The other night I had a dream in which I was singing a funny song to myself over and over. I woke up around 3 AM having to go to the bathroom and made a mental note to remember the song, which I knew clearly at that point. When I woke up at my normal hour, all I could remember was something about “blah blah blah, and Mr. Milky.” Writing these recaps every week is similar to that experience in that as soon as the credits have completely rolled, I pick up my book of notes and run to my laptop before anything that seems to make sense at the time stops making sense. And speaking of credits, did you catch the lady in the robe lurking in front of her apartment at the very very end? Why does this all feel like an actual nightmare?
We are so close to the end. After tonight’s viewing of “Part 15”, there are only two more sit-downs till Twin Peaks: The Return is over. There’s next week, then the two-part finale, and then we’re done. Recappers of this show (myself included) keep saying part after part that it feels as though we’re getting closer to “answers,” but my instincts are telling me that we are not going to be given anywhere near the amount of answers we’re looking for two weeks from now. It’s just like in an actual dream, where half makes sense, as your sleeping brain trickles electricity and attempts to fuse together loose ends from throughout life as you’ve lived it so far, and the other half is just pure “blah blah blah, and Mr. Milky.” But we should be happy with half.
I’ll be personally happy if we get to learn who the hell that terrifying woman in the bathrobe was. There’s hope it’s an easy enough solution and we learn she’s Judy, but then I look at my notes where I scrawled “Diane’s hair color = Judy Jetson?”, and realize that we’ve all gone insane by this point and anything the hell is possible and we don’t know shit. Granted, Mark Frost has been laying out easy to follow clues for us in his book The Secret History of Twin Peaks, when he’s not otherwise wrapped up with things like tonight’s cameo as a dog owner named Cyril Pons, and it will be very interesting to read how he spreads out the 18 parts of The Return in the follow-up to that book, Twin Peaks: The Final Dossier, which comes out on Halloween. Has there ever been a show with this many reference materials before? We need all the help we can get.
“Part 15” gives us our first extended viewing of passion and love that doesn’t end with something horrific when Big Ed Hurly (Everett McGill) is finally, after years of guilty servitude to his one-eyed wife Nadine (Wendy Robie), set free. Nadine walks a great distance to Big Ed’s Gas Farm, carrying her trusty golden shovel, to tell him that she’s been selfish all these years by keeping him from Norma (Peggy Lipton), and that he should run to her, which he does, as soon as he makes sure Nadine means what she’s saying, because she’s said this to him before. Upon confirmation, Big Ed hightails it to the RR Diner, and as he enters, Otis Redding is singing “I’ve Been Loving You Too Long” from the jukebox. The song continues through this whole scene, the lyrics matching what we’re shown perfectly, acting as the perfect soundtrack for the near-tragic love affair between he and Norma.
When Big Ed sees Norma, he tells her that everything has changed now, that they can be together. But, not so fast: Norma’s man-friend Walter (Grant Goodeve) enters the diner right behind him, and Ed gets brushed off with an “I’m sorry” as Norma and Walter go sit in a booth together. Ed orders a coffee at the counter from Shelly (Mädchen Amick), adding on a side of cyanide under his breath, and then shuts his eyes, almost as though he’s wishing for what’s about to happen next. In their booth, Norma tells Walter that she wants him to buy her out of the seven RR franchises he helped her obtain, which also serves as a breakup notification. Walter says some dickish businessman stuff to her and then leaves. We then cut back over to Ed, still at the counter with his eyes closed, and slowly see Norma’s hand touch his shoulder. They kiss, he proposes, and Shelly looks on tearfully while holding a pot of coffee. As the camera takes us outside for several sunny views of the Twin Peaks scenery, the viewer can’t help but brace for something terrible, but nothing terrible happens. Could it be that Ed is the only one in town to have caught an actual break? Maybe that was some Santería shit he burned in “Part 13” and now his spell was granted? Or maybe there is such a thing as love in the world of Twin Peaks. We’ll see.
The meat of “Part 15” happens next and we follow Evil Cooper (Kyle MacLachlan) as he drives his truck down a dark stretch of road. He arrives at the convenience store we saw the woodsmen twitching in and out of in “Part 8” and Penderecki’s “Threnody to the Victims of Hiroshima” is our given soundtrack for this moment. Fitting, seeing as though we’re lead to believe that an explosion set all of this into motion. He walks up the outside stairs leading to the apartment above the store (although, it’s telling that there’s no door on the side), and tells a resident woodsman that he’s looking for Phillip Jeffries. Up to this point, we’ve been wondering what form we’d be shown for present day Jeffries, seeing how David Bowie, who played the character in Fire Walk With Me, has passed on, and the answer is: as a ball of steam blown out from a similar butt-plug-esque antenna we’ve seen before, primarily in “Part 3” when Naido (Nae Yuuki) flipped a lever on one and was blasted into space. Nathan Frizzell, an Athens, Texas born actor whose claim to fame so far has been bit parts in TV shows such as Veronica Mars, CSI, and something called Bloomers, provides the voice of Jeffries, an evolved, semi-metallic hiss with a slight Southern drawl.
