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Twin Peaks’ Season 3, Episode 13: Starting Position

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Deanna Witmer
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« on: August 08, 2017, 10:09:57 am »

Television|‘Twin Peaks’ Season 3, Episode 13: Starting Position

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‘Twin Peaks’ Season 3, Episode 13: Starting Position


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‘Twin Peaks’ Season 3, Episode 13: Starting Position

Twin Peaks

By NOEL MURRAY  AUG. 6, 2017

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Derek Mears and Kyle MacLachlan in “Twin Peaks: The Return.” Credit Suzanne Tenner/Showtime 
Season 3, Episode 13

From the beginning, “Twin Peaks” has embedded a clue to unlocking the show in its title. David Lynch and Mark Frost are captivated by dualities, whether they’re giving their characters literal doppelgängers or they’re exploring the extremes of good and evil within humanity as a whole. What’s apparent on the surface counts for little in “Twin Peaks.” A homecoming queen from an upstanding family can turn out to be a drug addicted part-time prostitute, while her father can be a serial sex offender. Just because someone looks pleasantly familiar doesn’t mean they’re okay. Everyone is split.

This week’s episode is roughly divided into two parts, with most of the first involving the two current incarnations of Agent Dale Cooper — the addled insurance agent Dougie Jones and the vicious Mr. C — while the second part mostly catches up with a handful of the show’s original characters, back in Twin Peaks. In terms of driving the plot forward, most of the important business gets dispatched early. But what happens with the two Coopers subtly affects the meaning of the shorter, more scattered scenes in northern Washington.

Frankly, there’s only one real knockout sequence here and it takes place in the middle of nowhere in Western Montana, where Mr. C shows up at the headquarters of a local criminal consortium in search of Ray, the man who tried to assassinate him. “You didn’t kill him too good, Ray,” a thug named Renzo remarks as he looks at a wall-size security monitor and sees the stoic, longhaired Mr. C waltzing into their facility. Renzo challenges the interloper to an arm-wrestling match to determine whether he gets to take Ray (and take control of the gang) or if he dies on the spot. As the two men lock arms — with the bruiser’s bulging muscles and pasty white skin contrasting noticeably with the fake Cooper’s ruddy hands and compact frame — Lynch keeps cutting to the reactions of the motley crew of spectators, who quickly realize that they’ve underestimated the strength of their supernaturally gifted guest. Their dawning awareness of the trouble they’re all in is perversely entertaining to watch.

The scene ends ugly, as Mr. C toys with Renzo, then soundly defeats him and subsequently murders him with a single face-crushing punch. He then sends away the rabble — including one nebbishy, out-of-place accountant type who hovers around the fray a little longer, offering his services — and gets Ray to pass along the coordinates he needs, and to tell him everything he knows about the missing F.B.I. agent Phillip Jeffries. Before Mr. C kills Ray, he gets his former associate to don the mysterious green ring that Laura Palmer once wore to keep Bob from possessing her. After Ray dies, both the ring and his corpse materialize in the Black Lodge, to be attended to by Mike.

Meanwhile, in Las Vegas, Anthony Sinclair makes one last desperate attempt to kill Dougie Jones on Duncan Todd’s orders, using poison recommended by a police associate. But after he slips the powder into his co-worker’s coffee, Anthony has a change of heart when Dougie walks up behind him and begins touching his shoulders in what seems like a gesture of concern and affection. In actuality, our Mr. Jones is distracted by Sinclair’s dandruff, but this moment of slight physical intimacy is enough to make a wayward man break down and admit everything he’s done wrong, confessing to their boss, Bushnell Mullins.
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Recent Comments

Leigh Buchanan
 12 hours ago
Someone finally makes the connection between Dougie Jones, Mr. C and Dale Cooper...and it's the Fusco brothers! So of course they start...

Ella Washington
 12 hours ago
A couple of points to note: That wasn't just a loving caress that Dougie gave sales agent Anthony at the coffee shop; that was accupressure...

Ken Schaefle
 12 hours ago
The second half of the episode, and indeed much of "return", has been about loneliness and aging. Big Ed as the credits rolled (on his...
See All Comments
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Here are these two Coopers: one wicked, one sweet; and one all-powerful while the other’s barely conscious of anything happening around him. Both are scarily effective at getting what they want.

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In the case of Dougie, the rewards he receives for his bizarre behavior extend beyond praise from his boss (and, y’know, not getting poisoned). After helping out Bradley and Rodney Mitchum a couple of episodes ago, he’s been gifted with a new BMW and a fancy new backyard jungle gym for Sonny Jim, complete with lights and music. Dougie’s wife, Janey-E, is so overjoyed that she doesn’t question where the presents came from or why. In her world, material success justifies itself — especially when the alternative is dealing with loan sharks and mobsters.

