‘Twin Peaks: The Return’ recap 1×16: ‘Part XVI’

Laura Dern in a still from Twin Peaks. Photo: Suzanne Tenner/SHOWTIME
Suzanne Tenner/Showtime/Courtesy

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Last week, “Twin Peaks” fans got a taste of romance with the reunion of Ed (Everett McGill) and Norma (Peggy Lipton) — lovers from the original series. The doppelgänger (Kyle MacLachlan) got in contact with Phillip Jeffries (Nathan Frizzell) at the suspicious corner store that has unknown significance to him. When he emerged, Richard Horne (Eamon Farren) was waiting for him, and the two men got in the doppelgänger’s truck and drove away together.

This week, we jump right back in with the doppelgänger and Richard, driving away down a dark and windy road. They drive a little ways off the paved road and onto a dirt path — for the first time, Richard looks a little nervous, in spite of his cold exterior. The pair approach the peak of a small nearby hill, at which point the doppelgänger instructs Richard to continue up the hill with a small detecting device. What does it detect? Good question.

When Richard steps to the top of a rock on the hill, the device beeps furiously, and he is electrocuted, burning from the inside out until he is obliterated by beams of light from beyond. “Goodbye, my son,” says the doppelgänger before turning away. If he is Richard’s father, the biological connection would explain Richard’s violent and wild anger — and it would make sense, given the romance between Audrey and Cooper in the original series. Before getting back in the truck, the doppelgänger texts “:-) ALL” to an unknown recipient.

Back in Dougie’s (Kyle MacLachlan) — a.k.a. Cooper’s — suburban neighborhood, Chantal (Jennifer Jason Leigh) and Hutch (Tim Roth) are waiting outside Dougie’s house, when the Las Vegas police show up and knock on the door. Without an answer, the cops decide to stage a stakeout.

Little do they know that Dougie electrocuted himself in the previous episode, so he’s currently held up in the hospital. Now in a comatose state, Dougie is truly unresponsive, even to love and care from his wife, Janey-E (Naomi Watts), and massive flowers from the Mitchum brothers (James Belushi and Robert Knepper).

Meanwhile, Dougie’s house is a pretty hoppin’ place — Chantal and Hutch, and now the Las Vegas FBI as well, watch from across the street as several waves of people show up to deliver food and other niceties to the family. Then, the cops watch as Chantal shoots a disgruntled neighbor, but the neighbor shoots right back at Chantal and Hutch, hitting Chantal in the arm. The duo attempt to drive off, but the neighbor proceeds to shoot right through their van, killing them both, with the Las Vegas FBI and the Mitchum brothers looking on. Finally, the Las Vegas FBI agents get involved by trying to apprehend the angry neighbor (who had a suspiciously heavy-duty automatic gun).

Back at the hospital, a ringing tone hangs over Cooper/Dougie’s bed before manifesting into a faded hallucination of the One-Armed Man from the Black Lodge. As soon as the man’s image appears, Cooper awakens — really awakens, as in he returns from his catatonic state, back to his true self — presumably because the doppelgänger was able to trick the Black Lodge mechanism into thinking that he had been obliterated, when in fact it was his son that was destroyed.

Cooper asks the One-Armed Man to “make another one” — another doppelgänger — and we know he’s back to his brilliantly scheming self for sure. Soon after he wakes up from the coma, Janey-E and Sonny Jim (Pierce Gagnon) are back, and of course they think that Cooper is still Dougie. It seems that despite the fact that Cooper is now himself, he still cares deeply for Janey-E and Sonny Jim — but of course he does, he’s the compassionate Dale Cooper.

Cooper uses the Mitchum brothers’ resources to fly straight from Las Vegas to Washington, and lets FBI Deputy Director Gordon Cole (David Lynch) know he’s coming.

While Cooper and his family are on their way to the casino, Diane (Laura Dern) receives the text message from the doppelgänger: “:-) ALL,” and looks disturbed — when she takes a swig from her drink, her hand trembles and she shudders. “I remember,” she says, “Oh Coop, I remember.” She replies with string of numbers, whispering aloud, “I hope this works,” before checking her purse for her gun and going to meet Cole, Rosenfield (Miguel Ferrer) and Preston (Chrysta Bell) upstairs.

She tells them that, a few years after she “stopped hearing from Cooper,”  he — or someone who looked just like him — visited her in her homeand “grilled” her about what he’d missed at the FBI. Her demeanor shows that she was troubled by his presence, but she shares that he kissed her — and that’s when she knew the man wasn’t Cooper. The man (likely the doppelgänger) raped her before taking her to a “gas station” — the corner store — and she becomes distraught, screaming, “I’m not me.” She grabs the gun from her purse, prompting Rosenfield and Preston to do the same: they shoot her and she disappears. This Diane was a “tulpa,” says Preston — a doppelgänger, too.

The Diane doppelgänger then appears in the Black Lodge with the One-Armed Man, who tells her she was “manufactured” too, before her body cracks and crumbles to a golden “seed,” or pearl — much like the true Dougie, the third Cooper doppelgänger, did in “Part III.”

Finally, back in Las Vegas, the time comes for Cooper to bid a heartfelt adieu to Janey-E and Sonny Jim — and reveal to them that he’s not Dougie, but he’s still Sonny’s father.

After Cooper is on his way to the airport in the Mitchum brother’s limousine, we return to the Bang Bang Bar for a quick performance of “Out of Sand” by Edward Louis Severson a.k.a. Eddie Vedder. Audrey Horne (Sherilyn Fenn) is sitting with her husband Charlie (Clark Middleton) before she rises for “Audrey’s Dance,” to the tune of a very familiar refrain, while the rest of the bar sways along. But her performance is interrupted when a screaming man enters the bar. Audrey becomes distraught and asks to leave, but before she can, her image flashes to another place — she sees herself in a mirror, sans her usual lipstick and hairdo.

This week, we finally had the moment we’ve all been waiting for (after the return of Audrey Horne): the return of Agent Dale Cooper to his true persona. We can guess that his return is due to the death of Richard Horne — whose genetic connection to the doppelgänger allowed him to stand in (even without his consent) as a proxy for obliteration — leaving Agent Cooper with a problem: his doppelgänger is still roaming around causing trouble. Hopefully, next week will bring a reunion between Cooper and Cole, who might together be able to rid the earth of the wretched leather jacket-wearing, long-haired doppelgänger.

Sophie-Marie Prime covers “Twin Peaks: The Return.” Contact her at [email protected].

Correction(s):
A headline accompanying a previous version of this article incorrectly titled the episode “Part XIV.” In fact, the episode was titled “Part XVI.”