Part 5: “Case Files”
In prison, Bad Coop (Kyle MacLachlan), observing his reflection, flashes back a quarter of a century to The Great Northern Hotel where he had smashed his head into his bathroom mirror, and there was creepy BOB (Frank Silva) sneering back at him. “You’re still with me. That’s good,” Bad Coop reassures himself in the present. Later, he gets his one phone call where he teases that he will call a Mr. Strawberry—alarming the warden—before changing his mind and punching a shitload of digits. Prison sirens and lights then begin to go amok as he speaks into the receiver, “The cow jumped over the moon.”
Meanwhile, Good Coop—known to family and co-workers as Dougie Jones—continues to wander around in a stupor with words like “case files,” “agent,” and “coffee” triggering glints into his previous life. Dougie’s boss at the Lucky 7 Insurance company is perturbed with his job performance and gives him a stack of folders to complete by the following day, stipulating that his career hangs in the balance. While many of us fans are looking forward to Dale Cooper’s full return (assuming he will snap out of it), Dougie’s “Chauncey Gardiner” existence is oddly entertaining.
Back to the Buckhorn, South Dakota, murder case in which the librarian’s head was paired with a random body. Turns out Dougie’s wedding ring is found inside the stomach, and the cadaver has none other than Major Garland Briggs’s fingerprints. His prints have had 16 database hits in the last 25 years, and so the Pentagon sends a representative to check on this latest find. I like that Briggs has been out there doing his thing for the last two decades (an X-Files-type series could be made out of what he’s been up to). Missing the late Don S. Davis, who played Briggs, and I'm glad they found a way to incorporate him in The Return.
Robert Forster as Sheriff Frank Truman is talking to brother Harry (the sorely missed Michael Ontkean) on the phone when his histrionic wife from hell, Doris (Candy Clark), shows up bitching about a leaky roof and a broken-down vehicle. Holy hell, she’s a whack job. Later, we learn from the Twin Peaks dispatcher that Doris wasn’t always so unhinged, but after her child died, things changed. To his credit, Frank calmly takes it all in stride.
Twin Peaks Trivia: Forster was the first choice to play Harry S. Truman in the original series, but he turned it down for another part.
Continuing along in Lynch's quirky, discursive thread, a drugged-out mother is oblivious as her inquisitive kid wanders across the street, curious about the device he saw some thugs plant under Dougie’s car. Another gang shows up and shoos the boy away just in time before it blows sky high. The boy runs back across the street to his stoned mother. Why we should still care about what happens to Dougie’s car or why dueling low-lifes are after his wheels becomes almost secondary because, in fact, these lives stick with you. “One-one-nine!” the mother keeps yelling. But why?
Extra Slices of Cherry Pie: Jade drops Coop’s Twin Peaks hotel key in the mail; Bradley Mitchum (Jim Belushi), his brother, and other casino accomplices rough up the pit boss who was in charge when Good Coop won $425,000; Caleb Landry Jones plays Steven Burnett, an addict loser who’s dating Shelley Johnson’s daughter Becky (Amanda Seyfried), who seems done with him and startled at the amount of coke he had inhaled until she snorts a line and floats away herself; Dr. Lawrence Jacoby has a webcast devoted to conspiracy theories where he sells those gold-plated shovels we saw him spraying in an earlier episode (that was the extent of those earlier drawn out scenes?!?); Lorraine (Tammy Baird), “the worrier” at the start of the episode, activates a communication device of some sort that’s located in Buenos Aires, which later shrinks down to minuscule size when activated by Bad Coop’s prison call.
Part 6: “Don’t Die”
After several long hours of eyeing a statue outside his office building, Good Coop is escorted by two police officers back to Dougie’s house—the one with the red door. Finally, Dougie’s wife, Janey-E (Naomi Watts), says she is taking him to see a doctor the following day. It doesn’t end up happening, but at least she’s acknowledging that Dougie’s behavior falls well outside “normal,” even by Twin Peaks standards.
This may be a good spot to do some junior G-man detecting. Why isn’t Janey-E more stunned by the blackmail that comes in the form of a picture of Dougie and Jade and the follow-up phone call demanding $50,000? Yeah, she’s pissed, but there’s a recognition that her hubby is a bit of a scoundrel. Is it possible that she’s aware that Dougie was a manufactured doppelgänger?
Also, who is helping Good Coop do Dougie’s case files? Bright circular lights appear, which Good Coop begins filling in by scribbling staircases and ladders. A good guess is Phillip Gerard (Al Strobel) from the Black Lodge, who appears to Coop with a warning, “You have to wake up. Wake up. Don’t die.” Then, he waves his hand in a strange hypnotic gesture that would do The Amazing Criswell proud.
The always-put-upon, cranky FBI agent, Albert Rosenfield (the late Miguel Ferrer), has the single funniest line while braving the cold Philadelphia rain. He spits out, “Fuck Gene Kelly, you motherfucker.”
