Though the eleventh installment of The Return didn’t do a hell of a lot in terms of giving us a clearer idea of where this whole story is heading, as a stand-alone episode it was, excuse me, a damn fine cup of coffee.
The series, thus far, has been a mixed bag, hampered, in my opinion, by a convoluted plot – even by Lynch standards – and a general lack of focus. To be honest, a lot of the time it’s seemed even he isn’t sure where he’s going with it all, acting less like a director and more a befuddled horologist tinkering around with the pieces of a disassembled clock. Still, when he does manage to put together a cohesive effort, it’s pretty marvelous to watch. David Lynch is the master when it comes to capturing the unconscious state on film — dream as image…dream logic as plot. Tonight’s episode was a stunning example of that mastery. But it was more than that, it was also a beautifully crafted collection of Raymond Carver-esque vignettes. That marriage of story and dream is what has made David Lynch one of the most important directors of his era – and one of my personal heroes.
So what did we find out in number 11? Well, it’s pretty obvious that Lynch has essentially stolen the role of Dale Cooper for himself. Where Coop was once the mystical man in charge of solving the Laura Palmer case, Gordon Cole is now at center stage – with Rosenfeld as his Sherriff Truman. Cole is now the mystical man, in charge of solving the larger mystery behind it all.
What else? It turns out the Mitchum boys are just a couple of softies at heart. Bradley Mitchum (James Belushi) can’t go through with real Coop/Dougie’s murder…why? Because of a dream he had of course. The brothers’ restraint is well rewarded, as they not only get their money back but enter into a bromance with Dougie that I have a feeling will play a big part in the show’s inevitable conclusion. Once again, Belushi turns in another fabulous performance. You can tell he really got a kick out of playing this character and is completely tuned into the Lynch’s absurdist humor.
- Shelly and Bobby together again! It’s revealed that they were indeed married and their daughter is the troubled Becky (Amanda Seyfried).
- Becky is in the middle of a major marital melt-down. Her parents are there to help.
- Oh, and Shelly is head over heels in love with Red, the mysterious, coin flipping drug dealer.
- Agents Cole, Rosenfeld and company drive out to the place Major Briggs was spotted by poor Edward Hastings (Matthew Lillard) — bye-bye Eddie. There they see a woodsman skulking about and Cole is nearly sucked up into a wormhole/vortex to another plane of existence. It’s all very reminiscent of the diner scene in Mulholland Drive — more of the ‘dream theme’ on display.
- Richard Horne didn’t do a very good job of killing the witness to his hit and run.
- Real Coop/Dougie is still out of it…and still loves cherry pie.
- Hawk gets another call from the log lady. Black fire is in his future.
Ultimately, episode 11 was less about the story of Twin Peaks and more about its world – a world that has gotten pretty dammed bleak in the past 25 years. The citizens of Twin Peaks are in trouble…under the influence of dark forces. There is unfinished business there – black lodge stuff…BOB stuff.
The most powerful sequence of the night came when the Double R gets its windows blasted out by a series of gun shots. Bobby Briggs is on the scene and runs out to investigate. It’s a young boy that pulled the trigger from the back of the family car. His face is impassive, devoid of emotion. The incident causes the traffic to back up. A car horn blares in impatience. Bobby tries to get the driver to stop honking, but she’s frantic. She needs to get somewhere and she’s late. Her passenger is sick and begins to vomit explosively– garmonbozia, anybody? Twin Peaks is in trouble people. Coop….WAKE UP ALREADY!
Ultimately, episode 11 was less about the story of Twin Peaks and more about its world – a world that has gotten pretty dammed bleak in the past 25 years.