Twin Peaks: 3.11
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The latest installment of the Twin Peaks revival was a tale of three parts, each carefully building on weeks of plot development to deliver one of the strongest episodes yet. Not as good as the 'birth of Bob in a nuclear inferno' part 8 (which kind of sits above every other installment), though there were certainly ties back to that episode with the return of the terrifying woodsmen spirits that haunted the small New Mexico town in 1956.
The story of what happened to Ruth Davenport and her and Matthew Lillard's William Hastings' investigation into alternate worlds came to a terrifying and brutal conclusion. Taking Hastings to the house where he and Davenport met, Gordon Cole stumbled into a gateway into the Black Lodge, a swirling distortion in the sky not visible to the rest of the world that revealed the woodsmen spirits. He was only saved from being pulled in by the quick actions of Albert Rosenfield.
Hastings was not so lucky. As Diane spotted the spirit stumbling towards the car where Hastings waited with Dave Macklay, tensions were raised; the feeling of dread watching it was all too strong. Still nothing could have prepared me for Hasting's fate, the top half of his head ripped off which even Macklay could not have stopped sitting in the front seat of the car. It was a nasty, uncomfortable moment and a memorable end to Lillard's character, having delivered another memorable, emotive performance when interrogated by Chrysta Bell's FBI Agent Tammy Preston a couple of episodes earlier.
The idea that these spirits can so openly lurk between worlds and kill with impunity is deeply unsettling and the fact that Bobby, Truman and Hawk are about to adventure into the woods of Twin Peaks in search of a place of black fire only ups the menace to come. The episode also continued to weave the Log Lady into the series, guiding Hawk on his quest with a few memorable scenes, if harrowing to watch given Catherine Coulson's terminal condition at the time.
And talking of Twin Peaks itself, it was great to finally spend some time with classic characters that wasn't connected to the Black Lodge material but was more than just a fleeting moment. Audiences finally got answers about Bobby and Shelley; they are no longer a couple but Amanda Seyfried's is their daughter and seemingly sharing the same taste in men as her father; married to abusive husband Steven (Caleb Landry Jones) and flitting between gun-enraged fury as she tracked him down to his mistress's apartment to confessing her love and defending his actions.
After the opening where the three brothers discovered the bloody, crawling Miriam Sullivan (Sarah Jean Long), still alive after her assault by Richard Horne last episode, there was more violence as Becky lured her mother Shelley to the trailer park to take her car and confront her husband at gun point. Shelley frantically grabbing hold of the car bonnet and being flung clear as Becky drove away was dramatic stuff, tempered by the humour of trailer park owner Carl whistling for a van to take Shelley back to the RR Diner. Becky firing shots into the mistress's door seemed rather extreme, but kind of in keeping with the Lynchian soap opera of the show's original run. There was a blink and you'll miss it appearance from Alicia Witt's Gersten Hayward, piano playing sister of Donna, as the mistress too.
It seems that while Becky has retained her mother's bad taste in men and father's erratic behaviour, it is Bobby that has matured. Shelley's latest beau is none other than Balthazar Getty's drug dealer Red...the pattern continues. Seeing Bobby as the mature adult is quite a change but a welcome one and we got to see more of Bobby in action, dealing with a kid accidentally shooting his parent's gun through the diner window, before being confronted by an erratic, screaming woman who was late for dinner and unwilling to wait while he tended to the scene. There was more Lynchian horror in the reveal of the sickly child in the passenger seat, green ooze dripping from his mouth. Was he the woman's son or one of the many spirits inhabiting the world? Either way, it was incredibly disturbing.
The final act of the episode dealt with the Mitchum brothers' plan to kill Dougie. The fact that Dougie's boss is still enraptured with Cooper's ability to uncover fraud and police corruption in the insurance claims is one thing, but sending him off to meet the brothers with a thirteen million dollar cheque stretched credibility a little too thin.
However, there was still a lot to enjoy. Robert Knepper and James Belushi made a surprisingly funny double act as they planned their kill, while Belushi's Bradley stopped the hit because of a 'dream' (spirit world induced?) with the discovery of the box containing a cherry pie and the thirteen million dollar cheque in Dougie's coat pocket.
That did lead to the lovely final scene where they celebrated over cherry pie and Cooper seemed to emerge as he muttered those immortal words "damn good" [cherry pie] and I screamed at Cooper to wake up. But alas it wasn't to be. It was very sweet to see the luck he had brought the old woman from the casino several episodes earlier though.
Plots moved forward in this entertaining and sometimes dramatic episode. It was great to finally have some stuff with Bobby and Shelley (including an actual scene together!) and I'm looking forward to see him continue to play a part with Truman and Hawk next week as they venture into the woods. The FBI scenes continue to delight - I loved the knowing look Albert gave Diane - and the presence of the evil spirits and the murder of William Hastings was disturbing to watch. I'm really loving this revival now and I hope the remaining seven episodes are just the start of more to come...