Part 15 made us cry tears of joy as Ed and Norma finally got together, but there were tears of sadness, too. We had to say goodnight and goodbye to our beloved Log Lady, Margaret Lanterman. We also took a trippy trip through the convenience store to The Dutchman’s, where Phillip Jeffries exists as some sort of otherworldly teapot and still won’t really talk about Judy.
Part 15 opens with Nadine, golden shovel slung over her shoulder, walking with purpose down the road to Big Ed’s Gas Farm. Her mission: to set Big Ed free. Thanks to Dr. Amp, Nadine has shoveled herself out of the shit and she’s come to realize that Ed and Norma belong together. She apologizes to Ed for years of treating him poorly and tells him he was a saint to stay. But she’s happy now and she wants Ed to be happy too, and she knows Ed’s happiness is with Norma and not with her. Ed can hardly believe it and he thinks that she’ll likely regret it but Nadine has never been more sure of anything. It’s time to let Ed go, and she does so joyfully.
One of my favorite Otis Redding songs (“I’ve Been Loving You Too Long”) plays as Ed hauls ass to the Double R to give Norma the news but he’s almost instantly shut down. Norma’s business partner/maybe-sort-of-boyfriend Walter arrives and the two of them sit down in Norma’s work booth. Ed looks like someone just ran over his dog as he sits at the counter and orders a coffee from Shelly—”and a cyanide tablet,” he says under his breath.
My heart absolutely shattered for Ed in this moment but thankfully Norma’s rejection wasn’t what it seemed. Her meeting with Walter was to inform him that she is exercising her option for him to buy her out. She wants to simplify and focus on the Twin Peaks Double R, to spend more time at home with her family. This is interesting because (with Annie’s whereabouts unknown) Norma doesn’t really have any family. I think she’s talking here about found family—friends like Shelly and the other people she cares about in town, especially the big lug waiting at the counter.
She politely sends Walter on his way and the whole time Ed is just sitting at the counter with his eyes closed, as if he’s willing his dream into existence. And then it all becomes a reality as Norma comes up behind him and places a hand on his shoulder. He asks her to marry him and she, of course, says yes. Shelly is all of us as she watches with tears of joy welling up as FINALLY, Ed and Norma get their happy ending. These days there is a real absence of love and happiness in the town of Twin Peaks, so this moment was a very necessary reminder—especially as we enter the final few hours of The Return—that happy endings do exist.
Then, as Twin Peaks is wont to do, things get weird in the best possible way. We get a shot of some electrical wires (which happens to be the same shot that Andy saw in his vision in Part 14) as DoppelCoop makes his way to “The Dutchman’s” to find Phillip Jeffries. We learned from Ray before his death that “The Dutchman’s” is not a real place and now we know why—it’s part of the “room above the convenience store” that does not exist in our reality but in an in-between space.
DoppelCoop pulls up to the convenience store—the same one we saw in Part 8 after the atomic blast. He goes up the stairs on the side of the building, which seem to lead nowhere but which actually lead to the convenience store rooms. It’s worth noting that these are the same wallpapered rooms that Laura was able to access via the painting given to her by Mrs. Tremond in Fire Walk With Me. DoppelCoop tells a Woodsman in the first room that he’s looking for Phillip Jeffries and the guy pulls some lever or something which causes a burst of electricity and light.
Then there’s a shot of the “Jumping man”—one of the creepiest of all the Black Lodge inhabitants. Eagle-eyed viewers may have noticed that during the Jumping man’s brief appearance in this scene, Sarah Palmer’s face is superimposed on him. We know that Sarah’s got something dark lurking inside her. Maybe it’s the Jumping man.
