Twin Peaks: The Return Part 9 revisits mysteries and suggests that answers are on the way. Stewart Gardiner listens to the sounds and reports back.
Twin Peaks: The Return part 8 burned down all preconceived notions of what television is capable of. Out of the ashes rose a Lynchian cathedral, towering above mortal television creatives like the White Lodge above a purple sea. Twin Peaks: The Return Part 9 had a lot to live up to. Talk about hard acts to follow.
David Lynch isn’t a cruel genius. He’s a genius, just not a cruel one. He doesn’t hold out on the mysteries that were finding momentum in part 7 before things went atomic. Part 9 keeps pulling the strings of the plot lines together, while also offering up more weirdness and mystery. Of course.
Mr C looks like he’s had a rough night. Partying like it’s 1997 with those crazy Woodsmen. Twin Peaks Scotia observed that the scene recalls Jeffrey Beaumont finding the ear at the beginning of Blue Velvet. I can’t shake that comparison. It’s a good one. Bad Jeffrey then. Mr B perhaps?
Instead of an ear he finds a red bandana on a fence post, marking the property as one friendly to doppelgangers who may or may not have had their evil parasitical spirit removed.
Hutch and Chantal are waiting for him. There’s a lot of waiting in part 9, notably Cooper/Dougie at the Las Vegas police department, where he is transfixed by red shoes. Hutch casually explains that the farmers who own this place are “sleeping out back.” You know, dead and propped up like dolls. The big sleep, as Raymond Chandler would have put it.
Mr C sends a text to unknown: “around the dinner table the conversation is lively.” Diane is later seen viewing this text message on her phone. Diane is aware the case is of the blue rose variety. How much does she in fact know? Part 9 does not provide answers in this regard. There’s no suggestion that she is in cahoots with Mr C, that doesn’t fit with the trauma of her encounter with him in the jail. Something sure is going on, but more data is needed to work out what that something is.
I Don’t Appreciate Your Language One Bit
On the FBI plane Gordon Cole gets a call from Colonel Davis alerting him to the fact that Major Briggs’s body has been found in Buckhorn – which he initially hears as a swear word. Diane’s swearing dudn’t bother him none though. Gordon convinces Diane to join them in South Dakota:
“This is important and it could be of interest to you, Diane. An old case involving a man Agent Cooper once knew.”
“Blue rose case?”
He gets a second call where he learns that “Cooper flew the coop,” reflecting Albert’s words back in the day about Windom Earle’s escape. There are numerous ‘returns’ to the original Twin Peaks in part 9.
The Fusco brothers interview Dougie’s boss, Bushnell Mullins. He provides a real world explanation regarding Dougie’s funny turns before Dougie was Cooper:
“Dougie had a car accident, as I recall, not long before he came to work for me. Every once in a while he showed some lingering effects.”
Mullins is about to go, but turns backs to the Fuscos and throws the detectives some narrative threads. He’s trying to grapple with the beginnings of a mystery, but gets nothing in return.
“Damn strange business. First his car blows up and then somebody tries to kill him.”
The detectives just stare into Lynchian space. Mullins opens and closes his fist (watch out Fuscos, this guy was a serious boxer!) as if wanting to take action, yet not knowing what that might entail.
The business gets even stranger once Mullins leaves the room. The Fuscos may look and act dumb (Harry Bosch they ain’t), but one of them has actually found out something useful:
“So get this. There is nothing – and I mean nothing – on Mr Douglas Jones prior to 1997.”
Hmm. 1997 you say? A significant year according to part 9. One of his brothers thinks Dougie might be in witness protection, which again isn’t a terrible idea. But is pretty hilarious from an audience point of view. What is this Fusco Number One, The Sopranos?
Thinking Out Loud
Diane isn’t in the mood to see a dead body and Detective Macklay thinks he can politely tell her she can’t smoke in the waiting room. “This is a fucking morgue!” she shouts. Macklay then recaps the case before Albert, in that endearingly acerbic way of his, asks, “What happens in season 2?” Ouch. Macklay sure ain’t having much luck with these FBI folks. A point of interest from his appraisal of the case: Hastings’s secretary died in a car explosion, presumably caused by Ray after he got the coordinates from her.
Albert finds his equal in Constance as they meet cute over the headless body of Major Briggs. Macklay adds new dimensions to the case with updated information on Hastings. No one makes a snarky comment.
“It turns out that Williams Hastings, along with the help of Ruth the librarian, was researching and publishing some strange little blog about some alternate dimension.”
Turns out there is a real world version of The Search for the Zone website, which is just great. They’ve captured the 1997 build date perfectly. 1997 you say?
“Today we finally entered what we call the Zone,” reads Albert, “and we met the Major.”
Hairs. On. Back. Of. Neck. This doesn’t so much evoke The Twilight Zone as the Zone from Tarkovsky’s Stalker. Stalker features a room as metaphysical construct, believed to give someone what they most want.
Gordon and Albert take a time out to discuss what’s going on. They believed Briggs died in a fire at his facility near Twin Peaks 25 years ago. His body hasn’t aged since then. Well, until it was a corpse at least. Constance shows them Dougie’s ring, which was found in Briggs’s stomach. Connections are being made.
Horne Family Interludes
Johnny and Sylvia Horne are back! Johnny runs down some stairs and pile drives head first into a wall. He might be dead.
Jerry is still out in the woods. “I am not your foot,” his foot tells him in a squeaky voice. Disturbing. This guy really doesn’t need to visit the Lodge, he’s got it all right there in his mind.
