Sunday, August 13, 2017

REVIEW: 'Twin Peaks' - The Twin Peaks Police Venture Into the Woods in 'The Return: Part 14'

Showtime's Twin Peaks - Episode 3.14 "The Return: Part 14"

We are like the dreamer.

Throughout this season, I've talked quite a bit about the pacing of Twin Peaks: The Return. All of it has been very deliberate. This is the exact story that David Lynch and Mark Frost want to tell. And yet, it's been a fascinating viewing experience. Some weeks it seems like everything is happening at once. Big resolutions are coming and everything is making sense. And then, the show will spend a couple of weeks seemingly doing nothing but adding more mysteries. At times, the story has even felt like it was being told in a non-linear way. At first, it seemed like Lynch shot all of this story and then cut it all together for whatever made the most sense in the edit. But then, it felt like things were happening out of order on purpose. For instance, the new Sheriff Truman, Hawk and Bobby got the message from Major Briggs awhile ago detailing an adventure they'd have to go on in two days. Many episodes have since passed and made it feel like a couple of days has gone by with no mention of the upcoming trip. And then, Bobby was telling Ed and Norma about the message from his father last week like he just discovered it that day. It's all strange and adds a feeling of unpredictability to the narrative. It's playing with the audience's understanding of time. That's fascinating. Yes, it can still be very frustrating within the confines of a narrative story. But it's an interesting experiment that does seem to pay off in a wonderful episode like "Part 14."

For all this talk about the big events that bring all of the stories together in a big way being delayed and delayed, there is a ton of big resolutions and climaxes that happen in this episode. First off, there is a conversation between Gordon and the new Sheriff Truman. There is no reason for the two of them to be talking with each other. Gordon hasn't kept in contact with the Twin Peaks police department. He doesn't even know that Frank has replaced his brother, Harry, as the sheriff. But Frank has a message to deliver. One that confirms to Gordon that his current investigation is a Blue Rose. Frank teases that Laura Palmer wrote in her diary about there being two Coopers. It's a vague message that doesn't mean anything to Frank because he hasn't interacted with a Dale Cooper this season. No one in Twin Peaks has. But Gordon has seen the Evil Cooper and has had his suspicions about him not being the friend he knew all those years ago. Albert detailing to Tammy the events of the first Blue Rose case prove that this is something Gordon has dealt with before. He and Philip Jefferies were the officers who arrested a woman who shot someone who looked identical to her and then disappeared into thin air. That seems to be the exact same conflict the show is building to with a battle between Dougie Jones and Evil Cooper to be the only Dale Cooper in this world. It links up to everything this show has depicted about doppelgangers and what happens to them after they die in this world. They disappear and return to the Black Lodge.

That's a huge realization for Gordon and company. It serves as confirmation that the investigation into Cooper is only getting started. And then, Diane comes into the room with another piece of the puzzle. It would seemingly confirm her own involvement in the criminal conspiracy. She hasn't been in the loop about a lot of the main investigation that Gordon and Albert have been doing. She's just been along for the ride to keep an eye on them for Evil Cooper. But now, they share the engraved ring they discovered in Major Briggs' body with her. It's only then that she reveals that she has a half-sister named Janey-E who happens to be married to a man named Dougie Jones. That is either a huge coincidence because she's been estranged from her sister for years. Or perhaps she had a role to play in the creation of the second doppelganger whom Agent Cooper would come to replace in this world. Again, Diane's motivation for doing any of this is still mysterious. She still seems traumatized by the last time she saw Cooper. And yet, that could be an act to build intimacy with Gordon and Albert. It's enough for her to tease them with a promising lead in Las Vegas. But as the Las Vegas field office of the FBI soon realizes, there isn't just one Dougie Jones in the area. So, this big reunion still may ultimately take awhile.

And then, Gordon just talks about the dream he had during the night. Dreams have always played an important role in Twin Peaks. They are always taken seriously. They are messages from beyond any one human's understanding. They are cryptic clues that are meant to be solved in order to figure out one's problems in the real world. Gordon's dream right now seems a bit more dreamlike and improbable. He talks about having recurring meetings with Monica Belluci. The show has even cast Monica Belluci to play herself in a dream that Gordon is having. That's an amusing moment. But it also provides the show with another mysterious tease. She reminds Gordon of a time many years ago when Cooper had a troubling dream and had a close encounter with Philip Jefferies. The dream is literally reminding Gordon and Albert of events that took place in the film Fire Walk With Me. It's a great moment because it allows David Bowie to be in the new season in a physical way even though it's just archival footage. It's still cryptic and mysterious. Albert and Tammy are entranced by the story. Gordon goes into every detail. But he's still not seeing the dream for what it is. So, he questions if it truly is his dream or if he's just a part of someone else's more elaborate dream. That's quite a thought.

