An old prophecy returns.
Twin Peaks: The Return’s 10th episode marked the official start of the season’s second half, and after the plot-heavy episode we got last week, most folks were expecting this week’s to begin threading the narrative’s many loose strands into the same loom for eventual weaving. And for the most part, that’s exactly what we got. Lots to unpack here, so let’s dive right in.
Things begin in the town of Twin Peaks. A crappy car pulls up to a crappy trailer amidst a beautiful Northwestern setting. In the car, Richard Horne; in the trailer, Miriam Sullivan, the teacher who witnessed Richard run down a little boy a few episodes back. She tells him she’s already informed the Deer Meadow police and doesn’t know why he hasn’t already been arrested. For good measure, she also sent a letter to Sheriff Truman telling him the story (since Richard is a Twin Peaks resident) and further protecting herself. Richard hears all this and just has one question: did Miriam post that letter today? She did in fact. Richard storms her trailer. A violent ruckus is heard, but not seen. Moments later, Richard steps outside and makes a call to Deputy Chad telling him about the letter and demanding he intercept it. I knew Chad was more than just a garden-variety asshole. Richard flees the scene but the camera remains and moves inside the trailer to reveal Miriam’s body in a pool of blood. Look closely, however, and Miriam’s still breathing, though it sounds like Richard has left the gas running on the stove, so her survival might be, literally, short-lived (or that hissing could be the soundtrack, tough to tell).
Cut to the Fat Trout Trailer Park where we’re treated to Harry Dean Stanton – who turned 91 last week – as Carl Rodd singing a folksy ditty on his guitar (buy his album here). A (waiting-room) red coffee mug shatters this scene, as well as a window in a trailer across the way. The mug was thrown from inside the trailer, and accompanying it are the sounds of argument. Carl seems used to this particular disturbance. Inside the trailer we see Becky Barnett (Amanda Seyfried) for the first time in several episodes, and she’s being beaten and berated by her husband Steven (Caleb Landry Jones), who’s obviously tweaked out of his fucking mind. This is a sad sort of history repeating here, Becky, the daughter of Shelly (father still unknown), enduring the same sort of abuse her mother did while married to Leo Johnson.
In Las Vegas, Rodney Mitchum (Robert Knepper) the Casino boss makes a surprising return. He’s in his suite going through surveillance logs while Candie (Amy Shiels) – still in powderpuff-pink showgirl attire – tries to snap a fly out of the air. She ends up killing it by smacking Rodney across the face with the TV remote. Hard. This brings Rodney’s brother Bradley (Jim Belushi) running into the room to see what the clamor’s all about. General comedic chaos ensues.
Elsewhere in Vegas, Janey-E has “Dougie” in the Doctor’s office. As she’s explaining the situation, the Doctor notices Dougie’s ripped physique. As the examination progresses, everything sounds great, reads great, looks great. Dougie is in tip-top shape, better than he’s been in memory. Janey’s noticing the weight loss too, and gives Dougie a different kind of look. A bedroom kind of look.
Back in the suite with Rodney and Candie, the other showgirls Mandie and Sheena have joined the recuperation party. Candie is still bereft, even though Rodney insists he’s fine. On a news broadcast in the background, Rodney notices a story about Ike the Spike getting busted. He shares the news with Bradley and tells him to call off the hit they have on Ike. Then the news reveals why Ike is being arrested: the assassination attempt on Dougie Jones, who of course Rodney and Bradley recognize from his jackpot-spree at the casino. Put a pin in this, there’s more later.
At the Jones’ household, Janey’s wearing red shoes. Seduction shoes. Audrey shoes. She’s watching Dougie eat cake like she wishes she was the fork. She asks if he finds her attractive. He chews his answer. She finds him attractive, is the thing. Dougie seems attracted to cake and cake alone, but Janey doesn’t care. She’s got that feeling. And so next we see them they’re full-on boning. Naturally, Janey’s in charge, and makes a racket that wakes Sonny-Jim. Something tells me their sex life isn’t normally this expressive. Coop’s elated, and naturally so; that Janey’s a firecracker.
Then darkness. Ten seconds of it. Fifteen. Like an act break. Then we’re with Dr. Amp/Jacoby a he’s recording his latest vlog, a rant on pharmaceutical companies, among other things. Nadine watches on her computer like a schoolgirl with a crush while sipping on a strawberry shake. Then there’s a weird cut to a storefront called “Run Silent Run Drapes” (no doubt a pun on Run Silent Run Deep, the Clark Gable/Burt Lancaster submarine movie). The drapes slide open – silently, of course – and there’s one of Dr. Amp’s gold shovels in the display window. This is Nadine’s drape-runner store, I assume, and she’s obviously a big consumer of what the Doc is cooking, which is mostly anti-government diatribes, plus a feverish solicitation for listeners to buy a shovel and dig themselves out of the shit.
