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Part 10 of Twin Peaks: The Return was an episode of four letter words and hurting fists, most of them hurled by men, many of them tossed by Richard Horne, a demonic wildfire man-child now blazing out of control. He killed Miriam, witness to his crime of vehicular homicide; he beat up his grandma — his grandma! — and threatened to do worse to poor, mad Johnny unless she gave him all her money. (Dick needs a good talking-to from his mother, wherever the hell she is. Audrey Horne! Show yourself, already!) It was an episode in which women were portrayed as strong, vulnerable, moral, mystic, brave, sweet, sexy, cunning, courageous, and many other things besides, but were often reminded, in the most violent, abusive, degrading, or rather bizarre of ways, that they lived in a world of men, and there’s no safe place from the worst of them, not even their home, whether it’s a trailer on the edge of town or a tony home in a gated community.
It was an episode that grieved old school Biblical sinfulness, and specifically that original sin, the one that put enmity between men and women, that turned people into slaves to toil and idols to each other. It sketched a society gone insane from tainted love, betrayed trust, the love of money, the fear of death, unchecked animal drives, and of course, the damn government and those greedy corporations and their poisonous chemicals turning everything to s—. (Yep, there was another Dr. Amp rant.) “It’s a f—ing nightmare,” moaned Carl Rodd as he listened to snotty-nosed, Sparkle-stoned Steven berate and beat his wife for daring to question him, for not being appropriately wife-like, for vague, maybe mythic transgressions. “No stars,” sang Rebekah Del Rio in the episode’s featured Roadhouse musical performance, the lyrics speaking of a love that has lost its spark. “No stars…”
All of these things and many more worked together to evoke the spirit of a complex anti-hero with many faces, who was used and abused by bad men when she lived, and who, in death, has come to represent both the fallen world and cosmic wrongs that still need righting. She is both alive and dead in this story, and she is on the loose, haunting every episode in some fashion, even if it’s just her ghostly face in the credits — a promise to us that Twin Peaks: The Return hasn’t forgotten Laura Palmer, and that it is very interested in the matter of her justice. And in one scary-exhilarating moment, a vestige of Laura appeared to Gordon Cole* in the form of a wailing image of her younger self, pulled from Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me. The whole episode — unofficially titled “Laura is the one,” from a line of a new prophetic free verse issued by the ailing Log Lady to Hawk — might have been a prophet; I saw it preparing the way for the second coming of the show’s holy spirit. Will she be an angel of redemption or a dark phoenix of great vengeance and furious anger? Maybe both? A Shiva, perhaps, destroyer and transformer. Or maybe this kind of savior-wanting is all wishful thinking…
And so “Laura is the one” was an advent story, a tale of hell-on-Earth bitterness and bleakness sprinkled with sweetness and light, asking us to have faith, to not abandon hope. Albert went on a date with Constance. It was a lovely moment. Dooper and Janey-E had sex. It was… well, silly. He flailed his arms and rolled his eyes in delight. She screamed — no, sang! — “Dougiiieee!” in ecstasy. “Sonny” Jim Jones heard the sounds and bolted upright in innocence-lost shock. But it was also kinda perfect, something sort of pure to round out the other scenes of domestic horror. In her midnight call to Hawk, the Log Lady said that good men endure, like our two Trumans, both “true men,” and other long-time allies, too, presumably the Bookhouse Boys. (I think it’s about time we saw Big Ed Hurley again, don’t you think?) And note the birdhouses. You saw one atop Miriam’s trailer, which was adorned with out-of-season Christmas decorations. You saw one mounted on Carl’s white house. I’m reminded of Laura Dern’s soliloquy in Blue Velvet:
“In the dream, there was our world, and the world was dark because there weren’t any robins and the robins represented love. And for the longest time, there was this darkness. And all of a sudden, thousands of robins were set free and they flew down and brought this blinding light of love. And it seemed that love would make any difference, and it did. So, I guess it means that there is trouble until the robins come.”
In Lynchlandia, there’s a season for everything, and it’s often darkest before the dawn.
