After a few hauntingly-dark and blissfully-confounding episodes, the return of Twin Peaks shifted tone a tad bit in episode four, recalling the quirkier, absurdist atmosphere of the series of old. This week’s episode strikes a balance between the two, in its course introducing several old friends and a few meaningful new faces.
We begin in Las Vegas, back with the thugs who planted the car bomb on Dougie’s ride, which is still parked at the empty house where Dougie was banging Jade, and where good Coop switched places with him. The thugs are chatting on the phone with a mystery lady who’s pissed the job of killing Dougie still isn’t done. She makes a call to a beeper-like device in a basement. No one answers it. She sends a text: “Argent.” “Urgent,” I think she means.
In South Dakota, the medical examiner (Jane Adams) is revealing the cause of death of the headless man found in bed with the decapitated woman discovered in episode one: he died, predictably, of having his head cut off. Of greater interest, though, is the item found in his stomach: a wedding ring inscribed to Dougie from Janey-E. The medical examiner doesn’t know what this means, but we sure do.
Elsewhere in South Dakota, it’s dinnertime for bad Coop in the slammer. He washes up in his cell’s sink and in the process looks in the mirror. We’re expecting to see BOB – this is another obvious parallel to the final scene of season two – and in a sense we do, but not in this timeline; we see bad Coop’s recollections of being with BOB in The Black Lodge back in the old series. The connotation is that BOB is no longer possessing this form, somehow they’ve separated – or something has separated them – but BOB isn’t lost completely, there are elements of him around. “You’re still with me,” bad Coop tells his reflection, “And that’s good.”
I really, really doubt that.
We get our first new glance of Donna Hayward and Nadine Hurley’s ex-beau Mike Nelson (Gary Hershberger), and he’s conducting a job interview, reading a sloppy gadabout younger guy the same sort of riot someone should have read him when he was palling around with Bobby Briggs in high school selling coke and drunk-driving.
Cut to the Twin Peaks Sheriff’s Department, where Frank’s on the phone with his brother Harry – alas, unheard – but is interrupted by his wife, Doris, who’s pissed because their pets are out of control and a leaking pipe is threatening black mold. Ultimately this is an issue of how Doris can and cannot spend money. She wants a rug, a car for her dad. Things seem strained in this marriage, but Frank takes it all in placid stride, even when Doris calls him impossible and storms out. Unlike his passionate brother, Frank seems content to maintain the status quo.
Meanwhile in Vegas, Janey’s getting everybody out the door. She tells good Coop she’s hidden the cash he won – $425,000 – “in their secret place,” and she wants him to call “them” and “pay them their 50 grand” so they can get “free and clear.” She notices how weird he’s being – good Coop’s still adjusting to being back in the real world after a quarter century in The Black Lodge – and then flips when she remembers he doesn’t have his car; you know, the one with the bomb attached to it. It’s still waiting at the empty house, as verified in a scene jump by the thugs who planted it. Just after they check to see it’s still there, another ride rolls by, a black muscle car, and the occupants gives Dougie’s car a long look. No clue as to why. Yet…
Meanwhile Janey drops off Dougie/good Coop at work. On the way in he stops to admire the statue of a cowboy pointing a revolver. He follows the aim into a busy high-rise lobby. A young man in a suit with two trays of coffee knows him and informs him he’s about to be late for the staff meeting. Coop follows the young man into the elevator, salivating at the coffee until he’s given one. The lid of the coffee cup is somewhat of a hindrance, but once he figures it out we get another real glimpse of old Coop in his sheer enjoyment of the go-juice.
Once deposited by the elevator, we learn Dougie’s in the insurance game for a firm called Lucky 7 – which is the same number “Mr. Jackpots” kept hitting at the Silver Mustang Casino – and we meet Anthony (Tom Sizemore, Saving Private Ryan), Dougie’s co-worker. The meeting starts, and Anthony is sharing how they have to pay out a claim despite some contradictory evidence. Coop calls Anthony’s story a lie. This isn’t good, and as a result Coop gets called in to see the boss. While chewing him out, the boss uses the word “agent,” which naturally sticks in Coop’s mind. Boss ignores this, though, and gives Coop a heap of case files to summarize overnight, through a veil of threatening his job.
