‘Twin Peaks’ Recap: Episode 13

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By Eric Ashley (@flapjackashley)
 
We’re getting down to crunch time in Twin Peaks land, with only five hours left, and the clock is ticking. Live time period viewership of the season has dipped to around 200,000, which is very low, even for pay cable. It adds some thanks to DVR and streaming, but it still has to be a disappointment. Game of Thrones, for instance, averages over nine million viewers (live time period) on HBO.
 
But Twin Peaks just keeps chugging along, for better or worse. So let’s dig into this episode, which is called:
 

What Story is That, Charlie?

 
While watching her son play on the newly installed playground equipment bought by the gleeful Mitchum brothers, Janey-E (Naomi Watts) professes her love for Dougie (Kyle MacLachlan) in a particularly tender scene. I never really thought of this before, but when/if Agent Cooper does indeed comeback, where does that leave Dougie’s family and coworkers who love him?
 
Doppelganger Cooper walks into a trap set by Ray, the guy who double crossed him after breaking him out of prison a few weeks ago. Ray’s band of baddies include Rezo (Derek Mears, who horror fans will recognize from playing Jason in the Friday the 13th remake), who challenged Evil Coop to an arm wrestling match – with Ray’s livelihood on the line. Evil Coop has no problem in beating Rezo after creepily showing no effort at all, asking Rezo if his arm hurt when they bend that way – subtly referencing Laura Palmer’s famous Black Lodge quote “Sometimes my arms bend back.” Rezo is defeated and Evil Coop literally punches his face in. Ray is left alone with him, reveals that he has the Blue Ring that was once Laura’s, and tells Evil Coop that he knows who he is. They talk a bit about Major Briggs, and Ray says that it was Phillip Jeffries (David Bowie) who gave him the orders to kill Evil Coop. Giving the mystery coordinates to him, Ray is shot in the head in mid-sentence. The rest of the bad guys are watching on the security camera’s big screen, and one of them is, fittingly, Richard Horne.
 
Hutch (Tim Roth) and Chantel (Jennifer Jason Leigh) are driving through Utah. Chantel makes some remarks about Utah and Mormons, and how they don’t drink coffee or coke, and abstain from sex until marriage. Hutch then says, “Yeah, but once they get married, don’t they have like eight to ten wives?”
 

Time Warp

 
It’s amazing how things in Twin Peaks just don’t change in over two decades. Big Ed (Everett McGill) is sharing a table at the Double R with Norma (Peggy Lipton), still pining after her all these years later. Deputy Bobby Briggs (Dana Ashbrook) comes in, looking for Shelly (Madchen Amick). Both lonely hearts are disappointed as Shelly isn’t there, and Norma’s new beau comes in. Broken hearts, indeed.
 
Sarah Palmer (Grace Zabriskie) is drinking and smoking and watching an old black and white boxing match. It’s a sad scene, but it’s more creepy than anything. I just kept looking at every inch of the screen, expecting to see something weird happen – a shadow, a noise, a glimpse of something sinister. It’s an amazing way to keep the audience on edge even in a sequence that nothing really happens. And nothing does – except the clip on the television just repeats over and over and Sarah doesn’t seem to notice. Of course, I probably wouldn’t notice either if I were as loaded as her.
 
On thing that has changed is Audrey Horne (Sherilyn Fenn), who is still arguing with her husband Charlie about characters we don’t know. In Week Two of “WTF are you talking about Audrey?”, she is ranting like a lunatic, and says that she feels like she isn’t herself anymore. She doesn’t even know where the Roadhouse is. The scene is painful to watch, not only because of Audrey’s breakdown, but Charlie’s cold dialogue line, saying to her “Now, are you going to stop playing games or do I have to end your story, too?” What?
 
James (James Marshall) makes his first appearance in the show since way back in hour two when Shelly said that “James has always been cool”, which is explicitly false. He is the Roadhouse’s featured performer and does a reprise of “Just You”, the horrible song that he, Donna Hayward (Lara Flynn Boyle) and Maddy Ferguson (Sheryl Lee) recorded in the second episode of season two. It’s just as ridiculous here, and I think they are even using the same audio track with the hilariously high pitched singing vocals. His two brunette backup singers even look a little like Donna and Maddy. Some girl in the crowd is moved to tears, and she’s not the only one – although I was in tears for probably not the same reason.
 
