Parts 3 and 4 of Twin Peaks: The Return delivered more comedy than the first two, but there was even more Lynch weirdness to go along with it. In the words of Gordon Cole, “What the hell?”
The third hour begins with Good Cooper where we left him, falling through empty space after he was sucked back out of the glass box in New York City. He falls through a purple-ish cloud of smoke and ends up on a balcony outside a building surrounded by a vast ocean. Coop enters the building into a pink hued room and finds a woman named Naido, whose eyes are sealed shut. Naido is sitting by a fireplace and trying to communicate with Cooper, but when she tries to speak it’s just a strange sound. It seems as if she’s trying to warn him about something. Soon there is a loud banging at a door and she presses a finger to her mouth, signaling for him to keep quiet.
The banging continues and we see what looks like two faces through the door. I have no idea who they are and I won’t speculate, just wanted to throw it in there because I missed it on my first viewing.
There is an elaborate electrical box/wall unit type thing, with what looks like a socket in the middle. The box has the number 15 on it and when Coop approaches it, he get sort of sucked towards it. Naido comes over very agitated and tries to get him away from the socket.
Naido makes a slashing motion at her throat and it cuts back to the shadowy figures behind the door. She successfully gets him away from the socket and he follows her up some stairs, onto the roof of what I can only describe a David Lynchified version of the TARDIS. She pulls a lever and is electrified and launched into space.
As Coop stares down into empty space, the floating head of Major Garland Briggs appears and says, “Blue Rose.” In Fire Walk With Me we learned that Gordon Cole has a special category of FBI cases that he calls “Blue Rose Cases.” The actor who played Major Briggs, Don S. Davis, passed away in 2008, and I was wondering if they were going to incorporate him in some way, especially since he was one of the few characters who knew anything about the White Lodge/Black Lodge mythology. If we’re lucky, this isn’t the last time we’ll see Major Briggs’s head floating around.
Cooper climbs back down into the bizarro TARDIS, where the number on the wall unit has changed to 3. He finds another woman in the Pink Room by the fireplace. In the credits, this character’s name is “American Girl” but it’s worth noting that she is played by Phoebe Augustine, who played Ronette Pulaski in the original series. “American Girl” looks at her watch as 2:52 turns to 2:53. A light goes on next to the electrical box/socket and then we see a blue rose in a vase behind Coop.
Meanwhile, Bad Coop is (approximately) where we left him, speeding down the highway. The clock in Bad Coop’s Lincoln is almost at 2:53 and the cigarette lighter seems to be extra electric. He’s looking even dirtier than usual and looks like he’s about to be real sick. At the exact same time, back in the Pink Room, Cooper is getting sucked toward the socket. American Girl tells him, “When you get there, you will already be there.” The banging at the door starts again and she tells him, “You’d better hurry, my mother’s coming.” Good Coop is then sucked through the socket (except for his shoes).
At the same time as Good Coop is being sucked through the socket, Bad Coop is getting sicker and sicker and eventually he runs off the road. As the clock changes to 2:53, the red curtains of the Black Lodge appear in front of his car. Cut to Rancho Rosa Estates: a defunct housing development in Las Vegas. Here we meet Dougie Jones, a third version of Agent Cooper.
It’s the same timeframe we saw from Evil Coop. Dougie just finished getting busy with a sex worker named Jade and his arm is numb.[Note that he’s wearing the Owl Cave Ring which is somehow tied to the Black Lodge.
When Jade goes to take a shower, the red curtains appear in front of Dougie and he gets violently ill and throws up. His vomit includes creamed corn, which in the Twin Peaks universe is a stand in for Garmonbozia: a substance that appears like creamed corn but is really the physical manifestation of pain and sorrow. When Dougie is done vomiting, he’s sucked into the Black Lodge.
Meanwhile Evil Coop is desperately trying to hold in his vomit as he sees Dougie in the Red Room in front of him. Try as he might, he can’t hold it in and his own garmonbozia (as well as a black substance) comes out. Once it is all out, Evil Coop goes still.
