Recap:

We begin with Richard and Mr. C driving through the night. Mr. C has received three sets of coordinates, and two of them match. He sends Richard to go check it out, as Jerry Horne watches them through some improperly utilised binoculars. As he reaches the exact location, Richard is electrocuted until he disintegrates. “Goodbye my son” Mr. C says, unfazed. He texts an unknown number ‘: – ) ALL.’

In Lancelot Court, Hutch and Chantal arrive to stake out Dougie Jones’ house. The FBI also arrive but find that no one is home. Meanwhile, Dougie is in hospital, deep in a coma after his electrocution. Bushnell and the Mitchums arrive to pay their respects, and the brothers borrow Janey-E’s house key to stock up their house with food while they’re away. Bushnell is told that the FBI have been looking for Dougie and are on their way to the hospital.

Outside Dougie’s house, the Mitchums arrive to stock up the house. Meanwhile, a neighbour asks the waiting assassins to stop blocking his driveway. When they refuse, he begins to ram their car. As the stationed FBI lookout watches on helplessly, the quarrel almost immediately escalates into a gunfight, resulting the duo being riddled with bullets and the neighbour arrested.

At the hospital, Bushnell hears a ringing sound and follows it out of the room, at which point Cooper wakes up. That’s right. Not Dougie. But Agent Dale Cooper, and he’s “100 per cent” awake. Gerard fills Cooper in on Mr. C’s presence in the world and hands him the jade ring. Handing him a hair from his head, Cooper asks Gerard to make “another one” from the gold seed, presumably a new Dougie for the Jones family. Suited up, borrowing Bushnell’s gun and booking a flight on the Mitchum’s private plane, Cooper is on his way back to Twin Peaks.

Diane receives the text Mr. C sent, and visibly shaken by the message, and replies with a set of coordinates. With a gun in her bag, she heads to see Albert, Tammy and Gordon. She tells them all about the dreaded night she met with Cooper, four years after he disappeared. He had grilled her about news in the bureau, kissed her, then raped her. Afterwards, he took her to an “old gas station”.

She begins to break down and says, “I’m at the Sheriff station” and “I’m not me”. She pulls out her gun but is shot by Albert and Tammy first. Her body blinks out of existence, revealing she is a “tulpa”. In the red room, Gerard tells her she was manufactured by someone, which she already knows. Her body disappears and a gold seed is left behind.

At the Silver Mustang Casino, Cooper says goodbye to Janey-E and Sonny Jim. He tells them he has to go but will be back soon, and lets them know that “you’ve made my heart so full”. Janey-E notices Cooper slip up, and realises he is not Dougie. In the car, he fills in the Mitchums on what has happened, and states that, “I am witness to the fact you both have hearts of gold”.

At the Roadhouse, Edward Louis Severson III (Eddie Vedder) plays “Out of Sand”. Surprisingly, Audrey and Charlie arrive at the bar. As the song ends, the MC announces the next song: “Audrey’s Dance”. The crowd falls to silence and clears the dance floor, and Angelo Badalamenti’s song, the same song she once danced to in the Double R Diner, is played by the band.

Audrey dances in front of the crowd, getting lost in the music until a fight breaks out and the music stops. Audrey rushes to Charlie and asks him to get her out of there. Suddenly, she is looking at her reflection in the mirror, in a white room, asking “What?”

The credits roll over the band, while “Audrey’s Dance” plays in reverse.

Analysis:

“Finally”. I think all of us, regardless of whether we liked the Dougie plotline or not, felt like saying the same thing Gerard did once Cooper woke up. It’s a wonderful breath of fresh air, even as I find myself a little sad to see MacLachlan’s hilarious and melancholic performance as Dougie/Mr. Jackpots go.

Cooper is back, and he knows exactly what he is doing. There’s no hesitation, no surrender to the messy, tragic situation he has emerged into. He’s got work to do, but damned if he’s not going to treat every person he talks to with the respect they deserve. That’s Dale Cooper. It’s his insistence on thanking his surrogate family for their love, his reminder to Bushnell he’s a good man, and his confirmation that the Mitchums have “hearts of gold” that stand him in sharp contrast with the emotionless cruelty of his doppelganger. Cooper goes out of his way to comfort a child he has no relation to, while Mr. C sends his estranged son off to die without blinking an eye.

