‘Twin Peaks: The Return’ recap 1×17: ‘Part XVII’


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Last week, we finally saw the long-awaited return of our beloved Agent Cooper (Kyle MacLachlan) — but not before the doppelgänger evaded obliteration in the Black Lodge by using his biological son Richard Horne (Eamon Farren) as a proxy. Agent Cooper, meanwhile, awoke by electrocuting himself, and no sooner did he return to his former self than was he already on his way back to Twin Peaks. While Cooper was en route, FBI Deputy Director Cole (David Lynch) and his agents discovered that Diane (Laura Dern) — or at least the Diane they knew — was a doppelgänger, because when they shot her in self defense, her body disappeared and she returned to the Black Lodge.

This week, we get the penultimate and final episodes of “Twin Peaks: The Return” at the same time. The episode begins with a scene between Cole, Agent Rosenfield (Miguel Ferrer) and Agent Preston (Chrysta Bell), just after they’ve shot Diane — which we saw last week. Cole reveals that he’s been keeping a secret for 25 years: Cooper was on the brink of finding a mysterious entity just before Major Briggs (Don S. Davis in the original series) disappeared. In the middle of the conversation, the trio receives a call from agents waiting for Dougie (meaning Agent Cooper), who has disappeared (meaning that Cooper has returned to himself and is back on his Twin Peaks-oriented mission).

“Dougie is Cooper?!” Cole exclaims. “How the hell is this?”

After Preston notes that Dougie/Cooper ended up in the hospital after he electrocuted himself, Cole calls the situation “a Blue Rose case most definitely” — meaning a case of tuplas, or doppelgängers. They finally fully realize that leather jacket-wearing Cooper is not the real Cooper.

That Cooper — Cooper’s doppelgänger — is at “Jack Rabbit’s Place” in the woods — where Andy (Harry Goaz) and the other Twin Peaks officers wandered through in “Part XIV.” He stands over the same muddy spot where Andy stood when he became enveloped by the vortex, so there’s no surprise when the same things happens to the doppelgänger. The alternate reality that awaits contains a floating specter of Major Briggs’ head and, of course, the Giant (Carel Struycken) — also known as the Fireman — in an almost entirely black-and-white space, at an extreme canted angle. When the doppelgänger appears in the space, he does so on a projector, through a mechanism that transports him to another place in Twin Peaks — the sheriff’s department.

Upon his arrival, the doppelgänger sees Andy, Lucy (Kimmy Robertson) and Sheriff Frank Truman (Robert Forster) — all of whom think he is the real Agent Cooper. They should have known when he declined a cup of coffee that he wasn’t the real Cooper.

The eyeless woman, still in the prison with James Hurley (James Marshall) and Freddie Sykes (Jake Wardle), seems to be able to sense the doppelgänger’s presence — she communicates her distress with chimp-like squawks.

While Truman sits in his office with the doppelgänger (whom he thinks is Cooper), he receives a phone call from the actual Cooper — whose first action is to ask for a hot pot of coffee — which triggers a shootout between the pair of men. The heroine of the moment, however, is Lucy, who realizes from Cooper’s phone call that the doppelgänger is not who he said he was, so she grabs a gun and shoots him from behind. Still on the phone, Cooper warns Truman not to let anyone touch the doppelgänger’s body.

Shortly after the doppelgänger’s been shot, the room becomes dark as shadowy ghosts loom over the body, prodding and healing him as they did in “Part VIII.” As they do, Agent Cooper promptly arrives and watches as his doppelgänger is covered in blood by the ghosts. Once the figures disappear, the doppelgänger’s stomach becomes engorged, before a giant rock bursts from his body — it glows with face of BOB (Frank Silva) as it rams repeatedly into Agent Cooper, likely in an attempt to kill him.

Finally, we understand the purpose of Freddie’s immense strength given to him by the green gardening glove: His “destiny” is to punch out the BOB-rock. With one strike, Freddie sends the rock through the floor and into an inferno. Of course, BOB is not so easily defeated, so the rock emerges back out of the fiery pit, nearly killing Freddie — who bloodily punches the rock into several pieces.

As the room brightens again, Cooper approaches the doppelgänger’s body and places a ring on his finger, causing him to fade away, as everyone else in the room stands gob-smacked. Cooper immediately turns to Truman and asks him for the key to his room at The Great Northern. As we scan the room for shocked faces, Cooper’s face fills the screen, omnisciently looking on while the scene proceeds. After Truman gives Cooper the key, Bobby Briggs (Dana Ashbrook) steps into the room to see what’s going on, just before Cole and his agents also arrive at the station, right on cue.

Cooper indicates that he will make a swift exit, but he is approached by the eyeless woman before he can leave. The two share a moment when their hands meet, causing smoke to billow from her lips as her head fades into a reflection of the Black Lodge’s red curtain and zig-zag flooring. When that image fades, her face splits in half, transporting us to the Black Lodge itself before revealing that the eyeless woman was Diane — and the pair kiss.

They turn and see a clock unable to pass 3:53 p.m., and Cooper’s looming image speaks: “We live inside a dream.” Cooper bids his adieus as the room goes dark once again, and we see Cooper, Diane and Cole, enshrouded in darkness, approaching the camera. Using the Great Northern key, Cooper enters a dilapidated room, saying goodbye to Diane and Cole.

When he enters, completely surrounded by blackness, the one-armed man awaits him. The two walk together through a hallway — similar to the one the doppelgänger walked through in “Part XV” — to the room where Phillip Jeffries (Nathan Frizzell) resides as a teapot-looking machine. Cooper recites to him the date of the day before Laura Palmer’s (Sheryl Lee) death: February 23, 1989. In response, Jeffries projects a series of symbols, before opening up an electric space-time continuum and sending Cooper back to 1989.

In 1989, which we see in black-and-white, Laura leaves her house and hops on James’ motorcycle, as her father Leland (Ray Wise) watches from the window. The couple go to the woods — where Cooper arrives through an electric current. He’s able to witness the two lovers as Laura, panicked and distressed, confesses to having another life that no one knows about. Shortly after, James tries to take Laura home, but she hops off the bike at an intersection and wanders into the woods, so James takes off without her. Meanwhile, Leo (Eric Da Re) and Jacques Renault (Walter Olkewicz) loiter in the woods.

When Laura finds a log to sit on, she looks up to see Agent Cooper standing over her — as Laura’s theme plays — and she recognizes him from a dream. The two join hands, and we see the image of Laura’s dead body disappear from its place by the water (where it rested in the original series), and the black-and-white image of Laura with Cooper becomes colorized.

Then, we see Pete Martell (Jack Nance) on his way out to fishing — and we know that Pete found Laura’s body by the water in the original series. A wide shot of the water outside Pete’s home shows us that Laura’s body is no longer in the place where he found her in the original series.

Back in the Palmer home, Leland and Sarah — Laura’s parents — can be heard wailing, before Sarah comes downstairs and smashes a photo of Laura with a glass bottle.

Meanwhile, Cooper guides Laura through the forest, before Laura disappears in a flurry of bloodcurdling screams — once again, we are unsure as to whether Cooper was able to save Laura. Good thing the episode promptly continues into the series finale — released at the same time as “Part XVII.”

Check back for our recap of the final episode of “Twin Peaks: The Return” tonight.

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