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.
A coin also figures prominently in the sardonic payoff to the storyline about Deputy Chief Tommy “Hawk” Hill’s (Michael Horse) Native American heritage playing a role in tracking down Dale Cooper (Kyle MacLachlan). It turns out to be an Indian Head nickel that he drops in the men’s room, and, in the process of retrieving it, he notices a Nez Perce Manufacturing logo on the stall door. Tucked away between the loose panel and the doorframe are several handwritten pages of unknown provenance. Is it mere chance that Hawk drops the coin, or is he being shepherded by some unseen force?
Whatever the case may be, it’s evident that visions continue to guide Cooper, allowing him to sort through the thick stack of case files that he’s been given as “homework” by his boss, Bushnell Mullins (Don Murray), at Lucky 7 Insurance. Cooper’s annotations are cryptic, to say the least, initially dismissed as “childish scribbles” by Bushnell until he heeds Cooper’s echolalic advice to “make sense of it.” Because Anthony Sinclair’s (Tom Sizemore) name is all over the documents, we can only infer that they further implicate him in some malfeasance, an extrapolation that’s borne out by cutaway shots of Sinclair nervously pacing his office.
Cooper isn’t the only one attuned to otherworldly frequencies. “Part 6” introduces Carl Rodd (Harry Dean Stanton), proprietor of the Fat Trout Trailer Park in Deer Meadow, Oregon and a minor character from Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me. In the intervening years, it seems that the trailer park has been uprooted and moved a lot closer to Twin Peaks, since we first see Carl catching a ride into town. There’s a lovely moment of existential rumination when Carl sits alone on a park bench, watching with rapt attention the wind soughing through the tree branches above him.
“Part 6” also introduces a structural innovation to Twin Peaks: The Return. Whereas in previous episodes the individual segments tended to remain discreetly separate from each other, here David Lynch crosscuts between Carl’s progress into Twin Peaks and Richard angrily driving away from his drug deal with Red. These events intersect when Carl witnesses Richard’s truck run over a young boy (Hunter Sanchez) that the old man had just observed playing tag with his mother (Lisa Coronado). There’s a terribly effective admixture of comedy and pathos in this scene: The former emerges from Richard’s drug-addled admonition to the boy (“Hey!”) just before plowing into him, and the latter is evident in the way Lynch lingeringly dwells on the horrified response of onlookers at the scene of the crime.
Carl’s attentiveness to the intangible forces of nature in the park seems somehow analogous to his vision of the boy’s soul (depicted as a nebulous ball of fire) ascending into the sky. But he can only offer mute solace to the grieving mother, who cradles her dead son in a pose that’s reminiscent of Michelangelo’s Pietà. The sequence closes with a shot that directly echoes Fire Walk with Me, with the camera tilting up a pole bearing the number six, topped by a crackling transformer. Electricity serves as an ideal conduit for metamorphosis throughout Lynch’s works.
Chance also evidently plays a role in the life of Ike “the Spike” Stadtler (Christophe Zajac-Denek), a diminutive hit man whose weapon of choice is a very big icepick. We first see Ike rolling a pair of dice and writing down the results. Just as every coin toss is equally likely to come up heads or tails, every throw of the dice has the same probability of yielding any given combination of numbers. Annotation doesn’t change this fact, but it does indicate that Ike is trying to fix the toss.
Necessity, though, interrupts Ike in the form of a black-dotted envelope from Duncan Todd (Patrick Fischler) containing photos of Dougie Jones and Lorraine (Tammy Baird), the agitated woman first glimpsed in “Part 5” texting a mysterious black box in Buenos Aires. Ike dispatches Lorraine and a couple of witnesses in a bloody blast of violence set to Conejo’s “Blunted,” before blunting his icepick, which he responds to with a hilariously downcast “Oh, no!” We’ll have to wait to see how he fares against the still-somnolent Cooper.
“Part 6” is noteworthy for finally putting a face to a name that recurred throughout the original Twin Peaks series. Albert (Miguel Ferrer) drives through the cold and rain to a rendezvous with a certain bibulous lady that was foreshadowed at the end of “Part 4.” Speculation has been rife over the past two weeks that this would prove to be Cooper’s heretofore never-seen secretary, recipient of all those tape-recorded missives. And sure enough, bellied up to Max Von’s bar is none other than Diane Evans, played by frequent Lynch muse Laura Dern, dolled up like a 1920s flapper in a platinum-blond wig. But it’s Ferrer who gets the episode’s best line. Standing drenched on the curb outside the bar, Albert has a few choice words for anybody who feels like Singin’ in the Rain: “Fuck Gene Kelly, you motherfucker!”
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