The Other A-Bomb Ignites in Twin Peaks: The Return “Part XII”

("The Return," Part XII)

TV Features Twin Peaks
The Other A-Bomb Ignites in Twin Peaks: The Return “Part XII”

OK: I don’t think it was just because I was busily field-testing Washington wine pairings for the episode. That was for-reals-a-roonie nuts!

Here’s my recap: Lynch is a freaking genius, now go watch the episode.

OK, OK: Let’s try this again. Mixtures of tone, modulating from comic to creepy, from violent to sentimental, from paranormal to soap-operatic, in a matter of seconds, is what makes Twin Peaks amazing, and nothing is off the table with this guy, so why don’t we stop being surprised? Because even when he’s being totally straightforward, he’s somehow impenetrably mysterious. Watch him just up and explain the whole backstory of the Blue Rose cases if you don’t believe me. Welcome to the team, Tammy! Of course, Albert Rosenfeld is the only member of that task force still alive and in his right mind, but I’m sure you’ll do great. They also deputize Diane, who emerges from some red velvet drapes that look a hell of a lot like they should be festooning the Black Lodge. Her spine-chilling response?

“Let’s rock.”

(Any newbies who don’t know why that was a totes Creepy Creeperson thing to say, watch Season One. And the movie.)

Jerry Horne is out of the woods. Isn’t it funny how he looked a little like a hilarious version of those terrifying “dirty bearded men” who started eating heads in “Part VIII”? Lynch’s penchant for casually skin-crawling “twinning” could be and probably will be the subject of a whole other little chat, but meanwhile, Jerry is several points up the Horne well-being leaderboard now that his foot isn’t whispering in his ear. Whew.

Diane gets a text: Vegas? Answers, They haven’t asked yet.

Dr. Axe does another amazing promo for his Golden Shit Shovels. Meanwhile, Harry Dean “Just More Shit I Gotta Do” Stanton slips a fifty to a Fat Trout resident, telling him he doesn’t want the man to sell blood to make ends meet. Yes, the blood banks need us, he says, but come to me first. Carl, you are a jewel.

We start to see what David Duchovny was talking about back in Part… II? III? I forget, when he alluded to Cole having an issue with The Ladies. Where did he find that nice young French lady curled up on the sofa with him sharing a bottle of Damn Good Bordeaux? We don’t know, but at first glance doesn’t she look a tiny bit like… never mind. Albert shows up and glares while the woman takes the Longest Time In History to leave the room. The two then share a quintessentially Lynchian moment in which Lynch seems to be using the show’s glacial pacing and long echoing silences to preserve Miguel Ferrer on screen for just a minute. (Ferrer was dying of throat cancer during production and left us in January of this year.) If this moment does not make you even slightly misty, get your tear ducts checked.

Grace Zabriskie has an old-school Sarah Palmer Cow after encountering a new brand of turkey jerky on her weekly Bloody Mary and Cigarettes sweep of the store. You can imagine poor Sarah has some residual issues after what happened to her family, and man, no one does glassy-eyed screaming like Zabriskie. (“Men are coming! Something happened to me! I don’t feel good!”) Deputy Hawk comes to check on her later and she insists she’s fine, even while mysterious crashing noises occur in the house and we get That Shot of the scariest ceiling fan in the history of TV.

Diane looks up the coordinates on Ruth Davenport’s arm and finds that the Big Blue Rose Shebang seems to have a location convergence. It’s the Bronx.

Kidding, silly. Of course it’s Twin Peaks, her GPS the mirror-map of Hawk’s “living map” from “Part XI.”

Sherriff Truman breaks it to Ben Horne about Richard killing that little boy. Horns notes that Richard has always been a little off. (Is there anyone out there who does not believe Richard is the spawn of a comatose-Audrey-raping Evil Coop?) Horne muses on the bicycle given him by his own father, wistfully. Then he asks Truman to give Other Truman (since everyone on this show has always had a double it’s amazingly easy to keep Michael Ontkean in the cast even if he’s not on screen) a memento—the key to room 315. He tells the sheriff it showed up in the mail, odd to see since the Great Northern went to electronic keys more than 20 years ago, and he’s pretty sure this was the room where Agent Cooper stayed (and was shot by Josie Packard among other things) all those years ago.

Sheriff Truman has probably been in Twin Peaks more than long enough to know when something’s a coincidence and when it’s not.

Oh… also, we cut from Nadine Hurley listening with rapt attention to Dr. Axe, to…

Audrey Horne? In the most astonishingly mundane long-awaited reappearance imaginable. Suddenly there she just is, haranguing the hell out of her taciturn and faintly pointless-looking husband Charlie, in an emasculating meltdown that would have had Piper Laurie on her feet cheering. We get treated to a completely unexplained conversation about intrigue and suspicion and missing persons and lies and jackets—Audrey is yelling about “Billy,” with whom she’s having an affair, and “Tina?” And like four other characters she talks about rapid-fire as if the audience is supposed to have a clue whom they are. What she isn’t talking about is Richard, who seems to be Grandpa Ben’s problem. Karma’s a bitch, huh, Ben?

Cut to the Chromatics playing at the Roadhouse.

Once we’ve all had a little time to digest what happened we can talk about symbols and echoes and concentric circles and hearing aid malapropisms and mirrors and all the Lynchian badassery that makes it possible to create this show and leave people riveted, but I need a second to deal with all of this. Guys, it’s been almost thirty years. And everything’s the same but it isn’t. The freaky retro timelessness of Twin Peaks is still there. Also, some of the most wonderful and beloved characters in the show didn’t live to see the premiere. Gaunt, beatific, lovely Harry Dean Stanton is in his nineties (and rocking it), which means I am rapidly approaching the downslope of my forties. And now Audrey’s back, and she’s not the dreamy, jazz-loving bad-girl bobby-soxer who fell in love with Special Agent Dale Cooper’s irresistible grin and grand passion romance with black coffee.

None of us are.

Amy Glynn is a poet, essayist and fiction writer who really likes that you can multi-task by reviewing television and glasses of Cabernet simultaneously. She lives in the San Francisco Bay Area.

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