If there was one thing that stood out in this week’s episodes, it was those regurgitation scenes. Ay, dios mio! More than once as Special Agent Dale Cooper (Kyle MacLachlan) is passing from the Black Lodge back to the land of the living.
In what can only be described as a surreal trip for Coop, he gets sucked through an electrical outlet and rides the current until he switches bodies with a lookalike named Dougie Jones. The hapless Dougie was enjoying the company of a lady of the evening, Jade (Nafeesa Williams), who is washing up when Coop arrives and takes Dougie’s place. And there begins possibly the vilest puke scene ever delivered on camera (and if you can point to more disgusting exhibits, I’ll just take your word for it). Dougie is swept away to the Black Lodge, where the one-armed man, Gerard (Al Strobel), explains, “Someone manufactured you,” and bears witness as the doppelgänger disintegrates into nothing more than a little round ball.
At the same time, the Evil Coop is feeling the disturbance in the air, and he runs his car off the road in South Dakota to upchuck as well.
What has returned is not our good old “damn fine cup of coffee” Cooper; instead, we have a man who’s practically vegetative, childlike, or burnt out from the worst acid trip of his life. Jade helps him put on his clothes, but he’s unable to leave because he doesn’t have his car keys. She reaches into his pocket and pulls out the key to room 215 of The Great Northern Hotel in Twin Peaks. She takes Coop in her car, unaware that two assassins are set to kill Coop. But in a quirky twist, Jade’s car hits a bump, Coop drops his keys and bends down to pick them up, and the killer only sees Jade.
In Twin Peaks, Hawk (Michael Horse) begins looking through old files with the bumbling assistance of Andy (Harry Goaz) and Lucy (Kimmy Robertson), based on Log Lady’s tip that it had something to do with his heritage. Meant as a humorous insert, I didn’t find the gawky married couple very funny. They seem like caricatures of the former caricatures. In the original series, they offered light, comedic relief—like when Andy cries at every crime scene or Lucy is way too specific in clarifying any given situation. Here, it falls flat, especially when she is astounded that such a thing as cell phones exist. Maybe something happened to Lucy in the preceding years that we are not yet privy to, but hopefully their roles will improve over the rest of the run.
A little farther away, deeper in the woods, there’s Dr. Jacoby (Russ Tamblyn) again with shovels, this time spraying them. Don’t know what the hell that has to do with anything, but his mysterious actions of doing next to nothing are far more intriguing than the Hawk, Lucy, and Andy repartee.
At FBI headquarters in Philadelphia, Gordon Cole (David Lynch) and Albert Rosenfeld (Miguel Ferrer) are briefed by Special Agent Tamara Preston (Chrystal Bell) on the glass box and the two gruesome deaths. NYPD has no idea who owns the building, and none of the security guards can be found. Gordon races to his office when he’s told Cooper is on the line (gotta appreciate a guy’s office that has posters of a nuclear detonation and Frank Kafka). He tells Albert and Tamara they are headed for South Dakota to where “Cooper” is being held in prison. Found in Evil Coop’s car are cocaine, a machine gun, and a dog leg.
Jade drops off Dougie/Coop at the Silver Mustang Casino, where he inserts coins into slot machines that have an image of the red curtains and striped floor from the Black Lodge lobby hovering over them. He wins jackpot after jackpot, totaling thirty in all. Lynch might be taxing his faithful viewers (or me, at least) because we (I) want Cooper back in full capacity. But it quickly becomes apparent we are to have another full episode of the fog-headed Coop.
On we go to meet Dougie’s kid, Sonny Jim Jones (Pierce Gagnon), and wife, Janey-E Jones (Naomi Watts), who is livid with him until she realizes he’s carrying a shitload of cash to pay off some debts. He takes a sip of coffee and ends up spitting it out because it’s too hot, reminiscent of a Season 1 episode. After a time, Coop sees the one-armed man in the corner of his room, with Gerard telling him that he has been tricked and “one of you must die.”
My one question is: Why does no one who meets Dougie seem overtly concerned with his actions? I would have taken him immediately to the hospital. His behavior has all the telltale signs of a stroke—something even Jade suspected.
Gordon briefs Denise Bryson (David Duchovny), now the chief of staff of the FBI. Pretty much a nothing scene inserted for the sake of seeing Duchovny as Denise, reprising his role from the original series. Another cameo has Richard Chamberlain playing Bill Kennedy, an underling of Bryson. Allegedly, there are almost sixty actors for The Return, and so we can check two more off.
Dana Ashbrook is back as Bobby Briggs, and he’s become a deputy! That’s a welcoming unexpected turn, and unexpected for him is seeing his old girlfriend Laura Palmer’s photo in the conference room where Hawk is talking to Sheriff Frank Truman (Robert Forster). He begins weeping to beat the band … a far cry from the teenager that got over her death rather swiftly when he found out she was cheating on him with James Hurley. As the crocodile tears flood, he says, “Man, brings back some memories.” He also tells Truman and Hawk that Agent Cooper was the last one to see his father alive.
Michael Cera as Wally Brando, son of Lucy and Andy, is one of the damnedest, oddest, funniest shots in all of Twin Peaks. Sitting on a motorcycle, wearing identical attire to Marlon in The Wild One, it only gets funnier as Wally talks about being one with the road. He tells Sheriff Frank Truman that he has come to pay his respects to his godfather and Frank’s brother, Harry S. Truman (who is greatly missed). It’s a hoot of classic Lynch goofy perfection. Hopefully, some of Wally’s comicality will rub off on his parents.
“Part 4” ends with a reunion of sorts—Evil Cooper and Gordon. “It’s very good to see you again, old friend,” the doppelgänger says to Gordon. He goes on to tell Gordon that he’s been working undercover with Phillip Jeffries. You may remember Jeffries was played by David Bowie in Fire Walk with Me, an agent who graduated with Gordon in 1968 and then disappeared and reappeared via a “time portal.” Sad to think Bowie was scheduled to appear in The Return before his death early last year. “Something is very wrong,” Gordon tells Albert, “I don’t think he greeted me properly,” and then says they need a certain someone to take a look at Cooper. Albert says he know where she drinks. Could that be Diane? Wouldn’t you like to think so?
Lots to like in these two episodes, but zombie Cooper is getting old, and I’m ready for a few more familiar faces like, say, Audrey Horne (Sherilyn Fenn). We are once again seeing a lot of Laura Palmer’s graduation photo. Is there more to that murder after all these years? If not, why would these episodes open with her image superimposed over Twin Peaks? Looking forward to June 3rd and some more surreal intrigue.
David Cranmer is the publisher and editor of BEAT to a PULP. Latest books from this indie powerhouse include the alternate history novella Leviathan and sci-fi adventure Pale Mars. David lives in New York with his wife and daughter.