An episode of connections.
We’re so close to the end I can taste it, but I can’t identify the flavor. With only five episodes before the conclusion, whatever that may be, the plot is still ramping upwards. This week’s episode was, for lack of a better word, PERFECT. It had the artistry of episode 8 and more meaningful narrative clues than any other episode this season and maybe in the entire series. I almost fainted at least four times during the episode, which it took me 90 minutes to get through because I kept having to pause and process. Deep breath, Peakies, here we go:
The story continues in Buckhorn, South Dakota, with Gordon Cole making a phone call to an old acquaintance: Lucy in Twin Peaks. After a brief catch-up, Lucy connects Cole to Sheriff Truman, whose call he’s returning. Cole thinks he’s getting Harry, but it’s Frank, who shares his brother’s condition with Cole, then goes on to bring the director up to speed on the missing pages from Laura Palmer’s diary Hawk found hidden in the station bathroom which seem to suggest there are two Coopers. Frank thought Cole might want to know this, even if the Sheriff doesn’t know what it all means. Cole can’t comment but to thank him.
Elsewhere in Buckhorn, Albert is sharing the details of Blue Rose Task Force case #1, the one that “started this whole thing,” with new recruit Tammy Preston. In 1975, he says, two young agents were sent to investigate a murder in Olympia, Washington. The agents arrived to arrest the suspect, one Lois Duffy, at a motel, but before they could apprehend her, they heard a gunshot from her room so busted in and found not one but two women there, one dying from a gunshot wound, and one holding a gun. Lois was the wounded one, and shared with them her last words: “I’m like the blue rose.” Then Albert says, almost like an incantation, “She smiles, she dies, then disappears before their eyes.” The other woman, the one holding the gun who’s screaming her head off now, is also Lois Duffy. Not a twin – they checked – but another Lois. This Lois goes to trial for murdering the other Lois, which she swears she didn’t do, but before the verdict comes in, the living Lois hangs herself. Now Albert reveals the names of the two young investigating agents – Gordon Cole and Phillip Jeffries – and asks Tammy what’s the one question she should be asking back? She knows: what’s the significance of the blue rose? The same question Sam Stanley (Kiefer Sutherland) asked Chet Desmond (Chris Isaak) in Fire Walk With Me but Desmond didn’t answer. Albert asks if Tammy also knows the answer. She says a blue rose doesn’t occur in nature, like Lois’ disappearing death, it’s a conjured thing, “a tulpa,” which is a Buddhist term for a concept in mysticism of a being or object which is created through sheer spiritual or mental discipline. It’s also translated as “magical emanation,” “conjured thing,” or “phantom.” Sounds to me like a dream made real, something one imagines and then somehow translates out of imagination.Courtesy Showtime
Cole interrupts to let them know Diane’s on her way. Sure enough, she enters and immediately lights up. Cole asks her about the last night she saw Cooper, not in the prison but at her apartment in Philly all those years ago; he wants to know if Cooper mentioned Garland Briggs. Diane doesn’t want to talk about that night – we remember an insinuation of sexual assault – but Cole persists. Diane says Cooper did mention Briggs. Albert takes over and brings her up to speed on the Briggs case, how he died, or was supposed to have died, and how he really died. He also reveals what they found in Briggs’ stomach, the wedding band inscribed to Dougie from Janey-E. Diane seems to know what this means, and then drops the biggest connective bomb of the entire third season so far: she has a half-sister named Janey who’s married to a man named Douglas Jones; everybody calls him Dougie, and her Janey-E. Last she heard they lived in Vegas, but she doesn’t know for sure, she and Janey are estranged, or, more specifically, Diane hates her. They haven’t spoken in years, and it would seem like Diane has never even seen this Dougie, as he looks exactly like Cooper (at least to us, and to him. We’ve seen him seeing his reflection in a mirror, but I don’t think we’ve seen a picture of Dougie to this point. He could look like someone else to the world). Cole jumps off her recollection and has Tammy get the Las Vegas FBI branch on the horn. He tells the agent, Randall Headley, to get him everything they have on Dougie and Janey-E, pronto. Cole then thanks Diane, dismissing her. Cole shares what he learned from Frank Truman with Albert and Tammy, as well as the fact that last night he had another Monica Bellucci dream, referencing the actual, beautiful Italian actress of such films as Irreversible and Matrix Revolutions: he was in Paris on a case when Monica called and asked to meet him at a certain café, she had something to tell him.
