Twin Peaks Episode 12 Review


By: Eric Flapjack Ashley (@flapjackashley)

This episode marks three major events in this revival run of Twin Peaks: we are now two-thirds of the way through the 18-episode season; the return of not one but two major characters from the original series; and – perhaps most telling – I think that 18 episodes may have been a little too long of an order to follow through with. So, let’s begin talking about episode 12, called:

Let’s Rock

Albert (Miguel Ferrer) and Cole (David Lynch) invite Tammy to become a member of the Blue Rose Task Force – one that fans will recall from the film Fire Walk with Me. The original BRTF included Agent Cooper (Kyle MacLahlan), Chester Desmond (Chris Isaak), Phillip Jeffries (David Bowie) and Albert himself. And it should be noted that all but Albert from that group has gone missing. They also invite Diane (Laura Dern) along, but she isn’t as warm about joining without the promise of something being in it for her. She agrees, and says, “Let’s rock,” which is not only something the little dancing Man from Another Place had said, but also was sprawled along a broken windshield that Agent Cooper found when looking for the missing Agent Desmond in the movie.

It should also be noted that Diane’s first appearance in the episode has her coming out from being red curtains.

Later in the episode, Diane communicates with an unseen individual via text message and researches the coordinates from last week’s arm and discovers it leads to Twin Peaks.

Family Matters

The first major return of a beloved classic character is that of Sarah Palmer (Grace Zabriskie), the mother of murder victim Laura Palmer and widow of the man who killed her. We saw Sarah in hour two, but it was more of a cameo with no dialogue – this is her character’s real reintroduction. Sarah looks a little haggard, and she loses it at the grocery store after filling her cart to the brim with hard liquor. She ends up making an uncomfortable scene at the grocery store after being triggered by a new brand of beef jerky. She says that “men are coming” and that something has happened to her. Deputy Hawk goes to visit her at her house, and the episode makes a point to show us the ceiling fan on two different occasions – fans will remember it and how it signified sinister goings on from both the original series and from the movie. Hawk senses something is wrong, hears a noise from inside the house that Sarah just brushes off as a “noise in the kitchen.” She says some bad stuff is coming, before thanking Hawk for dropping by. This is, by far, one of the most unsettling and amazing scenes of the show so far in my opinion. It was truly disturbing, and a real standout scene of the season.

Sheriff Truman (Robert Forster) visits Ben Horne (Richard Beymer) and fills him in on his grandson, Richard. Ben shows he’s human by being remorseful that Richard had hit and run a kid and then attempted to kill a witness to it. Ben offers to pay for Miriam’s medical expenses, and gives Truman the key to Agent Cooper’s old room, thinking it would be good for his brother Harry to see it. The yet unseen original Twin Peaks sheriff, Harry S. Truman, had a close relationship with Agent Cooper, and this season has hinted that Harry is suffering from some kind of medical illness. They better not even kill him off screen, or I will lose control.

Chantel (Jennifer Jason Leigh) and Hutch (Tim Roth) successfully shoot down the prison warden (James Morrison) in front of his house that Doppleganger Cooper had instructed them to. It’s quite the weird scene that runs less than two minutes long – the show never even gives an establishing shot of who was, ahem, shot…so some viewers have commented they don’t even know who it was that was the victim. The warden’s son comes out the front door and cries for his dead dad, but that doesn’t phase Hutch as he announces it’s time to go to Wendy’s. Nothing caps off cold blooded murder than a delicious Frosty!

Later in the episode, we finally see the long awaited return of Audrey Horne (Sherilyn Fenn). She’s pissed at her husband Charlie (Clark Middleton). She casually mentions she’s having an affair with Billy, who has since gone missing. Who’s Billy? Oh, he’s that character that some guy ran into the Double R Diner and yelled about a few weeks back in what appeared to be a throwaway pre-credits scene. Audrey dislikes Tina. Tina may know something about Chuck. Billy. Tina. Chuck. Who the hell are these people?? This is a long scene and I can’t help but just sit and stare in wonder – not that I’m amazed at how awesome it is to have Audrey Horne back in the show, but how detached she seems to be from everything, and completely unnecessary at this point.

Speaking of random characters, we get a lengthy scene with three new ones at the Roadhouse to round out the episode.

Review and Looking Ahead

This episode started off well, but went downhill pretty quickly. The show has always been known for its offbeat moments and stringing the audience along, but this is the first time this season that there were lots of moments that seemed to be filler. For the third time, we’ve seen Dr. Jacoby and is ranting conspiracy theory shovel-selling public access show and Nadine loving every minute of it. It’s aggravating, not because we’re seeing old characters, but we’re seeing them operate completely independent of the main storyline. It was cute at first, but now just seems pointless and takes away from something else the show could be doing. The extended scene between Cole and Albert and a lame turnip joke went on way too long, as did the interaction between Audrey and her husband. The mentioning of so many new (or barely mentioned) characters just feels less like some grand plan but just a ton of people that will be impossible to keep track of, shoehorning them into a character’s backstory that doesn’t seem to matter.

Audrey’s bitter return will overshadow Sarah Palmer’s off-the-charts creepy scenes, and that’s a shame because they clearly play more of a part in the overall story than whatever Audrey was ranting about – as far as we know. Audrey was name dropping several new characters and seemed completely separate from the rest of the Twin Peaks universe. The show even seemed bored with her return – no big music cue or Star Camera intro for her (think back to how they reintroduced Bobby Biggs in hour four)…she’s just standing there, unimpressed. I know, and we know, she’ll play a bigger part in the coming weeks, but this was a really, really disappointing return.

Diane’s discovery that the coordinates lead to Twin Peaks is one other takeaway from this week that gives hope that things will tie together. I still think everything will come together. It’s slowly building that way, but then stuff like the Audrey Horne scene makes me wonder if there will be closure for some…it’s awfully late in the game to be dropping in a ton of new characters.

Also of note, Kyle MacLachlan has less than one minute of screen time in this episode, and this continues the curious action of having Sheryl Lee’s name in the closing credits of every episode – even ones like this where her character Laura Palmer is never seen nor directly mentioned.

But it is episodes like this one that make me unsure of what to expect next week. We have only six episodes left – and that doesn’t seem like a lot of time to stuff shows full of filler and new characters…but that’s exactly what this week did. I’m hoping for more for substance and less filler – but knowing that I’m watching Twin Peaks, I am trained to expect the unexpected, no matter if it’s good or bad.

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