Forget remembering Richard and Linda – Part 12 has presented us with Billy, Tina, Paul, Chuck, Angela, Clark and Mary… It provided some wonderful moments, and some creepy. There was a lot of time spent in Twin Peaks with beautiful use of the old music us fans love so much but it was also frustrating, confusing and repetitive. Interestingly, it only contained one tiny, short scene with Cooper/Dougie Jones – the character who has caused the most amount of frustration and divide amongst viewers. It doesn’t matter that he didn’t ‘wake up’ because now we have a whole lot more to exacerbate over.
The episode opened in South Dakota where the FBI remain stationed at a hotel in Buckhorn. Gordon, Albert and Tammy share some Bordeaux (fine red wine has become a Twin Peaks staple drink in The Return which I am thrilled to add to the menu at all upcoming Twin Peaks events) and they ask Tammy if she would like to join Project Blue Book. She immediately agrees despite knowing how dangerous it could be. The red curtains surrounding the room make the scene feel extra significant and especially when Diane joins them. Stepping through the red curtains, she looks as if she is creeping straight out of The Black Lodge. Gordon offers to make Diane a temporary Deputy to assist them further in the Major Briggs/Ruth Davenport/Agent Cooper conundrum. Music from Fire Walk With Me kicks in, sending a chill through me and she agrees with a “Let’s rock”, infamous words last heard uttered by The Man From Another Place. Diane isn’t just suspicious anymore, she’s downright eerie.
Diane visits the hotel bar on two occasions in Part 12 and both times is wearing a different costume. If we are to rely on continuity to indicate time this reinforces my idea that the timelines we are presented with each week, cannot be assumed to be linear. In one scene she wears the same red top she wore when Gordon made her a Deputy and receives an incoming txt message which I assume could be from Mr C saying, ‘Las Vegas?’ and she replies, ‘They haven’t asked yet’.
In the next bar scene Diane wears the green top she wore after the FBI team visited the portal and found Ruth Davenport’s corpse with the co-ordinates written on her arm. Diane types the co-ordinates into a map on her phone and of course they lead to Twin Peaks. One thing that has annoyed me about this scene is Diane’s dodgy manicure. In the close-up shot of her phone, her left thumbnail has some weird mark on it. It can’t be nail art and it looks really odd… I don’t know what to make of it but as someone who gets very regular manicures I can’t help but be mystified. Maybe now I definitely am reading into this too much? I think at this point all of us are reading too much into everything.
Albert continues to monitor Diane’s phone and goes to relay the information to a lusty Gordon who is in the middle of a romantic drink with a saucy French lady. It takes a very long time for his French fox to vogue her way out of the hotel room and many viewers have likened her to ‘Lil The Dancer’ who Gordon used in Fire Walk With Me to relay a coded message to Agents Chester Desmond and Sam Stanley. The comparisons are many – both women wear red dresses, move in a choreographed fashion and Gordon refers to them using convoluted descriptions such as (Lil) “my mother’s sister’s girl” and (Frenchie) “a friend of her mother’s daughter”. Gordon also blinks in an exaggerated way after delivering his amazing turnip farm pun. Is he just being amusing? Is he communicating with Albert in code? Is this simply a lovely tribute to Lil as a gift to the hardcore fans? Or am I again, reading way too much into this?
Part 12 spends a comparatively large amount of time in Twin Peaks which is such a delight after the early episodes when the presence of the town itself was being drip fed to us in the most teasing manner. The only other scene in the episode away from the town shows Mr C’s crew brutally bumping off Warden Murphy on his front door step, in front of his son. They contemplate torturing him but are too hungry to bother. Mr C’s crew are totally remorseless, and they’re not even evil spirits from The Black Lodge!
