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: Keith, late in “Part 13,” Norma’s business partner boyfriend Walter (played by Eight Is Enough alum Grant Goodeve, a casting choice so kitschy it’s a wonder he wasn’t on the original show, even if he was on Northern Exposure around the same time) gives her a hard time for insisting on using the best possible ingredients for her famous pies, when the other Norma’s Double-R franchises are making more of a profit with cheaper ones. “You’re an artist,” Walter tells her. “But love doesn’t always turn a profit.” Norma claims she’ll consider his input, but you can tell she has no interest in ruining the experience and traditions of the original place, including her reluctance to put her name on the Twin Peaks location.
Did this scene play to you, like it did to me, as Lynch commenting on his insistence on doing things his own way, even if it’s never as consistent or as profitable as an artist working with a similar recipe might be able to be?
Certainly, the latest chapter was just as shaggy as the last few have been, and the first one where my “Lynch is editing scenes together at random” theory seemed to have solid proof. The Dougie scenes take place the morning after his night of partying with the Mitchum brothers to celebrate their insurance windfall, as seen two episodes back, and Janey-E notes that Dougie has been gone all night with the brothers, yet last week’s episode featured him playing catch in the backyard with Sonny Jim. And the Norma/Walter scene — which also features The Return‘s first appearance by Big Ed Hurley — has Bobby talking about finding the metal cylinder in his father’s house earlier that day, in scenes depicted way back in the ninth episode.
Do you feel this episode — which brought back Jessica Szohr as James Hurley’s love interest Renee (last glimpsed briefly at the end of “Part 2”) which reintroduced Big Ed in very late in the game, and which still isn’t offering up any explanation for Audrey’s predicament with Charlie — was one that justified all the wonky pacing and emotional curlicues?
Keith: For all the apparent time traveling involved this week — we also saw Shelly call Becky and arrange for her to come down to the diner with no payoff; I won’t be shocked if we get that scene in the next episode — I thought this was a really compelling episode. Howard Hawks once described a good movie as “three great scenes and no bad scenes” and I think that this would meet that definition thanks to the arm-wrestling match, Sarah Palmer’s spooky boxing screening, and Anthony’s tense coffee with Dougie. And there was plenty going on between those big moments. It was great to see so many Hurleys in one hour, from Big Ed to Nadine to James. It seems a little late in The Return‘s run to move the spotlight in their direction, but it worked. Big Ed’s not happy. Like Bobby, he’s clearly pining for a Double-R employee who’s moved on. Nadine, on the other hand, seems like she’s found peace thanks to cracking the silent drape runner problem and Dr. Jacoby now giving her a regular pipeline into the truth. I don’t know what to make of James, but I loved how that scene kept taking on new meaning as it went along. First it was just James reviving the season two song he sang with Donna and Maddie. Then we got a shot of a pair of back-up singers who could be that pair’s spooky doppeläangers followed by Szohr being moved to tears by the performance. It’s quite a moment.
Norma’s scene with her business partner/boyfriend brought to mind the Treme plotline where Janette, a talented chef, lent her name to a corporate restaurateur and found she’d given away part of her soul in the process, and not only because both involve restaurants. That felt like a bit of meta commentary as well, but the line that really made me start thinking beyond the apparent reality of the show came from the continuation of Charlie’s argument with Audrey when Charlie says “Are you going to stop playing games or do I have to end your story too?” Audrey’s reply — “What story is that, Charlie?” — gives the episode its title. So… what’s happening here? Last week you alluded to some far-out theories about Charlie and Audrey’s relationship, but they don’t seem that far out now, do they?