This Twin Peaks review contains spoilers.
Twin Peaks Season 3 Episode 11
Action! Thrills! Spills! And damn good cherry pie!
Compared to what’s come before, this part of The Return was practically an action movie. Crazy driving! Lots of gunplay! Or, at least, a bit of gunplay and lots of people holding guns! On top of that, there was some bit of soap opera drama like the Twin Peaks of old. And cherry pie! Cherry pie, you guys!
On the soap opera side of things, it was great to finally get clarification on Bobby and Shelly’s relationship. Though Becky is their daughter, sadly, the two of them aren’t together anymore. It seems Becky, much like her mother, married young and, also like her mother, has rather poor taste in men. To wit, now that Bobby’s actually a good guy, Shelly’s instead head over heels for yet another drug dealer.
Regarding Becky, her behavior was maybe the hardest thing to swallow in this episode. I mean, she’s so furious she veers a car around wildly as her mother clings to the hood? Then later, in the span of a few minutes, she goes from saying she “wants out” of her marriage to defending her husband as “just going through a bad time right now.” I get it, she’s a troubled, confused young woman, but she flip-flops so drastically during this conversation it feels like she’s got the memory of a goldfish.
Regardless, haphazard as some of this Bobby/Shelly/Becky business was, I’m still enjoying the fact that I’m actually getting to write about a Twin Peaks soap plot about bad men and the women who fall for them. And then it’s followed up by some gunfire and a puking, possessed-looking kid. I, uh, don’t know what to say about that kid, but the woman’s repetitive screaming made me laugh.
Incidentally, this was a funny episode. I laughed out loud at Gordon Cole’s “He’s dead” (poor Matthew Lillard). More damn good Cole that cracked me up: “Dirty bearded men in a room!” Further, I was surprised to find how much I warmed up to the casino characters. Last episode, all that slow-moving Candie stuff tried my patience, but it’s impressive how endearing and funny her and the Mitchum Bros. were this time around (especially since the first time we met these guys they kicked the crap out of a guy). Jim Belushi is still making brilliant faces and both he and Robert Knepper get a lot of hilarious and well-delivered lines, my favorite being Belushi saying of Dougie, “I hate him so bad.”
It’s also really cool how the Mitchums make their peace with Dougie because of a dream that one of them had. We know from Twin Peaks’ past that dreams can be a road map through the waking world’s mysteries and there’s a beautiful cyclicity here that Cooper previously used his dream as a guide to solve a murder and now someone else’s dream has saved his life.
The FBI scenes were neat too. They didn’t exactly explain much, but they deepened the mystery nicely and had that good Twin Peaks blend of real world cop drama with supernatural weirdness. I didn’t totally love how these scenes also felt strangely low-rent with awkward conversational pauses and wide shots with very little cutting (it feels like, for some reason, it’s a recurring theme that all the FBI expository scenes are presented this way). Still, the subject matter was engaging.
Finally, we got to see Coop enjoy some cherry pie and even call it “damn good.” Though he did so on the technicality that he was repeating what he heard someone else say, Dougie-style, it sounded a little more Coop than Dougie in delivery. Also, he was actually wearing a sharp black suit the whole episode, rather than his eye-assaulting green one. It’s great, too, what little interest he shows in drinking alcohol. I recall an episode from the original series in which Coop is offered alcohol and appears to nurse it unenthusiastically, so his character details remain reassuringly intact.
This episode was just a rollicking good time. A lot of stuff happened and a good bit of it was rather bombastic (oh, and just because I didn’t mention it anywhere else, those were some very beautiful overhead desert shots). The Return is still absolutely its own weird, new, Lynchian thing, but this also felt like the most Twin Peaksian episode yet.