‘Twin Peaks’ Part 6 Recap: An American Tragi-Com

(Photo: Suzanne Tenner/Showtime)

Warning: This recap for ‘Part 6’ of Twin Peaks contains spoilers.

Twin Peaks‘ ability to shift through mood and genre will never cease to amaze me. How a single scene is able to drift from pathos to brutality to laugh out loud humor is truly incredible. It’s why I’ll never understand it when people criticize the show’s pacing. Who cares about the speed of plot development when the images on screen can make you feel and think so much?

DO THE DOUGIE
I honestly adore the Dougie Jones (Kyle MacLachlan) scenes. Ever since he yelled “HELL-O-OOOO!” at a slot machine I’ve been all in with this lime-green jacket wearing weirdo. It fills me with great sadness to see him loitering outside his office complex at night, hopelessly tugging at his jacket sleeve as Johnny Jewel’s haunting track ‘Windswept’ plays in the background. Then my heart is warmed watching him interact with Sonny Jim (Pierce Gagnon), his childlike fascination with a clapper lamp bringing a smile to mine and Sonny Jim’s face. Suddenly, I’m laughing like a lunatic when his wife Janey-E (Naomi Watts) berates him after finding out about his affair. “Jade give two rides,” Dougie says, a callback to something Jade (Nafessa Williams) said to him in Part 3. “I bet she did,” Janey-E responds, providing the biggest laugh of the episode.

There is something so tragic yet life-affirming about Dougie. Knowing that the real Dougie is “dead” and our Cooper is trapped in a fugue state is what makes it so heartbreaking. But Dougie’s innocence and wonder with the world make him such a likable character. Again, Kyle MacLachlan deserves all the credit in the world for making this odd and frustrating story work. Yes, I want original Coop back eventually, but I’m also invested in Dougie-Coop now, which is why I was so pleased when his case file scribblings actually made sense and impressed his boss.

(Photo: Suzanne Tenner/Showtime)

Obviously, people are free to enjoy (or not enjoy) the show however they want, but I feel that those complaining about pacing, primarily in regards to the Dougie plot, are missing out. Peak TV has wired our brains to expect certain narrative conventions from the shows we consume. Even the more experimental dramas, like Legion or The Leftovers, follow a recognizable narrative blueprint; beneath the surreal imagery and existential subject matter lie detectable story beats, act structure, and “tune-in-next-time” cliffhangers. Watching Twin Peaks is a whole different experience.

Those checking their watches and wondering when Cooper is going to snap out of his Dougie phase need to rewire their expectations when it comes to narrative pacing. To dismiss the Dougie arc as an irrelevant patience-tester is to rob yourself of something really special. If you were to just go with it, you would realize that David Lynch and Mark Frost have somehow created a tragi-com starring Kyle MacLachlan and Naomi Watts and turned it into a powerful meditation on identity, childhood innocence and the struggle of the 21st-century American family.

“We are not wealthy people,” Janey-E yells. “We drive cheap, terrible cars, we are the 99 percenters and we are s**t on enough!” She may be talking to a pair of loan sharks, but her anger is really about wealth inequality in the United States and the political elite standing atop a corrupted economy. “What kind of world are we living in where people can behave like this? Treat other people this way without any compassion or feeling?” It’s one of the best moments of the series so far and is delivered with unrelenting gusto from Watts. Suddenly, this absurd Jones family sitcom becomes a twisted morality tale. How anyone can be bored with the Dougie plot is beyond me.

I KNOW WHERE SHE DRINKS

(Photo: Suzanne Teller/Showtime)

The glacial pacing can also trick you into thinking nothing happens in Twin Peaks. But nothing and everything happens simultaneously. For every seemingly inconsequential scene — like Shelly (Madchen Amick) and Heidi (Andrea Hays reprising her role as the giggling German waitress) talking pie with an enthusiastic Double R customer — there is a dramatic character reveal or discovery that propels the story forward.

In the ongoing investigation into what happened to Cooper, FBI Agent Albert Rosenfield (Miguel Ferrer) heads to a bar in search of the woman he and Gordon Cole talked about in Part 4. The bar, Max Von’s, perhaps named after the actor Max von Sydow who appeared in Lynch’s 1984 movie Dune, seems to be located in New York City. The woman, sporting a platinum white bob, sits at the bar drinking a cocktail and smoking a cigarette, and, holy hell, it’s Laura Dern! Double holy hell, Albert calls her “Diane”! Yes, that Diane, Cooper’s dictaphone muse who he shared his innermost thoughts with and up until now was one of the greatest off-screen characters in TV history.

We don’t get anything else from the scene but again, it also gives us everything. It puts a face to the iconic name — and the fact that the face belongs to Laura Dern is simply perfect. Dern is a frequent Lynch collaborator, turning in a spellbinding performance in his last movie Inland Empire, and her insane chemistry with MacLachlan in Blue Velvet is something which can hopefully be rekindled here. I suspect Diane to have a big role to play going forward.

