Twin Peaks: The Return is directed by David Lynch and co-written by Lynch and Mark Frost. It stars Kyle MacLachlan as FBI special Agent Dale Cooper. This new, third series takes place 25 years after the original, one of the most influential of the modern TV age.
This is a continuing series review. To read my reviews of Parts One and Two, Parts Three and Four, Part Five, Part Six, Part Seven, Part Eight, Part Nine, Part Ten, Part Eleven or Part Twelve please click these links.
After last week’s abominable episode, I decided to watch Part Thirteen in order to get the bad taste of Part Twelve out of my mouth. So, was this a case of unlucky number Thirteen? Of course not, because I don’t know how Lynch and Frost could produce an episode more dull and irritating that last week’s instalment. This week boasted life or death arm wrestles, failed assassination attempts and a heck of a lot of sadness.
Evil Cooper returned with a bang. He followed Ray, the man who tried to kill him back in Part Eight to the hideout of a gang, the leader of which challenged Evil Cooper to an arm wrestling match. If Cooper loses the match, he has to work for the leader. If Cooper wins, he gets Ray. Of course he wins and kills the leader with a single, spectacularly gory punch. He questioned Ray who told him that David Bowie’s character (from Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me) Philip Jeffries hired him to kill him. Cooper executes Ray who then melts into the floor and arrives in the Red Room. The arm wrestling sequence was brilliant, tense, ridiculous and cunning, the balance of power shifting constantly.
The other major plot line involved everyone’s favourite shuffling insurance broker Dougie. At this point, I honestly expect never to see Dale Cooper as we know him again. Maybe being trapped in another dimension for 25 years means that he will never come back. Tom Sizemore (from Heat and Saving Private Ryan), one of Dougie’s fellow insurance agents is working for the rival of the Mitchum brothers. Now that the brothers are friends with Dougie, Sizemore is ordered to kill him and opts to use poisoned coffee! Dougie accidentally guilts Sizemore into giving up on his plan and so lives to fight another day. Probably to shuffle around after coffee and pie.
And finally, the overwhelming theme of this week’s episode was loneliness. For a series titled Twin Peaks, this series has neglected the titular town. However, this week we saw more original series cast members than ever. My beloved Bobby Briggs reappeared, supporting Big Ed (who made his debut this week). Shelly, Audrey, James Hurley, Norma, Nadine and Dr Jacoby also popped up. All seemed sad and their lives had changed enormously since the previous series.
I think that the misery that the loss of Dale Cooper brought to the characters has changed the tone of the series as a whole. Cooper was such a joyful character and he gave Twin Peaks its beating, optimistic heart. Now he’s gone, and all that’s left is loneliness and disappointment. Maybe this was a meta-textual comment by Lynch and Frost, to those who were expecting more of the same from this series. However, like the characters in Twin Peaks, we have to keep going. Life isn’t what we want most of the time, but trying is better than giving up. It’s bittersweet, particularly in Bobby’s case, as he is a better man, but lonelier than ever.
Please join me again next week for more of Twin Peaks: The Return. Remember to toast the memory of Dale Cooper with a cup of black coffee and a “damn fine slice of cherry pie”.