His mission is to find Coop’s former secretary, and inside Max Von’s Bar, he walks up behind a woman and quietly says, “Diane.” It’s a huge moment in this series, but it was really not that much of a surprise to see Laura Dern slowly pivot on the bar stool and reply, “Hello, Albert.” And that’s it. I think the moment—though underwhelming—works, especially in Diane’s appearance. Cooper once described her as an “interesting cross between a saint and a cabaret singer,” and I for sure see that in Ms. Dern’s dour expression and bobbed hairstyle.
Richard Horne (Eamon Farren) appears to be the next generation of Twin Peaks’ young people gone bad. And with a name like Horne, that’s to be expected—guessing he’s related to Audrey or Ben and Jerry. In “Part 5,” we saw him at the Bang Bang Bar offering a bribe to an off-duty deputy. He came across as an immoral punk badass as he threatened to rape a girl, but here he is put squarely in his place by drug dealer Red (Balthazar Getty), who warns Richard not to double cross him.
Then, Red psyches Richard out by flipping a coin in the air where it hovers before appearing in Richard’s mouth and then returning to Red’s hand. Wtf! You may remember Red was in “Part 1” where he tossed Shelly Johnson a gun gesture. We shall see if Shelly has not learned her lesson all those years ago from her abusive husband Leo and has fallen for another criminal.
Henry Dean Stanton as Carl Rodd first appeared in Fire Walk with Me (1992) and, I’m to understand, graces several pages of The Secret History of Twin Peaks written by Mark Frost. The man who said, “I’ve already gone places. I just want to stay where I am,” has apparently lived at that trailer park for the last 25 years.
Carl heads into Twin Peaks, enjoying a day at the park, when he witnesses a young boy killed by a speeding truck driven by Richard Horne. He then observes a gold aura float from the boy’s lifeless body as he comforts the mother. Lynch’s focus settles on a utility pole, and his camera lens slowly scales to the very top where we hear the hum of electricity that’s been a reliable staple of this series to date. And, you may remember, those numbers on the pole were also featured in Fire Walk With Me.
Extra Slices of Cherry Pie: An assassin, Ike “the Spike” Stadtler (Christophe Zajac-Denek), viciously kills Lorraine and has orders to kill Dougie Jones too—his mannerisms and facial expressions are laugh-out-loud funny, but the sound of the knife squishing into the flesh is anything but; Bushnell Mullins (Don Murray) sees something in Dougie’s scribbles and thanks him for his work, asking him to keep it quiet for now; Janey-E discovers that Dougie bet on a football game and lost, and she plays hardball by only paying the collectors $25,000; Deputy Chief Hawk (Michael Horse), with incredible kismet, finds several old pieces of paper with handwriting stuffed inside a bathroom door.
Part 7: “There’s a Body All Right”
Confirmed: the pieces of paper that Hawk found in the bathroom stall door are three of the four missing Laura Palmer diary pages. Content contains references to Annie (probably Coop’s girlfriend at the time, Annie Blackburn) and to Dale Cooper still being in the Black Lodge. Chewing the new info over together, Hawk and Sheriff Frank Truman question who it was that exited the lodge if it wasn’t Agent Cooper. Hawk theorizes that Leland Palmer was the one who hid the diary pages away.
Note: In Fire Walk With Me, Annie appeared to Laura in a dream to predict the future of Cooper's imprisonment at the Black Lodge.
Lieutenant Knox (Adele René) from the Pentagon is startled to find that the headless body has the fingerprints of Briggs, but the cadaver is that of a man in his forties, which wouldn’t match Briggs, who would be in his seventies. And what the hell was that aberration that resembled a Swamp Thing monster striding through the morgue. It seems Knox noted it and then turned back to her business at hand.
So, Diane (Laura Dern) is one bitter, bitter woman telling Albert, Gordon, and Tammy to “fuck off” repeatedly. Wasn’t expecting such an abrasive personality, and I’m wondering what made her so. As she is interviewing Bad Coop, she asks him if he remembers their last night together. Is she a woman scorned? What was the extent of their relationship? One thing is certain, after just a few minutes she knows the man being held in prison is a fraud. “That is not the Dale Cooper I knew,” she tells Gordon.
Bad Coop, seemingly aware the gig is up, threatens Warden Murphy with information he knows about a Joe McClusky and a Mr. Strawberry. That and talk of dog legs is all the prompting the warden needs to aid Bad Coop and his accomplice, Ray Monroe, to escape.
As Ike “the Spike” Stadtler is about ready to shoot Good Coop, Coop’s FBI training instinctively kicks into gear, and he disarms the diminutive killer. As they’re struggling over the firearm, the Black Lodge brainy tree instructs him to “squeeze his hand off.” It was a thrill to see Agent Cooper for just a brief moment back in action.
Extra Slices of Cherry Pie: Cops interview Coop about Dougie’s car, and Janey-E gives them an earful of anger; There is an odd noise emanating in Ben Horne’s office that has him and Beverly (who seem to be flirting) befuddled; The latest Renault family member running the bar is engaged in prostitution; Doc Hayward (Warren Frost), via Skype, fills Sheriff Truman in on the last time he saw Dale Cooper; and the funniest scene goes to Jerry Horne, high as hell and lost in the woods.
See also: Twin Peaks: The Return: Parts 3 and 4
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.