The episode opens with Jerry Horne calling his brother Ben from deep in the woods. He says that he’s high, someone stole his car, and he doesn’t know where he is. Ben, in his office at the Great Northern, seems frustrated.
At the Sheriff’s Office, Hawk and Frank look over the pages Hawk found in the bathroom. It turns out that they’re from Laura’s secret diary. One of them details Laura’s dream about Annie, which says that the good Cooper is trapped in the Lodge. Another says that Laura has figured out that her father, not BOB, is the one who’s been abusing her. Hawk speculates that Leland stole the pages after realizing they implicated him, and hid them in the bathroom when he was brought in for questioning for fear he’d be searched. Frank calls Harry to fill him in.
Andy visits the owner of the truck that ran over the kid in the last episode. He seems spooked. He agrees to meet Andy in secret later, but hurries him off of the property for fear that someone might see him.
Frank Skypes Doc Hayward, who was the only person besides Hawk and Harry to see Cooper on the day after he came out of the Lodge. Hayward says that he saw Cooper in the intensive care wing of the hospital shortly before he disappeared. He thinks that Cooper might have been visiting Audrey, who was being treated after the bank explosion.
Lieutenant Knox from the Pentagon arrives at the police station to check up on Major Briggs’ fingerprints. They show her the body on which the prints were found, and she identifies it as Briggs’ corpse. Mysteriously, the body is of a man almost thirty years younger than Briggs would be today, despite the murder having happened a few days prior, as though the body had been preserved. The strange shabby man from the prison cell in episode one walks past the morgue.
Gordon and Albert go to visit Diane, who isn’t cooperating with their request. She seems to resent Cooper for his absence and the entire FBI by extension. They persuade her to visit the prison to speak to him. On the plane ride there, Tammy shows them a comparison of Cooper’s fingerprints from 25 years ago and from the prison. Evil Cooper’s fingerprints are a mirror image of the real Cooper’s.
Diane meets with Evil Cooper. They only talk briefly before she leaves, shaken by the experience. She explains to Gordon that the man in prison is not the Cooper she remembers. Evil Cooper asks a guard to give the warden a message, requesting a private meeting. Meanwhile, Andy waits for his contact, but we see the man’s house has been broken into.
Evil Cooper meets with the warden, and implies that he is connected to some very bad people from the warden’s past. He demands that he and Ray be freed and given a car, and the warden agrees.
At work, Cooper is visited by some police detectives investigating the explosion of his car. Luckily, Janey-E shows up and manages to cover for him. As the two leave the office, Ike “The Spike” appears and points a gun at Cooper. Cooper skillfully retaliates, and he and Janey manage to disarm the would-be assassin. As they struggle, The Arm appears and tells Cooper to “squeeze his hand off.”
At the Great Northern Hotel, Ben and a younger woman named Beverly walk around his office searching for the source of a mysterious noise. She gives Ben the key which they received in the mail, and he immediately recognizes it as Cooper’s. Beverly goes home to her cancer-stricken husband Tom.
At the Bang Bang Bar, Renault takes a phone call. It seems that he’s inherited the family prostitution racket, and they’re still using teenage girls. Back at the prison, Evil Cooper and Ray are set free, and they drive away.
All season long, I’ve been loving the ways in which David Lynch and Mark Frost have drastically departed from the original series. It’s been thrilling to see them let loose creatively and test the nostalgia-hungry members of their audience. By contrast, this week’s episode is the one that most closely resembles the Twin Peaks of old, not to mention literally anything else on television. It’s also one of the best episodes of the season to date.
When I say that it’s close to the old Twin Peaks, I don’t mean it literally. Rather, it feels more like a natural outgrowth from those first two seasons than the previous episodes of the revival. It spends lots of time with returning characters, and connects this season’s more bizarre mysteries to the dangling threads of the first two. Right off the bat, it’s confirmed that not only did Hawk find missing pages from Laura’s diary, but they’re the pages describing Laura’s dream of Annie from Fire Walk With Me. Later, Ben Horne receives Cooper’s hotel key and remembers it right away. Even the headless body from the first episode is revealed to belong to Garland Briggs, albeit via some sort of time-travel shenanigans. I would’ve been fine with a Twin Peaks revival that was wholly unconnected to the plot of the first two seasons, but I can’t deny that I was giggling with glee at these reveals.
