Between Peaks: Cooper cuts a lonely image in this week’s Twin Peaks – ‘Part 5’ (Season 3)

Twin Peaks has seemed a bit shy as of late. Not the show itself of course – no one could ever accuse David Lynch of being “shy” in his aesthetic output – but the town of its namesake. Outside of the sheriff’s department and the episode-end cameos of the Bang Bang Bar (seemingly a new right of passage for the muso-lover’s best kept secret), there has been little sight of the town, almost as if it has been avoiding our hungry gaze on purpose. It has been 25 years after all, and whilst we have both aged gracefully, there is a trust to be renewed.

The stark, otherworldly abruptness of the first few episodes has now abated a little and the humour has started to creep back in though the cracks, in a manner more awkward than ever. Angelo Badalamenti’s precious score is ever-missed! Can you imagine that Wally Brando scene with a hint of “Freshly Squeezed”? Wouldn’t that be perfection?

Thankfully, despite the sonic absence of the music our hearts bleed for, we are treated to the return of a few more old hands in this week’s episode. Lynch’s penchant for seemingly pointless asides makes a comeback with Lawrence Jacoby (Russ Tamblyn) and his golden shovels. Who would’ve thought the doctor would’ve been a fan of live streaming his nonsensical mundanities, eh? Even more surprising, who would’ve presumed Nadine (Wendy Robie) would be a fan of his sage life advice, or left-field brother Jerry Horne (David Patrick Kelly)?

At this point, Jacoby’s new mantra of “shovel yourself out of the shit and into the truth” feels wholly apt, for whilst season 3 of Twin Peaks has been incredibly entertaining as of yet, it is further removed from the small town intrigues of series past with its Eraserhead-come-Mullholland Drive weirdness. Before you throw sharp things our way, no – it is not bad, yes – we do love it, but as the episodes start to tick over there is the nagging thought in the back of your mind that you simply can’t wait to understand the overall context of the myriad of tasty snacks that have been placed in front of you. The full meal if what you want, but you’re only being served side-dishes. The longer the wait the sweeter the taste, but then again, there is no real cure for impatience, is there?

But back to familiar faces. Segway to the Double R Diner and we find Norma (Peggy Lipton) tucked in the corner with her paperwork when a young blonde woman careers through the door. It turns out this is Becky Burnett (Amanda Seyfried), the daughter of diner waitress Shelley (Mädchen Amick) and an as-of-yet unidentified father who has a habit of lending money from her mother and not paying it back. Norma and Shelley are aware of Becky’s excuses for cash, most likely to spend on drugs with her husband Steven (Caleb Landry Jones) who has a preference for the white stuff and can’t land a job (with Bobby’s old friend Mike Nelson, nonetheless.) Her disdain at her current situation is plain on her face, but when Steven offers her the end of his line she isn’t keen to resist. It is hard not to make parallels between Becky and her mother Shelley, who was herself married to the drug dealing and abusive Leo; it is by no means a stretch to consider that Steve treats Becky in the same way. It is Norma, herself a mothering figure to Shelley, who spells it out: “If you don’t help her now, it’s going to get a lot harder to help her later”.

The other notable addition to this episode is that of the new resident bad boy in town. His smoking under a non-smoking sign seems pretty amusing, until he proceeds to do a shady deal with the bouncer of the Bang Bang Bar and goes on to assault and threaten a teenage girl from the neighbouring booth. The scene has creepy echoes of that of Evil Coop (not to mention Blue Velvet‘s Frank Booth) and Darya a few episode ago, and a peek at the credit cast list identifies this man as Richard Horne (Eamon Farren). Given his age, it is not a stretch to presume that this could be Audrey’s son, but being as she is still to appear we must wait to find out.

The aforementioned Evil Coop is still confined and now being subject to investigation. As Agent Gordon Cole identified in the previous episode, something is definitely not quite right, a factor only stressed in the oddly blank expression and monotonous speech emanating from this doppelgänger. The police detectives grace him his phone call (“Shall I call Mr. Strawberry? No…) only for the room to suddenly descending into darkness and clamour with flashing white light. BOB is alive and well in this body it seems, and if his remarks in the cell mirror are anything to imply, there may be a piece of the real Cooper there with him…

But, as always, the anchor of this episode is Cooper (Kyle MacLachlan) himself. Decked in Dougie’s officious, oversize lime green blazer, he is a sorry sight made only more bedraggled by his naivety and loss, both in regards to his surroundings and sense of self. His own destitution and bewilderment is mirrored by our own, for who will navigate our trajectory through this strange land if not Cooper? Perhaps that is what makes his wandering the grounds of his workplace (after being dropped there by Janey-E) so disconcerting; his trying to find a path, clinging to the simplest signs of purpose and lack of connection function as our own. Nothing (on the weird scale of things) will make sense to us, until Cooper makes it make sense to us.

His unknowledgeable regard for the world lands him in some amusing predicaments, between brandishing a senior colleague a liar (another new superpower), being on the receiving end of the flirtations of another, or greedily snaffling up someone else’s coffee. He is an alien outside of the Black Lodge despite the echoes of his former self, yet all his scenes in this episode only serve to exaggerate the sad isolation he finds himself in and the lack of people near him who really care.

  • Elsewhere and the body from the season premiere has been identified as that of Major Garland Briggs. However, nothing is ever quite that simple, and we discover -courtesy of some offbeat humour from forensic Constance Talbot (Jane Adams, a brief highlight) that the Major’s body had a wedding ring inside its stomach, that engraved with the name of Dougie’s (you know, the otherother Cooper) wife Janey-E. The mind boggles…
  • It’s going down at the casino where owners Bradley and Rodney Mitchum believe that manager Warwick was working with Coop to deliver $425,000 of earnings. Understandably, he finds himself on the wrong end of his boot. Back at Dougie’s car and the would-be assassins are still keeping an eye out, to no avail. They go to search his car only to be blown into flames in the process. Dougie’s sex-worker friend Jade (Nafessa Williams) also finds his key to his room at the Great Northern Hotel on the floor of her car and deposits it in a postbox. No doubt that will make another appearance sooner rather than later…

Is Richard Horne Audrey’s son? Is BOB resurfacing in Evil Coop? Will Cooper still be stood outside in the morning? Til next time….

