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Week by Week TV: Twin Peaks: The Return Part 9

Twin Peaks: The Return is directed by David Lynch and co-written by Lynch and Mark Frost. It stars Kyle MacLachlan as FBI special Agent Dale Cooper. This new, third series takes place 25 years after the original series, one of the most influential series of the modern TV age.

This is a continuing series review. To read my reviews of Parts One and TwoParts Three and FourPart FivePart SixPart Seven or Part Eight please click these links.

We return after the mid (sort of) season break. I imagine this break came after Part Eight to let us calm down after the onslaught of surreal imagery from that episode. This week’s story was a lot more straight forward and let you know that this series isn’t all fancy ideas and images. There is a plot and we are moving towards an end goal. Certain questions were answered and pieces of information offered have sparked theories, in my case at least.

I want to offer a round of applause to the incredible performance (or should I say performances) of Kyle MacLachlan. Say what you will about the annoying Dougie, whenever either he or Evil Cooper are on screen, MacLachlan is more versatile than he has ever been. At no point has he relied on nostalgia for Dale Cooper. So much so that Dougie is incredibly frustrating because of how “Un-Cooper” he is. He barely appears in this episode but he has a lot of presence when he does pop up. The Las Vegas police now have Dougie’s fingerprints which can only be a good thing. We also now know that Dougie didn’t exist until 1997.

More characters were introduced. I am starting to believe now that all the star names (Amanda Seyfried, Ernie Hudson etc) are not so much characters as colourful background artists, drawn in by the promise of working with David Lynch and being in the TV event of the year. All the free publicity probably helps. Tim Roth made an appearance as Hutch, one of Bad Cooper’s associates. Jennifer Jason Leigh as Chantal and several other actors reappeared for the first time since the opening double bill. Bad Cooper is obviously plotting something and Hutch and Chantal are along for the ride. Bad Cooper also makes short work of a mobile phone with a shotgun. Nothing like overkill to reinforce your villain status.

Gordon and Albert, with Diane in tow, went to investigate the strange male body/female head combo. Agent Tammy interviewed Shaggy from the Scooby-Doo movie (Matthew Lillard). Lillard gave an extraordinary one-scene performance. He took in every human emotion and transitioned between them brilliantly. I have my theories about how the corpse came to be in the two parts. I think that the librarian who’s head it is took a trip into the Black Lodge and met Major Garland Briggs. Briggs has been hidden in the lodge for twenty years. I think the ash-covered men attacked them and the portal between our world and the lodge closed on Briggs and the librarian in different parts. Her head came back through, as did Briggs’ body. I believe this is how they ended back up in our world.

Finally, my favourite scene in this episode was when Bobby Briggs, Sheriff Truman and Deputy Hawk went to visit Bobby’s mother. She told them about Major Briggs’ final day. Major Briggs told her that if the day came when Bobby, Truman and Hawk came visiting, that she should give them the metal rod that has been hidden in her arm chair. I thought that Bobby’s reaction was very touching, hearing that his father was proud of the man he has become. I thought this was a scene with real emotion and people reacting in realistic ways to events. It was a rest from the hardcore weirdness of the rest of the series.

Overall this was a brilliant episode which pushed a lot of the actors and took the programme in a really promising direction. This series is already the best thing on TV this year. For sheer originality and ambition, nothing else comes close. I’m looking forward to this second half and can’t wait to see how it all plays out! Join me next week for Part Ten.

Twin Peaks: The Return Part 9 is now available to watch on various catch-up services. Image source: Collider.com