After (opens in new tab), which is of the best of the series so far, many fans were expecting something big for episode 12. Instead we get a slow (even for this show), meandering, and indulgent episode that refuses to propel the story forward in any meaningful way, despite a good amount of screen time for two important original series characters. But hey, that’s Twin Peaks: The Return for you. You never know what you’re going to get.
Blue Rose task force
At a hotel in Buckhorn, South Dakota, Albert Rosenfield (Miguel Ferrer), Tammy Preston (Chrysta Bell), and Gordon Cole (David Lynch) share a drink. Albert tells Tammy about Project Blue Book, a real-life study conducted by the US government into UFOs—the same project Major Garland Briggs was involved in.
Albert explains that while the official line is that Blue Book was terminated in 1970, this was actually a cover-up. It still exists, which we know from (opens in new tab) and comments by Briggs in season 2. And we learn that that a special group, the Blue Rose task force, was created to investigate strange phenomena and unexplained cases linked to it.
Led by Cole, the task force includes agents Dale Cooper, Chet Desmond, and Philip Jeffries, as well as Albert. And Tammy is its newest member. Cole offers her the job and she gladly accepts. But since Desmond, Cooper, and Jeffries all went missing while investigating Blue Roses cases, she may regret it. Albert even warns her that he’s the only one left.
Jerry Horne (David Patrick Kelly) emerges from the woods after spending the last few episodes seemingly lost in them. Last week his foot spoke to him, saying that it was not, in fact, his foot. But whether this is down to Jerry’s newfound love for marijuana, or he stumbled on something supernatural in the woods, remains to be seen. Hopefully he finds his way home safely.
Sarah goes shopping
Sarah Palmer (Grace Zabriskie), mother of Laura, shops for booze in a Twin Peaks supermarket. Her cart loaded with vodka, she goes to pay and seems disturbed by a new kind of jerky being sold behind the counter. She asks the bewildered clerk whether she saw it being brought into the store, then has a mental breakdown, saying, mysteriously, that “men are coming.”
This could be a result of the mental anguish of her only daughter being murdered by her demon-possessed husband, Leland. But Sarah has always had a strange connection to the Black Lodge, and she could be foreseeing something that’s going to happen in Twin Peaks. Perhaps the woodsmen are on their way?
Carl the samaritan
At the Fat Trout trailer park, Carl Rodd (Harry Dean Stanton) quizzes one of his tenants, Kriscol (Bill O’Dell), about his income, or lack thereof. He gives him $50 and says not to pay his rent this week. Carl is one of the most fundamentally pure, good-hearted people in this bleak new series, the significance of which remains to be seen. Like Sarah Palmer, he also has a connection to the Lodges, which may come in useful later. The Secret History of Twin Peaks fills in a lot of Carl’s backstory, including a story about him being abducted by a strange force in the forest along with Margaret Lanterman, the Log Lady.
It seemed as if Cooper (Kyle MacLachlan) might finally wake up last week after eating a slice of cherry pie. But we join him in Las Vegas playing catch with Sonny Jim (Pierce Gagnon), still in a hopeless daze. I say ‘playing’, but he just stands there, oblivious, as the baseball bounces off his chest. And that’s literally all we see of Cooper this episode, which is just cruel.
Hawk visits Sarah
Hawk (Michael Horse) visits Sarah Palmer’s home, and we catch a glimpse of the scariest ceiling fan in television history. Hawk mentions that the Sheriff’s Department has reopened a case she might be interested in (presumably Laura’s murder), but is also concerned about her outburst in the supermarket. As they talk at the door Hawk hears the sound of crashing glass from inside the house, but Sarah brushes it off, saying it’s “just something in the kitchen.” She’s hiding something, clearly, but what?
At the Calhoun Memorial Hospital in Twin Peaks, Miriam Sullivan (Sarah Jean Long) is in intensive care. You’ll remember that the villainous Richard Horne beat her to within an inch of her life to cover up his involvement in the hit-and-run murder of a child a few days earlier. She’s in bad shape, but definitely alive, which should hopefully lead to Horne’s arrest.
Diane gets a text
Oh, Diane. It seems Cooper’s old assistant is definitely up to no good. She receives a text from an unknown sender that reads “Las Vegas?”, to which she responds “THEY HAVEN’T ASKED YET.” The last time someone texted her it seemed to be Evil Cooper, which suggests Diane may be working with him. But things are rarely that simple in Twin Peaks. Interestingly, Cole deputises Diane and makes her an honorary member of the Blue Rose task force. Is this a case of keeping your enemies closer? Later, Diane searches for the coordinates she read from Ruth Davenport’s arm last week and discovers that they point to the town of Twin Peaks.
Ben gets some bad news
Sheriff Frank Truman (Robert Forster) meets with Ben Horne (Richard Beymer) at the Great Northern Hotel. He tells him that his grandson Richard was responsible for killing the kid, suggesting that Miriam managed to tell someone after all. Ben reflects on Richard’s troubled past and agrees to pay for Miriam’s medical bills. Before Truman leaves, Ben gives him Cooper’s Great Northern keychain—which Jade mailed from Nevada—saying his brother Harry might appreciate it as a memento.
The French girl
Back in Buckhorn, Gordon regales a French girl (Bérénice Marlohe) with a story from his FBI career, when Albert interrupts. The woman very slowly makes her way out of the room while Gordon grins stupidly at her, in a scene so buffoonish and drawn-out that it actually made me quite angry—an emotion seemingly shared by Albert. When she finally leaves Albert reveals Diane’s text exchange from earlier. Seems they’re monitoring her phone and rightly suspicious about her true motives.
Hutch (Tim Roth) and Chantal (Jennifer Jason Leigh) wait outside the home of Warden Murphy (James Morrison), who Evil Cooper ordered them to kill. Murphy returns home and Hutch shoots him with a sniper rifle twice as he leaves his car. Murphy’s son (Luke Judy) bursts out of the house and cries over his father’s bloody body as the assassins escape in a black van.
On the air
Lawrence Jacoby (Russ Tamblyn) continues to broadcast his paranoid Infowars-style conspiracy show from White Tail Mountain as Nadine Hurley (Wendy Robie) watches in admiration. This is the third time we’ve seen a variation of this scene, and the second time we’ve seen the commercial for his golden shit-digging shovel, which makes it difficult not to consider this as anything more than filler. Hopefully Jacoby, one of the original series’ most interesting characters, gets something meaningful to do before we reach the end of the season.
Finally, certain corners of the Twin Peaks fandom’s desperate cries of “Where’s Audrey?” have been answered. But her debut will surely disappoint a lot of people. Audrey Horne (Sherilyn Fenn) argues with her husband Charlie (Clark Middleton), saying they need to go to the Roadhouse to look for someone called Billy, who she seems to be having a very open affair with. Charlie relents and calls a woman named Tina, who was the last person to see Billy. After a long, drawn-out phone call, in which he seems to learn some grave news, he refuses to tell an infuriated Audrey (and an infuriated audience) what he heard.
And, finally, at the Roadhouse we overhear a conversation between two new characters, Abbie (Elizabeth Anweis) and Natalie (Ana de la Reguera), who seem concerned about their friend Angela’s relationship with someone called Clark. A man called Trick (Scott Coffey) joins them, saying he almost died in a car accident. Then Chromatics return to play us out.