Warning: This recap for ‘Part 10’ of Twin Peaks contains spoilers.
“To introduce this story, let me just say it encompasses the all — it is beyond the “fire,” though few would know that meaning. It is a story of many, but begins with one — and I knew her. The one leading to the many is Laura Palmer. Laura is the one.”
— Margaret Lanterman, The Log Lady
In 1993 Twin Peaks went into syndication, and for its re-airing on the Bravo network David Lynch wrote and directed a series of vignettes featuring The Log Lady (Catherine Coulson) which would introduce each episode. The above passage comes from the intro to the pilot and contains the line, “Laura is the one,” the title for Part 10 of Twin Peaks: The Return (also spoken by The Log Lady). Indeed, in the original series, Laura Palmer (Sheryl Lee) is the one who brings us to Twin Peaks. Her plastic-wrapped corpse is one of the very first images we see in the pilot. The mystery of her death acts as an entry point into the wider mysteries of the quirky logging town and its colorful inhabitants.
But Laura is not only the one. She’s the first. Her brutal murder is Twin Peaks‘ original sin. Abuse and violence toward women are themes central to the show, and to Lynch’s work in particular, and in Twin Peaks, it starts with Laura. The beautiful blonde homecoming queen who on the surface was a shining example of innocent small town values was a sexually promiscuous, coke-addicted, broken shell of a woman. Her downward spiral into self-destruction was the only release from years of sexual abuse and torture at the hands of her father and BOB (Frank Silva).
Laura’s death and the events which led to it made the townsfolk complicit in her murder due to their failure to acknowledge her pain, or do anything to stop it. She exposed the darkness lurking beneath the idyllic facade of faux-1950s Americana. That darkness was often “the evil that men do,” as appropriately put by Agent Albert Rosenfield (Miguel Ferrer) when describing BOB in the original series. More specifically, it revealed the evil that men do to women, and that matter has never been more in-your-face than in Part 10, an episode where men do heinous and unspeakable things to the women in their lives.
Most of the episode’s violence happens in the town of Twin Peaks, revealing that not only is darkness still present there but perhaps more prominent than ever before. In the original series, there was still a lightness (or a “glow” you could say) to counteract the tales of perversion and otherworldly malevolence, whether it was in the sugar-coated cherry pie or the silliness of its soap-opera side stories. But as The Log Lady later tells Deputy Hawk (Michael Horse): “In these days, the glow is dying.” A similar sentiment was heard earlier in the series, when Janey-E Jones (Naomi Watts) told the thuggish loan sharks, “We’re living in a dark, dark age!”
The man responsible for the bulk load of the brutality is Richard Horne (Eamon Farren), a hateful scumbag who I didn’t think could get much worse after assaulting women at The Roadhouse and mowing down a child in a hit and run. But Richard outdoes himself here. He starts by killing Miriam (Sarah Jean Long), the pie-loving lady who witnessed him run down the boy in Part 6, leaving her face-down and bleeding in her trailer with the oven door open (likely to cause a gas explosion). After fleeing the scene, he calls crooked cop Chad (John Pirruccello), who I’ve taken to calling Chadhole in my notes, and tells him to intercept a letter Miriam sent to the Sheriff’s Department.
Richard later takes his destructive fury to the home of his Grandma, Sylvia Horne (Jan D’Arcy), throttling her, slamming her to the floor, and demanding money. It’s uncomfortable and hard to watch. The audience is in the same position as Johnny Horne (Eric Rondell) — who survived his collision with a wall but is now tied to a chair and made to wear a helmet — forced to watch this horrific nightmare play out in front of us and there is nothing we can do about it. There is still a Lynchian quirkiness to the scene, as Johnny’s malfunctioning teddy bear repeats “Hi Johnny, how are you today?” over and over until the point of psychosis. But it’s disturbing-quirky, rather than funny-quirky.
