Another omen from The Giant comes to pass

By Jeff Jensen
June 19, 2017 at 03:49 PM EDT
Suzanne Tenner/SHOWTIME
S3 E7
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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…

TWIN PEAKS

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)

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)

Elsewhere in Twin Peaks, we witnessed Jean-Michel Renault — the latest in a long line of Renaults to run The Roadhouse (proudly serving beer, hookers, and blow for 57 years!) — deal with a nasty bit of business involving two underage call girls, a pair of 15-year-olds with “straight A” grades. (Again, another allusion to Laura Palmer, a brainy young woman who also toiled as a party girl and prostitute for both the Renaults and the Hornes.) Whoever had “ordered” these two girls (Red? Richard?) didn’t want to pay for both. (Sounds like this customer may have also had an issue with the age. Not sure.) Could this have been a fulfillment of The Giant’s “two birds one stone” omen? Will this factor into whatever TBD mystery Cooper and company will be investigating downstream?

We also finally got another moment with Ben and his assistant, Beverly, played by Ashley Judd. They were searching for the source of a persistent (possibly supernatural?) humming sound emanating from somewhere in her office at the Great Northern. We remember that Josie Packard — prone to humming — died at the hotel and that her spirit was entombed in a drawer knob. Is her spirit acting up, trying to speak out? Was she responding the arrival of an object charged with Black Lodge magic — Agent Cooper’s old room key?

But the actual subject of the scene was the electric chemistry between boss and employee, which meant the scene was also about another of the season’s essential themes, adultery. Ben’s hummer-quest kept putting him in tight corners with Beverly, one with a hot lamp, one with an upright totem poll, and yes, my double entendres are rather terrible, thank you very much. Ben resolved to stay professional and stay faithful and honor Beverly’s marriage, but by the end, he was asking Beverly to call him Ben, not Mr. Horne. When she left, Ben hung his head, as if he had lost a battle with his demons. (You don’t think maybe it was Ben who ordered those prostitutes, do you?)

A postscript to this intensifying flirtation came when Beverly returned home. Before she entered the door, we were made to understand from a day nurse who was just leaving that Beverly’s spouse wasn’t well. He had had a bad day — extra medication had been required — and for a brief moment, I wondered if Beverly was married to Harry Truman. Nope. Her husband, Tom, bald from chemo and radiation treatments, was in dark spirits. His suspicious mind was tweaking. Why was she working so late at the office with Benjamin Horne? She tried to be patient, but she snapped and told him to curb his paranoia and not “f— up” a job she didn’t want but they both needed. In Beverly’s anger, I saw the ragged exasperation of a caregiver buckling from the pressure of juggling multiple roles and keeping things together. Her interest in/attraction to Ben might speak to loneliness. But my suspicious mind is tingling, too. Might Beverly be running a con on Ben? Luring him into making a move so she could sack him with a sexual harassment lawsuit and score a big payday? And I’ve seen one too many film noirs, haven’t I?

SOUTH DAKOTA

Lt. Cynthia Knox from the Pentagon’s Weird Services Branch (a thing I just made up but probably exists, because UFOs are for real, yo!) arrived in Buckhorn to figure out why local law enforcement was trying to acquire intel on Major Briggs. Det. Macklay informed the soldier that he could do better than show her fingerprints. He could show her Briggs’ whole damn hand. Both of them! He could show every part of Briggs, in fact, except his head. Knox was shocked. You have a body?! “There’s a body all right,” said Macklay.

It seems LynchFrost really do want us to believe that this recently deceased, late-40s John Doe is Garland Briggs, a man who is presumed to have died back in 1991 and would be in his seventies if he hadn’t. How do we make sense of this? Perhaps Briggs was sent into the future via time machine derived from alien technology culled from his Project Blue Book work. Perhaps he became unstuck in time thanks to the meddling of supernatural entities within The Black Lodge. Perhaps Briggs put his body on ice — cryogenic freezing — while he projected his consciousness into the astral plane to explore the Lodge dimensions or hunt for “the good Cooper.” In this scenario, Dirty Cooper would have found him in his cry-chamber and cut off his head, thus setting his mind adrift in limbo like a ghost ship. Or perhaps Dirty Cooper has the ability to figuratively put people “on ice” by placing them inside some pocket dimension? Another idea, a more simple expression of Twin Peaks crazy: That corpse belongs to a young-ish doppelgänger of Major Briggs.