*About Gordon Cole: We saw him drawing a surreal doodle, a reindeer creature with extraordinary antlers; a hand attached to an elongated arm reaching into the picture from outside the border. Next to Cole’s pad, we saw a small red box, similar to the black device that Dirty Cooper called — and perhaps destroyed — from prison. I wondered if Cole’s automatic drawing and/or that device made him into a kind of psychic beacon that attracted Laura’s spirit. Regardless, I love how Lynch basically used the scene to create a metaphor for the conjuring act of his own dreamy creative process. Gordon Cole just might be the greatest Mary Sue character in TV history. He isn’t just played by Lynch; he might as well be Lynch.
I want to sum up “Laura is the one” with another Dern line from another Lynch film: It was “weird on top and wild at heart.” The storytelling pinged between tonal extremes and scenes were often accented or streaked with some strange bit of business, like the broken teddy bear with the light bulb head that kept bleating, “Hello, Johnny, how are you today?”– a pacifier for mad, dim, busted Johnny Horne — during Richard’s home invasion. His crass, coarse verbal assault combined with a choke-hold to imply a kind of rape, and it reminded me of the scene in Wild at Heart when Willem Dafoe’s loathsome Bobby Peru violated Dern’s Lula in a similar fashion, with language and glad-handing. Wild at Heart, a polarizing film in the Lynch canon, caused critics to question his mastery and sincerity, a doubting that would continue through the ’90s with Lynch’s two other world-gone-crazy pictures, Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me and Lost Highway, a trippy horror-noir about marriage gone bad and male pattern wigginess. Lynch — who’s been quoting his work all season long, turning Twin Peaks: The Return into a look-back magnum opus — might have been using Part 10 to reflect on his ’90s dark period in abstract, metaphorical fashion.
FUN FACT! In Wild at Heart, the ruling underworld Godfather was named Mr. Reindeer, an overseer of killers, who kept a retinue of scantily clad women whom he ogled like erotic art objects. Part 10 of Twin Peaks: The Return had underworld godfathers (the Mitchum brothers), ogled, objectified women (Candie, Mandie and Sandie) and a Grandma who got run over by a runaway Horne’d creature. I’m not here to theorize that Mr Reindeer is going to make an appearance. Just making connections to explain Cole’s drawing and Lynch’s symbol system. Gordon Cole is an agent of justice — the long arm of the law. Mr. Reindeer is a symbol of evil. This episode — the season — is a metaphysical and very meta saga about the problem of evil. You following me? (Please say yes.)
Regardless, I feel the same way about this episode as I do about those movies: not my favorite thing Lynch has done. The tones didn’t harmonize well, and if that was the intention, it still wasn’t pleasant, and if that was the intention, okay, but I still didn’t enjoy it. Too many minor key characters, too much Dick and Vegas, which is starting to wear on me. Still, “Laura is the one” was important for framing the second half the season and seemed to signal a move to start bringing everything together.
The War on Lady Christmas. Miriam lived on the rural outskirts of Twin Peaks. Her trailer was adorned with holiday decorations — Santas and reindeer and candy canes hung on the fence, an angel keeping watch in the well-kept garden, a Christmas tree in the window, a manger-esque birdhouse on the roof. Her quaint Eden resided on property shared with some shacks — a reference, perhaps, to The Shack, the best-selling novel about a serial killer called the “Little Ladykiller,” a grieving father who locks up with pain and sorrow, and a confrontation with God that arcs toward catharsis, redemption, and justice.
Miriam’s little piece of heaven went up in smoke when a big bad wolf arrived to huff and puff and blow her away for threatening to expose his hit-and-run evil to the police. It was a scene that once again proved Lynch’s powers for disturbing us with the implication of violence. After Dick broke into her home, we remained outside and watched the trailer rock and tremble. We heard the sick thud of a knockout punch. Lynch took us inside to survey the aftermath. Miriam on the floor, blood pooled around her head. The oven, door open. A candle, lit. But Lynch didn’t linger to watch her catch fire and burn. Here’s hoping for a true Christmas miracle and that Miriam survived.
