We gave it a B+
Frank continued to follow up on the mystery of Agent Cooper’s final days in Twin Peaks in two scenes involving old friends, one seen, one not. They were powerful not for the information they conveyed but for the way they were used to hit on themes essential to the new series: age, fragility and mortality. They were also exquisite acting moments for Robert Forster, who has thoroughly and successfully replaced Michael Ontkean’s Sheriff Harry S. Truman as the grounding presence for this electrically bizarre show. It’s actually hard to imagine that Frank was never part of Twin Peaks until now.
Frank called his ailing brother to update him and ask some clarifying questions, only to learn that Harry’s health continues to deteriorate. It sounded like Harry is now hospitalized, possibly somewhere out of the area. Frank tried his best to remain stoic, but he was clearly rocked by the news, and he didn’t wish to burden his sibling with police business, especially business as personal as Cooper-Laura intrigue. It’s amazing how Lynch can get his actors to convey so much emotion — and make you feel it — with such few words and minimal contextual information. (Obviously, the visceral themes of life and death help.) Forster’s line reading of “Harry, do me a favor: Beat this thing” was enough to get me misty.
I have a theory, one you may not want to hear. I initially thought these frequent reminders of Harry’s declining health were only about explaining Ontkean’s absence and nurturing the mortality fixation. Now, I’m thinking we’re being groomed for a major event, one that would give us a scene that would bring everyone in Twin Peaks together: Harry’s funeral.
That’s said, I’m not rooting for his death. In fact, if Harry can beat the disease that’s stealing his life (an arc that mirrors, in essence, Cooper’s own struggle for survival), it would set up another, equally emotional moment, a climactic Cooper-Harry reunion, a la the final moment of Lynch’s The Straight Story, his most underappreciated film, a lovely tale about what it means to age with grace.
Watch the cast discuss the show’s odd universe and the revival in the new People/Entertainment Weekly Network (PEN) special EW Reunites: Twin Peaks here, or download the app on your favorite mobile and streaming devices.
The other old friend that Frank brought back into the series this week was Doc Will Hayward, played by the late Warren Frost, father of Mark Frost. They chatted via Skype, which got us a great moment where we learned that tech-savvy Frank has a computer screen embedded in his desk that rises and recedes with a click of a button, something someone from a super-mod spy-fi show of the ’60s would use. Doc looked a little haggard, a little frail, but we learned that age wasn’t getting in the way of practicing medicine (he had recently treated Mrs. Mueller’s eczema via Skype) or fishing (he had recently caught two brown trout and cooked them up right there at the river with some scrambled eggs in a campfire skillet). I loved this scene for the poignancy generated by Frost and Forster. That we were getting it on Father’s Day made the moment a bittersweet tribute from Mark to his dad, from the show to one of its few, admirable father figures.
The re-connection was heartwarming, but the business end of the call was disturbing. Doc recalled that he last saw the man he thought to be Agent Cooper leaving the ICU, where he had been visiting a comatose Audrey Horne. If you haven’t read The Secret History of Twin Peaks, then you were learning for the first time that the precocious Nancy Drew and budding environmentalist had survived — barely — a bombing at the local savings and loan. Doc thought that Dirty Cooper had been in Audrey’s room for about an hour. He certainly recalled the look of dead-inside evil on his face when they locked eyes. If dastardly drug dealer Richard Horne really is the child of an Audrey-Dirty Cooper coupling, as many have theorized, then — and I hate even posing this question — did Dirty Cooper rape Audrey Horne while she was in a coma?
Speaking of Richard Horne: Deputy Andy did a bang-up job of investigating the hit-and-run vehicular homicide committed by Richard last week. And by “bang-up,” I mean “piss-poor.” He located the flat bed pick-up that Dick was driving, but it was registered to another man, a terrified guy (the credits ID’d him as “The Farmer”) who insisted on speaking with Andy about the matter at another location — a logging road off Sparkwood and 21, just down from the Joneses — at 4:30. For some dumb reason, Andy agreed to these terms instead of detaining him and taking him to the station. Not surprisingly, The Farmer was a no-show, and a sinister shot of his house, where we saw that the door was ajar, goosed us to assume the worst. There may be significance to all the little details. “Sparkwood and 21” is a mythic intersection in Twin Peaks lore — it’s where Laura jumped off James’ bike and ran into the woods on the night she was killed. “4:30” reminds us of a clue that The Giant gave Agent Cooper at the beginning of the season — the digits 4-3-0. So we have now seen three elements of The Giant’s cipher in consecutive weeks: Richard, Linda, 4-3-0. Finally, there’s “the Joneses” — and the only Jones we know on the show is Dougie Jones.
If the 4:30/4-3-0 correlation is correct, then what does it mean? Well, it could be a meta-directional. The Giant’s clues in the prologue to Part 1, given to a mentally-restored Cooper, feed into the assurance that scene now offers us in retrospect, that Cooper’s restoration is indeed a thing that will happen. So these clues — omens — could represent a ticking clock. Richard, Linda, 4-3-0, two birds one stone — when all these things have been materialized in the show, that’s when we’ll see the end of Cooper’s Dougie Jones daze. Or maybe it had something to do with some mystery that Coop will investigate once he returns to Twin Peaks. In the original series, The Giant gave Cooper riddles to help him navigate the Laura Palmer mystery; they were markers that told him he was on the right track. Maybe Andy’s missed meeting, at 4:30, will factor into the timeline of a crime that Cooper will be reconstructing once he gets back into Sherlock mode. If so, then… what’s the crime? Maybe (gulp) the disappearance (and death?!) of Deputy Andy Brennan?
(Recap continues on page 3)