefully will help them find (and maybe awaken?) Cooper soon. Not long after, we learn that Diane and Janey-E are related (estranged sisters), and the connections we’ve been struggling to make all season begin to fall into place.
Getting an answer to something isn’t always easy to do, especially the answers (or hints, at the least) we were given about Sarah Palmer this week. The last time we saw her, Sarah wasn’t in great shape. There was something off about her in the grocery store in episode twelve, and she appeared to be living in a literal fugue state last week. This week, when we catch up with Sarah, there’s something undeniably dark going on. When she arrives at a local bar to grab a drink, an asshole in a “Truck You” shirt begins to harass her for not complying with his boorish come-ons. He keeps accosting her at the bar, eventually accusing her of being a lesbian and asking if she likes to “eat ****.”
“I’ll eat you,” she responds. Suddenly she faces the camera and pulls away her face, much like Laura did early on this season. Instead of beaming rays of light, however, we get darkness. There’s a hand, static popping noises, and a wide set of teeth that emerge out of nowhere. Sarah asks the asshole, “Do you really want to fuck with this?” Before he can answer, she rips his throat out (much like how the “Experiment” killed in NYC) and returns to her normal state, feigning surprise. It’s something straight out of a nightmare (and honestly something many women have fantasized about doing to the persistent, shitty men who harass them in public).
It appears that Sarah Palmer may be possessed by a Black Lodge spirit. Considering the losses and grief she’s dealt with in her life, it wouldn’t be too hard to imagine something that thrives off of pain and suffering attaching itself to her. This probably won’t be the last time we see Sarah, and whatever’s been festering inside her this season.
Through both dreams and nightmares, David Lynch seems to be pulling us in closer to the heart of this season. In addition to the revelations from Gordon Cole’s dream and Sarah Palmer’s living nightmare, there was also the eyeless woman from early this season appearing in the woods, Andy going into the White Lodge, a boy with a super strong hand covered in a gardening glove, and a drunk in a jail cell that just might be Audrey’s Billy.
With four episodes left to go, I suspect that they’ll be as jam packed as this one. Yet at the same time, I know better than to set expectations in stone for how The Return will end. Whether this dream of David Lynch’s will have a nightmarish outcome has yet to be seen. For now, all we can do is sit tight and stay tuned.