What the hell just happened in Twin Peaks episode 9?

GamesRadar+ Verdict

A great episode that offers a feast of clues for theorists and sends several important storylines on a collision course.

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After the mind-blowing previous episode, which will be remembered as a singular moment in TV history, things are back to normal—or at least Twin Peaks’ version of normal. More of the mystery unravels as we receive an intriguing clue from the late Major Briggs. And we reunite with Bill Hastings, whose investigation into somewhere called The Zone has led him down a very dark path indeed. After a week-long break that felt like a year, Twin Peaks is finally back.

Evil Cooper on the warpath

Having been revived by the woodsmen last episode—and possibly purged of Bob’s demonic presence—Cooper’s blood-soaked doppelgänger (Kyle MacLachlan) visits a farm. The same farm he and Ray talked about before their fight, perhaps? Here he meets a new character, Gary ‘Hutch’ Hutchens (Tim Roth), who hooks him up with clean clothes and a weapon.

He orders Hutch to kill Warden Murphy and departs, but not before sharing a passionate, rather filthy kiss with Chantal (Jennifer Jason Leigh), who appeared briefly in the premiere. According to the credits her surname is Hutchens too, so Evil Cooper could be having a very open affair with his associate’s wife.

As he drives away Cooper calls Duncan Todd (Patrick Fischler) in Vegas and asks if something is ‘done’, likely referring to the hit he placed on Dougie and Lorraine. The hitman, Ike ‘The Spike’ Stadtler (Christophe Zajac-Denek), killed Lorraine, but spectacularly failed to take Dougie out. Todd assures Cooper that it’ll happen in the next few days. Cooper also sends a text to an unknown person, which reads: ‘Around the dinner table, the conversation is lively.’

The mystery of Dougie Jones

In Vegas, Detective D. Fusco (David Koechner) and his brothers Smiley (Eric Edelstein) and T. (Larry Clarke) grill Dougie’s boss Bushnell Mullins (Don Murray) about The Spike’s failed assassination attempt. They’re trying to find out why someone wants him dead, and their investigation leads to the discovery that, prior to 1997, there’s no record of Dougie Jones at all. No passport, no birth certificate, nothing. Could this be the year he was ‘manufactured’ by whoever made him? An interesting note: the music playing here is Angelo Badalamenti track Deer Meadow Shuffle, as heard in the movie Fire Walk With Me.

D. Fusco scoops up Cooper’s freshly fingerprinted coffee cup and bags it as evidence, and learns that—thanks to the lump of flesh that Cooper ‘squeezed off’ during the attempt on his life—they know The Spike was responsible. They arrest him in a motel, but considering Evil Coop’s call to Todd, Dougie’s troubles are far from over. The coffee cup could be an important detail, because if Fusco runs those prints he’s going to get a result back for Dale Cooper, which may in turn alert Gordon Cole to the existence of the ‘real’ Coop in Vegas.

Meanwhile, Cooper stares wistfully at an American flag as America the Beautiful plays, then his attention is drawn to a woman in red heels, then an electrical outlet. Something’s going on in that confused brain of his, but I’m not sure what yet. The red heels immediately made me think of Audrey Horne, who has yet to show up in the new series, but is confirmed to be returning. Could a meeting with Audrey be the thing that finally snaps him out of his daze?

Checking in with the Hornes

Speaking of the Horne family, we link up with Jerry (David Patrick Kelly), who still appears to be lost and confused in the woods—possibly as a result of the weed he’s partial to smoking these days. But maybe not. He looks down at his foot, which speaks to him in a shrill voice: “I am not your foot.” This combined with the “I think I’m high!” scene leads me to believe that Jerry may have stumbled on something otherworldly in those woods, which isn’t exactly unheard of in Twin Peaks.

