Verdict: 4 / 5
There are times when Twin Peaks: The Return is so bizarre that it appears to make no sense at all, and there are times when it’s so normal it hurts. This episode covered both aspects in heartfelt, tragic (and at times slightly disappointing) ways.
In the town of Twin Peaks, Nadine has a psychological breakthrough thanks to the help of Doctor “Amp” Jacoby and one of his golden shovels. It means a new start in life for Big Ed, who may finally be able to be with Norma, the woman he’s always loved… but first, Norma has some of her own personal business to take care of. Meanwhile, above the Convenience Store, BOB/Coop has an ominous meeting with the giant steaming bell-kettle which used to be Phillip Jeffries and, in Las Vegas, Dougie/Coop viewing of the classic movie Sunset Boulevard prompts him to stick a fork in an electrical socket – but will he get his shoe back from the other side? Back in Twin Peaks the Log Lady says her final farewell to Hawk, Freddie proves what his green rubber garden glove of power can do, Audrey struggles to leave her home once more, and a young woman screams as she crawls across a dance floor…
The opening scenes of Twin Peaks: The Return part 15 featuring Nadine, her golden shovel, Big Ed, Norma, and that nobody who Norma’s in business with, provide the light at the end of the tunnel right at the beginning, in a way that David Lynch fans have come to expect. It’s the crazy sort of romantic ending to a love story which has been going on for a lifetime, but it’s progression and not a fairytale ending. We love others for too long, sometimes because it’s an obsession and sometimes because it’s just right.
While the scene above the Convenience Store is typically nightmarish and cryptic, the faux-appearance of David Bowie’s Phillip Jeffries is overshadowed by the tragic passing of the Log Lady. It’s awkward, slow and painful to watch as actress Catherine Coulson – a personal friend of Lynch and who was dying of cancer when this scene was filmed – becomes one with her character (as she often did), talking about her imminent death and how it scares her. The reality of it is so personal that it’s more terrifying than anything else in the whole episode. We’ve loved her for too long, but the truth is that even though she’s gone we can still feel love for her.
On the lighter side of things (by Twin Peaks: The Return standards), Dougie/Coop’s adventure with electricity ramps up the potential for an amazing series finale, as does the placement of garden-glove Freddie and James Hurley in the police station holding cells. Seeing Freddie’s One-Punch Man ability in action is a wonder, and you’ll never look at green rubber gloves in the same way again. As for Audrey, the mystery deepens as she once again chooses to sabotage her own actions, fighting rather than leaving her home. At this stage, it’s questionable if she even can and what reality lies outside her front door – if any.
It’s hard to judge episode 15 in any logical way. Purposefully drawn out scenes are both frustrating for viewers and yet strangely hypnotic, and this episode features a couple of real doozies including one of Dougie/Coop eating a slice of cake, methodically chewing each mouthful at least fifteen times in what seemed like Morse Code. The narrative jumped jarringly from scene to scene despite slow transitions, almost like some pattern of controlled chaos was being played out. From the normal beginning to its disturbing end, it’s a bewildering experience. Maybe you’ll love it or maybe you won’t. And if you do love it, you may love it for too long. Is it obsession or is it just right?
That’s all a matter of perspective.