Cut to Dougie in the Red Room with the One-Armed Man, who tells him, “Someone manufactured you. For a purpose but I think now that’s been fulfilled.” Dougie’s left hand starts to shrink and when the Own Cave Ring falls off his head disappears and is replaced with black smoke, out of which a small gold chrome ball appears. Soon the rest of Dougie vanishes and something (which I’m not even going to try to explain) appears and spits out the gold ball. In this case, I think a picture is worth a thousand words.
The One-Armed Man picks up the ring and the gold ball. He places the ring on the table and keeps the ball.
Back in Vegas, Good Coop comes out through the electrical socket in a plume of black smoke and rematerializes on the floor next to Dougie’s vomit. Jade comes out and sees Good Coop, who looks like a thinner, cleaned-up version of the Dougie she knows. They leave the house (which is one of many abandoned foreclosures) and Coop doesn’t have his shoes on so Jade goes back inside and brings him Dougie’s shoes. Coop doesn’t have the keys to Dougie’s car either (they were probably in one of Dougie’s pockets when he vanished). He does, however, have the key to Room 315 at the Great Northern.
Jade is forced to give him a ride and they leave Dougie’s car (which has the vanity plates “DUGE LV”) in the driveway. Meanwhile, one of two assassins drives up in front of the house where Dougie’s car is parked, and tells his partner over the radio that Jade’s car is coming and it may or may not have Dougie in it.
Coop has not yet spoken and he seems completely out of it. He couldn’t even tie his own shoes. But as they drive by a street sign that says “Sycamore” it seems to register with him. The entrance to the Black Lodge in Twin Peaks is inside a circle of Sycamore trees, and perhaps his memory is trying to surface.
He then speaks for the first time and says, “Jade give two rides”—a repetition of something she had said to him. From this point on, Cooper is capable of very basic speech, but only repetition of words he’s heard other people say.
Coop pulls out the Great Northern key from his pocket to examine it but he drops it when they go over a speed bump—setting him up to duck down at exactly the right time, since one of the assassins was waiting to shoot him as Jade drove by. The assassins assume that Dougie is still in the house, and the other one places an explosive device under his car. In a house across the street, a young child watches the assassin through the blinds. An addict (who I assume is the boy’s mother) is sitting at a table surrounded by a bunch of booze and drugs, yelling “119” over and over. I have no idea who they are or what the significance of this might be outside of the face that 119 is “911” backwards—a backwards call for help.
Meanwhile, two South Dakota highway patrolmen arrive at the scene of Evil Coop’s accident and when one of the officers approached the vehicle, the exposure to the garmonbozia puke is enough to almost knock him out (and he ends up in the hospital from it).
Over a half-hour into the episode, we finally find ourselves in Twin Peaks, at the sheriff station, where Hawk, Andy, and Lucy are trying to figure out what is missing per the Log Lady’s message. There’s a moment when Hawk puts a “Donut Disturb” sign on the door, which is one of the few moments that feels like the original series. Also, I want that sign for my office.
Andy and Lucy aren’t exactly the brightest minds to put on the case. They’ve got the original case files and evidence from the Laura Palmer case spread around the table and, at one point, Lucy breaks down and admits that, years earlier, she ate one of the chocolate bunnies taken from Laura’s room as evidence. Hawk says, “It’s not about the bunny… Is it about the bunny?” and in that moment, he was all of the viewers (myself included) who are trying to analyze every detail, wondering what is significant to whatever the hell is going on.
Then there is a sequence that runs for over two minutes that’s just Dr. Jacoby spray-painting a bunch of shovels gold using some elaborate contraption he’s created. There’s no dialogue and no explanation, and then we return to Vegas.
