How about those opening credits? Okay, fine I’ll stop talking about them.

Still at Silver Mustang Casino, now the owner of the casino has turned up to get Cooper off the premises as quietly as possible, before he bleeds the entire place dry. The old woman starts to call him “Mr. Jackpots”, so that’s what I’ll start calling this version of Coop. After winning 30 mega jackpots, he meets Bill Shaker, who in a confused conversation lets him know that he’s Dougie Jones, and he lives in Lancelot Court, the house with the red door.

Escorted to the owner’s office, Jackpots is given his winnings and a ride back to the house, where Dougie’s wife Janey-E (Naomi Watts) is waiting. Dougie has been gone for three days, and has missed his son’s birthday. She is rightfully mad at him, but is overwhelmed by the thousands of dollars he has brought home with him (“This is the most wonderful, horrible day of my life”). They have some debts to pay off, and it looks like when Cooper eventually leaves them without a husband and father, they’ll at least be doing okay for money.

Gordon Cole visits the FBI Chief of Staff , who turns out to be none other than Denise Richards (David Duchovny), and informs her that they have found Cooper. I was a little concerned that what was a progressive stance in the 90s would reveal itself to be behind the times by 2017. Luckily, Lynch makes this a scene of openness and self-criticism. Denise condemns Gordon for keeping Tammy around as a young beautiful woman. Gordon insists Tammy is there for her skills alone, and reminds Denise of the support he gave her when she made her change in the 90s.

Back in the Sheriff department, Sheriff Truman (the one who was fishing) arrives, and it turns out its his older brother Frank, played by Robert Forster. As usual, Lucy’s dialogue over-explains the confusing fact of the two Sheriff Trumans. The department has been fleshed out a little, with new staff that seem far more grounded than those who dealt with the supernatural 25 years back. Then, behold: Bobby is a cop! I would never have expected this, but it also feels kind of perfect. In the conference room Hawk fills in Truman on his mission, while Chad cracks wise. Chad sucks.

Then Bobby comes into the room, and sees the iconic photo of Laura Palmer amongst the evidence on the table. Laura’s theme kicks in and Bobby breaks down into tears. It’s the best. Bobby reveals that Cooper was the last person to see his father (Garland Briggs) alive before he died in a fire at his station the following day. Outside is Wally Brando, Lucy and Andy’s son, he’s there to pay his respects to Frank due to the severe illness of Harry Truman. Turns out Waldo is played by Michael Cera (unfortunately I had this spoiled early), who is perfectly cast if you ask me – he genuinely looks like he might be Kimmy Robertson’s son. There’s something about this actor that makes me laugh just with a look, and this scene had me laughing from start to end as he waxes poetic without really knowing what he’s talking about.

Back in Vegas the next morning, Mr. Jackpots sees a vision of Gerard in the Red Room. Gerard tells him that “You were tricked,” showing him the gold ball that Dougie turned into. Now one of them (Jackpots + evil Coop) must die. I imagine this is why the sniper was set up to kill him last episode. Mr. Jackpots gets dressed, and somehow an entire comedic sequence is made out of him wearing a tie on his head, trying to eat pancakes (I’m a fan). Then comes the coffee, which plays out like a significant character reveal, as it should be. Jackpots drinks then spits out the coffee, giving the most amazing expression of manic joy.

Back to the Buckhorn Police who found the head of Ruth Davenport and the body of an unknown man in the first episode. They find the prints of the man, but they need military authorization to access the file.

In South Dakota, Cole is disappointed to not be able to see Mount Rushmore, but secret sweetheart Albert has brought along a photo for him. They arrive at a South Dakota Prison to see the captured evil Coop. They identified his vomit as a poisonous substance, bad enough that the officer who discovered him was hospitalised by getting close. Gordon, Albert and Tammy speak to evil Cooper through the glass. He claims to have been working undercover at the behest of Philip Jeffries, and was heading to Philadelphia to be debriefed by Gordon when his car went off the road.

They can hold him for two more days without charging him. Gordon doesn’t trust him, so asks them to monitor the private phone call he makes. Tammy informs them he was lying about going to Philadelphia, and wants in on the conversation, but Gordon orders her to leave so he can talk to Albert in private. Neither of them trust what they have seen, and Albert admits he gave Jeffries clearance to give Cooper some information about an agent, who ended up being killed. They are both bewildered by what they have seen, and Albert suggests that it’s a “blue rose” case, perhaps meaning there’s something supernatural going on. Their plan of action is to get one unnamed woman to speak to Cooper before they do anything else.

The episode ends with a performance by Au Revoir Simone, playing the song “Lark.”

Analysis:

This episode is another mixed bag, but one that manages to be memorable without much in terms of surrealism. It’s more of a stepping stone of an episode, but the breather thankfully gives us a chance to check in on some old (and new) friends. The storyline is surprisingly straightforward, with the weirdness more of a window dressing this time around. I’m noticing the show slide into showing more and more of the actual Twin Peaks, so I’m predicting that within two or three episodes Cooper will be back and the show will greatly reduce its state-hopping. I will say though, the slow pacing is bothering me the tiniest amount now. I imagine it will drive others crazy, but overall I came out of this episode feeling positive about the episode.

