In Part 13 we saw, perhaps more clearly than we have before, just how much luck and positive change DougieCoop is bringing to those that cross paths with him in Las Vegas. We also traveled to a new location for an epic arm-wrestling match, and then back to Twin Peaks, where shit is getting really, really weird.
We open with “zany upbeat percussive music” playing as the Mitchum Brothers, Pink Ladies, and DougieCoop dance a conga line around the Lucky Seven Insurance offices. They come bearing gifts for Bushnell, which Candie presents to him in her charming way: a box of cigars (Montecristo Number Twos), monogrammed diamond cuff links, and the keys to a BMW convertible. Bradley exclaims, “A wrong has been made right,” which is sort of DougieCoop’s mission statement, even if he’s not fully aware of it. And what’s more Special Agent Dale Cooper than righting wrongs? Maybe there’s more Coop in DougieCoop than I thought.
Anthony Sinclair can see them from his office and freaks out because the plan to get the Mitchums to kill Dougie has failed spectacularly. Anthony hides behind his desk and calls Duncan Todd to update him. Mr. Todd is not pleased and, per their previous conversation, it’s now it’s Anthony’s responsibility to kill Dougie. Todd insists it be done in one day.
I think we were all pretty sure after Part 11 that Sonny Jim was going to get a gym set courtesy of the Mitchum Brothers and here we see it arrive at the Jones house. Dougie still hasn’t been home from his all-nighter with the Mitchums but Janey-E gladly accepts the gifts from the Mitchums. This also includes a new BMW wrapped up in a big, red bow in the driveway. We all know how much Janey-E hated their crappy old cars and she’s beaming as the guys from the Silver Mustang carry the pieces of the gym set past the BMW to the backyard.
Once set up, the gym set is at once the coolest and creepiest thing I’ve ever seen. It’s all lit up with flashing lights—very Vegas—but there’s also a yellow arch that seems to serve no practical purpose. The creepiest part is the spotlight—something that has always come hand-in-hand with the otherworldly/supernatural in Twin Peaks. There’s also a tree in the background that looks like a leafless sycamore and a trampoline that looks like the oil puddle at Glastonbury Grove. The fact that music from Swan Lake (“Dance of the Swans”) is playing from what sounds like a music box gives the whole thing a really creepy tone. Only Lynch can make a kid enjoying an awesome new gym set super creepy.
Janey-E and DougieCoop look on and she’s just more in love with him every day. DougieCoop is fixing all Janey-E’s problems also, some of which are admittedly materialistic but not in a truly terrible way. It’s not SO horrible of her to want to be financially comfortable, with a new car that actually works, and some nice things for her child. It’s partly material but also representative of a larger problem that’s been solved: she could never trust Dougie to be there for the family before and now she feels like she has a real partner in him and father for Sonny Jim. The whole thing is really sad because DougieCoop has managed to fix this broken family, and what happens to them if/when Agent Cooper comes back to himself?
On which subject, something interesting happens with DougieCoop’s mimicry in this scene. Janey-E says that Sonny Jim is in “Seventh Heaven” and Dougie doesn’t mimic her exactly; he says, “Seven Heaven.” Also, when Janey-E says “I love you so much,” he doesn’t say anything out loud but instead mouths the words, “so much.” I find any differences in the way that DougieCoop communicates to be notable, and he’s been increasing more expressive physically as well as a bit more verbal. The most noticeable thing for me, especially in this episode and the end of Part 11, is that DougieCoop’s tone and inflection when he speaks is much more expressive than it once way. All signs point to the return of Coop, but I’m at the point where I don’t expect it to happen until the end.
We go from Vegas to a new location: Western Montana. DoppelCoop pulls into the garage of a warehouse, which is The Farm that Ray referred to back in Part 8. This is geographically the closest we’ve come to Twin Peaks without being there. When DoppelCoop shows up, it’s chilling to think that he’s not at all far away from Twin Peaks. But DoppelCoop has other more immediate goals, namely killing Ray Monroe. Ray is with the bossman, named Renzo, and Muddy (who seems to be Renzo’s second-in-command), and he tells them he’s going to kill DoppelCoop for real this time. Why he thinks that this will be any different from his first attempt (especially after having seen the Woodsmen) is beyond me, but maybe he thinks having backup will help, and this time that includes a room full of tough guys with guns.
