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Curtained (all my dreams come true) - Twin Peaks Pts. 17-18

Showtime
Laura Palmer/Carrie Page (Sheryl Lee) and Agent Dale Cooper (Kyle MacLachlan) drive to Twin Peaks, Washington.
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SPOILERS AHEAD …

The ending is — I’m still — just having seen it, I’m still processing that, to be honest.” – actor Kyle MacLachlan (Special Agent Dale Cooper/”Mr. C.”/ Dougie Jones) talking to Variety magazine on Sept. 5, 2017

OKLAHOMA CITY – Sitting alone in the dark, here in my office on Sunday, Sept. 3, 2017, I tuned into Showtime. The lights were down and it was 7 p.m. (CST). The finale of Twin Peaks: The Return was cueing up.

Let me just say that not since the 1990-92 time period, when Twin Peaks and, followed by the ’92 prequel Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me – 25-plus years ago, had I felt this excited, and full of anticipation for a finale such as I was about to witness over the next two hours.

And then I thought of today’s date: Sept. 3, 2017. It was on this very day, 10 years ago, that my good friend Carter Albrecht was killed in Dallas, Texas. I won’t get into the details here, but this article from Pop Matters has more about it. At the age of 34, having just recorded his first, bona fide solo album Jesus is Alive ... And Living in London and recording records with The Cosmetics, Sparrows, Sorta and Edie Brickell & New Bohemians, Carter was at the top of his game - and as creative and prolific as ever. 

Odessa, Texas is the reason: Casette tapes linked to the late Carter Albrecht, in one way or another. (Andrew W. Griffin / Red Dirt Report)

It was Labor Day weekend. I had texted Carter some days earlier asking whether he was going to the concert featuring the recently-reunited band The Police. I noted the music playing in the restaurant where I was – “One of These Nights” by The Eagles. Don Henley’s hi-hat always made me smile. And Carter knew I loved a good hi-hat.

And with our shared love of music (he was a gifted pianist, songwriter and musician. I was a wannabe drummer) we also loved Twin Peaks and the work of David Lynch. That first season in April-May 1990 was a voyage of discovery for both of us, becoming bewitched by the sadness and beauty that Lynch and Mark Frost had created. In a way, I felt Carter understood Lynch and Frost's art better than did. He also appreciated the dark and absurd humor Lynch threw in there because, well, he was David Lynch. 

In a Red Dirt Report piece I posted on Sept. 17, 2007, titled “Remembering Carter Albrecht,” I wrote how we connected via music during our high school years (me in Wichita, Kansas and Carter in the suburb of Derby) and through church.

And so, re-reading that “Remembering Carter Albrecht” piece, this paragraph caught my attention: “Sometimes, I would drive down to his town and we'd hang out in his room. His walls were covered with CD long box art (back when they were packaged in LP-sized long boxes as the record stores were transitioning their bins to stock CD's). We were also into the work of David Lynch, particularly the popular series "Twin Peaks." In fact, a few years later, Carter would write and perform a song about "Twin Peaks" character Laura Palmer called "Curtained." It was brilliant stuff for a guy barely 20 years old.

“Curtained”? I had completely forgotten about that. Since coming across that I have been digging in my mess of cassette tape boxes and, while having found a few Carter Albrecht recordings and some mix tapes he made me, I have not found the one featuring “Curtained.”

Curtained? Yes. How appropriate in light of the final two episodes of the 18-part TV “movie” called Twin Peaks: The Return. It’s been a wild ride all summer long. And yes, exciting, nerve-wracking, perplexing, disappointing, mind-shattering and fun. Other shows have returned after being off the air for many years. But Twin Peaks returning was/is something completely unique and special.

Agent Cooper will even use the phrase: "See you at the curtain call" over the course of the finale. It makes weird sense, now.

What was very poignant for me during my almost ritualistic viewing of these new Twin Peaks episodes was seeing those faces on the screen – now gone – including Catherine Coulson (The Log Lady), Miguel Ferrer (Albert Rosenfield), and even images of Frank Silva (BOB), Don S. Davis (Maj. Garland Briggs), Warren Frost (Doc Hayward) and David Bowie (Phillip Jeffries) - folks who took part in Lynch and Frost's groundbreaking series, and did not live to see it aired on television.

TEAPOTS AND TERROR

And it’s that last name, David Bowie, who really captured my attention, particularly seeing the Jeffries character turned into a steampunk teapot with that affected Southern accent. It's our Jeffries, who seems to be in the teapot in this twilight realm. I can imagine both David Bowie and Carter laughing out loud at this absurd-but-distinctly-Lynchian development we were first exposed to a few episodes back.

Phillip Jeffries - now a steampunk teapot? (Showtime)

I mention all of this in my 2016 review of Bowie's Blackstar album, which I called a "bewitching masterpiece." And in that review I make note of Carter Albrecht. It's all coming full circle in a way.

At the time, I wrote: “The Blackstar Event,” as I’m now calling it, really hit me hard and in a deep part of my being. It’s been very emotional. But it’s also been cathartic.

One of the few friends I had in my high school and college days who was a Bowie fan as well – the late musician Carter Albrecht – recorded a beautiful and heartfelt album shortly before his untimely death in September 2007. I listened to Jesus Is Alive … And Living in London only two or three times after Carter’s death and I never picked it up again. It was just too difficult. Too painful to listen to those songs and know that he was gone.

And wouldn’t you know it? It was David Bowie and Blackstar that actually convinced me to go and pull out Carter’s album after more than eight years and really let the songs wash over me. It was like Carter was alive and in the room with me. It was powerful, I must admit."

That last line ... wow ... "It was like Carter was alive and in the room with me. It was powerful, I must admit." That is how I felt on the 10th anniversary of Carter's death. That he was in the room with me, settling in and watching these final two episodes of Twin Peaks

(It is here that I would like to thank Red Dirt Report's all-summer-long Twin Peaks critic Kevin Tudor for all of his reviews).

So, settling into Part XVIImy first thought was that we would learn more about Audrey Horne’s fate (Sherilynn Fenn). Was she in a coma all these years after the bank explosion back in 1989, protesting her father’s Ghostwood development? No. We don't see Audrey again. We do get to see the embodiment of evil, "Mr. C," find his way to the Twin Peaks Sheriff's Department and is happily greeted by Deputy Andy Brennan (Harry Goaz) who - at first - thinks it's the long-lost Special Agent Dale Cooper. 

And so after Andy and his receptionist wife Lucy (Kimmy Robertson) allow him in, he ends up in Sheriff Frank Truman's office (Robert Forster) - and they both have somewhat polite-but-awkward conversation. Sheriff Truman knows something is amiss. 

Meanwhile, it's starting to dawn on Andy (who was transported to the realm of The Fireman in the forest at Jack Rabbit's Palace) realizes this is not a good Cooper. There is a "jailbreak" by James Hurley (James Marshall) and green-gardening-gloved Englishman Freddie Sykes (Jake Wardle) uses his powerful glove to smash the BOB orb into bits after being bloodied in a crazy battle between good and evil, just as the Good Coop arrives with his Vegas entourage and Jim Belushi (one half of the Mitchum Brothers - "hearts of gold") offers some notable one-liners. BOB being defeated in this timeline was Freddie's destiny.

So, Mr. C is gone (or is he?) We do see Phillip Gerard create another Dougie Jones tulpa, this one to be reunited with Janey-E and Sonny Jim back in Las Vegas. And while that plotline had a happy ending, the rest of Part XVII and all of Part XVIII would be one of twists and turns and tragedy. 

We then learn that the eyeless woman "Naido" is actually Diane (Laura Dern) and so Diane and Cooper are reunited. But there are still things to do. Cooper, with his Great Northern Hotel Room 315 key, goes on a journey and meets Jeffries (teapot), who warns him that if he does try to right wrongs that the "8" (eternity) and fighting to protect Laura Palmer for all time may be his fate. 

