We gave it a B+
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Part 7 of Twin Peaks (“There’s a body all right”) opened with a still life of disorientation. Call it: “Portrait of the Typical Twin Peaks Watcher.” The subject of this moving picture painting was bushy-faced Jerry Horne, resident weed kingpin, and he was lost in the forest. His eyes scanned the trees, searching for something that could help him get a fix on his location, and perhaps, his car. Someone stole it, apparently. He called brother Ben back at the Great Northern Hotel — or Ben called him; it was hard to tell — and their fraught communication included Jerry’s small, panicked, hilarious confession: “I THINK I’M HIGH!”
The past several weeks of Twin Peaks have been artful riffs on new characters and familiar motifs that were stoned on mood and mystery and kept us transfixed if confused. Part 7 was about ministering to those who could relate to Jerry’s other freaked-out admission: “I DON’T KNOW WHERE I AM!” It was an hour for gathering bearings, bringing everyone up to speed, and getting the show on the road, so to speak; it was an episode about finding the car that’ll drive the story forward. If you’ve come to accept and enjoy the new Twin Peaks for what it is — a wholly original thing, one that alternately satisfies and defies the pleasures of the original series — then Part 7 was probably the most conventional installment yet, while still marked by enough oddness to make it the most peculiar thing on TV. I mean, there was a two-minute scene of a guy sweeping peanut shells at The Bang! Bang! Bar, set to “Green Onions” by Booker T. & the M.G.’s. And Doppelgänger Brain Tree is back! No: Baby Doppelgänger Brain Tree!
And there was plenty of eeriness and enigmatic stuff, too. Guys… what was Dirty Cooper doing in Audrey Horne’s hospital room on his last day in Twin Peaks? And what the hell did he do with — or to — Diane at her house in Philly on a dark night many years ago? Let’s recap by locale, beginning with…
Just when you’d developed expectations of how storytelling works in Twin Peaks: The Return, David Lynch and Mark Frost broke with certain patterns, as if to remind you that Twin Peaks is an unruly entertainment that won’t be pushed, filed, stamped, indexed, briefed, debriefed, or numbered by a village of smarty-pants recappers and decoders; like The Prisoner (and a certain prisoner in this episode), this thing has a life of its own.
I was ready for the show to delay further examination of the documents that Hawk found tucked inside the toilet stall door last week, per the LynchFrost practice of letting blockbuster developments linger or cliffhanger beats dangle for a week or two. Nope. Coming out of the Ben and Jerry moment, we got Hawk walking Sheriff Frank Truman through the papers and their significance to Twin Peaks lore. They were three of four missing pages from Laura Palmer’s diary — her real diary, the one with all the painful and sorrowful truths, found in the apartment of agoraphobic botanist Harold Smith (rest in peace) in season 2. The entries alluded to two moments seen in Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me: (1) A dream — or astral projection — of Cooper’s girlfriend, Annie Blackburn, telling Laura that “the good Cooper” was trapped in The Black Lodge and instructing her to write that fact in her diary. (2) Laura’s realization that demonic Garmonbozia-harvester BOB and her father, Leland, were kinda-sorta one and the same.
Through quizzing Frank and answer man Hawk, LynchFrost were able to refresh our memory of past history and put the sheriff and his deputies on a path to Cooper and the truth of his peculiar existential condition. The scene also keeps the memory of Laura Palmer alive. I firmly believe the story is coming back to her in a major way. The credit sequence promises this, via Laura’s spectral image. And we remember that Laura disappeared from The Black Lodge before Cooper fell out of it, and that the spirit of Leland tasked Cooper with a mission: “Find Laura.”
Frank could accept Hawk’s weirdest suggestions — a place called The Black Lodge; that “the good Cooper” wasn’t the Cooper that came out of it at the end of season 2 — because Sheriff Frank Truman is clearly an enlightened human being who understands, as Major Briggs did, that there are more things in heaven and earth than are dreamt of in our philosophy. And anyway, Twin Peaks has no time to make him play the cliché of mystery serial skeptic. (The Secret History of Twin Peaks, written by Mark Frost, also establishes that Frank Truman is one of The Bookhouse Boys, the secret society that for generations has protected Twin Peaks from the cosmic horror forces that reside in the woods. So he’s probably familiar with the concept and even phenomenon of The Black Lodge, too.)
Hawk speculated that Leland planted the diary pages during one of several visits to the police station during the original series, specifically a season 2 episode when the schizoid fiend was questioned about the murder of Jacques Renault. (Leland actually did commit this crime.) If true, I think Leland’s choice speaks to his internal conflict during his days as a vessel for BOB’s rapacious evil; there was part of him that wanted to be stopped.
(Recap continues on page 2)