What’s made abundantly clear here is that this apartment above the convenience store is not a physical structure, and neither is the convenience store. The apartment is triple the size of the actual store and Cooper walks and walks, reality glitching from his path through the apartment, to a path in the woods, and back again. He heads up an interior flight of stairs, the same stairs that Gordon Cole (David Lynch) saw the woodsmen standing on when he almost got sucked into a vortex in “Part 11”, and reaches a door. When he opens the door, he’s outside again, in front of a series of run-down apartments. He’s pointed towards one marked No. 8, but the door is locked. Don’t worry, though, the scariest person you’ve ever seen in your life comes creeping up, wearing a bathrobe, and speaks backwards to tell Evil Cooper that she can unlock it for him. Once inside, he has a back and forth with steampot Jeffries, trying to learn more about Judy. Jeffries doesn’t give him much in the way of an answer, but he does puff out numbers that could either be coordinates or a phone number, tells Evil Cooper that he’s already met Judy, and that he should get in touch himself. During this exchange, it seems as though Jeffries thinks he’s talking to the actual Cooper, and not his doppelgänger, which is curious and makes us recall Bowie’s scene in Fire Walk With Me, where he points to Cooper and asks Cole, “Who do you think that is there?” We know that there are two Coopers, but do we really know which one is which?
Soon after, Evil Cooper answers a call on a nearby rotary phone and is transported, very Matrix-like, back outside in front of the convenience store, where he’s met by the gun of Richard Horne (Eamon Farren). The two have a little exchange and we learn from Richard that his mother is, indeed, Audrey Horne, so there’s that. Strangely enough, he recognizes the man he believes to be Dale Cooper from a photograph his mom used to have a long time ago. As expected, Evil Cooper knocks him around a bit, takes his gun away, and tells him to get in the truck. How cute! It’s a father and son reunion! Before they head off, however, Evil Cooper sends a text to Diane (probably) that just reads, “Vegas?”
Speaking of which, more and more threads are being tied up in Sin City. Seeing how Anthony Sinclair (Tom Sizemore) failed his mission and confessed his sins in “Part 13”, Chantal (Jennifer Jason Leigh) goes ahead and gruesomely kills Duncan Todd (Patrick Fischler) and his assistant Roger (Joe Adler), telling her husband, Hutch (Tim Roth), that there’s “One down, one to go.” (Yes, they have post-bloodshed burgers.) With Warden Murphy (James Morrison) and now Duncan Todd out of the way, it’s safe to assume that Dougie/Cooper is the “one to go” left on that Vegas hit list. The good news is that Dougie/Cooper might be back to his Special Agent ways. While eating another piece of his beloved chocolate cake, Dougie/Cooper switches on the television, only to find Billy Wilder’s Sunset Boulevard. Wouldn’t you know, he comes across the exact moment a character named Gordon Cole appears (absolutely real, by the way), which not only startles our Starman but also seemingly electrifies a nearby electrical socket. Curious, Dougie/Cole takes his fork over to the socket and, after some struggle, jams it in, shocking himself and scaring the hell out of Janey-E (Naomi Watts).
Rest assured, some other big stuff happens: Becky’s (Amanda Seyfried) husband Steven (Caleb Landry Jones) may or may not have killed himself in the woods (possibly out of guilt for killing Becky?); James (James Marshall) and his green-gloved co-worker Freddie (Jake Wardle) land in jail with the rest of the creeps after getting into a violent brawl at the Roadhouse (all set to the tune of ZZ Top’s “Sharp Dressed Man”, mind you) with Renee’s husband Chuck, aka the Chuck from Audrey and Charlie’s ensuing conversation; and Audrey and Charlie nearly leave their house to finally make their way towards the Roadhouse, only to stall again. Perhaps someone’s suffering from a little agoraphobia? Or maybe things aren’t exactly what they seem? Maybe both. Fortunately for them, they didn’t have to see the nightmare that went down at the Roadhouse, where a young woman is physically removed from her booth by two bikers, to which she crawls away into the crowd and screams. By now, the Roadhouse has become a boiling pot of pain, aggression, and sex-ring danger. It wouldn’t surprise me if the majority of the finale took place there, with half the town erupting into violent chaos.
We close here with the saddest scene to happen in The Return so far. For one last time, Margaret Lanterman (Catherine E. Coulson), aka The Log Lady, calls Hawk (Michael Horse) to tell him she’s dying. Coulson passed away on September 28, 2015 and it’s impossible to imagine how hard it was to film this scene when both she and David Lynch knew it would be her last both on the show and in her lifetime. She leaves Hawk with some parting final words of wisdom saying, “Watch for that one. The one I told you about. The one under the moon on Blue Pine Mountain,” and then we see her cabin lights shut off for good. Goodnight, Margaret.
DAMN FINE QUOTES
“True Love is giving the other what makes them happy.” –Nadine
“Where will I be? Will I be with the rhinoceros?” –Steven
“My Log is turning gold.” –Log Lady
NEXT WEEK ON TWIN PEAKS
Did Dougie/Cooper get zapped back to Cooper status, or is he dead?
Does the Vegas FBI office find the real Jones family? And does the Blue Rose Task Force make their way to them as well?
How’s Evil Cooper and Richard’s road trip going?
TONIGHT AT THE ROADHOUSE
The Veils perform “AXOLOTL”…