The next morning at the Jones’ house Janey is still buzzing from last night’s lovemaking. She’s enraptured with Dougie in a way we can tell she’s never been before. Even after 25 years in an alternate dimension and barely half-coherent, Coop still has a way with the ladies. That must be some Douglas Fir he’s packing.
Speaking of trees, Jerry Horne’s in the woods again, checking his phone and screaming to nothing, “You can’t fool me, I’ve been here before!” I know it seems like a throwaway, but I’m getting really interested in this storyline. Jerry’s obviously going to have a Black Lodge encounter sometime soon, but it sounds like it might not be his first.
At the Sheriff’s station, Deputy Chad’s looking for the mail to intercept Richard’s letter. Lucy wonders what he’s up to, and Chad, in typical Chad-fashion, is a real dick about it, while Lucy, in true Lucy fashion, is kind of oblivious to this. Then the mailman shows up. Chad saves him the trouble of bringing it in. Lucy, though, ever sharp, watches out the window and sees him pocket the letter from Miriam. Thing is, if you notice the return address on the letter Chad takes, it says “Miriam Hodges,” and Miriam’s last name, as I mentioned in the first paragraph and as corroborated by last night’s credits, is “Sullivan.” That means Chad might have the wrong letter.
Whoever sent it, Richard gets a text that Chad has the letter. He’s on his way somewhere, and it turns out to be the Horne house, as in Sylvia Horne’s house. Johnny Horne, it seems, wasn’t killed by his run-in with the wall last episode, he was just severely injured and is now stuck at home tied to a chair in front of a teddy bear with a lightbulb in a fishbowl for a head that keeps saying “Hello Johnny, how are you today?” I feel like that’s the most Lynchian sentence I’ve ever written. Sylvia hears a car pull up and meets Richard in the driveway. She’s very, very nonplussed to see him. And then Richard says it: “Hey Grandma.” Confirmation right there, this is Audrey’s son (assuming Johnny hasn’t engaged in procreation, which seems highly unlikely and narratively pointless). The only question left is, who’s the father? Bad Coop? John Justice Wheeler from season 2? Someone new? The answer has to be bad Coop. We’ve already seen Richard kill two people without blinking, he’s a full-blown psychopath. Which means bad Coop raped Audrey while she was in a coma following the bank vault explosion at the end of season 2. That is the darkest shit imaginable, and I say that without knowing bad Coop’s intentions, but shuddering to think what they might be. Sylvia threatens to call the Sheriff, but Richard wants money. She tells him to go ask his grandfather, seemingly indicating she and Ben aren’t together anymore. No surprise there, they shouldn’t have been together when we first met then a quarter-century ago. Richard gets violent and crude with his grandmother and she offers up her purse, but he wants the safe, the combination. 9047. I tried to determine if these numbers mean anything, but the closest I got was the premiere date of the original Twin Peaks pilot, which was April 8, 1990, or 4/8/90, or 9048, but that’s probably just me fishing for relevance. Johnny gets agitated, he doesn’t like seeing his mother hurt. Richard robs the safe and her purse, after all, then grabs some jewelry and silver for good measure. The teddy bear’s talking this whole time, “Hello Johnny, how are you today?” and the voice sounds a lot like Malcolm McDowell in A Clockwork Orange, which is unnerving as hell. Richard calls his grandma the c-word then splits. Charmer, this one. Totally Bad Coop’s kid.
Vegas again. Duncan Todd (Patrick FIschler) gets the news about Ike’s incarceration and calls Anthony (Tom Sizemore), Dougie’s co-worker, to his side. Anthony is asked if he knows the Mitchum Brothers, Rodney and Bradley. Duncan wants Anthony to visit them and basically trick them into thinking they’ve been screwed by Dougie; if they won’t kill Dougie as a result, then Anthony has to.
And then, the most shocking scene in Twin Peaks’ history: Albert Rosenfield is on a freaking date! It’s with Constance Talbot (Jane Adams), the coroner in Buckhorn, South Dakota, where he, Cole, Tammy Preston, and Diane are still hanging out. Tammy and Cole watch from afar with a body language between them that says they’re much, much closer than co-workers should be.
Vegas is the hotspot this episode. We’re in the Silver Mustang Casino this time, where Rodney and Bradley are watching the surveillance cameras when Anthony shows up. After midnight. This is unusual, and they obviously know but don’t like Anthony, but their curiosity is piqued. They send Candie, with some effort, to bring him to them. They watch onscreen as she takes a super long time to accomplish this basic task. Eventually the Mitchum Brothers run out of patience and radio them to come back toot suite. Anthony enters. The Mitchum’s want to know what Candie was talking about? The weather, apparently. Moving on, Anthony makes his pitch as ordered: the Mitchum’s newest hotel, which burned down a few months ago, was officially ruled arson. But Dougie Jones, Anthony says, was the primary investigator on that case and seemed to have a personal vendetta against the brothers so did everything in his power to make sure the claim wasn’t paid. Anthony tells them they have an enemy in Dougie. Their response is to have Candie to show him out. Anthony reiterates the “enemy” line before going.
