Wake up Coop – wake up now!
Just over half-way through episode 12 of 2017’s heralded return to Twin Peaks, the screen suddenly, unexpectedly settles on a profile shot of one its most loved and genuinely iconic characters. Audrey Horne has finally come back to the town. Sherilyn Fenn, the actress who plays her, has been the only current cast member to negatively speak out out about her disappointment in the way the show’s pre-marketing and publicity was handled. When she didn’t appear at the Cannes premiere in May and then failed to materialise in the show at the point everyone expected and hoped, it started to look as though maybe Fenn was onto something, at least in respect to her character. What a relief then that this has turned out to be speculation only and that Audrey has returned in a very long scene that was initially riveting but, oh dear, ultimately disappointing (more on that in a moment).
There are two events that move the plot forward this week, the first of which takes place between two sets of red curtains, but these are not the same red curtains that we’re used to seeing. Albert and Gordon explain to Agent Tammy Preston that Blue Rose is the name given to the ongoing investigations into paranormal activity from the 1950s. Following the disappearance of former Blue Rose agents Chet Desmond (Chris Isaak) and Philip Jeffries (David Bowie), they offer Tammy the job to join the remaining team of Albert and Cole. She maybe naively excepts when Diane enters the room through the set of red curtains on the other side of the hotel room where the meeting takes place. To keep her close at hand, the agents also offer Diane a temporary position and her mannered response of ‘let’s rock’, also the name of this episode, brings back memories of the dancing Man From Another Place who originally used the phrase in Cooper’s first dream of the Black Lodge. Is this a clue to Diane’s real intentions?
Grace Zabriskie is the ultimate David Lynch stalwart, and in her role as the mother of Laura, Sarah Palmer, she is the best thing about episode 12 and one of the highlights of the return so far. In the supermarket (‘convenience store’?) she piles the booze into her trolley and at the till becomes transfixed and then traumatised by the arrival of turkey jerky which is pinned to the wall behind the cashier.
‘Were you here when they arrived?’ she asks, and not in relation to the turkey as the confusing employee seems to think. ‘Men are coming; you have to be careful!’ she warns before breaking down completely. ‘Something happened to me! I don’t feel good.’
When Hawke stops by to check in on Sarah there is a full-screen shot given to the ceiling fan, a constantly repeated motif that was shown throughout the first season and always in relation to the death of Laura. There is a noise in Sarah’s kitchen which she shrugs off: ‘It’s a goddamn bad story isn’t it Hawke?’ she says through clenched teeth. It is THE story.
11 minutes of Audrey Horne standing quite still whilst yelling, gurning and goading her husband by legal contract Charlie, is not the Audrey anyone could have hoped for. It could be that Lynch and Frost are playing the entire scene completely straight and that she has become this angry and unhappy person. It wouldn’t be a complete surprise knowing that following her protest at the bank and its subsequent explosion at the end of season 2, Audrey had been in a coma and that evil Coop visited her whilst she was still unconscious and childless and that she is probably now the mother of psychopathic murderer Richard. But what if she’s still in the coma or, possibly, what if Audrey Horne actually died? The scene is one of the most soapy we have seen from Lynch, the acting and the dialogue are hammy and melodramatic and Charlie actually uses the phrase ‘fishy’. Just how fishy we’ll have to wait and see but at present, I’m not buying it.
New characters are still being being introduced from the town, some only referred to in conversation by other new characters, and I’m uncertain whether they will become part of the plot or whether I want them to be. The scene in which Audrey belligerently referred only to people who we have never seen or know, or at least this what we are lead to believe, left it difficult to engage with and frustratingly time wasting. There are only six hours of the show left and the next episode will be crucial in cementing the momentum thus far and determining whether the return is the masterpiece that so many hoped for and up until now has exceeded expectations. But Special Agent Dale Cooper has still not broken through Dougie Jones and what exactly is at stake if he doesn’t? The end of the town possibly, maybe even the end of time.
I hope that the show is about to now veer of the road it’s been travelling on since episode 9; the last four hours have purposefully set up a representation of who’s good in the show (Carl, Miriam and Shelley), and who is not (Richard, Stephen and Red). This in turn ties into the same over-arching theme, but one which has now begun to reveal the reasons as to what the actual causes of good (represented by the White Lodge) and evil (the Black) being introduced to the world are, with this now becoming essential to the Twin Peaks mythology. The outstanding eighth episode literally blew the show to bits, generating even more questions but providing some answers too. But Lynch and Frost have given us very little of those intriguing places and their inhabitants since then and I for one am now becoming desperate to revisit them. Wake up Coop – wake up now!