Back at the Silver Mustang Casino, the manager and pit boss are awaiting – quite nervously – the arrival of their bosses, portrayed by Robert Knepper (Prison Break) and Jim Belushi (Wild Palms – look it up). They’re here on account of Coop’s jackpots and the 425k he walked out with and, obviously, their take on the situation isn’t positive. They did bring a trio of showgirls in pink dresses, though, so it’s not all dour. Except in the manager’s case, who’s suspected by the bosses of being in cahoots with Coop and rigging the machines. He’s quite roughly removed from his position, and told by Belushi to “leave town, don’t ever come back.” The pit boss is then promoted to manager, with the explicit instruction to inform his higher-ups if he ever sees Coop on the premises again.
Across town the little boy across the street from Dougie’s car leaves his druggie mom passed out at her druggie table walks over to the empty house, curious about what he saw the thugs plant under the car. He hears something beeping, bends down and sees the flashing light on the device. He’s about to grab it when the black muscle car comes screeching back and its occupants deploy and run him off. Then they start to boost Dougie’s car but, as expected, it blows. The little boy runs home – safe and sound – and watches the car burn from his window. Fire park with me.
At a car wash in Vegas, Jade is getting her yellow Wrangler detailed. An attendant finds the key to Coop’s hotel room at The Great Northern, and Jade drops it in the mailbox.
Cut to Twin Peaks and the Double RR diner, where lovely Ms. Norma Jennings (Peggy Lipton) makes her first appearance in season three. She’s in a booth going over some bills – Shelly at the counter, just like old times! – when in comes my first accurate prediction of the new season: Amanda Seyfried as Becky, Shelly’s daughter. PERFECT CASTING. They have a conversation we can’t really hear, but it’s mildly contentious. Basically it comes down to money, which Becky’s asking for and Shelly’s giving. No doubt Becky’s boyfriend who Shelly was lamenting over in episode one is the source of this particular conflict, which a moment later is confirmed: we see Becky leave the diner and hop into the waiting hot rod of said boyfriend, who is the sloppy gadabout Mike Nelson was rejecting earlier, and who with his tough ride and slicked back hair strikes quite the Bobby Briggs comparison. Norma has witnessed all this and comes to chide Shelly for enabling Becky. It’s a maternal hearkening back to the old series; just seeing these two together again is the highlight of the episode.
Out in the car Becky’s skeez boyfriend is counting his bounty. He looks spun. Perhaps a symptom of those “Chinese designer drugs” Frank and Bobby were talking about in episode four. No sooner do I think this then homeboy tries to share a bump with Becky. She’s alarmed at how much he’s done that day, as she should be; he looks like shit. He claims it’s for courage in his interviews, and she buys this enough to take a snort. Shades of Laura Palmer’s coke habit here. Hopefully that’s where the comparison ends. Depraved sweet nothings are exchanged, and ultimately the young lovers drive off high. The scene ends with an extended sequence focused on the face of Becky. Amanda Seyfried is the perfect current-era Lynch blonde. Like Naomi Watts, Laura Dern, Patricia Arquette, and Sheryl Lee her character is beautiful in an ethereal way, delicate and dangerous at the same time, a combination of innocent and tainted that makes her utterly alluring. We’re going to see a lot more of her, I think, and that’s an ominous thing.
Good Coop meanwhile is still at work, taking home those case files. Once again the statue of the armed cowboy captures his attention.
Back at the Sheriff’s Department in Twin Peaks, Hawk and Andy continue to go through the Coop files trying to find “what’s missing.” Andy remarks on the lack of Indians in the file. Jump to Doc Jacoby’s trailer, where we finally get to see the inside of the good doctor’s abode. An alarm chimes seven o’ clock, the start of “Doctor Amp’s” webshow, a rant-laden broadcast on society’s ills whose listeners include Jerry Horne and Nadine Hurley (Wendy Robie, first-look). Doc is no longer the “aloha”-spouting chill dude we remember from seasons 1 and 2, he’s a turbo-charged, raving zealot. One of the shovels we saw him spray-painting last episode is next seen shoveling shit on a video cut into the broadcast. Turns out the Doc’s peddling a self-help system based around “Gold Shit-Digging Shovels” as tools for liberation from the emotional muck one accumulates in a lifetime. Seems he’s not so different from the Doc J. we remember.
