Are there enough words to properly describe what a gift Lynch and Frost have granted this world with Twin Peaks? Even when this new rendition finds itself grinding gears in the name of a few supplemental plot points, there's always that feeling that despite its problems, you'll still never guess where they'll take us next. This also applies to the very nature of time itself. The more closely one looks at the events unfolding, there's little here happening in any fashion that remotely resembles earth time. The world of the show, and its characters seem to exist outside of traditional time and space, and as such it is hard to get a handle on whether or not this is all intentional. In any case, the tales both intertwining and happening parallel sink into an almost placid mode with these two hours, making them among the least propulsive, and possibly most frustrating episodes yet.
From Tammy's (And later, Diane's) induction into the Blue Rose Society, which was founded in the 1970s after a mystery involving one of our agents here, to the startling, and ultimately stymie-worthy reveal of a fan favorite. They are a collection of moments that feel less like the current series, and more a supplemental heavy rendition of some of the more seemingly aimless latter episodes of Season Two. Which isn't to say that they are bereft of astonishing moments. Beginning with a stretch of minutes, catching up with Sarah Palmer(the ever terrific, Grace Zabriskie), who's stressful trip to the market is followed by a visit by Hawk, in a series of scenes that heavily evoke Fire Walk With Me. Moment of pure, distended unease and crippling terror. What is established here, is a series of scenes that take an unusually prolonged amount of time to get occasionally nowhere. But these scenes with Sarah, underlie something potentially central to the finale of the story.
We also gather more Ben Horne in the aftermath of the latest wrath of his now confirmed grandson, Richard. What begins as an assessment of the damage left in his wake, becomes a classically Ben tangent regarding his treasured childhood bicycle. Perhaps reinforcing that a previous generation's values often were whittled down to items they possessed. A remnant of a world quite alien from the youth of not only those with less, but of even those with more today. Meanwhile, Brother Jerry remains out in another dimension out in those woods.
But episode twelve's most startling section heralds the return of Sherilyn Fenn's Audrey Horne, who now seems inexplicably trapped in a situation, and in turn, so is the audience. Near frantic in the search for her lover, the once before mentioned Billy, the once plucky and mischievous Audrey is locked in a quandary with a little man who claims to be her ineffectual husband, Charlie (Clark Middleton). His unwillingness to take her seriously, let alone help her find Billy, is both one of the most demanding and ultimately frustrating moments of the series to date. Demanding in that it isn't readily apparent what seems to actually be taking place, and frustrating in just how protracted the scene becomes. It perhaps is only made more painful when considering this beloved character, seemingly in an emotional prison of sorts as Charlie opts to make a phone call to a mysterious, unseen Tina (whom we will soon come to realize is another invisible player, ala Billy). The scene, like many in hour twelve, seem to exist in a space firmly planted between functional plot, and individual shorts built on absurdist foundations. After a while it becomes hard to tell whether it's mere padding, or outright trolling. But where the scene's most compelling notion is that dreams are again regarded as a window into a larger reality. Which could also inform the larger implications of Peaks as a whole; a world shattered in the days following the death of one young girl. There will always be mysteries, but the scene, like Eraserhead alone seems closest in tone to that film in the way that conversations have a specific cadence and air that recalls some of our most baffling dreams as they seem to loop endlessly.
Or Lynch, is simply parodying the very nature of this elusive narrative event. Maybe there is no carrot.
Let us also consider the awaited hit on Warden Murphy, a seeming complete repeat of Doc Jacoby's show and sales pitch. Framing the heart of the show as something wholly concerned with America as a nation on an economic precipice. It's a refrain that has grown louder and louder since the series began. With history being made in the real America at this very moment, the show can also be seen as a somewhat more innocent summation of what led to this specific moment in time. Either way, all signs continue to point toward northern Washington for a final culmination.
The meetings at the Roadhouse, continue to offer up clues as to who these unseen characters in the periphery of the story are, and how they may very well play into the finale. Clark, Angela, and now Trick, all continuing on like a cast of characters we will never truly meet. Never truly know. Like real life, and it's many transient conversations that might even involve something tangential to our own lives. Perhaps a reminder that we all share the same seemingly endless story.
Part Thirteen, continues in this placid realm where we are granted further shades of what is building up on all sides. We have the next big moment in the Vegas story with the Mitchum boys, conga lining with "Dougie", and the girls thanking Mr. Bushnell Mullins at Lucky Seven Insurance in lieu of Part eleven's charming twist of fortune. Not to mention, the glow on Janey E's face at the revelation that this little victory also included a new car, and an absurd beyond absurd backyard gym set for little Sonny Jim! Such the turnaround for the wife who was ready to lay down laws with Batman-like deal but a few hours ago. "Dougie's" license become a cheery mirror to every encroaching darkness at the corners of the story, and he isn't even wholly there. What Frost and Lynch are saying here, should lead to some interesting debate for some time..
Meanwhile, what serves for me as the reason this episode truly exists, is the scene that follows, where Evil Coop at Las arrives in Montana to catch up with Ray who left him for dead back in Part Eight. Only, he has to get through this compound of pure wickedness and it's imposing leader to get to him. Which mounts to an arm wrestling match that not only displays just how out of their depth this criminal organization is in dealing with this man, but in just how in control of the situation he truly is. It's easily the most compelling section of the hour, only made better by the presence of Frank Collison, as the kingpin's right hand(sic) man. The confrontations here remain as surreal as anything else in this world, but the outcome grants a seething amount of dread for what's come. Evil Coop, is in control. Evil Coop, will get the information he needs. He is now aware of Philip Jeffries, and the conspiracy against him. This includes the ring that was supposed to be put on him post his "murder". He also is in possession of those much wanted coordinates.
Now, Evil Coop has an army.
Worse? Our suspicions as to the identity of Richard Horne's true father might just be on the money.
Meanwhile, back in Vegas where police make one dollar bets on paper baskets while utter horrors adorn the halls of the station, rattled cheat, Anthony Sinclair caves in after being pressured to take care of the Dougie problem once and for all, leading to a charming and again impressively funny "confession" at the insistence of both Dougie and Mr. Mullins. With Dougie Coop, so easily mapped via his predilection for coffee, again evades death by merely being a silent comedy protagonist.
Never underestimate the power of coffee and cherry pie.
And speaking of coffee and cherry pie, the revelations that love in the Peaks universe seems reserved for the wholly innocent, the reveal of what became of Norma and Ed, is further bruised by another appearance of that dreaded refrain. Couple this with the moment Nadine meets her idol in Jacoby, and the melancholy heart at the center of this grand opus remains inescapable. Not at all unlike Sarah Palmer, seemingly trapped in an endless loop of the same conflict time and again, and not unlike Audrey, still unable to leave to search for Billy. Fearing that she is someone else. That she, like each and every one these characters are trapped. Endlessly bond by an inexplicable gravity. Spiraling ever closer toward each other yet irrevocably apart.
"What story is that, Charlie?"
Then there's James.
-Oh, and the less we talk about the French woman with a mother who has a turnip farm, the better. And those last moments, while beautiful in their own right, make me worry for good ol' Ed.