The picture shifts to black-and-white, the scene to a Parisian café. Monica and Cole meet, and Cole says Cooper was there, only he couldn’t see Dale’s face. Monica was very pleasant and she’d brought friends, a man and a woman. They all had coffee. We see Monica shed a single tear, then she recites what Cole calls “the ancient phrase:” “we are like the dreamer, who dreams and then lives inside the dream.” Why do I feel like Lynch just gave away the whole shebang right there? Cole told Monica he understood, and then she asked a question for her coda, the same question we were all thinking after what she just said: “Who is the dreamer?” Any guesses? I’ll save my speculation for the end of the recap. In the dream, Cole says a very powerful and uneasy feeling came over him. He says Monica directed him to look at something over his shoulder, where Cole saw himself from long ago. What he’s seeing is the scene from Fire Walk With Me when Coop comes in to tell him about a dream he had, the 10:10 February 16th dream. Is the implication that we’re all in Coop’s dream? Which Coop, though? This, of course, is the infamous Phillip Jeffries scene, and right now I’m sweating I’m so excited. Sure enough, we see Jeffries (David Bowie, to whom the episode is dedicated), specifically, the part of the scene where he points at Coop and asks “who do you think this is, there?” For a quarter-century Twin Peaks fans have been debating this one facet of the scene, and now it feels like a revelation is on the horizon. What kind of Moebius strip are Lynch and Frost plotting? And which Coop was in Philly, then, bad posing as good? Conundrums on top of conundrums. Cole had forgotten about all this until just now, as had Albert, but now they’re both remembering it, and recognizing its significance.
In Twin Peaks, Andy, Hawk and Bobby are setting up lunch, but it’s really just a sting to arrest Chad for his part in the Chinese designer drug traffic.
A fog settles over Ghostwood Forest and Frank, Hawk, Andy and Bobby are now preparing to ascend the mountain to reach the coordinates left by Major Briggs. Electrical wires hum tellingly overhead: there’s power in the air. They start off. Shades of Coop, Harry, Doc Hayward, and Hawk hiking up to Jacques Renault’s cabin in the original series; I’m hoping for a character-fan shot or a Log Lady run-in, but get neither. Our foursome arrives at the site of what’s left of the station where the Major worked and was “killed.” Bobby went inside the place a couple times when he was younger but doesn’t know what his dad did there, it was all classified. He just remembers a bunch of machines. There is one spot on the property Bobby knows all about, though, Jack Rabbit’s Palace, basically an old tree stump, but to Bobby it was a father-son bonding place where he and the Major traded tall tales. It’s also the starting point of the Major’s directions. They put soil in their pockets as per his instructions, then Bobby mentions a cautionary memory: his dad always told him never to wander around here without him. I bet they all wish the good Major was there now. They press on until they round a corner and find a cloud, fog, steam, mist, smoke, or something of the sort, but very localized, covering just one spot. Light flashes, crackles more like it, from an unknown source. Then the smoke or whatever clears and we recognize the locale: Glastonbury Grove, Twin Peaks’ entrance to The Black Lodge. The circle of 12 sycamore trees, the ring of stones holding a puddle of scorched oil, it’s all there. And so is a body, female, naked. They turn her over. It’s the eyeless woman from the inside of the tower overlooking the purple ocean, the woman who led good Coop to the cube in space then fell into the cosmos right after turning on an electrical devise (like the one in the Dutchman’s quarters that triggered the belching of the Laura bubble in episode 8), and right before we saw the floating head of Major Briggs. Naido is her name according to the credits, and she is alive. She is trying to speak but her words are that same scrambled whisper-echo from the last time we saw her, thus indecipherable. Frank looks at his watch and confirm it is now 2:53, the time the Major’s instructions said they were supposed to be there. Right on time, another vortex – like the one Cole experienced in Buckhorn outside the abandoned house where they found the body of Ruth Davenport with the Twin Peaks coordinates on her arm, these coordinates, most likely – opens in the sky. This time they all see it, and it seems to cause Naido pain. Andy, who is holding her hand, drops it, hypnotized by the vortex, and stands. It’s like something is calling him. Light envelops him and he blinks out of the scene, only to reappear a second later in the Dutchman’s quarters. The Dutchman approaches and sits opposite Andy, just as he did Cooper in the season three premiere.
