*WARNING: SPOILERS FOR TWIN PEAKS SEASON 3 EPISODE 6*
“You’ve certainly given me a lot to think about.”
These were the words of Dougie’s befuddled boss at the insurance company, but also a fairly fitting description for this week’s dive into David Lynch’s revival series. This was an episode for contemplation, both for those onscreen and for the audience; one littered with long, quiet takes as characters look unblinking towards the new reality before them.
We even met Diane, the near-mythical secretary to Dale Cooper (Kyle MacLachlan) and recipient of all those dictated tapes, but nothing has actually come of it yet; it was an event instead witnessed entirely through Albert (Miguel Ferrer), his face as transfixed on this mysterious figure as we were, revealed to be played by one of David Lynch’s favoured collaborators, Laura Dern.
Lynch’s scattershot approach to his new narratives has persisted, too. The largest portion of the episode, in fact, was dedicated not to Dale Cooper but to one Richard Horne, the dangerous young man we’d previously encountered threatening women at the Bang Bang Bar. Is this Audrey’s son? Perhaps, though that fan favourite character is nowhere to be seen so far.
Instead, Richard appears almost as a tool here to explore the idea of oppositions, an idea that’s been floating around for most of this series, especially in the ever-shifting tone of both nightmarish terror and absurd comedy. Richard is angry, impotent youth; he mows down a young boy with his truck and barely seems to notice, so blinded is he by his own rage.
Harry Dean Stanton’s Carl Rodd, on the other hand, returns now from Fire Walk With Me as an absolute image of tranquil seniority. While Richard commits his hit and run, Carl sits quietly on a bench as if in commune with the world around him.
It’s Carl who runs to the boy and his mother’s aide, and who witnesses what appears to be the boy’s soul rise up into the atmosphere. What brought him to this level of serenity, especially considering how brashly he acted in Fire Walk With Me? Indeed, it seems a potent image for a show dealing with how characters have mutated and matured over the course of 25 years.
Oppositional seems a fitting way to describe Dale Cooper, too. His bumbling routine continues in full force, still with the unwavering curiosity and inclination to mimicry of a baby exploring the world, crossed with a dog that’s been scolded for crimes he has no knowledge of.
And, yet, again return those small moments of sadness, when we are abruptly reminded that this is a man trying to come to terms with himself, especially as small glimmers of the Red Room break through into his reality. A vision, for example, of MIKE simply stating: “Don’t die.”
We’re learning a little more about Dougie, too, who seems to have his fair share of enemies, including those keen to blackmail him with photographs of his fling with Jade. A problem Dougie’s wife, Janey-E, must deal with, as this episode puts on full display Naomi Watts’ absolute mastery as a performer.
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She’s a perfect fit for Lynch’s material here, as she was in Mulholland Drive, simply because she can commit so fully to delivering the most outlandishly soap operatic lines with utter sincerity. “We are shit on enough,” she yells at the blackmailers. “And we’re certainly not going to be shit on by you.” She barely lets them get a word in. She’s absolutely formidable.
That said, this episode bears perhaps one of the first examples of Lynch’s distinctive approach not being entirely successful, specifically in one scene that sees a violent rampage against a woman by a hitman, with Dougie next on his list of targets.
With such an impressionistic approach to the narrative, the lack of context as to who this woman is versus the explicit nature of her death (Lynch is taking full advantage of modern television’s leniency towards violence, it seems) creates a scene that’s brutal and uncomfortable, but not necessarily in the right way.
Twin Peaks airs 2am on Mondays on Sky Atlantic and NOW TV with the Entertainment Pass, in a simulcast with the US. Twin Peaks airs 2am on Mondays on Sky Atlantic and NOW TV with the Entertainment Pass, in a simulcast with the US airing on Showtime. The episode will then be shown again at 9pm on the following day. You can catch up now on season one and two via Sky Box Sets and NOW TV.
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