“They don’t have backup for this.”
That quote could apply to most of the problems faced in Twin Peaks — or Buckhorn, South Dakota, or Las Vegas, or New York, or any other place this show’s supernatural tentacles have encircled — but this week, it specifically refers to Matthew Lillard’s head exploding. No, really. His skull blows off. It looks like a melted human candle, or a bust that a poor museum worker dropped in transit. Now, this is something you might have wished would happen to him on-screen in any one of his other projects (for me, it is Summer Catch), but I think Matthew was totally brilliant last week while sobbing hysterically about seeing another dimension and not being able to go scuba diving with the dead and beheaded Ruth Davenport. In fact, he did a LOT of complicated stuff in his short Twin Peaks scenes — he was super in his first episode, as well — and it’s just a shame that there really IS no backup for having the top half of your head blow off, because it means he’s probably only further for this world if someone churned out a quick doppelganger while he was crossing temporal boundaries.
Anyway, to the roundup.
How’s Dougie Jones doing? Is he any closer to remembering he’s Dale Cooper?
Quite possibly, thanks to a cherry pie. You might recall that Tom Sizemore was ordered — by Patrick Fischler; sorry, I don’t know anyone’s character names — to complete the botched Dougie Jones assassination, and his big plan was to make the casino brothers (Robert Knepper and Jim Belushi) do it out of ragey revenge. They think Dougie is on a mission to destroy them because he won big at their casino and then, per Tom Sizemore, personally denied their claim for reparations for a burned-down hotel. But that lie unravels: turns out the insurance company is going to pay out, and Dougie is dispatched to deliver the $30 million check. (Much of the setup happened last week, or the week before, or… I watched three episodes in a row, so if it ever appears today that I’m covering too much of last week’s, it’s because I lost the line between them.)
Jim Belushi, meanwhile, cracked me up in this episode, particularly this long two-shot of him waking up and having his breakfast and pouting about how much he hates Dougie, in which we learn it’s actually 2:30 p.m. . I am not a Belushi devotee, but his rubber-faced childishness in these scenes gave me a chuckle. He wants to kill Dougie so badly, right now, and his face is a visual foot-stomp. Turns out Belushi is a decent match with David Lynch’s tendency to let people veer a bit cartoonish. I also read that David Lynch put the kibosh on him improvising, and I suspect having someone hold the reins tightly meant that Belushi didn’t run roughshod over any of his fellow actors, and therefore he fit like a puzzle piece rather than dominating any of his scenes.
On his way to their suspicious desert meeting spot, MIKE appears in the window of a nearby bakery and impels Dougie to bring with him a gift. Jim sees this and recalls his prophetic dream that’s got him wondering if maybe Dougie isn’t the enemy, and indeed it mirrors the way it all plays out: Dougie shows up in the desert bearing cherry pie, and because Jim correctly predicted this while he slept — and because Dougie is carrying that fat check — Jim and Robert Knepper agree not to kill Dougie. Instead, they embrace him, and take him out for drinks, and beam beatifically while the old lady he helped at their casino comes over to praise the generosity of her Mr. Jackpot.
She says he changed her life, kept her alive, reversed her crappy fortunes… and pats him on the cheek and tells the Belushi brothers how lucky they are to be in the presence of his greatness. Dougie, for his part, seems rapt but then also just eats the pie. “Damn good,” he murmurs, just as Dale once would have.
But like… if coffee hasn’t woken Dale up, and sex hasn’t woken Dale up (that scene was hilarious; everything with Naomi Watts in this show is gold), and cherry pie hasn’t woken Dale up, then WHAT IS IT GOING TO TAKE. We only have seven episodes left, Mr. Lynch.
Speaking of David Lynch, how is the FBI investigation going, and is Diane still wearing those pants?
It’s going fine, and yes, she is.
And they are QUESTIONABLE, particularly with that sweater. Given that Diane spends much of this episode glowering at people in those shades and her leopard coat, I really wanted the actual clothing ensemble to be more fabulous. She does not NAB, though. Not Diane. I think she might be a Never NAB.
