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"It doesn't get much bluer": Analysis of "Twin Peaks: The Return," parts 3 & 4

Showtime / Lynch-Frost
Special Agent Dale Cooper (Kyle MacLachlan) in an unknown room with a nameless woman.
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*SPOILER ALERT - LEVEL HIGH

OKLAHOMA CITY -- Imagine that the date is June 10th, 1991. Twin Peaks ends its run with a head scratching (and mirror shattering) cliffhanger. Now imagine if after viewing Pts. 3 & 4 of Twin Peaks: The Return that you go back in time to tell all the rapid fans that Dale Cooper gets out of the Black Lodge and… takes place of a identical man named Dougie Jones.

He’s also one-step above the vegetative level that Leo Johnson was in the second season after he got shot in the back. He also can play a mean game of casino slots.

Exactly, you look wild trying to tell this story by now.

Lynch curveballs the audience once more after two hours of the most surrealistic and iconoclastic material ever put on television. He decides to dial into one of the more imperative tones of the original series: humor.

PART THREE

Special Agent Dale Cooper (Kyle MacLachlan) is out of the Black Lodge — almost.

He falls through space into a dark flickering room with a pink hue from a fireplace. A woman in a velvet dress and stitched over eyes is trying to advise him, but her voice comes out as indistinguishable nonsense. This scene is eerily chopped together with skipping frame rate, making it feel like a haunting nightmare.

This unknown woman gets electrocuted via a giant antenna she leads Coop to and falls into space. A superimposed image of Major Garland Briggs (the late Don S. Davis) floats by ala the opening to Lynch’s first film Eraserhead and simply says “blue rose.”

Lynch said in interviews leading up to the new season that it would take more from the 1992 film Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me than the series. FWWM has a scene where it’s insinuated that Gordon Cole uses the code of “blue rose” to clarify a case as supernatural.

Cooper goes through a switchboard structure and switches places with… another Dale Cooper doppelgänger named Dougie Jones (also played by Kyle MacLachlan); a high-class realtor.

He complains to a sex worker named Jade (Nafessa Williams) that his left arm is numb. The same arm he seems to be wearing the Owl Cave ring (Another FWWM callback). Dougie throws up (speculated to be) garmonbozia aka “pain and sorrow” and gets sent to the Red Room when Jade is in the shower.

Meanwhile, in the Badlands of South Dakota, Bad Cooper flips the car he is in and begins to throw up (alleged) garmonbozia as well. Good Cooper (you know, regular ‘ol Dale Coops) materializes through an electrical outlet and gets mistaken for Dougie Jones.

Something happened through his transfer from the Black Lodge to Earth though. He has trouble speaking. He seems to only speak in phrases and words that are said to him.

Black Lodge denizen Mike (Al Strobel) tells Dougie Jones in the Red Room that Dougie was created for a purpose that has now run up. Dougie materialized into a golden marble (because of course) to which Mike takes along with the Owl Cave ring. It’s speculated that Bad Cooper in some way created Dougie Jones to confuse the powers that be in the Black Lodge so he could stay out and Dougie can go in.

Critics of the first two new parts and FWWM (yes, there are, strangely, critics) are put at ease after Good Cooper gets sent back to present day times. The show becomes an investigative mystery with plenty of comedic bits.

Deputy Hawk (Michael Horse), Deputy Andy Brennan (Harry Goaz) and his wife, receptionist Lucy Brennan (Kimmy Robertson) are collected at the Twin Peaks Sheriff’s Department conference room to go over whatever is missing in the Laura Palmer case plus what happened to Cooper. Their first and only clue they awkwardly come up with is Lucy believes something is missing because she ate one of Cooper’s chocolate bunnies. Adorable.

Dr. Lawrence Jacoby (Russ Tamblyn) is shown spray painting shovels gold. This feels like a storyline that will steadily build over the upcoming parts. A sense of tranquility among the chaos of the rest of Twin Peaks.

Deputy Director Gordon Cole (David Lynch) and Albert Rosenfield (Miguel Ferrer) are finally back like they never left. Questioning the events of the glass box warehouse deaths in NYC when Cole gets a call that they found Cooper in South Dakota. Unfortunately, it’s the Bad Coop they find.

PART FOUR

This is where things start to get downright hilarious. Jade drops Cooper off at a casino in Las Vegas where he instructs everyone to “call for help.” He learns how to gamble and sees a Black Lodge icon of sorts hovering above certain machines. Every one he plays on, he wins a jackpot. This scene does seem to go on for a little too long and the tonal shift put me off.

With the help of an all too patient limo driver after being snidely told by the casino owners to please come back, Cooper arrives home—err, at Dougie’s home. As in all my dreams, Naomi Watts plays his wife, Jane-Y Jones, and is elated when she finds he won tens of thousands of dollars to pay an unnamed debt.

I haven’t smiled as much watching something this year than when it’s revealed that Bobby Briggs (Dana Ashbrook) is now a deputy at the Twin Peaks Sheriff’s Department. Him tearing up to seeing Laura’s famous picture again while her theme finally plays was greatly touching. Franklin Truman (Robert Forster), Harry’s brother, is now the Sheriff in Twin Peaks. He gets to meet Andy and Lucy’s son, Wild One-esque Wally Brando (played magnificently by Michael Cera). It makes all too much sense that Cera is the offspring of Andy and Lucy.

Cooper can see Mike in Dougie’s house, as he shows him Dougie’s golden marble.

Dougie’s wife somehow doesn’t notice that Cooper doesn’t even know how to dress himself, go to the bathroom or even gasp enjoy coffee (a scene that is as gut-busting as it is cutely innocent).

Cole and Rosenfield, meanwhile, along with Special Agent Tamara "Tammy" Preston (Chrysta Bell) meet with Evil Cooper as he’s been arrested in South Dakota, cryptically talking about Special Agent Phillip Jeffries, played by David Bowie in FWWM. They notice something off about him, namely that he repeats a lengthy phrase verbatim in a robotic nature. Cole and Rosenfield walk outside to have a quiet conversation as Cole cranks his hearing aid to the max to the blue-tinted scene.

“Blue rose?” Agent Rosenfield says.

“It doesn’t get much bluer.” Cole agrees.

Notably absent is Matthew Lillard’s character from the first two parts, but like Dr. Jacoby’s short intercuts, I’m sure it’ll pop up periodically.

The 180 the season takes as soon as Cooper lands back in the real world is a little jarring at first. It’s not as if I’m lethargic to Lynch cracking jokes, but after an eccentric and monstrously unnerving season premiere, it took me off guard.

I love that this show is dropping once a week (even if the first four episode dropped at once). If I was bingeing the show, I would have thought “whatever, that was weird, next episode,” but I was given a week to digest it and it clicked. The original series’ tone was all over the place so this shouldn’t be any different — although I’d argue it never went as dark as this season has so far so it can still be jolting at times.

There seems to be a lot of numbers being discussed in the first four episodes. Lots of non-sequiturs being thrown around. I’m not sure if they are of any significance or is Lynch trying to (successfully) get the audience off of his trail.

Nothing can really be accounted or deliberated about until the full puzzle comes together. And that’s half the fun.

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About the Author

Kevin Tudor

Born and raised in the mean streets of Yukon, Oklahoma, Kevin is currently majoring in...

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