Twin Peeks: A Return Recap, Part 16
No knock, no doorbell.
September 1, 2017 at 12:50 pm
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.
If there’s anything I’ve learned over the course of the past three months while watching The Return, it’s to have patience. When it became clear that we wouldn’t be seeing our beloved Agent Cooper from the get-go, I was annoyed at first. Over time though, I learned to let it go and put (at least most of) my trust into what David Lynch and Mark Frost were doing. Fifteen episodes later, the waiting has paid off, and Special Agent Dale Cooper is finally back and ready to take on whatever awaits him on next week’s two-hour finale. But, the long-awaited return of Coop wasn’t the only resolution we got in this episode.
Stuck in the hospital in an electricity-induced coma (after episode fifteen’s fork/socket incident), there was a small moment where Cooper — and Dougie Jones — could have been gone forever. Fortunately, after possibly the shortest TV coma in history, we’re proven wrong: Cooper is back for good!
Immediately, he’s back to his old self and it looks like he’s got a plan. The reemergence of everyone’s favorite FBI agent was triumphant and comforting — it was wonderful to see a character so sure of himself back in action. After getting in a call to the Mitchum Brothers for help, and saying his goodbyes to Janey-E and Sonny Jim, it’s clear where Coop is headed: Twin Peaks.
While the swelling music of the show’s original theme played in the background of it all, I couldn’t help but smile. I also couldn’t help but think about Naido’s emergence in the woods in part 14, and how the same electricity that brought back Cooper may have also brought her into our world. Electricity has been a vital part of Twin Peaks lore since Fire Walk With Me, and it’s become seemingly more important than ever this season as a potential force for good.
Speaking of Coops — even though our main man is back, there’s still one huge problem: his doppelganger. The last time we saw him, he was on a road trip with fellow resident slime-ball, Richard Horne. It turns out two of the three coordinates he’s received this season matched up, and led him to a boulder in the middle of nowhere.
Mr. C sends Richard to go find out what’s waiting at the top of the rock, and it’s not good by any means. Richard fries up before our eyes, consumed in an electric fire that devours him until there’s nothing left (again, electricity is proving to be a force for good by eliminating this piece of trash who also happens to be the incarnation of Mr. C’s violence). All an emotionless DoppelCoop can say is, “Goodbye, my son,” giving everyone the confirmation we’ve been fearing — Richard is indeed Audrey and Mr. C’s son. I was unsurprised, but heartbroken nonetheless. This revelation partially prepared me for what we learn about Diane Evans in this episode, but not nearly enough.
After annihilating Richard, Mr. C sends off a text reading: “: – ) ALL” that eventually makes it to Diane’s phone in South Dakota. When she reads the message, it becomes clear that something is wrong here — she trembles and looks shaken. When she opens her handbag at the bar, we see a revolver inside. As Diane makes her way upstairs to see Gordon and company, the David Lynch remix of Muddy Magnolia’s “American Woman,” pounds over the soundtrack. Something big is about to happen.
Diane comes into the room and finally reveals what happened to her on the night she last saw Cooper, and again, my worst fears were confirmed. Shaking, she starts by saying, “Well, it was three, maybe four years after I stopped hearing from Cooper. I was still working at the bureau. One night, no knock, no doorbell, he just walked in.”
Diane continues, “He was standing in my living room. I was so happy to see him. I held him so close. He sat on my sofa, we started talking. I just wanted to hear everything. About where he’d been, and what he’d been doing. He only wanted to know about what had been going on at the bureau. Felt like he was grilling me. I told myself he’s just excited to hear about bureau news. But then he leaned in. He leaned in to kiss me. It only happened once before. But as soon as his lips touched mine, something went wrong. And I felt afraid. And he saw the fear in me. He smiled, he smiled . . . and that’s when it started. He raped me. He raped me. Afterward, he took me somewhere—he took me somewhere like an old gas station. Old, old gas station.” Suddenly, after telling her story, Diane begins becoming more and more emotional, saying she’s not herself and that she’s at “the sheriff’s station.” She pulls out her gun to shoot at Gordon, but Tammy and Albert shoot first. Then, Diane flies off into the Black Lodge.
When Mike tells her she’s been manufactured, she replies with a defiant, “I know. Fuck you,” before dissolving, Dougie-style. Diane Evans was a tulpa, but of who? Naido, who we last saw in the sheriff’s station, might be our answer. She certainly fits the bill location-wise, and her name does sound like Diane backwards, but it’s still tough to tell for sure. It’s looking like this may be one of the threads wrapped up during Sunday’s finale, but we can only wait.
Speaking of loose threads this season, Audrey Horne finally makes it to the Roadhouse in episode 16. It looked like we were finally going to get some closure for Audrey’s mission to find Billy, but answers never come so easy in Twin Peaks. While Charlie and Audrey sit at the bar, Eddie Vedder shows up to perform a solo acoustic song. It’s business as usual until it’s not.
When Vedder is done, the now familiar voice of the Roadhouse’s MC calls out: “Ladies and Gentlemen, Audrey’s Dance.” The dance floor clears as Audrey walks into the middle of it, and her titular song comes on. As she sauntered around the Roadhouse, the question posed at the beginning of the series came to my mind immediately: Is it future, or is it past? Suddenly, a fight breaks out, there’s a pop of electricity and then — Audrey in a white room looking at herself in a mirror, asking, “What?!”
Part 16 was a logical (yet still overwhelming) step forward as we hurtle towards next week’s finale. While I enjoyed the episode overall, I have to admit that it was frustrating to see that both narratives involving violence against women were confirmed and carried through to the end. Next week should provide even more answers about Audrey’s experiences, but for now I’m savoring Diane’s triumphant “Fuck you,” and hoping Audrey gets the opportunity to make a last stand that’s just as defiant.
Full of heartbreak, triumph, and mystery, this episode was as good a reminder as any of the rich narrative Lynch and Frost have been weaving since 1990. It’s hard to believe that by Sunday night, it’ll be over for the foreseeable future. Here’s hoping the residents of Twin Peaks get the ending they deserve, and that we get (at least some) closure along the way.