That ringing sound in the Great Northern is still a-ringing. If anything it is louder, steadier. Something is going to happen there. In two or three days time perhaps? Not in 1997. Beverly and Ben almost kiss. “I can’t do this,” he tells her. I don’t know why it is.” “You’re a good man, Ben,” says Beverly. In what dimension exactly is Benjamin Horne a good man? One for the alternate reality theorists out there.
This is the Chair
Bobby, Hawk, and Truman go to talk to Betty Briggs about Agent Cooper’s visit to the Major the day before he died. It’s a beautiful scene that is not only rich in emotion, but travels down mysterious paths towards answers on the horizon. She was expecting them. Had been for 25 years.
“All right, listen to me. Right after Agent Cooper left that day, Garland pulled me aside and he said that one day our son Bobby and Hawk and Sheriff Truman – I didn’t know it would be this Sheriff Truman – he said that they would come and ask me about Special Agent Dale Cooper. He squeezed my shoulders when he told me this. I tried to ask him what it was about, but he – he wouldn’t say any more. He just said: When they come to ask you about Agent Cooper, you give them this. Now you’re here. Would you fellas like some coffee?”
They want answers, not coffee! Not quite yet anyway. A new Angelo Badalamenti composition “The Chair” plays. Incredible as always. It recalls the music behind the famously emotional scene between the Major and Bobby. So moving, so full of mystery, so very Twin Peaks.
Betty goes to an armchair and operates a button or lever which opens a secret compartment. She hands Truman a cylinder. “Your father never lost faith in you,” she tells Bobby, raising the emotional pressure in the room to 11. “Well fellas, let’s have that coffee.” The relief is palpable.
I Never Heard of Such a Place
There are no obvious ways to open the cylinder, but they don’t have to go all Andrew Packard on it. Bobby knows how to open it because his father brought one home once. The Major knew Bobby had purpose, or else gave him a purpose. Either way, it shows great foresight and belief in his son. That part 9 reminds us so much of the Major is a beautiful thing.
Bobby throws the cylinder hard at the ground and when he picks it up it is ringing. The sound has an “otherworldly” tone, with the same quality as a monastery bell perhaps. Which is how Ben Horne describes the sound in the Great Northern. Bobby listens intently and once the sound dies down he throws the cylinder at the ground once more. Now it is open.
Inside is a cryptic note and symbols, including the triangles and Experiment, plus a sheet of letters and numbers. The note refers to Jack Rabbit’s Palace, a distance of 253 yards, the time 2:53 (“253 time and time again” said the Evolution of the Arm), and dates two days from now and the day after that. “I never heard of such a place,” remarks Sheriff Truman. But Bobby knows exactly where it is. He used to go there with his dad and actually came up with the name.
“It was a make believe world. You know, where we made up stories.”
Bobby will lead them there in two days time. To a place most wonderful and strange one assumes.
The second sheet is a print out of data. The word “Cooper” appears twice. “Two Coopers,” states Hawk. A third “Cooper” is cut off by the edge of the page. “Cooper” appeared three times in radio signal data in the original series. Trinity springs to mind.
A Different Dimension
Part 9 is the halfway mark of The Return and it is here that William Hastings shows up again. His last appearance was in a jail cell at the start of the season, with a Woodsmen haunting the cell two up from him (that would make an awesome sitcom by the way).
Tammy interviews a clearly distraught Hastings. Gordon, Diane, and Albert look on. She asks him about the alternate reality he was writing about. “A different dimension,” he corrects her. “It’s real. It’s all real.”
Hastings and Ruth had to go to a certain place at a certain time to enter the dimension. Sound familiar? Jack Rabbit’s Palace comes with a similar instruction manual. “He was hiding there. Or hibernating, as he said.” He being Major Briggs, whom Hastings positively identifies. “He wanted to go to a different place. So he asked us to get him numbers.” These coordinates were in a secure military database. Ruth had them, not William. Ray took them. Mr C wants them bad.
On to the weird, transcendent stuff:
“We gave him the numbers and he started to float up. And he said some words: Cooper. Cooper. Right before his head disappeared. It was something like no one has ever seen before. I’ve never seen anything like it. You don’t know, you weren’t there. It was – He – he – It was beautiful. And then Ruth was dead.”
Hastings goes on to say that there were many people there. I’m thinking Woodsmen. Of course post-part 8 I’m always thinking about Woodsmen.
Hastings is in over his head (or Major Briggs’s head is in over him?). All he wanted was to go scuba diving with his girlfriend. Is that too much to ask? Um, yes. Albert has the last word of course: “Fruitcake anyone?”
Some Kind of Wicked Rash
Someone called Ella is in the Roadhouse. She has a real bad rash under her left arm. Does this have similarly cosmic significance to the twitching arms from season 2 and Teresa Banks’s numb arm in Fire Walk With Me? More importantly, will Jerry Horne’s foot come back to him?
So many questions, but didn’t part 9 feel like it had all the answers? To quote Leonard Nimoy from The Simpsons episode “The Springfield Files”:
“It’s all lies. But they’re entertaining lies. And in the end, isn’t that the real truth? The answer is: No.”
Stewart Gardiner is still disappointed that magical wardrobes don’t actually exist. He can’t travel to other worlds, so writes about them instead. Is it coincidence that he is the same age as Eraserhead and Star Wars? No. Is Damon Lindelof his constant? Probably. When will this bio end? Soon. Very soon. Stewart is co-editor-in-chief of UK website Future of the Force, writes about David Lynch for 25 Years Later, and used to write for magazines. Originally from Scotland, he lives in London with his wife and two kids, but they might consider relocating to Twin Peaks.