Part 8: “Gotta Light?”
Hard to convey the vibe this reviewer got from experiencing a seminal moment in television history without coming across as an awestruck fanboy. So, what the hell, let me just embrace it by doubling down: this ranks next to Mulholland Drive (2001) and Blue Velvet (1986) as one of Lynch’s crowning directorial achievements.
“Gotta Light” is a subversive, expressionistic, and harrowing episode with prolonged scenes—even by Lynch standards—of no dialogue. “As soon as you put things in words, no one ever sees the film the same way,” he was quoted as saying in The New Yorker. The sobering result: we hear the eerie, discordant “Threnody for the Victims of Hiroshima” by Penderecki as we bear witness to the first atomic bomb test at White Sands, New Mexico, on July 16, 1945, and are pulled into the mushroom cloud among the swirling atoms of hellfire and destruction.
Always foolhardy to interpret Lynch’s surreal nightmares, but it would seem Oppenheimer did more than become the destroyer of worlds as it was from this initial inferno that BOB was born. The Giant (Carel Struycken, now billed as ???????) witnessing the blast from an unknown Lynchian dimension floats to the ceiling where his head begins releasing a golden glow that morphs into a ball with the face of Laura Palmer encased. A woman (Leslie Berger) kisses it, then releases the orb, which gets whisked through a tube before it drifts toward America. The impression, if I may take the unwise leap of translating, is that Laura is on her way to combat BOB.
Extra Slices of Cherry Pie: In front of a gas station (that a few online fans have noted may be a forerunner to Big Ed Hurley’s (Everett McGill) business), otherworldly beings move about doing … whatever it is they are doing. I have no idea. Anyone have a guess?
In 1956, we see a calm neighborhood turned into a Roger Corman B-movie as walking abominations stride about. Couples are terrorized, and more than one innocent bystander has his head crushed in by the Woodsman (Robert Brodsky). Taking over a radio station, he seemingly controls listeners by repeating, “This is the water. And this is the well. Drink full and descend. The horse is the white of the eyes and dark within.”
In the present day, Ray Monroe (George Griffith) shoots Bad Coop (Kyle MacLachlan) and watches as some more “woodsmen” begin a bloody triage of sorts bringing him back to life. Ray jumps in his car and calls Philip (Jefferies?) saying, “I saw something in Cooper. It may be the key to what this is all about.”
Part 9: “This Is the Chair”
The bloodied and just-back-from-dying Bad Coop walks to a farm house where Hutch (Tim Roth) and Chantal (Jennifer Jason Leigh) further patch him up and provide him with new cell phones and weapons. Bad Coop calls Duncan Todd (Patrick Fischer) and threatens, “Better be done next time I call.” Then, he instructs Hutch and Chantal to murder Warden Murphy.
Biggest wtf moment, though, is Bad Coop sending a text that reads, “Around the dinner table, the conversation is lovely.” A message that Diane Evans (Laura Dern) later reads! (These narrowed eyes noticed the words were now in full caps and a comma was missing from the message. Even so, I highly doubt that will play any part.) So are we to believe that Diana has switched sides? Or, as one conspiracy buff I know asked, “Is it possible Bad Coop is really the Good Coop?” (Probably not, that dude also still thinks Higgins is really Robin Masters.)
Bobby Briggs (Dana Ashbrook), Sheriff Truman (Robert Forster), and Hawk (Michael Horse) visit Bobby’s mom, Betty Briggs (Charlotte Stewart), who says Major Briggs (Don S. Davis) foresaw this day coming. She presents the lawmen with a steel cylinder that had been hidden in a family chair for two decades.
Bobby recalls seeing his dad open a similar object, and they are able to retrieve a message from within that reads: “Two hundred fifty-three yards east of Jack Rabbit’s Palace. Before leaving Jack Rabbit’s Palace, put some soil from that area in your pocket.” A second note has “COOPER/COOPER” with map coordinates to a specific area and time to be there. Bobby says he named the place Jack Rabbit’s as a kid, and Sheriff Truman says they will be there at the appointed hour. Hawk notes there are “two Coopers.”
Extra Slices of Cherry Pie: Detective “Smiley” Fusco, Detective D. Fusco, and Detective T. Fusco continue their investigation, discovering that there is no record of Douglas Jones prior to 1997. Swiping his fingerprints from a cup of coffee, they are closer to revealing Good Coop’s identity. They also get a tip on where Ike the Spike (Christopher Zajac-Denek) is and arrest him for attempted murder.
Tammy Preston interviews William Hastings, who sobs a rivulet of tears as he talks about the alternate reality he and his late wife entered and how they met the major, who said he had been hibernating. Then, his head floated up and away saying, “Cooper. Cooper.”
Running about his house, Johnny Horne does a header straight into a wall and knocks himself unconsciousness. Meanwhile, his uncle Jerry is still lost in the woods hallucinating, and his dad is still searching for the mysterious sound emanating from his office. He puts the brakes on Beverly’s (Ashley Judd) attempts at an affair. How long he can hold out there is anyone’s guess.
Part 10: “Laura Is the One”
This episode of The Return seemed like Lynch was stretching, killing time. Still, some good passages advanced the plot—like finally figuring out more about the Mitchum Brothers and how Dougie Jones is on to them for thirty-plus million that they are attempting to collect on a bogus claim. Dougie’s co-worker Anthony Sinclair—at the urging of Duncan Todd—tells the Mitchums repeatedly, “You have an enemy in Douglas Jones.”
Back in Twin Peaks, Richard Horne kills Miriam, who witnessed him running down the boy. He then calls corrupt deputy Chad to swipe a letter that Miriam had sent to Sheriff Truman about the manslaughter. Most disturbing is Richard then physically attacks his grandmother Sylvia for thousands in cash that she keeps in her safe, and her son Johnny struggles to escape the chair where he’s been tied for his safety. Have we been told yet whether Richard is Audrey Horne’s son?
The FBI has a photo of Bad Cooper at the scene of the penthouse murders. But more alarming to Gordon is Albert has intercepted Diane’s encoded text back to Bad Coop that reads, “They have Hastings. He’s going to take them to the site.” Hard to believe the loyal Diane has gone rogue (even a bitter Diane). So what side mission is she running, and to what extent is she involved?
Extra Slices of Cherry Pie: Lots of little bits, including: Gordon and Tammy happy to see Albert finally making a connection with a member of the opposite sex; Janey-E just discovering Dougie’s new and improved body is a turn on; Jerry Horne still lost; Nadine still listening to the Dr. Jacoby show; Shelley Johnson’s daughter being attacked by her druggy boyfriend; and the welcome return of the Log Lady calling Hawk informing him that, “Laura is the one.”
Rebekah Del Rio closes the show with Moby on guitar playing “No Stars,” which may be my favorite closing number to date. This particular episode, not so much.
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.