Milo Garner reviews the next chapter of David Lynch’s return to Twin Peaks.
WARNING: This review contains spoilers.
Part 6 of the Twin Peaks comeback kicks off where 5 ended, with Dougie-Coop (Kyle MacLachlan) alone, entranced by a cowboy statue outside his insurance firm. And so the familiar model is replicated, with Cooper, part-zombie, being led along by kindly members of his world, while near-oblivious to everything going on in it. This time there is some change – the police officer that first escorts him home realises that he has some kind of genuine problem, something most other characters have failed to verbally articulate. Beyond this, we are given some tentative teases to Coop’s inevitable return (perhaps this is ‘the return’ heralded in the series’ title?), with him looking longingly at the cop’s police badge. However tantalising these little tags are, there is a continuing sense that the audience’s patience is being tried. But then we are pulled back in – following strange glowing marks (like in the casino in Parts 3 and 4), Coop seemingly unveils some inconsistencies in papers he was given by his boss, albeit chooses to reveal them in strange childlike drawings. What this is leading to is, of course, obscure, but engaging enough that it isn’t an enormous issue. The other side of this storyline concern Dougie’s outstanding debts with various crooks, this time with Naomi Watts’ Janey-E taking charge. It can’t be understated the amount Watts’ raises the acting bar in Twin Peaks – her performance is constantly and consistently great, and in honesty shows up some of the more ‘TV’ acting that has always pervaded the series (intentionally or not). Hopefully, her character has somewhere to go beyond this side part, as it would be a shame to see her relegated to the side for good.
But on the subject of tantalising teases – one in this episode is probably one of the biggest surprises of the season. Laura Dern makes her Peaks debut in a role that has been present since 1990, and though her screen time is only a few seconds, hers is a reveal we were all waiting for (even if we didn’t know it). Another big hitter an appearance is Harry Dean Stanton, reprising his character Carl Rodd from Fire Walk with Me. His role in the episode is very small, and it could well just be a cameo of sorts, but nonetheless, it’s nice to see some Lynch veterans appearing every episode or so. His main act is one of witnessing another – a terrible crime committed by Eamon Farren’s reckless rebel Richard Horne. In a sequence that was painfully telegraphed, yet still shockingly graphic, Richard runs down a child in the street while speeding. Stanton’s character sees something, maybe a spirit, rise to the sky – that’s all we know for now. As for Farren himself, he had just encountered another of Twin Peaks’ new and sinister residents, the ominously (hey, just like the -) named Red (Balthazar Getty). Red is seemingly in the drug business, and in a wonderfully intimidating performance, terrifies Richard via the use of some fairly advanced coin tricks – he flips a dime in the air where it remains suspended, before reappearing in Richard’s mouth, and then back in Red’s palm. But despite his efforts, he isn’t the scariest moment of this episode, nor is Richard’s hit-and-run the most shocking. In what appears to be a fresh strand, we are introduced to a new character – a murderous dwarf (Christophe Zajac-Denek) who seems set on taking Dougie’s life (no, not that one). Wielding an ice-pick, we follow him as he murders two women, one in graphic detail. As if Coop needed more problems.
As ever, despite running near an hour, we are left knowing little more, and with more questions than answers by the time the credits are played out. That a traditional weekly airing schedule has been chosen over the binge-friendly Netflix drop might not help the series itself, as it feels like something that would benefit from long concentrated doses, but it will keep the audience in a state of constant suspense for the next few months. And that’s no bad thing.
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.