Jade drops Coop off at the Silver Mustang casino. She gives him five bucks and tells him to “call for help.” He’s still repeating what she says back to her and she thinks he had a stroke or something. Then she says to him, “You can go out now”—which is the same thing Laura said to him in the Black Lodge in Part 2—and he seems to have a small moment of clarity where he remembers Laura saying it to him. Jade kicks him out of the car and (after a battle with a revolving glass door that is totally #relatable) Coop enters the casino.
He approaches a guard and says, “Call for help.” At this point, he is also starting to mimic the motions of other people. It’s as if he is relearning language and communication after being in the Black Lodge for so long. This is interesting considering that when he was inside the Black Lodge, he was the only character who did not speak the Black Lodge’s classic reverse-speech.
The next sequence is my favorite thing that’s happened in the revival so far: Mr. Jackpots! Coop gets some change and, after watching a man win the jackpot at the slots, he is able to see a small image of the red room curtains and floor floating above the machines, predicting the winners. He wanders around from jackpot to jackpot and every time he plays, he mimics the winning man exactly, including the “HELLOOOOOO” he yelled. I knew the first time I saw it I knew the HELLO would be a fandom favorite and an instant classic and I wasn’t wrong.
A casino employee approaches him and tells him he’s a Mega Jackpots winner—nearly $30K—but he doesn’t seem to have any idea of what’s going on. He hasn’t even taken any of the coins that came out of the slots he’s won. There’s a dirty old lady gambler that looks pretty bitter about his multiple wins and he even tries to direct her to the machine next to her, which will be a winner, but she just thinks he’s crazy and flips him the bird. But after Mr. Jackpots wins again, she uses the machine he pointed out and wins a jackpot of her own.
We head to the FBI Headquarters in Philadelphia, where we catch up with agents Gordon Cole and Albert Rosenfield (a personal favorite of mine). We also meet an agent named Tammy Preston, who apparently plays a role in Mark Frost’s novel, The Secret History of Twin Peaks. [Full disclosure: I haven’t read the book yet and I don’t know that much about it.]
Tammy is briefing Gordon and Albert on what she found in New York, where she’d been sent to investigate the murder of Sam and Tracey in the glass box room. We learn that not even the NYPD can figure out who owns the building and that all the guards that worked there are missing. The video archive shows a few occasions when a figure appeared in the box, including the night of the murders. There is no mention of Cooper appearing in the box and it appears that there was no evidence of him among the video found at the scene. Just then, Gordon gets a call regarding Cooper, who has turned up in South Dakota, and they plan to see him the next morning.
Part 3 ends at the Roadhouse, with the credits playing over another band performance: The Cactus Blossoms performing “Mississippi.” It’s not as catchy as Part 2’s ending (and this time we don’t get any scenes of familiar characters at the Roadhouse) but I like that the musical outro is probably going to be a frequent thing.
Part 4 picks up back in Vegas, with Coop continuing his winning streak. He’s really earning the name Mr. Jackpots (given to him by the old lady gambler). He’s won 30 Mega Jackpots, which is understandably causing some concern among the casino staff. He runs into a man named Bill Shaker and his date, and they are friends (or at least acquaintances) of Dougie’s. Coop is still just repeating back words people say to him and Bill ends up telling him where Dougie’s house is—Lancelot Court, the house with the red door, near Merlin’s Market—and that it’s only a short cab ride away from the casino.
Coop tries to leave but he’s stopped by the casino staff and taken to a back office where they hand him a huge bag of his cash winnings. Coop has just enough words and information about himself to make it through the conversation with the floor manager and get himself sent home in a limo from the casino, but the floor manager makes it clear that they have camera footage of him and that they will be watching him if he comes back.
When Coop makes it to Dougie’s house, his wife (played by Naomi Watts) lets him have it. Apparently Dougie has been gone for three days and missed his son’s birthday. Both the son and the wife have weird names: she is Janey-E and he is Sonny Jim. Since we know that Dougie has been manufactured, maybe they are too? Regardless, Janey-E notices his new suit and haircut but forgets about that stuff as soon as she lays her eyes on the casino money. Once she figures out he won the jackpot at the Silver Mustang, she seems incredibly relieved and says that there’s enough “to pay them back.” Apparently, Dougie had some serious debts.