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“And I will put enmity between you and the woman…” LynchFrost’s scuzz-soap gloss on original sin thematically progressed as the storytelling shifted to the new Fat Trout Trailer Park. Carl Rodd — an agent of wizened grace in a Black Lodge world — sat outside his manager’s unit, strumming a guitar and singing that wistful country standard “Red River Valley,”also known as “Cowboy Love Song,” continuing the season’s interest in the mythic West. Lynch let Harry Dean Stanton play it out… almost. He was rudely interrupted by an outbreak of domestic violence. The tone of Carl’s reverie broke with the shattering of a window — a crimson coffee cup landed on the patchy-dirty grass — and a hail of expletives. Steven, unemployed Sparkle-junkie and scruffy snapshot of male impotence, was crashing in all sorts of ways, taking out his failures on his bread-making wife, Becky, Shelly’s daughter. His incoherent raging spoke of transgressions that may or may not be real. Whatever the case, Becky surely didn’t deserve his snotty-nosed sputtering and raised, threatening fist. “Quit f—ing speaking to me! What I do and don’t f—ing do doesn’t concern you!” Steven railed at her for not keeping their “s—hole” trailer tidy and for not asking for a raise that could pay for their rent. And this: “Listen to me. Listen to me. I know exactly what you did. Exactly what you did!”
“It’s a f—ing nightmare,” observed Carl.
I don’t know what Becky did, but I do know what she should do next: Get the hell away from Steven! But can she? How enmeshed are they? Is this a vicious cycle that neither of them can escape?
Patriarchy drives all the ladies buggy. Part 10 doted on the strange relationship that the mobster Mitchum brothers have with their young pink bunny Stepford Wives, Candie, Mandie, and Sandie, a trio of near-lookalike blondes. We met Rodney Mitchum anew in his penthouse abode, studying data culled from the Silver Mustang Casino’s surveillance log, continuing a motif of watchful godfather behavior in Twin Peaks: The Return. (See: the character formerly known as The Giant, observing and responding to the problem of evil on theater screens from his mountaintop White Lodge; Dr. Jacoby, aka Dr. Amp, passing righteous judgments on the toxic slush of American culture via web cam from the woodland peaks of the “American Hindu Kush.”) As Rodney scanned the findings, Candie entered the suite, obsessed with a housefly and determined to kill it. She got a bead on the insect and swung away with a TV remote control — and cracked Rodney upside the head, making him bleed. Candie felt awful, although part of me wonders if part of her wanted to inflict that violence upon him.
As Candie exploded into tears from shame and fear, Rodney’s brother Bradley entered to the room to attend to him. Given the way this episode was trending, I expected one or both of these men to lash out at Candie, but they never did. In fact, as the arc continued, the Mitchum brothers showed a paternal beneficence toward Candie and her sisters, the kind of eye-rolling grace parents have for their kooky kids on family sitcoms. (The Mitchum bros + Team Candie = the Full House reboot we truly deserved.) Yet the Mitchums’ kindness only made their rapport and model of family even more queasy. And familiar. For we remember another father-daughter relationship that was both parental and sexual, Leland and Laura Palmer. And for all their grace and patience, the Mitchum brothers are portraits of power and privilege who keep women like Candie, Sandie, and Mandie in bondage, limited in freedom and expression, and little more than servants-playthings-art objects. (When we met them a few weeks ago, they were seen just hanging out in the casino surveillance room — pretty little flies on the wall.) Which makes Candie’s subsequent post-fly behavior interesting. She went increasingly buggy, and in doing so, she began defying the controls on her existence. She was turning against her Stepford Wife programming; she was revolting. (Candie = Dolores and Maeve on Westworld.) Here, LynchFrost tweak their take on the Fall of Man/original sin and splice in another myth, the one about crazy parent gods dethroned by their children. Topple the patriarchy! Bring on the Titanomachy!
Hot for Dooper. Janey-E finally got her dim doltish not-hubby to Dr. Ben’s office for a check-up. Christian fall theology says only one other person was created perfect after Adam and Eve: Jesus, the new model son of man, incarnate God, savior of the human race. And so it went that Agent Cooper — our newly reincarnated hero; still innocent and pure; maybe destined to deliver us from Garmonbozia — was declared perfectly fit. “Remarkable!” raved Dr. Ben, impressed by “Dougie’s” weight loss and blood pressure (110 over 70). Janey-E was impressed, too. She went from chronicling Dougie’s latest “downward spiral” — a relapse of interrelated addictions to alcohol and gambling — to ogling his lean, mean, Ike-fighting machine physique. Something stirred in her that she probably hadn’t felt in quite a while, at least not for her flabby, f’d up, deadbeat husband. Meanwhile, Dooper kept trying to play with the pointy tip of Dr. Ben’s ropy stethoscope and admiring the big throbbing veins popping out of his own hard, strong arms. According to my copy of Freud for Dummies, this is called “foreshadowing.”
