Twin Peaks Review by John Keegan

Twin Peaks 3.03/3.04: The Return: Parts III-IV

Twin Peaks 3.03/3.04: The Return: Parts III-IV

Written By:
Mark Frost and David Lynch
Directed By:
David Lynch

If the first two parts of the new season were too far removed from the familiar territory of Twin Peaks, the third and fourth installments serve as a bit of a course correction.  After an extended foray into Lynchian esoterica at the beginning of the third movement, there are extended portions that take place in Twin Peaks and involve a number of familiar faces.  The tone is still closer to Fire Walk With Me than the original network incarnation, but this is steps closer to the familiar ground many of us wanted to see.

 


 

These two installments also continue to drive home the slow but steady pacing that Lynch will likely employ for the entirety of the third season.  Scenes have a tendency to take just a little longer than it seems like they should, pauses are sometimes uncomfortably long, and dialogue is maddeningly vague when one wishes for simple clarity.  But that’s exactly what any fan of Lynch has come to expect, and giving him full creative control means his usual ticks will be on full display.  (That said, it’s odd how slow scenes feel on first viewing, only to feel much more normally paced on the repeat viewing; this is another oddity of Lynch’s style.)

 

It’s slightly jarring to see how Lucy and Andy have changed over the years.  Time has not been kind to their quirks.  Andy was always challenged by the most mundane of things, such as Scotch tape, but this seems to have infected Lucy to a certain degree.  Her inability to understand mobile phones is a bit much, but even so, it feels mildly tragic.  Not to mention that their son Wally is a chip off the old block.  As they stand at either side of Wally, beaming with inexplicable pride, he drones one of the most pretentious monologues ever.  It’s impossible to tell if he’s sincere or knowingly pushing Truman’s buttons, but it’s a scene that is pure Twin Peaks in its absurdity.

 


 

This level of absurdity is outmatched by the long yet memorable stretches of Cooper in the form of Dougie Jones, a separate copy of Cooper that Dark Cooper apparently created specifically to prevent a pure swap, which would have resulted in Dark Cooper’s return to the Black Lodge.  Let’s set aside how that happened for a moment; it’s not exactly explained in full detail anyway.  The point is that Cooper comes back incomplete, and his short stint as “Mr. Jackpot” is ridiculous in so many wonderful and quotable ways.

 

Yet the more telling aspect of Cooper’s return is that Dougie’s family seems to take the obvious physical and mental changes to their husband and father in stride.  It’s actually a bit off-putting that Janey-E Jones doesn’t seem to realize that her husband has undergone a radical change, which probably speaks volumes about the state of their marriage.  Right now, it’s hard to say when Cooper will be fully restored, but one can hope that his tenure as “Dougie” will be limited.  It would be hard to imagine that Cooper’s restoration would take the entire 18-part journey, even if it’s increasingly clear that Kyle MacLachlan is going to be front and center the vast majority of the time.

 


 

One of the interesting side effects of such a long and detailed examination of Cooper’s return to the “real world” is the liberal use of visual cues.  When Mike (the one-armed man) appears to tell Cooper that he was tricked, the visual is remarkably similar to a scene from the original series where Maddie Ferguson (Laura Palmer’s look-alike cousin) sees a vision of blood on the carpet, presaging her death.  Even more fitting, there are two different instances that call back to the final moments of the second season finale, in which Dark Cooper sees the reflection of Killer Bob in a bathroom mirror.  Despite all the signs that this Cooper is the real one, simply rendered a bit helpless, there’s a tension as the audience waits to see if the other shoe will drop.

 

Perhaps more significant is the focus in Part IV on Gordon, Albert, and new arrival Tamara Preston, previously referenced in Mark Frost’s novel The Secret History of Twin Peaks. It’s interesting how Gordon’s character is given more depth now, considering that he is played by Lynch himself, and one would be tempted to believe that the expanded role for Gordon is move motivated by vanity.  I suspect it has more to do with practicality, similar to how much of the material is designed to maximize Kyle MacLachlan’s involvement.

 


 

It’s also pretty clear that Lynch is more than willing to give Gordon some flaws, and even be a bit subversive in commenting on how things have changed in the world since the original series aired.  Even as Tamara’s feminine form is used as gaze-bait for Gordon and Albert, it’s strongly suggested that Tamara is playing Gordon to an extent, not unlike how Audrey Horne weaponized those tight sweaters once upon a time.  Gordon admits to being “old school” without necessarily defending it, which I’m sure will be a point of discussion among many, given that it’s a very fine line.

 

It would come across as far more sexist and even misogynist if much of Twin Peaks wasn’t invested in a damning commentary on the way women are treated and convinced to treat themselves.  Gordon’s attitude is archaic, but it’s worth noting that his blatant ogling is countered by his respect for Denise as the head of the FBI and his disgust for those who abuse or disparage women as lesser beings.  “Change your hearts or die” was his demand when others attacked Denise for her gender, something he reminds Denise about, even as he himself is rather gently chastised for his own sexism.  It’s complicated and even somewhat problematic, but Lynch is also putting it front and center, forcing the audience to consider the implications and the flaws of his own character.

 


 

Part IV also included the return of Bobby Briggs, who seems to have realized at least some of the promise that his father foresaw during the original two seasons.  Bobby works for the new Sheriff Truman now (the brother of Harry Truman, who is supposedly “ill”), which puts him on the right side of the law now, at least as it currently appears.  When he breaks down at the sight of Laura’s infamous homecoming queen portrait, the years simply drop away.  Such moments provide the emotional and nostalgic touchstones that many fans want to see.





Our Grade:
B+
The Good:
  • Both parts are laced with plenty of nostalgic moments from old friends
  • Cooper’s stint as “Mr. Jackpot” is filled with hilarious and quotable moments
The Bad:
  • The slower pacing, while one of Lynch’s hallmarks, can feel gratuitous at times

John Keegan aka "criticalmyth", is one of the hosts of the "Critical Myth" podcast heard here on VOG Network's radio feed Monday, Wednesday & Friday. You can follow him on twitter at @criticalmyth

Twin Peaks by - 6/1/2017 10:26 AM96 views

Your Responses

skie
skie
CONCURRING OPINION

Grade: A-
Helllooooo-ooooooooo!!! Agree the scene with Wally was rooouuughhh... I get that it was an homage to Marlon Brando but I hope that character serves a better purpose. Otherwise I liked that "the point" seemed to come together a LITTLE (just a little) clearer in eps 3 and 4. I also enjoyed the Denise Bryson cameo- hope we get some more quick "where are they now" resolutions to minor characters besides just a wink and a nod across the bar like in episode 2.

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