TV review: Twin Peaks – The Return Episode 5: Case Files

John Preston

Contains spoilers.

The two Coopers continue to dominate in episode 5 of Twin Peaks. One is sad and misplaced and the other locked down and vengeful. Both are a long way from the Special Agent of the original, although signs are merging that his true identity, if there is such a thing in Twin Peaks, is struggling to break free.

There are more original characters revealed this week and, I suspect, newer residents of Twin Peaks that will become key characters. Apparent at this stage of the show’s return is how the often spare pacing and sometimes mannered performances are unlike anything else currently being shown on TV. David Lynch and Mark Frost have expanded their world in bombastic and often grandiose ways but Dale Cooper links them all – he is the key to unlocking its many secrets.

Stuck in Dougie Jones’ life and lime-green suit, nice but dim Coop is driven to work by his unhappy wife Janey-E after he sheds a tear while looking at his new son, which isn’t his son, but what does this mean? Could Cooper see a sadness in the child and his life, their life, or was he mourning his own lost life, the last 25 years of which have been spent in the purgatory world of the Black Lodge? His day spent at the insurance firm where Dougie works was absurd in the extreme but also appeared to spark a connection to his previous life. ‘Case Files’, the name of this episode, and ‘agent’ both prompted Cooper to repeat these words back and during a boardroom meeting he accuses a colleague of lying – his first self-instigated reaction.

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Mr C is still being held in a cell in Dakota. Staring in the mirror instigates a looped and terrifying flashback to the original series where he and Bob celebrate their unity. Looking back into the mirror, Mr C’s lower face takes on the form of Bob, the first we have seen confirmation that he is still present: ‘You’re still with me. Good.’

Dougie Jones car is still parked outside the RR and he is a wanted man. A tense, strung-out woman places a call to a device in Buenos Aires. The device flashes and that’s it. Lynch referred to his derided film Fire Walk with Me as essential viewing to help to understand the third season and it appears that this was no tease. In the film, Philip Jeffries, as played by David Bowie, is teleported back to a hotel that he previously disappeared from two years earlier – in Argentina.

It was wonderful to see Norma and Shelly’s beautiful, supportive friendship and working relationship still going strong in the Double R Diner. One of the show’s biggest actresses is Amanda Seyfried and it is now confirmed that she is playing Shelly’s daughter, Becky. Married to a loser, she charmingly borrows cash from her mother to then go off and snort coke with her deadbeat hubby. David Lynch can’t make every frame of an 18-hour show his best directional work to date, but the extreme close-up of Becky with her head tilted back on the car seat and looking skywards will be seen over and over again – essential evidence of his genius as a unique filmmaker. A massive coke rush leaving her euphoric and wide-eyed with an achingly pure beauty – we are now firmly in Laura Palmer territory.

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Lynch and Mark Frost’s tease at the end of episode 4 as to the introduction of the one woman that can determine whether the arrested Cooper is all he claims to be went frustratingly unanswered. Laura Dern, Sherilyn Fenn and Audrey Horne were the favourites but none of them sadly materialised. Pay attention to the credits though and you’ll have seen that the menacing newcomer threathening to rape a young girl at the Bang Bang Bar is called Richard Horne – surely this couldn’t be Audrey’s son?

We did, however, return to Mr C making his one, less-than-private but completely inaudible, phone call. Sirens and alarms simultaneously rang out when he said ‘the cow jumped over the moon’ to a phone device in Buenos Aires that subsequently morphed into a tiny chip. Twin Peaks moved slower this week and with a new melancholy, but with moments like this Lynch continues to confound any expectations one might foolishly already have.

About 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.