(As if to reinforce this dynamic, one of the funniest bits of the episode has the Fusco brothers laughing about the heavy amount of crime in their city, while from the next room we can hear the sounds of violence and screaming. The neighborhoods look nice in Vegas, but this is not the safest place to be.)

In contrast to the more significant action in Montana and Nevada, all the time we spend in Twin Peaks in the latter part of this episode seems less purposeful — and some might even say pointless. Anyone who was annoyed by the less-than-spectacular reintroduction of Audrey Horne into “Twin Peaks” last week probably wasn’t any happier with her brief scene here, where she and her husband Charlie continue their circular conversation. “This is Existentialism 101,” he says to her, before asking “Do I have to end your story too?” All of this feels like it should matter, but Mr. Lynch and Mr. Frost have yet to clarify why.

That said, there is a lovely bit of framing in the Audrey scene. In the shots of Charlie, his wife’s reflection appears in a rectangular bit of glass just behind him, making it look like there’s a faded portrait of Audrey hanging on their wall. Similarly, a long, elliptical scene of Sarah Palmer watching a glitchy, looping video of an old boxing match (possibly featuring “Battling Bud” Mullins?) leaves the impression of an old world slipping away, which can only be retained in unsatisfying, incomplete fragments.

This leads us to the two scenes in Twin Peaks this week that are the most sneakily effective. In one, Norma takes a meeting with her business partner (and presumably occasional lover) Walter Lawford, played by Grant Goodeve. He tells her that their Norma’s Double R Diner franchise is doing well across the region, except for in its original home, where she spends too much for ingredients and doesn’t charge enough for her pies. And in the other big scene, James Hurley appears on stage at the roadhouse and sings “Just You,” the song he recorded with Maddy Ferguson and Donna Hayward early in Season 2.

James Hurley's song from "Twin Peaks." Video by elenanew

Taken together — and combined with the melancholy closing credits image of James’s Uncle Ed, eating Double R 2 Go soup out of a cup while pining for his ex-lover Norma — what we’re left with is the feeling that the older citizens of Twin Peaks are clinging to their past glories, while trying in vain to stave off the shoddier modern world. Their drama may not be as intense as Mr. C ending a man’s life with a sock in the nose. But they too are present at a demolition.


Extra Doughnuts:

• Mr. Lynch had called this series “an 18-hour movie,” but at times it feels like we’re not just watching a film, we’re also watching all of the deleted scenes that got dumped onto the Blu-ray. This week, the few minutes that fit the least into everything else that’s happening involve Chantal and Gary Hutchens, driving through the black of night toward Utah, sharing everything they know about Mormons.

• Next to the Hutchens’s road trip, the other most random-seeming scene has Dr. Jacoby dropping by Run Silent Run Drapes in the middle of the night to thank Nadine for putting one of his gold-painted shovels in her window. In terms of story, the relevance of this encounter is hard to pin down. But there’s something mesmerizing about how the scene is staged: in the inky blackness of downtown Twin Peaks, with Nadine’s drapes noiselessly opening and closing behind a crackpot YouTube star and his biggest fan.
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Deanna Witmer
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Posts: 4985

« Reply #1 on: August 08, 2017, 10:11:47 am »

Twin Peaks Just Delivered Its Trolliest—and Saddest—Installment Yet

“Just you and I.”

by Laura Bradley

August 7, 2017 7:47 am

Courtesy of Showtime.

This post contains spoilers for Twin Peaks: The Return Episode 13.

David Lynch has only five episodes left to wrap up his Twin Peaks revival, and it’s growing increasingly difficult to imagine how he’ll do so. He literally threw one of Cooper’s potential saviors—fingerprint records that prove that Dougie Jones is actually him—in the trash. Instead, Sunday night’s episode, much like the installment that preceded it, seemed to be a meditation on a theme: purgatory. Throughout the hour, we see characters trapped in tragic loops: Sarah Palmer literally watches a boxing clip looped on her TV; Ed Hurley is back to pining after Norma; an increasingly frantic Audrey can’t quite figure out how to get to the Roadhouse; and James Hurley is reprising his infamous ballad from the original series—albeit to a bigger crowd this time. As Dark Cooper says during his circuitous arm wrestling match, “The starting position is much more comfortable.”

Of everything, James’s song near the end is perhaps the most winking moment. Fans have jokingly suggested that James Hurley, a less accomplished musician than the venue’s usual headliners, take the stage at the Roadhouse. For him to do so—performing a song from an infamous scene in the original Twin Peaks—feels distinctly playful. But as amusing as this is on its surface, it also hints at a more sinister theme. When James first sang the song to Donna—with Laura’s doppelgänger, Maddy, singing along—his inability to focus on just one girl drove home the heartbreak standing in his and Donna’s way. As cringe-inducing as the scene—and James’s falsetto—can be, there’s also an emotional, distinctly teenage tenderness at play. Will Jessica Szohr’s Renee become more important now that we’ve seen her crying to the same song?

