‘Twin Peaks’ Season 3 Premiere, Part Two – Episodes 3 & 4: Hard Times in (and out of) the Black Lodge

TP new 31

Be sure to go here first, in case you missed my take on episodes 1 & 2 of “Twin Peaks”! Okay? Now, let’s rock!

Episodes 3 & 4: An Overview

Episode 3 of “Twin Peaks” is weird, even by Lynch’s standards. It approaches the level of surrealism of Lynch’s first feature, “Eraserhead,” and, as such, is hard to describe, but I’ll try my best. We rejoin Coop as he continues to fall through space and time. He lands on a balcony, overlooking the ocean, but all is dark around him. He goes down into the adjacent room and sees an Asian woman, credited as Naido (Nae Yuuki, “Inland Empire”), whose eyes are sealed shut. (I thought that this might be a potential stand-in for Josie, aka Joan Chen, who also didn’t return and was last seen trapped in a drawer pull.)

Everything has a flickering quality, to the point that I thought something might be wrong with my computer! But it’s just Lynch being Lynch. There’s a consistent knocking on the door and the woman seems freaked out by it. There’s an electrical socket type inlay on the wall, with the number 15 above it. She leads Coop out of the room and up a ladder and out a trapdoor and we are suddenly on top of a metal structure, which is floating through space, because of course it is.

TP still - Blue Rose

She pulls a lever and is electrocuted, then falls off the structure and into space, disappearing, much to Coop’s horror. Coop sees Major Briggs’ face floating through the air and he says “Blue Rose,” another “Fire Walk With Me” reference. He goes back down into the room, which has slightly changed. Now a woman, who I’m pretty sure was Phoebe Augustine, aka Ronette Pulaski, though she is simply credited as “American Woman” here, is sitting in front of a fire.

She looks at her watch, it is 2:52 pm- one minute until the time indicated to Coop by the arm tree. The lights come on, and Coop sees another electrical panel, this one with the number 3 above it. “When you get there, you will already be there,” says the woman. She tells him to hurry, her mother’s coming, and that knocking continues. Coop goes closer to the panel, it zaps him, which we see affect “Mr. C.” in the outside world, where his clock also reads 2:52 pm.

TP still - Black Lodge Reflection

Coop floats into the air and through the socket, with his shoes coming off and remaining behind. “Mr. C.” gets double vision and wrecks his car. He looks up and sees the red drapes hovering in the distance, as his lighter hole crackles from the dashboard. He starts to vomit something up and we cut to Rancho Rosa Estates (also the name of the production company behind the show, FYI) and inside one of the homes being built, most of which are empty at the moment.

In one of them, a man by the name of Dougie, who also looks just like Cooper, is having sex with a hooker named Jade (Nafessa Williams, “Code Black”). He pays her, then she goes to shower. We see that his arm has inexplicably gone numb, and that he is wearing the infamous ring from “FWWM.” He suddenly keels over, and crawls out of the room, then vomits near a light socket.

Red drapes appear, he disappears, and back at the car with “Mr. C.”, he sees Dougie sitting in a chair in front of the red drapes. He also vomits, but it’s strange and yellow. He passes out and we’re in the Red Room again, where Dougie is sitting with Mike, saying he feels funny. Mike tells him that “someone manufactured you” but for a “purpose which has now been fulfilled.”

The Ring TP still

Dougie’s hand shrinks, the ring falls off to the floor, then his head disappears and a yellow sphere appears. (I couldn’t help but think of the “Phantasm” series, which isn’t as far removed from all this as you might think, if you know those movies.) Dougie’s body collapses into itself and the arm tree head appears in the air above it. Mike shields his eyes and it disappears, with the gold sphere landing on the chair afterwards.

Mike retrieves both the sphere and the ring and places the ring on the formica table in another room. Back at the house Dougie was in, smoke comes from the light socket in the room where Dougie was and goes towards the puke on the floor. Coop appears, and Jade hears a loud noise and comes to investigate, finding Coop there, but mistaking him for Dougie, though their hair and attire are quite different.

TP new ep 3

She escorts him outside, and grabs Dougie’s shoes and helps him put them on, noticing that he is out of sorts. He has a key from The Great Northern in his pocket, room 315, his old room. Jade gives him a ride as a man pulls up to the house in their wake. He uses a walkie talkie to communicate to another man, saying that Jade left, and she might have someone with her.

