In the first of two reviews this week, Baz Greenland looks at the penultimate installment in the Twin Peaks revival.
This review is for Part 17 of Twin Peaks only. The review of the final episode will follow this week.
It seems like the statement ‘this week was another momentous episode of Twin Peaks‘ is becoming a weekly occurrence. There were some huge developments in Part 17 that seemed to wrap the core part of the revival’s narrative before spinning it off into a surprising twist that returned to the events of prequel TV movie Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me. I’ve decided to write this review separately to Part 18 and so a lot of my thoughts will concern my excitement for Twin Peaks‘ conclusion in that instalment.
There was an almost breathless, streamlined narrative to Part 17. Evil Dale Cooper arrived in Twin Peaks and immediately made his way to the Sheriff’s station, where villainous deputy Chad, the drunk with the damaged face, the blind tweeting spirit woman Nadio that Andy brought from the White Lodge, James and Freddie were all being held. There were some tense moments as evil Cooper approached Andy and greeted Lucy in an offbeat manner – I actually feared for their lives – and the awkward catch up with Frank Truman in his office.
Good Cooper calling in from the car with the Mitchum Brothers and the girls, raised the tension further as Lucy frantically diverted his call to Truman and Cooper realised his good doppelganger was approaching. I feared for the lives of these characters and I wasn’t expecting Lucy to be the one to heroically shoot evil Cooper dead to save the life of the Sheriff. All the meanwhile, Chad made his escape, teasing the possible death of Andy before Freddie used his invincible green-rubber gloved hand to save him.
The showdown in the office was the climax of the whole series – or so I assumed. The evil Woodsmen spirits returned to bloody the corpse of evil Cooper as good Cooper arrived with a warning not to touch the body. It was an explosive, surreal and terrifying showdown, as Bob was released and attacked good Coop. For the second time I feared his possession but like many fans, I had guessed right Freddie’s purpose as he fought and ultimately destroyed the orb carrying Bob’s spirit with his green-gloved hand.
While I was a little disappointed not to get a verbal and physical showdown between the two Coopers, is was a genuinely frightening, nail-biting experience, David Lynch again making good use of Bob, despite the actor Frank Silva being dead years ago. (Though I can’t help but think it might have been even more terrifying, had Silva been alive to play the scene).
Last week we saw the tragic death of Diane’s Tulpa and in Part 17, we finally got a joyous reunion with Cooper. In the aftermath of evil Cooper and Bob’s death, Naido was revealed as the vessel for the good Diane and it was lovely to see Laura Dern back playing a happier version of this mysterious character, complete with pillar box red hair and fluffy slippers.
At this point, I wondered where the show could go, with another twenty minutes and a whole final episode before the revival was over. This is where David Lynch really took his audience on an emotional and often bizarre mystery tour. Cooper, Diane and a reunited Gordon Cole travelled to the room we saw James guarding a few weeks ago, allowing for a brief goodbye before Cooper travelled back into the mysterious spirit world. My perception of what the White and Black Lodges were seemed utterly thrown out as he was joined by Phillip Gerard and he travelled all the way to the mysterious motel room to meet the talking bell / kettle that was Philip Jeffries. I’m no longer convinced Jeffries had turned bad, more that he was something altogether different, guiding Cooper back to where it all began – the night Laura Palmer died.
The revival has made great use the themes established in Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me, making it far more than an oddity that unnecessarily showed the final days of Laura Palmer. The green owl ring was used to send evil Coop back and now we saw that [surprise!] it was Cooper that Laura saw in the woods and screamed at when she was with James. It was a surprise twist, made greater by Lynch crafting a new scene to show Cooper saving Laura. In a welcome return to the pilot episode, the body wrapped in plastic vanished and Pete Martell didn’t discover her corpse. He went to do what he always planned; he went fishing.
Changing the entire course of Twin Peaks‘ history was a massively bold choice by Lynch, though I’m not convinced Cooper succeeded. Laura vanished before Cooper that bring her to safety and the presence of Leo, Jacques and Ronnette waiting for Laura suggested she found her way back to her grizzly fate. But perhaps history has been changed. The sight of present-day Sarah Palmer stamping on the glass-framed picture of Laura’s homecoming picture suggests something equally terrible happened. It’s a great hook for the final episode.
This also feels like the end game. While many fans, myself included, would love a fourth season, Showtime has suggested no talks have happened and watching this episode, I begin to suspect why. Sure there may be more tales to tell and more good Cooper adventures, but it feels as if Lynch is bringing everything back full circle. Fortunately there is no week-long wait for the final episode. I’m off to watch part 18 right now…
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