This evil doppelganger, while always a terrifying presence, has been entertaining to watch as of late. But as if to remind us right before the finale where things stand, he confirms fans’ long-held belief that he did in fact rape both Audrey and Diane. He used the face of a loved one to commit an unspeakable act of violence, leaving both reeling from the trauma for over two decades since, and he did it with a smile on his face. The smile that Diane mentions justifies her reaction to the text, his use of ‘: – )’ a final torture to inflict before his tulpa lives out its usefulness.

Diane’s tulpa knew she was manufactured, unlike Dougie (who was presumably made to be unassuming), but she remembers all that the real Diane went through. Despite her deadly purpose, she is not a cold-hearted machine, but a being undergoing the ultimate identity crisis. And as these lines are blurred, so are those between reality and fantasy in Twin Peaks–or at least, Audrey Horne’s version of it.

Lulled into the familiarity of returning to the music of the Roadhouse at the end of each episode, it’s jarring to have that moment broken, with Audrey invited under the gaze of the bar’s patrons, though it might as well be the viewer under the spotlight. My first thought was that all of these scenes here haven’t been real, but then how do we account for the appearances of Shelly, James, and Freddie?

While the puzzle is missing a few pieces, as is custom with Twin Peaks, it feels as if the show has opened itself up to us in an alarming and endlessly immersive way. This final scene is a high moment for the series, the most reflexive and terrifying it has been since Cooper’s doppelganger turned and smiled at the camera in the season two finale.

Most Valuable Player:

Kyle MacLachlan – Special Agent Dale Cooper / Mr. C

“I am the FBI.”

Seeing Cooper back to his old self, looking to the camera as he said those words felt looking through a window to the past, an iconic line in the making. As actors get older, especially when as long as 25 years pass, there’s usually some change in demeanour, mannerisms, voice. But somehow, within an instant you know it’s Cooper, before he says a word. And when he does it’s as if the character has returned, not an actor playing a role but an old friend we are overjoyed to be reunited with.

Clues:

  • As far as I gather, Mr. C received coordinates from Ray and Phillip Jeffries, which may have both lead him to the trap that Richard fell for. The final one was presumably sent by Diane after she searched for it on her phone.
  • Diane’s disappearance after the shooting is similar to the way Laura was whisked away back in Part 2. Is Laura’s appearance in the lodge merely a tulpa? Is her mother also one, a manufactured woman made for some nefarious purpose?
  • Diane says “I’m in the Sheriff’s station” – is she Naido (itself almost an anagram of Diane)?
  • The ringing Bushnell hears in the hospital before Cooper awakens is similar to what Ben and Beverly heard in the Great Northern – is something similar happening to Audrey, is she being held in a room there?
  • There is the sound of electricity with that final shot. Rarely a good sign on this show.

Extra:

  • Next week, Part 17 and 18 are airing back-to-back as a two hour finale.
  • It is unusual that all the strings leading people to discover Cooper in Vegas ended up irrelevant as he left before any of them arrived, and it seems odd to set up Janey-E being Diane’s sister without it being followed up in any way.
  • We are given unexpectedly happy endings (Cooper back with Dougie’s family unharmed) alongside the darkest.
  • Mr. C’s message initially isn’t delivered due to a lack of signal.
  • The music from his introduction scene plays over Diane’s walk to the hotel room.
  • When the end of the credits is played backwards, as you can see in this video, you can just about hear a voice say “Cooper” at the beginning of the clip.
  • Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me turned 25 years old this week. It’s a truly brilliant movie, and worth re-evaluating if you weren’t a fan before, but have been digging The Return.
  • And while you’re at it, have a read of Josh’s excellent retrospective on the film.

Line of the week: “People are under a lot of stress, Bradley.”

Editor’s Note: The original version of this post incorrectly said that Janey-E received the text from Mr. C, rather than Diane. This mistake has been corrected.

Featured Image: Showtime