The other man waits by the exit from the area, but when Jade drives by, just as Coop is about to be spotted, he drops his key and ducks down, so the man thinks that Jade is alone in the car. (We see that they are driving by Sycamore Street, in a nice little nod to you know what.) It is clear that these men were working for “Mr. C.” and were planning to kill Dougie on his behalf, but, as we know, Dougie is long gone. Thinking Dougie to be still in the house, the other man plants what looks to be a bomb underneath the carriage of his car, but might be a GPS tracker.

TP Sycamore Trees

He leaves, but a child across the way sees all of this happening from his window. He is apparently squatting there with his drug-addicted mother (Hailey Gates, “Ricki and the Flash”), who keeps yelling 119, for some reason. (Lots of numbers in this third season.) We don’t see them again, but I suspect that when Coop- or whoever- returns for “his” car, the kid will alert him to what happens before whoever ends up blowing themselves to smithereens. Or maybe he’ll just watch it happen. Hard to say.

All of this reminds me of that example Hitchcock used to make about how if you show a bomb, but don’t indicate when it will blow, it’s an easy way to build suspense, as the audience will be waiting on the edge of their seat for it to happen. We’ll see what happens with the device, but for now, nothing does in either of these two episodes.

TP new 9

Cops arrive at the wrecked car of “Mr. C.” and smell a foul odor. They call for an ambulance and later arrest him after discovering some odd items in his car, which include a lot of cocaine, a machine gun and a severed dog’s leg! This leads to “Mr. C.” being on the radar of FBI man Gordon Cole (David Lynch himself), who travels to the area to visit what he thinks to be Coop and interrogate him, with Albert (the late Miguel Ferrer) and up-and-comer agent Tamara “Tammy” Preston (singer Chrysta Bell, who is sort of Lynch’s new muse in the mold of Julee Cruise) in tow.

Preston also fills Cole in on the murders of Tracey and Sam in that warehouse with the glass box, saying that they know little about it, including who owns the building and what happened to the guards. They do, however, find all the digital camera files and take them as evidence. She shows Cole footage of the creature, but the cameras don’t seem to have captured Coop when he was there, for some reason.

TP new 6

Cole is also briefed on the case involving a man accused of killing his wife, who insists he is innocent. Sounds like it could be Bill Hastings from the previous episodes. He says he knows who did it, but won’t talk, as it’s a matter of national security. He does give them clues as to the killer’s identity, in the form of a cryptic collection of materials, including a gun with a silencer, some pictures of girls in bikinis and a little boy, a pair of pliers, and a jar of what appears to be pistachios. Cole seems to understand all this, because of course he does, and dismisses everyone, but doesn’t comment further.

TP new 3

Back in Twin Peaks, Hawk continues to investigate Cooper’s files, to no avail. He can’t decipher the log’s mysterious message, and Lucy and Andy are no help. No shocker there. We do discover that Lucy ate one of the infamous chocolate bunnies that Coop catalogued back in the day! Meanwhile, over at Dr. Jacoby’s, he hangs all the shovels he had delivered on a Rube Goldberg-ian device and proceeds to paint them gold from front to back, with spray paint, for some unknown reason.

Jade drops Coop off at a casino, where he goes in and keeps seeing the red drapes everywhere, hovering above various slot machines. He uses the money Jade gave him to call for help to play each of the machines and wins every time, as does as fellow gambler he helps out, much to her delight. This naturally gets the attention of the manager, who bends over backwards to accommodate the oddball man, eventually giving him a ride home in a limo.

Coop only knows where “home” is after running into someone who knows Dougie, Bill Shaker (Ethan Suplee, of “My Name is Earl”) and mentions it to him, though not the specific address- only the area and that he lives in a house with a red door. Nonetheless, the limo driver finds it and they stand there until Dougie’s wife comes out, Jane-Y Jones (Naomi Watts, “Mulholland Drive”).

Naomi Watts midriff

At first, she’s pissed and slaps him for missing his son’s birthday party and being gone for three days, not realizing it isn’t Dougie, but gets over it when she sees all the cash he won, saying they can pay off all the money they owe. “Dougie” continues to act very strange- at one point he seems to forget how to urinate!

She doesn’t seem too upset by this, helping him to get dressed and noticing he’s lost some weight. His “son” is completely bemused by this “new” version of his dad, though. Fans will be glad to know that Coop responds favorably to coffee, though it’s a bit on the hot side. He does have quite a reaction to Dougie’s horrible taste in suits, as well, clearly preferring his normal duds.

TP new ep 3 B

Coop also has a vision of Mike, who tells him he was tricked and holds up the gold sphere. Mike says that one of them- as in either Coop or “Mr. C.”- must die at some point. That’s where we leave Coop for now, alas.

Cole meets with Denise (David Duchovny), who is now the Chief of Staff of the FBI! The scene is just delightful, as it seems as if Denise has risen in the ranks over the years, despite the whole “transitioning” thing from Dennis to Denise, with some help from Cole. She does admonish him for bringing along a young, sexy agent, but Cole claims his interest is strictly on the level and she’s a solid agent. Denise says she’s thinks they’re onto something big and wishes him luck.

David Duchovny in a still from Twin Peaks. Photo: Patrick Wymore/SHOWTIME

Back in Twin Peaks, Sheriff Truman (Robert Forster, “Jackie Brown”) arrives at the station as he talks to Lucy on his phone, freaking her out, as she doesn’t quite grasp the concept of cell phones for some reason, despite Andy’s best efforts. We discover that he’s Harry’s brother and that Harry has fallen ill, another work-around for Lynch, as Michael Ontkean opted to sit this one out.

We also discover that the station isn’t as low-tech as it initially appeared to be, as there’s a high-tech computer room in the back, staffed by a host of people. The impression is that Harry must have insisted that Lucy keep her job, but that she not have to fool with the new tech, it obviously being over her head. So, she basically just mans the front desk and doesn’t deal with anything else, as it should be.

TP new ep 4

We see that Bobby (Dana Ashbrook) is now a police officer himself and that he and the others are trying to figure out where a new strain of drugs are coming from, as they have killed at least one high school student and the issue is getting worse. So far, they haven’t been able to find the source but it doesn’t seem to be coming in from Canada, as was the case back in the old days.

Hawk updates the Sheriff on the Log Lady business, which one of the cops, Chad (John Pirruccello, “Incarnate”) scoffs at. He also teases Lucy, which doesn’t go over well with Andy- or the Sheriff, who dismisses him. Bobby sees a photo of Laura and bursts out crying. He mentions that Coop went to visit his dad, Major Briggs, shortly before Coop disappeared, and right before Briggs himself died in a fire the next day.

TP new 43

Wally (Michael Cena, in quite a performance) arrives to visit his parents, Andy and Lucy, and to tell Sheriff Truman to send his well wishes to his brother, who is his godfather. He’s been off riding cross-country on his motorcycle, using Lewis & Clark’s route as a form of inspiration, which is likely a nod to Mark Frost’s book, “The Secret History of Twin Peaks,” which details some of that early on in the book. “My dharma is the road,” he says, hilariously.

TP new 47

Back in South Dakota, the forensics lady, Constance Talbot (Jane Adams, “Hung”), working on the Davenport case, says that she thinks she found a match on the John Doe body found at the scene, but that’s she’s been blocked from seeing it, as there’s a military connection of some kind and it’s above her pay grade.

Chrysta_Bell_David_Lynch2

Meanwhile, Cole, Albert, and Tammy arrive at the prison and get the details on the person they believe to be Coop’s arrest. It seems he was suffering from food poisoning, which is why he wrecked his car. They don’t know what from, as of yet. The three go and talk to “Mr. C.” who claims to have been undercover and working with Phillip Jeffries. Both Coop and he have been off the FBI’s radar for some twenty-five years, so Cole is skeptical.

“Mr. C.” claims he was headed to Philly with a report of what they found, when what happened, happened, but Tammy points out later that he wasn’t headed in that direction at all. He also claims to have left lots of messages to Cole, and that the charges against him are false, and he wants out of there. Cole asks the Warden if Coop’s made any calls, and he says no. He says to infer that “Coop” can make a private call and let them know who he calls and what he says.

TP new 44

The Warden agrees and says they will hold off on pressing charges for a few days while Cole and his people investigate. He also mentions that a lot of people who have come into contact with “Mr. C.” have ended up getting physically ill as a result of it. Albert tells Cole in private that he told Jeffries about a FBI contact in Columbia when he asked years ago, and a week later, the contact was dead.

Jeffries also said that Coop was in trouble, but didn’t elaborate. Shortly after that, Jeffries disappeared under mysterious circumstances, soon to be followed by Coop after the events of the original series. Cole and Albert both agree that Coop seems “off” somehow, and it wasn’t just because of his accident and the food poisoning. Cole also says Cooper didn’t “greet” him properly, and that something is wrong but he doesn’t know what.

TPFWWM poster Blue Rose

Cole thinks it’s connected to his “Blue Rose” cases, but can’t be sure. (These were alluded to in “Fire Walk With Me,” but never explained.) Cole says only one person can verify, but he doesn’t know where she is. Albert says he has an idea where he can find her- a bar she frequents. We cut to the “Bang Bang Bar,” inferring that it might be the place. Might it be Sarah Palmer? Or is it someone else entirely?