As Lt. Knox was reporting to Col. Davis at The Pentagon, we glimpsed of a scary looking soul wandering the halls of the morgue. It was The Charred Man, the freaky figure that we saw back in Part 2 who seemed to be attending to the misery of accused murderer Bill. If we assume that The Charred Man is a Black Lodge entity, then note a recurring motif: In the original series, Mike the One-Armed Man haunted the morgue levels of the hospital in Twin Peaks.

Lt. Knox told the Buckhorn cops that the matter of Major Briggs probably wouldn’t be their case for much longer. I wonder if it won’t be anyone’s case for much longer. Has The Charred Man come to tie up loose ends?
(Recap continues on page 4)

PHILADELPHIA-SOUTH DAKOTA

In another surprising example of Twin Peaks promptly following up on the previous week’s business, FBI agent Albert Rosenfield informed his whistlin’ Blue Rose boss Gordon Cole that his attempt to recruit Diane had failed. Albert didn’t appreciate nearly catching pneumonia for his trouble (“F— YOU, MOTHERF—ING GENE KELLY!”), nor did he like Diane’s withering brush-off. “No f—ing way,” she told him. (Lots of “f—ing” anger in Cole’s section of the FBI!) Cole found her defiance unacceptable. Albert wasn’t about to try again without Cole coming along. Cole felt something similar. He didn’t want to confront “tough cookie” Diane alone, either. Albert made his boss say please, and they were off.

They ambushed Diane as she was bidding adieu to a gentleman caller, maybe a man she picked up at Max Von’s Bar, maybe not. The décor of her home, like her look, was Asian fusion. She tried hard to not be hospitable — she had neither coffee nor cigarettes for them, she said as she smoked a cigarette and drank from a coffee cup — but Cole wouldn’t be denied. He plunked down on her sofa, he got his damn good coffee, and he made it clear that she would need to adjust her “attitude.” I love Cole, but his behavior in this scene — basically forcing his will upon Diane — was rather repulsive, given what we would come to understand about Diane.

Cole managed to manipulate Diane into traveling to Sioux City, South Dakota, for the purpose of suffering the presence of another triggering male, Dirty Cooper. He wanted to leverage her intimate familiarity with Cooper, her former boss, to confirm his suspicion that Dirty Cooper was actually not Agent Cooper. During the flight, Albert played attendant and offered Diane tiny bottles of Vodka to steel her resolved. He was exploiting and enabling her addiction so she could fulfill her usefulness to the FBI, and he knew it. So did. She told him to  f— off and drank the Vodka, anyway. Again, all of this was rather queasy, and knowingly so. The FBI was using her and abusing her like a prostitute. (Is her look meant to suggest “geisha”?)

Meanwhile, Agent Tammy Preston, the Beverly to Cole’s Horne, was working to please her boss. She used the opportunity to show Cole and Albert her discovery from last week that there was something unusual about Dirty Cooper’s fingerprints. They were exactly like Cooper’s, but reversed. Cole commended her work, and the way he phrased his praise, he seemed to suggest that she’s been working her way up the ranks of his Blue Rose order, like a Padawan passing trials to become a Jedi. Cole and Albert gave Tammy with more insight into what they knew about Dirty Cooper. For starters, the rogue had amassed enough of a fortune through underworld activity to afford ritzy digs in Rio. (A surveillance photo made Dirty Cooper look like some Miami Vice drug lord.) By the time the FBI found out about the house, said Albert, “a girl from Ipanema” owned the joint.

Albert was probably just cracking nasty by evoking the Bossa Nova classic “The Girl from Ipanema,” as opposed to trying to suggest something specific about her. According to one of the song’s writers, Vinicius de Moraes, inspiration came from an underage beauty who would fetch cigarettes for her mother at a local bar, suffering the whistles of leering men in the process. From Wikipedia: “Moraes wrote that she was ‘the paradigm of the young Carioca: a golden teenage girl, a mixture of flower and mermaid, full of light and grace, the sight of whom is also sad, in that she carries with her, on her route to the sea, the feeling of youth that fades, of the beauty that is not ours alone — it is a gift of life in its beautiful and melancholic constant ebb and flow.’” I love the idea that a man would attribute a girl’s sadness solely to some existential awareness of her mortality and fleeting beauty, as opposed to, say, suffering the stares, catcalls, and objectification of her sexist culture. Anyway, it’s an interesting reference in an episode in which we were reminded of the misogynistic evil that Dirty Cooper represents, in a subplot that portrayed Cole and company as thoughtlessly sexist.

