Season Three, Episode Five — “The Return, Part 5”

'Twin Peaks' returns to Showtime

© Copyright 2017, Showtime. All Rights Reserved.

By Brad Sun. It’s fitting that after all the levity of the last couple episodes Twin Peaks would hit us with its bleakest hour to date.

We’ve seen sinister forces at work before, but something about the mundanity of Episode Five’s evil brings with it a very unique sense of unease. The supernatural elements are kept to a minimum and the Black Lodge is glimpsed only in a quick flashback. But in their place, we see an innocent man beaten to a pulp and a child left to fend for himself while his mom dozes in a drugged-out stupor. Coupled with the show’s wheel-spinning pacing, we’re left with a mostly joyless episode, filled with anxious buildup for a payoff that’s yet to come.

Much of the fifth hour is spent revealing the rippling effects of Coop’s Vegas escapades, a fallout decidedly less fun than his wacky day as Mr. Jackpots. At the residential development where we first met Dougie Jones, the hunt is still on for the Cooper Clone, resulting in one group of shady individuals meeting a fiery demise. Back at the casino, the poor manager on duty during Cooper’s slot machine hot streak is beaten bloody and run out of town.

Meanwhile, Cooper himself continues to amble about in his befuddled state. Luckily, a helpful hand always appears fortuitously to guide him through Dougie’s tediously unremarkable routine. There are some brief moments of humor in these workplace scenes, but by the end viewers can probably relate to the cranky co-workers impatiently pushing Coop aside as they exit the elevator.

Frost and Lynch are teasing us here, providing Cooper with fleeting moments of seeming lucidity, then snatching it away. They know we want Special Agent Dale Cooper back, but for now, the playful torture continues.

The rest of the episode is largely set in Twin Peaks, introducing more new characters, none of them in a great place. First, there’s Shelly’s daughter Becky and her loser boyfriend Steven. We see them beg for money, snort cocaine, and in Steven’s case, flunk a job interview. They’re aimless, reckless kids, reintroducing an element of youthful angst that had thus far been missing from the show’s revival, but was central to the original’s primetime soap roots.

Later, we meet the menacing Richard Horne, who assaults a young girl in a disturbing scene at the Bang Bang Bar. It’s a harrowing moment that underscores just how dark the town of Twin Peaks has become. Whether it’s the younger generation doubling down on the mistakes of their parents, or simply a function of Showtime’s lessened content restrictions, the dark secrets that were once hidden behind a charming small town facade have now bubbled to the surface. It’s unpleasant and sad, and makes us yearn for the real Dale Cooper’s return all the more. Instead, the episode ends with Coop wandering in the dark outside Dougie’s depressing office building, alone and hopelessly lost.

Despite its consistent tone and largely effective individual scenes, episode five feels incomplete, a necessary bridge to more memorable things to come. Filmed as a continuous 18 hour movie broken into parts, this is surely inevitable. Still, this fifth hour manages to reassure viewers that this is all building towards something. Even tiny details, such as Cooper’s dropped hotel room key, appear to be significant plot points.

Twin Peaks has rarely disappointed fans willing to dig deeper and look closer at all its cryptic details and clues. It may at times be stingy with the resolutions its viewers crave, but it’s never boring.


Damn good joe.” – Dale Cooper, in an all too brief return to form.

BEST MOMENT: Becky (played by Amanda Seyfried) looks to the heavens in a state of drug-fueled bliss. This is David Lynch the painter at work, pausing to capture the visual splendor of a single perfect moment. As The Paris Sisters’ “I Love How You Love Me” plays on the car radio the camera holds tight on Seyfried’s radiant smile and bright blue eyes. We, like Becky, are swept up in a fleeting flash of transcendence, divorced from the bleak circumstances surrounding it. There are shades of Laura Palmer here, a doomed beauty on a path that can only end in tragedy.

EPISODE’S MVP: Eamon Farren leaves a lasting impression as the intriguingly named Richard Horne. His nihilistic rage is far more horrific than the Doppelganger Coop’s low key otherworldly evil. The rapid escalation from defiantly smoking indoors to violently threatening and groping a girl is utterly terrifying.

'Twin Peaks' returns to Showtime

© Copyright 2017, Showtime. All Rights Reserved.


– There appear to be two groups of people hunting Dougie. One likely represents the people he owes money to. The other have some connection to Doppleganger Cooper and/or Phillip Jeffries.

– Lorraine (the worrier) types “ARGENT 159, 2” then “E” into her blackberry. “ARGENT” would appear to refer to Argentina, where a mysterious device is activated.

– Cooper looks at Sonny Jim (Dougie’s son) and cries. Could this be a psychic premonition?

– Is Richard Horne the Richard named in the Giant’s clue? Richard and Linda… two birds with one stone.

– Lots of notable guest stars this week: Tom Sizemore as the insurance agent Coop calls a liar. Robert Knepper and Jim Belushi as the casino goons. Jane Levy as one of the girls in the Bang Bang Bar.

– The interviewer that soundly rejects Steven’s application is none other than Mike Nelson, Bobby Briggs’ former football teammate and cohort.

– Becky and Steven are both listed with the surname “Burnett”, implying they are married. It also keeps the identity of Becky’s father a mystery.

– Episode Five is dedicated to Marv Rosand, who played Toad, the cook at the Double R Diner.

6.5 out of 10

Next: “The Return, Part 6”, in one week.

Before: “The Return, Part 3”, “The Return, Part 4”, here.