Another Woodman appears and leads DoppelCoop through a dark room toward a staircase on the other side. As they walk through the dark space, there’s a shot of the forest superimposed over them, because the many rooms and passageways in the “convenience store” are both there and not there. They exist in a space between two worlds, which becomes clear as DoppelCoop comes out the other end, up the stairs (which we saw in Gordon’s vision through the vortex) and emerges in a motel courtyard. This place—The Dutchman’s—appears very similar to the Red Diamond City Motel in Fire Walk With Me. Perhaps this is a version of that place that exists as an extension of the “convenience store” dimension.
Whatever and wherever it is, Phillip Jeffries is here, but he’s very different than the Jeffries we saw in Fire Walk With Me. A creepy woman in a housecoat, credited only as “Bosomy Woman,” speaks that garbled Lodge speech and opens the door to room #8. When DoppelCoop enters the room appears empty but soon one of the walls fades out to reveal Jeffries. Well, sort of.
Apparently Phillip Jeffries now exists as a large teapot-looking device from another dimension that can communicate through blowing smoke. With David Bowie having passed away, I suppose this is as good a way as any to represent Jeffries on screen. It’s super weird and very Lynch and I think Bowie would approve.
DoppelCoop asks Jeffries why he sent Ray to kill him and Jeffries confirms that he did call Ray. But when DoppelCoop asks if he called him 5 days ago—the call he received in the motel after he killed Darya in Part 2—Jeffries says he doesn’t have his number. There’s a flashback to Jeffries’ appearance at the Philadelphia FBI office from Fire Walk With Me, in which Jeffries references the ever-mysterious Judy.
DoppelCoop references this meeting and Jeffries says, “So, you are Cooper”—which is a strange comment to make and one I don’t entirely understand. Also, it’s coming from a talking teapot so there’s a lot to unpack here. The most important question, however, is asked by DoppelCoop.
It’s a question Twin Peaks fans have been asking for 25 years and while we still don’t get a definitive answer, we do get a few tidbits that suggest we may discover the identity of Judy soon. Jeffries puffs some numbers out of the smoke and DoppelCoop writes them down. These culd be coordinates leading to Judy, or Twin Peaks, or both. Then Jeffries tells DoppelCoop that he’s already met Judy but refuses to answer the question of who Judy is. The Jeffries Teapot and the room it’s in fade away and the regular motel room wall returns. DoppelCoop is sent back out to the front of the convenience store via the telephone.
Richard Horne is waiting for him, gun drawn, but he doesn’t seem to have the kind of reaction one might expect when you see someone glitching into reality out of nowhere. Instead, he says he recognized him from The Farm and followed him. Richard knows who he is because he saw a picture of him in his younger days, a picture that his mother had. And FINALLY we can put to bed the argument over who Richard’s mom is because we learn, as I’ve been saying all along, that Audrey is Richard’s mother. We still don’t know for sure who his father is, but I still think it’s DoppelCoop and I’m sticking to it. This Maybe-Father & Son reunion takes a turn when DoppelCoop starts beating the crap out of Richard, which was great because he deserves an ass-kicking. But he doesn’t kill him or leave him. DoppelCoop decides they are gonna take a little road trip and have a chat on the way to what I have to assume at this point is Twin Peaks.
Before they leave, DoppelCoop sends a text that says, “Las Vegas?”—the same text we saw Diane receive a few episodes back. The chronology of events in The Return has been a subject of much debate and this is just another piece of evidence that we’ve been seeing a lot of things out of order. It also makes us continue to question whether Diane is working with DoppelCoop.
After DoppelCoop and Richard pull away, the convenience store building fades and disappears. This leaves me wondering what the “rules” governing the convenience store are. Can it appear just anywhere at any time or are there fixed locations and times when it will appear? And can everyone see it when it materializes? Can anyone enter? I have so many more questions now and I doubt I’ll get answers but I do know that the whole convenience store sequence in this episode was A+ Twin Peaks content.
