Eleven episodes. Even as I write that, I sit in a state of disbelief. I, along with countless fans, have been given eleven episodes of new “Twin Peaks” material. For as much enjoyment and delight as I’ve felt watching them, I still almost feel like it’s not real. But tonight’s episode sealed it for me in ways that I will do my best to explain. For some reason, this felt like the most “Twin Peaks” episode of the series we’ve been given so far.
To read my thoughts on the previous episodes, click here. And be careful reading ahead as there are TONS of spoilers.
We open in Twin Peaks, where three boys are playing catch. It’s a carefree activity, with two of the boys being older than the third. They make sure to include him by tossing the ball more carefully his way. It’s a charming sight that is broken when the ball is thrown too far and rolls to some nearby woods. As the boy goes to pick it up, a bloodied and bruised women emerges from the tree line. It looks like Miriam, the woman that Richard Horne beat mercilessly and left to die in her trailer.
From there, we cut to Becky’s trailer, where she is screaming at her cellphone in rage. She calls up Shelly and begs her to come with her car. Shelly races out of the Double R Diner to go to her, only for Becky to emerge from her trailer holding a gun. Becky steals the car while Shelly jumps on top of the hood, only to get thrown off violently when she speeds away. Carl comes up and helps take Shelly back to the Double R. In the VW bus, he pulls out a radio unit to call Bobby where it’s revealed that Shelly bears the Briggs last name.
Meanwhile, Becky goes to a local apartment complex where she bangs on Room 208, screaming furiously. The neighbor comes out and explains that whoever was in there just left and that no one is there. In a rage, Becky fires six shots into the door. The camera then pulls an Evil Dead and races through hallways and down a stairwell to reveal Steven, her husband, standing next to another woman.
This storyline continues later in the day at the Double R Diner, where Shelly and Bobby are sitting with Becky in a booth, the ladies on one side, Bobby on the other. They are discussing what has to be done, Bobby saying that she’d be in jail if he wasn’t a deputy as well as stating that she’ll have to pay for the damages. When Becky states that she has no money, Shelly offers to pay but is turned down by Becky, so Bobby says he’ll loan her the money. We learn from this exchange that Becky is the daughter of Shelly and Bobby, although we also learn that they’re no longer together, which is evident when a man comes up to the Double R and Shelly runs outside into his arms and begins passionately kissing him. They make plans for later while Bobby stays inside, looking heartbroken.
When Shelly comes back in to sit down, a few moments of awkward silence pass, when suddenly a bullet pierces through the diner’s window! Everyone screams and ducks down while Bobby pulls out his gun and runs outside to investigate. It turns out that the cause of the gunshot was a gun that was improperly placed in a car that went off accidentally. Bobby is helping investigate when he goes to another car to ask the owner to stop honking her horn incessantly and endlessly. The woman inside screams that she is late for dinner and has to take her sick daughter(?) home because her uncle will be there. What happens next is something straight out of a horror film as the young girl emerges from the shadows of the front passenger seat, green vomit spilling out of her mouth as she moves like a zombie. Bobby and the driver, who can’t stop screaming, can only look on in horror and shock.
In Buckhorn, South Dakota, Gordon, Albert, Diane, and Tammy drive with Detective Mackley and Bill Hastings to the spot where Hastings said he saw Major Briggs. It’s a rundown area with abandoned and broken houses and random large shipping containers strewn about. It’s overgrown with twiggy plants and tumbleweeds and appears to have missed every rainfall for the past 100 years. As Albert and Gordon stand by a fence, they see one of the Woodsmen fade in, stand for a few moments, and then fade away.
Going through the fence, Gordon approaches the decaying house, only to suddenly see a swirling vortex of a portal open in the sky. As he watches, the portal becomes a tunnel, one that reveals to him three Woodsmen standing on a staircase that looks suspiciously like the one in Laura Palmer’s home. Gordon, standing almost like he wants to fly into the tunnel, begins to flicker away, so Albert steps in and pulls him back, causing the portal to disappear.
Meanwhile, Diane, Tammy, Detective Mackley, and Bill Hastings encounter none of these extraordinary events, seeing the world as a normal place. However, Diane sees the same Woodman from earlier approach Mackley’s car, where Hastings is sitting in the back. As this is happening, Albert notices a headless body off to the side, which, after investigating, he surmises is the corpse of Ruth Davenport. He takes pictures of her body, noting that she has coordinates written on her arm. Back inside the car, Hastings’ head suddenly explodes, shocking and horrifying the detective. Everyone comes to investigate and Gordon, in a rather black comedy way, states, “He’s dead.”
Inside Mackley’s office, Albert, Gordon, and Diane are sitting waiting for the others to arrive. Albert shows Gordon a picture of the coordinates that were written on Ruth’s arm, noting that Diane seems to be suspiciously memorizing them. Before they can start arguing, Tammy and Mackely come in; and they discuss the area around the body, the lack of finding Major Briggs’ head, and the circumstances surrounding Hastings’ death. Albert, Gordon, and Diane reveal to each other that they all saw the mysterious Woodsman.
Funny thing to note: This is the scene where this teaser comes from.
