I haven’t been able to focus on any in-depth reviews lately due to a combination of life stuff, creative pursuits, and the introduction of new Game of Thrones episodes onto my already full pop culture plate, so in an effort to not get too far behind, here’s a brief flyby of the previous two episodes. (Some form of review of episode 11 is coming at some point).
- Mr. C is alive and he looks gross because Mr. C is gross. Mr. C making out with Chantal is gross. I bet those chips are gross.
- Tim Roth makes his debut in Twin Peaks as new character Hutch. Now that it’s out of the way, I can mention there had been a rumor that Roth was replacing David Bowie as Phillip Jeffries; ironically, his performance as Hutch shows that he could pull off Jeffries’ accent if he wanted to. Also, Jennifer Jason Leigh’s presence here turns this into a bit of a Hateful Eight reunion. (If only Walton Goggins would make an appearance).
- COOPER FLEW THE COOP. Possibly one of Gordon’s funniest bits of dialogue. This isn’t the first time that pun has been used on Twin Peaks, though, given Albert’s line in season two: “Looks like your former partner flew the coop . . . Coop.”
- Cooper is getting SO CLOSE to waking up. The image of him staring at the American flag was a classic mix of absurdity and poignancy, harkening back to the borderline ridiculous but touching old fashionedness of Cooper’s personality. I’m assuming the woman with the red shoes is another Wizard of Oz shoutout — Lynch’s go-to reference point throughout much of his work — and a further sign that Cooper needs to find a way home. My personal guess is that he needs his old shoes, left behind in the weird purple den, in order to snap out of it. As for the fingerprints collected by the detectives Fusco, those will almost certainly red flag the system when they turn out to be Special Agent Dale Cooper’s.
- The Fuscos’ comments about there being no record of Dougie Jones before 1997 does apparently confirm the One-Armed Man’s statement: Dougie was created specifically to prevent Cooper’s doppelganger from having to return to the Lodge. (Either that or their witness protection theory holds water).
- Looks like Diane is in Mr. C’s pocket. For what it’s worth, I don’t think she’s working with him because she’s actually on his side. She’s probably been compromised, most likely because C-bag threatened her during their fateful meeting. (Assuming that was Evil Cooper she encountered that evening, and not the real Dale. Jury is still out until Diane explains what the hell happened and when the hell it happened).
- Pretty much everything involving the Briggs family in this episode is unbelievably touching. It’s a sheer joy to see Charlotte Stewart again, and the way the series honors the dearly departed Don S. Davis couldn’t be better; Major Briggs still feels present in the series, despite Davis being long gone. Grownup Bobby is also proving to be a standout, and Dana Ashbrook’s work here is excellent. The Briggs’ have quickly established themselves as a significant piece of the heart and light of Twin Peaks.
- The weird symbol from Evil Cooper’s card is also on Major Briggs’ message, and bears a striking resemblance to Mother/the Experiment’s profile. Very alarming, given that she may be what Evil Coop is looking for. Also, cool to see the reappearance of Cooper’s “message from space” from the second season.
- I can’t hear Jack Rabbit’s Palace without imagining Vincent Vega and Mia Wallace twisting on a dance floor. Sorry.
- Johnny Horne! The back of Sylvia’s head! “I am not your foot”! The Hornes are doing, uh, well.
- Actually, Ben Horne does seem to be doing okay, at least. The phrase “you’re a good man, Ben” is not something any Peaks fan would ever expect to hear uttered on this show. Ben appears to have come a long way, and that line from Beverly really lands.
- Constbert Rosenblot blooms! Between Albert’s cutting cynicism and Constance’s bad jokes, this may just be the romance Twin Peaks has always deserved.
