Tuesday, 30 May 2017

Twin Peaks Season 3: Parts 3 and 4

Having gone to bed at around 4:30am on Monday morning after Parts 1 & 2 aired, I awoke feeling like it could have all been a bizarre dream and my head was filled with that place both strange and familiar. It was a beautifully hot day here in London and my sister and I sat in the sunshine drinking coffee and discussing what we had experienced hours before. We agreed it needed time to percolate and a re-watch could be beneficial but I was already desperate to see more. Despite the glorious sunshine we soon retired to the dark TV room to watch Parts 3 & 4. After such a trippy beginning I was desperate to see where the next parts would take us and couldn't bare to wait longer.

The first 20 minutes of Part 3 confirmed for me that David Lynch has successfully and absolutely brought art house experimental film to mainstream TV. The opening purple universe scenes are artistic, mesmerising and disturbing. The energy in this purple place is completely different to The Black Lodge, heightened by the jumpy editing making this unknown world unsettling compared to the chevron floored, red curtained lodge which we now feel some comfort being in. Twin Peaks is going to be, once again, groundbreaking. The vast purple ocean stretching into the darkness beyond was so beautiful yet ominous and I loved being able to sit and observe the oddness. It's refreshing to feel as though you are experiencing something rather than mindlessly binge watching the usual plot driven material common on Netflix and the like today.

Questions in a world of purple...
I found the opening scenes revealed a lot about who Cooper is after spending more than 2 decades pacing around The Black Lodge. He appears comfortable as a mute observer and unafraid to approach the strange other-wordly beings he comes across such as the blind woman who omits a raspy barking noise to communicate with him.

Cooper still has a trusting instinct and need to help others. He willingly follows the blind woman out of the purple room and on to a rooftop. By pulling a lever the eyeless woman falls into the galaxy of stars that surrounds them and I remembered a scene from Fire Walk With Me: Donna asks Laura what she thinks would happen if you were to fall in space and Laura replies that you would fall "Faster and faster. And for a long time you wouldn't feel anything. And then you'd burst into flame. Forever... and the angels wouldn't help you. Because they've all gone away." Cooper looks out into the stars and I wonder if he is considering jumping himself, ending his torment trapped so far from home. As he contemplates his next move the giant, shadowy face of Major Briggs floats by sideways (much like a scene in Eraserhead) and says 'BLUE ROSE'. A sad reminder that Don Davis who played The Major is no longer with us but his character's role could still serve some importance in the new series. It seems these words are what Cooper needed to hear to remind himself of a potential mission greater than himself but one he has become somewhat responsible for.

"Burst into flame."
Back inside the purple room a different woman sits by the fire waiting for Cooper. If you think she looks familiar you'd be right - the 'American Woman' is Phoebe Augustine who played Ronette Pulaski in the original series. She tells Cooper "When you get there you will already be there". With that he faces some sort of industrial electricity panel on the wall which previously said '15' but now reads '3' and an electrical force allows him to move through it, leaving his shoes behind.

Kyle Maclachlan is in the next scene but he isn't Agent Cooper or Evil Doppelganger Coop (who many have begun referring to as Mr C but my personal preference is Doopy Coopy), he's an overweight man with poor taste in suits who lives in Las Vegas called Dougie and he is handing over a wad of cash to sex worker Jade. Lynch has always loved actors playing multiple rolls (see Mulholland Drive and Lost Highway for more examples) so you just learn to roll with it and watch where it leads. But finally something I understand happens - Dougie is wearing the green ring that Theresa Banks and then Laura wore before they died and his left arm has gone numb, just like Theresa's did. At the same time Evil Coop careers down the open road in South Dakota and crashes spectacularly into the hillside, Dougie throws up something nasty onto the floor and is forced into The Black Lodge. Evil Coop throws up a party above the convenience store's worth of Garmonbozia and passes out. It seems he has somehow used Dougie as a means of not returning to The Black Lodge himself.

