Twin Peaks: The Return, Part Fourteen

“I just thought you should know this. It’s gonna sound strange.”

Hey, everyone! Things are finally happening on Twin Peaks!

In my review of “Part Twelve,” I argued that Gordon Cole’s prolonged indulgence of his female companion could be considered a mise-en-abyme: “it stands for the structure of the series as a whole, in which the viewer (Albert) anxiously awaits forward movement (her leaving the room) while the director (Lynch/Cole) luxuriates in the pleasures of delay and a fine Bordeaux.”

“Part Fourteen” begins with a response to that scene, in which Lucy’s digressions about her vacation to Bora-Bora annoy Gordon Cole, who wants to return Sheriff Truman’s phone call. Cole—like Lynch, I would argue—has become antsy now that he’s realized there are places to go, problems to solve, and Coopers to fix. (Thank goodness.)

Those problems get a name in this episode: a tulpa. The term might be familiar to you from Buddhism, where it originated (deep meditation creates a being from thoughts), the TV show Supernatural, or even the novel The Wheel of Darkness by Lincoln Child and Douglas Preston. In terms of Twin Peaks mythology, we now have a theological name for what the show has previously called “doppelgangers.”

The tulpa gets a name, too: Dougie Jones. That Dougie is married to Janey-E, Diane’s estranged stepsister, is the sort of bizarre coincidence that this show needed to jump from A to B. And since we’re in a world in which tulpas, Woodsmen, and Michael Cera channeling Marlon Brando all exist, I am 100% comfortable with the existence of coincidence.

And not just because things are finally happening again. Even when the show slows down its (relatively) breakneck pace, there’s a lot going on. The window-washing scene, for instance, reminded me of St. Paul: “For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known” (I Corinthians 13.12).

Monica Bellucci’s question to a dreaming Gordon Cole—“Who is the dreamer?”—evokes many of the same concepts: can we ever understand reality if we can’t truly experience it, since our experience is mediated by ambiguity, ignorance, misunderstandings, and forgetfulness? Our glass is always as dark as Paul suggests.

So is memory. Gordon Cole and Albert had forgotten about Cooper’s odd David Bowie moment from Fire Walk with Me. It’s not a forgettable moment—it’s one of the most intense scenes in that film—so Cole’s and Albert’s mutual forgetting is thought-provoking. Does the Black Lodge have the power to make people sort of vaguely forget? That would explain the relative lack of urgency for the past thirteen hours. Our heroes weren’t distracted. They’d been metaphysically brainwashed.

That may sound like a wackadoo theory, but this was an episode steeped in wacky: Deputy Andy, of all people, gained knowledge and understanding out in the woods when the Friendly Giant showed him clips of “Part Eight.” It was a wonderful, beautiful scene, evoking the disappearance of Chris Isaak from Fire Walk with Me, the idea of righteous men banding together to save people, and even the concept of innocence’s salvific power. (Because if Andy’s not innocent, nobody on this show is.) And, like Cole and Albert, the other men didn’t remember what had happened.

The first half of this episode—the scenes with FBI and with the local law enforcement—had more going at both the level of plot and the level of thematic development than the past ten episodes combined. I would have been happy with just those two sequences, but Lynch didn’t cut any corners. Instead, he gave us some tantalizing hints of what might be coming:

The scene with James and Freddie took a while to get going, but its core concept—that Freddie was sent by mysterious forces from England with a superpowered hand—seems to indicate a Chekhov’s gun situation. Is Freddie going to punch Evil Cooper into oblivion? I’m comfortable with that.

The scene with Sarah Palmer at the bar was equally mysterious. Two weeks ago, I wondered if Sarah Palmer was possessed by Bob. Now we know that she’s not herself: she is a physical body containing a metaphysical void. When she pulled her face away, that void looks like the evil events of “Part Eight,” and there was a glimpse of an out-of-place ring finger (just like Evil Cooper’s). Perhaps she’s a new manifestation of evil, one with a tendency to commit violence against men rather than violence against women. I’m not sure how that all fits into the events of the series, but I don’t care, since I’m just so happy that things are happening.

Damn Fine Coffee:

• The location near Jackrabbit Palace where Andy, Sheriff Truman, Hawk, and Bobby went: was it Glastonbury Grove? Was that the pool of motor-oilish stuff from the finale of the second season of Twin Peaks?

• The bloody, mumbling echoer in jail with Deputy Chad: the pool of blood on the ground looked like motor oil, and I don’t know if Sheriff Truman or Hawk saw him. Is he a Woodsman?

• Speaking of coincidences: there are 23 Douglas Joneses in Las Vegas, and Freddie is 23.

• The girls at the bar were talking about Billy and Tina, who also came up in Audrey Horne’s conversation with her husband.

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

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

David Bowie...*sigh*...and it was nice that they tributed this ep to him.

Great review as always Josie. I really enjoyed this ep, I think it has to do with the lack of Dougie. I can't STAND Dougie! Everyone around him is so self-absorbed and narcissistic that they don't see that he acts like a 2-year-old, but I guess that is all intentional??

And now Dougie is Diane's brother-in-law?

Was I the only one that feared for Andy there for a while???