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.
Laura Dern, Naomi Watts, Patricia Arquette, and Hailey Gates Open Up About Working with Legendary Director David Lynch: