Twin Peaks: The Return (2017) – Part 7, dir. David Lynch

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Diane (Laura Dern) speaks to Cooper’s doppelgänger (Kyle MacLachlan) in the darkness, sans coffee, navigating her relationship with Cooper, screaming out in “FUCK YOUs”, helping Cole (David Lynch) and the FBI’s investigation. Cole is more restrained, whistling along, more serious than comedy makes him out to be. We see more of her personal life, her partner leaving her apartment. Cooper’s doppelgänger sits in lockup in Yankton, Sioux City: in his stares, he carries none of Cooper’s personality, unable to even respond to Diane. Even his fingerprints are an inversion of Cooper’s. His position must be negotiated with Warden Murphy (James Morrison), moved into the Sherriff’s Department in chains, his position reversed; he must be free.

Janey-E (Naomi Watts) waits by her car, a motherly figure to Dougie: her husband can’t gamble; must meet her at the specified time. As police seek a location to Dougie’s missing vehicle, she reiterates her position in life amid the stress of running a family; there’s more to life than cars. In the episode’s most beautiful sequence, Ike “The Spike” Stadtler (Christophe Zajac-Denek) storms through a crowd with a gun in the Lucky 7 courtyard, alongside the tree from the Red Room. In documentary fashion, Lynch documents the vox pops and news footage reacting to Dougie’s heroism: “he smelt funny”; it was a blur, like a cobra; a gun gets placed away as evidence.

Lynch seeks to expand upon the legend of Laura Palmer. Ben’s (Richard Beymer) secretary, Beverly (Ashley Dudd), lives in a time where Laura’s name is no longer known, faded from relevance. But her and Cooper’s identity is embedded within the haunted physical space of the Great Northern, amid its wood and Native American totems, as we feel a trace of the past in the keys to 315, the room where Cooper was shot in the finale to Season 1. In the Sherriff’s Office, Hawk (Michael Horse) retrieves missing pages from Laura’s diary, coming to terms with their significance. Hawk and Frank (Robert Forster) must attempt to reconstruct the past of who came out of the Lodge, moving a case from closed to open. Laura’s missing pages are perhaps this series’ greatest connection to Fire Walk with Me (1992) and its brutal depiction of Laura’s sexual abuse. In her scrawled handwriting, we’re reminded of the fate of Annie, and Cooper’s transformation, and Laura’s torment with the duality of embodiment of BOB and her father. These scenes feel like exposition, but it’s functional, serving to both forward and rewind the narrative. Lynch wanted ambiguity in Laura’s demise, but by reaching back to the diary, he creates a narrative path forward, filling in the shades he left open.

In the roadhouse, we sense how Laura’s story never existed in isolation; the Renaux family keep up a decades-long business, an industry in blonde 15 year old whores, not caring about age. Laura, for all her sexuality, was never special; her story found a mirror in Teresa Banks. Maybe another of these women will end up in a similar fate. It’s cyclical.

Lynch places us firmly back within Twin Peaks, WA. We travel along the natural landscapes of the pines amid the misty mountains, nature standing untouched for millennia with a spiritual connection to the past. Twin Peaks’ natural landscape is its defining aspect, an escape beyond the city. Jerry (David Patrick Kelly) phones Ben up in the Great Northern from the forest, still high, not knowing where he is. Neither do we. Lynch relies upon the absurd and abstract: Frank Skypes Doc Hayward from his desk, played by the late Warren Frost (Mark Frost’s father), out fishing. Lynch could easily be rational and place a PC or laptop on his desk, but instead frames the conversation through retro yet modern tech, a desktop display rising through the wood panelling with the crank of a lever. These may only be small details, but add to the series’ charm.

However, Lynch still restrains his geography. He relies on static shots, setting a mood. Lynch holds the frame for several minutes in the Bang Bang Bar as a janitor clears up the bar’s mess as Booker T. & the M.G.’s Green Onions plays in the background; bands can’t perform all the time. The power of Green Onions has been destroyed through its continual usage, from the mods and rockers of Quadrophenia (1979) to the faux 1960s of Legend (2015), yet Lynch somehow manages to make it listenable. In the closing shot, we see the Double R Diner at night; Shelly (Mädchen Amick), Norma (Peggy Lipton) and Heidi (Andrea Hays) serve customers, and it feels like home. Lynch continues the investigation in Buckhorn as we question what happened to Briggs’ body and Cooper’s prints, building suspense as Lieutenant Knox (Adele René) notices a looming figure behind her shoulder.

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