We catch up with Denise Bryson, the transgender FBI agent from the original series who is now the FBI Chief of Staff. Gordon tells her that they’ve found Agent Cooper in a federal prison in South Dakota, but Denise has some concerns regarding him taking Agent Preston along. Seems like Gordon has historically had a bit of a thing for young, pretty female agents and it’s a concern for Denise.
Gordon reminds Denise that, before she transitioned, when she went by “Dennis,” she wasn’t squeaky clean herself but that he would never use the dirt he has on her. Then he reminds Denise that he stood up for her and that told all her colleagues to “fix their hearts or die” when she transitioned. While Denise is grateful for Gordon’s support, that’s not the point of this meeting. It’s a warning for Gordon—no funny business with the pretty young agents—but Gordon claims that Tammy has “got the stuff” and he’s not taking her along for any other reason. As much as Gordon claims that his heart is fixed, he’s uncomfortable at the mere mention of Denise’s hormones.
Back in Twin Peaks, we find Lucy on the phone with Sheriff Frank Truman (played by Robert Forster). Apparently, Lucy doesn’t grasp the concept of cell phones. She thinks Sheriff Truman is fishing but when he walks in holding his phone (when she’d been talking to him the whole time) she screams and passes out for a moment. Now, I know Lucy ain’t the brightest bulb on the shelf and technology isn’t really her thing, but to not understand the basic idea behind mobile phones is a little bit extra, even for her. It’s not the first time this has happened either.
In another room at the department, we see a bunch of new employees who are a bit more tech savvy than Lucy. It appears the Twin Peaks sheriff’s department has entered the twenty-first century after all. They all have computers on their desks and the dispatcher has some tech at her fingertips. We learn that there’s been an overdose at the high school: a boy named Dennis Craig. It would seem that twenty-five years later, Twin Peaks still has issues with drugs in the high school.
Speaking of drugs in the high school, we catch up with an old favorite of mine—Bobby Briggs—who has traded his shady coke dealing for a badge. That’s right: Bobby Briggs grew up to become a police officer. These days he’s using his considerable knowledge of the Twin Peaks drug trade to try to stop Chinese designer drugs from getting into town. Bobby has got surveillance up at all the known drug trails (and he would know them) but he’s yet to catch any dealers coming from Canada. Now, considering his history, it wouldn’t be a stretch to think that maybe Bobby is a dirty cop and has something to do with the drugs, but for now I’m going to keep hope alive that he’s changed his ways.
One of my favorite scenes in The Return thus far is when Bobby enters the conference room and sees the Laura Palmer case files and evidence laid out on the table. As tough as he tried to pretend he was, Bobby was always an emotional one, and he starts to cry when he sees Laura’s picture. This is also the point where we hear Angelo Badalamenti’s iconic “Laura’s Theme” playing. The revival has used music sparingly thus far and it gives this scene that much more of an impact. At this moment, Bobby’s memories are our memories, too.
Bobby pulls himself together and they fill him in on Margaret’s message to Hawk about Agent Cooper. We learn that Agent Cooper went to see Major Briggs shortly before the Major died in a fire at his station. Cooper left town soon after and hasn’t been seen since.
Lucy and Andy’s son, Wally Brando (played by Michael Cera), shows up at the station. Wally has been traveling around the country on his motorcycle and returned to to pay his respects to the ailing Sheriff Truman (the original Truman, who is Wally’s godfather), and to give his parents permission to turn his childhood bedroom into a study. Wally doing a whole imitation Marlon Brando thing and it’s just absolutely absurd. It was certainly a moment that was more old school than new, but I can’t say it entirely worked for me. Or maybe I’m just not a Michael Cera fan. Either way, Wally Brando is eccentric to say the least (and Sheriff Truman seems to agree).