HAWK FINDS SOMETHING

(Photo: Suzanne Tenner/Showtime)

In another small scene with big implications, Deputy Chief Hawk (Michael Horse) drops a coin in the Sheriff’s Department restroom, leading him to notice a sign on a stall door which reads “Nez Perce Manufacturing”* — reminding him of the Log Lady’s message about “his heritage.” He also notices the panel of the door is loose, and after prying it open, finds some pages from a handwritten book stuffed inside. Surely these are the missing pages from Laura Palmer’s diary? The ones including Annie’s message about “the good Dale” being stuck in the Lodge.

*The Nez Perce are a Native American tribe from the Pacific Northwest and feature prominently in Mark Frost’s companion book The Secret History of Twin Peaks. In the book, it’s revealed that Hawk belongs to the Nez Perce tribe.

BLOODY MURDER

(Photo: Suzanne Tenner/Showtime)

As cool as the Diane and Laura’s diary reveal is, and for all the endearing sweetness in Dougie’s story, Part 6 is also devastatingly gruesome and hard to watch at times.

There’s shady drug business going down in what appears to be an abandoned mill — not sure if it’s the old Packard Mill. Red (Balthazar Getty), who we last saw at The Roadhouse shooting finger guns at Shelly, meets with local sleazebag Richard Horne (Eamon Farren). “Have you ever studied your hand?” Red says before performing a coin trick that even David Blaine would call “too creepy.” Red seems to be carrying on Twin Peaks’ drug-trafficking lineage left by the Renault brothers. “Just remember this, kid,” Red warns Richard, “I will saw your head open and eat your brains if you f**k me over.”

Richard doesn’t like being referred to as “kid” and speeds away from the meeting in a fit of anger — and “accidentally” mows down a young boy crossing the road (at the same intersection where The One Armed Man yelled at Leland and Laura in Fire Walk With Me). Richard doesn’t stop to check on the child, he zooms away, later pulling over to wipe the blood off his car. It’s an absolutely brutal scene which lingers uncomfortably on the boy’s distraught mother clutching her bloodied and lifeless son.

(Photo: Suzanne Tenner/Showtime)

Watching over this horrible scene is another face of Twin Peaks past, Carl Rodd (Harry Dean Stanton), who appeared in Fire Walk With Me as the owner of Fat Trout Trailer Park (which has since relocated). Carl sees a yellow light leave the boy’s body and seemingly rise up into the electrical wires hanging above — just like the scene in FWWM, the camera pans to a nearby telephone pole with the number 6 on it, as we hear the buzzing of electricity.

As if seeing a child tumble beneath the wheels of a speeding truck wasn’t vicious enough, the episode ups the body count with a barbaric murder scene in Las Vegas. Mr. Todd (Patrick Fischler), who we saw back in Part 1 hiring a mystery woman for a mystery job, receives a new command via a red square on his laptop screen. Mr. Todd sends an assassin, Ike “The Spike” Stadtler (Christophe Zajac-Denek), to dispose of Lorraine (Tammie Baird), the woman who was meant to have taken out Dougie. Ike savagely stabs Lorraine (and witnesses) to death with an ice pick before killing off any witnesses in the building.

Ike is clearly a dangerous man, and he’s coming after Dougie next. Earlier in the episode, The One Armed Man appeared to Dougie in a vision and told him “Don’t die.” That’s easier said than done when you’re being stalked by the world’s deadliest assassin and you don’t even know how to exit an elevator without getting stuck in the closing doors.

THEORIES AND THOUGHTS FROM ANOTHER PLACE

Richard and Linda
In the opening scene of the premiere, The Giant tells Cooper to remember certain things, one of which is “Richard and Linda.” We now have a Richard (Richard Horne) and a Linda (mentioned by the Fat Trout Trailer Park resident who hitches a ride with Carl). Apparently, Linda needs a wheelchair. It’s unclear how these characters connect — or if they’re even the same Richard and Linda The Giant was referring to.

(Photo: Suzanne Tenner/Showtime)

Was Lorraine the mystery woman?
I think it’s safe to assume that Lorraine was the woman Mr. Todd hired in the premiere, and her job was to take out Dougie. Having failed to do that she paid the ultimate price in this episode.

Fat Trout Trailer Park
For those unfamiliar, in FWWM, Fat Trout Trailer Park was where Teresa Banks lived, a young woman murdered by BOB (possessing Leland Palmer) a year before Laura’s death. It was a place of weird goings-on. Mrs. Chalfont and her magician grandson (suspected to be Lodge spirits) used to live there and it was also the place where Special Agent Chester Desmond disappeared after discovering the Owl Ring (the same one Dougie was wearing). In this episode the site of Fat Trout as moved, but Carl still seems connected to the supernatural. In Frost’s The Secret History of Twin Peaks, it’s revealed that as a child, Carl vanished (was “abducted”) while in Ghostwood Forest, returning days later with a strange marking on his body.

(Photo: Suzanne Tenner/Showtime)

One-One-Nine
There was another brief scene with the junkie mom (Hailey Gates) across the street from Dougie’s hook-up house, still yelling “one one nine!” Her repeated appearances suggest a larger significance than I originally thought. Maybe she is a Lodge spirit? Maybe her and her cracker-eating son are the modern day versions of Mrs. Chalfont and her grandson?

Let us know your own thoughts and theories on the new series in the comments below.

Twin Peaks airs Sundays at 9 p.m. on Showtime.

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