Hour 16 of Showtime’s Twin Peaks revival was everything we’ve been waiting for… and more. When you watch a television series for 15 hours longing for something to happen, and then it finally does, it’s like… well, an orgasm. After what seemed like the longest foreplay ever, Twin Peaks rewarded, and I cheered out loud. Twice. Thinking back on it, I could have cheered out loud four times.
The episode begins on a lost highway as Bad Cooper (Kyle MacLachlan) and Richard Horne (Eamon Farren) drive toward the coordinates that two out of three people gave him. “What now?” Richard asks. “I’m looking for a place,” Bad Cooper responds. This place is a large rock up on a hill. “I’m 25 years your senior; get up there,” Bad Cooper tells Richard. What happens next gives Richard everything he deserves… and me, my first moment of cheering, internal.
It’s apparent that Bad Cooper was suspicious about this location and sent Richard in his place to protect himself. As Jerry Horne stumbles from the woods and witnesses events through the wrong end of a pair of binoculars (“Bad, bad, bad binoculars”), Bad Cooper stands emotionless and then utters one sentence that confirms something we’ve suspected for a long time, “Goodbye, my son.” He then texts someone, “:-) ALL.”
We’ve had a small time jump in Las Vegas following Dougie’s (MacLachlan) shocking experience at the end of the last hour. When I saw him lying in a hospital bed in a coma, I felt despondent. David Lynch and Mark Frost were still going to prolong Agent Cooper’s return? But soon Phillip Gerard (Al Strobel), the one-armed man, appears to him from the black lodge and Cooper sits bolt upright… my second moment of cheering, out loud.
Gerard says, “You are awake.” Cooper replies, “100%.” Speaking for all of us, Gerard says, “Finally.” He then gets Cooper up to speed, although it seems like he doesn’t really need it. “The other one, he didn’t go back in. He’s still out. Take this…” He hands cooper the green ring. Cooper asks, “Do you have the seed?” Gerard shows him a tiny gold ball, then puts it in pocket. Cooper says, “I need you to make another one.” Gerard replies, “I understand.”This happens perhaps halfway through the hour and I don’t do it justice by jumping to this part. The buildup, which includes a wild goose chase by the Las Vegas FBI and an unexpected shootout among Hutch (Tim Roth), Chantal (Jennifer Jason Leigh) and a new character while the Mitchum Brothers (Jim Belushi and Robert Knepper) watch, is choreographed chaos, and it’s sublime. Let’s say by the end of it, the cast is short a couple more characters.
When Janey-E (Naomi Watts) and Sonny Jim (Pierce Gagnon) return from the bathroom, Cooper tells them to get a doctor. He wants to confirm his vitals are stable because he’s leaving. “Are you sure it’s a good idea?” Janey-E asks. “It’s a good idea,” Cooper replies. After examining him, the doctor says, “It seems like a good idea.” Sonny Jim chimes in, “Dad sure is talking a lot.” Janey-E replies, “He sure is.”
On his way out, he hands Bushnell Mullins (Don Murray) a note, “I have a feeling a man named Gordon Cole is going to call. Give him this message.” Then, the Twin Peaks theme begins playing in the background. “What about the FBI?” Mullins asks. “I am the FBI.” The music continues as Cooper drives his family to drop them off at the casino so the Mitchum Brothers can fly him to Spokane. Sonny Him notes, “Dad can drive… really good.”
Let’s pause for a moment to realize what’s happening here. Agent Dale Cooper has returned in the body of the man Janey-E Jones and Sonny Jim have grown to love. He seems to be aware of his time as Dougie. In a sincere goodbye, he tells them, “I have to go away for a while, but I want to tell you how much I’ve enjoyed spending time with both of you. You’ve made my heart so full. Dougie… I mean, I… will be back.” Janey-E whispers, “Whoever you are, thank you.”
If I ever doubted the amount of time Twin Peaks has spent on Dougie, this scene made me ashamed for it. And yeah, I teared up a bit. It’s touching to know what Cooper did for this family in his short time as Dougie. With his awkward, silent presence, he brought them to life. It was all for a reason, after all. I think it’s the most sentimental idea I’ve seen in a work by David Lynch.Smoking at the bar, Diane (Laura Dern) receives Bad Cooper’s text (“:-) ALL.”) which triggers her memory. She replies with a series of numbers, perhaps a fourth set of coordinates. She slowly walks to Gordon Cole’s (Lynch) hotel room. “You asked me about the night Cooper came to visit me. Well, I’m going to tell you.” I’m actually not going to repeat it so that you can enjoy some incredible acting by Dern.
The end of the scene, though, brought my third moment of cheering, internal. Diane’s motives have been questioned all season. Is she good? Is she bad? Is she working for Bad Cooper? Is she working against Bad Cooper? Let’s just say, if you’re on the side of the good guys, the fate of this person will make you very happy. It will also give Agent Tammy Preston (Chrysta Bell) her first evidence that everything she’s been told is real.
At the Bang Bang Bar, the MC (J.R. Starr) introduces Edward Louis Severson (Eddie Vedder), who sings about a “disembodied man who will never have a chance to be who he could have been.” Then, I guess he didn’t take his coat off, because Charlie (Clark Middleton) walks in with Audrey (Sherilyn Fenn). In a second throwback to the original Twin Peaks and a sure sign that it’s where the show is headed…
…the MC then announces, “Ladies and gentlemen, Audrey’s dance.” The floor clears and Audrey steps onto it, recreating a version of her dance movements while Angelo Badamalenti’s familiar theme plays for her. It’s rudely interrupted, though, by the start of a bar fight, and there’s an abrupt final shot that rivals the finale of the second season of the show. My final moment of cheering, external, as I realized what has really been happening with Audrey Horne
This hour was perfect, as 100% as Agent Dale Cooper. Like the penultimate episode of many television shows, it’s going to be hard to beat in the finale. In this context, though, it answers enough questions that Twin Peaks can use its final two hours to do whatever it wants. With most (well some) of its mysteries solved and many supporting characters disposed, Lynch and company don’t have to waste time doing it during their conclusion. I can’t wait!