Dooper’s medical exam was notable for being the first of several scenes built around the theme of good news, in which characters received revelations about their fallen condition that pointed toward some redemptive relief…
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The Good News, Part Two: A Heat Wave Cometh. Back at the Silver Mustang Casino, the Mitchum brothers and Team Candie were still trying to regroup. “How can you ever love me again after what I did?!” cried Candie, stewing in shame, turning what seemed to be an accident into some cosmic sin. Rodney and the other sisters were at a loss; no one said “Get over it already!” but that was clearly the vibe. While Candie moped, Rodney and Bradley watched the news. We got a conspicuous shot of a weather report offering a seven-day forecast. (Hot, humid, and stormy, basically.) Now, here is why this is super, super, super, super, super, super, super, super, super, super important. Some of us who over-scrutinize Twin Peaks way too much (or try to) are currently embroiled in a heated debate over the possibility that the Vegas, Buckhorn, and Twin Peaks stories are not taking place at the same time. The theory goes that all of Twin Peaks: The Return is taking place in September of 2014 — at the start of fall (perfect for a story that’s a Fall of Man myth) — and the events in Buckhorn are happening roughly nine days behind what we’re seeing in Twin Peaks. If lag theory is correct, then the weather report becomes more interesting to the super, super, super, super, super, super, super, super, super, super important work of figuring out what the hell day it is in Twin Peaks. In Part 10, the stuff in Vegas was most likely transpiring on September 17, the stuff in Buckorn was transpiring on the evening of September 20, and the stuff in Twin Peaks was transpiring on or around September 29. Like I said: super… important.
In a gag that knowingly flicked at convenient plotting, but also spoke to the theme of fate that underlies all of Twin Peaks, the cheerful anchorpeople of KQRY determined their next story with a roll of animated dice. “LOCAL NEWS!” popped up, and so they relayed the story of Ike the Spike’s arrest. This brought joy to the Mitchums, as Ike was employed by a rival, Duncan Todd, a.k.a. Dirty Cooper’s man in Vegas, and they wanted Ike dead. Then the KQRY news team showed footage of Janey-E talking to the cops with Doople at her side. The Mitchums’ eyes popped. It was the guy they were looking for, the “Mr. Jones” that they believed had screwed them. Bradley: “Turns out our ‘Mr. Jones’ is actually named Mr. Jones.” Rodney: “What a f—ing world.”
With that stroke of good fortune, the Vegas plot began showing signs of coming together. But first…
Dooper and Janey-E have sex. With Janey-E on top and Dooper on the bottom flapping his arms as if they were wings, I’m convinced LynchFrost thought they were presenting an image of female empowerment/sexual awakening encoded with an allusion to Erica Jong’s Fear of Flying. No? Okay, no. Anyway. The whole thing was rather goofy-sweet (“DOUGIIIEEE!”), which is (to borrow from Dr. Ben) “remarkable,” because goofy-sweet love-making is rare in the cinema of David Lynch, where sex is often framed by hard eroticism, rape and exploitation, male impotence, female treachery, and pure sadness. The sex scene here recalls the tender-funny-hot sex in Mulholland Drive between the characters played by Naomi Watts and Laura Harring. I thought the coda of Dooper and Janey-E in bed, cuddling, with Janey-E saying, “I love you,” offered lovely juxtaposition to the episode’s abundance of broken relationships and fallen sexuality. Still, there was something slightly disturbing about this scene, given “Dougie” isn’t the man Janey-E thinks him to be (how will she feel when she realizes who-what he is? Will she ever?) and Dooper wasn’t in total control of his mind and will. And giving Janey-E a moment of bliss automatically makes me worry for her. Does her own “downward spiral” loom?
“Run Silent, Run Drapes.” What a great scene. It began with another epic Dr. Amp rant. Over shots of Ghostwood Forest at night, we began to hear Jacoby’s activist-hustler persona rip into America the Terrible, No-Good, Very Bad Post-Modern Superpower Giant, an obsolete, corrupt golden idol that needs to be toppled and redeemed, the proverbial Dead Father (reference: the Donald Barthelme novel) that we need to stop dragging around and bury already so he can be born again proper. Or, as Dr. Amp put it: “AND THE F—S ARE AT IT AGAIN!” He took aim at everything from corporate greed to government regulation to Big Pharma to opposition to marriage equality… and ended with a pitch for his golden shovels.