“I am the Fireman,” the Dutchman says, and raises his right hand. Andy is holding something now, like a large rose made of paper, very angular and with a spout in its center that spits smoke into the air. This smoke is sucked away through a skylight or something like it, a large, domed, lit circle. Andy looks at this, his concentration slipping into it. It goes dark. We see the box monster (billed in the credits as The Experiment), the mucus strand it regurgitated that birthed BOB, the convenience store, the Woodsmen milling about it – essentially all we were shown in episode 8, including “Gotta light?” guy. Then scenes from the original series: the unknown student running across the TPHS quad upon learning of the death of Laura Palmer, the curtains of the Lodge, Laura’s homecoming photo flanked by reflections of an angel, I assume the same angel who came to Laura at the end of Fire Walk With Me. Then Naido, unresponsive on the ground. Then the two Coops, good and bad, side-by-side. Then a ringing phone, Andy and Lucy in the Sheriff’s station, everything trembling. He’s showing her something, Lucy, but we don’t see what. Naido again, trying to speak. Then the 6 on the telephone pole from Fat Trout Trailer Park by which long ago Teresa Banks’ trailer parked, the pole by which, presently, I think Becky, Shelly’s daughter, might park her trailer. Then the message is over.Courtesy Showtime
Andy blinks out of the Lodge and back to Jack Rabbit’s Palace, where the others are waiting for him (because of the soil in their pockets, I think, it’s a metaphysical anchor that tethers them to reality). In his arms Andy holds Naido. They have to get her down the mountain, he tells the others, as she’s very important and there are people who want her dead. She’s fine physically, he says, but needs to be in a cell for her safety. He tells them to say not a word to anyone. They don’t object. In an aside, Frank asks Hawk what happened to them out there, but neither can remember.Courtesy Showtime
In a cell at the station, Lucy helps Naido into some spare pajamas. Chad heckles Andy from his own cell nearby, but gets an earful from the Deputy for his thoughts. A drunk in another cell with a busted mouth parrots their conversation. In her cell after Andy and Lucy leave, Naido feels the air and makes her strange sounds, which the drunk also imitates. This drives Chad bonkers, but he deserves it. The drunk bleeds profusely from his mouth.
Across town at The Great Northern, a pair of security guards are on break. One of them is James Hurley, who mentions they have one more job then they can hit The Road House. The other guard, Freddie Sykes, a young Brit who has a glove on his right hand that makes it difficult to crack nuts, knows James just wants to see Renee – the girl who cried tears of joy while watching him sing last week – then adds this interesting tidbit: Renee’s married. What is it with James and unavailable women? Laura was with Bobby when she and James were together, Donna was technically with Mike Nelson when James moved on to her, Evelyn Marsh was married when they had their tryst, and now Renee too is bound in the eyes of god to another man. Get a new type, dude, for your own safety. And side-note: “Freddie Sykes” is the name of the one-armed man, the true killer, in The Fugitive movie (in the TV show the one-armed man was called Fred Johnson); this is not the only such reference in Twin Peaks – the human name of MIKE, the one-armed man of Twin Peaks, is Philip Gerard, which is the same name as the detective in The Fugitive TV series (Sam Gerard in the movie). Coincidence? Not bloody likely, especially since Freddie, like MIKE, has a limb issue. James mentions today’s his birthday, then changes the subject by asking about Freddie’s glove. Freddie says he can’t take it off, he tried once but bled like crazy, it’s a part of him. James asks where he got it, but Freddie isn’t supposed to tell, he doesn’t think James will believe him. James convinces him otherwise. Freddie was living in London six months ago. After a night in the pub he’s walking home alone and turns into an alley. He gets a peculiar feeling like he’s wasting his life, out drinking when he should be helping people. Then, for some reason, he jumped onto a high stack of boxes and above him a vortex opened. A Lodge vortex, sounds like, especially when Freddie says the vortex sucked him up and put him in front of a fella called himself “the Fireman.” The Fireman tells him: “Go to the hardware store near your flat and there you’ll find a rack of green gardening gloves. One pair will already be open, with only a right-handed glove inside. Purchase that package and place that glove on your right hand. That hand will now possess the power of an enormous pile driver,” and then poof! He was back at home. Freddie did as he was told, found what he was supposed to find, but the hardware store clerk didn’t want to sell it to him since the package was open. Freddie insisted, but the clerk held firm. Freddie tossed the cash on the counter and headed for the door, putting on the glove as he went. The clerk attacked him and in defense Freddie popped him with his gloved hand. It almost killed the clerk, and in the moment Freddie remembered one more thing the Fireman told him: “Once you put the glove on, go to Twin Peaks, Washington, in the United States of America, and there you will find your destiny.” So here he is. James, and I, am flabbergasted. He wants to know why Freddie thinks the Fireman chose him, a question Freddy asked the Fireman. The answer: “Why not you?” Furthermore, when he went to buy a ticket to America, he was told he already had one. It was all arranged. Help me out here, gang – what’s a word that means painfully curious?
James goes to check the furnace in the boiler room, the last job of the night. It’s predictably creep AF, and it has me thinking of the boiler room in which BOB revealed himself and his intentions at the end of the international pilot back in 1989. The whole place is throbbing with power, with electricity. But nothing happens, nothing we see, at least, only a bit of attention on a closed door.