A third version of Cooper??? "This is weird."
The real Agent Cooper passes through an electric socket on the wall where Dougie just disappeared from. The American Girl was right, he is already there, for he has taken Dougie's place and for some reason everyone who comes into contact with him assumes he suddenly got a slick hair cut, lost some weight and bought a tailored suit. Even Jade who only just left him to take a shower thinks he might have had a little stroke but doesn't think it could be someone else altogether. I get the impression this is a woman who has seen it all and more. Jade searches Cooper's pockets for his car keys but only finds his old room key for Room 315 at The Great Northern Hotel. In fact, Jade is the nicest, most caring prostitute in all of Nevada. Not only does she help Cooper get his shoes on, find his keys and give him a lift to The Silver Mustang Casino, she also gives him $5 to call for help. And help is something our Special Agent is in desperate need of. Having involuntarily taken Dougie's identity, he has taken Dougie's financial issues too - the sight of two hitmen trying to get a shot at Cooper thinking he is Dougie leads me to believe that Dougie has spent too much time at the Blackjack table and could owes someone a lot of money.

Jade has to give Dougie two rides.
The real Dougie is now in The Black Lodge, "This is weird" he remarks. Finally, a character on Twin Peaks says what we're all thinking! The One Armed Man tells him that he was manufactured to serve a purpose which has now been fulfilled. Since Evil Cooper is still on the loose, although passed out after his crash and soon to be locked up in a jail cell for carrying cocaine, an automatic weapon and a dog leg, this seems to be what Dougie was used for. How on earth Evil Coop pulled this off is yet to be seen. He is a seriously bad man with a lot of intelligence. The real Dougie's days are numbered and he ends them by exploding into a tiny, golden marble. The troublesome ring he was wearing is placed back on its podium in The Black Lodge.

Back in Vegas, as Cooper hilariously attempts to pass through a revolving door into the casino it becomes very clear that having spent 25 years trapped in The Black Lodge slowly and silently ageing without having to eat, sleep or go to the bathroom, (presumably he had the odd cup of coffee if he came across it) his transition into the real, modern world is going to take some rehabilitation. He's only able to repeat the words of others (worse than Waldo the Minor bird did) and soon finds himself holding a cup full of dimes and in slot machine heaven.

HellooooOoooOooo Mr Jackpots!
Returning to the town of Twin Peaks we are granted with some classic light relief in the form of a 'Donut Disturb' sign and some Andy and Lucy humour as they ponder over what could be missing in regards to Agent Cooper and the Laura Palmer case. Is it about the chocolate bunny Lucy ate? No. Hawk decides it is not about the bunny...

Now living out in the woods in a caravan, Dr Jacoby has replaced his Hawaiin fancies for more of a rustic, hillbilly aesthetic. This scene is literally watching paint dry as he has designed a complex contraption to spray paint some garden spades gold. Not that I was bored watching this - by the end of it I wanted to own a golden spade of my own.

At the Silver Mustang Casino Cooper finds himself in LUCK. Something or someone is somehow guiding him to the slot machines which will payout the big bucks with one pull of the lever. The black lodge appears in flame above the winning machine and with a call of "HelloooOoooOoooo!" Cooper makes a fortune. This has now become the only greeting in my household. 29 mega jackpots later and he has been nicknamed Mr Jackpots - the casino owners are not impressed. They send him 'home' in a limo with a bag full of thousands and thousands of dollars.


Dougie's wife played by fabulous Naomi Watts meets Agent Cooper when he arrives home. She too doesn't seem to notice that this isn't in fact Dougie and berates him for missing 'their' son Sunny Jim's birthday party. Upon noticing the bag full of money she changes her tune somewhat and Cooper just goes along with it... He continues to have visions of The Black Lodge as The One Armed Man seems able to communicate with him through the atmosphere and occasional signs of familiarity trigger something inside him - a hooting owl, a street named Sycamore. But how long will it take for Agent Cooper to gain back his memory? I yelled out "someone get the man a coffee!" and when the coffee finally gets served he spits it out in what I hope is a tremendously over the top expression of revival!

Please someone make a 'I am Dougie's coffee mug' and I will gladly pay you for it.
Away from Las Vegas the rest of Parts 3 & 4 take place in Philadelphia, where Gordon Cole and Albert Rosenfield still reside as members of the FBI. I have to pause to fan girl for a moment. I just adore David Lynch and Miguel Ferrer together and I love their characters. The humour is still very much present - Cole still shouts due to his hearing impairment and constantly mishears people. Albert is still mean old Albert. Although their banter is hilarious, it's tainted with the knowledge that Miguel is no longer with us. I absolutely relish every second these two are on screen together. Speaking to Entertainment Weekly Lynch had the following to say about working with Miguel:

"I fell in love with Albert on this trip through Twin Peaks, and I just loved working with Miguel. This relationship between my character, Gordon Cole, and Albert is so important to the story. Now knowing that he’s gone, I’m even more grateful we did this and it was captured on film. It’s just really sad he’s gone."

