‘Twin Peaks: The Return’ – Parts 3 & 4 Review

Milo Garner reviews the next two chapters of David Lynch’s return to Twin Peaks.

Shortly after its double-bill return, another two parts of the revived Twin Peaks hit our screens. In contrast to the plot overload offered in that initial feature-length presentation, here the narrative focuses in, offering both stranger and more recognisable elements of the Twin Peaks mythos across the pair.

Part 3 opens boldly – following Coop’s (Kyle MacLachlan) disappearance inside the New York glass box last episode, we find him in some otherworldly, purplish place. This entire sequence is what I look for most in my Lynchian adventures, and is a marvel to behold. Moving across a room also occupied by an eyeless woman in a red velvet dress (Nae Yuuki), the picture stutters – frames are skipped, repeated, or otherwise manipulated to give the scene an unnerving, even distressing tone. The audio acts likewise, with a jumbled and broken feeling to it. But everything is going exactly as intended. The closest comparison to be drawn here is not to Twin Peaks, but in this case Eraserhead. Elements of the body horror that so defined that film are here, as well as the unsettling and quite disturbing contradictions of cinematic norms. As would be expected, this scene also plants some currently unexplained seeds – the number ‘15’ is added to the phone book of non-sequitur numerals that is slowly building across the series.

Another is shown to us as the lady leads Coop to the top of the room he found himself in, revealing it to be a Tardis-like bigger-on-the-inside structure floating in space; after her departure we see Major Briggs’s (Don Davis) face float across the cosmos, speaking only ‘Blue Rose’. Very strange, very exciting. Coop then returns to the room, and finds what seems to be a contraption that will lead him back to reality – bad news for Bob, who had been assuming Cooper’s form, and who begins to feel the pull of the Red Room. But he manages to avoid this fate, as a third (!) Cooper enters the frame – Dougie, a seeming no-mark who lives near Vegas, whose finger is adorned with a ring last seen in the Twin Peaks prequel film, Fire Walk With Me. In another Eraserhead-esque moment, Dougie throws up some meaty, bloody goop, and is transported to the Red Room. Bob’s Coop remains in reality, and now the real Coop is back, in place of Dougie, though in a childlike state that renders him unable to speak any words that he hasn’t had spoken at him. He might be back, but he’s a long way from the Coop we know and love, at least for now.

Following this (welcome) madness, classic Twin Peaks gets injected into the mix, with some banter between Lucy (Kimmy Robertson), Andy (Harry Goaz), and Hawk (Michael Horse). It might feel a bit stilted and, of course, weird, but it serves as some excellent shelter to the storm that Lynch has been conjuring for most of the series so far. In mentioning Lynch, the return of his acting role should also be mentioned. Gordon Cole is back in business, and is on the case of the glass box in New York. He and Albert (Miguel Ferrer) have some great lines and recapture the chemistry they had in the original series without fault, even more than between Andy and Lucy.

Part 4, however, goes even further to reaffirm that this is still very much Twin Peaks, settling for a less strange (if only a little) and more humorous tone. It also introduces some more new talent, most notably Naomi Watts (veteran of Lynch masterpiece Mullholland Drive), who plays Dougie’s wife at perfect pitch. She tasks herself with trying to get Dougie, or rather the reborn Cooper, to function normally again, which leads to predictable but ever entertaining antics. These include but are not limited to: a tie wrapped round Coop’s head rather than his neck; Coop forgetting and then realising how to pee; and Coop attempting to gulp smouldering coffee in a sudden remembrance that it’s his thing – this to the sound of Brubeck’s ‘Take Five’, no less. Returning to the police station in Twin Peaks we are both reunited with a ridiculously old looking Bobby (Dana Ashbrook), now a member of the force, and are also introduced to Andy and Lucy’s son, portrayed in a wonderful cameo by Michael Cera. He gives a straight and deadpan speech on his various exploits and philosophies as a biker (a purposeful homage to Marlon Brando – hence the character’s name: Wally Brando), and is a great diversion from everything else going on. I don’t expect Cera to return, but he’s made his mark.

These two parts do much to affirm what this new series of Twin Peaks will be – apparently both a bout of Lynch’s cinematic weirdness without losing the essence of what made Twin Peaks so loved (though it might still be a little too strange for the more casual fans). More interestingly is that this, so far, is working. With many characters yet to be reintroduced and some of the plot strands from the first couple of episodes still hanging, it should be said that this series is still getting started – but what a start.

Twin Peaks: The Return airs Mondays at 2am in simulcast with the U.S. on Sky Atlantic, and then is repeated 9pm on Tuesdays.

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