First of all, let’s address that end teaser. Only one woman can tell if Cooper is himself or not, and the easy guess is Audrey Horne. It’s a great set-up and definitely someone the fans wants to see. But I’m leaning more to thinking that the woman will be Diane – the unseen secretary that Cooper speaks to via a tape recorder throughout the original series. There was always a question over whether Diane was real or not, but in a deleted scene in Fire Walk With Me Cooper was shown to be talking to a real Diane, albeit playfully kept off-screen. This makes a lot more sense, since I can’t imagine Gordon or Albert would want to bring in a civilian into the case, and it could be played as a big reveal. Diane would know the way the real Cooper talked, inside and out.

I haven’t been getting a whole lot out of MacLachlan’s performance as Cooper’s evil doppelganger, but he’s been excellent both as Dougie and Mr. Jackpots (yes, I am sticking by that name). Regardless, he sells the difference in these characters without words. Similarly, it shouldn’t be forgotten how good Robert Forster is in the fairly thankless role of the straight man, acting as intermediary between the cynical and the ridiculous, patiently trying to get the hell away from Michael Cera’s periphrastic youth.

It’s definitely worth bringing up the technology of this revival. Before the premiere dropped, I remember saying to someone (this was in a comment thread, I don’t have real friends) that it will be weird to see Cooper hold a cell phone. The reply was that of course the retro technology will stay put, and of course the world of the show will completely ignore the advances that seem incongruous to it. Turns out they were wrong, and the use of modern technology is seen throughout these new episodes. I am disconcerted every time I see a brand name, however small, or a slim laptop on a lawman’s desk.

Thankfully, the show knows this is weird too, and confronts it directly. Lucy’s spectacular scream and faint at the mere idea that a phone can be used on the move speaks to our own reaction to this technology appearing in this world. On the other side of this is Wally, who surprises by not rebelling against the traditions of the town as you’d expect from his leather jacket and motorcycle. Instead, he waxes poetic about the history of the town, romanticising a past he wasn’t really a part of. It might just be me, but I’m reading this as a sly jab at nostalgia-obsessed millennials, and their Gen X counterparts.

Perhaps the most noteworthy scene in the episode is the final conversation between Gordon and Albert. Straight away, the scene has a faded grey-blue tinge to it that makes it seem both mournful and in sharp contrast to the rest of the episode’s colour palette. The whole sequence is mournful as two friends, who have no doubt lost many friends and colleagues to darkness over the years (Windom Earle, Philip Jeffries, Dale Cooper) talk, and Albert reveals he once made a mistake that cost an agent their life. Together, they find their long-lost friend only to see that it’s not the man they once knew. Cole’s vulnerable “I hate to admit this, but I don’t understand this situation at all”, could have been played as a joke, but taps into something kinda heartbreaking.

Most Valuable Player:

Gordon Cole (David Lynch) / Albert Rosenfield (Miguel Ferrer)

This week I’m going to have to make this a tie. Both actors have slipped back into their roles seamlessly, but also inform us of the changes they’ve undergone through the subtleties of their performances. You can tell Albert has managed to suppress the sharp tongue and general cynicism that got him into trouble in the past, but his anger is still there. Ferrer puts in a fine performance that is worthy of being his final one, after his death earlier this year. His explosion of “CARSICK!” as he grows weary of Cole’s hearing impairment is hilarious and a genuine character moment. I never realised I wanted these characters to hang out so much. And on the other hand, David Lynch’s performance is surprisingly layered, making for surely the only time I wanted more screentime for a director and not less.

Clues:

  • Confirms that Cooper’s doppelganger was the last to see Garland Briggs, who died in a fire at his station the next day
  • Lewis & Clark are referenced, who were involved in the mystery of the area surrounding the town in Mark Frost’s The Secret History of Twin Peaks
  • Not really that much in clues this time around!

Extra:

  • “Cocaine…machine gun…dog leg”
  • Bobby’s reaction to Laura’s photo was wonderful. I’ve grown to love the character over the years, and Dana Ashbrook is an incredibly underrated presence in the show
  • “That’s a lovely turn of phrase”
  • “Fix their hearts or die” should become a mantra
  • Mr. Jackpots’ little gasp when the limo driver comes around his side
  • Why is Lucy’s family photo horribly Photoshopped?
  • I didn’t notice this until someone brought it up on Twitter, but Cooper’s doppelganger is starting to sound less and less human, saying the word “very” backwards in his greeting to Gordon, perhaps what tipped him off.
  • “My shadow is always with me. Sometimes ahead. Sometimes behind. Sometimes to the left. Sometimes to the right. Except on cloudy days. Or at night.”

Featured Image: Showtime