Part 14 was one of my favorite episodes of The Return and it didn’t even include either Cooper—well, not really. The Twin Peaks Sheriff Squad finally made their way to Jack Rabbit’s Palace—something the story has been building toward for many episodes—and the sequence, and everything that followed, was well worth the wait.
We begin in Buckhorn with a call from Gordon to Lucy at the Twin Peaks Sheriff’s Department. Cole is, apparently, returning a call from Sheriff Truman but he’s unaware that Harry is sick and that his brother, Frank, has taken over. Frank wanted to fill Gordon in on their Cooper investigation but only tells him that Hawk found Laura’s missing diary pages and that they indicate the existence of two Coopers. Notably, he does not make any mention of Major Briggs. In fact, Frank says specifically that he doesn’t know any more than this. This leads me to believe this is another wonky Twin Peaks timeline scene that is taking place before they found Major Briggs’s note. I can’t see any other reason why Frank would withhold that kind of information from Gordon, especially if he thought to contact him about the diary pages.
Because of this, I think that the next scene in Buckhorn takes place much later in the South Dakota timeline. It’s the morning after Tammy was brought into to the Blue Rose Task Force and she’s being debriefed. We learn from Albert that the first Blue Rose case took place in 1975 in Olympia, WA and involved a murder suspect named Lois Duffy. The investigating officers—Gordon Cole and Phillip Jeffries—found two women in a motel room. Lois Duffy was on the floor with a gunshot would to the abdomen. The other woman in the room holding the gun was also Lois Duffy. The dying Lois’s last words were, “I am like the blue rose,” hence the name of the task force. After Lois says this, she smiles and then dies, and then her body disappears. The other Lois is screaming in the corner of the room. She is arrested but swears she didn’t commit the crime. While awaiting trial, the living Lois hangs herself.
After finishing the story, Albert tests Tammy’s acuity—“What’s the one question you should ask me?” he says. Tammy responds quickly and correctly: “What’s the significance of the blue rose?” She then answers her own question, saying that the blue rose is something that does not occur in nature, it’s not a natural thing, and it follows that the dying Lois was not a natural thing. Tammy believes that she was conjured—something called a “tulpa.” A tulpa is something that comes from Tibetan Buddhism, which Agent Cooper was connected to in the original series. A very rudimentary and simplistic definition is that a tulpa is a sentient being created through thought. This idea is not unlike the doppelgängers as we know them in the Twin Peaks universe.
Gordon enters the room and then there’s a bizarre and ominous scene with a window washer outside the room, moving very quickly and making a loud and absolutely insufferable sound as he worked. He was just a shadow and seemed to be moving supernaturally fast—not entirely unlike The Experiment’s attack on Tracey and Sam in New York City. It made me very uneasy but luckily it didn’t drag out for 3 minutes and didn’t end up being a threat to the squad. Still, the sound alone makes it hard to get through without taking a page out of Cole’s book and turning the sound all the way down.
“Deputy Diane” reports for duty and Gordon questions her about the last night that she saw Cooper. While she still refuses to go into detail about that night, she does answer one of Gordon’s questions: Cooper did mention Major Briggs that night. Albert then catches her up on the fact that they’ve been investigating one of Cooper’s old cases involving Major Briggs. He explains that Briggs was thought to have died in a fire 25 years earlier at his station in Twin Peaks, but that it turns out he’d died very recently. Albert pulls out Dougie’s wedding ring, found in Briggs’ stomach, and reads Diane the inscription.
At this point, Diane drops a bomb: Janey-E is her estranged half sister, she’s married to a man named Douglas Jones, and last she heard they were living in Las Vegas. This was such a huge revelation that I immediately started to doubt its veracity. It seems a bit too convenient, especially given that Diane has been acting really shady lately. I continue to be mystified by her character’s motivations. We still don’t know who Diane really is, the full extent of her relationship with Cooper, or who she’s really working with. Regardless, there is now a direct connection between the Blue Rose Task Force and the Joneses. Gordon calls the Las Vegas office to get all the info they’ve got on Janey-E and Douglas Jones, who he says are wanted in connection with a double murder (Major Briggs and Ruth Davenport?) and should be considered dangerous. I think there might be a trip to Sin City in store for the Blue Rose squad in the not-too-distant future.
