Twin Peaks: The Return Part 5 (MINOR SPOILERS)

| June 6, 2017

There are thirteen episodes left of Twin Peaks: The Return, and it’s safe to say that David Lynch and Mark Frost are taking their sweet, sweet time. Typically, thirteen episodes would provide plenty of time for a television show to wrap up any runaway plot threads. But Twin Peaks is not just any show, and it’s even weirder and more expansive this time around. Part 5 of The Return mercifully provides some answers—or the possibility of answers—to some of the questions we’ve been wondering about, but for every answer or hint we get, ten more questions are introduced.

Part 5 does, however, resolve the question of how Lynch and Frost were going to incorporate the original BOB (Frank Silva) into The Return. The answer is both terrifying and simple: Lodge Cooper, trapped in prison, stares into the mirror in his cell. This time, BOB doesn’t stare back. This time, Cooper’s face becomes BOB’s face. And if you missed the split-second transformation, Cooper helpfully states, “You’re still with me. Good.” Part 5 is—as so many episodes of Twin Peaks are—about the double and the fight for control. But now that 25 years have passed for the good people of Twin Peaks, there are two types of doubles to fear: Black Lodge doppelgangers and children.

The real Cooper remains stuck, amnesiac, in his former doppelganger’s life. He has no choice but to go through the motions of Dougie’s life, waiting for some word or the right cup of coffee to pull our beloved Special Agent out. Cooper is clearly still struggling, perhaps more than ever, to grasp the conventions of this new life, but he also seems to be grieving for something on a level no one else can comprehend. In a particularly moving moment early in the episode, Dougie/Coop stares at Sonny Jim (Pierce Gagnon) with a tear rolling down his cheek. But why? As Coop watches him, Sonny Jim appears to blink backwards—it’s possible that he has been replaced by something from the Lodge, perhaps a guardian to keep a tight leash on Dougie/Coop, and Cooper is recognizing that something dark is occupying a previously innocent soul. It seems more plausible, though, that Cooper is, on a base level, realizing that Sonny Jim is both his son (by way of doppelganger) and the son he never had the chance to give life to while he was trapped in the Lodge. Part 5 is preoccupied with the offspring of familiar characters and the particular cyclical evil of Twin Peaks, but Cooper is mourning a life that could have been but never was, not really.

Though we met the most interesting Twin Peaks offspring last week (Andy and Lucy’s son Wally Brando, obviously), this week we met Shelly’s daughter, Becky Burnett (Amanda Seyfried), and Richard Horne (Eamon Farren), the son of an unspecified Horne. Shelly’s daughter—father unknown—Becky and her sleazy husband Steven (Caleb Landry Jones) seem to be a modern amalgamation of Shelly, Laura, Bobby, and Leo, Shelly’s former husband. Steven is every bit the unemployed, substance abusing sweet talker Bobby Briggs was in the original series, but his violent manipulation of Becky’s emotions and body are reminiscent of Leo’s abusive behavior. And though Becky seems to be taking on Laura’s role as the corrupted good girl, Shelly tells Norma (Peggy Lipton) that they “both know that tune,” which suggests that Becky is not so much Laura as she is every used and abused women in Twin Peaks.

Lynch dedicates one of the most sublime scenes of the series so far to Becky, but there is always an inevitable sense of doom. As Steven and Becky fly down the highway, the camera fixes itself on Becky’s drug-induced smile for fifty seconds while the Paris Sisters’ “I Love How You Love Me” plays on the radio. Although the scene ends without anything gruesome happening to Becky and Steven, we know that nothing good can come from this.

The most elusive and intriguing character of Part 5, though, is Richard Horne. His name isn’t actually mentioned in the episode, but it is listed in the credits. We don’t know which member of the Horne family Richard belongs to, but I think it’s safe to say that we’re all hoping he’s not Audrey’s son. We meet him in the Bang Bang Bar, where he exchanges money (with a member of the Twin Peaks police department!) for, presumably, the “Chinese designer drugs” Sheriff Truman references earlier in the series. He then proceeds to assault a young woman in full view of the entire bar. And no one does anything about it. It’s not surprising that law enforcement officials are participating in the drug trade. And it’s even less surprising that a Horne man is mistreating a woman, but it is a bit of a shock to see that the town is as damaged as ever.

What little time we’ve spent in Twin Peaks proper seemed to show a town that has healed and improved in the 25 years following the death of Laura Palmer. The Bang Bang Bar is a popular, hip hangout for young and old townsfolk alike, and the police department has expanded and become more effective. But privileged members of the community still do whatever they want and innocent women are still being sucked into the cycle of drug abuse and violence that contributed to Laura’s misery. One of the only bright spots in this episode—and we shouldn’t take this for granted—is that Nadine Hurley seems to have built a business empire out of her silent drape runners.

About the Author:

Peyton Brunet is a third-year double major in English and Media & Cinema Studies at DePaul University in Chicago with a passion for horror, The Simpsons, and monstrous women. She has also been published in her high school literary magazine (which she edited for three years, thank you very much).
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