This review contains spoilers.
3.5 Case Files
A friend just described new Twin Peaks to me as a lot slower-moving but much more intense than the original series, and this episode embodies that well. We’re firmly out of the Black Lodge now, so things have settled down some. However — unlike the old series where you could be fairly comfortably certain for whole episodes at a time that you’d just be seeing a whole lot of soap opera drama — terror looms behind every scene of this fully Lynch-driven new show.
Though we’re getting a lot of silly stuff with Cooper still doddering around as Dougie, we’ve also got a shocking smash-cut to the corpse of the beheaded man from Buckhorn, the brutal beating of the casino owner, the sudden violence in the Bang Bang Bar, and another brilliant and creepy scene with Cooper’s doppelganger. Grisly bits aside, however, most of episode five is concerned with slow-dripping us information about established plots and bringing in new characters with new ones.
The latter is what’s most exciting. It’s nice to see Shelly, Norma, and Nadine, but I’m also digging how we’re being led back to Twin Peaks through new, young characters. Considering the show was always about a whole town, with its citizens spanning generations, it only makes sense that along with the characters we already know, we get to meet the new blood in town and all the drama facing them.
Amanda Seyfried and Caleb Landry Jones already feel like welcome additions to this universe. Jones is great at being a creepy bastard and feels like a perfect fit for Lynch. And Seyfried’s Becky is poised to be the new generation’s Laura Palmer (not because I think she’s going to get murdered but because she’s a troubled girl who likes drugs).
This episode is better than the previous because so much more is going on. Plus, it has the kindness to semi-tie some stuff up (Dr. Jacoby’s gold shovels are for sale to help you, uh, shovel shit or something!). But I’m also starting to get a bit bugged by how cartoonish everything with Coop/Dougie is. Yeah, I get that nobody really acts “normal” in this universe, but Dougie’s family’s reaction to his behaviour was already stretching it and now it seems everyone regards Dougie incredulously for a moment and then decides to just go along with his braindeadness (there’s even a co-worker who hits on him while he clutches his groin and does the pee-pee dance).
There are still funny and sad Coop/Dougie moments (him shedding a tear as he looks at his son, the co-worker upset that Dougie took his coffee, Coop’s obsession with the statue outside his office) and I remain impressed with Kyle MacLachlan’s performance, without which this goofiness wouldn’t have even a whiff of authenticity. However, I have to say I hope this storyline evolves past this stuff sooner rather than later. My disbelief is wearing thin and I just want Coop to get his brains back already. Or, surely, at least someone should see fit to take him to the hospital.
My qualms with simpleton Cooper aside (oh, and that exploding car, which looked really rather poor), episode five is a compelling, jam-packed mix of Twin Peaks old and new. By far the most startling and cool reveal is that BOB is still inside of Evil Cooper. It seems the doppelganger is not just BOB but he’s not entirely his own entity either and I’m extremely anxious to learn more. Damn good joe!
Read Joe’s review of the previous episode, here.