Twin Peaks part 5 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?)

The tagline of Twin Peaks: The Return is, “It is happening again.” It’s appropriate on multiple levels: on one, the show itself is indeed happening again; on another, the supernatural goings-on within the Black Lodge and beyond have been awakened again. But last night, the latest part of Twin Peaks gave us a third reading on that tagline that may be the most terrifying of all: Part 5, the worst of the new batch of episodes thus far, felt like an episode from the much-maligned second season. Man, I really hope that’s not happening again.

For the first time since the revival began, the entire hour felt like a chore. There were, however, a couple of all-too-brief standout moments, so let’s dive in and take a look at them in our latest Twin Peaks review.

The Best Scene in Part 5

I’ll say something nice before I get to the meat of this review: I laughed out loud at the car bomb scene. (That’s a weird thing to admit, but then, this is a weird show.) As far as I can tell, those kids in the black car were just randomly looking to steal some wheels, and boy, did they ever pick the wrong vehicle to mess with. The little neighbor kid across the street had his life inadvertently saved by these lowlifes, and the fact that they reaped what they sowed by instantly being blown to bits is the least drawn-out decision Lynch and Frost have made so far. But speaking of drawing things out…

The whole rest of this hour was a total slog. The back half of Season 2 was notorious for episodes with excruciating pacing and introducing plot elements that barely contributed to the series’ larger narrative, and those problems are back on full display here. And look, this is Twin Peaks. We all know what we signed up for. I’m not expecting tidy answers or the resurrection of famous catchphrases, but I do expect an hour of television that’s, at the very least, engaging and challenging in the way only Lynch can provide. This…wasn’t that. It was the worst thing an episode of Twin Peaks can be: boring.

Dougie’s (Kyle MacLachlan) would-be assassins get a call from their boss, a mysterious woman who, when she realizes Dougie isn’t dead yet, reluctantly makes a coded call to a device in Buenos Aires. Meanwhile, the Buckhorn coroner (Jane Adams) tests out her stand-up act while confirming their mysterious beheaded body belonged to Agent Cooper’s old pal Major Garland Briggs – but Dougie’s wedding ring is somehow inside Briggs’ stomach. Um, OK then.

In prison, DoppelCooper looks in the mirror and Lynch digitally alters his face to remind us that he’s still inhabited by the killer demon Bob. (A clever workaround, since Frank Silva, the actor who played Bob in the original series, died in the mid-90s.) He gets his one phone call, feigns that he’s going to call someone named Mr. Strawberry (which is extremely concerning for the warden), but then dials a number that puts the prison’s electronic system on the fritz. He leaves a message on that same Buenos Aires device we saw earlier, and it morphs into a tiny metallic-looking mass. WTF.

Back in Twin Peaks, we catch our first new glimpse of Mike Nelson (Gary Hershberger), an old Twin Peaks High School alum, who’s running a car dealership and dresses down a twenty-something junkie (Get Out’s Caleb Landry Jones) who’s applying for a job. The junkie is hooking up with another new character, Becky Burnett (Amanda Seyfried), and Becky convinces our old friend and career diner waitress Shelly (Madchen Amick) to lend her some cash until her deadbeat boyfriend gets a job. The two do a bump of cocaine and cruise away.

Sheriff Frank Truman (Robert Forster) gets a dressing down of his own from his wife (Candy Clark), who gives him hell about fixing things up around the house. Her delivery is off-the-charts awful, though a charitable reading would be that Lynch is attempting to recapture some of the melodramatic nature of the original series. Mission accomplished, I guess? And at the Bang Bang Bar, we meet a real class act (Eamon Farren) who pays off a bouncer, chokes a woman, and threatens to rape her. The last time we see them, the guy still has his hand around her throat. Lynch’s unique style buys him an awful lot of leeway, but this scene put him very close to running out of runway with me. It’s going to take a lot for that payoff, assuming there is one, to be worth putting us through that.

Elsewhere, we learn Dr. Jacoby (Russ Tamblyn) is an Alex Jones-style video show host, all with the aim of selling shovels. I don’t know, guys. I’m just telling you what I saw.

The majority of the episode is devoted to the unbearably plodding adventures of a clearly-not-all-there FBI Special Agent Dale Cooper, who everyone around him – including his flustered wife (Naomi Watts) – somehow still thinks is a guy named Dougie, despite the fact that the man before them is clearly debilitated. Lynch and Frost must know that everyone just wants to see Cooper back in his prime, but they refuse to give in and are hellbent on telling this story at their own pace. Normally I’m OK with that because normally, there’s at least some stylistic choices, unique editing, or something to grasp onto. But with no follow-up to last week’s questions and the introduction of even more scumbag characters, it feels as if Lynch is one step away from embracing full-on nihilism.

This was a rough one, but I’m hoping there’s nowhere to go next week but up.

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