Stealing the whole sequence was the woman we saw listening with rapt appreciation: Nadine. What was most important about her moments wasn’t her crushy regard for Jacoby (although that does interest me) or her identity as defined by her relationship to Jacoby, but how those images of her quietly spoke volumes about the strong, unique person she’s become since we last saw her in season 2, when she regained regained her memory after her weird high school romance with Mike. She’s turned her obsession with silent drape runners into a successful small business called “Run Silent, Run Drapes,” a reference to the old Burt Lancaster WWII submarine thriller Run Silent, Run Deep. We watched her sitting at her neatly ordered desk, sipping an iced coffee and delighting in the aural theater of Jacoby letting his freak flag fly without apology, in all of its wild, weird, convention-defying glory, albeit with some redemptive purpose — something she could relate to; something that makes both Jacoby and Nadine quintessential Lynchian heroes. She had turned her storefront into an homage to Dr. Amp – a golden shovel, hanging from a string, playing peekaboo via the back-and-forth drawing of a silent black curtain — and all self-realized gonzo rebel dreamers like him.
Or not! Just my interpretation. It was a lovely little scene.
But where’s Ed?
The Dope Show Continues. Status report on Jerry’s stoned walkabout through Ghostwood Forest: still lost in space, time, and mind. His phone wouldn’t work. “No service.” But Jerry seemed to believe that some cosmic agency was messing with him. “You don’t fool me! I’ve been here before?” You wonder if Jerry’s odyssey will lead to some positive discovery/transformation or if LynchFrost are using it as a critical counterpoint to the oddball romance of Nadine. Question: Doesn’t Jerry look like a fuzzier, hippier Woodsman? Or have the drugs finally kicked in with me?
Dick Move. Deputy Chad continued to be his uniquely prickish self, this time in service to aiding and abetting fellow Sparkle-dealing conspirator Richard Horne. He had to intercept a letter Miriam wrote to Sheriff Truman exposing Dick. While waiting on the mailman, Chad indulged one of his favorite pastimes: trolling Lucy. He pretended to be enjoying the “beautiful day” visible through the windows, then sarcastically speculated that Lucy and Andy must wake up every morning thinking that every day is some grand and glorious beauty. Lucy took Chad’s question to represent genuine interest in her life, so she began to ramble that no, actually, a day in the life of Lucy and Andy is usually a mundane affair that begins without much, and sometimes without a working clock, because there was this one time that…. but then the postman arrived and bad cop Chad was out the door to steal the mail. In Lucy (and Andy), Twin Peaks finds meaning in the mundane and quirks of life and expresses grace for it. In Chad, the show pokes at our mad, dehumanizing desire for more, more, more. And in the matter of Lucy versus Chad, the show’s interest in the conflict between classical goodness and anti-hero nihilism plays out in simple, comic form.
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Grandma got run over by a Horne-dog. Part 10’s treatment of evil in a world gone psycho and the breakdown of sacred relationships reached a disturbing peak — or low, depending on your POV — when Richard robbed his grandma. His grandma! Lynch and Frost construct this sequence as a series of progressively intimate, boundary-crossing violations. Necessary context: Sylvia Horne lives in a gated community, she does not and will not support Richard, and her grandson is not welcome in her home. So the first transgression came when Richard penetrates the gate. The second came when he bounded across the threshold of her house. Then came the sick remainder. He throttled his grandma. He choked his grandma. He pelted his grandma with violent, obscene, sexual language. He threatened to “cornhole” his grandma’s invalid, mentally impaired son. And he bullied his grandma into coughing up the code to her store of worldly treasure — her safe. It appears that Sylvia and Benjamin Horne are divorced and that she has the sole responsibility of caring for Johnny; she’s completely dependent on alimony and child support to make it through life. Richard concluded his psychic, material, and spiritual rape of his grandma by dropping this bomb of misogynistic verbal abuse: “Why did you have to make something so simple so f—ing difficult? C—.”
