Warning: This recap for Part 13 of Twin Peaks contains spoilers.
When James Hurley (James Marshall) appeared on stage at The Roadhouse to perform a rendition of “Just You,” the sickly-sweet 50s pop ballad he sang with Maddy Ferguson and Donna Hayward in Season 1, it put the biggest smile on my face. The original scene is iconic, mostly for its cringe factor, but nothing made me happier than knowing that James “Always Cool” Hurley had turned his auto-tuned anthem into a local hit which is still performed some 25 years later, on the same stage graced by Nine Inch Nails no less.
But the song, composed by Angelo Badalamenti and written by David Lynch, wasn’t played for laughs nor was it ever intended to. The song had thematic importance in Part 13, coming in between scenes of desperate loneliness and abandonment. “Just You/And I/Together forever/In love,” the lyrics go, but all the characters we care about in Twin Peaks are not together, they are separated, loveless, and alone. David Lynch and Mark Frost did not return to the series to provide us with happy endings for our favorite Twin Peaks residents, just as the Audrey (Sherilyn Fenn) scene proved last week, this world is now much colder, distant and isolated from the one we once knew.
The pervading sense of loneliness is no more present than at the Double R Diner. Deputy Bobby Briggs (Dana Ashbrook) stops by after work for a bite to eat, but it’s obvious the real reason he’s there is to catch a glimpse of his ex-wife Shelly (Madchen Amick), the woman with whom he’s still in love. Unfortunately, Shelly has clocked off for the day, after speaking earlier with her daughter Becky (Amanda Seyfried), who is pining after her own love, Steven (Caleb Landry Jones), who has been missing for two days.
Bobby’s late night check-ins at the Double R mirror those of another famously love-stricken Twin Peaks local, who invites Bobby to join him for dinner. Big Ed Hurley (Everett McGill making his long-awaited return) is still not with his former high school sweetheart Norma (Peggy Lipton). Instead, he watches from a distance, as Norma meets with her current lover (and business associate), Walter (Grant Goodeve), to discuss the profits of her new five-diner franchise. Walter tells Norma the flagship branch is lagging due to her spending too much on pies and he wants her to tweak the formula to “ensure consistency and profitability.” Norma’s pies are made with love but in Walter’s words, “Love doesn’t always turn a profit.”
Meanwhile, Ed’s (presumably) ex-wife Nadine (Wendy Robie) gets to have a fangirl moment when she meets the object of her affection. No, not silent drape runners, but the one and only Dr. Jacoby (Russ Tamblyn) who spots one of his golden shovels hanging in the display window of Run Silent, Run Drape. While the encounter is sweet, it’s another example of two lonely souls lost in the world and searching for connection. The moment stands in stark contrast to the scene between Audrey and Charlie (Clark Middleton), whose marriage, if they are in fact married, is falling apart at the seams, as is Audrey’s connection with reality. “I feel like I’m someone else. Like I’m somewhere else, and I’m someone else,” she says, framing last week’s frustrating scene in a new light, suggesting Audrey’s change in character is meaningful rather than poor writing or an off performance.
The loneliest of all souls though is Sarah Palmer (Grace Zabriskie), who sits by herself with nothing but cigarette butts and a Bloody Mary for company, watching a glitchy television which keeps repeating the same looped footage of an old boxing match (unsure if it was “Battling Bud” Mullins). Sarah herself is stuck in a loop — smoke cigarette, finish drink, get up, pour another drink, light another cigarette. It’s unclear if Sarah notices the problem with the TV, but even if she does it hardly matters — everything she ever loved was ripped away from her, and she now sits in a house surrounded by reminders of a past life.
Big Ed also sits alone come the end of the episode, sipping his Double R 2 Go soup from the cup at the office of his old-fashioned gas station. He stares at his distorted reflection in the glass before the camera zooms in on his tired, melancholy face. There is a great sadness which is palpable in all of these scenes, including the one with Ben Horne (Richard Beymer) last week, reminiscing about his childhood bicycle. There is this idea that while the future brings with it changing technology and profit-before-people, the townsfolk of Twin Peaks are clinging to the past even if the past is unattainable.
The mood is lighter in Vegas, where we catch up with the adventures of Dougie Jones (Kyle MacLachlan) after his all too brief appearance in Part 12. The opening scene is a hoot, as Dougie joins the Mitchum Brothers (Robert Knepper and Jim Belushi) and the Vegas Showgirls in a celebratory conga line making its way through the Lucky 7 Insurance offices. The music accompanying this scene, that jittery acid percussion, perhaps a remixed Badalamenti track from the Twin Peaks Archive, is fantastic. The Mitchums, ecstatic after their $30 million pay out, are in a charitable mood and start handing out gifts like Oprah. For his part, Dougie receives a BMW Convertible and a brand new jungle gym for Sonny Jim (Pierce Gagnon), decked out with lights and a music system. Janey-E (Naomi Watts) doesn’t question where the presents came from; she is just happy she finally has a new car to replace that piece of crap on the driveway.
