On Sunday night, Showtime released parts three and four of “Twin Peaks: The Return” in addition to the premiere, the end of which saw Agent Cooper (Kyle MacLachlan) floating through space, into a mysterious box, then and back out into space again.
At the start of the third installment of the new series, he is still soaring in the same starry limbo, before landing in a new strange space, where sound is still pseudo-reversed and movement is even more distorted than in the Black Lodge. There, he finds a woman without eyes and another mysterious container. A deep humming sound surrounds him, growing louder over time. He isn’t there for long before he’s sucked into an electrical vortex.
We wouldn’t expect anything less from “Twin Peaks.”
Meanwhile, Cooper’s leather-jacket-wearing doppelgänger seems to be hearing the same deep humming. After a crash, the doppelgänger is surrounded by a translucent red curtain, before being asphyxiated by sludgy pseudo-vomit.
It appears there is a third doppelgänger of Cooper named Dougie — and, really, who knows how many more. This third Cooper — who is blonde and looks like a scruffy suburban dad — also hears the humming, which causes him to keel over to his knees before disapparating and appearing in the Black Lodge. There, the One Armed Man tells him, “someone manufactured you … for a purpose,” which, of course, triggers his obliteration.
With the two doppelgängers eliminated, the real Agent Cooper returns to the world of “Dougie,” but he’s not quite himself. His demeanor is robotic — almost childlike — likely a result of 25 years in the Black Lodge, inter-dimensional travel, and who knows what else. A disoriented Cooper wanders into a casino, where he tries to ask for help, and instead ends up winning several slot machines. In his incoherent state, however, he does not celebrate.
Back in Twin Peaks, Lucy (Kimmy Robertson), Andy (Harry Goaz), and Deputy Hawk (Michael Horse) are snacking on doughnuts and sifting through boxes of evidence related to his disappearance. Lucy admits to eating the evidence — a chocolate bunny — to calm her gas.
Toward the episode’s end, at the FBI Headquarters in Pennsylvania, David Lynch makes his first cameo appearance as FBI Deputy Director Gordon Cole. They are investigating the mutilation of the young couple in New York we met during the first installment and the ghostly shapes inside the mysterious glass box — which they’ve somehow been able to capture in a photograph by security cameras. During the meeting, Deputy Director Cole receives a call informing him that Agent Cooper is in the Black Hills, South Dakota.
Part three, like the premiere, ends with a concert scene featuring The Cactus Blossoms.
At the start of part four, we are still in the parallel universe of casino-land with Agent Cooper, who has won 28 mega-jackpots, and unwittingly assumed the identity of his doppelgänger, Dougie. No sooner does Cooper arrive at Dougie’s house than does an owl fly overhead — an icon of the supernatural from the original series. Still aloof, Cooper soon learns that Dougie has a wife and child.
Meanwhile, Deputy Director Gordon Cole is informing Denise Bryson (David Duchovny) that the FBI has located Agent Cooper, though it is quickly revealed when Gordon states that Cooper has been found at a South Dakota prison that the man the FBI has found is likely not the same Agent Cooper that we just saw winning jackpots at the casino.
Back in Twin Peaks, it appears there’s a new cop in town: Bobby Briggs (Dana Ashbrook), half of the famous Shelly-Bobby “Twin Peaks” love affair. Another quintessential “Twin Peaks” couple, Lucy and Andy, are just as we left them: hilariously awkward and perfect for each other. And who better to play their son, Wally Brando, than Michael Cera?
Also at the station, Hawk is defending the veracity of the Log Lady’s reports on Cooper to Sheriff Truman (Robert Forster). When Bobby walks into the investigation room, his eyes dart immediately to a portrait of Laura Palmer, his pre-Shelly love, as Laura’s musical theme plays. “Man,” he says, self-reflexively, “brings back some memories.” Surprise, surprise: “Twin Peaks” is meta.
With both the local police and the FBI searching for him, Agent Cooper, still infantile, is having visions of the Black Lodge and the One Armed Man, who threatens him. Cooper, still living as Dougie, and without knowing what exactly is going on, interacts with Dougie’s wife and son. His wife seems fed up with “Dougie’s” inability to act like an adult. The man can’t seem to pee on his own, and — gasp — spits out his coffee. His wife completely unaware that Cooper isn’t actually Dougie.
At the same time, Gordon and his agent have just arrived in South Dakota to recover the man they think is Agent Cooper. But, when they are informed that “Cooper” was found having just vomited some kind of putrid-smelling poison, we know it’s not Cooper, it’s his criminal doppelgänger. Turns out he didn’t die during part three — he’s very much alive.
While being held under maximum security, the doppelgänger, pretending to be Cooper, tells Gordon that he’s been working undercover for 25 years. His words are incoherent and nonsensical, which makes Gordon pretty suspicious. Despite being confused by the situation, it appears that Gordon may be on his way to deducing the mystery of Agent Cooper’s disappearance.
With the pattern now consistent among each installment thus far, it’s safe to say that each episode is likely to end with a concert scene and, of course, some major cliffhangers. This time, a show from Au Revoir Simone, the lingering questions regarding the doppelgänger, and, of course the biggest question of all: what will happen to the real Agent Cooper?
“Twin Peaks: The Return” airs Sundays at 9 p.m. on Showtime.
Sophie-Marie Prime covers television. Contact her at [email protected].