When Diane leaves the room, Gordon tells Albert and Tammy about “another Monica Bellucci dream” he had. We can see and hear the dream itself and Gordon also narrates it to Albert and Tammy. Gordon is in Paris on a case and Monica has called him because she needs to speak with him. They meet at a café and she has two friends with her—a woman and a man (who looks kind of like the mystery man in the picture of DoppelCoop and the glass box). Cooper was there at the café but Gordon could not see his face. Monica is there to tell him the ancient phrase, originally from The Upanishads:
She then asks Gordon a follow-up question: “But who is the dreamer?” At this point, Gordon gets an uneasy feeling and Monica looks past him at something, and when he turns around he sees himself from years ago, in the Philadelphia office. This is footage from Fire Walk With Me and, continuing the theme of dreaming and dreamers, we see past Cooper referencing a dream he had before the long-lost Phillip Jeffries appears in the office. He points to Cooper and says:
Strangely, Gordon seems to just be remembering the incident with Jeffries, and Albert says, “I’m beginning to remember that too.” It seems very odd that the two of them would have forgotten the day when Jeffries returned after two years gone and then inexplicably vanished from the room. It’s also significant that Jeffries calls out Cooper—who in this timeline has not yet entered the Black Lodge—and questions his true identity. It would seem that Jeffries has seen the future in which there are two Coopers. It’s worth noting that during this scene in Fire Walk With Me, Jeffries says that he’s been to a meeting above a convenience store and then says, “we are living in a dream.”
[It’s worth watching the extended version of this scene from The Missing Pieces, which contains more information involving Jeffries than were included in the theatrical release of FWWM.]
We head from Buckhorn to Twin Peaks where Bobby, Hawk, Truman, and Andy are preparing to go up the mountain to Jack Rabbit’s Palace. Before they leave, they do a little housecleaning and arrest Chad. They don’t actually tell him what the charge is but we learn that they’ve been watching him for months.
Then, at long last, Bobby leads the squad to Jack Rabbit’s Palace. Since it’s the first time they’ve been there, we can assume that the date in Twin Peaks is 10/1—the first date on Major Briggs’s note. As they enter the forest, there is an electrical humming sound from wires in the area. Bobby leads them down a dirt road, which used to lead to his father’s station before it was cleared away after the fire. All Bobby remembers about the station was lots of machinery; his father never told him what he did there except that it was top secret. They arrive at Jack Rabbit’s Palace, which is the bottom portion of a fallen tree. When I saw it, it immediately reminded me of the fortress/castle in the purple sea, which we saw in Part 8.
As instructed, they all take some soil from the area and put it in their pockets before heading 253 yards east where they find a strange scene: there’s a dense fog with electricity crackling and flashing white light, and as they get closer they can see the body of a naked woman next to a pool of gold and a barren sycamore tree.
That naked woman turns out to be Naido, the eyeless woman who Cooper met in the Mauve Room in Part 3. The last we saw her, she had fallen into space, and we find her here, naked and seemingly unconscious in the woods of Twin Peaks. Andy takes her hand and she wakes up. She is still unable to communicate and only makes an unintelligible chattering sound. We get a shot of the pool of molten gold next to her, which looks like the circle of engine oil at the Twin Peaks entrance to the Black Lodge. This seems to be the opposite of that, which leads me to believe that this is the Twin Peaks entrance to the White Lodge.
At 2:53 on the dot, a vortex opens in the sky and Andy disappears from the forest. He reappears in the Black and White Room and ??????? enters and sits across from him. It is revealed ???????’s real name is the Fireman. The Fireman raises his hand and an oddly shaped device appears in Andy’s hands. Smoke slowly gathers around Andy and whooshes up to a skylight-looking window above him, where he is shown a vision.