There are no gifts for Dougie’s colleague Anthony Sinclair (Tom Sizemore) however, just an ultimatum from Mr. Todd (Patrich Fischler), kill Dougie within the next day or else. After acquiring poison recommended to him by a corrupt Vegas cop, Anthony slips the substance into Dougie’s coffee while our troubled agent is distracted by cherry pie. But once again, it’s the pie that saves Dougie’s life, as on his way back to his seat he becomes fascinated by Anthony’s dandruff. Dougie begins prodding at Anthony’s shoulders, which the would-be murderer mistakes for affection and he suddenly breaks down, apologizing to Dougie, and later confessing all of his sins to Bushnell (Don Murray). There’s also a hilarious scene of Anthony rushing into a bathroom to throw the tainted coffee into a urinal — “That bad, huh?” a peeing patron comments.
Another scene which is played for laughs concerns the Brothers Fusco, the bumbling Vegas cops who were investigating Dougie’s car explosion. While the three casually ignore a violent interrogation taking place next door, the results of Dougie’s prints come back, and when it’s revealed they belong to a former FBI Agent who escaped from a maximum-security federal prison, what do they do? Contact the FBI? No. Call Dougie? No. They laugh at such a ludicrous idea, then crunch the paper into a ball and basketball-dunk it into a trash can. A comical dead-end to this humorous side plot.
While Good Coop continues to bring joy to those around him, his dark doppelganger Mr. C (Kyle MacLachlan), returning after a three episode absence, is all about pain and suffering. His search for Ray (George Griffiths) has taken him to a rundown warehouse, a sort of henchman headquarters full of grimy bad guys and one out of place accountant type in a suit. Ray stands beside his boss Renzo, a thuggish-looking Derek Mears, perhaps best known for playing Jason Voorhees in the 2009 reboot of Friday The 13th. “I killed him,” Ray says, as they watch a high-def wall-sized monitor and see the cold and callous Mr. C arrive. “You didn’t kill him too good, Ray,” Renzo replies.
In most TV dramas, one would probably expect some sort of chaotic shoot-out right about now. But this is Twin Peaks, where the drama is settled by… arm wrestling? The only way Mr. C can get what he wants, which is Ray, is if he can beat Renzo in an arm wrestling contest. The two lock arms, Renzo’s muscles bulging out of his shirt sleeve as he tries desperately to pin Mr. C’s hand to the table. It soon becomes apparent that Evil Coop is toying with the bald-headed bruiser, taking his time, adjusting back to “starting positions,” before snapping Renzo’s arm and finishing him off for good with one swift face-busting punch. The grubby group of spectators are now at Mr. C’s beck and call, handing over Ray, and their cell phones.
After taking a bullet to the leg, Ray reveals some crucial information about missing FBI Agent Phillip Jeffries (the late David Bowie), admitting that Jeffries was the one that hired him to kill Mr. C. Ray also hands over the coordinates and unveils the infamous green Owl Ring, the one Laura Palmer (Sheryl Lee) wore in Fire Walk With Me so that BOB (Frank Silva) couldn’t possess her. Mr. C gets his backstabbing sidekick to put on the ring (ring finger, left hand) before he kills him. After he dies, Ray’s body and the ring disappear and materialize in the Red Room, where The One Armed Man (Al Strobel) returns the ring to the black marble table.
While all this is going on, the motley crew watches on the wall monitor, including a fugitive Richard Horne (Eamon Farren), who turns up and seems instantly captivated by his potential father, Mr. C. Are we about to get a father/son road trip back to the town of Twin Peaks? It would make sense in an episode which highlighted Twin Peaks longing for the past if one of their darkest figures of the past returned home.
THOUGHTS FROM ANOTHER PLACE
*Chantal (Jennifer Jason Leigh) and Hutch (Tim Roth) are on their way to Vegas and discussing the ins and outs of Mormon culture on the car journey there. “They don’t drink Coca-Cola.”
*A popular theory after the last episode was that Charlie is Audrey’s therapist and their scene was some kind of role-play exercise. I wasn’t convinced at the time, but I’m definitely coming around to that idea after this episode. With Charlie saying things like “Existentialism 101” and asking “Do I have to end your story too?” he certainly speaks to Audrey more like a therapist than a husband. And Audrey herself appeared troubled, possibly agoraphobic and trapped in an infantile state.
*I wish I had Sonny Jim’s jungle gym growing up. What a surreal set-up though, a perfect encapsulation of Lynch’s blending of the mundane and the strange. A standard climbing frame but decorated with Christmas-style lighting, the Swan Lake music, the weird arch, the searching spot light.
*If you look closely in the Sarah Palmer scene, there seems to be a photo of Laura and Donna on a side table. So Lara Flynn-Boyle did get to appear in the new series after all! There also looks to be a plate of creamed-corn beside Sarah, which is a more ominous sign.
*The scene between Norma and Walter also read like a network executive giving notes to David Lynch:
Walter: “I assure you they are following your recipes to the letter, but also, per the agreement, using their discretion about where they get the ingredients.”
Norma: “No. All my ingredients are natural, organic, local.”
Walter: “I know. You make them with ‘love.'”
Walter: “Norma, you are a real artist. But love doesn’t always turn a profit. We believe in you 100%, but from a business perspective, the board would like you to consider some alternatives without sacrificing any of the high standards you’re so well known for.”
Twin Peaks air Sundays on Showtime at 8 p.m.
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