Renzo allows him up the elevator because he wants to have a bit of fun with him before Ray kills him. Their idea of fun is making DoppelCoop arm-wrestle Renzo. Apparently no one has beaten him in 14 years and the price of losing is that Renzo becomes your boss (or you die if you refuse). DoppelCoop is not intimidated by any of this bluster and bravado.
DoppelCoop agrees on one condition: he has no interest in being their boss but if he wins he gets to kill Ray. On their way down to the arm-wrestling table Renzo punches DoppelCoop hard in the back of the head, which staggers him but does not seem to faze him. Renzo says, “That’s from the nursery school teacher,” but it should have been his first clue that Mr. C is much tougher than he seems. But I guess when you’re a brick shithouse like Renzo and haven’t lost in over a decade, you get a little cocky.
DoppelCoop cuts him down to size real quick once the begin, but he doesn’t just beat him; he toys with him for a long time first. He lets him think he can win at the beginning but then yanks him back to starting position. He lets Renzo take him almost all the way down and then does it again. “Starting position’s more comfortable,” he says as Renzo struggles. DoppeCoop toys with him a bit more, totally in control of the exact positions where their arms move and stop. He takes Renzo all the way down, painfully, but then returns to starting position, which “is really much more comfortable.” DoppelCoop looks at Ray, being held back by some of the toughs in the room, and then he takes Renzo down hard, breaking his arm before punching him so hard his face caves in and he dies.
With Renzo out of the picture, Mr. C is their new boss now. All he wants are some cellphones and what he originally came for: to kill Ray. His new underlings give up the phones (which won’t get reception there but DoppelCoop doesn’t seem bothered because he likely won’t be there for long). Once the room clears out (except for Renzo’s dead body), DoppelCoop shoots Ray in the leg and starts to question him about Phillip Jeffries. Before he can really get into it, a seemingly out of place guy credited as The Farm Accountant comes up the stairs and asks DoppelCoop if he needs any money. He declines and Farm Accountant leaves him to his business with Ray.
We learn that “Jeffries” [I’m still not convinced that any of them has been dealing with the real Phillip Jeffries] told Ray that Mr. C was going to kill him if he didn’t kill him first. “Jeffries” set up the prison thing with Warden Murphy. “Jeffries” also told Ray that Mr. C had “something inside that they want.” Then Ray takes the green owl ring out of his pocket and says that “Jeffries” told him to put it on DoppelCoop’s finger after he killed him. He got it from an intermediary—a mysterious guard at the prison who Ray had never seen before.
DoppelCoop finally gets the coordinates from Ray (although the audience doesn’t get confirmation that they are the Twin Peaks coordinates). He asks Ray where “Jeffries” is and Ray tells him, “last I heard he was at a place called The Dutchmen’s, but it’s not a real place…” DoppelCoop shoots him before he can clarify and says, “I know what it is.” He puts the ring on Ray’s dead body and watches as it disappears. Ray ends up on the floor of the Red Room, where MIKE reclaims the ring and puts it back on the table.
Unbeknownst to DoppelCoop and Ray, Richard Horne has showed up at The Farm during their conversation and is watching it all happen with the others on the huge screen. Richard doesn’t say anything but he seems very focused on DoppelCoop. This raises more questions than it answers. What is Richard’s connection to The Farm? Is The Farm connected to Red and the drug ring in some way? Does Richard know and/or recognize DoppelCoop? Are they about to meet? So many questions and zero answers but such is the Twin Peaks experience.
Back in Vegas, there’s some unseen chaos in the background as the Fusco Brothers chat about Sunday dinner with mom. They are completely unaffected by a woman pissing, cursing, and getting tazed in the next room. Then, the moment I’ve been waiting for: they got a hit on the fingerprints of “Douglas Jones.” It’s a hit for Agent Cooper, obviously, but the fact that he escaped from prison in South Dakota two days earlier and is an FBI agent makes the Fuscos think that it’s just “a huge fucking mistake.” They trash the report because they are unable to conceive of the fact that it might be true. This stands in contrast to other law enforcement agencies (i.e. the Blue Rose Task Force and some of the Twin Peaks Sheriff’s Department) who are more open to seemingly impossible evidence leading them to strange, uncharted places.
