After presenting us with a finely hewn collection of compelling vignettes in episode 11, David Lynch follows it up with a glacially paced time-waster. We’re now six episodes away from the conclusion and remain stalled in a morass of plot snippets, vague questions, dead ends, and random characters. The installment started compellingly enough, with Gordon and Rosenfeld offering Agent Tammy membership into the ‘Blue Rose’ squad. Blue Rose, as it finally turns out, is an offshoot of the defunct Project Bluebook, which was a study of UFO activity started in the ‘50s. So, basically where we’re at is Twin Peaks meets the X-Files – whatever. Diane, is also deputized into this exclusive club, though it seems the offer is more to keep an eye on her while they try to figure out her involvement with dark Coop. It’s a promising beginning which quickly devolves into a whole lot of nothing.
It’s clear at this point, that Lynch is having a lot of fun at our expense, stretching out scenes for no other purpose than to satisfy his own inner-prankster. The most irritating example comes, when Rosenfeld interrupts Gordon canoodling with a French coquette in a crimson dress, so tight it appears painted on. When she’s asked to leave the room so that they can speak privately, she takes about 15 minutes to get herself ready to go. There’s a lot of accompanying mugging and Lynch-ian cutesiness, but the fact is, it’s not cute anymore. We get it David, you’re coming through loud and clear – The Return isn’t about solving the mystery, it’s about experiencing the world. Fine. But does the world have to be so goddamned boring?
I suppose the big moment of the show, was the long-awaited appearance of Audrey Horne in a non sequitur exchange with a man we understand to be her husband. Audrey wants out of the marriage, she’s having an affair with some guy named Billy. We don’t know who Billy is. We’ve never seen Billy. We don’t know what the hell Billy has to do with the plot or why we’ve spent the last twenty minutes talking about him. But hey, we’re experiencing the world of Twin Peaks, right?
- Jerry Horne has found his way out of the forest, and now he’s running through a field.
- Jacoby is still ranting on the radio and shilling his shit shovels.
- Ben Horne hears the news that his grandson killed the little boy and waxes wistful about a childhood bike.
If there’s one thing of which we’re pretty certain, the whole enchilada begins and will ultimately end in the black lodge. This is confirmed near the end of the episode, when we learn that the location of the ‘coordinates’ written on the dead woman’s arm is – of course – Twin Peaks. There will be a showdown, a battle between good and evil – at some point, I suppose. Until then, we will continue to trundle along towards that inevitable conclusion, at Lynch’s interminable pace. I just wish I didn’t have this sinking feeling that in, some way, he’s making us pay for comprising his initial vision of the series by forcing him to tell us WHO KILLED LAURA PALMER?
We get it David, The Return isn’t about solving the mystery, it’s about experiencing the world. Fine. But does the world have to be so goddamned boring?