Showtime’s Twin Peaks
Season 3: “The Return, Part 18”
Directed by David Lynch
Written by Lynch & Mark Frost
* For a recap & review of Part 17, click here.
In the Black Lodge, bad Coop (Kyle MacLachlan) burns. Before long he is nothing but a seed, a golden ball. A piece of hair is attached to it by the One-Armed Man (Al Strobel). It then grows into another person, another Coop. This is the new Dougie Jones they’ll be sending back to Las Vegas, to give Janey-E (Naomi Watts) her husband back. And hopefully, new improved Dougie.
Back in Twin Peaks, the real Coop (MacLachlan) walks with Laura Palmer (Sheryl Lee), taking her back through the woods. Where they’ve heard a terrifying scream somewhere far off.
“Is it future, or is it past?” These words come up once more, having deeper resonance than ever before. Coop, he’s having more Lodge experiences, the meeting with the Arm. LITERALLY WHAT WE SAW AT THE BEGINNING OF THE NEW EPISODES, WITH COOP IN THE LODGE, WAS FUTURE. When he saw Laura sucked up into the sky. In the other room was Leland (Ray Wise), begging: “Find Laura.” Then he’s back in the woods, Diane (Laura Dern) waiting for him. They head back on out on the road together, another journey ahead of them.
What a fucking head trip. Frost and Lynch, blowing minds.
430 miles later, they reach their destination at some transformers in the hills. They drive a bit further, electricity crackles. ZAP! They’re on a dark highway together, headed who knows where. Into the unknown. At least until they reach a quiet little motel. Coop heads in to get them a room. Inside, they keep the lights off, they make sweet fucking love.
Only something feels… ominous. Almost feels like the night Diane spoke of, the last night she saw Coop. Almost like the night Bob Cooper came back instead of the real Cooper.
In the morning Coop wakes to a note addressed to Richard, from Linda. He’s totally confused. He heads out afterwards by himself. There, he spots a place with a sign that says EAT AT JUDY’S. A quaint diner, the sort of place he’d love. Naturally, he stops in. They’ve got hot coffee, pie, the lot. There he gets into a confrontation with a cowboy hat wearing idiot harassing the waitress. The guy pulls a gun, so Coop kicks him in the dick and puts a bullet in the other guy’s boot who draws on him. Situation settled.
What Coop really wants is the name of the other waitress who works there. He gets her address before heading out. Where does she live? Fat Trout Trailer Park, #6. Yes, that one. There he finds a woman who looks just like Laura Palmer, only she’s Carrie Paige apparently. He isn’t convinced, so he speaks to her about Leland, Sarah (Grace Zabriskie). And the woman starts realising something’s not quite right in her life. Coop wants to take her home, to her mother’s place. To see if it’ll all come together. Probably good thing for Carrie, as she’s got a man with a bullet through his head rotting away on the couch. As well as a white horse figurine! Just like the white horse pictured below that Laura’s mother once saw in a vision during the original run of Twin Peaks.
On the road again. Coop and Carrie/Laura notice there may be someone following them, or at least she worries that’s the case. As she falls asleep she rambles a bit, talking about the past. Something I love? Frost and Lynch know we’ve waited this long.
So what’s another drawn out bit of dread and wonder?! To me, it’s genius. And it also puts you on edge, something Lynch does very well with his brand of what I’d call psychic horror. He draws us in, keeping things in a lull. Until bringing out something entirely unexpected and often terrifying (i.e. the man behind the diner in Mulholland Drive, Bob’s infamous, slow move towards the camera in the original run of Twin Peaks, etc).
Coop and Carrie/Laura arrive in Twin Peaks. They pass the Double R, the familiar landmarks. Then they come to the Palmer house. He takes her by the hand leading her in, though she doesn’t seem to remember much. At the door there’s no Sarah Palmer, just a new owner. She says they bought the place from a Mrs. Chalfont – a name we know well from the original series and Fire Walk With Me. Coop also finds out this woman’s name is Alice Tremond; just like the old woman in Twin Peaks. Oh, the evil’s definitely sticking around in that house. Just doesn’t go by the name of Palmer anymore. Back in the Chalfont-Tremond family.
So they’re left with nothing, as they see it. Coop still feels there’s a connection, he knows something isn’t quite right. “What year is this?” he asks Laura/Carrie, his face devastated. Then from the house comes a noise, Laura knows who she is, what’s going, and she SCREAMS BLOODY MURDER.
I don’t care what anyone says, I loved this finale. Regardless of whether Frost and Lynch go on to make any further episodes or if this is truly the end, I’m satisfied. What did you want? What did you expect? I, for one, didn’t expect anything concrete. That’s not what this show was ever about. At its core, Twin Peaks is the story of the everyday and the spiritual, the philosophical intertwining. That’s why there’s the high and low mixed, the idea of evil spirits inhabiting things like the convenience store and dressed as bearded lumberjacks and all sorts of things. The core of the show was the brutality in everyday life, and how do we explain that? Well, you can’t. There are evil spirits such as Bob, they exist, and like we see in the Palmer house, they go on, and on, and on…
My theory is that this is Cooper’s version of Hell. Not that he’s dead, I don’t believe that. He’s sort of caught in the Black Lodge, in a sense, forever. Not physically, but mentally. Or perhaps physically. Maybe Coop messing around in between spaces of time created a whole new reality altogether, on a different wavelength. That Hell – represented perfectly by the Palmer house – also represents the cyclical nature of violence, how these evil spirits that have swarmed Twin Peaks for so long won’t ever truly leave, they cannot be driven out. Like the air blowing through the trees, they’re a part of Twin Peaks.