Milo Garner reviews the latest chapter in David Lynch’s revival series.
WARNING: This review contains spoilers.
Part 15 of Twin Peaks opens with a moment that has been building for, quite literally, decades. We first see Nadine, apparently invested in a new life after her meeting with Jacoby, clinging to one of his golden shovels. She tells Ed she is sorry for holding him down, and for guilting him into remaining in a loveless marriage. Ed, along with any sensible member of the audience, is taken aback at this – whatever the complexity of their relationship, Nadine was far more the victim of Ed’s extramarital intentions than the other way around. But nonetheless, Nadine seems happy. Ed, with a fresh vigour of his own, sets out to the diner in search of his long (if poorly-kept) secret love – Norma. At first it seems he is rebuked, and so he sits hopelessly.
Then, to the sound of Otis Redding’s ‘I’ve Been Loving You Too Long’, Norma approaches him. After all these years, they might finally love one another truly. It’s a perfect moment, and one of extreme catharsis and finality. A lingering sense of depression has often hovered over the many denizens of Twin Peaks, who haven’t particularly changed over the last two-and-a-half decades, and Ed’s own demons were highlighted in particular earlier in the season. That both he and Nadine have found some solace, despite their situations, is a rare moment of optimistic warmth to be found in Lynch’s strange world.
Elsewhere, the strangeness again prevails. Dougie-Coop finds himself back to his usual attempts at basic movement, at which point he turns on his television(!). Playing is Billy Wilder’s 1950 film Sunset Boulevard, at the scene shortly after Norma believed that she had convinced Cecil DeMille into getting ‘the old team together again’ in an attempt to revive her long-dead career. DeMille is less than impressed (though he doesn’t show it at the time), and denigrates Norma behind her back. But Coop is transfixed, the key to why being in what DeMille says next – ‘Get Gordon Cole’. The name, shared by Lynch’s own character in Twin Peaks, was originally derived from the film (a personal favourite film of his), making this an interesting full-circle in terms of the character’s development. Seeing Coop apparently recognize a part of his former life isn’t new, but remains thrilling as ever. Following this apparent revelation, Coop gets on the floor and inspects his plug socket (much like the one he emerged from way back in Part 1), before sticking his fork into it and electrocuting himself. As one would expect. But I get the feeling that he’s almost there, and that’s not just because we’re a few episodes from series’ end.
Otherwise we return to Audrey’s incredibly drawn-out conversation with husband Charlie. It’s unclear how long this discussion has been taking place, be it hours or days (or indeed, if it’s in any physical place, or some coma-induced fantasy), but it seems as endless to the characters as it does to the audience. Once again it’s a lot of back-and-forthing about going to the Roadhouse to find Billy, and once again it ends without any sort of progress being made. It’s difficult to make out much of the purpose in this section as of yet, and also difficult to care. Perhaps in retrospect it will fall into place. More curiously is Bob-Coop’s venture into the monochrome world that hosts the spooky woodsmen of episodes past. He travels through various locations (or maybe dimensions) to meet Phillip Jeffries. Visually this sequence is one of the series’ highlights, and it certainly works to counterpoint the episode’s opening: joyous domesticity replaced by unnerving darkness. Jeffries himself is here manifested as a sort of bell-shaped kettle exuding a smoke-like substance, in a bizarre attempt to replace David Bowie without actually going so far as to replace David Bowie. It’s a shame, too, as Blackstar-era Bowie would have been a perfect fit for this new Lynchian nightmare. The smoke leaving his spout eventually forms into numbers which Bob-Coop duly notes down. All very obscure, as usual, but consistently captivating – and overall it looks as though Twin Peaks is set to go out on a high. It might eclipse even the original run.
Twin Peaks: The Return airs Mondays at 2am in simulcast with the U.S. on Sky Atlantic, and is then repeated at 9pm on Tuesdays.