And then there’s Ed Hurley, James’s uncle who is apparently suffering through romantic malaise of his own. Norma kisses someone else, and he’s left to watch them from another booth with a similarly afflicted Bobby Briggs. (Those Double R women are real heartbreakers.) What’s more, it seems Nadine might have found a new love interest of her own: Dr. Jacoby, who goes by Dr. Amp on his Web show. Watching Ed sit alone at the end of the episode, burning a piece of paper, it’s hard not to feel deeply sorry for him—and wonder what on earth is on that paper.

But perhaps the most interesting characters in this episode were Audrey Horne and Sarah Palmer, both of whom seemed to be trapped in something more supernaturally sinister. In Audrey’s case, there’s reason to believe that she perhaps never woke up from her coma following the explosion at the bank in the original series. When Sherilyn Fenn finally made her debut in the revival last week, fans were somewhat frustrated by her drawn-out, confusing return, which found her arguing with a man who appeared to be her husband. (For what it’s worth, some fans now suspect he’s actually her psychologist.) This week, we once again find Audrey screaming at Charlie, but this time she seems far more helpless as she suddenly can’t decide what she wants to do: go to the Roadhouse or stay. What’s more, she apparently has no idea where the Roadhouse is. The house’s retro decor, Audrey’s apparent disorientation, and the fact that no one ever references or calls Audrey about her son all support the idea that she’s actually not lucid right now, and that what we’re seeing is what she’s experiencing inside her mind mid-coma. Still no word on who Billy is, though.

Sarah Palmer’s situation is even stranger: we find her watching an old black-and-white boxing match on TV. After a while, it becomes clear that the footage on her TV is looping—and even Sarah seems to be looping in her own way as she gets up to go to the kitchen multiple times as the footage drones on. It’s a sad look into the redundant, sorrowful state of grief in which Sarah lives—and recalls her words from last week, “Something happened to me, and I don’t feel good!” Is there something supernatural involved that might explain her fixation on this one bit of tape, or has grief simply landed her in a fugue state? The tragedy is that it’s impossible to know.

And finally, what Twin Peaks recap would be complete without a visit to Dougie—and Dark Cooper? The former escaped both rescue and death this week: the cops discovered his fingerprints belong to an F.B.I. agent who disappeared from a high security prison, but they toss the results in the trash, convinced they’re “a huge **** mistake.” Anthony also has a change of heart, throwing away the poisoned coffee he intends to give Dougie. You win some, you lose some, right?

Meanwhile, out in Montana, Dark Cooper visits Ray—the guy who tried to kill him in Part 8. Right before Dark Cooper killed him, Ray revealed that he got his order to kill Cooper from Phillip Jeffries—the character played by David Bowie in Fire Walk with Me—and that he’d been instructed to put the jade ring on Cooper once he was dead. (The ring, you may recall, has mystical properties that either keep the wearer safe or mark them for death; the real Dougie was wearing the jade ring in Part 3, and when it slipped off, he disappeared.) Given the repeated references to his character, it stands to wonder whether Bowie shot any Twin Peaks scenes before his death last year. It’s possible that he did, but Showtime is understandably keeping its lips sealed.

Much like last week’s installment, Part 13 has a knowing tone to it. If Part 12 was all about telling fans to just relax and savor the small moments, this week reveled in switching between laughs and sorrow. As funny as these characters’ pain can be, it’s hard to watch this episode and not come away feeling some of that pain ourselves. It’s telling that instead of concluding the episode with James’s amusing encore, Lynch chose to end on a silent shot of a forlorn Ed instead. Laugh all you want at the spectacle; underneath, the reality these characters inhabit is hardly funny.

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Then and Now: The Evolution of the Twin Peaks Cast

__Sheryl Lee (Laura Palmer/Maddy Ferguson)__

Sheryl Lee (Laura Palmer/Maddy Ferguson)

Ah, the girl whose mysterious death started it all. She’ll probably forever be identified with the two roles she played for David Lynch—or perhaps, to some, as Katrina from Vampires—but Lee also enjoyed a stint on One Tree Hill as Ellie Harp, among other roles, including a supporting part opposite Jennifer Lawrence in Winter’s Bone and, more recently, the part of Karen Stern in Cafe Society.
Photo: Left, by Lynch/Frost/Spelling/REX/Shutterstock; right, by Tibrina Hobson/Getty Images.

__Kyle MacLachlan (Agent Dale Cooper)__

__Lara Flynn Boyle (Donna Hayward)__

__Mädchen Amick (Shelly Johnson)__

__Kimmy Robertson (Lucy Moran)__

__Kenneth Welsh (Windom Earle)__

__Russ Tamblyn (Lawrence Jacoby)__


Laura Bradley is a Hollywood writer for She was formerly an editorial assistant at Slate and lives in Brooklyn.

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