Twin Peaks: The Return Season Finale Review: Parts 17 and 18

Part 17: “The past dictates the future.”

The penultimate episode begins with Gordon Cole (David Lynch) revealing to Albert (Miguel Ferrer) and Tammy (Chrysta Bell) a secret he has harbored a quarter of a century—namely that “Jowday” (or “Jao Dei”), known in modern times as Judy, is “an extreme negative force” wandering the earth. So, beyond BOB (Frank Silva) is another puppeteer.

In the meantime, at the sheriff’s department in Twin Peaks, Bad Coop (Kyle MacLachlan) arrives where he is greeted by overly friendly Andy (who has forgotten pretty much all The Fireman showed him—what was the point then?), who takes him into Sheriff Truman’s (Robert Forster) office. Truman and Bad Coop begin making idle talk—the doppelgänger turns down coffee—when Dale Cooper (Kyle MacLachlan) calls to say he’s entered the town and asks Truman to put on a hot pot of java.

Bad Coop, sensing the gig is up, pulls a gun only to get shot by, of all people, Lucy (Kimmy Robertson). Bearded Men appear and begin massaging Bad Coop with blood. Instead of Bad Coop being reanimated as before, BOB escapes via a hovering orb to attack and then be beat down by Freddie (Jake Wardle). Cooper slips the ring on Bad Coop’s finger, shipping the evil back to the Black Lodge. Afterward, in a welcoming twist, Naido (Nae Yuuki) becomes Diane (Laura Dern) after touching hands with Cooper.

For concrete thinkers, maybe that should be your ending because the remainder of this episode (right after Cooper says, “See you at the curtain call”) and the finale rewrite a lot of what we already experienced.

It begins with Coop using his old #315 room key to pass the mystical transom, locating tea pot Phillip Jefferies, who asks him the date: February 23, 1989. After some hocus pocus with Jefferies emitting the number eight, Coop is on his way to the time when Laura and James Hurley (footage from Fire Walk With Me) take that motorcycle ride into the woods.

But this time, when Laura (Sheryl Lee) leaps from the bike headed to her grisly fate, Cooper is there to alter her timeline. “I’ve seen you in a dream,” she says. “We’re going home,” he calmly tells her, leading a noticeably older looking Laura Palmer presumably to a future where all turned out well. Not so, of course, this is a Lynchian dreamscape after all. Her hand slips from his as he’s leading her, and she vanishes screaming.

Extra Slices of Cherry Pie: Ben Horne (Richard Beymer) makes arrangements to pick up his wayward brother Jerry (David Patrick Kelly), who finally made it out of the thicket in Wyoming. Deputy Chad (John Pirrucello) escapes his jail cell, loads a gun, and confronts Andy, when Freddie uses his superhero fist to end the jail break. Sarah Palmer (Grace Zabriskie) repeatedly smashes her daughter’s indestructible picture repeatedly in a violent rage.

Part 18: “What is your name?”

It’s often acknowledged that it’s not the destination but the journey that counts. I went into the final Peaks episode knowing I had already experienced a surreal, crime fiction pilgrimage that needn’t answer all the questions it had set in place. In a sea of banal balderdash passing for entertainment these days, David Lynch brought progressive, thought-provoking filmmaking.

“Future, or is it past,” Phillip Gerard asks Cooper, and herein lies the pivotal line that will come back to haunt Cooper. But before he finds out, The Arm asks, “Is it the story of the little girl who lived down the lane?” Laura again whispers to Cooper before she shrieks up and away, and a despondent Leland (Ray Wise) pleads with him to find Laura.

He exits to find red-headed Diane waiting to see him. They drive their car through another dimension, end up in Odessa where there are two Dianes, and ours makes love to Dale Cooper as The Platter’s “My Prayers” plays. Next day, Diane departs, and Cooper finds Laura and takes her back to Twin Peaks where Sarah is no longer residing. Laura doesn’t recognize her old home, and a woman named Alice Tremond (that last name has connections to Fire Walk With Me) answers the door but offers no comprehension of the Palmers.

Back on the street, Cooper asks “What year is this?” just before a voice from within the house calls out “Laura!” Laura Palmer suddenly recognizes where she is, and in the ultimate Scream Queen yell, the electricity in the home cuts out and a blinding flash of white light follows.

If it seems like I breezed through those last paragraphs, it’s because one needn’t dwell on Lynch’s tantalizing puzzlers unless you want to wrap your mind in a knot. At the core, it’s quite simple: what we are experiencing is Dale Cooper out of time, à la Phillip Jefferies, and with overlapping, alternate realities. Cooper is trying to right the wrongs and fight evil of staggering proportions, only to find the more he has aligned, the more it becomes out of whack. When he said to all the friendly faces in Sheriff Truman’s office, “We live inside a dream. I hope I see all of you again. Every one of you,” he probably will because this is a story loop without an end. I hope David Lynch knows enough to stop now with the satisfying un-ending that Laura has come home … but in the words of Thomas Wolfe, “You can’t go home again.”

Extra Slices of Cherry Pie: From the ashes of Bad Coop, a new Dougie Jones is fabricated to the delight of Sonny Jim (Pierce Gagnon) and Janey-E (Naomi Watts). Hopefully, he has a little more on the ball this time, though his lone word upon returning “home” sounded just as “Chauncey Gardiner” as ever. Before Diane slips away from Coop’s bedside, she leaves him a letter to Richard from Linda. Might as well “Shoot Out the Lights” on answering that mystery any time soon.

See also: Twin Peaks: The Return Review: Parts 14, 15, and 16


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.


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