In terms of the overarching mythology, the scene confirms that Richard is the grandson of Sylvia and Ben Horne (Richard Beymer), which therefore all but settles he is the son of Audrey Horne (Sherilyn Fenn), who has still yet to appear in the new series. The Horne family has always been dysfunctional, and things only seem to have disintegrated further in the intervening years. Sylvia later calls Ben to tell him what happened and asks him to send her money, which he refuses. It appears that the two are still married (Ben wears a wedding ring), but the relationship is strained, and perhaps will be even more now that Ben has officially asked Beverly (Ashley Judd) out to dinner.
The question remains, how did Richard get like this? What was his childhood like? Where is his mother, assuming that his mother is Audrey? And who is his father? Will the theory that Evil Coop (Kyle MacLachlan) got Audrey pregnant actually come to fruition?
Richard isn’t the only one terrorizing the women of Twin Peaks. At the Fat Trout Trailer Park, Carl Rodd’s (Harry Dean Stanton) heartwarming rendition of cowboy folk classic “Red River Valley” is interrupted by a smashed window and crazed screaming coming from inside a trailer. Behind closed doors, Steven (Caleb Landry Jones), the scuzzy jobless loser last seen in Part 5, grabs his wife Becky (Amanda Seyfried) by the hair, his fist held to her face, yelling at her about not bringing home enough money, blaming her for all their failures as a couple. Becky is petrified, cowering in the corner of the couch, as Steven’s rage increases. “Don’t you give me that innocent look!” he spits. It’s an amped up version of Leo and Shelly Johnson (Madchen Amick), Becky’s mom, who suffered similar abuse in the original series.
It’s also a prime example of physical and psychological abuse. Steven refuses to take responsibility for his own shortcomings, his unemployment, his drug habit, and instead forces the burden on his wife, making her believe she is the one at fault and deserving of this punishment. It echoes what Richard said to Sylvia as he left her house with a purse full of stolen money and jewelry, “Why do you have to make something so simple, so difficult?” Just like Steven, Richard throws the blame onto the victim, rather than recognize his own evil.
Meanwhile, in Vegas, it’s a man on the receiving end of physical violence, but the subsequent reaction provides another glimpse into men’s desire to control women. Rodney Mitchum (Robert Knepper), the mob-looking casino owner, takes a TV remote to the face when showgirl Candie (Amy Shiels) tries to kill a buzzing fly. It’s a scene drawn out and played for comic effect, and it works, as Rodney’s brother Bradley (Jim Belushi) rushes into the room to help. But as Candie bursts into tears, emphatically apologizing for her actions (something none of the men on this show do), we recognize this is another relationship about power dynamics. “Can you ever love me after what I did?” she later asks. It’s as if Candie, and the other two showgirls (Mandie and Sandie), have Stockholm Syndrome, as they emotionlessly serve cocktails and accompany the brothers to backroom meetings.
The Mitchums watch the local news and discover that Ike the Spike (Christophe Zajac-Denek) was arrested, something which amuses them greatly, “Ike finally stepped on his dick,” Bradley laughs. But their amusement quickly turns to anger when they find out the man who stopped Ike was their old friend “Mr. Jackpots,” aka “The Cobra,” aka Dougie Jones. The various Vegas plot strands begin to connect here, as Mr. Todd (Patrick Fischler) sends Dougie’s work colleague Tony (Tom Sizemore) to meet with the Mitchum brothers to tell them that Dougie was responsible for their insurance claim falling through. Tony delivers the message, after finally getting through Candie’s small talk about the casino’s air conditioning, and tells the Mitchums they “have an enemy in Douglas Jones.”
As for Dougie himself, Janey-E finally takes him to see the doctor, who is astonished by Dougie’s “remarkable” weight loss and general physical well being. Janey-E also takes notice, staring at her husband’s chiseled physique, “Remarkable” she repeats. Back at home, we have a close-up on Janey-E’s red shoes (keep thoseWizard of Oz references coming, Mr. Lynch), before she flirts and makes come-to-bed eyes at Dougie, who is more invested in a slice of chocolate cake. But before we know it, Janey-E is on top of Dougie in bed, his arms flapping by his sides, a ridiculous smile plastered on his face as she screams his name, waking up a startled Sonny Jim (Pierce Gagnon). It’s a hilarious scene followed by a moment of tenderness, as the two lie in each other’s arms, whispering “I love you.” Although it’s unclear if Dougie-Coop really understands what love is.
