Emotions run high in the incredibly fan-pleasing Twin Peaks episode 15

GamesRadar+ Verdict

One of the most fan-pleasing episodes yet, sending us hurtling towards the end of the series at great speed

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This episode of Twin Peaks was a rollercoaster of emotions. One minute our hearts are bursting with joy, the next they’re drowning in sadness. And between all this we meet a character we’ve been waiting to see since the very first episode. There are only three more hours of Twin Peaks: The Return left, and it feels like Lynch and Frost are really stepping on the gas.

What’s with Nadine’s gold shovel?

Nadine Hurley (Wendy Robie) marches to Big Ed’s Gas Farm and tells her beleaguered husband (Everett McGill) that she’s changed and that he’s free to pursue his love for Double R owner Norma Jennings (Peggy Lipton). And the golden shovel is, in part, the catalyst for this. You may remember Dr. Amp—former Twin Peaks psychiatrist Dr. Lawrence Jacoby, now paranoid Alex Jones-style talk show host—selling them to people to shovel themselves out of the shit. Well, it seems Nadine is doing just that.

In the episode’s most satisfying moment, set to the tune of Otis Redding’s I’ve Been Loving You Too Long (how appropriate), Big Ed and Norma finally get together and agree to get married. If you’ve read The Secret History of Twin Peaks you’ll know that they’ve been in love since high school, so this is a pretty gratifying payoff. Why did it take them so long, though? In a show full of darkness and despair, it’s nice to see some of the warmth of the original series return.

Where did Evil Cooper go?

In the original series Mike says he and Bob lived “above a convenience store.” In Fire Walk With Me, Phillip Jeffries rants about attending a meeting of Black Lodge spirits seemingly taking place here. In Part 8 we see woodsmen milling around the very same store after the Trinity nuclear test brings Bob into the world. And this is where Evil Cooper (Kyle MacLachlan) pays a visit, having recently arm-wrestled a guy to death.

He walks up the stairs, guided by a woodsman, and appears in what looks like a motel. Interestingly, this is the same motel where Leland Palmer met with Teresa Banks before he murdered her. But whether it’s supposed to be the same place, or Lynch just liked the setting, remains to be seen. A woman whose face is obscured unlocks one of the rooms for Cooper, and he enters to find none other than the long lost Phillip Jeffries.

What the hell happened to Phillip Jeffries?

David Bowie was reported to be reprising his role as Phillip Jeffries in The Return, but sadly died before he could shoot his scenes. That was never going to stop David Lynch bringing him back, though. Jeffries (Nathan Frizzell) appears as a giant kettle spewing out steam, still speaking with the same thick, slightly exaggerated southern accent. The ‘kettle’ has a similar shape to the device seen in The Fireman’s house and the black void Cooper visited shortly before he ‘became’ Dougie Jones.

In Part 2 we saw Evil Cooper receive a phone call from someone claiming to be Jeffries, which the ‘real’ Jeffries denies. When he appeared in Fire Walk With Me, his rant included a line about “not talking about Judy.” Evil Cooper recalls this moment and asks him who Judy is, but Jeffries won’t say, adding that Cooper has already met whoever it is. Judy could be a new character, a nickname for someone we already know, or an oblique reference to Major Garland Briggs. Lynch loves The Wizard of Oz and has referenced it in his work several times before.

An interesting side note: we briefly see a close-up of The Jumping Man (Carlton Lee Russell), the pointy-nosed lodge spirit last seen in Fire Walk With Me. The camera shakes violently, but for a brief moment we see the face of Sarah Palmer blurring into his creepy mask. The meaning of this is unclear, but we know from last week that something sinister is going on with Sarah.

Why did the convenience store vanish?

Evil Cooper leaves the store and bumps into Richard Horne (Eamon Farren), who says he knows he’s an FBI agent because he saw a photo of him his mother had. His mother being, of course, Audrey Horne. The theory that Cooper’s doppelgänger is the father is still up in the air, though. As Cooper departs with Richard, the convenience store crackles with electricity, flickers, then fades away, leaving an empty space behind.

In the previous episode Ray said that Phillip Jeffries was hiding somewhere called The Dutchman’s. And according to legend, the Flying Dutchman was a ghost ship that was cursed never to make port, doomed to sail the oceans forever. So it seems likely that the convenience store is some kind of vessel for lodge spirits, drifting through time and space. And it appears to be where the woodsmen hang out when they aren’t reading out terrifying poetry or terrorising people on desert highways.

Who killed Duncan Todd?

As vengeance for screwing up the hit on Dougie Jones, Evil Cooper orders the assassination of Duncan Todd (Patrick Fischler). Disguised as an office worker, Chantal Hutchens (Jennifer Jason Leigh) kills Todd and his assistant with a silenced pistol, then meets up with husband Hutch (Tim Roth) to take out their next target: Dougie. Every attempt on Dougie’s life so far has failed spectacularly thanks to the benevolent lodge spirits guiding him, so it stands to reason Hutch and Chantal won’t be successful either. But you never know with Twin Peaks.

That guy with the dog looks familiar...

The guy walking his dog in the woods is in fact series co-creator Mark Frost. Interestingly, he’s credited as Cyril Pons, the newsreader Frost played in the original series. It’s the most obscure returning character so far, and one most people won’t notice, but superfans will get a kick out of it.

Who is ‘the one’?

After the joy of Big Ed and Norma finally hooking up, there’s also a deep sadness in this episode. Margaret ‘The Log Lady’ Lanterman (Catherine E. Coulson) tells Hawk that she’s dying, which is made even sadder by the fact that Coulson was really dying when she filmed these scenes. She tells Hawk to remember everything she’s told him, and to watch out for ‘the one’, which could be a reference to Evil Cooper. Margaret dies, the light in her cabin in the woods goes out, and the Twin Peaks fandom sheds a collective tear for an iconic character. Rest in peace.

So did Cooper finally wake up?

Cooper, still stumbling through the life of Las Vegas insurance salesman Dougie Jones, eats a slice of chocolate cake and prods at a TV remote. The set switches on and Billy Wilder’s film Sunset Boulevard is on—which is, incidentally, one of David Lynch’s favourite films. Gordon Cole, the FBI director played by Lynch, was named after a character in this film, and when Cooper hears a character mention his name, something seems to stir in him. His eyes widen and he pauses the TV, stunned.

A nearby power outlet begins to crackle and Cooper crawls towards it, still clutching the fork he was eating his cake with. Then he jams the fork into the socket, causing Janey-E (Naomi Watts) to scream as the power in the house goes out. Was it hearing the name Gordon Cole that finally woke Cooper up? Or are we set for another episode of The Dougie Jones Show next week? The series is almost over and if fans don’t get a glimpse of the old Dale Cooper, there’s gonna be a riot.