As this scene played out, Johnny wanted so badly to help his mom. He was bound in a straitjacket and tethered to a chair. He toppled over and tried to break free but he couldn’t, a portrait of impotence. Combined with the decapitated teddy bear with the plastic, cartoon-eyed replacement head — a debasement of a symbol for innocence, transmogrified into some post-modern monster toy — the whole thing struck me as a metaphor for pop culture’s deconstruction and distrust of classical heroism. The music played to these meanings. It was an orchestral rendition of a 1926 pop song “Charmaine,” composed for the film What Price Glory? Yet the most famous use of an orchestral version of the tune was in Milos Forman’s Oscar-winning adaptation of Ken Kesey’s novel One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. In that movie, a mental institution is used as a metaphor for degrading, conformist society, and the main character, an outlaw (Jack Nicholson) feigning mental illness to escape a prison sentence, becomes a metaphor for corrective counter-culture rebellion. Cuckoo’s Nest helped popularize the anti-heroes so prevalent today. They evolved into something more criminal during thld at Heare Tarantino/alt-cinema moment of the nineties — a moment which I contend Lynch helped catalyze/foresaw with Wild at Heart, which you could view as a harbinger-cautionary tale of pop nihilism run amuck. These underworld anti-heroes migrated to the small screen, fueling the creative evolution of TV and giving us critiques (and indulgences) of toxic masculinity and wish-fulfillment. On the high end: Tony Soprano and Walter White. Today, they swarm all over the screen like Woodsman. They’ve certainly infested Twin Peaks. The Mitchum brothers. Richard Horne. And of course, Dirty Cooper, who could be seen as the elemental, archetypal embodiment of this dark zeitgeist. Twin Peaks clearly has no great affection for the degrading machine of capitalist culture. But I also think it’s asking questions about the proper expression of anti-hero characters to comment on it.
One more observation about the Horne family. They embody the Twin Peaks critique of American history that took full bloom with “Gotta light?,” which used an atomic bomb and fallout as a metaphor for not just Superpower America, but America’s original sins, colonization and slavery, and our failed efforts to successfully atone and reconstruct. (We remember that Ben has long been framed with this kind of critique, with his old West whorehouse One Eyed Jack’s and his Civil War mania). Until now, I admired Ben’s quest to be a better man, exemplified this time around by his resistance to sleeping with his married assistant, Beverly. But this is also a man who once exploited and enslaved young women, among many other sins, yielding a legacy of pain and sorrow – a legacy that endures and continues to cause misery in the form of his grandson, Richard. How do you make that right? Can you? Even if you can’t, don’t you try? No, Ben’s isn’t to blame for Richard’s Garmonbozia. But Ben’s example of manhood and patriarchy certainly hasn’t done his ex-wife, his kids, or his grandson any favors. And has he done enough to take responsibility for the past? These questions are our questions, too.
Candie’s Rebellion. Back at the Silver Mustang Casino, the Mitchum brothers received a guest: their Lucky 7 insurance agent, Anthony Sinclair. Earlier in the episode, we learned that this unscrupulous adjuster has been working with Dirty Cooper’s man in Vegas, Duncan Todd, on some fraud, one of which targeted the Mitchum brothers, whom Todd regards as his arch-enemies. (All the Vegas strands are starting to find each other and lace up.) Todd sent Sinclair to the Mitchums to execute another mission, one designed to salvage his foiled efforts to kill Dooper for Dirty Cooper. The plan: to make the mobsters aware that Lucky 7 had been scamming them — to the tune of $30 million — but frame “Dougie Jones” as the perp. Neither Todd nor Sinclair knew that “Dougie” was already on the brothers’ radar, which made Sinclair’s job much easier and less stressful (he clearly had some don’t-shoot-the-messenger anxiety). But the new info did compel them to go full Godfather and resolve to kill “Dougie.”
The best thing about these scenes was how Lynch juggled two stories of strange sabotage at once. It also highlighted the long-game strategies of Lynch’s storytelling. Candie, Mandie, and Sandie were introduced several episodes ago in a curious shot in which they seemed to be a mere visual flourish. They were made to hang out in the casino’s surveillance room and look pretty and dreamy — to be objects of pleasure for the Mitchum brothers. (In this respect, Rodney and Bradley = Ben and Jerry Horne; Candie, Mandie, and Sandie = the trapped women of One Eyed Jack’s.)