- Whoa, okay, Matthew Lillard. Wow. His performance here is award worthy, having to sustain a note of hysterical crying for 5–10 minutes while also trying to evoke some genuine sympathy in the audience. Everybody present here — Lillard, Lynch, Chrysta Bell, Miguel Ferrer — is at their best, keeping up with the wildly shifting tone of the scene with just a few facial expressions. The show had looked to be indicating that Hastings may have been possessed by Bob, but this further revelation that Bill and Ruth ventured into an alternate universe called The Zone heavily complicates that implication. Hastings’ story of Major Briggs floating, and of Garland’s head disappearing, suggests the very similar image of the Giant in episode eight. Is the Zone another name for one of the Lodges, or something new entirely? Bill Hastings is essentially the Buckhorn equivalent of a MUFON conspiracy theorist, and he’s in wayyyy over his head. He is truly broken by this experience. Bill pathetically pleading “I WANT TO GO SCUBA DIVING,” equal parts laughable and devastating, nearly reaches Leland Palmer status in its level of shattering realization.
- Okay, that was the grossest armpit scene in cinema history which wasn’t directed by David Cronenberg. I can only guess Sky Ferreira’s character is mainlining whatever hell-powder Red is pushing into Twin Peaks. All she had to do next was eat Mr. C’s chips. *vomits*
- Richard Horne. RICHARD. HORNE. What a total absolute piece of fucking garbage. The scenes of him murdering poor Miriam and then terrorizing his grandmother Sylvia and uncle Johnny are just . . . by any standards, these were difficult moments to stomach. Violent, heartbreaking, and emotionally repugnant. There has always been a lot written about violence against women both in Twin Peaks and in Lynch’s work as a whole, and I think this episode doubles down on that. Not intentionally, as these weren’t written as episodes, but hour ten becomes an incidental reminder that Twin Peaks is a world that is very hostile towards women. The brutal killing of schoolteacher Miriam — which occurs entirely off-screen — is meant to evoke Teresa Banks, as like Teresa she is beaten to death in her trailer. Meanwhile, Richard’s violent assault of Sylvia is shoved into the audience’s face. Neither scene is played for laughs or ironically. Richard Horne is presented as an out-of-control monster, a desperate and despicable scumbag who will kill or maim anyone to get his way. These scenes are horrific and intended to be so.
- Ditto for Steven’s fight with Becky, which is again portrayed as frightening and abusive. You get the impression that this is a regular occurrence. Sadly, Becky has found herself in the same position as her mother did 25 years ago. “It is happening again,” indeed.
- Johnny’s robot-teddy bear-therapist has a face that recurs in various iterations throughout Lynch’s drawings and animation, in particular his 2000-era animated web series Dumbland.
- It’s exciting to see the disparate strands of the Las Vegas storyline start coming together. We now understand that Duncan Todd is a gangster rival of the Mitchum Brothers, with Anthony Sinclair acting as Duncan’s pawn in insurance schemes. Meanwhile, the Mitchums are out to find Mr. Jackpots and ring-a-ding-ding his bell for winning too much from their casino. As Duncan is also working for Mr. C, who wants Dougie-Coop assassinated, and the Mitchums are now hip to Dougie’s existence thanks to the local news, Cooper is firmly in the crosshairs of not one but two sinister networks.
- Speaking of Cooper, the comic relief in this episode absolutely comes in the form of his bizarre sex scene with Janey-E, turned on by her husband’s newfound physical health and toned physique. Her screaming “Dougie!” repeatedly while Cooper just lies there with the expression of an excited child as his arms flop involuntarily . . . there are no words. No words.
- Also no words for Robert Knepper getting smacked in the face with a remote. Such a transcendently stupid, wonderful scene.
- OMG EURON GREYJOY’S SHIP. It’s so amazing. I can’t wait to see what they do with him this season wait sorry wrong show.
- Constbert Rosenblot is a thing after all! But no sooner did Peaks fans have to clean up the couch from squeeing all over the place than we get to see Nadine again, crushing hard on Dr. Jacoby. Her moaning “he’s so beautiful!” with near-religious conviction, coupled with the revelation that she now runs her own business called Run Silent, Run Drapes, was like an awkward but adorable hug from the show to its devoted audience. There really is just something goddamn lovely about Nadine realizing her life’s dream.