PS. It’s gif time

 

 

Between Peaks: Twin Peaks scales new, baffling heights – ‘Parts 3+4’ (Season 3)

HELLOO-OOOO – Wally Brando!

That name alone is the most baffling thing so far in season three of Twin Peaks. We digress (honest), but all in all, whoever presumed that Michael Cera’s appearance would be a cameo of Sheriff deputy Andy (Harry Goaz) and secretary Lucy’s (Kimmy Robertson) 25 year old son? (And just look at him; he could easily be their real life lovechild!) Sheriff Frank Truman (Robert Forster)  – and yes, the brother of original series fave Harry Truman – is similarly thrown, and just when we thought the events of the previous double episode had got a little heavy, here is a totem of how David Lynch excels in deploying awkward bouts of humour. As a viewer, your cringing is drawn out for his own perverse enjoyment.

But Cera’s inclusion as the bike straddling, simperingly self-conscious cool guy ushers in some of the Twin Peaks of old, and with episodes three and four we are treated to a generous dollop of good ol’ fun. It is not without purpose however; Wally’s fleeting visit is to pay respects to the aforementioned Harry Truman, his godfather, who it transpires has been ill.

Wally’s stiff and hyperbolic dialogue contrasts with the return of Bobby Briggs (Dana Ashbrook), who is revisiting the Laura Palmer case file along with Frank and co. Yes, Bobby is now a member of the sheriff department, and in an uncannily similar fashion as to when Donna first learned of Laura’s death in the season one pilot, Bobby crumbles and sobs uncontrollably, losing every ounce of composure at the sight of the iconic Homecoming picture of his dead ex.

There is a quality about the returning characters that feels a little alien, a warmth recalled from our previous encounters that doesn’t feel quite present. Perhaps, until now, none of us realised how much our emotion on Angelo Badalamenti’s formerly ever-present though now noticeably absent score. In some ways, they could easily have been replaced by doppelgängers, just like out poor Coop, the real centrepiece of this double episode.

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Following his vacuum travels with a detour via a glass box, Cooper finds himself in a dark room inhabited by a woman with no eyes. She struggles to communicate, taking him up a ladder to escape the ominous entity that is hammering on the locked door. They find themselves surrounded by stars and clinging to a satellite. She flips a switch before falling, only to be forgotten seconds later due to the floating head of Major Briggs saying “Blue Rose”: the code term for a case classified as supernatural. One such case was that of Laura Palmer.

He drifts and Coop descends back to the first room, the banging louder and a new woman (spotted by those eagle-eyed as Phoebe Augustine, a victim of the original series) perched on the sofa. With difficulty, Cooper is sucked back into the real world via a contraption, leaving only his shoes behind. This seemingly disjoints all involved. Evil Coop is violently sick and careers off the road, whilst a third Coop – introduced as Dougie Jones (it is implied that Evil Coop made Dougie as a replacement for himself for the Black Lodge) – abruptly exchanges places with the real one, his body leaving a golden orb and Laura Palmer’s owl ring in the Red Room.

That real Cooper is quickly revealed as having suffered some sort of mental ailment, either from the transportation or being stuck in the Black Lodge for 25 years, and is clearly befuddled by modern day Las Vegas. Dougie’s hooker leaves him at a casino, at which Cooper discovers a knack for spotting winning bandits (HELLOOO-OOO Mr. Jackpots!), racking up thousands of dollars before being removed from the premises and dumped back “home” to Dougie’s wife Janey-E (Naomi Watts, Mulholland Drive) and son, Sonny Jim (Pierce Gagnon of Looper and Extant). It quickly transpires that Cooper needs to relearn the basics – like using the bathroom – and can only speak in mimicry. One can only hope that one large gulp of hot coffee will shake Coop out of his reverie.

Elsewhere and Agent Gordon Cole (David Lynch himself) and Agent Albert Rosenfield (the late Miguel Ferrer) receive a phone call that they’d never presumed to hear: Agent Cooper has been found. Alas, it is not Mr. Jackpots, but evil doppelgänger Cooper, who was discovered in the aforementioned car wreckage and taken into custody. After a brief visit to Denise Bryson (David Duchovny), now head of the FBI, the two – accompanied by Agent Tamara Preston (Chrysta Bell) – travel to South Dakota to see him, but quickly surmise that something is amiss. Evil Cooper’s alien exchange leaves Cole and Rosenfield rattled; they know that this isn’t quite the same man that they saw some 25 years ago.

“I hate to admit this,” states Cole. “But I don’t understand this situation at all.” Never have truer words being spoken of Twin Peaks, especially as of late, but Rosenfield feels something different.

“Blue Rose,” he says. “Can’t get any bluer.”

They agree that one other must visit Evil Cooper before anything else progresses to determine if what they feel is correct. “I don’t know where she lives,” Rosenfield says. “But I know where she drinks.”

Between this week’s surrealism Eraserhead-come-Mullholland Drive surrealism and Lynch’s signature uncomfortable humour, Twin Peaks: Then Return is beginning to look like the most Lynchian amalgamation of all of his work to date.

What do you think of the surrealist edge? Does Cooper remember covfefe?  Perhaps the mysterious Diane will make an appearance after all this time? And what did you think of Wally Brando? Till next time…

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