Spoilers ahead for Twin Peaks: The Return, Part 7.
The short version: "There's a body, all right …"
We got another absolutely plot-packed (well, for Twin Peaks) episode this week, and while it didn't quite enthrall me like last week's installment I still think it's some of the best stuff The Return has offered so far. There are a lot of reasons why, but the biggest one might be that what Hawk found last week was actually revealed in detail.
Yes, those were missing pages from Laura Palmer's diary that he pulled out of that bathroom stall door, and they contained the message Laura received from Annie Blackburn through a dream in Fire Walk With Me. Hawk now knows, even if he doesn't understand how or why, that the Dale Cooper who came out of the Black Lodge 25 years ago was not "the good Dale." So, a mystery nearly 30 years in the making – what those missing pages contained – is finally resolved ... but not entirely. As Hawk noted, there's still one missing page left to find. The pages he discovered reveal both the fate of "the good Dale" and Laura's discovery that she knew who BOB was (her father, Leland), so it's hard to tell what the last page might reveal, if indeed it reveals anything. Missing extra page aside, finally hearing this all laid out without any cryptic double talk was really satisfying even if we as an audience already knew the answer.
These clues also served to give us a better sense of the timeline after the original Twin Peaks series finale. Sheriff Truman was unable to have a real conversation with his brother Harry about it (Michael Ontkean, who played Harry Truman, did not return for the new episodes), so instead he turned to Doc Hayward (the late great Warren Frost) for some answers. After returning from the Lodge and cracking his head on the mirror at the Great Northern, Doc took Cooper (who was actually DoppelDale, unbeknownst to everyone in Twin Peaks) to the hospital to get checked over. Cooper later emerged, fully clothed, from intensive care (where he was apparently checking in on Audrey Horne, comatose after the bank explosion in Season 2), gave Doc a "strange face," then walked away. We still have very little information about what happened to DoppelDale in the years immediately following the original series, so every little detail here is to be savored.
We also know, thanks to Bobby Briggs, that DoppelDale paid a visit to his father Major Garland Briggs shortly before the Major was apparently killed in a fire at his station. Earlier episodes of The Return had already deepened that mystery, but this week we got even more interesting details on that front. As far as everyone in Twin Peaks is concerned, Major Briggs has been dead for more than 20 years, yet the decapitated male body found in South Dakota during the season premiere has prints that match his. Now the Air Force has come calling. They've had Briggs' fingerprints turning up at crime scenes for a while now, but this is the first time the prints have ever been traced to a corpse. To make matters more complicated, the body is still missing its head, and it's younger than it should be. In fact, it's about the age Major Briggs would have been about 25 years ago. It doesn't make sense, but then there are those fingerprints…
Speaking of fingerprints, Agent Baldwin also revealed the anomaly she discovered in DoppelDale's prints to Gordon and Albert this week. Apparently at least one of his prints (on what Gordon dubs the "spirit finger") is somehow reversed, like a print on the other side of a mirror. It's the first physical clue, as far as we know, that the Black Lodge doppelgangers differ in appearance from their counterparts in our world. Interesting as that is, it's the smallest piece of the DoppelDale story this week. Diane has finally agreed to meet this version of Cooper face-to-face again. The two last met one night at Diane's house long ago, and she's clearly traumatized by what happened. We don't know the details, but Diane – after the episode's most powerful scene in which she confronts DoppelDale in prison – knows for sure that the Cooper she just saw isn't the same Cooper she once knew. Cole, trusting her emotional response, accepts this as Gospel.
So, Cole and Albert are now officially operating under the assumption that the man in jail is not, in fact, Dale Cooper. That's good news for us, but the bad news for them is that DoppelDale isn't in prison anymore. Thanks to some cryptic blackmail information he took to the warden, the evil Cooper and his buddy Ray are back on the road again. But where are they headed? It's unclear, but I'm glad DoppelDale is out and about again. He's much more interesting when he can actually get something done.
Meanwhile, in Las Vegas, the real Cooper is a step closer to waking up after the hitman known as The Spike attacked him outside of Dougie's office building. His speech and memories don't seem to be back, but the old Cooper sprang into action when he saw a gun being brandished, and you could almost see a sense of awareness in his eyes when the attack was over. So, DoppelDale's out of prison and Cooper's beginning to peek through his haze. How far away is a confrontation?
How long did we have to watch a dude sweeping the floor at the roadhouse before something actually happened? I know it's the Lynch way to linger on shots like that, but sometimes it's rewarding and sometimes it isn't. This time it just made me glaze over. The eventual point of the scene was learning that the Renault family is still running underage girls through the bar like the dirty criminals they are, which takes us further into establishing a dark mirror of the old series. It wasn't worth having to watch a broom work for that long, though.
- You may want to go back and refresh yourself on Major Briggs and his history with UFOs and The Lodge now. It's too much to break down here, but it feels like we're going to need it in the weeks to come.
- The truck Richard was driving when he killed a little boy last week was indeed stolen, and now it seems very likely that the true owner is dead because of what he knew. Oh Andy, you're in trouble again.
- Agent Cooper's old hotel key has made its way back to the Great Northern, where a mysterious humming sound has broken out in the office. Where will this path lead us?
- After learning about the source of Major Briggs' fingerprints, Col. Davis (Ernie Hudson) made "that other call." Who was he calling?
- You may recall a dirty homeless man sitting in a cell in Buckhorn in the early stages of the murder investigation that now involves Major Briggs, a homeless man who faded into mist after a moment. Now a similar figure is wandering the halls, apparently unseen. Something sinister is afoot in that police department.
- It's also worth reminding you that Major Briggs' body had a ring apparently belonging to Dougie Jones in the stomach.
- Albert has revealed the only known photo of DoppelDale, at a house in Rio. Yet another reference to dealings in South America. It feels like we'll be heading back there very soon.
And that's it for this week! Join us next week for Part 8!