Back in Twin Peaks, we go to the Sheriff’s station, where Deputy Hawk and Sheriff Truman are in the conference room discussing the coordinates they found in Briggs’ tube. Hawk pulls out a very old map that he explains is “living” and somehow “always current.” On this map, there are many symbols that Truman asks for the explanation of. One of the symbols is of fire, while another is a strange black dot with ant-like antennae coming from the top. Truman asks about the latter, to which Hawk tells him that he will never want to know what it means. It’s a sinister moment with dark music.
A call comes in and it’s Margaret, the log lady. She asks Hawk what he’s found, which he says he can’t reveal. She then states that her log is afraid of fire and that there is fire where he is going. She is terrified and this is clearly a warning, one which Hawk thanks her for, taking her words very seriously.
The rest of the episode is dedicated to continuing Dougie’s story, which bears a strange yet delightful nod to David Fincher’s Seven. Allow me to explain.
We start in the office of Dougie’s boss, where he asks for Dougie to come in. He explains that the investigative work Dougie has done has revealed a ring of crime that includes police corruption. He’ll be figuring out what to do next. That being said, he also found out that the Mitchums’ case that was seen as arson was actually legit, so a $30 million check has been cut and Dougie is to give it to the brothers, who requested his presence.
At the Mitchums’ house, the brothers, Rodney and Bradley, are having breakfast at 2:30 pm and discussing their plans for killing Dougie. However, Bradley reveals that he had a strange dream about how this day will play out, although the details aren’t exactly clear.
As Dougie and his boss are outside waiting for the Mitchums’ limo to arrive, Dougie sees the one-armed man in the Black Lodge beckoning towards him. Dougie walks into the store with his boss trailing after him. We then see Dougie carrying a large cardboard box as his boss walks him to a white limo. It’s being driven by the same man who took care of Dougie after the jackpot winnings. After the boss makes sure that Dougie has the check on him, the limo begins driving deep into the desert outside of Las Vegas.
In the desert, the Mitchums are sitting in a car waiting. Bradley then reveals another piece of information about the dream, which is that Rodney’s cut, the one he got when Candy struck him with the remote control, is now completely healed. Tearing the bandage off, it turns out this is true, to the amazement of both. Still, Rodney is determined to kill Dougie, even though this dream is starting to become reality.
When the white limo pulls up to the Mitchums, Rodney asks the limo driver to leave, only for Bradley to stop him. He sees that Dougie is holding a cardboard box and explains that if the item that he thinks is inside is actually there, they can’t kill him. It has to be one certain item, a very specific object: a cherry pie. That is precisely what it turns out to be. Bradley then frisks Dougie and finds the check, causing the brothers to break out into a joyous celebration. It’s a completely different feel to Fincher’s Seven but the similarities cannot be denied.
To celebrate, the brothers take Dougie to a restaurant for champagne and cherry pie. During their toasting and festivities, an old woman cries out “Mr. Jackpots!” and comes up to Dougie. She is the homeless woman that Dougie helped in the beginning of the series. She explains that his action turned her life around, that she reunited with her son, she bought a house, and even got a dog. She is overcome with gratitude and thanks him profusely, telling the Mitchums that they are dining with a very special man, to which they agree. It’s an emotional moment that is reflective even in the brothers, who seems so fierce and capable of violence.
They toast each other to “…the pie that saved your life, Dougie.” The episode then ends with the pianist at the restaurant playing a beautiful and somewhat melancholy tune as the credits roll.
This was, without a doubt, the most “Twin Peaks” episode of the series. The way that each scene progressed from one to the next felt like the episodes of old, bearing an almost soap opera feel to them, but in that unique way that only Lynch and Frost could make possible. This episode moved fluidly while offering strange and fascinating information that progress several stories along.
The return of cherry pie cannot be overlooked as it was a moment we have been expecting for a while. To see Dale Cooper greedily shove bite after bite of the dessert into his mouth was an absolute delight. It’s amazing how the smallest item, like a slice of pie, can be so important and have such an impact. For nearly three decades, I can’t think of cherry pie or coffee without my mind immediately conjuring forth scenes from “Twin Peaks.”
Special notice has to be given to Dana Ashbrook for his absolutely phenomenal performance as Bobby Briggs in this episode. Without the story making it explicit, we see the full story of Bobby and Shelly’s divorce and its effect on him, as evidenced by the pain and sadness on his face when her lover appears at the diner. And then, in the flash of a bullet, he switches to Deputy Briggs, a lawman who knows how to take control of a situation and delegate responsibility. Ashbrook’s Bobby Briggs has gone from being a drug-dealing bad boy to a real man, one who is unafraid of showing emotion, of knowing that other peoples’ lives need to carry on around him, and of wanting to help the community that he lives in. He’s a character that we should all admire, and Ashbrook has given him depth and growth the likes of which I never could’ve imagined.
I can’t tell you the number of times I found myself smiling with tears in my eyes during this episode. Up until tonight, I knew that Showtime’s “Twin Peaks” was a continuation of the original series. But, with this episode, it was like wrapping myself in a blanket of nostalgic warmth as I felt like it suddenly and truly clicked together. For me, this has been the most important episode of the revival.