Looking back to the start of this new chapter in Lynch's increasingly monumental work, it's coming quite clear that none of what we ever imagined will come to pass in Twin Peaks. At almost every turn, the eighteen hour event has presented us with near collisions with expectation, only to dash them time and again with an assured hands. It's almost become something of a game for me to discern where the swerves will appear as the story becomes more linear. And yes, since part eight's stunning artistic and thematic mic drop, the larger narrative has opted for a more traditional format, and has been settling in with ease ever since. And what a difference a broadening of the scope with exteriors, varying locations, and a tapestry of new characters makes in lieu of a show once restricted by simple sets and budgets. More and more, Peaks feels like a full fledged novel of deep horrors, absurdist musings, and pointed personal commentary.
And through his characters, boy have he and Frost brought to the proceedings some serious ammunition, and in some of the most unexpected ways imaginable. From Becky's vengeful run against her junked out guy, Stephen (who by the way, is also spending time with GERSTEN HAYWARD? - Alicia Witt, from a memorable moment in the original series, and little sis to the long lost Donna Hayward.), to the heart crushing aftermath, continuing the Ballad Of Bobby Briggs. In what amounted to an emotional rollercoaster of a first half, we not only discover that the now dutiful lawman with a troubled past, indeed fathered Becky with Shelly(Madchen Amick) of the RR. But we also learn definitively, that Becky indeed takes after a mother, who truly hasn't learned the lessons of the past. For those unfamiliar with Bobby, as the often insufferable little jerk who was hopelessly smitten with Laura Palmer, despite his own affairs, not to mention his own hand at a murder that only she knew about, it is helpful to know just how much of a 180 his life has truly undergone. Coming through the tunnel of restless youth, and back to the man his father always knew he'd be, it's incredibly tragic to witness the revelation that Shelly, has indeed run from him during this transformation, and is apparently now very much in love with Red(Balthazar Getty), the clearly dangerous criminal magician who Richard Horne seems to frighteningly admire. Let's also keep in mind, such an ardent fan of a psychopath, hasn't done much for his own ability to tie up loose ends.
Then there are Gordon, Albert, and the rest following up on Hasting's directions to Sycamore street out in Buckhorn, where matters further manifest into the deep weird. With Gordon, almost being taken by a spontaneous vortex in the sky during broad daylight, and another appearance of The Woodsman, which Albert calls, "it". Followed by the sudden, horrific death of Hastings, seemingly at the hands of the dark specter itself. A vision shared by Diane, who never mentions it, soon to the suspicious gaze of Albert. Her role, ever more unclear as an outsider to the group. A reality further displayed by her seating in the aftermath with everyone as they recap these events over a reliable pot of coffee. The coding of the moment, couldn't be more glaring; she isn't a part of them, and has aims of her own, further bolstered by her need to smoke.
But the real hard left of the segment comes in the form of Good Coop's adventure with the at one point murderous Mitchum Brothers. With a sequence that plays like a comedic riff on Mulholland Drive's "Dream Of Winky's" scene, a dream undoes all tension, returning Coop's life to the almost loveable cinematic clown tale that it has largely been from the start. It's almost as if Vegas, has become something of a reminder of the possibility of redemption in even some of the most dire situations. It borders on a Buster Keaton, or Chaplin film where happenstance, and luck conjure up unexpected friendships in a world so often misunderstood. At this point, Cooper's life has become a refreshing antidote to much of the show's displays of humanity in America, as stretched beyond it's ability to hold life together without animosity, duplicity, or avarice. While women scream about their own ability to get across town, and children dress like their survivalist dads, further bolstering both Lynch's penchant for doppelgangers, and notion that we are inextricable from our parents in both our best and worst ways, here are a pair of powerful crooks, who somehow find it in themselves to communicate well enough to not murder, and in turn welcome a once sworn enemy into their circle of trusted friends. In a scene that qualifies among some of the most disarming of the series, the boys play a game of "what's in the box", only to defuse that particular bomb due to a dream. And the body language of one James Belushi, as Bradley, is among the most surprising in not only this show, but in the man's thirty year career. It's like a spark awoke within the man, and it's a moment of palpable joy that is so well rewarded, that everything that follows, is rife with an awkward charm, and reminder that planted information may be no match for a well-considered pause.
Further rewarded by a reappearance by the once homeless woman our Mr. Jackpots once helped. It's a deeply affecting moment, which again reaffirms that this is indeed our Cooper. He's definitely in there, reaching out ever gradually. Nodding to Rodney's celebration of good drinks and astonishing cherry pie.
Back with Hawk & Truman, make no mistake, something huge is on the horizon. But it could come at great cost. Where all of this will come to a head, no one can truly say. And that remains the most singularly exciting thing about this. But on the other hand, the reality that we only really have seven hours of this remaining, is nothing less than a little depressing.