While not the most overtly action packed, aside from a gruesome arm wrestling win by Evil Cooper (Kyle MacLachlan), “Part 13” displayed numerous scenes of utter depression and heart break that ultimately made for an hour of television that felt as emotionally exhausting as an hour of therapy. While one side of the brain is busy trying to tally up all the many ways and instances in which actual cherry pie has had the ability to save actual lives so far in The Return, the other half is occupied with reaching for meaning in clues dropped by Audrey Horne (Sherilyn Fenn), whose performance here was far more vulnerably unhinged than the violently unhinged one given in her return to the world of Twin Peaks in “Part 12”. Although, hearing her say things like “I’m not sure who I am, but I’m not me,” and realizing that she’s forgotten how to get to the Roadhouse, a place she must have been to at least a thousand times in her young life, you have to wonder if we, even after 13 parts, are right in our assumptions of what she’s “returned” to.
Have you noticed that the town we know as Twin Peaks is the only location in The Return to not be given setting text? Any time we’re taken to Buckhorn, South Dakota, Las Vegas, or, in tonight’s installment, Western Montana, we’re told exactly where we are by text on the screen … but not for the location of Twin Peaks. It would be easy to assume that’s because we are all very familiar with the scenery of Twin Peaks and don’t need a written reminder that that’s where a scene is taking place. Or a more complicated explanation could be that Twin Peaks is not now, and has never been a true “place” in the way that we initially imagined. We could all very well be in the process of learning that Twin Peaks is more of a “realm,” or “an idea,” which, given that viewers of Lynch’s work are often told not to look for concrete answers in it, but simply enjoy the experience of watching it … is some first rate meta shit.
“Part 13” begins with the Mitchum Brothers (Jim Belushi and Robert Knepper) along with Dougie/Cooper, doing a conga line through Lucky 7 Insurance in celebration of the Mitchum’s getting away with a hefty insurance pay-out, and Dougie/Cooper making it back from the desert alive — thanks to that good ‘ol life saving cherry pie. They dance their way to Bushnell Mullins’ (Don Murray) office and the brothers give their thanks in the form of three gifts: a box of Montecristo No. 2 cigars, monogramed diamond cufflinks, and the keys to a brand new BMW convertible. Over at the Jones residence, Janey (Naomi Watts) is signing for her family’s reward from the Mitchums, an extremely elaborate jungle gym for Sonny Jim (Pierce Gagnon) — who I still firmly believe is the host for The Giant — and a white BMW wrapped in a blood red bow. Looking from the jungle gym to the car and back again, Janey is glassy eyed with love and appreciation for a life that is not hers. The closer she gets to Dougie/Cooper, the sadder it is when we imagine how she’ll react when she learns that he isn’t her husband, and that her actual husband was turned into a gold marble. I mean, how would *anyone* react to learning that? We barely even know what *that* means. But hey, maybe Janey isn’t real either. Maybe none of this is real. Maybe we’ve all just been staring at a slice of cheese for 13 weeks while hooked up to milky pods and tubes like in the Matrix. Nothing is off the table here.
Over in Western Montana, Evil Cooper catches up to his double-crossing cohort Ray Monroe (George Griffith), who shot and left him for dead in “Part 8”. He pulls his commandeered black pickup truck into the main entrance and is then instructed via telecom to get in an elevator. Once on the main floor, he’s greeted by Ray, and a bunch of other criminal types, including (though he doesn’t see him at the time) Richard Horne (Eamon Farren), who is very likely his spawn. Evil Cooper is told that he has to arm wrestle the crew’s boss and that if he wins, he’ll be boss (which he doesn’t give a shit about), but if he loses, he has to follow the current boss’ orders or risk death. He tells them that if he wins all he wants is Ray, and then proceeds to toy with the boss for a bit — letting him kind of win, and then kind of lose — before putting the hammer down and finishing things off by basically punching through the guy’s face.
Naturally, the crew turns over a now terrified Ray and Evil Cooper puts him down with a bullet to the leg and then wrings him for information. Ray sings pretty quickly and reveals that it was, in fact, Phillip Jeffries (David Bowie) who hired Ray to kill Evil Cooper because he’s after something that’s inside him (BOB?), and that he was told to put the jade Owl Cave ring on his finger after he died. Pulling the ring from his pocket Cooper makes him put it on his own finger, gets a more specific answer as to where to find Jeffries (some place that’s not a real place called The Dutchman’s), and then shoots Ray in the head. Once dead, the Owl Cave ring falls off his finger and we see it land on the floor of the Black Lodge, where it originated from and has been a harbinger of death on behalf of ever since. Evil Cooper now has the coordinates he’s been after, which a pre-dead Ray produced from his pocket, and a better idea of where to find Jeffries. This is ramping up to a battle of epic proportions. Who’s gonna play Jeffries though? No stand-in for Bowie will do.