Andy sees a series of things that we’ve seen before. In black and white, he sees (in this order) the Experiment in the glass box in NYC, the “birth” of BOB in the egg stream from the Experiment, the convenience store and the Woodsmen outside, the “Got a Light?” Woodsman, and then some electrical wires. It switches from B&W to color as it shows him the screaming girl running across the Twin Peaks High School courtyard, which is from the original series pilot and occurs just before the announcement of Laura Palmer’s death. Still in color, he sees the red curtains superimposed with Laura’s face flanked by two angels. Returning to B&W he sees Naido in the woods as he found her, then in color sees the two Coopers separating in front of the Red Room curtains.
Then there’s a ringing phone and a scene we’ve yet to see: Andy leads Lucy down a hallway. He seems to want to show her something and she looks quite disturbed. In B&W, he sees Naido again, this time with himself at her side. The vision ends with three slightly different shots of the Fat Trout Trailer Park electrical pole, which has the number “6” on it (three shots = 666). It shifts from B&W to color in the three shots and then the vision ends. The smoke is sucked back into the device Andy is holding, which disappears from his hands. He breathes heavily a few times and then disappears himself.
We return to Jack Rabbit’s Palace as Hawk, Truman, and Bobby return to the tree. There are several versions of each of the men—all transparent and walking in slightly different locations. Eventually these “shadow selves” (or whatever you want to call them) all coalesce and they are all returned in the flesh. Andy fades in next to the tree, carrying Naido. He says, in a serious and matter-of-fact way, “We need to get her down the mountain. She’s very important and there are people that want her dead. She’s fine physically. We need to put her in a cell where she’ll be safe. Don’t tell anybody about this.” Before they set off after Andy, both Truman and Hawk remark that they can’t remember what’s just happened. It is not explicitly stated whether or not Bobby remembers anything, but he looked as confused as the other two when they returned to Jack Rabbit’s Palace.
Back at the station, Lucy gives Naido some pajamas and a robe to wear as they put her in a cell for safety. It’s interesting to note that Andy’s demeanor here, with Lucy, is the same old Andy. Also in the lockup are Chad and someone credited only as “Drunk.” The drunk looks rough and is bleeding from the mouth. Chad starts mouthing off to Andy, who puts him in his place, and he and Lucy leave. Naido is doing her usual chattering sounds and the drunk starts to mimic her. It’s driving Chad absolutely crazy and he starts yelling, and the drunk mimics exactly what Chad says as well.
We go to the Great Northern, and on what appears to be a loading dock we see two security guards: James Hurley and his green-gloved friend, Freddie Sykes. Freddie is able to absolutely obliterate walnuts using just the gloved hand. We learn that James wants to go to the Roadhouse to see if Renee is there, but that Renee is married. James has not, historically, cared whether his love interest has a significant other so I’d say that’s not a huge factor for him.
Then we learn the bizarre story behind Freddie’s super-strength, green-gloved hand. Six months earlier, Freddie was living in London’s East End, walking home from a pub, when he entered an alley and a vortex appeared and sucked him into another world. There he met the Fireman who gave him a set of very specific instructions. Freddie was to go to the hardware store near his flat, find and purchase the open package of green rubber gloves with only the right-hand glove inside. With this glove, he would then possess the power of a pile driver. He woke up in his room the next morning and followed the instructions. He had trouble with the clerk, who refused to sell him the open package, and ended up paying and running out with the clerk chasing him. When the clerk caught up to him, Freddie punched him with the gloved hand and (likely) broke his neck. After he tells James all this, Freddie then remembers that the Fireman said to him that he had to go to Twin Peaks, “and there you will find your destiny.” When he went to purchase a plane ticket to go to America, it was already waiting for him.
