This week on Twin Peaks, we see very little of Dale Cooper, Audrey Horne finally returns, and a very old (but minor) mystery gets resolved. Let's rock!
The short version: "Let's rock."
Hey look everyone, Audrey Horne (Sherilyn Fenn) is finally back on Twin Peaks, and surprisingly her introduction had nothing to do with her son Richard, who's still on the run. Grandfather Ben is the one dealing with that mess, agreeing to pay the medical bills for Miriam, who remains in intensive care after Richard tried and failed to tie up that particular loose end. No, instead Audrey's introduction reveals that she is, as always, living out her own very particular soap opera that we have virtually no context for, involving a husband (Clark Middleton) she doesn't love, a lover named Billy who's missing, and a woman named Tina who she hates. Apparently there's grave news on that front, though we're left hanging on exactly what it is. Still, it was very nice to finally see Audrey again, two-thirds of the way through The Return. Fenn fell right back into the character, and it was a characteristically Audrey moment. Even as events of great importance swirl around her, she can't help but get embroiled in her own little messes. Some things never change.
The biggest story of this week's hour, though, found us back in Buckhorn, where the intrepid FBI team finally revealed the meaning of the term "Blue Rose," something introduced back in Fire Walk With Me to describe particularly strange cases Gordon Cole's interested in. It turns out it's a term used to describe a small investigative task force set up after Project Blue Book shut down, dedicated to investigating cases that couldn't be explained away by the government’s now-defunct UFO investigation ("blue rose" was uttered by a subject of one of these cases). The Laura Palmer case was a Blue Rose, as was the Teresa Banks case before it, as is the Ruth Davenport/Garland Briggs case now (and Major Briggs was, in some way, also connected to the task force). All of the original FBI agents involved in the case – Cooper, Phillip Jeffries, and Chester "Chet" Desmond (played by Chris Isaak in Fire Walk With Me) – have disappeared mysteriously, except for Albert, who remains Cole's devoted cohort. Now there's a new member of the club: Tammy Preston. After 25 years, "Blue Rose" finally has an explanation, and it’s a surprisingly coherent one.
In terms of moving the plot forward, this storyline mainly focused on Diane and her relationship to both Cooper and her former FBI colleagues. Albert and Gordon have deputized her, but it seems they've only done so to keep her close until they can figure out who she's sending those mysterious texts too. Of course, we know it's DoppelDale, and he wants to know if they've inquired to Diane about Las Vegas, where we know he still has business in the form of the real Cooper/Dougie Jones. Diane seems to be keeping DoppelDale, understandably, at arm's length, but she also doesn't seem to know Albert and Gordon are on to her. What she does now know, that DoppelDale does not, is that the coordinates given to Ruth Davenport by Major Briggs do indeed lead back to the vicinity of Twin Peaks. They may even lead back to the place Hawk and Sheriff Truman are planning to go, as indicated by Major Briggs' message and Hawk's ancestral map. We could be headed for a convergence of plotlines very soon, and the tension is very delicious indeed.
Overall, this felt like kind of an in-between episode that set up major events to come rather than an episode containing said events. That's to be expected when we're watching pieces of an 18-hour story rather than a deliberately episodic drama. So things were a bit slow this week, but still quite entertaining.
Once again this week, we arrived at the roadhouse to find characters we don't know talking about things we don't understand. This has happened since the series returned, but a couple of times in there we got context. Once, Shelly Johnson and James Hurley were involved, and another time it was our introduction to Richard and his nasty attitude toward pretty much everyone. The last two times, though, they've just been … people. I know we often aren't expected to follow David Lynch down these little detours. We're not expected to know what's going on until he tells us, and very often he just won't tell us. I'm comfortable with that. Still, until I see the meaning in these vignettes (and believe me, I'm trying), I will find them underwhelming.
- Harry Dean Stanton's Carl Rodd has continued his journey in The Return as quiet benefactor, offering a resident a little extra money for helping out around the trailer park and telling him he shouldn't bother paying rent this month because people shouldn't have to sell their blood to eat. Co-creator Mark Frost said on Twitter last week that Rodd's "an original" Bunkhouse Boy, so he's always been looking after Twin Peaks in some way or another.
- When Jerry came jogging across that field, I half expected him to walk right up to the camera and say "It's …" followed by the Monty Python's Flying Circus credits.
- Dr. Jacoby's still selling shovels, and we still don’t know why other than … well, it's Dr. Jacoby.
- Given what happened to her family all those years ago, Sarah Palmer (Grace Zabriskie) was perhaps always destined to be a haunted woman living on vodka and cigarettes and having random breakdowns triggered by things like new turkey jerky at the grocery store. There's something else lurking behind that tragedy-driven madness, though. She warned the cashier that "men are coming" and when Hawk went to see her bottles clanked together somewhere in the kitchen. The Palmer house has never been quiet, and it seems Sarah – even when resigned to widowhood – is not alone.
- Gordon, you dog!
And that's it for this week! Join us next week for Part 13. Just six episodes left!