In Twin Peaks, the lonely and troubled Sarah Palmer stocks up on vodka and cigarettes and then has a meltdown at the till due to some new Turkey Jerky on display. More music from Fire Walk With Me is present and in this truly disturbing moment spooky Sarah’s voice drops as she starts to ramble. She is completely distressed and her words “somethings happening, I don’t feel good” sound like she could be channelling the distress of her late daughter Laura. One of the cashiers, Oscar, kindly suggests to his colleague that he could deliver Sarah’s abandoned groceries to her home. Later, Hawk sweetly pays Sarah a visit at home to check on her. Seeing the Palmer home, with Laura’s music playing and close-ups of the ceiling fan is positively unnerving. The house seems forever shrouded in darkness, suffering and distress. Hawk hears a clatter come from inside the house and Sarah denies anyone being present saying, “No, just something in the kitchen”. I wondered if it could be Oscar dropping off the vodka, but then why would Sarah lie about it being there? Something is happening in that house and whatever it is, it cannot be good.
Carl Rodd of The Fat Trout Trailer Park demonstrates yet again what an undercover angel he is by paying a resident for his help around the trailer park and asking him to stop giving blood as a means to eat. He is such a kind and decent man and Mark Frost confirmed on Twitter recently that of course Carl is one of the original Bookhouse Boys.
Miriam lies in her hospital bed unconscious and looking worse for wear. The familiar slow pan down the hospital corridor looked as though the footage could easily have been taken directly from the old seasons. I hope Miriam wakes up and recovers soon and doesn’t get suffocated by pillow in her sleep Leland style by Richard whose whereabouts are currently unknown.
Frank Truman visits Ben Horne to deliver the bad news of his grandson Richard’s involvement in the fatal hit and run. Ben neither mentions Richard’s mother (Audrey) or that Richard violently harassed his ex-wife and son and robbed them in their own home. But this isn’t too surprising since Ben has always been on the shady side and kept many secrets from the local authorities. He kindly passes on Agent Cooper’s hotel room key to Frank to offer to Harry as a memento of that crazy time. And Ben agrees to pay for Miriam’s hospital bills. He is being rinsed dry these days – I wonder if One Eyed Jack’s is still bringing in the big bucks for him?
Now the episode descends into frustration central. We see the same Doctor Jacoby shit digging golden shovel footage, cut with new footage of Nadine watching at home. She seems to be a mega fan of Doctor Amp so is probably watching on repeat. Having spent the last two decades watching Twin Peaks on repeat, I can completely relate to and accept this behaviour.
And then it happens, finally, for all those Audrey obsessives, she is brought back to life on screen in a completely unexpected way. She hasn’t been disfigured in the bank blast like some people theorised. In fact she looks lovely, if almost like a cartoonish Betty Boop (I did admire her beautiful red coat). In this dialogue heavy scene, Audrey swears and shouts at her husband Charlie about looking for Billy (is this a hark back to Billy Zane who played handsome John Justice Wheeler, the man who took Audrey’s virginity in a plane?) who has been missing for two days. She mentions that Tina was the last person to have seen him and brings up a Paul and a Chuck. Charlie calls Tina and seems to be given a lot of juicy information which doesn’t give us or Audrey any clarity as he refuses to relay it. Charlie seems a hardworking and reasonable husband but not the man who I would have pictured Audrey to be with. He mentions a contract between the two suggesting that their marriage is by arrangement. The acting is melodramatic and exaggerated giving serious telenovela soap opera vibes, enhanced by the awkward distance between the two characters who don’t move from their positions and the stilted opening of the scene in which they look at each other in silence before the arguing begins. I’m sure the Audrey army are thrilled to have their queen back on screen but was this the satisfying appearance expected? Most certainly not.
Part 12 ends at The Roadhouse where The Chromatics who closed the season premiere play yet again. More new characters gossip about people we have never heard of: Angela, Clark and Mary. A man called Trick shows up complaining about nearly being run off the road by a maniac driver. My bets are on Mr C rolling into town at speed. By the end of Part 12 I felt deliberate mind games are being played to confuse and frustrate viewers. That’s not to say I am either complaining or dissing this Part as a bad one. The moments with Sarah Palmer were exceptionally good and I am delighted that we are getting so much time in Twin Peaks itself.
David Lynch once said “I don’t know why people expect art to make sense. They accept the fact that life doesn’t make sense.” And Part 12 couldn’t be more true to this statement.