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…
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