‘The following programme contains flashing images and some disturbing scenes.’
So announces Sky at the start of episode three. It’s meant as neutral guidance, but as things start occurring on screen it soon functions more as a warning, then a threat, and finally, a laughable understatement. Mere days ago, having been blindsided by the surrealism of the opening two hours, we felt pretty sure the WTF levels would settle down as things fell into place, relative normality resuming. What fools we were. The beginning had nothing on what has happened since – if anything, it gave us a false sense of security. The first episodes seemed to be about sadness. These ones bring madness.
As mentioned previously, Lynch has firmly stated that he sees this season as a film in 18 parts, and the third and fourth instalments cement that notion – make no mistake, this is pure cinema. We are all watching the glass box now, transfixed, awaiting seismic events. It’s rare – unprecedented maybe – to have an entire television series shot a year before broadcast, as is the case here, but it is now clear that the last 12 months have been spent furiously turning that footage into art.
Cooper’s journey out of the Red Room was a thrill. What does one even call these places he found himself in? There was some sort of netherworld, starring a lady with no eyes, who flailed at him, accompanied by audio effects that sounded like vicious slashing, and juddering glitchy visuals that looked like 19th century film stock. Then he was in – space? Elements of Eraserhead and even The Elephant Man sprung to mind, while now standard Red Room riddles (“When you get there you will already be there”) made Cooper the star of a particularly bizarre Choose Your Own Adventure.
These two episodes were off the hook.
The most grounded moments were when characters actually acknowledged how strange things are. In episode three we were introduced to a third Coop doppelgänger, bouffant businessman Dougie, who collapsed at the same time as Evil Coop had a funny turn after crashing his car. Both of them vomited up something disgusting, possibly Black Lodge food Garmonbozia. “What the fuck was that?!” asks prostitute Jade as Dougie hits the floor. Meanwhile, now in the Red Room, Dougie himself said, “I feel funny,” sounding uncannily like one-time YouTube sensation David After Dentist. When his hand started shrinking, he said, ‘That’s weird,” a real LOL moment, of which there were many. One can only imagine the fun Lynch and Frost had cooking this stuff up.
So Cooper is back in the real world, but the real world is not back in him. Having emerged from a plug socket that looks like a tortured, screaming face (RIP Josie Packard), he’s now a lost soul, with seemingly no idea who he is, talking like he has Alzheimer’s, walking like he’s Frankenstein. Suffering him doddering about aimlessly is sad, and it’s a marker of how bizarre Twin Peaks has got now when you think he might be better off in the relative comfort of the Red Room. But it’s also hilariously wacky, and despite our best wishes for Coop to find himself again soon, we’re enjoying our time with Mr Jackpots.
Meanwhile, with isolated sequences that make even less sense, like Dr Jacoby spraypainting shovels and Michael Cera cameoing as an absurd tribute to Marlon Brando in The Wild One, Lynch seems to be inserting possibly inconsequential short films into the show. Consistency of tone means nothing to him. When Bobby, now a Deputy Sheriff, sees Laura’s photo and Angelo Badalamenti’s music pipes up, his distraught reaction is so overplayed, and accompanied by Robert Forster’s unfeeling look at him, the whole bit seems to be almost mocking the nostalgia of it all. Soon after that, Cooper is reunited with his coffee, but immediately spews it out. Lynch will not give us what we think we want. He’s having a ball.
These two episodes were off the hook. One Coop doppelgänger was mad enough, but we knew it was coming, and God forbid we should get used to anything, so Lynch gives us another one. We now know that new Twin Peaks is operating on many different levels of batshit. It’s fabulously unpredictable. “Albert, I hate to admit this, but I don’t understand this situation at all,” says Lynch himself, his very own Mount Rushmore face inhabited by Gordon Cole. Good to know.
Who is Dougie?
In the Red Room, MIKE says Dougie has been manufactured by someone for a purpose, fulfilled now that he’s in the Red Room, right? Manufactured by who? All signs lead to BOB. Maybe. Note that Dougie was wearing the Owl Cave ring, previously seen on Teresa Banks and Laura Palmer before they died.
What is Blue Rose?
The disembodied spirit head of Garland Briggs uttered it to Cooper in space (how amazing to write these sentences as if it’s normal), and later, Albert mentions it to Gordon after meeting Evil Coop. It was previously mentioned in Fire Walk With Me, and most likely concerns supernatural happenings, probably Black Lodge related.
Who has been pressing Coop’s suit?
Seriously he’s been stuck in the Red Room for 25 years. You might theorise he’s been frozen in time in there, although he’s visibly aged, so that doesn’t quite work. What’s he been eating? Garmonbozia, right?
Twin Peaks is broadcast weekly on Sky Atlantic and NOW TV, in a simulcast with the US airing on Showtime. The Premiere is now available on demand along with Parts 3 & 4 via Sky, Sky Go and NOW TV. Catch up now on series 1 and 2 via Sky Box Sets.