By Caitlin Malcuit
Parts 3 and 4 of “Twin Peaks” were immediately available for streaming on the premiere date, probably to sweeten the pot for the folks who weren’t enjoying the abject gloom that permeated the first two episodes. If your last experience with the show was like mine, you wrapped up by watching “Fire Walk with Me,” and you were tonally prepared for the turn into the “Mulholland Drive” murk. Even though David Lynch and Mark Frost couldn’t help but play up the nostalgia of the lighter moments, it’s still a heartwarming reminder of the show’s sweetness. As these parts stand, they are a Dale Cooper triptych: the man himself is at the center, and those who love him wait in the wings.
We last left Coop falling through the chevron floor of the Black Lodge, into the glass box, then back through stars and darkness. He winds up on the balcony of a building floating through space above an ocean. The set is a gorgeous stylistic piece, tinged like a hand-colored print, all motion made into stilted flickers of a silent film. Cooper descends into the shack, finding a woman in a red dress with no eyes, gesturing wildly to the agent to decipher the fixtures and numbers on the wall. A horrific pounding frightens the woman into shushing him. They scramble to the roof, where the eyeless woman pulls a lever—she’s electrocuted and thrown out into the abyss. As Dale looks out, we see a vision of Major Garland Briggs’ (the late Don S. Davis) head float into view, calling out, “Blue rose.”
Cooper returns inside, and finds another woman in a red cardigan and eyes. She warns Coop about the pounding—that’s her mother, and sounds like a gem—so Cooper is ushered back to the real world via an outlet with the knowledge that “when you get there, you will already be there.”
As he’s pulled into reality, we’re introduced to a third version of the agent, Las Vegas cornball Dougie Jones. He’s apparently some earthly placeholder that will help to let Coop out of the Lodge—think of the bag of sand swapped out for the golden idol in “Raiders”—or is a plant by BOB to keep from going back. Dougie leaves behind a gross vomit pile of corn before Cooper forms in place next to it. All the while, BOB is sickened by this disruption and crashes his ride.
Cooper is now occupying Dougie’s life in a catatonic state. Those who think the agent is Dougie fill in the blanks for Coop. Prostitute Jade (Nafessa Williams) sets him up with a ride to the Silver Mustang Casino and five bucks to “call for help.” An associate (Ethan Suplee) and his girlfriend suggest Dougie head home to Lancelot Court with “the big red door,” where harried casino supervisor Burns (Brett Gelman) gladly sends him after netting a windfall on the slots. He falls further down the rabbit hole at home. Cooper inherits Dougie’s domestic life in the form of wife Janey-E, played with perfect anxious energy by Naomi Watts, and kid Sonny-Jim (Pierce Gagnon). Here, a vision of MIKE meets him upon waking in a familiar set of blue pajamas. Cooper was tricked, and both Cooper and BOB cannot exist in the same plane. One of them has to die.
Back in Twin Peaks, Deputy Chief Hawk gets down to business. He hangs up a Doughnut Disturb sign, and turns to old evidence from the Laura Palmer case sprawled out on the table. Something is missing, and he doesn’t know what—a chocolate bunny is literally missing, thanks to Lucy, but it’s not about the bunny. It’s here at the police department that we meet the new sheriff, Harry Truman’s brother Frank (Robert Forster). It’s through Frank that we learn Lucy doesn’t quite have the hang of cell phones yet, and that bad-boy Bobby Briggs is now a deputy. When Bobby enters the meeting, he spies Laura’s prom photo on the table, her theme swells, and he breaks into uncontrollable sobs over the old memories. It’s a cheeky callback to the breakdown everyone had in the pilot. When he hears what the deal is, Bobby reveals Dale Cooper was the last person to see his father alive.
In Philadelphia, Gordon Cole, Special Agent Albert Rosenfield (Miguel Ferrer) and Special Agent Tamara Preston (Chrysta Bell) take a look at the gruesome remains of glass box-watcher Sam Colby (Ben Rosenfield) and girlfriend Tracey Barberato (Madeline Zima). No one knows the identity of the mysterious billionaire box-owner, but the meeting is interrupted by a call. Cooper’s been found in the Black Hills.
Before they depart, viewers get to see another familiar face. Cole meets with Denise Bryson (David Duchovny), now in the lofty role of FBI Chief of Staff. She questions Cole’s intentions in bringing Agent Preston along, because Cole’s probably being a bit of a lech, but the scene left us with some lovely words of wisdom. He asks for a little faith in choosing Preston, because back when she needed someone to take a chance, Cole told Denise’s colleagues, “those clown comics, to fix their hearts or die.”
Once in North Dakota, Albert, Cole and Preston meet with “Cooper.” BOB’s been scooped up from his accident, having been found with a weapon, a stash of cocaine, and a dog’s leg. The partition between agents real and not raises, and the doppelganger playing a sorry imitation of the good Dale gives a forced thumbs-up and requests to be debriefed as soon as possible. The story is that he has been undercover all these years in tandem with the long-lost Phillip Jeffries and was driving to Philadelphia to follow up. The contrast between the Coopers is stark here: even in his daze, good Dale retains his childlike wonderment at all he encounters; bad Dale is like making Bernie Lomax dance at a party.
The alarm bells don’t go unnoticed, at least, so Albert and Cole take their conversation outside. Preston notes that Cooper was heading west, not to Pennsylvania. Albert reveals that he authorized Phillip Jeffries to give Cooper some information, thinking it’d get Cooper out of trouble—this led to an agent’s death in Columbia. They both agree that something isn’t right. “I don’t understand this situation at all,” says Cole. Albert brings us full circle, sighing, “Blue rose.”
They’re going to need one person to take a good look at Cooper before they move forward, and while Albert says he doesn’t know where she lives, he know where she drinks—The Bang Bang Bar, where Au Revoir Simone close with “Lark.”
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