The establishing shot of the glittering nighttime Las Vegas skyline that opens “Part 5” of Twin Peaks: The Return dissolves to a street-level prowl through an old-school, neon-lit district before cutting to the Rancho Rosa billboard, moodily lit by a spotlight. The hit men who’ve been lying in wait for Dougie Jones (Kyle MacLachlan) report back that his car hasn’t moved. And for the first time, we’re introduced to their higher-up: an agitated woman sitting behind a cluttered desk, with a makeup smudge (or faded bruise) visible on her cheek, who hastily sends off a text that cryptically reads “Argent 2.”
In a dingy industrial space, lit by a bare bulb, a black pager-like device lights up. Later, a title card will reveal that the pager is located in Buenos Aires, Argentina’s capital. After it goes off, the device inexplicably morphs into what appears to be a tiny shard of rock. This byzantine method of communication recalls the routine for summoning the Cowboy in Mulholland Drive.
At the morgue in Buckhorn, South Dakota, medical examiner Constance Talbot (Jane Adams) informs detectives that the headless male body in the Ruth Davenport mix-and-match murder had Dougie’s inscribed wedding ring in his stomach. Since we were shown back in “Part 3” that Dougie wore the green Owl Cave ring on his left hand, whatever happened to his wedding ring is anybody’s guess, but it probably has something to do with whoever “manufactured” him in the first place.
In a later scene at the Pentagon, a subordinate (Giselle DaMier) informs Colonel Davis (Ernie Hudson) that the fingerprints of the John Doe in Buckhorn match those of Major Garland Briggs; it’s the 16th time in the last quarter century where a match like this has taken place. And the vertiginous swirl of confusion over identity and just whose body is whose gets complicated even further in a brief scene where Agent Tammy Preston (Chrysta Bell) notices something not quite right with Bad Dale’s fingerprints.
Speak of the devil: Bad Dale is cooling his heels in federal prison. But he definitely doesn’t act as discombobulated as he did in “Part 4,” so what went on in the interrogation scene seems like it was another of David Lynch’s beloved coded messages, like Lil the Dancer in Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me. Far from being depleted or diminished, the doppelganger displays premonitory skills when he foresees his meal delivery.
There follows another moment of self-scrutiny in the mirror (an image that recurs throughout every iteration of Twin Peaks), triggering a montage of footage from “Beyond Life and Death,” the season-two finale: BOB (played by Frank Silva) and Dale Cooper’s doppelganger in the Red Room laughing evilly, the doppelganger smashing his face into the mirror with BOB smiling his approval. Back in the cell, the doppelganger’s face begins to morph into BOB’s. “You’re still with me. That’s good,” Bad Dale enthuses.
A scene in a Twin Peaks car dealership does double duty by reintroducing us to Mike Nelson (Gary Hershberger), onetime high school wrestling champion and would-be lover of Nadine Hurley. Mike berates Steven Burnett (Caleb Landry Jones) for turning in a lousy resume, setting up a later scene in the Double R Diner in which Steven’s wife, Becky (Amanda Seyfried), hits up Shelly (Mädchen Amick) for money. Though their relationship remains unspecified, there’s a definite mother-daughter vibe between them. As Shelly and Norma Jennings (Peggy Lipton) watch Becky take off in Steven’s Thunderbird, they have a moment ruefully reminiscing about marital woes.
We might expect it to end on the performance, as each episode has until now, but Lynch throws us a curveball.
In another of Lynch’s adept tonal shifts, the subsequent scene between Becky and Steven starts out awkwardly, to say the least. Steven maladroitly soliloquizes Becky’s magnificent breasts and bread-kneading skills, before Becky does a bump of blow off the back of Steven’s hand. But as they drive off to the soulful sounds of the Paris Sisters’s “I Love How You Love Me,” Lynch trains a GoPro on Becky from above, letting her elated response—to the drugs, to the open road, to loving love itself—play out in real time.
Leaving for work, Janey-E Jones (Naomi Watts) tells Cooper that she hid his winnings, about $425,000, in “their spot,” and suggests he contact his debtors to arrange a payoff sooner rather than later. But Cooper, of course, is still largely incommunicado, though he’s strangely moved to tears by the sight of Sonny Jim (Pierce Gagnon) sitting in the backseat. When Janey-E drops Cooper off at an office plaza, her brusque tone in getting him out of the vehicle echoes the scene with Jade (Nafessa Williams) in “Part 3.” Do Lynch and Mark Frost want to draw some sort of parallel between wife and mistress? Only time, and future episodes, will tell.
Adrift in the office plaza, Cooper takes guidance from a cowboy statue pointing its pistol at a nearby building. He’s just in time for a staff meeting at Lucky 7 Insurance, where Dougie works as a claims investigator. Akin to the previous vision of a Red Room “icon” that led him to multiple jackpots at the casino, Cooper can tell that his co-worker Tony Sinclair (Tom Sizemore) is lying about the legitimacy of a particular claim because he sees a green flash play over his face. Called onto the carpet in his boss’s (Don Murray) office, the words “agent” and “case files” seem to ring a bell.
Rodney Mitchum (Robert Knepper) and his brother, Bradley (James Belushi)—accompanied by three blond showgirls who look on in boredom—turn up at the Silver Mustang casino to beat the shit out of Supervisor Burns (Brett Gelman) over the little matter of Cooper’s massive winnings. The brothers then advise newly promoted pit boss Warrick (David Dastmalchian) to let them know immediately if Cooper ever comes in again. The Mitchum boys’ gambit combining blustery violence and soft-spoken menace vividly evokes the antics of the Castigliani brothers in Mulholland Drive.
At long last, viewers find out what’s up with Dr. Jacoby (Russ Tamblyn) and those golden shovels of his. Calling himself “Dr. Amp,” Jacoby records a podcast ranting against an HRC-esque “vast global conspiracy” that’s poisoning our foodstuffs in order to give us a wide variety of terminal diseases. The podcast also doubles as a shameless infomercial plug for his gold “shit-digging” shovels. Jacoby’s rapt audience is seen to include Nadine (Wendy Robie) and Jerry Horne (David Patrick Kelley).
Over at the Bang Bang Bar, there’s Trouble on stage—Trouble being a band fronted by Lynch’s son, Riley Lynch. We might expect “Part 5” to end on the musical performance, as each episode of Twin Peaks: The Return has until now, but Lynch throws us another curveball. Lanky bad boy Richard Horne (Eamon Farren) sits brazenly smoking in a booth directly beneath a large No Smoking sign. Deputy Chad (John Pirruccello) intercedes, but it’s only a smokescreen for delivering a bribe in a cigarette pack stuffed with money. Horne proceeds to accost some young girls in the next booth. His creepy, rape-y treatment of poor Charlotte (Grace Victoria Cox) plays like a definite callback to Willem Dafoe’s memorably sleazy Bobby Peru in Wild at Heart.
The doppelganger finally gets the “private” phone call suggested by Gordon Cole in “Part 4,” but it doesn’t go quite like Warden Murphy (James Morrison) anticipates. When the doppelganger places his call, all hell breaks loose with the surveillance equipment, until the moment he hangs up. To whomever may be on the other end of the line, Bad Dale has this to say: “The cow jumped over the moon.” Sadly, we’ll also have to wait for further elucidation of the precise importance of “Hey Diddle Diddle” to Twin Peaks’s ongoing mythology.
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