Twin Peaks part 13 review

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

If you’ve read my reviews of previous episodes of Twin Peaks, you know that I’ve largely viewed this new season as a story that wildly fluctuates in quality from one hour to the next. The aspect of the series that’s primarily kept me on board thus far has been the promise that while not every episode will be a winner, at least the show will remain captivating in the way it translates David Lynch and Mark Frost‘s vision to the screen.

But last night’s episode failed to deliver for me on practically every front, and caused me to question everything I thought I knew about Twin Peaks so far.

The Best Scene in Part 13

The episode’s best scene involved DoppelCooper (Kyle MacLachlan) meeting back up with his criminal accomplice Ray after Ray shot him and left him for dead back in part 8. DoppelCooper rolls up on a hideout of a gang led by a jacked bald guy named Renzo (Derek Mears, who played Jason in the Friday the 13th remake), who challenges DoppelCooper to an arm wrestling match for leadership of the group. DoppelCooper accepts, toys with Renzo during the match, and ultimately punches him in the face so hard that it kills him. (The Mountain from Game of Thrones would be proud.) Instead of taking over the gang, DoppelCooper gets his long-searched-for coordinates from Ray and finds out that Philip Jeffries (David Bowie’s character from Fire Walk With Me) ordered the hit on DoppelCooper. DC kills Ray and heads out, either to visit the location of the coordinates (which seems pretty likely to be the mountains outside of Twin Peaks, mirroring the coordinates Bobby, Hawk, and Sheriff Truman found in Major Briggs’ secret message to them) or to track down Jeffries.

Meanwhile, the real Agent Cooper (who’s still being confused for an insurance agent named Dougie Jones), returns to his office with the Mitchum brothers, who are so thrilled about receiving their insurance money that they bought both Dougie and Dougie’s boss a brand new BMW convertible. Dougie’s skeezy co-worker Anthony (Tom Sizemore) freaks out when he sees that Dougie hasn’t been killed, and enlists a crooked policeman’s help to obtain poison so Anthony can kill Dougie himself. But at the last second, Anthony has a crisis of conscience – he doesn’t kill Dougie, and he confesses everything to their boss, who intends to have Anthony testify against Duncan Todd, the man who wants Dougie dead.

We learn that Norma has franchised the Double R Diner, and she butts heads with her (male) business partner over the ingredients of her famous pies. A melancholy Big Ed Hurley broods over Norma’s interaction with her partner (he clearly still has feelings for her all these years later), and Nadine comes face to face with the Alex Jones-esque internet maniac Dr. Jacoby. Potential romantic sparks fly between those two, but this is a storyline I could not possibly care any less about. Meanwhile, a drunk Sarah Palmer watches the same ten seconds of an old boxing match on a continual loop at her house, and James Hurley performs the most annoying song in history (and a season 1 callback) on stage at the Roadhouse, moving one of the bar’s patrons to tears. There’s no sense of forward momentum, no hints at the larger mystery at play, and not even any of Lynch’s out-there visual flourishes for me to sink my teeth into. This episode was just…dull.

While Audrey’s panicky existential crisis caused her to question her identity, this episode made me think long and hard about The Return and the value I find in it. This show is extraordinarily idiosyncratic and different people fall all over the spectrum when it comes to their tolerance for Lynch and Frost’s pacing, and this episode finally pushed me into the “this just isn’t worth it” camp. The scales have officially tipped for me, and while the season started strong and had since delivered a handful of powerful, memorable installments, I’m now suffering through the series instead of regularly enjoying it. I’ll stick it out and keep reviewing it since only five more hours are remaining, and who knows – maybe the remaining episodes will stick the landing in a way I never dreamed possible and shift my entire perspective on this season so far. I know many cinephiles have practically deified Lynch and there will be those who will defend every choice he makes, but an hour as sluggish and inert as this one makes me regret ever watching this show in the first place.

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