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.
Last week I talked about mixing the old and the new, but this week’s episode of The Return felt like a much more straightforward callback to the feel of the original in many ways. At the same time, David Lynch still isn’t here to indulge in nostalgia or answer questions. He’s here to finally finish telling a story he began decades ago but now, it’s on his terms. Lynch prefers to play with his audience, stringing us along through all of his narrative’s twists and turns.
Take, for instance, those golden shovels we saw Dr. Jacoby (Russ Tamblyn) with in the first episode that seemed so important at the time. It turns out they were nothing more than a product for his online, Info Wars-esque conspiracy show. The shovels were literal fool’s gold, proving yet again that when it comes to Twin Peaks and David Lynch’s work, sometimes asking questions and looking for meaning can feel futile.
For me, however, the questions feel necessary to the journey Lynch is taking us on. This series is, essentially, an eighteen-hour film. Where’s the fun in not asking questions along the way? Maybe they won’t matter seventeen hours in; maybe none of the recaps anyone on Earth has written at this point will matter, but that’s not the point. The point is the excitement, the rush of being swept off of your feet every week by the unexpectedness of it all. I’ve never felt this way about contemporary television before, mainly because this is like nothing else on television right now. Whether or not questions are answered by the end of this season, asking them at all is a way to keep ourselves engaged and afloat in this ocean Lynch has left us in.
If season three of Twin Peaks is an ocean of questions and uncertainty, there were at the very least a few familiar tides rolling in this week. Cooper is settling into life as Dougie, again offering some of the best parts of the episode so far — from joyful reactions to coffee, to new Lodge-powers (Coop might be a lie detector now), to a longing stare at a statue that looks an awful lot like former Sheriff Harry S. Truman. Kyle Maclachlan is truly a delight to watch as he reveals the soul lying underneath Cooper’s dissociative state.
This week also gave us the closest look at the titular town that we’ve seen in a while. Not only did we get to catch up with Dr. Jacoby and the local fans of his conspiracy webcast — Nadine Hurley (Wendy Robie) and Jerry Horne (David Patrick Kelly), — we also returned to the RR Diner. Shelly (Mädchen Amick) and Norma (Peggy Lipton) are still holding things together after all these years. There are new faces too, though. Caleb Landry Jones and Amanda Seyfried show up as Steven and Rebecca Burnett, a troubled couple.
Steven can’t find a job, Rebecca is always asking her mom, Shelly, for money, and both use cocaine. It looks like the only thing they have going for them is their love, no matter how toxic. After she does a line of coke in a car with Steven, Becky looks up as it takes off and seems consumed with euphoria as “I Love How You Love Me” plays in the background. It’s a dreamy, haunting sequence sure to remind a lot of people of Laura Palmer and her similar troubles. It’s unclear whether or not the Burnetts will play a bigger role in Twin Peaks at this point, but it feels like it could be possible in spite of both actors’ single episode credits on IMDb.
Speaking of new faces: towards the end of the episode, we’re introduced to an especially shitty character played by Eamon Farren. He harasses some girls sitting close by, and verbally (almost physically) assaults one of them, à la Frank in Blue Velvet. It was a frightening scene, but my heart truly stopped when I saw the name of this character: Richard Horne. Yes, as in the Hornes. As in, “Oh hey, the only Horne we haven’t seen in a while has been Audrey,” Horne. There’s no explanation given for who he is or if he’ll even be back, but all I’m saying is that if he ends up being Audrey’s son I will 100% scream into the void.
The fifth installment of The Return may have felt more straightforward than the first four episodes, but in a series like Twin Peaks, nothing is ever this easy. Even the Bang Bang Bar endings we had become so accustomed to were thwarted this time around for a more abrupt close. We did, however, get a peek at this week’s artist (Trouble) in addition to Dennis Hopper Jr. so that was something. If episode five has shown us anything, it’s that even when Twin Peaks gets more down to Earth, there are still plenty of questions to ask.