Twin Peaks Episode 3 Recap: Where In This Lynchian Reality Is Cooper Now?

In part 3, Agent Dale Cooper, freed from the confines of the Red Room at last, finds himself … well, how would you describe this exactly?

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The four-episode drop of Twin Peaks on Showtime is best viewed in one sitting—too many huge questions linger from episode to episode. Plus, diehard fans will want to devour them all at once, as the new season piles up new otherworldly plot elements and locations. In terms of the story, the third and fourth installments feel more like one episode following the first two. Most importantly, Cooper is finally out of the Red Room, and what happens to him creates the through line of the episodes to come—plus, plenty of meme-able lines. But his location in episode three is even more unclear. Please, stay with us poor recappers tasked with trying to explain this one.

We last left Cooper as he disappeared inside the mysterious glass box in New York City. Where is Cooper now? The episode opens on him surging through space toward a pink bloom of gas. He ends up on a dark, purple-lit space, where he encounters a woman in a red velvet dress with flesh coverings where her eyes should be, in front of a fireplace. Any time the scene focuses on her, the action proceeds in a stunted, almost malfunctioning style, as the film pulses backward and forward and sound glitches—not dissimilar to how the Red Room operates by its own gravity.

Cooper asks her, “Where are we?” She touches his face, presumably saying something, her voice is completely garbled. It’s all very Eraserhead. Something ominous bangs on the door, and the woman motions to be quiet. She seems to explain something hurriedly about a machine on the wall reading “15”—it signals to Cooper from the small circular center of the control panel. At first it begins to pull Cooper in, but the woman screams unintelligibly, motioning as if cutting her throat, blocking his path. She leads Cooper through a door, then up a ladder. They emerge on top of a metal box, not dissimilar in size to the glass box, with an appendage on it—floating in the middle of space. The two look like they’re trapped in a diorama, as the box jerks as if held on strings, old-school movie style. The woman pulls a lever on the appendage and gets electrocuted, falling down through open space. Cooper looks out, shocked, then assesses what to do. He’s not jumping in there.

The face of Major Briggs floats across the darkness; as you may recall, he’s the father of Bobby, Laura Palmer’s boyfriend, and an Air Force officer formerly tasked with classified work researching the nature of Twin Peaks’s mysteries. To Cooper, he says, “Blue Rose,” a term used by Gordon Cole for unsolved, possibly supernatural crimes. Cooper decides to climb back into the metal box, and now the woman and the banging are gone. A new woman in a red dress sits at the fireplace—Ronette Pulaski, one of Laura’s friends who worked at One-Eyed Jack’s. At 2:53, per her watch, a strange hum appears; the machine with the circular front seems to vibrate, though now it says 3, not 15. Ronette warns him, in the Red Room voice, “When you get there, you’ll already be there.” Presumably, this is how he gets back to reality, and the machine will suck him back into his body. He evaporates into the machine in a low-tech, almost stop-motion speed sequence.

Back on Earth, Host Cooper (aka Bob) is starting to feel the effects of getting sucked back into the Red Room, crashing his car. He covers his mouth to avoid getting sucked in as the red curtains appear.

Apparently, there’s another Cooper! Dougie. He lives near Vegas, and he’s having a rendezvous with a hooker in an empty suburban house. His introduction is full of call backs. First off, he’s wearing the green ring given to Laura Palmer in Fire Walk With Me, the one Mike’s last host had. The arm also is numb, possibly from the ring’s power, or else another clue that he’s aligned with Mike. He starts to feel sick, too—and eventually throws up a mix of meat, blood, and creamed corn. (The latter is how Garmonbozia, edible fear and sadness, gets depicted; it’s what demons like Bob and Mike eat.) Dougie gets zapped away through an electrical socket; meanwhile, Host Cooper can’t avoid his fate, and vomits up the same gross mix in his car, without getting zapped. Dougie appears in the Red Room, but not Host Cooper aka Bob. Mike sees what happened: “Someone manufactured you for a purpose.” Dougie shrinks down, his head evaporates, and he turns into a floating blob that explodes (Mike covers his eyes) and only leaves behind a tiny gold ball—and the ring. Mike pockets the ball. He looks concerned.

Meanwhile, Cooper (real Cooper!) comes through the socket into the Vegas house where Dougie was meeting the hooker. He’s perfectly coiffed. He’s also solidly zonked out—obviously the trip over has left his brain more than a little fried, and his escort, Jade, has to get him to a phone. Oh, and some guys are on their way to kill him; Cooper narrowly avoids death by dropping a set of keys to the Twin Peaks Lodge. He leans over to get them just when his assassins are going to shoot. They assume he’s still in the house, and plant something under his car—a little kid across the street watches, as his cracked-out mom yells “119” and takes a pill. There’s too many numerical references to keep up with.

Police pull up to Host Cooper’s car—obviously the body is still there, as a cop wretches upon seeing it. Dead or alive, he clearly didn’t make it to the other side.

Back at the Twin Peaks sheriff’s office, Hawk is looking over files with Lucy and Andy. Something is missing, per Log Lady’s clue. Lucy is convinced it’s the chocolate bunny she ate from the evidence years ago. “It’s not about the bunny!” Hawk insists. These scenes are funny and great, and there should be more of them. There’s not very much actual Twin Peaks in Twin Peaks so far. Dr. Jacoby, meanwhile, has been methodically spray-painting his order of shovels gold.

Cooper gets dropped at a casino—Jade tells him to call for help—and it’s clear he definitely doesn’t have his mind right. All he can repeat is “Call for help,” and a handful of other phrases he hears. Instead of ending up at a payphone, he lands at the slots, where he can supernaturally see what slots will jackpot, and he wins over and over again. It’s all thanks to a floating symbol above each lucky slot, which looks a lot like a glowing symbol of the Red Room.

