This Twin Peaks review contains spoilers.
Twin Peaks: The Return – Season 3, Episode 7
This episode was almost the opposite of the last one. Part 6 showed very little interest in illuminating existing plot threads, instead introducing all manner of new madness paired with a heavy dose of disturbing imagery. Part 7 kindly takes strides toward making some sense of what we already know and only a few minorly gross things happen!
Take my use of “strides” and “some sense” with a grain of salt, though. It’s just that, with the pace of this series, getting a few small steps forward in plot feels like a giant leap. Regardless, it was refreshing and appreciated that we got some new, mostly comprehensible developments and also that a lot of it went down, for a change, in the town of Twin Peaks itself.
It’s amazing just how much David Lynch and Mark Frost appear to be dedicated to making all of Twin Peaks a cohesive whole. It was an awesome surprise that Annie Blackburn’s message to Laura Palmer, delivered in a dream in Fire Walk with Me, found its way into the missing pages of Laura’s diary, which have now been dug up by Hawk. However, despite this feeling like a reward for fans who have stuck with Twin Peaks across years and media, the opening scenes in the police station were unfortunately some of the weakest of the episode.
After the diary revelation, the show indulges in going down memory lane by having Frank Truman awkwardly call up his brother Harry and then, even more awkwardly, call up Doc Hayward on Skype. It’s like the show feels it needs to do its duty by acknowledging Harry’s existence, but we all know Michael Ontkean isn’t reprising his role, so we get these forced scenes of Robert Forster having a one-sided conversation with a dormant cell phone. I’m sad Harry’s not in the show, but I don’t know that this way of dealing with it is adding much.
Doc Hayward I can understand more. The actor, Warren Frost (Mark Frost’s father), died during production, so this Skype appearance is likely the creators’ desire to include him in the Twin Peaks universe one last time. Though I appreciate the sentiment, the scene is extremely clumsy. First, we have a conversation between Frank and the doctor about whether he knows what Skype is. Then, once on Skype, Hayward’s only contribution to the mystery is to reaffirm that Coop was acting strange when he came out of the Black Lodge. Other than that, the two men just make corny jokes about fishing. There’s never even a justification for why this had to be a Skype call when they were already on the phone together previously. And it’s also glaringly odd that Truman doesn’t ask how the rest of Hayward’s family is doing.
I don’t mean to be cold. As mentioned, I get why this is in the show, but, unlike the Log Lady’s scene in the first episode that was both moving and plot-integral, this feels ham-fisted and largely unnecessary (though I guess the information that Evil Coop was seen in the intensive care ward could come back later).
Speaking of reaffirmation, Diane seeing the evil Mr. C doesn’t do much except confirm for the millionth time that it’s not the Cooper we all know and love. But they get away with it because, after finally meeting Diane, we were waiting to see her do something. Plus, we learned that Mr. C did something horrible to Diane that apparently soured her relationship with the entire FBI. I think it’s cool that Diane has turned out to be a surly customer. I don’t know what I expected, but it somehow feels like a subversion of it. However, I found her saying “fuck you” to everyone a bit corny. Still, Laura Dern is a great actor and her scene with Gordon after meeting with Evil Dale is perhaps the best of the episode.
Moving more plots forward, it’s cool and terrifying that the core conflict has been reinvigorated as Mr. C is now out of prison. Horror looms! Further, it was exciting to see the dwarf assassin easily taken down by Dougie/Coop, indicating to us that Coop’s FBI training is still with him. I enjoyed the new stuff we were learning so much that my heart sank a little when the episode ended. I wanted more! (I less enjoyed watching that guy sweep the Roadhouse. I rarely feel like David Lynch is stretching scenes out purely to screw with us, but in this case… come on, David.)
A stray thought: it’s incredible how instantly transporting the old Twin Peaks score is. When Andy was standing on that road and the spooky part of Laura Palmer’s theme kicked in, it was, for that instant, like we were back in the old Twin Peaks. I know I shouldn’t expect too much of the old stuff to return, but I must admit that, going forward, I hope those music cues show up more regularly.