TV review: Twin Peaks – The Return, Episode 3: Call for Help

John Preston

John Preston

South London based music obsessive with strong opinions about most things. Doubts Madonna has another good record in her but would love more than anything to be proved wrong.
John Preston

‘Call for Help’ (contains spoilers)

So you thought the first two episodes were weird? The third episode of Twin Peaks out-rivals the majority of David Lynch’s own film work for impenetrable surreality and oddness and certainly does nothing to relieve concerns that he may just be running stylish rings around us. But the narrative strand is in fact there and Special Agent Dale Cooper, who seemed to haphazardly fall out of the Black Lodge at the end of episode two, is descending through various rooms before, we presume, he will eventually land somewhere.

Colours have changed and the red room is now replaced by a crater set in a purple ocean. The crater leads to a purple room where a woman whose eyes have gone and are replaced by waxy smears sits in a purple dress.

‘Where is this? Where are we?’ asks Coop – an explanation is predictably not forthcoming.

Stop-motion effects add significantly to a feeling of wired unease and panic, enforced by the purple woman who also makes sounds like small, digital cuts through air. She constantly tries to communicate to Cooper but he, like us, cannot understand anything. He is constantly drawn to a barometer-type device on the wall of the room which shows the number 15 and the purple woman pushes him away, warning of its unseen danger.

Leading him outside the crater, which is a smaller tin cube no longer surrounded by water but in what appears to be space, she electrocutes herself and throws herself into the galaxy of stars. Major Briggs’ head floats by and says ‘blue rose’, alluding to the supernatural and complex special cases which were referred to in ‘Fire Walk with Me’.

Prepare yourself for a third Cooper. In addition to nasty Mr C and the lost in space original, Dougie Jones is the suburban, side-burned, soft bellied variation.

Dougie Jones is just finishing off with a prostitute behind his wife’s back and suddenly grabs his stomach in pain. Good Coop is experiencing a second purple woman who turns out to be Ronette Pulaski, not mute like her tragic suicidal friend, and she told him to hurry up as it was nearly 2:53, a number referred to by the arm tree in the previous episode. There is also a tremendous amount of vomiting of the yellow and black variety emitted by Mr C at 2:53. His not altogether successful attempt to suppress this revolting gunge may have saved him from being taken back to the Black Lodge and, in his place, at 2:53 Dougie Jones finds himself with the one-armed man who, declaring that there is no longer any use for him, turns him into a small golden ball.

The good Coop finds himself transported from the Purple Room barometer via an electronic current through to the plug socket (oh yes) into the house that Dougie Jones has been extracted from. The kindly call girl takes him to the Silver Mustang Casino and he goes on to win massive amounts of money. Not that he for one second understands what money is – for Cooper has regressed to a child-like buffoon and can only repeat the last two words that the last person has said to him (‘Dougie Jones!’).

Fan favourite Albert (Miguel Ferrer) and David Lynch as Gordon Cole return with Lynch chanteuse Chrysta Bell playing the part of Special Agent Tamara Preston. She presents the New York cube-creature attacks to the pair, a case that has no leads and no logic. An urgent call is put through to Gordon Cole.

‘It’s Cooper, Agent Cooper.’ Reappearing again after many years missing, just as Special Agent Jeffries did in ‘Fire Walk with Me’.

https://youtu.be/vsdRG0mJj-w

Although original cast members do make appearances – there is a long screwball scene with Hawk, Lucy and Andy, and Doctor Jacobie is spraying his new shovels gold – we are still trying to get to grips with new plotlines, locations and characters. There is something less frantic about this episode and the opening purple-themed scenes are intriguing, original and frustrating, mirroring in some ways the same feelings experienced when we first entered the red room via Coop’s dream in 1990.

The mood is still somewhat uneven and can jar – the casino scenes in particular are flatly vivid and just too long, but there is a feeling that this is intentional and that we are now nearer to an explanation for Coop’s release from the Black Lodge. Before Dougie Jones was turned into jewellery, his left arm went numb. He was wearing the owl ring that Laura also wore before she was murdered. At the moment the ring is back in the Black Lodge, but for how long?

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