Anyhoo, these fine folks — having questioned Matthew Lillard last week — get Matthew to take them to the place he saw Major Briggs, and they eventually discover the naked corpse of Ruth Davenport. It’s so fake and plasticky looking, but I still felt weird throwing in a photograph. Also, it doesn’t speak that highly of the Buckhorn PD that nobody SAW this body during normal rounds, as her hand was poking straight up at the sky and she was located here:
Didn’t she smell at all, lying there in the grass? How come she hadn’t been eaten or even gnawed at lightly? What of the people using the nearby sheds and storage facilities?
Okay, but the dimensional stuff…?
Right, right. Gordon and Albert go inside the fence to see if there’s “one in there,” presumably meaning a vortex or portal or Mythical Skyspace Where Shit Gets Real. Indeed, visible only to his eyes because he’s taking the lead, a massive swirling thing nearly sucks Gordon into it. Before Albert pulls his flickering boss back into the real world, Gordon gets a flash of a bunch of woodsmen chilling out on a staircase.
What does one call a gaggle of supernatural lumberjacks, anyway? A wisdom of woodsmen? A jamboree of ‘jacks?
Also, I’m wondering if this location is tied to the convenience store from that Origin Story black-and-white episode, because we saw the woodsmen lingering there too. Gordon and Albert saw one pop up even before the vortex ripped open, and while she smoked and waited, Diane glimpsed one creeping up to the cop car:
Those dudes are CREEPY AS HELL and very effective as spectres of malice. Diane later recalls seeing one exiting the car, but we clearly witness her see one moving TOWARD it. Did she ALSO see one leave? Is she being deliberately misleading? Is it just a simple mistake that means nothing and won’t ever come up again? I don’t know, but shortly after this dude flickers out of sight again, Lillard starts to vibrate and then his cranium erupts into volcanic mush. Gordon’s reaction: “Well, he’s dead.” Everyone, even Diane, seems to react more with curiosity. Only the Buckhorn sheriff shrieks.
Oh, and Ruth Davenport had coordinates tattooed to her arm. I’m guessing Agent Creeper will want those.
Let’s get to the town Twin Peaks. Any good news?
Yes! Miriam, the friendly woman whom Psychofaced Richard left for dead in her trailer, IS NOT DEAD.
Apparently, Richard is incompetent enough that he merely ALMOST kills her, and then unsuccessfully tries to light her trailer on fire. As best I can tell, nothing ever even caught a spark. It’s nice to know that, while Richard is unpleasant to behold on all levels, he’s also dumb and the human spirit can triumph over his cracked soul. TEAM MIRIAM. Go find Barb in the Stranger Things Upside-Down and take a road trip to Baja. You’ve earned it.
What’s the Bobby-Shelly storyline?
History is repeating itself, on a couple levels. It turns out Becky — Amanda Seyfried — is, in fact, their shared child. And much as her mother was attracted to Bobby when he was a ne’er-do-well, Becky has married Drug Dealer Steven. We know he’s abusing her at least verbally if not also physically, but this week we learn that he’s also probably cheating on her with Alicia Witt, who is credited as Gersten Hayward, the character she played in the original Twin Peaks’s second season (and presumably related to Doc?).
To catch him, Becky has to steal her mother’s car, which leads to a scene in which Madchen Amick throws herself on her own hood and tries to cling to it:
This goes surprisingly better for her than you’d think, considering that when Becky finally pulls a maneuver that flings Shelly OFF the hood, it looks like this:
She lands on her head, all legs akimbo, but onlys crapes a knee. The red pumps Shelly was wearing for a day of work at the diner — I’m sure a lot of waitresses just side-eyed that sentence — fly off her feet and she does not appear to reclaim them. REGRETS. Kind Harry Dean Stanton gives her a lift back into town in his chauffeured VW minibus, because he’s a gentleman. But not enough of a gentleman to call the cops anonymously on all the screaming and fighting happening on the regular in Becky’s trailer. Come on, Harry Dean. You’re wily AND you have a CB radio in your bus. You can do better.
Amanda, meanwhile, hunts down Steven’s lover’s apartment and waves a gun around, only to find out they’re not inside. So she does the logical thing: She blows a few holes in the door.
There’s a funny little bit afterward in which we see the police dispatcher field calls from just about everyone in this apartment building. I know I’m old because my reaction was, “This police dispatcher lady is so competent, and it’s really refreshing.”