At the Las Vegas police department, Dougie/Cooper’s fingerprints, swiped from a mug he was drinking in the waiting room, come back as belonging to someone who escaped from lockup in South Dakota who’s also an missing FBI agent, aka Cooper. Unfortunately for Dougie/Cooper, they take the results as a computer error, crumpling them up and tossing them in the trash. Behind the building, where the dirty cops of Las Vegas take their smoke breaks, Dougie/Cooper’s co-worker Anthony Sinclair (Tom Sizemore) asks a cop he’s in cahoots with, along with Duncan Todd (Patrick Fischler) in a string of insurance frauds how to poison someone without it being detected. He was given one day to do away with Dougie/Cooper once and for all by Todd and this poison has his name on it. Later, in the lobby of their office complex, Sinclair grabs Dougie/Cooper as he comes in for work and pulls him aside for a coffee at the Szymon. Distracted by cherry pie (more lifesaving pie), Dougie/Cooper leaves his co-worker with the opportunity to dump poison in his mug, but when he returns he starts playing with the huge dandruff flakes on Sinclair’s shoulders, which he takes as an act of kindness in the form of a massage, and runs away with the poisoned cup to dump it in, of all possible places, a urinal in the men’s room. He breaks down and confesses his crimes to Mullins, who let’s him know that he’s off the hook as long as he testifies against Todd, which he agrees to do. Something tells me that Sinclair is not gonna be around much longer.
We end in Twin Peaks (or is it?) proper where a series of back-to-back heart aches take place. Shelly (Mädchen Amick) gets a call during her shift at the RR from her distraught daughter Becky (Amanda Seyfried) who is upset that her shitty husband Steven (Caleb Landry Jones) hasn’t been home in two days. Shelly starts to brush her off saying it’s busy at the diner, but then backtracks and asks her to come in for some … you guessed it … life saving cherry pie. Also at the RR is Norma (Peggy Lipton), once again going over paperwork in her office/booth; Big Ed Hurley (Everett McGill), who makes his first appearance here, sitting across from Norma; and Bobby (Dana Ashbrook), who came in to see Shelly and winds up eating dinner with Big Ed. We quickly learn that Ed and Norma are no longer romantically tied when a business man with way too white of teeth comes in and kisses Norma. He seems to run the diner’s finances (which is now a franchise) and has some ideas to make the flagship store more profitable, which Norma shoots down. Nearby at Nadine’s (Wendy Robie) store, Run Silent, Run Drapes, she receives a visit from Dr. Jacoby (Russ Tamblyn), who compliments her window dressing — ahem, one of his own Dr. Amp’s shit digging shovels — and it looks like romance might be brewing. And then, it’s a banner night at the Palmer residence where we find Sarah (Grace Zabriskie) draining her vodka supply while watching a black and white boxing match that keeps repeating the same series of moves on a loop. Sad upon sad upon sad, and then it gets worse.
Yes, Audrey Horne is still pleading with her husband (?) Charlie (Clark Middleton) to tell her what someone named Tina told him on the phone in “Part 12”. She’s shaking, on the verge of tears, and coming more undone by the second when she breaks and tells him that she feels like she’s someone else, and somewhere else. The delivery of the cryptic, almost poetic message is reminiscent of other Audrey-isms; you know, like, “Do your palms ever itch?” Charlie reminds her that she had intended to go to the Roadhouse to look for her lover Billy, and when she asks him how far the Roadhouse is, we really know something is wrong. “I’m not sure who I am, but I’m not me,” she says. To which Charlie replies, “Are you gonna stop playing games, or do I have to end your story too?” Audrey wants to know what story that is, and we’re left wondering the same. Is Charlie some sort of sadistic psychiatrist taking advantage of his wife’s weakened mental state to use her as a puppet in the play of her own life? A much larger story is at hand here, and it’ll be super interesting to see how it works out. Audrey makes mention of “the story of the little girl who lived down the lane.” Could this be in reference to the little girl in “Part 8”? The one that the BOB/frog entered? So many possibilities.
To further these possibilities, and give an example for how Lynch’s work is like a reflective pool, we see a love sick Ed Hurley at his desk in the Gas Farm as the credits roll. He’s eating soup and drinking coffee while staring out the window facing the street, and for awhile, we think that’s all that’s gonna happen, but then he picks up a small piece of folded paper, sets it on fire, and watches it burn. His face has an expression on it that’s a mix of sinister and sad. My editor (who stays up till the whee hours of the morning fixing my typos in these every week) believes that piece of paper to have been a note to Norma that Ed writes and destroys every night, abandoned and forlorn. I never even considered this to be a possibility, never really figuring Big Ed for the note passing type, and focused on the fire. The Log Lady (Catherine E. Coulson) has been telling us that “there’s fire where you are going,” and I think we just need to train our eyes and minds to see past the smoke to find it.
DAMN FINE QUOTES
“I haven’t slept for weeks. I vomited blood. I can’t live like this.” –Anthony Sinclair
“Those drapes are completely silent.” –Nadine Hurley
“I’m not sure who I am, but I’m not me.” – Audrey Horne
NEXT WEEK ON TWIN PEAKS
— Do we ever get more info on Richard and Linda?
— Where’s Laura?
— Richard seemed super interested in seeing Evil Cooper in that warehouse. Is there some generationally evil teaming up about to happen?
— Do we get to see what Jeffries is up to?
TONIGHT AT THE ROADHOUSE
Fucking James Hurley with that fucking song….