(Each week, we’re going to kick off discussion about Twin Peaks: The Return by answering one question: what was the best scene of the episode?)
With the return of Game of Thrones last night, David Lynch and Mark Frost need be at the top of their game to convince everyone to tune in to Twin Peaks first and relegate GoT to the DVR. And while diehard fans will argue that any new episode of Twin Peaks is better than any episode of Game of Thrones for the sheer novelty of it (they’ve been waiting to see what happens for 25 years, after all), last night’s episode proves that maybe not every Peaks episode is worth prioritizing.
The Best Scene in Part 10
I’m not sure if Janey-E (Naomi Watts) is one of the dumbest characters in Twin Peaks history or if she’s just been blinded by stress and routine, but there’s no way it should have taken her this long to realize that something is seriously different about Dougie Jones. Her husband has been replaced by a nearly catatonic Special Agent Dale Cooper (Kyle MacLachlan) for a long time now, and though she did comment in an earlier episode about how he lost weight and got a new black suit, last night’s episode was the first time she noticed that Cooper looks a hell of a lot better than Dougie ever did. The camera lingered on Coop’s ripped body during a doctor’s appointment scene, and Janey-E was practically biting her lip when she saw him with his shirt off. She got him home and attempted to seduce him while he blankly ate cake, and she eventually had her way with him as his arms comically flopped around and a stupid grin broke out across his face.
I know some people have looked at the Dougie subplot as Lynch’s commentary of how we as a society often ignore those who are closest to us and I suppose I can see that interpretation, but I’m not sure it’s been worth all of the interminable scenes of Cooper Dougie-ing around for that message to be worth it. (Granted, we still have a handful of episodes left in the season, so this could always be developed further.) One thing’s for sure, though: even though I despise the Dougie stuff, MacLachlan is totally killing it playing multiple versions of his classic character. Just watch the way “Dougie” blinks: it’s slow, deliberate, and almost robotic, and that the actor is able to provide such emptiness in Cooper’s eyes is consistently impressive to me.
It’s a good thing Lynch emulated the female gaze in that doctor’s appointment scene, because he didn’t give women another inch in the rest of the episode. I know I’ve ranted about this in the past, but his treatment of female characters in this show is becoming more troubling with each new episode. In this episode alone, a woman is beaten and left for dead, another cowers for her life after being screamed at and threatened, a third is portrayed as an utter moron who becomes hysterical when she hits a man in the face with a remote control while trying to kill a fly, and a fourth is choked and robbed and called something I can’t repeat in print. Thank God for the Log Lady’s wisdom and that Nadine finally perfected those silent drape runners, I guess. If anybody has any interpretations of what Lynch might be trying to say in this department, please let me know because I’m struggling to come up with anything.
We knew Richard Horne (Eamon Farren) was a creep, but we didn’t know he was the type to assault and rob his own grandmother. The show also leaned toward confirming a long-held fan theory: that Richard is the son of Audrey Horne and Dale Cooper’s evil doppelganger. It’s not official yet, but come on: only someone with a Bob-infested father can be that much of an asshole. He has a friend on the inside of the Twin Peaks sheriff’s department, too: that moron Chad. Hopefully Lucy (Kimmy Robertson) can actually do something useful and make sure one of the Truman brothers eventually finds the letter Chad swiped.
Amid a smattering of wearisome scenes involving the casino owners, insurance claims, and Dougie being set up to be killed, we learned that Albert (Miguel Ferrer) and Gordon (Lynch) are on to Diane (Laura Dern) and her subterfuge we learned about last week, and we saw Laura Palmer (Sheryl Lee) briefly materialize in front of Gordon’s eyes; the Log Lady says she’s “the one,” which confirms what we found out in part 8: Laura is super important to the Twin Peaks universe. And remember that glass box from the season premiere? DoppelCooper was there at least once before the employees were murdered by a mysterious being from within the box, which means…well, I’m still not sure, exactly. But hopefully it’s all tied to the eventual return of the real Agent Cooper, because I’d still take that depiction of the character over (admittedly hilarious) bouncy-armed “Dougie” sex scenes any day.
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