Episode 4 of Twin Peaks on Showtime—or part 4, I guess we’re calling it—is full of highs and lows of the season so far: The best news is we’re more or less caught up in terms of locations and why the action is taking place there. There are some excellent cameos and a relatively fair amount of closure, though in David Lynch’s world, the audience almost never feels like they have a firm hand on the wheel. The sheer number of TV shows in 2017 is staggering, but whether you like it or not, one of the things Twin Peaks has going for it is that it’s anything but predictable—it makes the show ideal as well as maddening to pick apart on the internet. Though it looks like the times has finally caught up to Lynch: TV, not movies, is where weirdness lives now.
Cooper, who has assumed the identity of Dougie Jones, runs into dimwitted townie friends Bill and Candy Shaker (Ethan Suplee and Sara Paxton) at the casino where he keeps winning at the slots. Brett Gelhorn also plays a menacing casino manager suspicious of Cooper’s 30 mega jackpot wins—these are superfluous but nonetheless amusing interludes. Cooper notices there are cameras watching him; maybe the FBI will get this footage, too?
Clearly, Cooper has begun to remember a few things from Dougie’s life—the casino gets a limo to drop him off at home since he somehow knows the street and that he has a red door. (That’s a pretty obvious hint right there.)
Naomi Watts gives a histrionic, spot-on performance as Dougie’s wife, who hasn’t seen him in days—she goes from incensed, to pouting, to pensive, to crying tears of joy in about a five-minute span, while Cooper says almost nothing. It’s a performance worth watching twice. The main takeaway is that Cooper has won enough money to pay off whoever wanted to kill him.
Next up is David Duchovny, who plays Denise Bryson—formerly Dennis from seasons one and two. There’s really not much information here other than pure T.V. exposition about the FBI’s plans. In Twin Peaks, Lucy and Andy remain endlessly watchable as a hapless couple. Sheriff Truman arrives and Deputy Hawk shares his message from Log Lady: something is missing from the Palmer file that will lead to Cooper, and it has to do with Hawk’s heritage. Deputy Bobby Briggs (Deputy!) breaks into tears at the sight of Laura Palmer’s photograph. Bobby remembers that Cooper went to his father the day before he died, and right before Cooper disappeared.
A performance not worth watching is Michael Cera as Lucy and Andy’s son, a lugubrious biker. It’s a droll interlude with questionable motives (full disclosure: I fell asleep and a second viewing didn’t change my feelings) and frankly it throws the other cameos into question. It’s pure fan indulgence: Lucy and Andy had a son, and it’s Michael Cera. Neat! But whatever.
Cooper gets a vision from Mike, telling him, “You were tricked. Now both of you must die.” Cooper is still pretty fried. He meets Dougie’s son—who wears a red hoodie. They bond immediately. Unsurprisingly, Cooper remembers coffee. He gets a jolt, spits it, and screams, “Hi!” Meanwhile, Cole, Preston, and Rosenfield head out to North Dakota. They meet up with … a still-living Host Cooper! Apparently after he vomited the Garmonbozia, he survived intact. Uh oh.
Host Cooper tries to convince Cole to debrief him on their activities, claiming to have been working undercover, working with Philip Jeffries. His voice sounds menacing and completely different. Agent Preston notices a lot of what he said is suspicious—the men send her away, and watch her from behind, leering. Right. Cool. While she’s off, Rosenfield admits to Cole he authorized Jeffries to give Cooper (the Bob one!) information. Uh oh, again. “Blue Rose,” Rosenfield says. “It doesn’t get any bluer,” Cole agrees. There’s one person they need to take a look at the Cooper they’ve found—they know where to find her. Cut to the Bang Bang, where Au Revoir Simone are playing and … end of episode.
While Lynch certainly makes use of musical cameos to great effects in other work, these slapdash musical endings with contemporary bands smack of soaps of a different kind: The O.C., Gossip Girl, et al. It comes off as a strange attempt to keep the show trendy, much like the very unnecessary cameos of young, hip names. These might be intentional bits of bad taste: in the same way Twin Peaks cannibalized from hard-boiled cop shows, high-school histrionic comedies, and soap operas, a contemporary reboot has to take stock of the main tropes of the last 25 years. The brushstrokes are clear, in the form of awkward Apatow universe comics, hip band sets, the cameos from pretty, minor celebrities. It’d be an amazing send-up if it wasn’t so sloppy. On the other hand, some of the carry-overs from the original Twin Peaks feel dated and out of the place: The ironic machismo of cops, almost all-white casting, and tedious interludes self-satisfied at their tediousness. Despite the many excellent things about this reboot, it sometimes it feels like we’re watching an old pro feel his way through a medium that has completely changed before his eyes.
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.
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