“Part XVI” Puts Everybody Under a Lot of Stress as Twin Peaks Heads Toward Home

("The Return," Part XVI)

TV Features Twin Peaks
“Part XVI” Puts Everybody Under a Lot of Stress as Twin Peaks Heads Toward Home

“It was, like, what? Electricity?”

Yes, Bradley Mitchum, it was a lot like that. In fact, as Twin Peaks: The Return burns toward its conclusion, the pervasive sense of electromagnetism is only becoming more intriguing. There’s also something going on with seeds.

Here are a few things that happened: Richard Horne checked out. Chantal and Hutch ditto. Diane went full-on Blue Rose, Audrey danced to the slinky strains of a very old Badalamenti tune at the Roadhouse.

Oh, yeah: And with two episodes to go, Special Agent Dale Cooper is finally, finally back.

Dark spooky highway. Evil Coop takes Richard Horne to a mystery spot, based on two of three sets of coordinates he has been given. It’s not clear what Evil Cooper expects to find here, but from the way he bloodlessly tells Richard to go stand on that rock it’s clear there’s probably something powerful at those coordinates. Jerry Horne rolls out of the woods just in time to see his evil great-nephew incinerated by some kind of atomic lightning. “Goodbye, my son,” Evil Coop says, with all the affect and emotional inflection of a toaster-oven, confirming what we already pretty much knew, that Richard Horne was the product of Evil Cooper-seed. Richard is dust; Evil Cooper sends Diane a text. It’s a smiley face and the word “ALL.”

The effect on Diane is pretty intense. She seems to enter an altered state, like a trance, only a really agitated trance. She looks into her handbag. There’s a gun in there. You get a really ominous feeling watching her walk upstairs because she’s clearly going to shoot Cole, Tammy and Albert. She goes into the office, sits down, and with escalating intensity tells the three agents about the last time she saw Cooper. The minute she sensed Cooper wasn’t exactly himself, he had raped her and taken her to… a gas station? At the mention of the gas station, the look on her face changes; she becomes tearful, rent with pain. “I’m not me,” she says suddenly. She reaches for the gun. Tammy and Albert both shoot, and Diane’s body vanishes into thin air. In the Black Lodge she manages to hand out a valedictory “Fuck you,” then incinerates or dissolves or something, becoming a seed. “Another tulpa,” the FBI agents conclude.

Meanwhile, there’s a crazy shootout on Lancelot Court between Tim Roth and Jennifer Jason Leigh, and this guy referred to in the credits as the “Polish Accountant.” There’s a ridiculous amount of fire exchanged, Roth and Leigh perish, and the Mitchum brothers, framed in the red doorway of the Jones residence, look on in bemusement. “The fuck kinda neighborhood is this?” Bradley asks.

“People are under a lot of stress, Bradley.”

Dougie Jones is unconscious in the hospital after his fork-meets-electrical-outlet moment at the end of “Part XV.” There’s an electrical hum, much like the one Ben Horne and his assistant heard in the Great Northern the day the old key showed up. Dougie suddenly bolts awake and you instantly know that he isn’t Dougie’s tulpa anymore. Agent Cooper is back, keen-eyed and sweet-natured and purposeful and sharp. Black Lodge Mike appears and tells Cooper that his evil doppelgänger is still at large, and Coop snaps into action. Does Mike still have the seed? Mike does, and gives Cooper the mysterious turquoise ring etched with the owl cave symbol.

And we’re back. God, I missed that guy. Dale Cooper’s return falls over the scene like a kind of grace-state—it’s actually pretty amazing. There’s a rush of reassurance and goodness and light and the entrancing Badalamenti theme music swells and for a minute everything is awash in peacefulness.

He tells Janey-E and Sonny Jim how much he “enjoyed their time together,” and it’s apparent that Cooper was in there somewhere all along. (We knew that, with the remnant G-man reflexes and the coffee, but we didn’t really know if he knew he was in there. It seems he did.) “You’ve made my heart so full,” he says to them. He promises them Dougie will be back, and Janey-E, with the air of someone who’s just woken up, says “Whoever you are, thank you.” He has the Mitchum brothers arrange a flight to Spokane.

And at the Roadhouse, Eddie Vedder is performing as Audrey and Charlie finally get there, and then, you know all those bar scenes where totally unfamiliar people are discussing totally unfamiliar other people and you’re not sure what’s going on? OK: The polar opposite of that. The Emcee proudly presents “Audrey’s Dance.” And there she is, swaying, eyes closed—and then there she is, screaming at her reflection in a mirror in what looks like a hospital.

Has all of this been happening in Audrey’s head?

In any case, it’s all electricity. Lightning. Synapses firing in the brain. Heartbeats. We’re all a bunch of electricity held together with a little skin and bone. It surrounds us. Pervades us.

And a bunch of it is about to converge on Twin Peaks. Make sure you’re well-grounded for the two-hour finale; I suspect the voltage will get pretty damn high.

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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