Rachel Bellwoar reviews the sixth episode of Twin Peaks season 3…
Returns don’t have to mean the same thing but they’ve come to take on a certain form. Revisit old characters, see what their lives have been like, walk the familiar haunts. We’re a third of the way through Twin Peaks season three, and it might be time to reevaluate what David Lynch means by “return.” Fans have gotten over the hump of waiting for Twin Peaks to come back, but the characters on the show haven’t. They’re still fighting to return, and none more so than Cooper, whose difficulty breaking out of Dougie Jones’ persona has Mike in the Black Lodge anxious for him to wake up.
Dougie Jones always seemed temporary because Twin Peaks needed Cooper to feel like itself again. Whether you experience the same giddiness seeing Kyle MacLachlan smile at lights turning on, or the elevator doors closing shut, Dougie consistently brings out the best in people. The kindness shown towards him gives one hope for the world and if the show decided never to leave his sweet presence it wouldn’t be a bad show, but it would keep Twin Peaks from operating like returns usually do.
Dougie isn’t Cooper. Teased with his real identity, and increasingly latching onto memories of his agent past, Cooper knows Dougie’s wrong, and that nagging awareness makes being Dougie a punishment, with a friendly face.
There’s a lot to find unkind about this episode, which is the return’s most violent. If the closing credits, and red box that pop up on Duncan’s (Patrick Fischler’s) computer, are leads, Balthazar Getty’s Red put a hit on the woman who’s murdered and Dougie. Having the assassin be a little person (Christophe Zajac-Denek) is in bad taste and the swishing around of the blood, excessively vulgar. The return has been resistant to connect story lines (Dougie’s blackmailers aren’t in cahoots with assassins, but want their sports loan paid off), but hopefully the brutality of this episode requires some answers going forward.
Tragedies, like the young boy getting hit by a car, don’t need a reason to occur, but the age of the victim, and the force of the car’s impact, can’t be left to hang in the air, like the mystery of the mismatched bodies. Harry Dean Stanton walks away with the episode, because he’s a caliber actor, but similar to Dougie, the relief he provides doesn’t dim the vicious hour.
The much-anticipated debut of Laura Dern’s Diane could almost be forgotten among the bedlam, but it’s a terrific piece of casting (and a horrible choice in wig). Episode seven’s an open book, but if it does explore what Diane has to say, and Hawk’s findings in the bathroom stall, Cooper’s got good people watching his back.