James listens to Freddie’s story intently but doesn’t seem all that shocked by it, which isn’t surprising because he’s from Twin Peaks and everyone in Twin Peaks has seen and heard a lot of weird shit. What’s going to shock you when your ex-girlfriend was raped and murdered by her father who was possessed by some otherworldly demon? Probably not much.
James asks Freddie why he thought the Fireman picked him, and Freddie says he asked as much and the Fireman told him, “Why not you?” James then goes down to check the furnace and we hear that same ringing sound that Ben Horne and Beverly Paige have been hearing upstairs. There’s a lot of intricate looking machinery down there which reminded me of the stuff under the glass box in NYC. The whole thing is very ominous and ends with James coming upon a door. It could, of course, be nothing, but I think whatever the source of that sound is might be related to what’s behind that door.
Then we get another amazing Sarah Palmer scene, which also happens to be the most relatable moment in the episode, despite the fact that it takes a pretty trippy turn. Sarah walks to the Elk’s Point #9 Bar, sits at the bar and orders herself a Bloody Mary. After a short time, some asshole wearing a T-shirt that says “Truck You” comes over and starts harassing her. She tries to warn him to leave her alone but he won’t take no for an answer and starts getting more and more aggressive and calling her all kind of vile, misogynistic names I won’t repeat here. Finally, Sarah has had enough. She stands up and takes off her face to reveal a blackness, and two pincers shoot out of it. Then out of the dark we see an image of a hand with an enlarged left ring finger (the “spiritual mound” finger) and then a large set of smiling white teeth.
She puts her normal face back on and quickly attacks the guy, somehow ripping out half his neck without getting a drop of blood on her. She screams and pretends she has no idea what happened but the bartender is suspicious anyway. She turns to him, and she looks and sounds terrifying when she says, “Sure is a mystery, huh?”
With the exception of the whole supernatural face-off thing, this is a moment that every woman has experienced, and honestly who wouldn’t rather rip off their own face than deal with some asshole’s harassment and violent threats? But, unfortunately, as Buella said in Part 1, “It’s a world of truck drivers.” These guys are everywhere and unavoidable, so for a moment, we all got to live vicariously through Sarah Palmer—a woman who has been a victim of unimaginable horrors in her life. Here, she is finally allowed to take control and win. Of course, this Sarah is probably either possessed or a doppelgänger, but it’s still satisfying to watch.
The episode ends at the Roadhouse. Two new characters are having yet another seemingly pointless conversation about random events and people, but this time we do get a mention of two people we’ve heard about before: Billy and Tina, who were referenced in the Part 12 scene with Audrey and Charlie. One of the women, Megan, is Tina’s daughter. She and her mother last saw Billy at their house, bleeding from the nose and mouth (as he was in Audrey’s dream of him). He ran off very quickly and that’s the last that they saw of him.
The credits roll as Lissie performs “Wild West.” The episode is dedicated: “In Memory of David Bowie.”
I found this entire episode completely riveting. So much of what I’ve been looking forward to—the Blue Rose Task Force finding a link to Dougie in Vegas, Jack Rabbit’s Palace, and more Lodge stuff—all happened in rapid succession. We’ve definitely entered the third act of The Return and the pace is really picking up. With four hours left to go, it seems like we’re in for a wild ride. I’ve stopped speculating as to whether or not Agent Cooper will return before the end, or at all, but it’s looking like at the very least they are about to find DougieCoop.
Or not. Because it’s Twin Peaks and none of us know anything. That said, BEWARE SPOILERS! There was some sort of Russian hack or leak or some such thing and there are spoilers for the final four episodes floating around out there—especially on Reddit. Since I will go full Sarah Palmer on anyone who spoils it for me, I’m being especially wary so be warned, Twin Peaks fans. And to any fans who are into spoilers—you do you, but please be respectful of those of us that don’t want to know. Please keep the mystery alive and let the story unfold one week at a time, as Lynch and Frost meant it to.