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

 

 

A love letter to Twin Peaks 

So here we are…

The time has come at last. It has been 27 years since Twin Peaks last graced our screens, and the irony is that I wasn’t even alive when the show first aired in 1990. I was but a bean in my mother’s midriff when the second season got cancelled, and for much of my life the only “Annie” I had concerns for was that of ‘Billie Jean’.

I confess, I had a late renaissance. For a good decade, I wrongly (though sincerely) believed that Twin Peaks was a romantic drama akin to that of a soap, the One Tree Hill or Gilmore Girls of its day (don’t shoot me, please!) Of course, how wrong that opinion was proved to be.

When I finally succumbed to the pilot, after one too many times of being told to, I found myself wholly baffled. The intro felt overblown and self-indulgent (it is), whilst Angelo Badalamenti’s famous score struck me as superfluously saccharine. It bristled every nerve in my body, causing me to tense in discomfort in the way of when something that you dislike is unavoidable to you, like that grating song on the radio, or the prospect of being forced to eat your most dreaded childhood food. Combine that with Audrey’s renegade posturing, Donna’s melodramatic wailing and Laura’s myriad of suitors and the only thing that made sense was the washed up body on the beach.

Dazed and very confused, I no doubt scoffed. I recall not wanting to continue, there was plenty of such drivel on present-day TV after all, so why suffer one that simple oozes overblown 80s eccentricity? Though, I confess, I am nothing if not stubborn. If Twin Peaks were so universally lauded then, by the Log Lady’s log, what was I missing? Why didn’t I get it, when so many others did? Why was I not privy to its secret? Perhaps, I was merely tasteless…

So I persevered in pure spite and somewhere along the way, to my honest surprise, I began to enjoy myself. The two minute long intro was no longer a chore but a ritual of sincere joy, Badalamenti’s music tugging at my heartstrings as every fibre of me longed for the solitude between the pines. I began to appreciate the humour in its pastiche of 1950s-1980s melodrama. Audrey’s vanity in fact hid a vulnerability that I had not anticipated, Donna’s simpering masked a recklessly jealous streak, whilst those aforementioned would be suitors only served to complicate the mystery that was Laura.

The universally adored prom queen lived a seemingly perfect existence – from the outside, yet almost immediately that ideal begins to unravel into something far more sinister in a town far more otherworldly than any of us ever expected. Perhaps it was the duality of intrigue that kept – and keeps – us all hooked, for as we can compute the concept of a young girl led down a path of crime and suffering routine abuse, can we ever hope for enlightenment if the threat is forever unfathomable?

And perhaps that is why we return now. It is the journey that compels us onwards, not the desire to reach the destination, and with the long pined-for season three may David Lynch leave us with more questions than we could ever dream of answering.

Those owls are not what they seem, after all…