Jump to another new location, Arlington, Virginia, specifically the Pentagon, where Colonel Davis (Ernie Hudson, Ghostbusters) – more on that in a second – is being informed about a hit on the fingerprints of one Major Garland Briggs. This would be the prints found on the decapitated man in South Dakota. This is somewhat unusual, as the Major has presumably been dead for a quarter century, killed in a fire at his post. However this isn’t a situation without precedent, it’s the 16th occasion in the 25 years since Briggs’ supposed death. Thus Davis isn’t too alarmed, but it has to be checked out, so he sends the messenger, Cindy, to do so, reminding her that if it’s real, they have to tell the FBI.
Now, about that name: the actor who played Major Briggs was Don S. Davis, deceased; no doubt naming Ernie Hudson’s character Colonel Davis is an homage to the real man.
At the Bang Bang Bar (aka The Road House), a young man sits smoking a cigarette alone in a booth enjoying the tunes and eyeing a table of four lovely young ladies. Smoking, of course, is illegal in Washington bars – I know, I live here – and so he’s asked to put it out, but throws resistance. Deputy Chad, the dick first met last episode, steps in to defuse the situation and takes the young man’s pack, which contains not just smokes but hella hundreds. Chad was expecting this; the conflict was a ruse for a handoff. Drug money, no doubt.
The more things change in Twin Peaks, the more they stay the same.
One of the girls at the next table digs the bad-boy attitude and leans over to ask for a light. She ends up taking a seat under the guise of flirting further but fella gets handsy and rough really quick. Charlotte’s the girl’s name, and he wants to know if she wants to fuck. That’s just rude. Another girl (Jane Levy, Evil Dead) tries to interfere, but bad boy then gets even more so verbally offensive, and that’s where the scene ends. Rest assured, though, we’ll see more of this guy, too – in the credits, his character is revealed as “Richard Horne.” But whose Horne is he? Audrey’s? Ben’s? Jerry’s? From his age, which looks to be mid-20s, don’t be surprised if he’s the product of Audrey losing her virginity to John Justice Wheeler (Billy Zane) in the penultimate episode of season two.
Elsewhere Agent Tammy Preston (Chrysta Bell) is in a cubicle looking at an old pic of Agent Cooper. She’s comparing it to a mugshot of bad Coop. She has the fingerprints of both, too. Here, something’s off. What she’s looking for, we don’t know, but we can tell by her expression that it’s significant.
Speaking of bad Coop, in South Dakota the warden’s finally giving him his “private” phone call. He – aware he’s being surveilled – wonders aloud who he should call: “Mr. Strawberry?” No, “he’s not taking calls.” Bad Coop makes a decision and starts dialing. Lots of numbers, a whole lot. Then everything goes haywire. Alarms, strobing emergency lights, malfunctioning computers, EVERYTHING. “The cow jumped over the moon,” bad Coop says into the phone, then hangs up and everything calms. “What did this guy just do?” the dumbfounded warden asks.
Like a gut punch, we’re in Buenos Aires, Argentina, the last know residence of Phillip Jeffries (according to Fire Walk With Me). The device in the basement called by the mysterious lady in the first scene beeps again then disappears, replaced by a tiny pebble-like relic.
We close back in Vegas with Coop, who is still hanging with the cowboy statue until he – and we – are told to go home.
Like a night-furled wildflower the story of Twin Peaks is slowly opening, spreading petals in every which direction. Jeffries continues to be the most tantalizing piece of this puzzle, one which will no doubt have some light shed on it in the inevitable debriefing of bad Coop by Gordon Cole. And with The Great Northern key in the mail to Twin Peaks, storylines will start merging before too long. What happens then, though, is anyone’s guess.
To read my take on previous episodes, just click here. And if you need a refresher on the first two seasons, along with some insight to some of the series’ themes and ideas, might I recommend this?
That’s all for now, be sure to check back next week after you’ve seen episode six for more.
Related Topics: David Lynch, Twin Peaks