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. With Alan on vacation this week, Josh Kurp will be subbing in for him.
Keith: Josh, thanks for stepping in for Alan while he’s stuck in the Black Lodge (or on vacation; I’m unclear). There’s a lot to talk about this week, but let’s start with two sequences that almost bookend the episode and whose origins go all the way back to the Twin Peaks pilot. In the episode’s opening, Nadine (Wendy Robie), feeling empowered by Dr. Jacoby’s message (and her golden shovel) gives Ed (Everett McGill) his freedom. He makes a beeline to the RR Diner where Norma (Peggy Lipton) seems to reject him for the big-time, restaurant-franchising Walter only to give it all up and embrace Ed, all while Otis Redding’s scorching Monterey Pop performance of “I’ve Been Loving You Too Long” swells in the background.
It’s a tremendous scene, beautifully played by Lipton, Robie (who keeps Nadine’s menacing edge even as she’s expressing her love and best wishes for her husband), and especially McGill (who takes Ed from ecstasy to heartbreak and back again with just a few words). It also feels like the closing off of one of the series’ longest-running storylines and a strong indication that, with only two weeks and three episodes left, we’re getting close to the end of Twin Peaks.
So, when Lucy asks late in the episode, “The Log Lady is dead?” it hits on a few levels: The show has lost a beloved character, but we also know that actress Catherine Coulson, a longtime friend and collaborator of Lynch, died in the time between the production of The Return and its release. And when the show first aired in 1990, the Log Lady became one of the elements that became shorthand for the show itself. (I even had a Log Lady t-shirt that I procured at the local mall.) It’s getting on closing time in Twin Peaks. Josh, did you get a similar sense of things coming to an end this week? That said, it seems like there’s an awful lot of plot to get through before Frost, Lynch, and everyone else can close up shop. And are we ever going to talk about Judy?
Josh: To quote the Log Lady herself, death is “a change, not an end.” It was an appropriately haunting and mysterious exit for a haunting and mysterious character, someone who I knew about before I even watched the show. Speaking of changes: where did “mystical steam-spewing teapot above a convenience store” land on your list of ways to get Phillip Jeffries on the show following the death of David Bowie? Definitely top five for me. I had to watch the scene more than once, because a) the first time I was distracted by Nathan Frizzell’s Ziggy Stardust impression, and b) a lot of crucial information was dropped. Most importantly, that Dark Cooper has met Judy before, and he now has her number. Or, at least a number: 480551. It gives Dark Cooper somewhere to start, because even he seems puzzled (note his quizzical reaction when Jeffries confirms “You are Cooper”); it’s one of the first times in The Return that a character has straight-up asked, what the heck is going on? I stopped wondering that weeks ago. It’s clear we won’t get all the answers we want, so might as well enjoy the ride for a few more episodes.
And there was a lot to enjoy in “Part 15.” I don’t know about you, Keith, but while dragons are cool and all, I might prefer green Hulk hands, Otis Redding (making his second Prestige TV appearance of the year) and ZZ Top songs, Jennifer Jason Leigh as an assassin, and Dougie startling himself both literally, by sticking a fork into an electric socket, and figuratively, by turning on Sunset Boulevard at the moment a character named — this is totally real, by the way — Gordon Cole is introduced. I guess we should discuss about Audrey and Charlie, too, or perhaps more accurately, scream about them.
When are they going to get to the fireworks factory, er, roadhouse?!?