But the credits don’t roll there. Instead, they start over a silent scene of Big Ed drinking out of a Double R to Go cup, wistfully thinking of Norma. The credits begin over his shoulder as he quietly and sadly stares out the window. It’s perhaps the saddest end credit scene of the season so far.
 

Review and Looking Ahead

 
These plot driven episodes have gotten the reputation of being boring, but I’m relatively happy with them. They get overshadowed by the balls-out weirdness of episode eight and talking trees and whatnot… but they serve a purpose. With just five hours left, they are necessary because everything has to come together, and with all roads leading to Twin Peaks, it seems like they are.
 
But yet, it just feels odd. You’d think 25 years later would mean people have changed and situations are different. I don’t know if it is for fan service, but it just feels strange to see Ed still pining after Norma, or Bobby being a schoolboy with a crush on Shelly, or James singing a song he sang two and a half decades ago. And I’ve mentioned how it’s weird that Shelly is still a waitress. A scene later in the episode has Nadine meeting Doctor Jacoby and acting like a fangirl – and it’s hard to believe that they had never ran into each other before in all of these years. It’s almost like the world of Twin Peaks was frozen in time for 25 years and just now awoken again like a hibernating bear. Big Ed’s Gas Farm doesn’t even take credit cards – come on Ed! It’s 2017!
 
But if it is fan service, so we can go “awww, they are just like I remembered!”, that is fine. But then why are they doing anything but please the fans with the turn that Audrey Horne has taken? She was one of the most anticipated character returns, and when she did come back last week, it was in a confusing, screaming rant about a bunch of people we don’t even know. And this week’s was even more painful to watch her crying on the brink of a major breakdown. This is not the Audrey Horne I know or wanted to see.
 
While I’m at it, there are a few glaring omissions from the show as well. There’s no mention at all of Donna Hayward, Laura’s best friend, who also turned out to be Benjamin Horne’s secret daughter. Whether or not original actresses Lara Flynn Boyle or Fire Walk With Me replacement Moira Kelly declined to return, they haven’t even mentioned her whereabouts. With James being back, this will seem like an even bigger gap. And the same goes for the cast of the mill – Catherine (Piper Laurie) and Pete – the latter could have died during the bank explosion in story, but the former was a major part of the show and tied closely with Benjamin Horne as well. If Ed and Norma can still be playing some weird romance game, Ben could at least say something in passing about Catherine, his once great love, or Donna.
 
There are so many ways the show could go, but they are wrapping up a few inconsequential story lines – many having to do with Dougie’s character. That’s all well and good, but really, I could have done without so many with him to begin with. I am actually happy to see the Mitchum Brothers so happy and thankful towards Dougie though… I almost expect that when Dougie’s life is inevitably on the line in a future episode that they come to the rescue.
 
Audrey’s storyline is so far detached from everything and anything going on in the show that it is hard to tell where it will lead to. We know, as fans, where we want it to – a reunion between Agent Cooper and her, with her even possibly playing a part in bringing him back – but as we all know, this show doesn’t always give us what we want. I will say that Kyle MacLachlan playing dual roles that are so polar opposite of each other has been amazing. He deserves an Emmy nomination at the very least, as does Naomi Watts. She’s been a joy to watch.
 
Twin Peaks moved to a new timeslot on Sunday, catching some fans by surprise, as it will air at 8pm EST throughout the rest of its run. It’s hard to say that things are feeling back to normal in the town and in the show, but this week wasn’t as much filler as last week, and – Audrey’s story notwithstanding – it seemed like it was moving along. It may not have been exciting or mind blowing (although Ray would disagree on that part), but it counts. I would not have dragged out the Dougie plot as long as the show has, but the upside is that it keeps some fantastic actors in that story around. There is so many ways the show could go, and we never really know what to expect. With five episodes left, the show could easily air another earth shattering episode like hour eight, or it could be five straightforward hours of plot and story wrapping up.
 
Either way, even though the show has angered me this year despite being brilliant in areas, I’m still all in. We as fans have come this far, we can’t give up yet. I just hope our patience will be properly rewarded.


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