Thematically, this episode feels like an evolution of those first two seasons as well. The old Twin Peaks at times approached its characters with an almost fantastical whimsy. As well-written as they were, and as real as some of them felt, the show was always aware of the unreality in which they existed. The new Twin Peaks reverses course in a major way. It can’t hide the fact that the actors are all so much older now. So much of this season has focused on what it’s like to grow old, to live in a world that’s outpaced you, to feel yourself crumbling away. The scene in which Frank and Doc Hayward chat on Skype is initially sort of funny (the lever he pulls to reveal his monitor is a classic Peaks gag) but as they discuss the events of the past, it gradually turns into a shared moment of comfort between two people who feel the futility of chasing days gone by. Hayward tells a classic Groucho Marx joke, and you can tell both men have heard it a thousand times before. They both laugh anyway, though. It’s something old to cherish in a world that’s changing faster than they can keep up.
Last week’s episode had some explosive moments, so it’s funny that this one has such a foreboding atmosphere. The slow tracking shots of the woods at night, the thick fog rolling slowly down the mountain, the return of Angelo Badalamenti’s “something bad is happening” leitmotif; it all points to imminent tragedy and disaster. Given that the episode closes with Evil Cooper escaping prison, I shudder to think of the storm that’s coming.
On the other hand, we get some positive developments for the real Cooper. The scene of him and Janey-E taking out Ike “The Spike” is as thrilling as it is confounding. MacLachlan turns precise physical actions into movements so casual they seem almost accidental. In the franticness of it all, the appearance of The Arm seems understandable as well, though its advice (“Squeeze his hand off!”) is as cryptic as ever. The interviews with witnesses could be with the police, but it’s possible that they were actually with TV reporters. If so, then Cooper might be on TV. Combined with Ben getting his key, and the implication that the Briggs case is being turned over to the FBI, he’s well on his way to being rescued. For Diane’s sake, I hope they get him soon.
Most Valuable Player: Diane (Laura Dern)
Speaking of, I couldn’t finish this recap without mentioning Dern’s performance as Diane. Her caustic and vulgar attitude doesn’t come close to my expectations, but what would Twin Peaks be if it didn’t throw me for a loop? The way Dern combines Diane’s anger and growing terror during her meeting with Evil Cooper is spectacular. I hope we see much more of her going forward, if only so she can reunite with the real Cooper and settle things.
- So apparently the headless corpse belongs to Major Briggs? And it’s as though he hadn’t aged for 25 years before he was killed? I’ll be honest, I have no idea what to make of this. Even in the original series, the Briggs subplots left me dumbfounded.
- Hayward mentions that Evil Cooper went to the hospital before leaving town, perhaps to see Audrey. I think it’s more likely that he was seeing Annie.
- The police pull a bit of flesh off of the assassin’s gun. It resembles the flesh found in Evil Cooper’s car. This seems significant given what The Arm said, but it’s not clear why.
- There’s a mysterious noise in the Great Northern Hotel. I immediately thought of Josie, who is presumably still trapped in that wooden cabinet. I suppose it could also be related to Audrey’s hiding places inside the walls.
- The strange spirit from the prison cell in the first episode reappears. It seems he’s haunting the police station, or perhaps keeping an eye on the investigation surrounding Briggs’ body. I’ve seen some speculation that he’s related to The Woodsman from Fire Walk With Me’s Missing Pieces, but I’m not sure about that.
- I guffawed at the woman saying “Douglas Jones, he moved like a cobra. It was all a blur.”
- Also at Diane asking for Tammy’s name, only to say “Fuck you, Tammy.”
- Laura’s dream happens after the pages are stolen in Fire Walk With Me, but it’s possible that Annie visited her more than once.