Entirely unlike last week’s groundbreaking experimental experience, part 9 is pretty straight forward. In fact, it’s probably the easiest one so far to recap, right after the part 8 became known as “the one that broke recappers.”
We begin where we left off (chronologically, anyway), as Cooper’s doppelganger is bloodied but otherwise fine, approaching a farm where Hutch and Chantal, who we last saw in Part 2, are waiting. Hutch, played by Tim Roth in another astoundingly small role for a big name, who has killed the owners of the establishment. Hutch treats Cooper’s wounds, gives him a new cell and destroys his old one. Cooper texts an unknown number the phrase “around the dinner table the conversation is lively.” He then rings Duncan Todd (Patrick Fischler), who seems to be the liaison between him and the Ike “The Spike” Stadtler, who has failed to assassinate Dougie. He takes off in a truck, but before he leaves he tells them to kill Warden Murphy within the next two days, and that there will be a “double header in Vegas” afterwards.
On the private jet, Gordon receives a call from Colonel Davis. He is informed about the body they found in Buckhorn, South Dakota, and they decide to check it out. He lets Diane know that they’re stopping off, and confirms it involves a man Cooper once knew, and is a blue rose case. Diane checks her phone impatiently, but it is blocked. Warden Murphy calls and informs them that “Cooper flew the Coop.”
The Fusco brothers who previously interrogated Dougie now have him and Janey-E at the police station, where they are interviewing his boss. Mullins reveals that Dougie has been working with his company for 12 years, and that shortly before he started there he had a car accident, the “lingering effects” of which he blames for Dougie’s strange demeanour. Mullins tells Dougie that they need to get some answers.
The police are starting to get suspicious since there are now two violent acts surrounding Dougie. Now, they have found that there is no documentation on Dougie prior to 1997. Their best idea is that he’s in witness protection, and they plan to find out. In the mean time, they take Dougie’s mug to test his DNA. They receive a call to say they have found Ike, who they promptly arrest.
With a so-familiar-it-hurts guitar lick, we’re back in the town of Twin Peaks, where Andy and Lucy are picking out a new chair. It’s the cutest thing ever. Johnny Horne is running around the house manically when his head strikes the wall violently. It’s unclear if this is intentional or not.
Bobby visits his mother Betty, along with Frank and Hawk. The scene that plays out is maybe the most like its former self the show has been so far, with all the cryptic melodrama of the original’s best. They want to ask her about what happened the day before Major Briggs died, when Cooper visited him. She reveals that she knew this day would come, as Garland had told her the three of them would one day visit with questions about Special Agent Dale Cooper. At the behest of her husband’s wishes, she gives them a small metal cylinder.
In Buckhorn, Diane receives a text that reads: “AROUND THE DINNER TABLE, THE CONVERSATION IS LIVELY.” Gordon, Tammy and Albert go to see the body of Garland Briggs. On the way, Detective Macklay reveals that they have found the body of Bill Hasting’s wife Phyllis, who was shot by Cooper in Part 3. They murder has been blamed on the lawyer she was having an affair with, George. The next day, Hastings’ secretary, who had apparently had some information that Cooper wants, was killed in a car bomb.
It turns out that as well as having an affair, Bill and Ruth were collaborating on a blog about an alternate dimension. A week ago, Bill ended a blog entry with the sentence: “Today we finally entered what we call ‘The Zone’, and we met the Major.” They are brought up to date on the fact that the body is 25 years too young, and the fact that Dougie’s ring was in his stomach. They move to interview Bill.
In the Twin Peaks forest, Jerry is still having a meltdown. Looking at his foot, he hears it say “I am not your foot.” Terrified, he struggles with it before falling over. Back at the Twin Peaks Sheriff Department, Chad continues to be the worst guy in the fucking world. Everyone hates him for good reason, and he leaves so the good characters can do their thing. Neither Frank nor Hawk can open the canister, but Bobby realises he can. Inside they find two pieces of paper. Through information only Bobby could know, they find instructions to be in a specific area of the woods at 2:53 in two days time. On the other side of the paper is the repeating “COOPER” message from back in the original series, Hawk remarks: “Two Coopers.”
Tammy interrogates Bill as the others watch. He reveals that Ruth was skilled at uncovering documents, including some which revealed that they could enter a different dimension they named “The Zone,” at certain points in space and time. They found one of these places, and crossed over to a place where the Major was “hibernating,” and possibly hiding from something.
He told them he wanted to go somewhere else, and needed them to find some co-ordinates for him. They found the numbers in a secure military database, and Ruth wrote them on her hand. They gave him the numbers, at which point “these others came in,” who attacked Ruth, held Bill down and asked “what’s your wife’s name? The Major floated up in the air, said “Cooper, Cooper,” then disappeared, leaving Bill with Ruth’s corpse. That’s when he woke up in bed, and believed it to be a horrible dream. When asked whether Major killed Ruth Bill says “No, there were so many people there.”
At the Great Northern, Ben and Beverley continue to look for the source of the ringing sound. They almost kiss, but he just can’t do it. At the Roadhouse Hudson Mohawke plays a set, while Ella (Sky Ferreira) meets with her friend Chloe. They talk drink, and Ella itches a horrible rash in her armpit. There’s mention of a “Zebra” who “got out,” as well as a “Penguin,” which may be code for something. Au Revoir Simone play out the episode with “A Violent Yet Flammable World.”