Back at Dougie’s house, Coop is in the bedroom staring at a pile of hideous clothes (Dougie’s taste in clothes is atrocious) when the One-Armed Man appears to him from the Red Room and says, “You see me, don’t you. You were tricked.” He then holds up the gold ball and says, “Now one of you must die,” and then he fades away.
Meanwhile, Cooper is basically a baby. He hasn’t taken a piss in 25 years and discovers the joy of voiding one’s bladder only after Janey-E shoves him into the bathroom. He then examines his own reflection in the mirror. The last time he looked in the mirror, in the original series finale, it was BOB’s face staring back at him. This time he sees himself and he seems to register some sort of memory at this point but he’s nowhere near back to normal. He can’t even dress himself.
Coop is still mimicking the words and actions of others, so when he sees Sonny Jim smile at him and give him a thumbs up, he copies him. It’s a version of the classic Coop thumbs up—a sign of progress on the road to normal Coop—but he’s got a long way to go.
Somehow Janey-E fails to notice that Coop has a tie on his head all throughout her breakfast preparations. Sonny Jim is the only one so far who seems to know that Coop is not Dougie. Sonny Jim helps him through the motions of breakfast—how to sit down, how to eat pancakes—all while Janey-E is completely oblivious. When she brings him his coffee, something clicks with Coop. He takes a sip (and spits it out because he forgets that coffee is hot) and then he says, “Hi,” to Janey-E. This is the first time he has said something that is not a repetition of what someone else has just said to him. Could it be that coffee, black as midnight on a moonless night, is the thing that brings Coop’s speech back?
We return to South Dakota, where Detective Talbot has discovered that the identity of the John Doe is blocked by the military and she can’t access it without security clearance way above their pay grades. At the same time, Gordon, Albert, and Tammy arrive in South Dakota and head to the prison where (Evil) Cooper is being held. When they arrive they learn about the poison vomit, as well as the fact that Coop was traveling with cocaine, a machine gun, and the severed leg of a dog.
When they get in to interview Cooper, it’s obvious that something is very, very wrong with him. Coop claims that he’s been undercover all these years, working with Agent Philip Jeffries. He tells them he’s left “messages so Philip knows it’s safe” and then he looks at Albert, who seems to know something about these messages.
They leave the prison and, after sending Tammy away, Albert and Gordon have a little chat about what just went down. Albert tells Gordon that, years earlier, he authorized Philip Jeffries to give Cooper information. Albert says that Philip called him and told him that Cooper was in trouble and needed some information urgently. Albert says he told Philip who their man was in Colombia and a week later he was killed.
Gordon tells Albert that Cooper didn’t greet him properly, and if you go back and listen to that greeting, you can hear that Cooper initially says the word “very” backwards—not unlike the reverse speech in the Black Lodge. That, combined with his other strange behavior, has led Gordon to the conclusion that this is definitely a Blue Rose case.
Gordon suggests that before they move forward, they need a certain person to take a look at Cooper. We don’t learn who that person is, only that it’s a woman and that Albert knows where she drinks. There’s been lots of speculation about this but my money is that it will end up being Cooper’s secretary, Diane. I also think that Diane is who Laura Dern is playing in the new series. We shall see.
Part 4 ends with another music outro at the Roadhouse: Au Revoir Simone performing “Lark.” Again, we don’t see any character interactions at the bar, just the crowd dancing. While I’m enjoying the Roadhouse endings, I would like to see some actual scenes take place there in the future.
I really enjoyed Parts 3 and 4, even more so than the first two hours of the new series. There were more comedic moments, especially the stuff with Coop as Dougie and some of the interactions between Albert and Gordon. I also got a taste of that classic Twin Peaks music and hopefully there will be more where that came from because it’s the one thing that I really find myself missing. Other than that, I’ve got no complaints and I’m more than ready for more.