The relationship between Dougie and Janey-E is a moment of respite from the abusive and violent relationships dominating the rest of the episode. Even though Dougie isn’t really Janey-E’s husband, but rather a brain damaged Agent Cooper, there is a growing affection here. Yet there is always a reminder of the old Dougie and the damaged relationship he had with Janey-E before Cooper’s arrival. Douglas Jones took his wife and family for granted, abandoning them for booze and gambling and affairs with prostitutes, and while not violent, it is another side of the evil that men do in the world of Twin Peaks.
The simple humanity of the Dougie/Janey relationship is briefly glimpsed in Buckhorn, South Dakota, where Albert and Constance the coroner (Jane Adams) enjoy a romantic dinner date. Gordon Cole (David Lynch) and Agent Tammy Preston (Chrysta Bell) spy on the sarcasm-spewing sweethearts; “So sweet,” Gordon remarks, a look of pure joy on his face. These are the kind of moments and relationships the show strives for, an example of how a just and fair world should look. It’s also reflected in Lucy and Andy’s (Kimmy Robertson and Harry Goaz) relationship — the sweetest and most caring of all the Twin Peaks partnerships. When Chad tells Lucy he can imagine that she and Andy say “Beautiful morning!” to each other every day when they wake up, it’s meant to be mocking, but it’s actually a dream that we all, Chadhole included, wish to attain.
But Lynch and Mark Frost do not allow us to get comfortable in these idealized relationships. The moments of compassion and sensitivity are fleeting, while the violence and abuse are drawn out and magnified. They don’t want us to forget the darkness that is still lurking, and in many corners of the world, prevailing. That reminder doesn’t get any clearer than the vision of a screaming Laura Palmer which Gordon sees when he opens his hotel door. The ghost of Laura frames this entire episode, her past and her legacy underlining the themes of destructive men and victimized women.
“My dream is to go to the place where it all began,” Rebeckah Del Rio sings at the end of the episode, but to get back there — to the lighter moments of Twin Peaks past — we must remember the story of Laura Palmer and the many others who suffer just like her.
THOUGHTS FROM ANOTHER PLACE
Albert informs Gordon that Diane (Laura Dern) has been receiving and sending suspicious text messages, most likely with Evil Coop. In one of the texts, she warns that “They have Hastings and are going to the site.” Tammy also receives an update on Evil Coop, a photo of him visiting the New York Glass Box building. To me, that seems to imply that Evil Coop is the “secret billionaire” who owns the building, and was using the Glass Box to either capture Cooper or contain “The Experiment.”
I’m so pleased to see Nadine (Wendy Robie) opened her own silent drape runner business, “Run Silent, Run Drapes!”
Why did Miriam have Christmas decorations up at her trailer in September? Is she one of those people that just keeps their decorations up all year around? Or is a sign? Will we get a Twin Peaks Christmas episode/!
Moby joined Rebeckah Del Rio for her enthralling performance of “No Stars,” a song she co-wrote with David Lynch. Long-time Lynch fans will recognize Del Rio from Mulholland Drive and the famous Club Silencio scene. The Club Silencio scene is the moment when the illusion is broken, and the true nature of the film is revealed. I wonder if this performance signifies a similar event here? Is it “time to wake up” as the Cowboy says in Mulholland Drive?
What do we make of Gordon’s doodle? It looked like a deer and then an arm reaching out from the side of the page, an image that brings to mind BOB’s arm stretching out from the Lodge in Season 2. Is Gordon tapped into the supernatural?
Twin Peaks airs Sundays on Showtime at 9 pm.