I always like these new episodes more after a few days have passed for it to sink in, but I’m fairly certain this is one of my least favourite episodes. It’s still a good episode, but it provides a lot of moving parts and exposition without any one stand-out scene. What makes this revival so good is that those criticisms don’t preclude this from being a good episode anyway.
First of all – Cooper’s doppelganger. There has so far been a lack of clarity over what he is, since the doppelganger seemed to have Bob within him, yet not be BOB (maybe). And Bob was removed from his body by the woodsmen spirits in the last part, a ritual that seemed to revive him, but perhaps take the spirit of Bob from him? Regardless, he knows he’s been betrayed by the Warden and has set him to be killed. The “double header in Vegas” he speaks of must be Dougie, and maybe Ike since he has failed him, or maybe Duncan Todd.
Now the most bewildering reveal this episode had to be Diane receiving that text from evil Cooper. Her reaction isn’t one of surprise, and she doesn’t tell anyone about it. Plus, when I re-watched the episode I noticed her frequent checks of her phone as if she was waiting for something. A minor detail to point out is that the original text was all lower-case and no punctuation, while the text she received was in capitals and featured a comma. I doubt this was a mistake, which suggests that there is some kind of relay between the two of them, whether she knows it involves evil Cooper or not.
Meanwhile, we are told in a very offhand way that Bill’s secretary has been killed, presumably the same woman who Ray mentioned before. Ray had said he was getting some information from Hastings’ secretary, some information that Cooper badly wants. These were likely the co-ordinates that Ruth had written on her hand, that lead them to Major Briggs. Now she is dead, perhaps the work of Ray or Phillip Jeffries who now have the information.
Hastings conversation didn’t reveal a lot of details, but enough to be reminiscent of Fire Walk With Me’s scenes with Phillip Jeffries. He mentions witnessing a meeting of spirits, including Bob and the Man From Another Place, above a convenience store. The mention of the “others” who came in, and presumably killed Ruth, makes me think they were the woodsmen spirits or something similar. Likewise, evil Coop’s message “around the dinner table, the conversation is lively” is reminiscent of this.
A big surprise was the fact we got a real explanation for why people put up with Cooper’s frazzled state as he lives out Dougie’s life. Dougie’s car accident 12 years previously left him with moments like these, which entirely counts for the way people have been treating him. They also note that he has been with the company for 12 years and only existed apst 1997, six years after Cooper’s doppelganger took his place in the world.
All in all, it seems like the various threads are coming together. The police are checking Cooper’s DNA, the FBI know that a “Dougie” is involved, and the TP police are on their own trail to find out what happened to the special agent.
In addition, it turns out that Bill and Ruth’s website is actually out there. You can visit the excessively 90s site at thesearchforthezone.com. I’ll get into what I found there in the clues section.
Most Valuable Player:
Dana Ashbrook – Bobby Briggs
When I first watched Twin Peaks I hated Bobby with a passion. Now I am the first to defend him. But regardless of what you thought of him as a teen, he’s become an exceedingly interesting and surprisingly developed character in these episodes. This time he gets a little closure with his father, whose absolute faith in his ability to get his life together was always moving, and continues to be so. Ashbrook is charming as hell in the role, but his ability to sell the melancholy and joy that comes with a re-connection to Garland is wonderful.
First of all from the site:
- This may be of importance – “There might be forces at work from deep dimensional space, or from the future…or are these one in the same? Think of the events that could have splintered time?”
- The site was last updated on November 2015
- It has occasional contributions from a ‘Henrich Viegel’, who may be an alias for Ruth if she didn’t want to be publicly attached
- There are co-ordinates on one page. If you click on them you see a grainy distorted video of what appears to be the convenience store from Part 8.
- Is Jerry’s scene with his foot a bad trip or an encounter with the evolution of the arm?
- Is the humming in the hotel the remnants of Josie, who we last saw become one with the wood?
- 2:53 is popping up again
- Johnny Horne’s bloody introduction is likely what will bring Audrey back to Twin Peaks, I’m betting
- Albert’s line “What happens in season two?” just has to be a dig at the widely-disliked second season
- The slow pull into Cooper’s face as he stares at the American flag was phenomenal. I do want Dale back to his old ways, but I am loving MacLachlan’s performance
- The date “10/1” from the Major’s note is “in two days.” So it is then 9/29. Whereas in Buckhorn the date is 9/20. There’s nine days difference between these scenes even if they are playing out simultaneously
- After two parts with alternate credits sequences, we’re back to the routine of a gig at the roadhouse capping the episode off, continuing the trend of me not physically being able to predict anything that happens
- I love Tim Roth’s sweet little shy smile, even if he is a horrible murderer
- There are definitely some familiar establishing shots of the forest and the Great Northern here
- Ben seems to be at the end of a long arc from debauched villain to a somewhat “good man”
- For those still puzzled by last week’s instalment (i.e. everyone), listen to David Lynch talk about “frog moths” from a few years back
- Illustrator Cristiano Siqueira has drawn beautiful posters for each part of The Return so far. Check them out here
Featured Image: Showtime