Cut to Elk’s Point #9 Bar. A figure walking towards it in the dark, smoking. Shades of a Woodsman. It’s Sarah Palmer. She enters the bar and bellies up, orders a Bloody Mary. Seems like foreshadowing to me. At the end of the bar there’s a man with a ponytail and a ball cap nursing a shot and a beer. He notices Sarah. Doesn’t seem like a good notice. He pounds the rest of his shot and approaches. “Truck You,” his shirt says, so you know he’s classy. Turns out he means to hit on Sarah, but she wants to be left alone. Truck You has a hard time taking a hint, and in fact he’s a rude prick. Offensively rude. He tells her she eats cunt. She says she’ll eat him. He finds this funny; I realllllly don’t think he should. Sarah is too calm, scary-calm, dangerous-calm. Truck You threatens physical violence, and then the shit hits the fan. Sarah TAKES OFF HER FUCKING FACE, just like Laura did in the premiere, but where there was light behind Laura’s face, behind Sarah’s there is murky darkness and a bony hand, fingers splayed. In a crackling voice Sarah asks Truck You, “Do you really want to fuck with this?” Hell-to-the-fuck-no, sir, you do not. But it’s too late. She bites his throat out, then screams and acts like she doesn’t know what happened. The bartender naturally questions this. The cops are called. Sarah is unconcerned. Or should I call her BOB?Courtesy Showtime
Then we’re at The Road House at a table with yet two more lovely young ladies, Sophie (Emily Stofle) and Megan (Shane Lynch, but not related to David; she is, however, the daughter of actress Kelly Lynch). They’re talking about how Megan’s been hanging out at what Sophie calls a “nuthouse” getting high, which Megan denies, explaining she only gets high at home. Then another connective tissue. Sophie asks Megan if she’s seen Billy, Audrey’s Billy. Megan hasn’t, not for a few days. Seems like the running answer around town. Sophie heard Megan was among the last to see him. It’s true. Megan was in the kitchen with her mom and maybe her uncle, and they saw Billy jump a six-foot fence into their yard, running like he was being chased. He busted into their kitchen with blood coming out of his nose and mouth. Everyone started screaming, natch. Billy hung his head in the sink, then turned to look at them, then ran out the back. Sophie can’t believe they didn’t tell anyone, but Megan wants to know what were they supposed to tell? She says she knows Billy and her mom had a thing, and that means either Audrey has a daughter as well, or Tina does, and Tina was also banging Billy, which would explain why Audrey doesn’t care for her. Megan confirms this latter theory, her mom is the mysterious Tina. Anyway, Billy took off and left blood all over their kitchen. Megan still can’t remember if her uncle was there. This “uncle” has to be someone we know, or at least someone of significance. Then the music starts, Lissie, and the episode ends.
This hour was all about connecting storylines: Diane and company to Dougie Jones, to Twin Peaks; Cole’s dream hearkening back to the Jeffries scene in Fire Walk With Me; Andy et al to The Black Lodge and Cooper’s guide Naido; Freddie’s mysterious connection to The Black Lodge, to the Fireman/Dutchman/Giant/?????; Megan, Tina, Billy and Audrey, the unknown uncle – the strands are lining up to be braided. It was a masterful episode, no doubt about it, and one that hints at the structural genius of the series, how the pieces have been in places for decades waiting to align into a complete if mystifying narrative. There’s never been anything like this in the history of television or film, there’s never been a narrative this complex and captivating, this ingenious and insidious, this nuanced and multi-layered. This makes at least the second time – this season – that Twin Peaks has changed how its medium tells stories. TV, more so than film, is a mainstream art form, meaning it’s largely designed for various common denominators. Twin Peaks isn’t designed for anyone, for any standards, or for any expectations. It’s independent TV, for lack of a better term, it doesn’t adhere to the medium’s restrictions, it reshapes them. If you’re out there right now writing your first TV series spec, start over, the rules have changed.
There’s a showdown coming, one bound to be set in The BlackLodge just as the showdown at the end of season two was, but if you’re expecting a clear-and-true resolution, watch Game of Thrones; that’s not Twin Peaks’ bag. I have ideas on what’s coming – who is this dreamer, and just how long have they been dreaming? We did see little Sarah Palmer (who I’m calling the black-and-white girl who swallowed the bug-BOB in episode 8) fall asleep back in the 50s – but I know they pale to what we’re actually going to get in just three short but soul-crushingly-long weeks.
Fourteen down. Four to go. Brace yourselves.