Anthony Sinclair shows up looking for Detective Clark and the Fuscos direct him outside where Clark is taking a smoke break. Clark is one of the crooked cops that Anthony has been working with on his insurance scams, and he’s not too pleased to see Anthony show up at the station. But Anthony is in a panic. He’s looking for some sort of untraceable poison he can use to kill Dougie. Clark tells him to use something called aconitine, which gives him two hours to get away before it kills its victim. Clark also calls him a “weak fucking coward” and demands 5,000 dollars for his trouble. They agree to meet that night at 9:30. After Anthony leaves, Clark’s partner in crime comes over and the two of them decide they need to call Mr. Todd because Anthony seems like he’s cracking up. They are clearly unaware that the hit is Todd’s idea.
In a brief but entertaining interlude, we find Hutch and Chantal driving somewhere near Provo, Utah, discussing Mormon stereotypes. Presumably, they are on their way to Vegas for the “double header” that Mr. C assigned them. We still don’t know who the targets are and we get no more information here than that Chantal loves her Cheetos and can’t conceive of a life without alcohol, coffee, and Coca-Cola.
Janey-E drops DougieCoop off at work in her brand new car. She’s still loving it and she’s noticeably more patient with DougieCoop as he still hasn’t managed to grasp the concept of getting out of a car without assistance. Also, he’s not great at doors. On his way into the building he walks face-first into a glass door and doesn’t make it inside until someone comes along to guide him in. Anthony is watching the whole thing, waiting for him to come in so he can take him for a coffee at Szymons. It’s not hard to convince DougieCoop to go. Anthony had him at “coffee.”
Anthony’s plan to poison Dougie’s coffee is made much easier by the fact that, after a satisfying sip, DougieCoop is drawn inside of Szymons. The call of their cherry pie is too strong for him to resist. He stares at a piece of pie through the glass case, giving Anthony the perfect opportunity to poison his coffee. The waitress tells DougieCoop she’ll bring him a slice at the table, and when DougieCoop goes back to his coffee he is distracted by the dandruff on Anthony’s suit. My immediate reaction was that the dandruff triggered him because it reminded him of cocaine, which was so integral to the Laura Palmer case. Whatever it was that drew him to it, he starts to awkwardly massaging Anthony’s shoulders.
Anthony starts to crack and ends up grabbing the poisoned coffee and dumping it out in the bathroom. He never really wanted to kill Dougie in the first place—he’s much more of a fraud guy than a murderer—and he was ultimately unable to go through with it. It leaves me wondering if there was something about Dougie’s touch that did it or if it was just Anthony’s conscience reaching its breaking point. Anthony ends up confessing everything to Bushnell, who respects his honestly but tells him that he has to testify against Duncan Todd as well as the cops involved. Interestingly, Anthony is far more afraid of the cops than he is of Todd. Still, he feels he has no choice because he can’t keep living the way he has been—not sleeping, vomiting blood, and just generally wanting to die. Anthony thanks Dougie for saving him from making a huge mistake. Again, DougieCoop saves the day.
Back in Twin Peaks, we see Shelly serving some hungry customers at the Double R when she gets a call from her daughter. Becky is distraught because Steven has been gone for two days and two nights. Shelly has bruised elbows in this scene, which leads me to believe it is occurring after the incident with the car and the gun we saw in Part 11. However it seems strange that Shelly would barely react to her daughter’s call for help after what happened. She eventually suggests that Becky come down for a slice of cherry pie a la mode and a chat, which sounds good to Becky.
The timeline gets even more confusing in another scene at the Double R, where we FINALLY see Big Ed Hurley. And he’s sitting with Norma! My hopes that they had a happy ending are soon dashed, though. Bobby approaches Norma’s booth and asks her if Shelly went home already (she did) and turns to go back to his seat at the counter but Big Ed tells Bobby to sit with them because, “It’s no good eating alone.” Things get really confusing when Bobby tells Ed and Norma that he “found some stuff that my dad left today.” The sequence of events in the Twin Peaks scenes have always been a source of confusion but this pretty much confirms that a whole bunch of stuff has been shown out of order.
Norma goes to get Ed’s dinner and Bobby asks if Ed wants some privacy and my heart absolutely shatters when he answers, “No need, pal. Nothing happening here.” We soon find out that Norma is (kind of maybe) seeing her business partner, Walter, who comes in to talk numbers with her. In the years since the original series, Norma has turned the Double R into a franchise—“Norma’s Double R”—and has four other locations, three of which are turning a profit. Bobby and Ed leave Norma to conduct her business with Walter but Big Ed can’t help but cast sad glances in Norma’s direction as she talks to him.