- Chad is horrible. Who knew?! I’m glad Lucy is onto him and I hope she takes him down.
- Okay, maybe Ben isn’t doing that great. Looks like he and Sylvia are separated and their relationship is acrimonious at best. (Given everything he’s put her through, it’s not unreasonable that she expects some financial support). And then Ben finally breaks down and asks the very married Beverly out to dinner.
- Gordon’s sudden and strange vision of Laura from FWWM hammers home the point that she’s still the absent center of Twin Peaks. Likewise the Log Lady telling Hawk “Laura is the one.” Clearly, Laura’s strange disappearance from the Red Room has set the stage for wherever this is going.
- Tammy reveals a photo of Mr. C visiting the glass box. This fits with him telling Jeffries “I missed you in New York” earlier in the season. It remains to be seen why Evil Cooper keeps trying to make contact with Jeffries despite being repeatedly told that Phil-Jay wants to kill him.
- And finally we have the return of Rebekah del Rio, who famously appeared as the singer in Club Silencio during the surreal middle portion of Mulholland Dr. In addition to me realizing my crush on del Rio has not diminished, more importantly her musical number brought a somber-but-soaring conclusion to the episode. (The song, “No Stars,” was written by del Rio, Lynch, and John Neff, Lynch’s former sound technician/musical collaborator, and was first recorded several years ago for one of del Rio’s albums before being rerecorded here. Joining her onstage is Moby and frequent Nick Cave producer Nick Launay).
One More Thought That Happened:
Episode ten all but says outright that Richard is Audrey’s son, a fact that most of us have suspected for a while. The prevailing theory is that Mr. C visited her in the hospital while she was comatose after the bank explosion, sexually assaulting Audrey and ultimately resulting in Richard. Certainly, this would fit with the Giant telling Cooper “it is in our house now” and mentioning Richard’s name at the start of the season; if Richard is a product of DoppelCoop, then his existence is inextricably tied to Dale as well, meaning this evil has staked a claim in Cooper’s bloodline.
However, I have to confess I’m not indulging this theory further until the show specifically goes there. Same with the popular idea that Mr. C raped Diane on the night they met. The reason is because we have not heard either Audrey or Diane’s side of this story. Regarding Diane, episode seven spawned a bit of a fight in the fan community, amongst people who believed Diane was raped versus those who assumed she’d simply been spurned by the real Cooper before he left for Twin Peaks. Those in the former camp accused those in the latter of trying to minimize women and the idea of assault. And indeed, some folks are doing that, making fairly sexist assumptions that Diane’s entire character is rooted in being rejected by Coop.
That is not where I’m coming from. My reticence here is because I believe Twin Peaks takes rape and assault seriously. I think it’s somewhat flippant to assume Evil Cooper raping other characters is now the de facto answer to various lingering questions we have, as if Mr. C is the Jason Voorhees of sexual assault and that explains everything. Jumping to this conclusion does somewhat of a disservice to Diane, for instance, as attributing everything about her personality to a hypothetical non-consensual encounter ignores the complexity of her character. Episode ten confirms we still know little about Diane, or her motivations. A lot here still demands reckoning. Likewise, we haven’t even seen Audrey yet, so to automatically make her a figure of sexual torment just to up Mr. C’s evil quotient feels hasty.
Of course, it is completely within the realm of possibility that these theories are true. I’d venture to guess at least one of them is. At the core of Twin Peaks is a young woman who was the victim of abuse, rape, and murder, and that incident colors the entire universe of the series. Look no further than this very episode. It’s within the show’s wheelhouse to deal with those issues. But I’m not comfortable preemptively making Diane and Audrey’s storylines dependent upon having been raped, so I’m holding off until the series itself addresses it.