Meanwhile in Twin Peaks, the police department embarks on a trek through the woods. It's very reminiscent of the times Agent Cooper led the precinct through the woods on the original series. But here, there is something much more eery about the experience. Yes, it feels like it's about damn time for this moment to happen. But there's an unexpected quality to it as well. Only the new Sheriff Truman, Hawk and Bobby were suppose to go. But now, Andy has worked his way into going as well. That seems like a strange detail but everyone in the office trusts him. So, there is no reason to worry. But the cinematography of the forest is absolutely gorgeous and slightly terrifying. The camera teases the woods with trees and a bunch of objects coming out seemingly at random. There is a sense that they are being followed. And yet, there's nothing dangerous about the woods themselves. They are on a mission to discover something unnatural. They find that when they stumble upon Naido in the woods. She's the woman with the cut out eyes Agent Cooper saw in the place between the Black Lodge and Earth. She was the woman he met before going through the electrical socket and becoming Dougie Jones. She could hold the key to telling the world what's really going on.

But the sequence takes quite an interesting turn with Andy being taken into another dimension. The sky starts to swirl. All four of the men see it happen. They are entranced by the visual just like Gordon was when he saw it in South Dakota. And yet, Andy is the only one actually taken away. He visits the room where evil was created and Agent Cooper was able to return to Earth. He has an interaction with The Giant who has an important story to show him. However, this isn't the Giant at all. The closing credits have made that a key mystery throughout the season. Carel Struycken was been credited as "???????" instead of the Giant. And now, he gets a new title. He is playing the Fireman. Is it the same person? Or is the Fireman the doppelganger of the Giant? Or are they separate beings entirely who appear to humans in the same body? It's a mystery. But he has an important influence in this world. Andy sees images of Bob emerging in the destruction, of the bearded men destroying the gas station, of the world reacting to Laura's death. Laura remains the key. And now, Andy is carrying Naido back to the precinct knowing she has significance. The story then cuts away to someone else who has met with the Fireman as well. These portals to this other world have been appearing throughout the planet. It's not unique to one place. So, a guy from London named Freddie had a conversation with the Fireman. He's been gifted superhuman strength as a result as well. He's on a mission that will reveal itself at some point. It will even bring James further into the main narrative as well. But again, all will have to be revealed in time. Right now, it's just important to enjoy the wonderful monologues being delivered in just the right way.

Overall, "Part 14" feels like an episode of big moments and resolutions. It's the show finally confirming a lot of big theories while still leaving things very uncertain for the future. That also includes the latest glimpse into Sarah Palmer's life. She's appeared very dissociative as of late. One moment she's fine and the next she's yelling in the grocery store. And now, she's just walking down the street and going into a bar. She orders her Bloody Mary and a guy decides to sit next to her. The guy is a real jerk who expects women to be polite and cater to his every desire. It's really gross and despicable. Sarah doesn't have much of a reaction to him. However, she reveals her true self to him as well. It plays as a grand reveal with her removing her face to reveal someone completely different. And yet, it's much more horrifying than that. Sarah can take her face off just like Laura did back in the premiere episode in the Black Lodge. With Laura, she had a shining light coming out from within her. With Sarah though, it's a monster. It's darkness and has fangs. This creature attacks and kills this bar patron. It does so as Sarah. But the question becomes: Is this Sarah who is doing this? Or is something else controlling her. This would seemingly serve as confirmation that the teenager who swallowed the bug in "Part 8" was Sarah. She always had the ability to see Bob when others couldn't on the original show. But now, the story of Bob and Laura is seemingly over. Both have been killed in this world. But the bug still lives on inside Sarah. It has completely changed her life. It's destructive and vicious. That is the woman she is. It's the life she has always been destined for. And that is incredibly sad and tragic.

Some more thoughts:
  • "The Return: Part 14" was written by David Lynch & Mark Frost and directed by David Lynch.
  • Who would have thought that both Bobby and James would grow up to be in positions of authority? Bobby is a police officer while James is working security. Both have new importance in the story because of their jobs. James hears Freddie's incredible story while also hearing a familiar noise when he enters the building he's protecting during the night.
  • The Twin Peaks police department has arrested Chad for the various crimes he has committed. It's good that the officers there were aware of the problem. But now, he's in a cell right next to Naido. Plus, there's a strange guy down there as well who seems to be speaking the same way as Naido but who is also really disgusting to look at with some kind of liquid oozing from his face.
  • The audience may finally have learned what Tina saw the last time she saw Billy. Over the last few weeks, it was easy to question if there really was a Billy or if Audrey was having some kind of mental break. There's still an ongoing mystery with her. But now, two new patrons at the roadhouse have a conversation. It eventually ends up being a big reveal that Billy showed up at Tina's house with blood pouring out of his face.
  • After Andy is taken, there is a brief moment where the new Sheriff Truman, Hawk and Bobby are walking around the woods in the same kind of erratic pattern that the bearded people are usually seen in. Once they all return to reality, Sheriff Truman and Hawk even remark that they have no memory of what has just occurred to them. They just know to follow Andy and the woman he is carrying.
  • This isn't the first time Twin Peaks has gifted someone with super strength. Nadine had it throughout the second season after she lost her memory. However, it seems like Freddie having a strong hand will be more important to the overall story than Nadine's experience ever did.
  • This episode is dedicated to David Bowie. Again, it feels disappointing and tragic that he died before being able to film any new scenes for this season. And yet, his influence is still deeply felt in the story. Philip Jefferies remains an important character in the scope of the show - especially to Evil Cooper.