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'Twin Peaks' Inches Closer to Agent Cooper's Return

"Part 7" is short on answers, but we're starting to feel flickers of understanding.

This week on Twin Peaks, everything's starting to come out of the woodwork—except whatever's in the woodwork at the Great Northern, making that noise. But we can trust at this point that it'll probably come out too, though there's no guarantee we'll recognize it when it does.

First, those pages of Laura Palmer's diary have come… well, not out of the woodwork, but out of the metalwork of the bathroom stall. In those diary pages, Laura describes a dream message from Annie Blackburn saying that Dale was trapped in the Black Lodge—25 years before he went in. Hawk reckons it was Leland who stuffed the pages inside the stall door: They implied that Laura knew the identity of her tormentor and eventual killer, and "he found them and knew that she knew." Now that they've finally surfaced, Hawk can start putting things together: "If the good Cooper is in the Lodge and can't come out, then the one who came out of the Lodge with Annie that night… was not the good Cooper." Master tracker Hawk may have slowed down a little in his old age, but he's on the case.


Richard Horne's vehicular manslaughter is coming to light as well—or it would be, if credulous Andy weren't so willing to let a suspect promise to meet him later and tell him everything then. The owner of the truck, Bing, may have given Andy the slip and left town, or Richard may have recognized him as a liability (the episode's last scene, in which a man runs into the Double R and shouts "anyone seen Bing?" hints strongly at the latter possibility). But either way, figuring out who ran down that child isn't going to be as simple as Andy might have thought.

Laura Dern and Kyle Maclachlan. Credit: Patrick Wymore/SHOWTIME

What else is surfacing in this episode? The revelation, which we guessed at a few weeks ago, that Garland Briggs's fingerprints in Buckhorn came not from the crime scene, but from the John Doe body. And there are new mysteries bubbling up in Buckhorn, too: Why is the body with Major Briggs's prints that of a man in his late 40s, when Briggs should have been in his 70s by now? And who's the dark figure in rain gear (?) walking the halls of the Buckhorn morgue?

One of those answers may be hinted at by another discovery: One of Doppelcoop's fingerprints, the ring finger of his left hand, is backwards. (This is also the hand on which Dougie wore the jade owl petroglyph ring.) His prints, when compared with Coop's prints from 25 years ago, look identical, but one of the code marks is on the wrong side. "Some cro-magnon at the prison tried to line this up to make it look like the original, but he had to reverse the print to do it," Albert explains. Gordon immediately makes the connection with Cooper's strange greeting—"It's yrev very good to see you again, old friend"—because unlike me, Gordon clocked that "yrev" was backwards, instead of assuming it was some normal English word that neither I nor the closed captioning quite caught. Maybe Doppelcoop's speech, after his close encounter with being pulled back into the Lodge, is so labored because he has to work hard to speak forwards. (In the Lodge scenes, the characters don't actually speak backwards, they speak backwards-forwards—that is, the actors speak backwards, and the tape is reversed. But perhaps that's only for our benefit, a sort of auditory closed captioning.)


Meanwhile, maybe this is a stretch, but does this hint that those prints didn't come off of Garland Briggs's body at all? Maybe they came off the body of his doppelgänger—or maybe it's the doppelgänger who died 25 years ago. Garland Briggs was abducted early in season 2 of Twin Peaks—do we know for sure who came back?

This is just maybes on maybes, I know, but that's the feeling of this week: little shoots of "maybe" sticking out from under the topsoil of "what?" Clues analyzed, leads followed, secrets tantalizingly hinted at (did Diane and Cooper really bang, or was that suggestion some kind of ruse on her part? What did the warden do that was so bad he's willing to let Doppelcoop drive away?). Exploded cars located. Bodies (sort of) identified.

Naomi Watts and Kyle MacLachlan. Credit: Suzanne Tenner/SHOWTIME

And memories recovered, if only muscle memories. My favorite thing that surfaces this week is Cooper's FBI training, which kicks in just in time as Ike "The Spike" raises a gun at him and Janey-E. As Cooper wrestles Ike to the ground and the ever-resourceful Janey starts throttling him, the "evolution of the Arm" appears before Cooper, whispering "squeeze his hand off." Cooper does, leaving a slick chunk of flesh on the gun, reminiscent of the one found in a car trunk in Buckhorn all the way back in episode one. Dougie-Coop doesn't seem any less abstracted afterward, but we know: Cooper's still in there, somewhere.

His return to full functioning can't come soon enough for me. (It would be yrev very good to see you again, old friend!) But it seems it may be as agonizingly slow as the man sweeping the Roadhouse floor, or Ben Horne and his assistant Beverly's hunt for the source of a mysterious sound. This week is long on clues and implications and promising first steps, short (as always) on answers. Like Cooper, we're spiraling upward, starting to feel flickers of understanding. Like Jerry Horne, though, we're also lost in the woods yelling, "I THINK I'M HIGH."


Notes for Peaks freaks of old:

— I've watched the old series at least seven times, probably more, but it's becoming clear that every day I spend not rewatching Fire Walk with Me is a day I'm neglecting my duty. I'll be doing that this week, and if you're lost at all I suggest you do the same. FWWM, it's increasingly obvious, is more important to the mythology of this show than the old series is.

— Lodge characters may speak backwards-forwards, but Garland Briggs speaks backwards-backwards under interrogation by Windom Earle in episode 27.

— A bazillon years ago I read an academic essay on "diegetic" and "non-diegetic" music in Twin Peaks. I'd been totally unfamiliar with the terms—they mean, essentially, music that the characters can hear and music they can't. Audrey playing a song on the jukebox is diegetic; the swelling of "Laura Palmer's Theme" as the camera pans over her dead body is non-diegetic. The essay analyzed the many, many times in which music that seems like it's just part of the soundtrack in Twin Peaks turns out to be part of its world, coming from the radio or record player. This happens significantly less often in The Return, but it's a characteristic Twin Peaks move. This episode we see it happening in a slightly distorted way: not with music but with the noise in Ben Horne's office.

— Leland claimed to have no memory of what he did while possessed by BOB, which means that an unclouded Leland would have had no idea what to make of a sentence like "now I know who it is"—but then, an unclouded Leland probably wouldn't have read his daughter's diary.

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