Sometimes I wonder if the reboot of Twin Peaks is mimicking Dougie/Agent Cooper's current point of view. The show itself is a collection of five or six disparate parts — to the unfocussed eye, these stories don't intersect. We, the viewer, are tasked with drawing these parts together. There are times that this task feels similar to that of poor, doddery Agent Cooper, who's been plopped inside a body and a life that does not belong to him. Cooper can't make sense of his life, but he recognizes certain things. He crows at the sight of coffee. He knows that he has to go to the bathroom, he just doesn't know how. When he sees Dougie's son Sonny Jim looking dazed, he recognizes the boy's despondence and begins to cry. Like Cooper, I recognize certain things in the narrative. I know that I'm supposed to piece this all together, but I'm not quite sure how. And the presentation — the acting, the cinematography, the composition of the thing — is so honest that I can't help but recognize it as something probably very good.
So, about all that piecing together. This week's episode provided some much-needed information about seemingly useless information from previous episodes. You may recall a 7-minute sequence during which a man painted some shovels gold. In this episode, the same man delivers a homegrown advertisement for said shovels.
"It's 7 o'clock! Do you know where your freedom is?" he asks. Then, he points out that a golden trowel is a great way to "shovel your way out of shit." (The tool is advertised as a "Dr. Amp's Gold Shit-Digging Shove" and it sells for $29.99.) Dare I call these useless golden shovels a metaphor for the entire show? (I do dare.) Meanwhile, Nadine Hurley (Wendy Robie) observest the whole affair, eye patch and all.
In other realms, the action is progressing, slowly but surely. Remember: We're not in Twin Peaks anymore. This narrative spans the country and a few dimensions. Here's what's happening in each of the storylines.
New York City
This is where Sam and Tracy died in the first episode. In this episode, we are introduced to a harried woman named Lorraine (Tammie Baird) who's very concerned about a "job" that needs to get done.
"It was supposed to get done yesterday!" She hollers over the phone at Gene. It must be somehow related to the big glass killer box — the one that summoned Cooper to New York City briefly.
The Silver Mustang Casino (Dougie et. al)
The owners of the Silver Mustang have it out for Dougie/Agent Cooper, who won $425,000 in slots during his orb-guided jaunt through the place. (He conquered 30 slots in total.)
Dougie himself isn't doing so well, as previously stated. His wife Janey-E (played by Naomi Watts) is still dragging him through his own life. When he makes it to work for the first time, his co-workers effectively do the same thing. One reluctantly gives up a coffee so that Cooper, who is transfixed by the sight of the stuff, can drink it. (He accepts a green tea latte in exchange. Bartering works!)
Dougie's coworkers are endlessly kind to a man who's clearly lost his mind. By no means it Dougie/Agent Cooper fit to go to work. All of the people in his life continue to indulge him, though, which seems to suggest that he's a fairly powerful man. One co-worker complains that he "covered" for Dougie during his vomit-filled absence. A female co-worker requests a kiss. And there's that giving-up-the-coffee thing. Clearly, Dougie's a Big Deal.
This is underlined by the fact that there seem to be a few people who want Dougie Dead. A group of punks in a slick black car set Dougie's car afire — the car that's back at the home where Agent Cooper first arrived. Dougie's wife is grateful that they have $425,000 so that they can pack back some lump sum. My guess would be gambling debt, but that seems obvious for a show that delights in oddities.
Jade, the prostitute who drove Dougie to the casino, finds a keychain for Twin Peaks. These references to the original Washington town are always comforting; they are reminders that the original premise is out there. We just have to uncover it. Jade tosses the keychain in a mailbox, though, never to be seen again. Until, of course, it magically appears again. (Mark my words: We'll see that keychain again.)
Poor, poor, Ruth Davenport died — probably by the hand of Agent Cooper Sleazy. But her head appeared next to a different body, and apparently that body was Dougie's.
"It took me a while, but I think someone cut this man's head off," Constance the coroner says, making a light joke at the body's expense. (Coroner humor!) More importantly, she notes that the body belongs to a man named Dougie, based on a ring she found in the belly of the beast. This bodes well: Dougie is bound to intersect with a murder investigation, which might lead him to Agent Cooper Sleazy.
Cooper, or a version of him, is in prison being carefully watched by the FBI. This episode gives us the reveal we've all been waiting for: Killer Mike. Even better, the show literally provides the same image from the second season finale. It's iconic: Agent Cooper, his head pressed against a mirror, with blood trickling down his forehead. At the end of the second season, he'd just realized that Killer Mike, the body-snatching villain of the show, had taken over his body. As of the return of the series, Killer Mike is still around.
"You're still with me. That's good," Cooper's reflection in the prison mirror sneers. Nice to have you back, Mike.
When given his customary "one phone call," Agent Cooper says calmly, "Now that everyone's here, I will make my phone call." Then, he proceeds to make the lights in the prison go bananas. Was it a phone call? Difficult to say, but it was certainly something electric.
"The cow jumped over the moon," he says into the receiver as the lights flash.
Some things never change — at least in small towns in television shows. Twin Peaks is riddled with much of the same drama it's had in the past. Shelley (Madchen Amick) said before that she was worried about her daughter Becky. We met Becky, and she's Amanda Seyfried, looking a touch too slick for the world of Twin Peaks. Her boyfriend is Steven (Caleb Landry Jones). Steven can't get a job to save his life — we find out his resume is awful — and he treats Becky with emotionally manipulative abandon. Together, the two snort cocaine and beg Shelly for money.
Twin Peaks is really having a toxic masculinity problem right now. It's not just Steven; a new customer named Richard Horne at the Bang Bang Bar refuses to quit smoking in the establishment. When a customer named Charlotte saunters over to presumably get flirty, he grabs her by the neck and asks, "Do you want to fuck me, Charlotte?" Like I said, toxic.
In the most important moment in the episode, though, Sheriff Truman's wife rails on the man for the various ills in her life. Specifically, Dwight's got diarrhea, a detail I feel this episode cruelly ignored. If you tell us someone is having diarrhea, you'd better actually show us the diarrhea.
This is a new place! Argentina has little offer the show except for one paranormal moment. A black box, housed in a small bowl, beeps and then quickly disappears. Bye, box! May you reappear in later episodes to help me make sense of things.
The various mysteries are beginning to meet. We know that Dougie's real body is gone, and that somehow Agent Cooper ended up in the wrong body. We know that Killer Mike is still around and seems to have a handle on prison life. Oh, and we know that Dwight has Diarrhea.
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