As we get closer to the finale of Twin Peaks: The Return, which will air in two parts on September 3rd, it seems like we can expect a few major plot points hidden in plain sight each week as things piece together more and more. These are a mix of brief moments of clear view through the smoke and fun nuggets of revelation. In “Part Eleven”, which a select few who attended the San Diego Comic-Con got an advanced screening of on Friday, July 21st, we learn that Becky Burnett (Amanda Seyfried) is the daughter of Deputy Bobby Briggs (Dana Ashbrook). We learned early on (“Part Five”, to be exact) that Shelly (Mädchen Amick) was Becky’s mom when Becky stopped in to the RR during Shelly’s shift to hit her up for money, but because Shelly has, up to this point, not been credited with a last name, we could only guess who the father was.
In the original series, Shelly was married to the fist-swinging, drug-dealing, greasy-ponytail-having, new-shoes-hiding Leo Johnson (Eric Da Re), and god only knows what happened to him. Last we saw of Leo, he was being held captive by Dale Cooper’s (Kyle MacLachlan) maniacal ex-partner from the FBI, Windom Earle (Kenneth Welsh), who found his way into the Black Lodge and had his soul stolen by BOB (Frank Silva). Shelly, now credited in full as Shelly Briggs, wears a wedding band around her neck, which seemed strange up until now (and maybe still does because it looks like a man’s ring), and has amicably split with Bobby. She’s now dating Red (Balthazar Getty), which shows us that she still favors bad boys, and Bobby isn’t bad anymore. We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: love has a really hard time in Twin Peaks: The Return. Aside from this nice tying of loose ends, we also learn why garmonbozia (“pain and sorrow”) manifests in the form of creamed corn instead of, well, anything else, which tells us that nothing is really happenstance in the world of Twin Peaks, no matter how oddly trivial it may seem at the time. And all too often we’re made to wait 25 whole years for even the smallest resolution. (More on “but why creamed corn?” a bit later.)
“Part Eleven” opens with a group of young boys playing catch in front of a trailer park — presumably the New Fat Trout trailer park. The ball gets away from them, and one of the kids runs across a small road to retrieve it and sees the bloodied (but still alive) body of Miriam Sullivan (Sarah Jean Long) who Richard Horne (Eamon Farren) attempted to kill in “Part Ten” by bashing her head in and then leaving a lit candle next to the gas stove in her cutely decorated trailer. We don’t get much more from this than the knowledge that he failed in his attempt to kill her, which is bad news for Richard because she’s an eye witness to him running a little kid over with his truck and speeding off in “Part Six”. Has anyone started calling this guy Dick yet? We should. From here, we get a longer look into the hectic life of Becky when she receives a distressing call at home about her husband, Steven (Caleb Landry Jones), which sends her into a screaming fury. She calls Shelly and asks if she can use her car and Shelly, being the loving mother that she is, grabs her purse and runs out of the RR, leaving a worried looking Norma (Peggy Lipton) behind. Norma has said about 12 words in The Return so far, but her sad eyes and wrinkled brow speak volumes.
As soon as Shelly pulls up to Becky’s trailer, Becky runs out with a gun in her hand, snatches Shelly’s keys, and attempts to take off with her car. Shelly has seen some shit in her life though and can’t be brushed off that easily. She jumps on the hood of the car and spends a few frames shouting for Becky to stop, in a way that’s both heartbreaking and kind of funny, which is so Lynch. Instead of stopping the car, Becky makes a series of fast swerves that dump Shelly off the hood and into some nearby grass, red high heels akimbo. Sweet Carl Rodd (Harry Dean Stanton) happens by and sees Shelly in trouble and comes over to help. Shelly asks him for a ride back to the RR, and he produces a long, silver whistle, which he uses to summon his preferred mode of transportation, a VW van, driven by someone other than him.
In Buckhorn, South Dakota, Gordon Cole (David Lynch), Tamara Preston (Chrysta Bell), Albert Rosenfield (Miguel Ferrer), and Diane Evans (Laura Dern) are led by Detective Macklay (Brent Briscoe) with Bill Hastings (Matthew Lillard) still under custody and guiding them from the backseat to the location where Hastings entered a new dimension and met with Major Garland Briggs (Don S. Davis). They arrive at 2240 Sycamore, which is a sun-scorched lot with a few dilapidated shacks still standing, and Albert and Gordon sneak in through a hole in the fence to get a closer look while Tamara stands guard, gun drawn, nearby. Advancing further into the lot than Albert, Gordon looks up into the sky and sees a portal opening up. From Albert’s view, Gordon starts to go blurry, but he sees him reach both arms into the sky, as though hoping to get lifted straight up.
As Gordon continues to stare into the portal, he sees a vision of the Woodsmen lined up on a staircase that kind of resembles the stairs in Laura Palmer’s childhood home. Gordon disappears for a bit, and Albert takes this as his cue to grab him by the shoulder and pull him back. As they’re discussing the extremely strange thing that just happened, Diane is leaning against a car smoking, where she sees a Woodsman creeping towards the police car that Hastings and Macklay are sitting in. She doesn’t alert anyone to this, which further points to the suspicion that maybe she’s not on the up and up, and the Woodsman kills Hastings by popping the top of his head like a pimple. Before they head out, Gordon and Albert see something further back on the lot and discover the headless corpse of Ruth Davenport. Albert snaps a few pictures, and they head out to process the insane amount of stuff that just happened to them.
Back in Twin Peaks, Bobby and Shelly have a parental sit-down with Becky, and Bobby says he’ll loan her the money to pay for the damage she did to her husband’s mistress’ apartment door with her hail of bullets. (It should be noted that said mistress is played by Alicia Witt, aka Gersten Hayward. Very interesting.) As this is being wrapped up, and following a brief interlude where Shelly runs outside to make-out with Red for a bit (much to the displeasure of Bobby), another hail of bullets happens — this time through the windows of the RR. Bobby jumps into action, taking full advantage of an opportunity to impress Shelly, and runs outside to see what’s happening. A mini-van driven by a small family is stopped in the middle of the street, and the mom gets out holding a gun that her son had discovered in the back and used to shoot up the RR.
Now, you’d think this was an unfortunate accident, but the kid is standing there like Damian, so who knows. The car behind the mini van won’t stop blaring its horn, so Bobby goes back to talk to the woman, and I’d now like to change the title of “Part Eleven” from “There’s Fire Where You Are Going” to “Bobby’s Nightmare”. The woman driving the car stops hitting the horn long enough to scream at him about how she’s late for dinner and how “her uncle is joining us. She hasn’t seen him in a very long while. She’s sick!” We don’t see who “she” is at first but then, rising from the passenger seat like a zombie ghost is a young girl with arms outstretched and green puke dribbling from the corner of her mouth. She slowly lurches towards the driver’s side window at Bobby, who’s just standing there hating his life.
Meanwhile, back at the Twin Peaks Sheriff’s Department, Deputy Chief Hawk (Michael Horse) and Sheriff Frank Truman (Robert Forster) are going over the details of Major Briggs’ message that they were given in “Part Nine”. Hawk unfolds a scrolled map that he describes as being “very old, but always current. It’s a living thing.” He tells Frank that the date and time on Briggs’ message leads to Blue Pine Mountain, a very revered place, which has a fire symbol next to it on the map. Frank asks if that’s a good thing, and Hawk explains that it depends on the intention of the fire. The message also points to a symbol of corn on the map, which represents fertility, unless it’s black, which then represents something diseased, unnatural, or death. So now we know why Evil Cooper’s garmonbozia was ribboned with black goo, and we also know what corn represents here as a whole. Just about every offspring in this show has caused someone pain and sorrow with a recent MVP being Richard Horne. Naturally, Frank presses Hawk for even more information and asks him what the dark symbol shown by Evil Cooper several weeks back means, and Hawk tells him, “You don’t ever wanna know about that.” The Log Lady (Catherine E. Coulson) calls to tell Hawk that she knows he found something and relays the message, “My log is afraid of fire. There’s fire where you are going.” If you’re familiar with the backstory of the Log Lady, you know that she believes her log to hold the spirit of her deceased husband, a logger who died in a fire on their wedding day.
Looping back around to Buckhorn, South Dakota, we see Gordon having trouble with his left hand following his encounter with the portal he almost got sucked into and that’s an issue, to say the least. In Twin Peaks, shaking left hands happens every so often, usually as an indicator that there’s trouble coming or that a person has come into close proximity with an occupant of the Black Lodge. Albert shows Gordon the picture he took of Ruth Davenport’s arm from the dirt lot, and the coordinates that Evil Cooper has been wanting to learn are written on it. Albert catches Diane mouthing them in an attempt to memorize them, and he pulls the picture away. The three are soon joined by Preston and Macklay, who bring trays of donuts and coffee, or as Cole proudly declares: “The Policeman’s Dream”. Sure enough, that’s not the only reference to a dream in this episode, and that takes us to Viva Las Vegas.
Over at Lucky 7 Insurance, Dougie/Cooper is told by his boss that the claim filed by the Mitchum Brother’s (Jim Belushi, Robert Knepper) wasn’t fraud after all. He produces a check for the $30 million payout they have coming to them and then walks Dougie out to a car being sent by the brothers for a private meeting that they think will end in Dougie/Cooper’s dead body being buried in the desert. Before the car arrives, though, Dougie/Cooper sees a vision of MIKE (Al Strobel) waving him over toward a nearby shop, and so he goes and returns with a big brown box. The driver who takes him the the desert is the same one who brought him home to Janey after his Mr. Jackpots outing and he eyes him from the rearview mirror, knowing that he may be among the last few people to see Dougie/Cooper alive.
However, when the car pulls up, Bradley (Belushi) tells his brother that he had a dream about killing Dougie/Cooper the night before and that if the box he’s holding contains what was in it in his dream, then they have to let him live. Although he thinks Bradley is acting delirious, Rodney (Knepper) entertains the idea and demands that Dougie/Cooper open the box. Dougie/Cooper obliges and the brothers find a cherry pie inside — the same one that popped up in Bradley’s dream — and thus our favorite Special Agent lives to see another day. Hell, the brothers even get their money back, so it’s good news all around. Granted, the cherry pie callback is a bit heavy-handed, but whatever, we’ll take it — and in seconds.
Shortly after this, the two brothers take Dougie out for drinks back in Vegas, where they celebrate over champagne … and, yes, cherry pie. As the three dig in, Rodney savors each bites says the pie’s “damn good,” a review that Dougie/Cooper repeats with fondness, sounding more like Cooper than Dougie. Again, that’s not all. While this is happening, Dougie/Cooper also recognizes a particular note being played on a piano nearby. Something is triggered within him and it’s in this moment he also looks less Dougie and more like Cooper. Could this be “the return” we’ve all been waiting for or will we have to wait even longer? Who knows. On the plus side, Dougie/Cooper lived to eat another pie, and that’s definitely damn good.
DAMN FINE QUOTES
“There’s no backup for this.” –Diane
“Cat on a hot tin roof!” –Gordon Cole
“My log is afraid of fire. There’s fire where you are going.” –Log Lady
NEXT WEEK ON TWIN PEAKS
— Does Steven come home to Becky in an attempt to reconcile? What’s that gonna look like?
— Does Audrey catch word that her son is on a evil rampage?
— Maybe we find out more about that sick girl who tried to puke on Bobby?
— How was Ben and Beverly’s date?
TONIGHT AT THE ROADHOUSE
— Nada. Only champagne dreams and jazz piano in Sin City.