Wake Up, Dougie! Why Twin Peaks Needs Coop to Break Through, and Fast

("The Return," Part VI)

TV Features Twin Peaks
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Wake Up, Dougie! Why <i>Twin Peaks</i> Needs Coop to Break Through, and Fast


Whew, that was a long time coming. But last night, 27 years after we first saw Coop obsessively tallying receipts and issuing reminders to a Dictaphone, ostensibly sending the tapes to a Girl Friday / Moneypenny / Emmenuensis Extraordinaire we knew only as “Diane,” Albert Rosenfeld (Miguel Ferrer) finally proved Diane was not a figment of Coop’s imagination.

Of course not. She’s Laura Dern. In quite a fantastic bobbed blonde wig, I might add. Presumably she can confirm that the terrifying blank-eyed personage in the South Dakota jail isn’t Cooper. In case anyone wasn’t clear on that.

Meanwhile, in Vegas, Dougie Jones has really hit the point where he’s either going to need to wake up—he’s certainly getting prompt after prompt from the cosmos—or else someone’s going to have to notice he’s not all there, because while David Lynch can push a surrealist joke farther than just about anyone, the laws of tele-thermodynamics insist that no one can do it forever and expect people not to switch channels. Wake up, Coop! The One Armed Man appears to Dougie yelling, “Wake up! Don’t die!” And well, yeah, agreed. Dougie is killing me at this point. The little glints of Cooper trying to break through are cool, but they don’t come fast enough at this point, and I’m not sure anyone can reasonably be expected to hang with this joke for six episodes. At least he’s getting triggered by a few things: “Coffee.” “Case files.” “Gun.” “Badge.” But I’m with the OAM on this one: Wake up.

Oh, look. Dougie’s “Case Files” are dotted with little starry lights, which Dougie connects with a pencil. By the end, the files are covered with steps and ladders and the herringbone tile pattern of the Red Room and boy-howdy does somebody up there like Special Agent Dougie, because he manages to uncover a big scam at his insurance company.

Janey-E (Naomi Watts) discovers Dougie hasn’t paid off Those Guys, so she goes to do it herself. Big props to Watts for giving an amazing performance in a totally dead-weight role. Lorraine, the woman we saw in Argentina on a Blackberry, is stabbed horribly and hilariously by a little person wielding an ice pick. The cops find Dougie’s license plate on the roof of the “One One Nine!” junkie-mom, so hopefully—please?—storylines will start converging soon.

Now: Sometimes, you meticulously craft a Hall of Mirrors universe and then decide you don’t care about its geography anymore, so you move an Oregon trailer park to the outskirts of Twin Peaks, and Carl (Harry Dean Stanton) along with it. Or else that was a way longer drive than we realized. Either way, Stanton is sitting on a bench at the exact intersection where Laura and Leland Palmer were once accosted by the One Armed Man as a drug-addled Richard Horne barrels through and runs over a small child, to the horror of many bystanders, including a schoolteacher named Miriam who’s just gotten some coffee from the still-giggly Heidi, who pulled two entire shifts at the Double-R back in 1990. Never mind, it’s a horrible scene, and Stanton’s face is so excruciatingly expressive we wouldn’t even need to see the woman in the street howling over the body to understand what just happened. Stanton hears a crackling surge in the overhead power lines and sees a ghostly green light floating away from the boy’s body. Miriam sees who was driving the speeding truck. We haven’t made it explicit yet, but Richard Horne is almost certainly Audrey’s son. Whether he’s also the “Richard” referenced by the giant who tells Cooper to “remember Richard and Linda” is less clear, but Stanton’s character, Carl, and the guy who gets a ride with him were talking about a lost “Linda” on the way to Twin Peaks, so… dunno.

OK: Hawk finds Something That is Missing! Prompted by the image of a Native American on the Nez Perce Manufacturing logo on the stall door in the bathroom, he finds a missing screw (no comment) and, one thing leading to another, ends up with some missing pages from Laura Palmer’s diary. These are presumably the pages dictated to her by Annie Blackburn, who appears to her in a bloody vision in Fire Walk With Me and says, “The good Dale is in the Black Lodge… Write it in your diary.”

Oh, PS, there is some mystical King Arthur thing going down, seemingly related to Glastonbury Grove, where the entrance to the Black Lodge is. We’ll deal with that later. Just, you know, write it in your diary.

Upshot: Evil Coop is in a holding pattern, someone’s kid is killed, Dougie needs to wake up (no shit), Hawk found the diary pages, and Rosenfield found out that, as many of us have always suspected, Diane is not a figure of Cooper’s imagination and is in fact Laura Dern. We are ready to have a bunch more stuff clarified now, because as cool as it is in the symbol-universe universe Lynch inhabits, and as intriguing as it is to contemplate the pacing and wonder if this is all some enormous meta-commentary on the nature of television itself (well, you could make the case), even Lynch ride-or-die types such as myself are getting a slight itchy skin rash at the brutal refusal to follow a story without unbearably drawn-out meandering.

Wake up, Dougie.

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.