Cole also told Tammy how he came to be suspicious of Dirty Cooper. He asked Tammy to hold out her hands. As Cole repeated the 10 words that Dirty Cooper used to greet him a few episodes ago (“I’m yrev, very happy to see you again, old friend”), he counted them off on her knuckles. The “yrev” – “very” in reverse — landed on Tammy’s ring finger, “the spiritual mound.” Ergo, Cooper had a wrong spirit; he was an anti-Cooper. “You think about THAT, Tammy!” said Cole with his loud voice, sounding even more like a rude dick. But a lovably quirky rude dick! (By the way: Kudos to every Twin Peaks obsessive who heard and theorized about Dirty Cooper’s “yrev” back in Part 4. I totally missed that.)

Upon arriving Yankton Federal Prison, Diane received a word of appreciation from Tammy, a kind gesture, if a touch forced, maybe phony. Diane looked her up and down, maybe saw something she recognized. She asked for her name. Tammy gave it. “F— you, Tammy,” said Diane. It was a beat as awesome was it was sad.

The scene that followed evoked two different things at once: a victim identifying a perpetrator and a degrading peep show. Diane entered the dark room. She pressed a button and a curtain went up. She saw Dirty Cooper, still as a stone, gazing at her blankly with his dark eyes. He spoke to her with his slow, slurred voice. Hearing it transmitted over speaker, I wondered if it sounded like one of the recordings Agent Cooper used to make for Diane, played at slow speed, back in better days.

Dirty Cooper said he knew they would send for her. His knowingness was menacing. We came to understand that at some point after Dirty Cooper escaped The Black Lodge, he visited Diane, and something traumatic happened in her home. A sexual encounter? A sexual assault? Something else? Whatever happened, Diane was marked deeply and resented him for it. She demanded he look at her. She bravely peered into the void of his eyes and saw what she needed to see. This was not the Agent Cooper she once worked for. She wasn’t even sure he was even a man. And you wondered, as Diane blazed with triggered pain, if this vampiric demon was snacking on her despair. The way Lynch shot the scene and captured his actors, as a back and forth of close-ups between MacLachlan’s cool, vacant Cooper and Dern’s incandescently furious Diane, was sensational.

In the aftermath, Diane offered her assessment to Cole. He asked about what had happened between her and Dirty Cooper way back when. “You and I will have to have a talk,” said Diane, deferring that heart-to-heart to another day, another episode. She toasted him with a tiny bottle of Vodka and seethed. “Cheers to the FBI,” she said, and drank her poison.

Meanwhile, Dirty Cooper realized it was time for him to bust out of prison and leave with what he came for: Ray, one of his associates. You might remember him from Part 1; he and Darya had accepted a contract to betray Dirty Cooper and murder him. It’s possible that Dirty Cooper had always planned to get himself locked up in Yankton so he could execute multiple missions, including getting on the FBI’s radar for whatever reason. More likely, though, Dirty Cooper was traveling to Yankton simply to blackmail Warden Dwight Murphy into releasing Ray and wound up imprisoned by accident. Regardless, it gave him an opportunity to recuperate from The Black Lodge’s attempt at extracting him from the world, and ultimately got him to where he needed to go.

