Twin Peaks: The Return, Part Two

“The stars turn, and the time presents itself.”

I had many issues with the recent X-Files reboot, not least of which was that only one episode out of six was memorable in a good way. But on a broader level, I struggled with the setup: very little of note seemed to have happened between the end of the show in 2002 and the beginning of the reboot in 2016. Twin Peaks: The Return doesn’t have that problem.

In my review of Part One, I mentioned Lynch’s trademark pacing. “Slow and stately” might be one way to describe it. “Glacial and tedious” might be another. But TP: The Return also focuses on diegetic time, in-story time. Sometimes it’s a small thing, like how conversations play out over minutes, not seconds.

But sometimes it’s the scope of the quarter-century that has passed since we last saw these characters. They have aged, as have the actors. The Log Lady appears to have cancer. Hawk’s hair is white, Lucy’s is the same, and Deputy Andy’s has gotten taller. EvilCoop looks like his skin has pulled tight around his skull. James had a motorcycle accident, and that’s why he’s quiet now. (As though he was so talkative before.)

Shelly looks excellent. Not just because M├Ądchen Amick has aged beautifully, but also because she has lived her 25 years in what appears to be some level of peace. In the first two seasons of Twin Peaks, she was married to a horrible man, abducted by a crazed plot device, and generally unlucky in life and love. The brief glimpse we get of her in this season is perfect: out for drinks with the girls, talking about her kid, and possibly making eyes at the now-laconic James.

In other words, life has happened, and she is not defined by the trauma she experienced all those years ago.

But what has happened to Special Agent Dale Cooper? While Coop struggled to leave the Black Lodge, EvilCoop shot Matthew Lillard’s wife. He killed Darya and made Jennifer Jason Leigh clean up the motel room. He teased people about eating too much food. He had a card with a black spot on it and some sort of briefcase secure uplink to the FBI, which may or may not be related to someone named Philip Jeffries, whom EvilCoop either did or did not speak to.

Once Coop finally left—escaped—fled—the Black Lodge, he emerged into the glass box that we encountered in Part One, just as the young man was busy doing other things and unable to see what was happening. Coop, in other words, moved from the Black Lodge to the glass box, and then on through the planes of existence to an odd room. Did the Glass Box ghost follow him from the Black Lodge? Why was the security guard missing? Who signed his paychecks? And does that mean we’re dealing with some powerful forces here?

We are, of course. The brief scene with Laura Palmer’s mother reminds us of that. She was alone on the couch, smoking, watching a violent nature documentary. She looked like someone who had never gotten over her grief, who could barely even sit still to relax. It’s a beautiful scene, with the lions killing the water buffalo reflected in the mirror above her. And it’s a haunting scene, demonstrating both the theme of duality (watch for a lot of reflective surfaces in the next two episodes) and how time may pass, but grief sometimes remains unchanged, no matter how much time has passed.

When I think of Lynch, I think of visual artistry, spooky sound effects, and deadpan humor. I forget, sometimes, just how heartfelt his work can be.

Damn Fine Coffee:

• EvilCoop: ““If there’s one thing you should know about me…it’s that I don’t need anything. I want.”

• What do you think Laura Palmer whispered to Coop in the Black Lodge?

• Do you agree that Hawk is even sexier with the white hair?

• Darya’s death was horrible to watch, but especially because Bob has the nerve to be wearing Special Agent Dale Cooper’s face.

Programming Note: Showtime aired the first two episodes on Sunday, May 22nd, but made episodes three and four available online, likely because of the upcoming American Memorial Day holiday on May 28th. I’ve reviewed the first episode here, and the second here. Thomas Ijon Tichy will review the third, and then I’ll dive back in for the fourth.

Josie Kafka is a full-time cat servant and part-time rogue demon hunter. (What's a rogue demon?)

3 comments:

Mark Greig said...

The name Philip Jeffries sounded familiar to me so I looked it up and he was the character David Bowie played in Fire Walk With Me, an old FBI agent who mysteriously disappeared, mysteriously reappeared and then mysteriously disappeared again.

I liked this episode more than the first one because we got to see more of the Twin Peaks residence and see how they are doing all these later. But i really have to disagree with Shelly. James is not, nor has he ever been, cool.

Josie Kafka said...

Yeah. I was interneting after writing this review and stumbled onto Philip Jeffries' identity, and then I felt really stupid.

That's what I get for not reviewing Fire Walk With Me. Maybe I should do that. It seems like it might be important.

Docnaz said...

Hawk is sexy both ways. I think James, Audrey, and Donna were all cool. And I believe Shelly if she says he James still is. I don't think I have ever seen a more beautiful collection of girls in one show than Audrey, Shelly and Donna. That, along with the handsome Agent Cooper was a big selling point of the show for me.