Walter is concerned that the flagship Twin Peaks location is not turning a profit and he’s figured out why: Norma is spending too much per pie and not charging enough. He wants her to do what other locations have done—use her recipe but with cheaper ingredients—but Norma won’t budge on it. She seems almost offended that he would even ask but, as he tells her, she makes her pies with love but love doesn’t turn a profit. He also wants her to change the name of the Twin Peaks location to “Norma’s Double R” like the rest but Norma is also resistant to this change.
There’s a cute scene with Nadine and Dr. Jacoby that takes place outside of Run Silent, Run Drapes. Dr. Jacoby is driving by when he sees his golden shovel on display in the window of Nadine’s store. He goes to see her and Nadine, who is his most loyal foot soldier, is beside herself that Dr. Amp himself is paying her a visit. They have a nice little chat, almost flirtatious, and now I ship Nadine and Dr. Jacoby which is something I never thought I would say, but here we are. We don’t know what’s up with Ed and Nadine—he wears a wedding ring and she doesn’t—but I really hope Nadine is free to become Mrs. Amp.
The most disturbing scene in Part 13 takes place at the Palmer house, where Sarah sits on the couch drinking vodka and chain smoking while part of an old boxing match plays on a loop. In between loops, you can hear the crackle of electricity. Sarah herself seems to be looping—pouring vodka, finding it empty, going to the kitchen for another nearly empty bottle, pouring, drinking, smoking, repeat… She doesn’t find anything strange about the fact that the same few seconds of match are playing over and over and over again. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: there is something very, very wrong in the Palmer house and Sarah is a part of it.
We get another scene of Audrey and Charlie, which has a much different tone than the last. This time, Audrey is less aggressive than she is panicked and confused. She says she feels like she’s somewhere else and somebody else. She says, “I’m not sure who I am but I’m not me… I don’t even know who I am.” She doesn’t even seem to know where the Roadhouse is. All the while, Charlie is stern with her and not particularly caring, and then he says something really weird: “Are you gonna stop playing games or do I have to end your story, too?” Audrey replies, “What story is that, Charlie? Is that the story of the little girl who lived down the lane?” Then she really starts to panic and sits down and says, “Charlie, help me. It’s like Ghostwood here,” before she starts to cry.
The whole Audrey/Charlie dynamic continues to be confusing and strange. Audrey’s confusion about where and who she is may point to her being mentally ill or something far more disturbing. One of the Audrey theories kicking around is that she never made it out of the coma and it’s all in her head. This scene gives a bit more credence to that than Part 12 did, but I’m still of the belief that Audrey is not comatose but mentally unwell. What is different about Part 13 is that I no longer think Charlie is really trying to help her. His threat to “end her story” is just super creepy.
Then we go to the Roadhouse and either the best thing or the worst thing in the world happens, depending on your feelings about James Hurley, who is performing the Twin Peaks classic “Just You” on stage with two Donna and Maddy substitutes. James and “Just You” have become something of a joke in the fandom and there are a lot of James Hurley haters out there. This, like Part 2’s “James has always been cool” line, is Lynch and Frost telling the Hurley haters to suck it and I loved every second of it. It’s made more affecting by Renee (the woman who was making eyes at James in Part 2) sitting in a booth, moved to tears by his performance. It’s the original recording of the song, which is an interesting choice that brings that much more nostalgia to the scene. It is, however, super creepy that James has two young, brunette singers standing in for the dead Maddy and Donna (whose current whereabouts are unknown).
The episode ends at Big Ed’s Gas Farm. Ed is alone, eating some takeout soup from the Double R, and it’s worth noting that he’s eating alone after telling Bobby that it’s no good to do so. On my first viewing I didn’t notice this, but if you look very carefully at Big Ed’s reflection, you can see it glitch. “Real” Ed has put his soup cup down while reflection Ed is still eating. Ed seems to notice it and then proceeds to take a folded up piece of paper and burn it. The credits roll over Ed burning the paper.
The glitches and time loops that take place in Twin Peaks in this episode are pretty significant and point to the fact that things are very wrong in the town. While DougieCoop manages to bring luck and happiness to everyone he encounters in Vegas, the town of Twin Peaks is getting weirder and darker. Maybe it’s because DoppelCoop is close by. Maybe it’s because it’s getting close to the date and time when Hawk & Co. are supposed to go to Jack Rabbit’s Palace. Maybe it’s because Twin Peaks needs Agent Cooper to return to right its wrongs. Maybe it’s all of these things or none of them. But as we move into the last five hours of The Return, things are picking up steam and building towards some major convergence which I believe will happen in the town of Twin Peaks.