In Part 10, Candie, Mandie, and Sandie assumed their places and struck their poses along the wall of the surveillance room. But when Rodney ordered Candie to fetch Sinclair and bring him upstairs, she didn’t budge or even acknowledge him. She just remained in reverie, admiring herself. It was as if Candie was subversively rebelling against what she meant in that space and to the men who ruled it. She no longer existed for them, at their whim, at least for a moment; she existed only for herself.
After the brothers barked at her, Candie snapped-to and executed orders. Kinda. Instead of bringing Sinclair back to them ASAP, she began talking to him at length, forcing the all-seeing godfathers — observing via cameras — to bark at her again for going wayward. By now, they were more curious about what was going with Candie than with anything Sinclair could tell them, so when they finally got upstairs, they interrogated her first. What the hell was she talking to Sinclair about? The weather — according to KQRY, a heat wave’s coming — and the casino’s outstanding air conditioning system. The Mitchums were vexed. Candie went back to posing. But we were left to wonder if her head-cracking transgression with the remote control did something to her own head — and if it has set in motion a transformative break from the Mitchums’ control of her.
The Good News, Part Three: Has Diane gone rogue, too? At the Mayfair Hotel in Buckhorn, Gordon Cole shook off his psychic hot flash of Laura Palmer and found Albert Rosenfield standing at his door. (Did Albert function as a medium or conduit for Laura? They do share an intimate history: he performed her autopsy.) Fresh off a romantic dinner with local PD “morgue lady” Constance (Cole and Tammy agreed: “So sweet!”), Albert had news of a more illicit hook-up: Diane had been texting Dirty Cooper. Her last message tipped Mr. C to Bill Hastings’ capture and the next stop on the Scooby gang’s mystery machine pursuit of the truth: “the site,” presumably Lookout Mountain, South Dakota, where Hastings witnessed Major Briggs’ balloon-head ascension into the ultraviolet heavens of The Zone. Has Diane always been a run silent, run deep operative for Dirty Cooper? Does the dark doppelganger have some kind of remote control over her? Or is this big dick coercing her into action through blackmail or other means? Cole suspected something was amiss with Diane; he could sense her duplicity, subversion, or conflict when he hugged her after she met with Dirty Cooper at the prison. Cole’s orders? Keep her close. In this way, Cole was one more man in Part 10 keeping a woman under his thumb, or trying to. Theory! I used to think Laura Palmer was going to reincarnate like Cooper. That might still happen. Now I wonder if her fiery spirit is going to fill all the rebel women in this show and spur them to liberation, like Delacroix’s “Liberty Leading the People.” (I’m pretty sure Lynch was quoting that painting with that random shot of the woman passing through the hotel restaurant holding the tricolor French flag.)
Oh, and one more piece of “good news.” Dirty Cooper appears to be the mysterious billionaire who financed the glass box operation in New York. My immediate assumption is that he built this machine as part of his scheme to stay forever free, independent and autonomous from Black Lodge regulation and justice — a quest that mirrors the liberation struggle of the female characters, the nihilism of the male rogue, and the critique of America, all in one. From this perspective, Dirty Cooper’s techno-magic drop box was supposed to collect Agent Cooper and transmit him to Rancho Rosa, where hired assassins would ambush him and make him “non-exist-ent” once and for all. Okay. Makes sense. But perhaps the box wasn’t for cage-fishing Cooper. Maybe Mr. C was trying to download another transcendental denizen of the Lodge lands. After all, we know it know it briefly snagged two other entities: an unidentified spectral object and a certain creature known for shredding faces and spewing great gray globs of greasy grimy BOB face and speckled eggs of mutated frog-roach headhunters. Today, I’m wondering if his true quarry is the Experiment, the eyeless, extrasensory, destroyer-transformer demiurge, whose function might be beyond categories like of “good” and “evil” yet might be a cause of pain and sorrow all the same. Theory! What if the goal of Dirty Cooper’s striving hasn’t been to produce and harvest more Garmonbozia in the world… but end it? He’s the prince of all anti-heroes, on a Quixotic crusade to solve the problem of sinful human nature by any means necessary in a weird on top, wildcat heart, f—ing nightmare world.