We are also introduced to Agent Tamara Preston played by long-time Lynch protogée Chrysta Bell.  Lynch has been collaborating with Chrysta Bell for 18 years now and seems hell bent on turning her into a household name. Their special relationship has lead to her casting in what could be a significant role in the new series and although she is beautiful with the real life moves of Jessica Rabbit, Chrysta Bell is not the most skilled or natural actress. I felt uncomfortable by the outrageous oggling from the male characters but ultimately concluded that since the male gaze and objectification of her is so overt, particularly on the directors part, it is probably meant to be subversive. I'm interested to see how her character develops and hope there are some brains to balance out the beauty. I've also got tickets to see her perform in London next month and will report back on her performance on stage in due course...

"The first time I saw her perform I thought she was an alien. The most beautiful alien ever." - Lynch on Chrysta Bell
Cole receives a phone call informing him that Cooper (although it is really his doppelganger) has been found and is locked up in a South Dakota jail cell. He and Albert make plans to visit first thing in the morning and in the meantime Cole visits the now head of the FBI, Denise Bryson. David Duchovny reprises his role as the transgender agent in a touching scene which also has an essence of filler about it. I could be wrong but I have a feeling there will be a few of these cameo scenes from beloved characters of 25 years ago mainly for the fans enjoyment and some closure. Lynch also gives himself a pat on the back by referencing the fact that Twin Peaks included a transgender character all those years ago as Cole remembers telling Denise's colleagues when she transitioned to "fix their hearts or die".

Speaking of  old characters, Bobby Briggs is back and handsome as ever. Surprisingly the bad boy has supposedly reformed and is working at the Sheriff's Station but hasn't lost that cocky swagger. The town of Twin Peaks still has a rampant drug problem and I have a sneaking suspicion that maybe Bobby might have something to do with it, despite the badge he now carries. I always loved Bobby's crying scenes and we're finally treated to the classic Laura Palmer Theme song which begins to play when Bobby sees Laura's high school prom photo laid out amongst the evidence from the case Hawk is re-examining. Bobby is overcome with emotion and sobs at the sight of his long dead high school girlfriend. Finally, a healthy dose of Twin Peaks melodrama!

Bobby Briggs: bad boy, hearth throb, drama queen.
This moment of emotional outburst is cut short by the arrival of who has to be my favourite new character. We meet Wally, the adult son of Andy and Lucy who was born on Marlon Brando's birthday. As soon as Michael Cera appeared on screen dressed as Brando in The Wild One, lisping about wanting to pay his respects to his Godfather (wonderful Robert Forster who is playing Sheriff FRANK Truman receives the respects on behalf of his brother Harry) I began ugly crying and was hysterical with laughter. This to me is absolute Twin Peaks comedy - completely bizarre and a little out of place but manically funny. I need more Wally.

Michael Cera as Wally in the most hilarious cameo to date.
Part 4 ends poignantly. Having visited Cooper in a chilling scene thanks to Kyle Maclachlan's terrifying portrayal of Evil Cooper, Cole and Albert step outside to discuss what in the hell is going on. The scene is bathed in blue, to convey the mystery surrounding them. Cole and Albert agree that something real fishy is going on but have no idea what. It's a blue rose case, a case shrouded in the supernatural and unexplained, "it doesn't get any bluer than this" Cole exclaims. There's one woman who may be able to tell exactly what is going on with 'Cooper' and Albert knows where she drinks... My bet is on us finally meeting Diane for the first time. Who do you think it could be?

Me neither Cole but that's OKAY.
I cannot get enough of the new episodes and although I shouldn't complain, a trip to the Italian island of Sardinia means I won't get to watch Part 5 until the end of next week! I'll have to go cold turkey on social media before I see it which is probably the best way to enjoy a holiday in the sun. This downloadable PDF of the 'donut disturb' sign Hawk sticks to the meeting room door in the Sheriff's Department should help...

One more thing - Lynch took Twin Peaks to Cannes last week and after the incredibly savage reception Fire Walk With Me had there 25 years ago I was truly moved, and clearly so was David, to see the audience give him a standing ovation after the screening of Parts 1 & 2. Trés bien Mr Lynch!