Our beloved Agent Cooper is returning to us, one cup of coffee at a time.
Part 5 opens in Las Vegas with the hitmen at the Rancho Rosa housing development, still on the hunt for Dougie. One of the men (Gene) is on the phone with a very anxious woman named Lorraine. She’s got some bruising on her face to suggest that she’s in trouble with some very bad people. Lorraine tells Gene that the job (i.e. killing Dougie) was supposed to be done yesterday and that her life is in danger if it doesn’t get done. When she hangs up, she takes out a Blackberry and types a message.
In Buckhorn, we see the body of the John Doe from the Ruth Davenport case. Constance is performing the autopsy and has discovered that the man hadn’t eaten for days but there was one thing in his stomach: Dougie’s wedding ring. The ring’s inscription reads, “To Dougie, With Love, Janey-E.” This is interesting considering that, when the “real” Dougie was sucked into the Black Lodge, he was wearing the Owl Cave Ring where his wedding band should have been.
Cooper’s evil doppelganger (who I shall henceforth call DoppelCoop) is still in federal prison in South Dakota. He looks in the mirror and there’s a flashback to the original series finale—BOB with Cooper’s doppelganger, and the unforgettable moment at the end when DoppelCoop smashes the mirror with his head and we see BOB’s reflection. Many (including myself) have wondered whether DoppelCoop was still fully possessed by BOB after all these years. This scene, in which Cooper’s face morphs into an amalgam of BOB and Coop, proves that he is still there. DoppelCoop even comments, “You’re still with me. That’s good.” It would seem that DoppelCoop wasn’t entirely sure he was there, either.
Back in Twin Peaks, we meet up with Mike Nelson, who is all grown up and working an office job at a Chevy dealership (at least that’s what the establishing shot implies). He interviews a loser named Steven Burnett, whose application and resume was absolute garbage. Mike has called him in not to interview him but to just rip him a new one for being the Actual Worst Applicant in history.
At the Twin Peaks sheriff’s department, Frank is talking to the ailing Harry on the phone when his wife Doris comes storming in. It’s clear that Frank and Doris’s marriage is not in great shape because she unloads every complaint under the sun at him and he just sits there, almost completely non-responsive. There’s a serious communication breakdown here.
Back in Vegas, Good Coop is trying to come back to himself but he’s not even remotely there yet. Janey-E is trying to get “Dougie” off to work and we learn that Coop’s winnings totaled $425K—more than enough to pay his debt. As Janey-E puts on his tie for him, Coop watches Sonny Jim in the car and starts to cry.
Janey-E drives “Dougie” to work. Of course, Coop has no idea where he works (or what that even really means). He finds himself mesmerized by a statue of a man pointing a gun, which seems to trigger some sort of recollection. In The Autobiography of FBI Special Agent Dale Cooper: My Life, My Tapes, we learned that thirteen-year-old Dale had his “most important personal item, a poster of Jimmy Stewart in the movie The FBI Story which only I can touch” above his bed. There is a strong resemblance between the statue and the poster, and this may have triggered a buried memory.
Whatever he may or may not remember, the statue happens to be pointing Coop in the direction of his office building—another in a series of serendipitous occurrences guiding Cooper through Dougie’s life. He runs into an assistant, Phil Bisby, who tells Coop there’s a staff meeting in three minutes. Phil is carrying two trays full of coffee, and Coop follows him to the elevator, where he is drawn to the smell of the coffee. He takes the coffee meant for a coworker and drinks it and basically has a coffeegasm. We get another little piece of our old friend Agent Cooper when he says the coffee is “damn good joe.”
They arrive at Lucky 7 Insurance company and Coop follows Phil to the conference room where he gets a slap on the back from a coworker named Tony Sinclair (played by Tom Sizemore). He comments that Dougie has been on a bender for the last few days. This, along with Janey-E’s earlier comment about drinking, leads me to believe that perhaps the reason no one is overly disturbed by “Dougie’s” behavior is that he had a serious drinking problem. At the same time, Tony leans in and tells “Dougie” that he covered for him, implying that he knows Dougie was into something shady. At the staff meeting, Tony tells their boss, Bushnell Mullins, that they have to pay out an insurance claim, and as he explains the situation to the boss, Coop sees a green light flash across Tony’s face, which he interprets to mean that Tony is lying. This is one of the only original thoughts and statements that Coop has made since being “reborn” and it’s reminiscent of the Agent Cooper who often relied on pure instinct when interrogating his suspects.
Coop is brought into Mullins’s office after the staff meeting and chewed out. Mullins asks him where he gets the balls to call Tony, his best agent, a liar, and Coop fixates on the word “Agent.” It’s another memory trigger for Cooper, himself an agent of the FBI. It only gets stronger when Mullins hands him a stack of case files—another loaded phrase.
At the Silver Mustang casino, Coop’s winnings have caught the attention of the casino boss, Bradley Mitchum (played by James Belushi). The supervisor who was working when Coop won his 30 jackpots gets the crap kicked out of him while a group of showgirls in pink watch, completely uninterested. The supervisor is then fired because the bosses assume he must have had something to do with Coop’s winning streak. Mitchum tells him to leave town and promotes the pit boss, telling him that he is to alert someone if he ever sees Cooper again.
