There’s so much we could talk about when it comes to part fifteen of David Lynch and Mark Frost’s Twin Peaks 2017/Twin Peaks : The Return/Twin Peaks season three —

We could, for instance, talk about what I call “The Ballad Of Norma And Big Ed.” Nadine (played with an extra spring in her step by the great Wendy Robie) has finally given her long-suffering husband (Everett McGill) his freedom, and he heads right for the Double R and the woman he loves, the woman he’s always loved (Peggy Lipton) — only to have his heart broken one last time when cheeseball Walter (Grant Goodeve) puts in an appearance. Norma sends the slick operator and his franchise operation packing, though, and two minutes later she’s agreed to be Mrs. Big Ed Hurley. I’d like to talk about this. I’d like to talk about it a lot, in fact.

We could also talk about the trip “Evil Coop” (Kyle MacLachlan) makes to the world/realm/dimension above the convenience store, and about how he finally meets Phillip Jeffries (not David Bowie, obviously, but a disembodied voice who apparently has taken up residence inside one of those vaguely bell-shaped devices that we’ve seen so much of inside what we’ll call “The Zone”), and about how Phillip can blow numbers in smoke. We could talk about what those numbers mean — or might mean — and speculate on who or what this “Judy” he’s always going on about is.

We could talk about “Evil Coop” clocking Richard Horne (Eamon Farren), who I still maintain is his son, before they hit the road together bound, I’m assuming, for Las Vegas, where Duncan Todd (Patrick Fischler) has just met his end at the hands of Jennifer Jason Leigh — who likes ketchup with her fries, apparently. Lots of it. And we could talk about how the way Tim Roth dotes on her is actually rather adorable.

We could talk about the harrowing extended finale that perpetual loser Steven (Caleb Landry Jones) finds/comes to, meth skank in tow, out in the woods is actually one of the more disturbing scenes in the entire series, and about how Lynch’s goddamn fucking genius sound design literally makes the entire thing work and elevates the demise of a “throwaway” character into one of the most gut-wrenching things that’s ever been shown on television. Yup, we could talk a whole lot about that.

Once we ran through all that, we could talk about how overhearing the name “Gordon Cole” in a movie has seemingly brought a glimmer of awareness to Dougie Jones (MacLachlan), and how the crackling of electricity from an outlet threatens to bring about more. We could talk about his (literal) “tuning fork” and what the holy hell is happening to him as the lights flicker and his wife, Janey-E (Naomi Watts) understandably freaks out. We could talk for hours, in fact, about what this all means going forward.

We could theorize, as well, on just what’s going on between Audrey Horne (Sherilyn Fenn) and her husband, Charlie (Clark Middleton). Are they stuck in some sort of decaying time loop, endlessly repeating the same thing over and over again, while never really going anywhere — or doing anything — at all? Or is it just the most screwed up co-dependent-bordering-on-mutually-abusive relationship of all time? We could also talk about whether or not she’s really going to kill him.

Once we’d exhausted all these big subjects, we could move on to the smaller things, like James Hurley (James Marshall) getting into a fist- fight that gives his buddy, Freddie (Jake Wardle) a chance to show off his super-powered gloved hand, or the young girl freaking out hard on the floor of The Roadhouse while The Veils play, or the fact that the coolest emcee in the world, J.R. Starr, is a big ZZ Top fan. We could also talk about how great it is to see Harry Dean Stanton one more time, even if it’s in the far distance, and about how he’s proving to be, in many ways, the ultimate “glue guy” in this series. These things are all worth talking about, as well — and I guess, for a moment at any rate, we’ve done precisely that.

But more than any of the above — hell, more than all of it combined — I want to talk about Margaret Lanterman, better known as “The Log Lady,” and the extraordinary artist who brought her to life and made her an icon — the late, great Catherine E. Coulson. She died before this show made it onto our screens, and I have no doubt that all of her various phone calls to Deputy Hark (Michael Horse) were filmed in one afternoon, so fragile was her health, but if you thought you’d seen bravery from her in earlier parts (and we certainly have), tonight proved that she’d saved her most powerful performance — heck, one of the most powerful performances anyone has ever given — for her last. She talks about dying, and about how it’s not an end, but a change. She talks about her fear. She talks about the unknown. She talks about what may lie ahead. She talks about everything that matters — everything that could ever matter — and says so much with so few lines. Above all, though, what she does — in a more public way than any thany any actor has before — is say goodbye. And it’s not even acting at this point. This is Coulson, speaking from her heart, about what she’s going through. Her log is turning to gold, and so are her words. But me? Shit, I don’t mind admitting that I was turning to jelly as I watched this.