Things get even weirder as Cooper and Diane travel in a mid-1960's black sedan (like the style eyewitnesses to the notorious "Men in Black" describe) for 430 miles, to a point on a hill, in an arid spot near powerlines. This is it. And while the two briefly debate about continuing forward, they go - until it is night and the two stay in a motel. What year is it? Where are they? It's not entirely clear. But while Cooper checks in, we see Diane see a doppelganger of herself appear from a pillar near the front of the motel. A creepy scene for sure.

So, what is going on? It appears that Cooper has taken Diane with him to save Laura Palmer but with this seemingly being a new timeline/alternate reality, all may not go according to plan. Particularly when Cooper wakes up and is in a seemingly modern hotel room (this, after they have passionless sex, while The Platters' 1956 hit "My Prayer" is heard - the same song playing when the Woodsman appears at that New Mexico radio station and does his frightening "This is the water" monologue in Part VIII).

JORNADO DEL MUERTO

Cooper continues on his mission - to find Laura Palmer - and he does, although she is now Carrie Page and knows nothing of "Laura Palmer." She is a diner waitress in dusty Odessa, Texas and life seems rough, particularly when Cooper knocks on her door and "Carrie" lets him inside. There is the body of a dead man in a chair, having been shot by Carrie, presumably. There is lots of silence and little is fully explained. 

And so we are getting closer to the series finale - and that involves Cooper taking Carrie, by car, all the way to Twin Peaks, Washington to reunite with her mother - a woman and a town Carrie knows nothing about.

But Cooper is determined to set things right, taking her to the Palmer house. But Sarah Palmer is not there. A woman named Alice Tremond lives there now, having bought it from a Mrs. Chalfont, one of those Black Lodge denizens. Alice knows nothing of any Palmer family having lived there.

As they walk to Cooper's car, he begins to stagger, looking confused. 

It's all dawning on Cooper and an increasingly perplexed Carrie Page, that something is seriously amiss. As Cooper loses his balance and asks "What year is this?" (it was very Back to the Future-ish), Carrie looks at the house and here's the name "Laura" spoken in a shrill tone from inside, presumably by Sarah Palmer. It is then that Carrie/Laura screams in terror - and it ends.

She has been, well, "curtained," to put it the way Carter did all those years ago.

Wow! It was definitely not the ending many Twin Peaks fans were hoping for (from the multitude of angry/puzzled comments I've seen in the past two days) but when dealing with David Lynch, foisting our expectations and wishes on this auteur will likely be dismissed. He will always defy expectations, as he did when Twin Peaks first aired on ABC back in 1990. 

I remember Carter and I discussing the show pretty intensely back then. "Who killed Laura Palmer?" Sure, that was an important question, as was the question "Who shot J.R.?" was a decade earlier on Dallas.

But now we want to know: Where is Laura Palmer? Is this some karmic nightmare where there is no end, as Jeffries/teapot indicated with that "8" symbol? Is there still hope that good will defeat the evil that was unleashed by the splitting of the atom at the Trinity site in New Mexico in 1945? Near the infamous trail known as the Jornada del Muerto - the Journey of the Dead Man?

Maybe Dale Cooper and Laura Palmer are both actually dead and we are witnessing the twists and turns of a mysterirous journey that has entwined them both into an experience that seemingly has no conclusion.

And what of the Twin Peaks townsfolk. So many more questions and plotlines, spinning off into infinity.

There's that "8" again. 

And so it ends, a mystery wrapped in a riddle and inside an enigma. Or something like that.

And so our existence continues on, as Twin Peaks falls into the past, once again.

Unless there is a Season 4, of course ... 

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About the Author

Andrew W. Griffin

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Andrew W. Griffin received his Bachelor of Science in Journalism from...

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About Red Dirt Report

Red Dirt Report was launched July 4, 2007 as an independent news website covering all manner of news, culture, entertainment and lifestyle stories that affect and interest Oklahoma readers and readers outside of our state. Our mission is to educate, promote civic engagement and discourse on public policy, government and politics. Our experienced journalists provided balanced in-depth coverage of news stories that affect Oklahomans. Our opinion/editorial stories come from a wide range of political view points. We carry out our mission by reporting, writing, and posting news and information. read more

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