Philadelphia! Gordon Cole! There’s a new unsolved mystery, and, you guessed it, it’s those kids from the glass box room in New York, who apparently got mutilated by whatever attacked them. (Maybe Host Cooper / Bob?) The operation and why they were there still remains a mystery. Agent Tammy Preston (Chrysta Bell) shows Cole and Albert Rosenfield (Miguel Ferrer) the footage of a shape passing through the box—Cooper, though they don’t know that yet. Suddenly, Gordon gets a call about Cooper. They go to his office, clad with a Kafka portrait and a picture of a bomb going off. But… whoops. It’s the Cooper (the wrong one) in South Dakota. They’re heading over. Hopefully this crew can inject some fun into Host Cooper’s storyline.

We end with a musical number by the Cactus Blossoms at the Bang Bang. Until next time.

A Field Guide to Recognizing Your Favorite Twin Peaks Actors Now, 26 Years Later

Though Kyle MacLachlan has since starred in other cult series, even when he was Charlotte’s impotent husband on Sex and the City and a murderer on Desperate Housewives, he’ll always be known as Special Agent Dale Cooper, a man never too far away from a slice of cherry pie or cup of strong, black joe. (No word yet on whether Diane will be returning, too.)

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Death be damned, Laura Palmer is coming back with a bang by starring in all 18 episodes of the new series—that is, unless Sheryl Lee, whose first post-Peaks role was Salome opposite Al Pacino, and who has since showed up in Winter’s Bone and Woody Allen’s Café Society, is simply reprising her role as Laura’s suspiciously identical cousin, Maddy.

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Dana Ashbrook has kept up acting with a steady roster of smaller films, including 2012’s The Agression Scale with Ray Wise, aka Leland Palmer, and more than a few appearances on Dawson’s Creek, presumably making him more than up to the job in reprising his role as the annoying ultimate bad boy Bobby Briggs—even now that his hair’s gone gray.

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Though she’s now a long way from a schoolgirl, the ever flirtatious Audrey Horne may have a chance at getting together with Coop after all, especially since actress Sherilyn Fenn has been keeping up her acting chops on shows like Gilmore Girls and Shameless (not to mention appearing on the cover of Playboy in the ’90s).

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At 70, Peggy Lipton scarcely seems to have aged since she last played Norma Jennings, the owner of the Double R Diner, though she has since raised another actress, her daughter Rashida Jones.

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Richard Beymer‘s eyes seem only bluer than ever since the now 79-year-old actor last turned up as Benjamin Horne, Audrey’s father and the owner of the Great Northern Hotel (not to mention an appearance in West Side Story, which helped to earn him a Golden Globe for New Star of the Year that he shared with Warren Beatty). Not that viewers have been able to appreciate them: Twin Peaks is only Beymer’s fourth on-screen appearance so far in the 2000s.

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From blue streaks to twin top knots, Kimmy Robertson seems to have as much appreciation for an out-there hairdo as Lucy Moran, her curly-haired secretary in the sheriff’s office. Robertson has since lent her high-pitched voice to shows like Batman and The Simpsons, plus appeared onscreen on an episode of Drake & Josh—all good practice for appearing on all 18 episodes this season.

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Like Leland Palmer, Laura’s potentially murderous father, actor Ray Wise has since gone gray, a new look he’s shown off in shows like Mad Men, Fresh Off the Boat, Gilmore Girls, 24, and How I Met Your Mother. That’s range.

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Another face who’ll be showing up in the full series, Mädchen Amick has lately turned up on Riverdale, plus a host of cult shows like Mad Men, Gossip Girl, ER, Gilmore Girls, and Dawson’s Creek. Fortunately for her character, the waitress Shelley Johnson, though, her abusive husband Leo won’t be back.

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Since playing Deputy Hawk, one of the most reasoned voices in the sheriff’s office, Michael Horse has gone on to not only appear in shows like Malcolm in the Middle, but pick up a full-on artistic career as a jeweler and painter.

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Though Michael Ontkean has maintained his curly head of locks since starring as Sheriff Harry S. Truman, the actor, who last showed up in The Descendants in 2011, has decided to leave Coop hanging and won’t be returning to Twin Peaks.

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Lara Flynn Boyle won’t be returning to this season but she’ll always live on as Donna Hayward, Laura’s best friend of sorts who was never short on spectacular sweaters.

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Russ Tamblyn‘s daughter Amber has since gone on to become an actor and even director herself, but Tamblyn has kept up an acting career of his own since playing the ever eccentrically-outfitted psychiatrist Dr. Lawrence Jacoby, recently picking up roles in films like Django Unchained.

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Like the actor who plays fellow bad boy Bobby Briggs, James Marshall, aka James Hurley, Big Ed’s nephew who can’t get enough of riding his bike, has also gone gray, but still showed up on-screen with a few films and an appearance on CSI.

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Like her on-screen daughter, Laura, the grief-stricken Sarah Palmer will be returning for all 18 episodes, although actor Grace Zabriskie has turned up in shows like Charmed and Big Love.

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Fittingly, like her beau Sheriff Harry S. Truman, sawmill owner Josie Packard won’t be returning to the series—like fellow mill worker Piper Laurie, aka Catherine Martell, David Lynch apparently never asked her back. But actor Joan Chen has been looking young as ever lately in shows like Netflix’s Marco Polo.

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Read W‘s recap of Part Two of the Twin Peaks premiere.

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Read all W‘s Twin Peaks coverage here.

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