Twin Peaks: The Return Part 15 recap: Bid farewell to an icon

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Mar 25, 2021, 9:00 AM EDT (Updated)

This week on Twin Peaks, a long-awaited meeting, a heartwarming reunion, and the passing of one of the show's icons. Let's rock!


The short version: "There's some fear in letting go."


A meeting the show's been teasing ever since its premiere finally took place this week, as the evil doppelganger of Dale Cooper ("DoppelDale," as I affectionately call him) caught up with his old running buddy Phillip Jeffries, and since the actor who originally played Jeffries (the great David Bowie) is no longer with us, the meeting had to take place with a lot of Lynchian weirdness.

Fans of Fire Walk With Me will know that Jeffries' initial appearance in the franchise involved him ranting about a meeting above a convenience store, which included several different supernatural beings (BOB, The Man From Another Place, and Woodsmen among them) from the series. He made this discovery and then seemingly vanished, but he's somehow been both manipulating things behind-the-scenes and working with the DoppelDale in some way. So it makes sense (as much as anything in Twin Peaks does) that DoppelDale's path to Jeffries would be above a convenience store, specifically the convenience store seen in Part 8, surrounded by Woodsmen. You might also note that, as he walks to Jeffries, DoppelDale also encounters a staircase similar (or the same) to the one Gordon Cole briefly glimpsed through the portal in Buckhorn.

So somehow Jeffries has found his way into another dimension, or at least a pocket dimension, with Woodsmen doing his bidding, and he's existing in a mechanical contraption not unlike the one we saw the Fireman (aka The Giant) monitoring back in the hugely important Part 8. The character's recent past is still extremely shrouded in mystery, so we still know very little about how Jeffries got here, what he wants and why. We now know that he definitely did try to have Ray kill DoppelDale, but he also seemed to confirm that it wasn't him that DoppelDale called in the premiere. That was indeed someone else's voice on the other end of the line. But whose?

Well, one other key name did emerge, and while it's not the voice it does have some significance: Judy, a name previously mentioned by Jeffries in Fire Walk With Me. In the film, Jeffries insists that Judy be left out of whatever he's talking about, but it also becomes clear that he made a discovery at her home in Seattle before his disappearance. What this discovery was and what her role in all of this is remains unclear, but Jeffries did give DoppelDale some information that may lead him to her, so we may soon find out.

Cryptic conversations aside, this was a sensationally evocative Lynchian experience. The convenience store is one of the most genuinely creepy locales in Peaks, and the re-emergence of Jeffries was handled beautifully.

It's hard to pick which other development from the episode might be the biggest, but we'll go with this: Dougie Jones might be Dale Cooper again. In the midst of his charmed little life in Vegas, eating cake fed to him by a loving wife, "Dougie" starts making voluntary gestures in a way we've rarely seen before. He starts fiddling with a set of salt and pepper shakers, then with a TV remote, until the TV switches on and a character in Sunset Boulevard mentions a name: Gordon Cole. This doesn't immediately turn him, but Cooper has a spark of recognition, then goes in search of another spark: One from a nearby electrical outlet. These outlets were essentially how Dougie Jones left this world and Cooper came back, and we know electricity is a big part of Peaks mythology and how supernatural events and people are carried throughout its world. So Dougie/Cooper jams a fork in this familiar sight. The ensuing blackout doesn't tell us what might have happened, but we're getting closer to having Cooper back.

Now we have to talk about the darker news of the episode, and we have to start with the passing of Twin Peaks' most beloved supporting character, The Log Lady. We all knew Catherine E. Coulson, who played the character, passed away before The Return began airing, and she appears visibly frail in the series. Her scenes are only a set of moving phone calls to Hawk, and her declaration of "I'm too weak to go with you" is one of the most heart-rending moments of the series so far.

Still, knowing that Coulson's no longer with us did not mean we'd see the Log Lady herself pass on. That's what we got this week, though, as Margaret Lanterman declared that she was on her way out through one last moving phone call to Hawk, in which she warned him to watch out for "the one." For all its weirdness, Twin Peaks is capable of being a very moving show when it wants to be, and Hawk's gathering of the sheriff's department brain trust to let them know Margaret was gone, followed by the lights dimming in her cabin, was truly devastating. Lucy wasn't the only one who shed a tear.

Then there's what might be even darker news. The episode didn't exactly come right out and say it, but it's looking more and more like Steven may have killed Becky and then himself. If that's true, Becky's troubled, cocaine-infused life really did set her up to be a kind of successor to Laura Palmer, the doomed beauty whose death rocked the town. Right now the discovery seems to be in the hands of Carl Rodd, who might be about to find still more death connected to his trailer park. Twin Peaks can't escape the spectre of violence, it seems.

But hey, there was also good news: Nadine set Ed Free and he reconnected with Norma after Norma gave up her shares in the RR franchises to just go back to running her original little diner. It might not be all that significant in terms of the overall plot, but the show's longest-running romance finally got its happy ending. For now anyway.

This was a dynamite episode, one of the best The Return's given us so far. It was creepy, it was funny, it was moving and it pushed the plot ahead in a big way.


Audrey. Poor, poor Audrey. I wanted to like wherever this story is going, I really did, and maybe I still will eventually. Seeing yet another sign of her arguing in circles with Charlie, though, did nothing for me. What was once one of the show's strongest characters seems to be caught in a bad arc yet again. Still, Richard showed up in this episode and told DoppelDale that his mother had kept a picture of Cooper, at least long enough for Richard to have seen it and recognize him. Will old love be rekindled by the series finale?


- Richard and the DoppelDale are now riding together. The Fireman named Richard in the series premiere as someone Cooper needed to remember. He also named Linda, but we've yet to really learn much about her.

- Chantal has carried out the assassinations in Vegas ordered by DoppelDale. Who's next to die?

- The man walking his dog who stumbles upon Steven in the woods? That's Cyril Pons, a local news anchor played by Twin Peaks co-creator Mark Frost. And the girlfriend Steven's been having an affair with? That's Gersten Hayward (Alicia Witt), Donna Hayward's younger sister, who played "Get Happy" while Leland Palmer danced in the original series.

- Nadine really loves that shovel. It's one of the great loves of our time.

- Freddie was not kidding about that green-gloved hand having the power of a piledriver. Now he's in a jail cell across from the eyeless woman Naido. They're both clearly in Twin Peaks for a reason. Will this be a case of destinies colliding?

And that's it for this week! Join us next week for Part 16. Just three episodes left!