Peaks TV: ‘Twin Peaks’ Episode 10, Dougie Jones, Love Machine

and 07.17.17 2 months ago 16 Comments

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The return of Twin Peaks is a lot to process. After each episode, Uproxx‘s Alan Sepinwall and Keith Phipps attempt to hash out what we all just watched.

Alan: Hello, Johnny, how are you today?

Keith: Alan, it’s Keith.

Alan: Hello, Johnny, how are you today?

Keith: Alan, are you okay?

Alan: Hello, Johnny, how are you today?

Keith: Alan.

Alan: Sorry, just got TV’s greatest new catchphrase stuck in my head, thanks to Johnny Horne’s talking teddy bear — with a head designed to resemble the Arm from the Black Lodge — saying it over and over and over again during Richard’s home invasion of Sylvia’s house, a bizarre flourish in an episode full of them.

On the one hand, “Part 10” was overflowing with the kind of basic narrative problems that The Return has been incapable of — or, more likely, uninterested in — solving from the start. Characters like the Mitchum brothers come and go at random, to the point where I occasionally have to reassure myself that this isn’t their first appearance. Becky returned for about 30 seconds, as part of the episode-opening tribute to drug-addled sociopaths abusing women in trailer parks, and later Patrick Fischler’s Duncan Todd had to deliver a piece of bald exposition that was least five hours overdue as he told Anthony what was going on with Dougie, the sketchy insurance documents, the other casino, etc.

On the other, for a relatively “normal” hour of The Return, this one sure was filled with the kind of oddly memorable moments that allow me to mostly shrug off the slipshod, padded nature of the story being told. It wasn’t just the robot bear, but the ghostly Laura Palmer image appearing briefly outside Gordon’s hotel room, or Candie — so slow and scattered, I half-wonder if she, like Good Coop, is really another escapee from the Black Lodge — smacking Rodney Mitchum with a remote control as part of an attempt to kill a fly. (Between that and Kyle MacLachlan’s delightful expression as Janey-E and Dougie had sex, this gave me two of the biggest laughs of the revival to date.) If I had any expectations of The Return making sense, or being well-paced, those flew out the window a month or two ago, but the reward I expect in exchange for not caring is material so bizarre and/or beautiful as to justify the rambling nature of it a show that feels like it was made by Lucy and Andy on that morning where their clock was broken and they didn’t know what time it was, or how quickly time was passing.

Where would you like to begin, Keith? The talking bear and/or the relentless awfulness of Richard? Janey-E being turned on by Good Coop’s ripped torso? The comedy stylings of Jim Belushi and Robert Knepper? Moby randomly cameoing, not as a roadhouse headliner, but as Rebekah Del Rio’s guitar player? Or the magical, incredible name for Nadine’s business: Run Silent, Run Drape, which is not only a hilariously simple payoff to season one’s silent drape runner subplot (she figured it out!), but an homage to one of the great submarine movies ever?

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Keith: I think we have to start with Run Silent, Run Drape, which gave me the second biggest laugh of this episode, after that shot of Dougie in ecstasy. You suggested before that we might only ever get that one fleeting shot of Nadine from an earlier episode where she watches one of Dr. Jacoby’s online rants, but if this is the last we see of her, it will be a bit more satisfying. She started the series with a goal in mind and now she’s achieved it. Arc completed. It’s probably worth considering the role technology is playing in The Return, however. For all the ways the town of Twin Peaks still seems stuck in time, always rooted in some 1950s idea of a small town in a remote location, there’s a lot of Skype-ing and online video in this series. Where Dr. Jacoby used be a local eccentric who brushed shoulders with all the other residents, he’s now removed himself to some cabin where his philosophies have turned into manifestoes and his manifestoes have earned him followers, even if they don’t make much sense. Jacoby’s free-floating, angry, broadly appealing, but vague broadsides remind me a bit of Hal Phillip Walker in Nashville. They connect emotionally without having any real logic behind them.

Even halfway through this run, I have no idea if they’re a sideshow or part of the main event, which can be said of most of what’s going on in the series apart from Dougie and Bad Coop and the events immediately surrounding them. I assumed we’d have seen a lot more of Becky by now. The brevity of her appearance here is kind of baffling but it does, as you point out, complement Richard’s trailer park murder earlier in the episode. What’s more, the action at the Horne’s house seems pretty much unconnected to the action going on at the Great Northern. The show can feel a bit cobbled together a la Arrested Development‘s fourth season at times. I do, however, suspect it will pay off our patience.

A more hurried show also wouldn’t have had time for Candie’s fly hunt or her bizarre inconsolability or her frustrating attempt to retrieve Anthony from the casino floor. Part of what I’ve enjoyed about The Return is its willingness to make these digressions and take time with them so that someone like Candie actress Amy Shiels, whom I’d never heard of before, could emerge as a comic highlight.

I won’t say the comic highlight, however. That honor would have to belong to Maclachlan and Naomi Watts, whose newfound lust for the suddenly fit Dougie makes me take back every thought I’d entertained about the role of Janey-E not giving Watts enough to do. Is it significant that such a light moment appeared in an episode surrounded by darkness? It opens with murder and abuse and that scene where Richard menaces his grandmother and Johnny is both rough and endless. Did it feel like there was an attempt to balance one with the other to you, or is the nature of the series finding such juxtapositions by accident?

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