Raise your hand if you thought Ray was dead?
With the David Lynch opener to the third episode, I had hopes of a surreal twist to the story, but instead we get “rubber bullets,” which I think is a bit of a cheat. Chekhov may not have said “if you shoot off a man’s genitals with a shotgun in the first episode, you can’t reload with rubber bullets in the third,” but it’s better than having to peel off a vest or simply survive it somehow, I suppose. Why have it happen at all? Because he’s playing with tropes once again. This is the old “tire iron to the skull” routine from numerous detective stories, where we need to knock out the hero, because…I don’t know why. It just happens a lot, when someone writes themselves into a corner and can’t figure out why the bad guy wouldn’t just kill the protagonist.
The only thing that made up for that, for me, was the sudden appearance of one of my favorite actors, Fred Ward, as Ray’s father, as a disillusioned, retired police officer who longs for the “good ol’ days” when you solved crime by beating the nearest minority into confessing. He’s dying of cancer, taking marijuana that Ray brings him. “No country for white men.” And the near-death experience has had an effect. Ray’s drinking water now. His death is a rebirth.