This week’s episode of Twin Peaks: The Return uses Mark Frost and David Lynch’s abiding preoccupation with doppelgangers and mirror imagery as an often subtle structural device. Take Hawk’s (Michael Horse) fleeting mention of Jacques Renault (played in the original series by Walter Olkewicz) during his conversation with Sheriff Frank Truman (Robert Forster) about the handwritten pages he found in the bathroom stall door. This brief reference is later echoed by our introduction to Jean Michel Renault (also Olkewicz), the French-Canadian clan’s next generation of sleazy bartender-cum-pimp. Lynch uses a couple of classic rock instrumentals to link scenes set in the wee hours of the night: Booker T. & the M.G.’s “Green Onions” incongruously accompanies the image of a man (reduced almost to a silhouette) sweeping the floor of the Bang Bang Bar, a shot Lynch holds until it becomes strangely hilarious. Set to Santo & Johnny’s aptly titled “Sleep Walk,” the end credits scroll over the late-night patrons of the Double R Diner, only the second time the new series hasn’t concluded with an on-stage performance.
Michael Horse (#1–10 of 4)
Many of the events in the latest episode of Twin Peaks: The Return seem to depend on the toss of a coin, inviting speculation about the balance between chance and necessity in the lives of the characters. When Richard Horne (Eamon Farren) buys a load of a drug called “sparkle” from Red (Balthazar Getty), the latter bewilders Richard with a surreal coin trick. The coin impossibly hangs in the air for some time, before then manifesting in Richard’s mouth. Except it hasn’t, because it’s back in Red’s palm. Red tells Richard: “Heads I win. Tails you lose.” Chance obviously isn’t a factor in their deal. The game is rigged, as the house always wins—and it’s an encounter that sets in motion a series of events that reverberates throughout the episode.
The first 15 minutes of part three of Twin Peaks: The Return play like one of David Lynch’s hermetically sealed surrealist short films. Agent Cooper’s (Kyle MacLachlan) plunge through space-time comes to an abrupt end when he crash-lands on a rivet-studded metal balcony overlooking a dark purple sea. He enters a sparse, fire-lit room where a woman in a red dress with her eyes sealed shut signals alarm when something massive begins pounding on a metal door. She leads Cooper up a ladder, and they emerge atop a black metal cube that clearly must be bigger on the inside to contain all the spaces we’ve just traversed. Atop the cube stands a bell-shaped structure that the woman activates by throwing a lever, and at the cost of being cast off into the interstellar space that surrounds the cube.
Just like that gum you like, Twin Peaks is back in style. And that style is unadulterated, late-period David Lynch. Sometimes it’s the casting of seemingly minor parts, sometimes just a bit of stray imagery, but Lynch and co-creator Mark Frost somehow manage to evoke moments from Lost Highway and, in particular, Mulholland Drive at least as often as they do the original TV series, which ran on ABC from 1990 to 1991. The central irony of the first two parts of Twin Peaks: The Return is that the show thus far has relatively little to do with the town of Twin Peaks. Then again, if Lynch proved anything in past episodes like “May the Giant Be with You,” with its protracted nose-thumbing at audience expectations, it’s that he is indeed a fan of delayed gratification.