We see local news reporter Cyril Pons (played by Mark Frost) walking his Boston terrier in the woods. Nearby, Gersten and Steven are huddled together at the base of a large tree. They both look really drugged out, especially Steven, who has got a gun and is threatening to kill himself. Their conversation is very cryptic and a lot of it doesn’t make any sense but the general idea is that Steven did something bad when he was stoned and Gersten thinks that “she” (presumably Becky) is responsible for it, not Steven.
Steven talks a bunch of nonsense about a rhinoceros and turquoise and how much he liked fucking Gersten and then they are interrupted by Cyril walking by. Gersten freaks out and runs around the other side of the tree to hide and Cyril runs off back down the path. We see Gersten on the other side of the tree and hear a single gunshot ring out and she absolutely loses it. Cyril goes to the Fat Trout to tell Carl he saw Steven in the woods and there’s an ominous shot of the broken window of Steven and Becky’s trailer. I could care less if Steven is dead but I really hope he didn’t take Becky out first.
We get a mid-episode Roadhouse scene featuring my new favorite person in Twin Peaks, the Roadhouse MC, introducing ZZ Top’s “Sharp Dressed Man” and cranking the volume-meter all the way up. I love him and I would watch an hour of just him dancing around on stage.
Renee and her husband, Chuck, are in a booth with another couple when James and Freddie approach. James just wants to say hello to Renee but Chuck tells him never to talk to his wife. Poor James doesn’t really seem to get that that was the time to shut up and walk away so instead he just says, “I like her,” which is maybe the worst thing to say to a guy whose wife you’re obsessed with and who already wants to kick your ass. So James gets his ass handed to him by Chuck and his friend but Freddie and his Green Glove super hand save the day. In fact, he does a little too good a job and both guys end up in intensive care even though Freddie tried not to hit them with the full force of his super fist.
James and Freddie end up in neighboring cells at the Sheriff’s Department, joining Chad, The Drunk, and Naido. I don’t really understand why they got locked up (especially James) since it was self-defense but it gets Freddie close to Naido, who needs protection. He is likely exactly where he’s supposed to be since he’s been guided by The Fireman thus far. The Drunk is still bleeding from the mouth and mimicking everything everyone says—or in the case of Naido, mimicking her weird chirping sounds—and it’s driving Chad insane, which is really satisfying because Chad is an asshole.
We take a trip to Vegas where Stan from Mad Men (aka Special Agent Randall Headley) is working on tracking down the Joneses for the Blue Rose Squad. Agent Wilson has brought them in for questioning but he’s not the sharpest tool in the shed because the Douglas and Jane Jones he’s brought in have about a million kids when they are looking for Joneses with only one child.
Across town, Duncan Todd is in his office and calls Roger in to ask him if he’s heard from Anthony Sinclair. They don’t have long to discuss it because Chantal comes in, dressed to impress, and takes them both out. We learn that the Duncan/Roger hit is only one half of their “double header” as she places an order with Hutch for some french fries and ketchup. Later my favorite polyamorous murder couple sit and enjoy some fast food while discussing the finer points of government-sanctioned murder. Chantal is still lamenting the fact that she hasn’t had a good torture session in a while, but at least Hutch brought her dessert.
At the Jones house, DougieCoop is enjoying some chocolate cake and Janey-E is enjoying her wonderful new life. DougieCoop is guided by some unseen force to turn on the television and after a few tries he finally pushes the right button on the remote. Sunset Boulevard comes on and when he hears the line, “Get Gordon Cole,” he’s triggered. I thought for sure that Cooper was back in this moment because he really did look like himself again.
The electrical outlet on the wall starts humming and it draws DougieCoop toward it. He crawls across the floor, fork still in hand, and just when I thought he was going to get sucked through the outlet, he decides to stick the fork in it and gets majorly zapped. We don’t see the aftermath and, against my better judgment, I’m going to make a prediction that this is the shock to the system that will finally bring Agent Cooper back to himself. We’ve only got three hours left and we’re closer than we’ve ever been. It’s got to happen soon, right? RIGHT? I have loved our time with DougieCoop but it’s time for our Special Agent to snap out of it and return to us.