Seyfried is well cast here. She’s adept at playing the heightened cocktail of emotions without going over the top; you can sense all her turmoil, and her goodness, and her bitterness, and her disease. You can’t believe she’s so blind, and yet understand that it’s addiction that’s blinding her. There’s something to root for and something to dislike. She’s a much better actor than her film roles have let her be, so maybe she should come back to TV for real.
Where does Bobby come in?
I’m getting there. He basically keeps Becky from getting arrested, and what follows is a lovely little scene in the diner wherein Bobby and Shelly are worried and scared, and Becky denies that anything is the matter and defends Steven to the end.
Dana Ashbrook is really wonderful. I didn’t personally find his performances to be a highlight of the original, but he’s mellowed Bobby very well. He seems solid, and empathetic, in a way that makes us feel for him. Here, he can tell everything’s gone to hell for his daughter, but that she’s so deep into denial about it that he has to be careful how hard he pushes. He does assert that he’s going to stop protecting Steven, so the next time he puts a foot wrong, there will be no blind eye turned.
And then, as their family comes together in something akin to a supportive catharsis, he effectively gets his heart broken when he watches Shelly’s face light up at the sight of her new suitor: Balthazar Getty, aka Red, aka the drug smuggler who’s worked with both Richard and Steven.
Shelly is in the midst of accepting a frantic Becky’s apology for nearly killing her, and sobbing about her fears for her child, and then suddenly Balty bounds up and waves at her through the window and suddenly Shelly giddily bails for a five-minute makeout session outside the diner. Becky and Bobby are both silently like, “Whaaaaa…?” And of course we know that this is history and the present repeating itself: Shelly has gotten mixed up with a bad boy, and worse, she’s doing the exact same thing Becky is. Although Shelly doesn’t realize it.
Peggy Lipton might, though?
Her entire part is standing around and delivering knowing glances, or nods, while eavesdropping on Shelly’s parenting or lack thereof. She approves of some of it; of other parts, she is deeply skeptical. I do not think she is on Team Balthazar Getty. Peggy Liption will hopefully save the day on this one. If anyone can, it’s a former member of the Mod Squad.
So that’s it? No more weird stuff?
Oh THERE IS WEIRD STUFF. Like how this diner story is interrupted by a gunshot piercing the glass window. A mom outside rips her husband a new one for stashing a loaded gun in the car without telling her; their son got hold of it and accidentally fired it outside. OR DID HE.
That kid didn’t fire any guns by mistake. Bobby glances back and forth between this kid’s defiant stance and the one his father has adopted while the wife tears a strip off him, and he finds it unsettling. Maybe because he sees a like-parent-like-child situation that is uncomfortably close to home, or maybe just because he’s afraid everyone in the world is going to grow up to be an asshole. I mean, aren’t we all.
But rather than stick around, Bobby has to make the woman behind this car to stop leaning on her horn. What he gets in THAT bargain is awful: First, she screeches at him about what a hurry she’s in, and how “she” has to get home for dinner, and “her” uncle is coming, or somesuch, and how “she” is sick — and the pronoun isn’t self-referential. It refers to the creature in the passenger seat:
The girl has glazed-white eyes and is leaking what looks like refried beans, in addition to having the general healthy appearance of a zombie. That must have been one terrible burrito. Bobby just sort of blinks at her, all, “I really wish I’d taken today off.”
– Dale Cooper is still not Dale Cooper
– Dougie is still skirting death with the help of MIKE
– Matthew Lillard doesn’t have a head
– Gordon and Albert of the FBI are on the case and have found a doorway to evil, or whatever
– Shit’s still weird in Twin Peaks
– Shelly is hooking up with a magic evil dude who may or may not be responsible for her daughter and son-in-law being hopeless drug addicts
– Remember that scene in episode one, where Shelly is wondering aloud if maybe her daughter is with the wrong guy, and all her friends are like, “Aw, shucks, nah”? Doesn’t that ring false now? We have learned since that Shelly has been giving Becky money for a while now, and that everyone at the trailer park talks about how poisonous the Becky-Steven relationship is. So I don’t think Shelly’s gentle lip-biting over Becky’s lovelife early on makes any sense, and I REALLY don’t think her friends would’ve had no opinion about it, much less told her to relax.
– Unless EVERYONE really is terrible.