‘Twin Peaks’: The confounding legacy of Major Briggs, and Bobby’s happiness
Season Three, Episode Nine — “The Return, Part Nine”
By Jarrod Jones. When it comes to mysteries, patience and vigilance are often their own reward. In the case of Twin Peaks, a good chunk of that patience demanded twenty-five years of our time, and now that we’re at the halfway point of “The Return”, the act of dusting off clues from the first two seasons in light of this week’s revelations required a solid long-term memory. Or, at the very least, access to Wikipedia.
While there was a definite thrill in watching a few of its tumblers fall into place, the real secrets contained within the vault of Twin Peaks remained sealed tight. “The Return, Part Nine”, however, did shift the narrative advantages in our favor for a darn change, as Gordon Cole, the bumbling Fusco brothers, and the diligent members of the Twin Peaks Sheriff’s Department unearthed vital clues to this towering mystery, and found that they had absolutely zero ideas what to do with them.
Gordon took Albert, Diane, and Tammy to South Dakota, current home of Garland Briggs’ decapitated corpse. It was there that they discovered a wedding band had been lodged in the fallen Major’s stomach, inscribed with the names “Dougie” and “Janey-E.” Of course, they have no idea who either of those people are. So, for now, the answers sitting over in Las Vegas will have to keep, at least until Evil Coop — who is surprisingly not dead — brings all sorts of death upon Dougie Jones, courtesy of the sadistic “Hutch” (played by the supremely awesome Tim Roth).
If Evil Coop’s latest attempt on Dougie’s life ultimately brings Gordon to Vegas, wouldn’t that insinuate a connection between Evil Coop and Gordon’s federal entourage? Well. More on that in a minute.
You could really see the wheels turning in Gordon Cole’s head as Tammy interrogated William Hastings about his apparent involvement in the death of his lover Ruth. (Her head turned up atop Garland’s noticeably younger body in the premiere, you’ll recall.) William turned out to be a dabbler in the extra-dimensional and had brought Ruth along to the White Lodge in a sad attempt at romance. A tragic turn of events, seeing’s though Ruth just wanted to go to the beach.
Anyhow, William’s bumblings brought him directly to Garland, who disappeared into the inter-dimensional ether but not before the Major and everyone else present (“there were so many people,” William swears to Tammy) got their heads lopped off. Bill, for his trouble, did come out of the experience with a set of coordinates, broken up with one name repeated twice: “Cooper/Cooper”. What does this mean? We could ask Sheriff Truman the same question and get precisely the same answer. (Major Briggs’ legacy brought similar clues to Truman, via Bobby and Mrs. Briggs.)
There are other clues out there that elude Gordon. Coming back to Evil Coop, his peculiar text — “Around the table the dinner conversation is lively” — found its way into Diane’s phone, which would certainly explain Diane’s skittish and reactively hostile behavior towards Gordon and every member of the FBI, not to mention the steady stream of cigarette smoke billowing out of her nostrils every waking moment. Whatever awful things happened between Diane and Cooper’s vile doppelgänger years ago appear to still be happening.
There was another giant clue that dropped this week, and it caused a faint glimmer of Dale Cooper to stir behind Dougie’s typically glazed-over eyes. Sitting in the waiting room of the Las Vegas police department, vibrating from the caffeine he loves so much, Dougie gawked silently at an American flag. (The score took the cue and piped “America, The Beautiful” into our living rooms.) Dougie’s eyes then fixed themselves on a woman passing through the waiting room, specifically on her striking red pumps. She sauntered past an electrical socket, and that’s where Dougie’s eyes stopped and narrowed.
Cooper’s love for duty, coffee, and beauty still linger after his time at the Black Lodge, and they’re the keys to his inevitable awakening. (We hope.) For beauty’s part, Audrey Horne once wore red pumps, especially whenever she knew a certain Special Agent for the FBI was around. If Ms. Horne’s continued absence from “The Return” has frustrated some viewers, then this sequence must have had them screaming.
After Episode Eight’s flirtations with the abyss, Twin Peaks returned to us with its most story-focused episode yet. It even settled into itself more than it ever has this season, bringing in motifs and tropes we took for granted back in Seasons One and Two. (Lucy and Andy’s tiff over a new armchair felt more natural than it would have in earlier episodes this season.) Even Angelo Badalamenti’s sassy jazz riffs snuck into particular moments, which made the entire Briggs affair all the more poignant.
Especially when we think about how things have turned out for Bobby. The Major always knew happiness would find him — he said as much to his son in the Season Two premiere twenty-seven years ago. (Bobby’s happiness came to him in a dream.) Given what we knew about Bobby nearly three decades ago, the likelihood of the Major’s prophecy seemed unlikely. Yet promises are coming to fruition in “The Return”, a tremendous payoff for those viewers who have remained vigilant all these years, say nothing of the show’s long-suffering characters. Bobby’s smiling face is a reminder that there is still a light shining on this world.
Det. Macklay: “You can’t smoke in here.” Diane: “It’s a fucking morgue!”
“Here’s the message: ‘No cigar.” – Ike “The Spike”, sulking into his Evan Williams.
BEST MOMENT: William’s confession revealed quite a bit about the nature of the White Lodge — if that is in fact where he and Ruth both went.
EPISODE’S MVP: Gordon Cole, if for no other reason than his instantly meme-able line after getting off the phone with Warden Murphy: “Cooper flew the coop!”
SLICES OF PIE:
– By the way, William’s blog, thesearchforthezone.com, is totally real and you should check it out.
– Evil Coop is so evil that he accepts a bag of Cheetos even though there’s a bullet sitting in his gut.
– It should be noted that Dougie’s interest in the red heels contrasts Janey-E and Diane’s red flats.
– An interesting tidbit about Dougie popped up this week: Apparently, there’s no record of Mr. Jones before 1997, not even a birth certificate.
– The clue Major Briggs left for Bobby contained the time 2:53, which is a number repeated in “The Return, Part One” (The Evolved Arm: “253… time and time again”), and “Part Two” (American Girl’s watch reads 2:53).
– Yeah, Ike, it would hurt to swallow whiskey after Dale Cooper punched you in the throat.
– Fucking Chad, stinking up the TPSD’s conference room with his funky microwave dinners. What an asshole.
– If you look closely at the rash in Sky Ferreira’s armpit, you’ll see she’s sporting the same abduction mark Major Briggs and the Log Lady once had.
– Brad is off this week! Send him your salutations — and your choice between the red and the beige chair — in the comments below.
8.5 out of 10
Next: “The Return, Part Ten”, in one week.
Before: “The Return, Part Eight”, here.