Milo Garner reviews the sixteenth chapter of Lynch’s revival series.
WARNING: This review contains spoilers.
‘I am the FBI.’
We have waited a long time for these words. I don’t mean a long time since the original series, which aired before my own birth, nor even from the build-up to this new series, with its slow trickle of trailers and set photos. Within the series itself, in these first 16 parts, the Twin Peaks audience has been collectively holding its breath for this moment. At first it seemed inevitable; that it would maybe come a few episodes in. Then it started to seem like a mid-series twist. Then, perhaps, something that might never happen. The Lynch who brought back ‘Just You’ could easily have deprived his audience of something they actually wanted – it would be almost typical. But, in this penultimate episode, we have been granted our innermost desire, allowing this this sole moment almost to overshadow one of Twin Peaks’ otherwise finest episodes.
I am, of course, referring to the words spoken by Coop, moments after his return. Not Bob Coop, or Dougie Coop – this is special agent Dale Cooper, back as he was all those years ago. Kyle MacLachlan effortlessly slips back into the character (marking the third persona he has portrayed in this series), bringing his charm, cheerful demeanour, and supportive yet dutiful attitude immediately to the fore. As he awakens from a coma induced by an electric shock last week (electricity has been a recurring theme in the revival), Badalamenti’s classic soundtrack emerges and takes us all back, closing what could be the longest slow burn in television. The remainder of the episode gives us precious little time with the man himself; we see only his departure from Dougie’s family to catch a flight to Twin Peaks. But it’s enough, for now. Hopefully the final two hours will give us all the time we need.
Besides this, however, an excellent episode exists, and some storylines are actually tied up(!) The first of these is Richard Horne’s, who appears to be the son of Bob Coop, and finds himself dead by a trap meant for his father. This isn’t a plotline that really went anywhere, but at least there’s some closure. Another plotline for which progress seems alien is the double-team of Chantal and Mitch, who are seen often despite their lack of activity. They await Dougie at his home, hoping to kill him, though for them it is already too late. A neighbour approaches them and tells them to get out of his driveway, which they are partially blocking – they refuse and he rams them with his car. This triggers a ridiculous gunfight which finds Chantal and Mitch dead, riddled with bullets, in what might be the least-predictable action scene of the entire series. The Mitchum brothers look on. ‘People are under a lot of stress, Bradley,’ says Rodney.
Elsewhere, Diane’s story also seems to conclude, with Bob Coop inducing her to attempt to kill her FBI colleagues. It isn’t so simple as that – Diane is clearly resisting this inner urge in a great scene of tension and insecurity. As it turns out, Diane herself was but another double, and when she is shot she returns to the Red Room, leaving there another seed. But the best non-Coop-related scene is yet to come. Towards the end of the episode comes Audrey, with her story finally moving forwards. Now she is at the Roadhouse, though perhaps not the Roadhouse we know. It is announced that ‘Audrey’s Dance’, a track from the original Twin Peaks soundtrack, will be played by the band. Sure enough, they play that very tune, and suitably Audrey has a lonesome dance in the middle of the abandoned dance floor, with a crowd looking in from a distance. A beautifully surreal moment, this is another moment of payoff after some weeks of frustrating build-up. This scene also confirms a theory some had about Audrey’s current state, as at its conclusion she appears to ‘wake up’. She is in a bright white room, looking in a mirror. What, why, and where, we wonder collectively. With only a couple of hours left, and a good number more questions that need answering, Lynch has his work cut out in concluding Twin Peaks: the next double-part episode might possibly be the last ever. But even if it fails to completely satisfy our wonderings, the journey was more than worth it.
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.