Twin Peaks: The Return clearly rewards the binge-watchers. At the three-quarters mark, we’re finally getting some season-long payoffs, both from the beginning of the season and for some questions raised as far back as season one. We get more cameos, both of new and old characters, and steps closer to the show’s conclusion. Yet, most of the rewards for viewers are still ever-so-slight—though that’s par for the course in Twin Peaks.
Case in point: We open this week for a change on Nadine carrying her gold shovel to the automotive shop where Ed works, to finally put things right with their years-long fraught relationship.
“I’ve changed,” Nadine tells him firmly. “I’ve been a selfish bitch and you’ve been a saint.” Guess that podcast has really has helped her get some clarity. “You love Norma and she loves you. I manipulated you Ed,” she continues. We get the speech from Nadine we’ve been waiting for for 25 years. That being said, it might’ve felt more richly deserved if we’d actually seen these two together��� this is their first one-on-one scene all season. (It’s unclear if they are even still together.)
Ed hightails it to the diner to tell Norma that he’s free. “I’m so sorry,” she says. Walter, her business partner, is there. Ed is about, oh, 25 years too late.
But Norma has some big changes of her own planned. She tells Walter that she wants him to buy her out, and she has no more interest in franchising the diner. This seems a perfect Twin Peaks plot point: these people—emotionally, physically, spiritually—all still live in the world of 25 years ago, in one way or another. Walter tells her that she’s making a huge mistake. And… twist! Norma heads back over to Ed and kisses him. He asks her to marry him. Shelley watches incredulously. Can everyone’s 25-year-old dreams come true, then?
Then, wham: we’re back in electric, surging, black-and-white territory, the Twin Peaks that we wait for each week. What could be more David Lynch than a black-and-white shot of Kyle MacLachlan driving down a nondescript highway? Bob/Cooper pulls over at the convenience store-cum-gas station where we first saw the Woodsmen appear (see: episode eight). A Woodsman figure is waiting for him there. This, per the information he got in a prior episode, is the Dutchman’s. They walk up a staircase on the side of a convenience store and slowly flicker away away as they’re walking up—another dimension.
In a wallpapered room, he asks another Woodsman about Phillip Jeffries. Another comes to take him down a hall—the hallway is cross-faded with a forest, perhaps near Jack Rabbit’s Palace—until they get to another room with a staircase. At the top, out the door, they’re at a motel parking lot. A woman in a nightgown comes toward Bob/Cooper, and says she will unlock the door. She has the same garbled voice we know as being from the Black Lodge. Once inside the room, behind a wall is a strange machine emitting a kind of smoke. The machine says, “Oh it’s you.” Jeffries.
There’s some flashbacks to Fire Walk with Me—not just to show more Bowie (R.I.P.) but because Bob/Cooper remembers their conversations, specifically pertaining to someone named Judy. Wait. What?! Has Cooper always been evil, or Bob? Who is that other guy in Vegas?
Cooper/Bob wants to know who (or what) Judy is. Jeffries emits a string of numbers that he writes down, saying he’s already met Judy. The phone rings. Cooper/Bob picks up, and is transported back to the telephone booth at the front of the convenient store. And waiting for him, pointing a gun is… Richard Horne. He says he recognized him as FBI back in Montana because of a picture his mother had. Not-so-big reveal, of course: his mom is Audrey.
Bob/Cooper obviously knocks Richard out, then tells him to get in the truck. He texts an unknown number “Las Vegas?” Your move, Diane. Once they drive away, the Dutchmans’ surges with electrical energy, billows with smoke, and then slowly starts to disappear into the forest. We’re still not sure where exactly this is located, but somewhere between Montana and Vegas. Over in Vegas, Duncan Todd gets shot in the face by…Chantal! “French fries and extra ketchup,” she tells Hutch after the hit. They chat in the truck later. “It’s a nation of killers,” Hutch says.
In Twin Peaks, in the woods, Steven and Gersten Hayward are flipping out. He’s stoned, paranoid, and has a gun. They’re spotted by…Cyril Pons! You’ll remember him as Twin Peaks’s intrepid reporter, played by none other than Mark Frost. (Lots of fun “guess-who’s” this week.) Steven tries to shoot Cyril, and he goes back to the Fat Trout to spread word about what he saw.
At the Roadhouse, Jimmy sees Renee hanging out with her friends… and her husband, who punches him in the face. As we learned earlier, something is going on between Renee and Jimmy. Meanwhile, Freddie (remember his weird glove story? Magical powers?) watches Jimmy get beat up by Renee’s husband and his friend, then knocks both guys old cold with his gloved hand. Renee’s husband starts foaming at the mouth. Whoa. Jimmy and Freddie get locked up along with the drunk, Chad, and Naido.
In Vegas, Janey-E serves Dougie/Cooper a slice of cake. He watches a scene of Norma Desmond in Sunset Boulevard. “The old team together again,” she says, and Dougie pauses it. He looks at a red vase and then looks at the electric socket. We can hear surging sound. He crawls over, fork in hand, and sticks one end inside, electrocuting himself. Is the literal shock we’ve been looking for.? Is Dougie dead? Is Cooper alive?
Then… Log Lady! She calls Hawk to say that she is dying (played by Catherine E. Coulson, who did pass away in 2015 and filmed her scenes prior). “Watch for the one I told you about under the moon on Blue Pine Mountain,” she instructs him. “My log is turning gold,” she adds. A reference to Dr. Jacoby?
Audrey and her husband are still bickering about going to the Roadhouse (what is the timeline on this show? Haven’t a handful of musical acts performed in the time they’ve supposedly been arguing?)
The Veils perform and more randos get in trouble. Two tough guys lift a shy-looking woman named Ruby (a Charlyne Yi cameo!) out of her seat at a booth. She crawls across the floor and starts screaming bloody murder. Until next week…
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.)
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Laura Dern, Naomi Watts, Patricia Arquette, and Hailey Gates Open Up About Working with Legendary Director David Lynch: