Twin Peaks part 11 review

(Each week, we’re going to kick off discussion about Twin Peaks: The Return by answering one question: what was the best scene of the episode?)

Every once in a while, co-creators David Lynch and Mark Frost craft an entry of Twin Peaks that’s emblematic of the series as a whole, simultaneously full of everything that often makes it intriguing and frustrating in equal measure. This week’s episode fits that mold, and thankfully the intriguing aspects outweighed the frustration this time around. This show is a perpetual see-saw, and each viewer’s personal tastes dictate our ability to keep riding it.

Read on for our Twin Peaks part 11 review.

The Best Scene in Part 11

In Buckhorn, South Dakota, a shell-shocked Hastings takes FBI Agents Gordon Cole, Albert Rosenfield, Tammy Preston, and an up-to-no-good Diane to the spot where he once saw Major Briggs. While it looks like a dilapidated house from the outside, this place is clearly a nexus for some strange stuff: those homeless ghosts from earlier this season pop in and out of visibility as they lurk around corners. In the front yard, Cole witnesses a vortex open in the sky and sees a group of those hobo ghosts standing on a staircase, which I read as a representation of Cole’s own ongoing quest for the truth (one could argue that he’s on one of many steps toward enlightenment).

Immediately afterward, one of the sooty ghosts sneaks into the backseat of a police car parked out front and squishes Hastings’ head (the same way the “gotta light?” guy killed the radio station workers back in the 1950s). Farewell, Matthew Lillard. You did some of your best work on this show. When the detective calls for backup, Diane delivered the line’s best episode: “There’s no backup for this.” (It’s closely followed by Cole’s deadpan assessment of the situation: “He’s dead.”) They also spot the decapitated body of Ruth Davenport in the lawn; she has coordinates scrawled into her arm, which Diane is desperate to get a peek at. It’s a safe bet that DoppelCooper is going to be receiving that information very soon.

In the town of Twin Peaks, Deputy Hawk produces an ancient map and shows it to Sheriff Truman, matching symbols on the map with symbols that appeared in Major Briggs’ message for them that they obtained a couple of episodes ago. He points to two symbols: a fire symbol (“more like modern day electricity”), and darkened stalks of corn (“fertility, but it’s black – diseased or unnatural…death”). Combining the two symbols results in a black fire, and there’s no way that can be a good thing for anyone. I interpreted those symbols as referring to DoppelCooper. The electricity recalls the conduit to and from the Black Lodge, and the “unnatural” and “death” parts pretty much speak for themselves with that guy. Anyone else have a different reading of the symbols and what they might mean?

Elsewhere, Frost and Lynch explore moments of horror and absolution in two of the episode’s quieter scenes: some boys find the bloodied and barely-alive Miriam Sullivan crawling through the woods after being left for dead by Richard Horne (horror), and a 911 operator offers reassurance to a continual stream of callers in a manner reminiscent of a priest consoling his congregation (absolution).

Becky is pissed off at her cheating husband, so she asks Shelly if she can borrow her car; a minute later, Shelly is being flung off the hood of her own car as Becky drives to Steven’s girlfriend’s apartment and fires a gun at the front door. We get confirmation that Shelly and Deputy Bobby Briggs were formerly married and Becky is their daughter, and during a reconciliation scene at the Double R Diner, a bullet flies through the window. It’s not an assassination attempt or anything purposefully devious, just an accident: at a traffic light outside, a kid in the backseat of a van picked up his dad’s gun off the floor of the vehicle and shot through the window.

Bobby springs into action and gets control over the situation, but the woman in the car behind the van won’t stop honking her horn. (That Lynch does his own sound design for this series becomes especially potent in moments like these.) When Bobby tries to get her to stop honking, the hysterical driver screams at him and eventually reveals her passenger: a sick child that emerges from the floor, cross-eyed and vomiting green fluid as she horrifically crawls toward Bobby. It’s one of the season’s biggest WTF moments outside of part 8, and the most unsettling imagery in the episode.

Thanks to Dougie Jones’s Lodge-guided investigative work, he managed to prove that the Mitchum brothers actually have a legitimate insurance claim and are owed $30 million. The brothers orchestrate a meeting with Dougie because they want to kill him (they think he’s responsible for their claim being denied), but Dougie shows up to their desert meeting with a cherry pie – which coincides perfectly with Bradley Mitchum’s prophetic dream, Dougie becomes their new favorite person. It certainly doesn’t hurt that he’s carrying that $30 million check with their name on it, so they take him to their casino restaurant to celebrate.

In one of the nicest moments in the show’s history, the haggard old woman from the casino who previously dubbed Dougie “Mr. Jackpots” spots him at the restaurant and profusely thanks him for changing her life. She’s all cleaned up, and she’s reconnected with her son thanks to Dougie pointing her to a winning slot machine. That such a moving display of genuine appreciation could appear in the same hour of a show that contains an inter-dimensional vortex and a vomiting zombie kid is exactly why Twin Peaks is unlike anything else on television.

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