Twin Peaks S3.07 review: "A remarkable hour of television"

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This is Twin Peaks at its emotional, disturbing best. A remarkable hour of television.

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Few directors stir the emotions as effectively as David Lynch, and this episode of Twin Peaks features one of the most powerful, memorable scenes in the series so far. Not only that, but the town of Twin Peaks plays an increasingly starring role, and old mysteries resurface with an intriguing new context. The memory of murdered homecoming queen Laura Palmer haunts the town once again and two old friends have an uneasy reunion.

Hawk (Michael Horse) presents the scraps of paper he found in the bathroom stall to Frank Truman (Robert Forster). As predicted, they’re missing pages from Laura Palmer’s secret diary, which include a curious passage about “the good Dale” being trapped in the Black Lodge and how this message was relayed to her in a dream by Annie Blackburn.

This is a callback to the movie Fire Walk With Me where we see Annie—Cooper’s season 2 love interest, played by Heather Graham—say these words to Laura shortly before her murder. Hawk thinks her father Leland may have hidden the pages during one of his many visits to the Sheriff’s Station, and suggests that the ‘Cooper’ who emerged from the Lodge was someone else entirely.

David Lynch wasn’t kidding when he said Fire Walk With Me was an important piece of the Twin Peaks puzzle. And as for Annie appearing in Laura’s bed months before she arrived in town, not to mention talking about Cooper before he even set foot in Twin Peaks, it seems time in the Black Lodge doesn’t flow the same way it does in our world. This may explain MIKE’s repeat of “Is it future or past?” when Cooper meets him in the Red Room in episode 1.

Truman calls Will Hayward (Warren Frost) on Skype. Frost, father of series co-creator Mark Frost, sadly died in February this year, so it was a nice surprise to see him turn up in the show to reprise his role as Twin Peaks’ doctor one last time. Hayward remembers taking Cooper to hospital after he left the Lodge, and that he wandered into intensive care—possibly to check on Audrey Horne, who was in a coma after the bank explosion in season 2. The theory that Richard Horne (Eamon Farren) is the offspring of Evil Cooper and Audrey is gaining some disturbing weight.

At the Great Northern, Ben Horne (Richard Beymer) and assistant Beverly Paige (Ashley Judd) try to locate the source of a strange sound in the walls. The tormented howls of Josie Packard perhaps? Beverly hands a key to Ben, which happens to be for room 315—the room Cooper called home during his stay in Twin Peaks. You may remember that this was posted to Washington by Jade (Nafessa Williams) after it fell out of Cooper’s pocket back in Nevada. Ben seems puzzled by the discovery, noting that the Great Northern switched to keycards years ago. I detected some simmering sexual tension between Ben and Beverly, but the usually villainous hotelier seems to resist making a move. Has he finally turned over a new leaf?

And the connections to the original series continue in Buckhorn, South Dakota. A US Air Force lieutenant called Knox (Adele Rene) meets with Detective Dave Mackley (Brent Briscoe) to discuss the fingerprints taken from the headless corpse found in Ruth Davenport’s home. She’s stunned to discover that the prints belong to Major Garland Briggs, and that his body doesn’t seem to have aged. It’s interesting to note that until now the new series has kept the original mythology and story mostly at arm’s length, but now the two seem to be merging more explicitly.

Knox calls Colonel Davis (Ernie Hudson) to report her findings and informs Mackley with a grave look on her face that this won’t be his investigation for much longer. As she calls Davis, we hear the crackle of electricity—a telltale sign that Lodge spirits are nearby—and see the eerie figure that was lurking in the jail cell in episode 2 walking down the hall. David Lynch said in a recent interview that we should look out for his character in future episodes, so it seems he may be worth keeping a watchful eye on.

In Nevada, the police pay ‘Dougie Jones’ (Kyle MacLachlan) a visit, whose exploded car—and the remains of several bodies—were found parked outside the house where he and Jade were shacked up in episode 3. Luckily Janey-E (Naomi Watts) turns up to fight his corner, and the cops seem satisfied that Dougie is oblivious to what happened—especially considering the bodies belonged to men known to be car thieves. Naomi Watts continues to be superb as Dougie’s perpetually hassled better half, a performance that’s as tragic as it is funny.

As they leave the building, hitman Ike ‘The Spike’ Stadtler (Christophe Zajac-Denek) tries to shoot Cooper, but he snaps out of his daze and wrestles him to the ground. The Arm—that bizarre tree crackling with electricity Cooper met in the Red Room—appears and yells “Squeeze his hand off!”, which is by far the weirdest moment of the episode. Then the camera lingers on Cooper as the dust settles and it almost seems as if he’s finally about to break out of his mindless stupor. But he doesn’t. Looks like we’ll be spending some more time with Dougie Jones.

In the last episode we were finally introduced to Diane (Laura Dern), Cooper’s previously off-screen dictaphone confidant. Gordon Cole (David Lynch) and Albert Rosenfield (Miguel Ferrer) visit a stylish brownstone in New York to request her help in determining whether the ‘Cooper’ locked up in Sioux City is indeed our beloved agent. Diane is troubled, smoking and drinking constantly and eager to be left alone. But she relents a little and brings the FBI agents coffee as they explain their predicament.

In Sioux City we finally witness Diane and Cooper meeting face-to-face, but in much darker circumstances than anyone could have predicted. She senses there’s something wrong with the stony-faced man in the cell immediately, and asks him if he remembers the last time they met at her house. It’s clear Evil Cooper did something horrible to her, and given his history with other women in the show, that isn’t terribly surprising. Laura Dern is sensational here, bursting with emotion and anger as she stares the dead-eyed doppelgänger down and fights to control her fury. I’m getting goosebumps just writing about it.

Diane leaves the prison and falls into Cole’s arms, telling him that the man she met is not the Dale Cooper she once knew. This has been obvious to us from the start, but now the FBI knows for sure that this isn’t their erstwhile agent. I really hope this isn’t the last we see of Diane, because there are few forces as powerful as Laura Dern directed by David Lynch. Hopefully she’ll get to meet the real Coop if and when he sheds Dougie’s shell, although I wonder if she’ll be able to separate him from his evil twin.

Later, Evil Cooper requests a meeting with Warden Dwight Murphy (James Morrison). Evil Coop demands to be freed along with associate Ray Monroe (George Griffith) and wants a car to escape in too. The Warden is ready to brush him off, but the mention of the name Joe McClusky immediately shuts him up. Later that evening, his demands met, Evil Cooper casually strolls out of the prison with Monroe, making a final showdown between “the good Dale” and his sinister counterpart even more likely.

Another fantastic episode, elevated by the stunning performance of longtime Lynch collaborator Laura Dern. Last week Twin Peaks itself was becoming more vital to the main story, and I’m glad to see that continuing here. Laura’s diary pages may lead to Cooper’s rescue somehow, and the return of the key to room 315 at the Great Northern likely has a role to play. And it seems that, despite the deaths of Jacques and Jean, the Renault clan still has a criminal presence in the town. We see Roadhouse bartender Jean-Michel Renault (Walter Olkewicz, who also played Jacques) on the phone discussing a prostitution racket. And as for Major Briggs’ body, well, I can only guess. Briggs is one of the most closely connected characters to the series’ larger mythology, and his presence in the show will surely be felt down the line.

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