TWIN PEAKS: THE RETURN Review: Part 15

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By Eric Ashley (@flapjackashley)
 
This week’s recap is going to be slightly different. I assume anyone who is still reading at this point is a fan and has already watched the episode. So this week’s review will be focused on speculation, predictions, unanswered questions and hopes for the upcoming last three hours. It’s time to take inventory on what has happened so far, and what hasn’t. With last night’s episode being the final appearance of Catherine E. Coulson as the Log Lady, I also thought it would be nice to take a moment and remember those in the Twin Peaks family who are no longer with us.
 

Happy Endings

 
I have been increasingly worried that The Return will not end with not end with answering our questions, nor providing a happy ending. When the original series ended, everyone and their mother knew it was going to be cancelled. Let’s be real: while it makes a nice sentiment in the storyline, nobody thought the show would return two and a half decades later. Nobody. And yet it ended with a terrifying cliffhanger that I’m not sure was ever meant to be resolved. I fear the same thing will happen here: same day ratings for The Return have not been good, even by pay cable standards, and David Lynch himself has said that he (currently) has no plans to revisit Twin Peaks once this is wrapped up. Directing 18 hours is a lot, after all. I believe this is clearly meant as a send off.
 
With that said, I worry. What if Agent Cooper never comes back? Seeing him dressed in an FBI-like suit in last night’s episode was heart wrenching. But last night’s episode gave me a glimpse of what happiness in Twin Peaks can feel like. When Nadine gave Big Ed her blessing to be with Norma, it felt wonderful. In this unexpectedly quick resolution to a story that has been going on for 27 years, it shows that David Lynch is capable of knowing how to make fans smile. It gives me hope that he will treat long suffering fans with, dare I say, the happy (or at least not horrible) endings that we all deserve.
 

Audrey Horne

 
The Return kept fan favorite Audrey Horne off screen for an extended amount of time. But when she finally did show up, it was in the most disappointing of ways. Audrey’s storyline is not only confusing, but it is almost completely detached from everything else going on. Her ranting and raving about Billy and Tina – whom we have not even seen yet that we know of – just paints her as unstable. Moreso, the confirmation that hit-and-run driver Richard Horne is indeed her son makes it all the more frustrating. Audrey not only seems to be in her own universe but she is completely unconcerned with Richard’s awful and murderous behavior. Other characters have not even mentioned her aside from a brief acknowledgement by Doctor Hayward earlier this season. Her constant arguing with her husband makes for amusing television, but means very little to anything. In fact, she’s been raving about going to the Roadhouse to look for Billy, but three episodes later and she is still not even out the door to head there. In her last appearance, she didn’t even seen to know where the Roadhouse was.
 
My speculation is that Audrey could still be in some kind of coma. She is too far detached from everything for her not to be. How could she not know where the Roadhouse is? Someone by now would have alerted her about Richard’s wrong doings. The only other thing could be that the series is showing us scenes out of order, and her story takes place earlier in the timeline and we just don’t know it yet.
 

Observations and Predictions

 
Somehow, I don’t think the Mitchum brothers are done on the show. Once enemies, they clearly love Dougie now, and I think when it comes to the end, they will show up and repay him/Agent Cooper in a grand way.

 

It’s weird to me that Donna Hayward, such a major character in the original show and movie, has not even been mentioned by anyone. In the series finale, she was revealed to also be Benjamin Horne’s secret daughter, and he hasn’t acknowledged her whatsoever since. Donna’s piano-playing younger sister Gersten has even made an appearance, but not Donna herself.

 

Other than Donna, some other key characters from the series have gone without being acknowledged. The Mill, which was a big part of the show, is gone, and along with it, Catherine (Piper Laurie) and Pete (Jack Nance). Pete’s fate was left in the balance in the bank explosion with Audrey, so it would be fair to assume he died in it. We also haven’t heard about the fate of Leo Johnson, Shelly’s wife-beating husband – also a major part of the original series but gone without a trace.

