Twin Peaks Review by John Keegan

Twin Peaks 3.09: The Return: Part IX

Twin Peaks 3.09: The Return: Part IX

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

After one of the most mind-bending episodes of the entire series to date, it seems almost disappointing that we would receive an installment that feels relatively pedestrian.  Or, at least, in some respects, a bit shattershot and unfocused.  Considering that this is the mid-point of the third season, it feels like there is still a lot that needs to come together, even if there were a lot of dots being connected in this episode.

 


 

Major Briggs and his fate is at the center of much of the material, which also manages to focus a surprising amount of attention on Bobby and his father’s faith in his wayward son.  It’s a great payoff to some little chestnuts from the original two seasons, where Major Briggs mentioned having a vision of his son’s bright future.  It also introduces another layer of weirdness as the Major’s clues to the fate of Agent Cooper are revealed, and they are nothing if not mysterious.

 

Meanwhile, the pieces just seem to move around the chessboard methodically.  Dark Cooper is out of prison and still trying to take out Dougie/Good Cooper, and we get more confirmation that a lot of the action in Vegas is directly related to Dark Cooper’s monitoring (and planned execution) of Dougie all along.  Which is fine, except we already knew most of that, and it’s just watching the characters work their way towards conclusions we already know.

 


 

The one interesting wrinkle, perhaps, is the mysterious message that Dark Cooper sends Diane.  Setting aside the hilarity of Dark Cooper using a very old and bright pink flip phone to send said message, it adds a layer of doubt to everything regarding Diane.  Is it Dark Cooper having a little sadistic fun with Diane, after her visit?  Or is there something more happening there, signaling a shocking collusion?  I suspect the former, but it would be classic Twin Peaks for Diane to be putting on a front all this time.

 

The biggest revelation, besides the message that Major Briggs sent to his son, is that Bill Hastings (last seen several episodes ago) turns out to have been writing a blog with murder victim Ruth about parallel dimensions and similar theories.  They were convinced that they could enter the “zone” and when they did, echoing the “a certain time and a certain place” language that the Log Lady invoked right from the start, they met Major Briggs.  It all connects to the larger narrative (and justifies the time spent on it earlier in the season), but it also feels like it comes out of left field, and somehow manages to feel more intrusive than the surrealism of “Part VIII”.

 


 

At other times the direction is almost intentionally self-conscious.  Witness, for example, the endless repetition of similar scenes with the brotherly detective trio.  Or, even more telling, the scene where Gordon and Diane share a cigarette and Agent Preston’s usual provocative and overtly sexual posing degrades into uncomfortable shifting.  It may confirm that Preston is intentionally playing up her sultry antics for effect, but that doesn’t exactly speak well to her as a character.  She wouldn’t be the first character in Twin Peaks to use her sexuality as a weapon to disarm others (see Audrey Horne), but it somehow feels out of place with Preston.

 

Perhaps all of this would have been easier to digest if there was more than the slightest hint that the true Dale Cooper was going to emerge soon.  If we accept that the entire third season is all about Cooper’s restoration and returning Killer Bob/Dark Cooper to his proper place in the Black Lodge, and that the narrative was built as one long film, then we are deep into the second act.  We might not really see resolution coming until episodes 12-13, at the earliest.  The next few episodes really need to step up the pace and the subplots to keep the season from losing momentum entirely.


Our Grade:
C+
The Good:
  • It’s good to see more callbacks to moments from the first two seasons of the series
The Bad:
  • This episode felt scattershot and unfocused, especially towards the end

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 - 7/10/2017 8:07 AM45 views

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