Dirty Cooper knew the warden was corrupt, either because he has a nose for rot or through intelligence. Murphy’s sins included dirty business with a man named Joe McCluskey and another man, now deceased, named “Mr. Strawberry.” Dirty Cooper revealed that he shared his information with three other people. Each of them received a severed dog leg with the scoop. (If this represents some kind of underworld code I don’t know about, well, I’m kinda glad I don’t know it.) Murphy was prepared to shoot Dirty Cooper, but hearing all of this was enough to make him lower his weapon. Dirty Cooper wanted a car (a cheap rental would be fine), a “friend in the glove compartment” (a gun, I presume), and Ray. The warden gave him everything, including Ray, who cockily exited his cell either oblivious to Dirty Cooper’s awareness of his treachery or trying not to let it show. We left them as they hit the road in a beige car, the color of Garmonbozia. I suspect Dirty Cooper will be tanking up on someone else’s pain and sorrow very soon.
(Recap continues on page 5)

LAS VEGAS

For a while, I thought Twin Peaks was giving “Dougie” Cooper a week off. I’m glad it didn’t, not just because his beats were surprisingly eventful, but because the juxtaposition of MacLachlan as Dirty Cooper and MacLachlan as “Dougie” offered us a chance to appreciate the work the actor is doing in this show. It’s amazing how these two characters — these ironic narrative centers, each inert in their own way — can be so compelling, and it’s all due to MacLachlan. Dirty Cooper got his agency returned to him this week; he’s literally back in the driver’s seat of his story. “Dougie” Cooper continues to get there by degrees, but they were significant degrees.

We picked up with “Dougie” a few hours after impressing Bushnell Mullins of Lucky 7 Insurance with his mystic scribble auditing. Anthony Sinclair was rightly sweating this development and trying to get “Dougie” to ‘fess up to what he had uncovered. Rhonda interrupted to say that some police officers had arrived to speak with Dougie — a newsflash that caused Anthony to run and hide like a cockroach blasted with sunlight.

Some Lynchian keystone cop humor ensued. The three plainclothes detectives were all named Fusco, fronted by actor David Koechner. (Implied joke? A reference to the cartoon strip “The Fusco Brothers” by J.C. Duffy, perhaps?) They were investigating the matter of Dougie’s exploding car, which claimed the lives of three thieves a couple eps back. (Twin Peaks: The Return could have been subtitled “Mechanized Death.”) It would have been interesting to see how “Dougie” would have responded to their questions given his limited capacity, but fortunately, he didn’t have to. Janey-E, on the scene to pick him up from work, intervened and managed to pacify the cops and their curiosity with some feisty words and choice rants about the relative cultural worthlessness of automobiles, especially their own.

As they exited the office, Janey-E tried to explain to “Dougie” how she had successfully paid off the loan sharks blackmailing them. Suddenly, Ike the Spike emerged from the crowd. He was spike-less (he bent it out of shape during last week’s rampage), but he had a gun, and he brandished it like the lawman statue standing sentinel in the plaza. (You wonder now if many of Cooper’s fixations since his return have been omens warning him of danger; more on this in a sec.)

“Dougie” saw the threat, and something instinctively Cooper-esque took over, as if muscle memory had been triggered. He pushed Janey-E aside, grabbed Ike by the arm, wrestled him to the ground, and applied two karate chops to his neck, each accompanied with cheesy stock chop-socky sound effects. As the struggle continued, Cooper caught sight of the darndest thing: a miniature version of Evil Brain Tree, cheering him on (or maybe Ike?) like a spectator sitting ringside at some gladiator contest. “SQUEEZE HIS HAND OFF! SQUEEZE HIS HAND OFF!” It was if the dark side was tempting Cooper to give himself over to excessive force.

Cooper succeeded in getting Ike to release the weapon. As Ike fell away, we saw his palm was bloody. We would later see, as the CSI guys processed the crime scene, that some flesh had grafted onto the gun’s handle. Had Ike glued the revolver into his hand? Or did Cooper administer some kind of heat that caused Ike’s hand to melt and fuse with the gun? Regardless, kudos to those theorists who speculated that Cooper’s fixation with Bushnell’s boxing poster presaged a series of bouts with the villains who want him dead. Round one goes to our addled hero. In the aftermath, “Dougie” and Janey-E were interviewed once more by the police, as well as the media. So, too, were those who witnessed Cooper’s “cobra”-like moves. Here’s hoping either Gordon Cole or Sheriff Frank Truman — or both — watch the news. And here’s hoping that Cooper can get enough of his mind back before the main event. Because I’m sure once Dirty Cooper is done with the undercard that is Ray, he’ll be gunning it to Vegas for a showdown with our hero.

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