Ask any fan of “Twin Peaks,” and they’ll fully admit the greatness of the series doesn’t mean that it’s flawless. There are some episodes that just don’t match the greatness of others, leaving the viewer wondering what’s going on, how the has story moved forward, and all sorts of other questions that are 100% legitimate.
I don’t think there’s been a single television series in history that has had flawless episodes the whole way through, so you can’t blame “Twin Peaks.” But you can call it out when you see it happen, and the 13th episode of Showtime’s revival certainly needs that kind of critique. After last week’s disappointing entry, I was hoping that this week would give us something better, something more memorable. Instead, we were given another slow episode in which little happened.
So, let’s start by talking about events that took place in this episode that felt exciting and interesting.
After a bit of an absence, Evil Cooper made his return, and it was to one hell of a memorable sequence. He drives his dusty black pickup truck into a garage where it turns out Ray, the man who shot him in the eighth episode, is holed up with several gang members, including boss Donovan, who is played by Derek Mears (Friday the 13th). After some back and forth, Evil Cooper and Donovan resolve to settle things via an arm wrestling contest, which even Evil Cooper finds absurd. Look, when an evil entity from the Black Lodge thinks your machismo testosterone-fueled show is ludicrous, maybe a bit of introspection is required.
Anyways, after toying with Donovan during the match, Evil Cooper wins by slamming his opponent’s arm down, breaking it, and then punching him in the face so hard that his nose caves in, whereupon he is immediately killed. It’s a shocking moment and one that plays out wonderfully because it adds to the already mystical nature of Evil Cooper and his abilities.
We also see the mythology of the Black Lodge added to here when Evil Cooper questions Ray, ultimately killing him when he gets the answers he needs. During the questioning, Ray pulls out a green ring, exactly the same as the one Dougie was wearing before he and Cooper switched places, and is made to put it on his own hand. Once he is dead, the ring disappears and reappears in the Black Lodge, where it is placed upon the marble table we’ve seen before. Ray’s body then appears there as well.
Something to note is that this whole sequence takes place in Western Montana and Richard Horne appears amongst the gang members. Apparently, he’s fled Washington State altogether. Also of note is that Ray spoke of Phillip Jeffries as being the one to give the order to kill Evil Cooper. Not sure how they’re going to handle that thread as Jeffries was played by David Bowie in Fire Walk With Me and Bowie passed away in early 2016.
The other big storyline happening here was with Dougie/Cooper, who begins the episode by still celebrating with the Mitchums. They come to his office doing a conga line and presenting extravagant gifts to his boss while also sending gifts to Dougie’s home, including a new car and a gym set for Sonny Jim.
However, Anthony sees that Dougie is alive and contacts Duncan Todd to explain that the plan didn’t work. Todd, obviously furious, gives Anthony one day to “remedy” the situation. Anthony acquires poison and slips it in Dougie’s coffee the following morning only to break and confess his attempt to Dougie and Bushnell Mullins, the boss, who insists that he testify to his racketeering and other shady activities, which Anthony tearfully agrees to.
Meanwhile, the relationship between Janey and Dougie has vastly improved from recent episodes. His spaced out attitude is now an adorable quirk and she looks at him with pure love in her eyes.
At the Las Vegas Police Station, we see David Koechner and his two partners laughing over some information they received, which suggests that Dougie Jones escaped from a North Dakota prison two days prior (Evil Cooper) and that he’s a missing FBI Agent. They laugh and ignore it, chalking it up to some gigantic error.
There were several scenes in Twin Peaks, but none of them really offered too much advancement in story, which is where this episode dragged. Writing that feels like some sort of great crime. Twin Peaks is where the mystery and magic is supposed to happen; yet, this episode makes it feel completely and utterly mundane. I want more from my wonderful and strange town.
We saw Audrey arguing again with her husband, Charlie, although now we’re wondering if something is up with her on a mental illness level, in which case I’m hoping she’s getting the helps she needs. We also saw Nadine actually meet Dr. Jacobi face-to-face, which was an awkward moment. Just think of any time when a fan meets a celebrity (I feel like I should put that word in quotes, considering it’s Dr. Jacobi) and how they gush and fawn while the object of their appreciation doesn’t really know how to respond. That should give you an idea of what that scene was like.
At the Double RR Diner, Shelly invites Becky by for some cherry pie after hearing that Steven hasn’t been home for two nights. Also, Bobby Briggs stops by for some dinner, where he ends up sitting with Big Ed Hurley while Norma meets with her financial partner to discuss the Norma’s RR Diner franchise.
At Sarah Palmer’s house, she’s drinking sloppily made Bloody Marys like there’s no tomorrow, sitting on a couch and watching a boxing match on her television that, for some reason, keeps looping the same 20-ish seconds over and over. Something about this scene is undeniably sinister and unsettling. Perhaps it’s because so many terrifying moments from the first two seasons happened here or maybe it was how it was filmed but there is a tension in that house that will never go away.
The penultimate scene had James Hurley performing “Just You,” the song he played with Donna and Maddie oh, so many years ago at the Roadhouse. A personal gripe is that it’s obvious he wasn’t playing the guitar as his hands didn’t match the movements of the music. For many, this was one of the worst parts of the episode. For me, it was a loving throwback that felt strangely out of place as it came out of nowhere and without any context.
The episode ended at Big Ed’s Gas Farm, where he sat behind the counter, drinking soup, and waiting for a customer. At one point, he sets a small piece of paper on fire and watches it burn.
As mentioned at the beginning of this piece, “Twin Peaks” has had its fair share of disappointing episodes; and I strongly believe that this will land amongst them. The stuff with Evil Cooper was fantastically thrilling and I’m still kinda okay with the Dougie storyline but with only five episodes of this revival remaining, I find myself very worried with the lack of forward progress. There are too many threads open for me to feel like they can all be resolved by the end of the season. If a second season is going to happen, then fine, I’m okay with this. But if not, I don’t know how well I’ll handle being bamboozled yet again.
While I could say that next week will be a make-it-or-break-it event that will determine if I stick with the series, that’d be a bold-faced lie. I’m ride or die for the entire series, no matter how slowly it might plod along at times.
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