At the Great Northern, Ben Horne (Richard Beymer) and Beverly Paige (Ashley Judd) try once again to locate the source of the strange sound emanating from the walls. And, again, Ben resists Beverly’s blatant sexual advances, indicating that he may genuinely have turned over a new leaf. Ben says the noise is reminiscent of a monastery bell, and Beverly describes it as ‘mesmerising’, but we’re still no closer to finding out what it is or where it’s coming from.

And at the Horne family residence, Ben’s wife Sylvia (Jan D’Arcy) chases after mentally ill son Johnny (Eric Rondell), who runs into a wall. It’s not clear if he’s dead or just badly injured, but some are speculating that this is what brings Audrey back to Twin Peaks. This is the most Hornes we’ve seen in an episode since the original series, suggesting the town’s most famous (and infamous) family has an important role to play in the new series.

An important clue from Major Briggs

In Twin Peaks, Bobby Briggs (Dana Ashbrook) visits his mother Betty (Charlotte Stewart) to talk about a meeting Cooper had with her husband Garland shortly before he died. She tells Bobby, who’s there with Deputy Hawk (Michael Horse) and Sheriff Truman (Robert Forster), that she knew the three of them would come to ask about this one day, because the Major told her they would. She walks over to a chair and reveals a metal tube hidden inside it, saying it contains a message for them.

Bobby opens the tube by slamming it against the ground outside the Sheriff’s Department, revealing a rolled up sheet of paper inside. It has markings that seem to depict Blue Pine Mountain and White Tail Mountain—the titular twin peaks—as well as the black symbol Evil Cooper had scratched on an ace of spades playing card. The symbol is a similar shape to the head of the creature that 'gave birth' to Bob after the atomic test in part 8, and also appeared in the glass box in New York. The note also has a date, a time, and cryptic directions: 253 YARDS EAST OF JACK RABBIT’S PALACE. 

Bobby tells Truman that he knows where that is—a place he used to visit with his father—and they decide to go there on the date in the message, which is two days from now. The tube also contains a piece of the signal Briggs received in the original series, which he told Cooper came from the woods around Twin Peaks. The piece he cut out contains two instances of the word COOPER, which prompts Hawk to wonder out loud: "Two Coopers?"

Searching for The Zone

Gordon Cole (David Lynch) receives a phone call from Colonel Davis about the discovery of what seems to be Major Briggs’ headless body in Buckhorn, South Dakota. He convinces Diane (Laura Dern) to take a detour there, along with Tamara Preston (Chrysta Bell) and Albert Rosenfield (Miguel Ferrer). They meet up with Lieutenant Cynthia Knox (Adele René) and seem just as puzzled as her about why Briggs seems to have died in his 40s when he should be at least 70-years-old. In a waiting room, Diane receives the text Evil Cooper sent earlier, but her reaction is hard to gauge. Does she get the reference?

Cole sends Preston to interview Bill Hastings (Matthew Lillard), the local headmaster whose fingerprints were found in the room where Briggs’ body (along with his secret lover Ruth Davenport’s head) were discovered. It’s revealed that Hastings was investigating the existence of an alternate dimension he nicknamed ‘The Zone’, and charting his progress on a blog called The Search for the Zone—which, amazingly, actually exists. The Twin Peaks community is currently tearing this charmingly retro site apart looking for clues, and have already found, among other things, coordinates pointing to a remote location somewhere in South Dakota.

Hastings tells Preston that he found a way into The Zone and met Garland Briggs hiding there (or “hibernating” as he described it), who asked him to get him coordinates for “a different place” from a secure military database. But something went wrong, resulting in Davenport’s death. Did Hastings accidentally stumble into the Black Lodge? He swears he didn’t kill Davenport, repeating that he loved her, and I’m starting to believe him. It seems he’s being used as a pawn in some dark game, and the fact that Evil Cooper killed his wife in an earlier episode backs this up. Major storylines converge sharply in this episode, and it feels like the pace is seriously picking up. What will Bobby and co. find at Jack Rabbit’s Palace? And what is The Zone?

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