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 In some ways, they could easily have been replaced by doppelgängers, just like out poor Coop, the real centrepiece of this double episode.
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…