Back at Rancho Rosa, the kid across the street from the house where Dougie’s car is parked leaves his Junkie Mom passed out and goes to investigate the explosive device he saw the hitmen place under the car. All of a sudden, the four men in the black car pull up and attempt to steal Dougie’s car, but it explodes when they turn it on. The kid runs back across the street to his house and his mom finally wakes up and looks towards the window. I still don’t know who these two are or what their relevance is to the larger story but I’m definitely interested.
We catch up with Jade, who is getting her car washed. One of the workers hands her Coop’s Great Northern key, which he left on the floor of her passenger seat, and she throws it in the mailbox to return it to Twin Peaks. This brief scene is setting up something I think will have a satisfying payoff later on. Someone is definitely going to take note of the 25-year-old key to Cooper’s room being returned after all this time, especially since the Great Northern probably doesn’t use those kind of room keys anymore. If I’m really lucky, maybe Audrey will be there to receive it since I’m positive she more than anyone else would immediately know whose key it was.
And now a moment I’ve been waiting for: the return of the Double R Diner. We see that Norma is still running the place and Shelly still works there. It is here that we meet Shelly’s daughter, Becky Burnett (played by Amanda Seyfried). Becky has come by with a bread delivery, and to squeeze some money out of Shelly for the third time in two weeks. Norma is concerned that Shelly is enabling Becky (who is married to the loser Steven who we met earlier in the episode). As far as marrying losers go, Becky seems to be following in her mother’s footsteps.
Becky leaves the Double R and gets in the car with Steven and they leave the parking lot to be out of sight of Shelly and Norma, who are staring them down. Turns out that, in keeping with Twin Peaks tradition of fucked-up young people, Becky and Steven have a bit of a drug habit. Becky gets extremely high and they go for a joyride. I don’t know about you but I got major Laura Palmer vibes from this scene.
Back in Twin Peaks, we finally get the payoff for the scenes with Dr. Jacoby and the shovels. Turns out, he hosts a show (under the pseudonym Dr. Amp) where he rants and raves about the government and various conspiracy theories. Not surprisingly, Jerry Horne and Nadine are two of his loyal listeners. As for the shovels, he sells “Dr. Amp’s Gold Shit-Digging Shovels” for $29.99 each. He even airs a commercial for the shovels and advises his listeners to “shovel your way out of the shit and into the truth.” There have been moments of comedy in the return, but this Jacoby bit was by far the funniest thing to happen in the revival so far.
At the Pentagon, we are in the office of Air Force Colonel Davis (played by Ernie Hudson), who is informed by an officer that they’ve got a hit on the fingerprints of Major Garland Briggs—one of sixteen such instances over the past twenty-five years. So the John Doe in Buckhorn’s prints match Major Briggs, but there have been fifteen previous instances of false alarms. Davis tells the officer to head to South Dakota to check it out and that, if it is actually the real deal this time, they have to notify the FBI.
At the Roadhouse, we’re introduced to a super sketchy character named Richard Horne, which begs the question: is this Audrey’s kid? Ben’s? Jerry’s? Anything is a possibility (especially when it comes to the Brothers Horne). This guy is a real scumbag. He’s involved in some shady dealings with Chad, one of the Twin Peaks deputies. From the amount of money Richard gives Chad (concealed in a cigarette pack) I suspect they are both involved in the Twin Peaks drug trade.
A group of young (possibly underage) girls sit at the booth next to Richard, and one of them asks him for a light. Richard takes this opportunity to grab her by the throat and basically threaten to rape her. This is a Really Bad Guy—Leo 2.0—and I really hope he’s not Audrey’s kid.
Meanwhile, Agent Tammy Preston is examining Cooper’s file and she seems to notice a discrepancy between the fingerprints (specifically, the left ring finger) of Cooper from years earlier and the Cooper taken into custody in South Dakota.
In prison, DoppelCoop finally gets his phone call. He knows he’s being watched and recorded and takes the opportunity to send a coded message/threat to Warden Murphy—something cryptic about a “Mr. Strawberry” that definitely freaks the warden out. Then DoppelCoop uses his phone call to somehow completely screw with the prison’s security systems. He says, “the cow jumped over the moon,” and then hangs up the phone, and everything goes back to normal.
We learn that the box connected to Lorraine’s Blackberry is located somewhere in Buenos Aires, Argentina—a location significant to the story of Philip Jeffries in Fire Walk With Me. When Lorraine’s message comes through, the two lights on the box blink and then it turns into a small silver blob.
Good Coop has been standing by the statue outside the office for hours—ever since the end of the workday. It is now almost dark and a security guard tells him he has to leave. Breaking the pattern of the past three episodes ending with a band’s performance at the Roadhouse, this one ends with Coop examining the statue, paying special attention to the shoes.
Part 5 has brought us as close as we’ve come to the original series. It spent more time in Twin Peaks than previous episodes, and included many of the original characters. There was more music in the air, so to speak, and more comedy than horror. Most importantly, it showed more of Special Agent Dale Cooper trying to break through. I wouldn’t presume to know where the series is taking us, but it sure seems like The Return’s major plot arc is Agent Cooper’s own return to himself.