Not everyone knows that Coulson was one of Lynch’s oldest and closest friends. The two went all the way back to his Philadelphia days, and she was even his assistant director on Eraserhead. He credits her with sparking his interest in TM, which has become, in a very real sense, the center of his life and his being. And she created the character of the Log Lady more or less from whole cloth, with only minimal suggestion from her decades-long friend and artistic collaborator. Lynch dedicated part one of this series to Coulson’s memory, and tonight, after Hawk said one last, stiff-upper-lipped “goodbye” to her on the phone, and the lights went out in her cabin for the final time, and Michael Horse, Kimmy Robertson, Harry Goaz, Robert Forster, and Dana Ashbrook bowed their heads in a silent display of respect, he dedicated this part to Margaret Lanterman. I realize that I’m referencing the wrong show altogether here, but goddamnit — so say we all.

 

Comments
  1. Ryan C. (trashfilmguru) says:

    Reblogged this on Through the Shattered Lens.

  2. Shannon says:

    I like your reviews and your passion, and I thought this was another very good episode. What do you think is Audrey’s story? Why do you think she can’t actually leave her house? D’ya think it’s just a Lynch side road pit stop into a unique character, or do you feel it’s more central to the overall story? Although it’s dragged on for a few episodes, it is still the same initial scene, which makes it tough for me to place her story (in time), since so many other things keep happening and seemingly days are going by, but she’s still in the same night trying to figure whether to go to the Roadhouse or not…just perplexing to me. Thanks, I appreciate your input.

    • Ryan C. (trashfilmguru) says:

      Thanks for the kind words, I’m really stumped by all that, as well! Lynch does make side-bar stops into areas that aren’t always completely relevant to the central story, but given that we know for certain that she’s Richard’s mother, and that there’s every reason to believe “Evil Coop” is his father, it feels like she’s central to the story somehow. Something or someone has obviously done a real number on her head, and she has left the house in the past — unless her trysts with this still-unseen “Billy” character all took place at home — so why she’s stuck there now, I have no idea. I think it will get weirder before it gets resolved, though, to wit: I’m betting that she does kill Charlie, and after that the whole scene starts over again. Don’t ask me what that means, I’m just venturing a guess that’s what will happen.

  3. Shannon says:

    Thanks a lot…I agree completely with your insight. It’ll be interesting to see her “sustained limbo” play out. (Not like anyone has ever said anything of Audrey ever coming out of her coma…Who is the dreamer?) Unrelated, from the very end of Episode 14, where Sophie was explaining the Billy coming into the kitchen ordeal…did you get any vibe the 2 times she seemed really bothered that she couldn’t remember “whether my uncle was there or not…”?. That had such a Lynchian tone to it, it really jumped out at me (Coupled with bizarre honking lady in EP 11, explaining that the sick girl “hadn’t seen her uncle in a very long time). These mysterious uncles frighten me! At any rate, you are fantastic and you’ve got a dedicated reader. Keep up the great work.

    • Ryan C. (trashfilmguru) says:

      Thanks! The question of whether or nor Audrey ever “came out: of her coma had occurred to me, especially since it was strongly hinted that “Evil Coop” raped, and presumably impregnated, her while she was comatose, but the fact that she gave birth would suggest to me that she did emerge from it at some point — that being said, her situation with Charlie is very much playing out like some sort of interior mental landscape, so could she have fallen into a coma again? And if so, is “Billy” a figment of her dreaming subconscious? But, if that’s the case, why do other people clearly know him? It’s all so morbidly-yet-deliriously intriguing and perplexing. I want to know the answers — but, as with all things Lynch, I don’t expect those answers to provide anything resembling comfort or closure, and fully expect they will only raise more questions once we know them.

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