This review contains spoilers.
3.6 Don’t Die
The premiere of Twin Peaks’ return had little in it that felt like classic Twin Peaks and it was Lynchian to the max, making for a tough but engrossing watch. The following episodes introduced some levity and seemed to be steering us inchingly back toward the familiar town.
Well, that’s all over now. Welcome back to Lynchtown, population: what the ever-loving fudge?
In an odd way, this is welcome. If the show is going to drip feed me plot developments as slowly and infrequently as it has been, keeping me in the dark about mostly everything, I’m good with it leaning into the unsettling, confusing stuff. What’s always true of David Lynch is you can be perplexed, frustrated, and maybe even occasionally bored, but it’s difficult to go away from his work not feeling emotionally affected.
I’ve stated this before, but my gut emotional reaction (terribly unquantifiable though that is) is the only way I can think to gauge the quality of new Twin Peaks. It’s very hard to assess in terms of conventional television storytelling because it often eschews any attempt at such a thing. In this episode in particular, so many new plot threads and characters were introduced, yet we barely returned to any of them. Yes, some were developments in ongoing plots, but those were tiny (for example, all we saw Hawk do was pry off a bathroom door).
Beyond that, we had entirely new stuff like Carl Rodd (Harry Dean Stanton, reprising his role from Fire Walk With Me) witnessing the hit and run of a child. In addition, we had a dwarf who kills people with an ice pick to rap music. These things are tied to previous plot elements we’ve seen: the hit and run was perpetrated by Richard Horne (Eamon Farren), who we met last episode, and the murderous dwarf is under orders from Patrick Fischler’s character, Duncan Todd, who showed up in Part 2, working for some unknown, frightening figure. However, this new stuff is so insane it doesn’t illuminate anything; it just mucks everything up more.
To be clear, I’m not really complaining. Well, I’m only half-complaining, I suppose. I can’t deny that this “new info upon new info” storytelling approach is at times irritating. But did it shock me? Did it unsettle me? Did it leave me wondering what crazy crap Lynch and Mark Frost are going to pull next? Hell yes, it did. Further, the times I was bored were with the continuation of the most consistent plot so far, the Dougie/Coop plot (Dougie’s boss sure spent a long time looking over those files). Well, okay, I also got a little tired of that scene with Richard Horne and the weird dime guy who seemed to be doing a bad Crispin Glover impression (or, one could argue, a completely accurate Crispin Glover impression).
The bottom line here is that it’s very difficult to critically break down deep, mind-screwing, Lynch stuff and that’s what this episode is. I’m still waiting for Dougie/Coop to snap out of it already. (Does he ever have to go number two? Look, I’m serious; the show’s made a big thing of depicting the times he needs to pee, so this seems like it might soon be a pressing issue.) But I didn’t have a lot of time to obsess over Dougie this time around since I also met Diane (Laura Dern, which is really not surprising at all), watched a dwarf gruesomely murder people to a rap beat (highly disturbing), and witnessed the death of a child (both over-the-top campy and unsettling at once).
Was it a good episode? I don’t know, man. I just know it messed me up good. This is some Blue Rose shit and it doesn’t get any bluer.
Read Joe’s review of the previous episode, Case Files, here.