Sunday, June 11, 2017

REVIEW: 'Twin Peaks' - Dougie Continues to Survive While a New Murder Occurs in 'The Return: Part 6'

Showtime's Twin Peaks - Episode 3.06 "The Return: Part 6"

Don't die.

The action on Twin Peaks this week is largely centered around two locations: Twin Peaks and Las Vegas. That's different from the previous episodes of the season that have jumped around from location to location. The only scene in this hour that doesn't really have a location specified is the one with Albert going to the bar (and making an awesome Gene Kelly joke). That's a very important scene because of the new character it introduces. But it's an anomaly compared to the rest of the episode. Perhaps keeping the story in only two locations this week made things a bit more concise as well. Yes, things are still dragging with Dougie Jones and his amnesia. But things were really engaging in that world while hinting that this life for Agent Cooper won't drag on for too much longer. That would be much appreciated even though it's still mining some fine laughs out of the various situations that he gets into at home and work. Meanwhile, the action in Twin Peaks ramps up with a shocking death and a big reveal. The repercussions of both should be very fascinating to see moving forward. So even though this hour may be more wheel-spinning, it's entertaining while also providing a number of key big moments that will make quite the impact later in the season.

This isn't the hour where Agent Cooper regains his memory and is able to return to the life he once knew. No, he's still living in Dougie Jones' life. And how bad was the actual Dougie Jones if his current behavior isn't setting off a million red flags for the people around him? Yes, some are very concerned about his behavior. But they've largely just gone along with it. He's gotten to where he's needed to go. In the show's timeline though, it's been two days since the switch happened. Only now is Janey-E thinking that her husband should go see his doctor. So, obviously there had to be some mental problems with Dougie long before the switch was made. That's what has allowed Cooper to exist in this world for as long as he has. He's doing a great job at not dying as well. That's the warning that MIKE gives him this week in his communication from the Black Lodge. Everything is still going Dougie's way too. He hasn't gotten killed by the various people hunting him down. Plus, the financial troubles of the family are seemingly solved this week too as Janey-E makes quite a stand against the collectors who are charging an insane amount of interest. So, things are looking up for Dougie to continue living this way for the foreseeable.

Of course, there are other factions in Las Vegas that are conspiring against Dougie that make it clear that he will have some major run-ins with either the police or people who wish him dead very soon. First off, the police have recovered his car after it exploded last week. It is involved in a major homicide investigation. So, the police will be coming to the Jones household for answers. When Dougie can't provide them, he may be taken into custody - where his friends in the FBI could discover him and be very confused about the multiple people with Cooper's face. But then, there's the mystery of who wanted Dougie dead in the first place. The woman who seemingly ordered the hit is now killed as well. It appears that Patrick Fischler's Duncan Todd has something to do with it too. He's the one who has the envelop containing her picture and one of Dougie Jones. They are delivered to an assassin who immediately kills the woman and others in her office building. It's a horrifying display of violence. The killer only seems to care about his weapon getting bent in the process. But considering he tracked down this woman very quickly, he'll be coming for Dougie soon too - especially since he already knows where he works. So, big things may not be happening right now in Las Vegas with Dougie. But they will be soon and that's very exciting.

But the action going on back in Twin Peaks may be the most effective and chilling sequence of this episode. At first, it appears like yet another random collection of scenes. The point of the Dougie Jones story being dragged out for as long as it has been is to allow these kinds of introductions to take place without the main story moving too quickly. So, it felt like a bunch of stuff that will be important with the value of hindsight if not all that special now. Of course, that notion quickly disappears. The big shock at the end works because of how everything comes together in that moment. All of these disparate threads are working at the same time and have deadly consequences. Things were already deeply unsettling with Richard Horne last week when he was so aggressive with a young woman who just wanted a smoke. That's still the case this week when he meets his new drug supplier in Balthazar Getty's Red. He's a chilling presence as well. Something mystical could be happening with him. Or he could just be the latest example of a character with an affinity for the strange and random in this universe. He seems like a criminal with a magical skill set. That's strange and alluring at the same time. This story plays opposite Carl just heading into town for the day and Miriam enjoying a pie at the diner. But the meeting of the criminals gets Richard so amped up that he runs over a kid in the middle of the street. It's such a horrifying and blunt moment to watch. It puts Richard definitively in the villain camp. He shows no remorse. He just cares about how it will affect his job and his truck. That's absolutely horrifying and disturbing.

And then, there's the payoff to Hawk's search for answers regarding the Log Lady's riddle. For this entire season, he's been looking into the Laura Palmer case for something that's missing. Something that has to do with his heritage as well. After weeks of him and Andy seemingly making no progress, the ultimate reveal needed to have an epic payoff to justify all the time spent on it. And now, it comes in the most unexpected of places. That adds to the appeal of the sequence. It's not the expected outcome to this story. Hawk drops a coin in the bathroom. When he reaches down to pick it up, he notices that the manufactures of the stall are an Indian company. Plus, two screws are missing in the door. He pries the door open further and discovers a note inside. Of course, the audience doesn't become aware of what's in the note just yet. That answer will have to wait until next week. But it still feels like a satisfying resolution to a core mystery. And now, it's time to move onto what's next. The same can also be said of Albert finally reaching out to the woman who can help him with Evil Cooper in South Dakota. At that time when he first referenced her, it seemed likely that he was referring to Diane. But the potential of it being Audrey was still there as well. This week confirms that it is Diane and she's played by Laura Dern. That's excellent casting even though I already have wig questions and concerns. It's a brief moment. But this character is very important and should become a major focus for the show moving forward. If not, it would seem like a waste.

Some more thoughts:
  • "The Return: Part 6" was written by David Lynch & Mark Frost and directed by David Lynch.
  • It's actually pretty hilarious that the work that Dougie puts into the files he takes home actually reveal some kind of conspiracy that the man in charge soon realizes after looking at them long enough. That's just strange enough to work while continuing to suggest that Dougie has special powers - even though it looks like he's just drawing the same object over and over again.
  • Carl and Miriam are the key witnesses to Richard running over a kid. Carl consoles the grieving mother while Miriam actually saw Richard's face. So, it seems likely that Richard won't be able to run away from this for very long. It comes right after he was saying local law enforcement is a joke too. He'll probably have a new perspective on that shortly.
  • Will Richard running over a kid be the thing that finally brings Audrey into the narrative? I hope so. But then again, I've been wondering when Audrey would show up since the beginning of the season. So apparently, she's the character I'm most curious to see after all of these years. The anticipation is getting really high at this point.
  • So what is going on with the drug-addicted mother from across the street of where Dougie's car blew up? She seems to be able to take over a hundred pills without dying from a drug overdose. But so far, she's only been seen in brief cutaways with no larger purpose whatsoever. Will that change? Or is she just the latest peculiar character in this world?
  • More exposition is given about the new Sheriff Truman's home life as well. It's a bit of an information dump at the end. But it could be really telling about his investigative skills too. His son committed suicide after returning home from the army. It comes up as a way to justify Doris being overly concerned about her father's car not working and to show that the new deputies in Twin Peaks are just awful people.
  • Janey-E learns about Jade this week too. And yet, she's not allowed to be angry with Dougie for very long because her attention is pulled elsewhere. She wants to help him. But instead, she has to clean up his mess. She can take care of it quite well. But her anger at Dougie is only growing. Will she be able to handle everything once more people come to take Dougie? Or when he finally remembers his past life?