Twin Peaks: 3.07
As with part six, the latest installment in the Twin Peaks revival continued at a slower pace, taking greater time to expand the individual narratives while still weaving them together into David Lynch's larger story. However, while I found the last part a little disconnected at times, there was a real sense of progression this time, making it the strongest episode of the season yet.
Laura Dern's Diane, frustratingly glimpsed last episode, really got her moment to shine this time; she is completely unlike how I think anyone imagined her, and yet Dern perfectly captured that sense of long history between her and Cooper and his colleagues in the FBI. With her leopard print coat, white bob haircut and young toyboy played by Jesse Johnson, she is a fierce character and the highlight of the revival for me - both an oldie and new face in one. She also a knack for perfectly timed profanity not seen since Dexter's Deb ("Fuck you Gordon / Albert / Tammy").
But we also saw her vulnerability in the scene where she begrudgingly agreed to visit the North Dakota prison where the bad Cooper was being held. It was a mesmerising moment, the onscreen connection that fans had been waiting for ever since Cooper recorded his first tape to Diane way back in the 1990 pilot episode. Kyle MacLachlan did a chilling, slow impersonation of a man trying to connect but she wasn't buying any of it. We learned that they had shared a night together, but it is not clear whether this took place before Laura Palmer's death or after his possession by Bob. I suspect the latter, given her breakdown in Gordon Cole's arms outside the prison.
The fact they both know this isn't the good Coop, gives the series precedent. Tammy's discovery that is fingerprints are an inversion of Cooper's also adds clues to his doppleganger nature. I suspect we're not at her investigation from Mark Frost's The Secret History of Twin Peaks book yet, but this is surely where her role is going. Frankly, if she is supposed to be Cole's next protegee, she needs to start making an impression; where Laura Dern has made a splash, Chrysta Bell's performance feels rather one note at present.
Meanwhile in Twin Peaks, the discovery of three extra pages from Laura Palmer's secret diary brought the mythos of the original series into the present with the revelation of Laura's dream featuring the bloody Annie from Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me and the mention of the good Cooper being in the Black Lodge. Suddenly we were greeted with a wave of nostalgia as Angelo Badalamenti's evocative score played (largely absent so far) and Truman chatted with the late Warren Frost as Doc Hayward on Skype. It was wonderful to see the old Doctor one more time; there was no mention of Donna but we did get our first mention of (the still frustratingly absent) Audrey Horne, who ended up in a coma after the bank blast and Hayward's realisation at the time that something was very wrong with Cooper.
There was plenty of meat to the Major Briggs mystery too as Adele René's Pentagon military officer Lieutenant Cynthia Knox tracked Briggs' fingerprints to the headless body from the murder in the apartment from part one. Somewhat impossibly, this body might actually be Briggs, despite dying a few days ago and being thirty years too young to be the late Don S Davis's character. It is exciting to see this tie together to the Dougie Jones storyline (his wedding ring of course was found in the body) and with a call to her boss, Ernie Hudson's Colonel Davis, it seems as if they might be crossing paths with the good Cooper soon enough.
I actually hoped that the detectives visiting Cooper at the Lucky 7 office to ask about the explosion of his car were the same as those investigating the murder, but alas the return of good Cooper is taking its time. His reaction to the detective's shield was adorable and we good a glimpse of his kick ass old self when he fought off the attacking Ike 'The Spike' Stadtler outside the officer and took him down, FBI man style. For a brief moment, as he stood staring out over the plaza, good Cooper was back. Aided by the vision of the Man From Another Place (whatever the flesh in the tree thing is now), the hero's journey is slowly, very slowly, getting there.
At this point, I've come to the realisation that any of the original Twin Peaks inhabitants that are not directly connected to the on-going plot are going to be cameos in the revival. But this episode, one of the original Twin Peaks major characters, Richard Beymer's Benjamin Horne got a little more screen time, chatting to drugged out brother Jerry (David Patrick Kelly) who had found himself stranded in the woods without his car in a hilarious opening scene and then obtaining the old key to agent Cooper's room (brought back by Cooper from the Black Lodge and posted to the Great Northern by prostitute Jade), which hopefully will find its way into Hawk and Truman's investigation.
His penchant for younger women continues too; he's a little wiser perhaps but there was obvious flirtation with with new manager Beverly Paige (Ashley Judd), who was looking for solace after we learned about her cancer-inflicted husband Tom (Hugh Dillon) at home. Other characters like Norma and Shelley got a brief appearance over the end credits, while Andy got his own brief investigation into the truck that killed the boy last episode.
The other key part of the episode was the bad Coop's escape from prison. Despite the warning from Cole to keep him locked up, the doppelganger was able to manipulate his release through blackmail of the governor and was on the loose and on the road with criminal ally Ray Monroe (George Griffith) by the time the credits rolled. The only scene that really didn't work for me was the painfully long shot of the man sweeping the Roadhouse bar floor, though I was right in glimpsing Walter Olkewicz back on the show, playing another corrupt Renault, pimp and drug smuggling Jean Michel.
Part seven was the strongest installment yet of the revival, with many plot lines converging. I'm still waiting for good Cooper to return to form and characters like Audrey to finally make an appearance but there is a momentum as the show heads towards its midway point in a couple of parts time. And yet, there still feels like so much room to cover that David Lynch can't possibly wrap it all up in eighteen installments. It'll be a fascinating summer as our journey back into Twin Peaks continues...