Back in their suite, though, the Mitchum Brothers are fuming. Rodney tells Bradley to set up a meeting with this Dougie Jones, who deprived them of 30 million in change, or so they’ve been led to believe. This, tied with Dougie’s jackpot spree at the Silver Mustang, has them murderous.
In another hotel in South Dakota, Cole is enjoying a glass of red wine and sketching a spotted deer with a hand reaching out for it. There’s a knock on the door. Cole opens it, and sees flashback hallucinations of Laura Palmer crying (from Fire Walk With Me), along with the sound of Sarah Palmer’s voice calling for her daughter (which I think is audio from the original pilot). The vision fades and Albert is standing there. He hasn’t seen any of this. Cole invites him in. Albert has the text Diane received last episode, the text from bad Coop: “around the dinner table the conversation is lively.” He says she replied to this in an encrypted message Tammy managed to decode: “they have Hastings, they’re going to the site.” Oh fuck! Diane’s working with bad Coop!! Cole has already sensed this, saying he knew it when she hugged him, and he and Albert vow to watch her closer. Then Tammy shows up and asks if they remember the penthouse murders in NYC, referring to the box-monster space seen in the pilot. They, of course, do. She has a photo from one of the earliest memory cards found on the scene, in which bad Coop is clearly visible, talking to an unidentified bald man with a short beard and glasses, a monk possibly. “This is something, this is really something,” Cole says.
Ben Horne’s on the phone with Sylvia, who’s telling him about the attack by Richard. Richard got away with thousands, she says, and she wants Ben to cover her losses. He refuses, and so she’s calling a lawyer. Thus ends the call. So divorced they are, but Ben still wears a wedding ring, obviously on display following this exchange. Sylvia wore one as well, I noticed. Masking his distress, Ben asks if Beverly wants to have dinner with him. She is unseen, and her answer unheard.
Then the most significant moment yet: Margaret Lanterman, The Log Lady, is on the phone with Hawk delivering another cryptic message: “Hawk, the electricity is humming. You hear it in the mountains and rivers, you see it dance among the seas and stars, and glowing around the moon, but in these days, the glow is dying. What will be in the darkness that remains? The Truman brothers are both true men. They are your brothers. And the others, the good ones, who have been with you. Now the circle is almost complete. Watch and listen to the dream of time, and space. It all comes out now, flowing like a river. That which is, and is not. Hawk, Laura is the one.” This quote struck me as a reference to the first “Log Lady Intro” to Twin Peaks episodes when they aired in Germany: “Welcome to Twin Peaks. My name is Margaret Lanterman. I live in Twin Peaks. I am known as the Log Lady. There is a story behind that. There are many stories in Twin Peaks–some of them are sad, some funny. Some of them are stories of madness, of violence. Some are ordinary. Yet they all have about them a sense of mystery–the mystery of life. Sometimes, the mystery of death. The mystery of the woods. The woods surrounding Twin Peaks. To introduce this story, let me just say it encompasses the all– it is beyond the ‘fire’, though few would know that meaning. It is a story of many, but begins with one–and I knew her. The one leading to the many is Laura Palmer. Laura is the one.” These intros were written by Lynch, so the connection to last night’s episode is definitely intentional.
And then it’s the episode’s last call at The Bang Bang Bar, where Rebekah del Rio belts out a great song while wearing a GREAT dress. You might remember her as the songstress from Club Silencio in Mulholland Drive. I listened to her album “All My Life” while writing this post, it’s beautiful, check it out.
So, another narratively-heavy episode, which I’ve seen some people complaining about, but this is the meat, folks, this is the main course, and it’s just now starting to come out of the kitchen. Highlights this week include the best joke of the series’ entire run – Run Silent Run Drapes – and boasted a standout performance by Amy Shiels, “Candie,” who was both hilarious and heartbreaking at the same time, a delicate and difficult feat. Some disturbing doors were opened further – the Richard Horne plotline, the Becky Barnett plotline – and some hope was shed in typically cryptic fashion by Ms. Lanterman. This episode, for me, felt most like the Twin Peaks of old, a little heavier on the quirk with dashes of brutality. But still no Audrey Horne. I am reversing my position and going back to the opinion that she’s dead, maybe she died in comatose childbirth, or killed herself when she learned what happened or realized what Richard was, but either way I’m back to believing when we finally see her, it will be in a Lodge-context, not a real-world one. Bottom line, though, the stars are definitely turning, and the time is definitely near.
10 down, eight to go. See you next week.