 

There are winks and nods to BOB all over the place, but some seeds that have been planted grew to be a big nothingburger. William Hastings showed clear parallels to Leland/BOB in the first episode, but he was disposed of unceremoniously as was half his skull. Shelly Johnson’s daughter’s boyfriend shows drug-induced signs of a BOB-like influence in his life. And then we still have Mr. C walking about, and he was supposedly possessed by BOB at the series finale. What part will BOB play in the final episodes?

 
Who is Judy? Looks like the question that was first posed to us in Fire Walk With Me by David Bowie’s character will finally be answered. I do have to say that I love how this year is bringing together stories from both the original series and the movie. It makes it feel like one entire franchise as opposed to separate entities.

 

Diane was not seen this episode, although Mr. C was shown sending the “Las Vegas?” text that she received last week. I still don’t think that Diane is a villain. As I said last week, her reaction to the Doppelganger was too real for it to be faked. I think she is operating on her own in setting a trap for Mr. C, but not telling Gordon or Albert makes her look suspicious. Diane was clearly hurt by Mr. C in some fashion when she thought he was Agent Cooper, and she could be just plotting some angry revenge. At least, that’s what I hope.

 

James being arrested has to mean something. The show has now placed him, the Gloved One, the woman with no eyes that Andy is supposed to protect, and the creepy deformed guy all in the same spot. This is clearly no accident, and it has to be for a big confrontation. I just hope whatever happens also takes out Chad, who I will be glad to see go.
 

Sheriff Harry S. Truman has been MIA, but not forgotten. His brother, Frank, has mentioned that Harry is struggling with a health illness. The series could have just said that Harry retired and his brother came to take his place. But by mentioning, twice now, that Harry is ill, I hope that doesn’t mean the show is planning on killing him off, too. As a fan favorite in the show, an off-screen death for whatever reason would be an insult.
 

And Here’s to Those Who Went Before Us

 
The saddest moment for me as a Twin Peaks fan was seeing the final scene of Catherine E. Coulson as the Log Lady. Catherine filmed these scenes shortly before her death in 2015. For someone who’s character became as symbolic of the series as anything else, seeing her say that she was dying was a tear jerking moment. The characters at the police station were given time to pay their respects, as were us viewers. Sadly, in 25 years, she is not the only one in the Twin Peaks universe to have passed. Let’s take a moment to remember other key cast members who are no longer with us.
 
Miguel Ferrer (Agent Albert Rosenfield) died earlier this year. His contribution to the show, and particularly this season, is immeasurable. The back and forth between him and Gordon Cole has not only been funny, but also a driving part of the plot(s).
 
Don S. Davis (Major Garland Briggs) left us in 2008. Davis was an actual U.S. Army captain, and his role in the show grew in importance as the series progressed. His character plays a major part in the mystery this year.
 
Warren Frost (Doc Hayward) died in 2017 as well, at the age of 91. Frost, who is the father of series co-creator Mark Frost, also had a very memorable role in TV’s Seinfeld alongside Grace Zabriskie (Sarah Palmer). Warren was able to film a small cameo in an earlier episode this year and also gave us the key plot detail about Audrey Horne having been in a coma after the bank explosion in the original series finale.
 
Jack Nance (Pete Martell) died in 1996. Pete Martell was the one who called the police station about finding Laura Palmer’s body, and noting that she was “wrapped in plastic”.
 
And finally, Frank Silva (BOB) was the first in the cast to pass on, back in 1995. Legend has it that it was a production error in the pilot episode that began his odyssey as the show’s most iconically evil character. As Sarah Palmer freaks out on the couch at a vision of someone discovering Laura’s necklace, eagle eyed viewers can spot Silva’s reflection in one of the mirrors above Sarah’s head.
 

What’s Ahead

 
Last night’s episode ended with the normal Roadhouse musical number, but not very soothing as Ruby was crawling on the ground before deteriorating into screams of terror. We don’t know what she is screaming at, but whatever it is, we know we’ll be screaming about it later.
 
Despite my need for resolution, I will miss this show when it is all wrapped up. What other show can make me fall in love with it while making me so angry at times. What other show can make me crave the plot to move on but force me to watch a man eating cake for a solid two minutes of screentime?
 
There is only three hours left – in two Sundays as the final two episodes will air as a two-hour special. Next week will return to a more traditional recap, so buckle up – things are about to get real.


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