We return to Twin Peaks for a sad goodbye. Margaret calls Hawk for the last time and her final words to him (and to us) are at the same time heartbreaking and comforting:
Hawk, I’m dying. You know about death, that it’s just a change, not an end. Hawk, it’s time. There’s some fear, some fear in letting go. Remember what I told you. I can’t say more over the phone. But you know what I mean, from our talks, when we were able to speak face to face. Watch for that one, the one I told you about, the one under the moon on Blue Pine Mountain. Hawk. My log is turning gold. The wind is moaning. I’m dying. Good night, Hawk.
I’ve watched this scene multiple times now and I still can’t get through it without crying. The Log Lady is and has always been such an important part of Twin Peaks—both the town and the show itself. It’s impossible to divorce the character of Margaret Lanterman from actress Catherine Coulson, who was close to her own death during filming. The bravery of her performance in The Return is haunting and unforgettable and this scene is such a beautiful tribute to both character and actress. We are all Hawk when he says, “Goodbye, Margaret.”
Hawk calls Bobby, Andy, and Lucy into the conference room with Sheriff Truman and breaks the news that Margaret has passed away. They are all mournful but Lucy seems especially affected by her death. The Badalamenti score really adds to the mood of the scene and it’s interesting to note that the music sounds very similar to the music that was playing during the Part 8 scene with Senorita Dido and The Fireman when the gold Laura orb was created. That, combined with Margaret’s line about her log turning gold and death being a change not an end, makes me hopeful that Margaret’s spirit will enter the White Lodge and continue to be a force for good in the world. But her time in this world is over and we see a shot of her cabin in the woods, the lights slowly dimming until there’s no light at all.
We get another bizarre Audrey and Charlie scene in which they are standing in front of the door, getting ready to go to the Roadhouse. I still don’t know what’s going on with Audrey or who Billy is but I’m starting to get more on board with the theory that she’s actually still in the coma. There’s something keeping Audrey from leaving the house and she makes more cryptic comments about seeing things—like Charlie—in ways she’s never really seen before. She goes so far as to ask, “Who are you, Charlie?” and while this can be read in terms of just another marital spat between two people who don’t actually love each other, there’s a disturbing undercurrent to all their scenes that leads me to believe that there’s more to this than meets the eye.
The episode ends with a very strange scene at the Roadhouse. The Veils perform “Axolotl” while a young girl named Ruby sits alone in a booth. Two rough looking dudes come by and when she says she’s waiting for someone they nonchalantly pick her up and set her down on the floor, taking the booth for themselves. She watches the band play and then slowly begins to crawl across the floor into the crowd. When she’s surrounded by people, she lets out a blood-curdling scream. There’s zero context for this but I think it’s interesting to note the similarities between Ruby at the Roadhouse and the way DougieCoop crawled across the floor toward the electrical outlet. Ruby’s scream also mirrors Janey-E’s scream when DougieCoop electrocuted himself. As to what it means, I haven’t the slightest clue, but I’m certain it wasn’t accidental.
There’s one more thing of note in this episode: a split-second after credits scene (sort of). The credits roll over a shot of The Dutchman’s motel but at the very end it switches to a shot of “Bosomy Woman” lurking in the background. It’s super creepy and legitimately scared me the first time I watched it.
These past few episodes have all been absolute fire and I’m really sad that The Return will be coming to an end very soon. We are now hurtling toward the conclusion, though what that will look like I haven’t the slightest idea. I’m not expecting everything wrapped up in a bow with happy endings for all, but I would like there to be some sense of closure—something that Twin Peaks fans did not have for the past 25 years. I doubt that there will be another season after this and I’m not sure I would even want one if it meant a rush-job but I can’t wrap my mind around the fact that we’re in the final chapters of a story I’ve been obsessed with my entire life. In the immortal words of Margaret Lanterman, there is some fear in letting go.