TP new 12

Summation

That is where we leave things. Needless to say, there’s a whole lot of unanswered questions, but then, we’re just getting started, obviously. I’m going to go out on a limb and say that there’s probably a lot of people who will hate this, given the completely different vibe to the series, which is world’s away from the old “Twin Peaks” a lot of the time, but I really dig it. In fact, it actually reminds me less of either the original show or “Fire” and more of Lynch’s work after that, particularly “Lost Highway” and “Mulholland Drive” and not just because it features some of the stars of those films.

Indeed, I seem to recall Lynch saying somewhere that it takes place in the same “universe” as those films. I might actually venture a guess as to that it takes place in the universe of much of Lynch’s work, period, sort of in a similar way as Stephen King’s work largely does the same. At different turns I was reminded of Lynch’s other work, from “Eraserhead” (in the opening sequence of Episode 3, where Coop is flying through space and the scenes immediately after that), to “Blue Velvet” (“Mr. C.” seems like a variation of Frank Booth), as well as in general of the other films I mentioned.

David Lynch TP table

I feel like in some ways, Lynch is trying to tie all his work together in a clever way, making the show seem like a sort of Lynch’s “Greatest Hits.” I can see where some fans of the original series would be upset by all the digressions from the old characters and how little time is spent with them- even the classic Angelo Badalamenti score is in short supply. But I think, in a way, that’s the point.

I think that, since Laura’s death and Coop’s disappearance, followed by Major Briggs’ death, all combined to have a huge impact on the town that it never quite recovered from. Think of Deer Meadow in “Fire Walk With Me,” which played as the polar opposite of Twin Peaks, as if Twin Peaks had gone to seed. Twenty-five years later, that same kind of erosion has slowly-but-surely started to overtake Twin Peaks as well, try as certain people might to stop it. The old ways are giving way to new ones, and the modern is overtaking the “classic” Twin Peaks.

Coop

I think Lynch’s goal and the forward momentum of the show, will be to get Coop back to Twin Peaks where he belongs, and once he does that, all will be right again, at least to a point. Twin Peaks wouldn’t be Twin Peaks if it wasn’t at least a little “off,” right? I sense a great battle ahead between Coop and BOB, aka “Mr. C.” and the fallout won’t be pretty. Who knows what might happen if the Black Lodge falls apart? Or if even more of its denizens come out to “play”?

It’s definitely gonna get ugly before it gets better, so hang in there, old-school fans, I suspect there’s a method to Lynch and Frost’s mutual madness. In the past, Frost has always been able to rein in Lynch at key moments and let him be himself in others. But I think they mapped all of this out in obsessive detail and there is an endgame and a point to everything. We’re just not seeing the big picture yet- but I have faith we will.

TP new 5

It’s not easy to follow up a beloved series like “Twin Peaks,” much less after twenty-five years. That sort of thing is near-unprecedented. In fact, I can’t even think of another show that picked up after so long off the air. There have been lots of reboots, but precious few continuations. As such, there’s bound to be some growing pains, and some things that take time getting used to.

I love the more out-there elements, and I dig that Lynch doesn’t have to hold back and can be as weird, violent, or sexual as he wants and it’s fine, because it’s on pay cable. No network TV censors to deal with here. Obviously, Lynch and Frost have been given free rein to do what they wanted. Will people end up liking it? Hard to say.

The Chromatics in a still from Twin Peaks. Photo: Suzanne Tenner/SHOWTIME

But this is one longtime fan that wasn’t disappointed, even if I do miss the old-school vibe a bit. But I suspect we’ll get there, in due time. But I’d much rather have this show exist than have never gotten the answers I craved all these years. We might just end up with more questions than answers- and that would be fine by me- so long as the journey’s enjoyable. So far, it’s been one hell of a ride!

TP new 48

What do you think of the “Twin Peaks” revival so far? Are you loving it? Or hating it? Or are there some things you like and others you hate? Are you willing to tough it out and stick with the show, in hopes it gets better, for those who don’t like it? Or are you completely onboard with everything, like I am, more or less? What do you think of the new characters? Did you like the “new” music? (I am a huge fan of both Chromatics and Au Revoir Simone, so I was thrilled when they cropped up.) Or do you wish there was more Badalamenti stuff? Sound off down below, and join me in a few weeks for an update!

Not enough Lynch for you? Check out my two part list of the best of the famed director’s work here and here!