“You’re still with me. That’s good.”
I find the word “Dougie” a wonderful choice by David Lynch, because there is something inherently amusing about it. Not overtly silly, like “Doogie,” and not quietly regular, like “Doug.” No, “Dougie” is the kind of gently silly word — mildly patronizing, even infantilizing from some people; affectionate from others — that becomes funnier and funnier the more you hear it. Scolding, teasing, sad, mad: It always works. That said, I don’t know that I needed another full hour of Agent Dougie Cooper shuffling like a zombie through a sea of people pretending he’s just having an off day. It’s making my thumbs twitch, begging to be twiddled.
Here’s the thing about Episode 5, and the series in general: I can’t decide if it’s an agonizing masterstroke of pacing, or it’s a maddening tease. Why have we only seen James’s face once? And Bobby’s? Why have we heard the daffy receptionist’s voice more times than Madchen Amick’s? Is her story, with her daughter, building to something on its own, or something that’ll connect to Dale Cooper, or are they just breadcrumbs being scattered around the weird metaphysical mystery of the Black Lodge and the army of Dale Cooper clones? Answers will come — or maybe they won’t — but this kind of experiment is a tightrope. And that tightrope wobbles a bit every time the show delights too much in the giggle of Jim Belushi turning up as a casino henchman, or Ashley Judd moseying into the hotel for two lines, at the expense of Shelly Johnson or Bobby Briggs. Twin Peaks redefined TV, for sure, but it didn’t totally eradicate the human desire for delivery upon a promise. And for me, the promise here was not just weirdness — it’s totally delivering on that one — but also the world of Twin Peaks, Washington, itself. I think it’ll all come together in the end, and we are seeing signs of interconnectedness already, but many of the scraps feel too piecemeal to be satisfying.
The episode also did very little to ameliorate concerns that the women of this series either lack agency, or simply serve as pawns for the men. Shelly is sitting on her hands, watching life happen to her daughter and possibly abetting the worst of it. Ashley Judd had two lines in episode one and hasn’t been seen again (what was the deal with that edibles business that’s keeping the hotel afloat?). Sheriff Truman’s wife is a pain in his neck. Dougie is being tended to by a prostitute, his nagging wife, and a woman at his office who not only leads his dundering self to the bathroom but suggests she might be willing to make out with him now that his hair is black. And the Bang Bang Bar is now home to another complete scumsucking turd who grabs young girls by the throat. If Agent Tammy Preston can crack the Agent Creeper case without him savaging her face, it will be a miracle.
That said, while this episode wasn’t as successful for me, I’m still enjoying the experience of furrowing my brow at this show. And for a series that trades in the bizarre, it’s also surprisingly easy to follow the threads and connect a few of the dots, even if some of those pathways have dead ends at the moment.
Let’s get to the Q&A portion.
Where is Dale Cooper?
Still in Las Vegas, and still inside the skin of Dougie. Remember in Men In Black, when Vincent D’Onofrio had to play a giant cockroach-alien living inside the skin of a human, but not entirely sure how to fill it up or make it all work? It would not surprise me to learn Kyle MacLachlan studied those scenes. He inhabits Dougie just as loosely. He ambles around blankly, often being led by the arm by people who only seem to notice his new haircut, and holds his limbs as if they are elastic and he doesn’t entirely trust them.
Obviously, Dale still is not himself; he’s some sort of amnesiac zombie with the physical awareness of a baby, so he is confused and delighted by bodily functions (he still hasn’t sorted out answering the call of nature) and can’t carry conversations except by repeating what’s just been said to him. This is the source of much of my frustration: Only Jade, in the previous episode, uttered the word “stroke.” It seems impossible that any people who’ve spent any time in his orbit would not look at him and send him straight to a hospital. Instead, they just side-eye him and fill in all the blanks themselves. Maybe it’s a commentary on self-absorption.
Amusingly, the Dougie doppelganger’s life has some parallels to Dale’s: He sells insurance, which means he a) is an agent, b) takes orders from an older gentleman at the agency, and c) is handed case files and told to study them. He also has an office nemesis, in the form of Tom Sizemore. The only lucid, unprompted thing Dougie Cooper says in this hour is, “He’s lying,” to call out Sizemore in a staff meeting. The moment comes and goes. Dougie Cooper does seem to ingest the key words here, and is fascinated by a statue outside of a man pointing a gun into space. So presumably something is nibbling at his subconscious. The question is which will happen first: a breakthrough, or viewer boredom. Like I said, all these scenes are amusing — his obsession with coffee, and the way people react to him, and his complete inability to read social cues — but they feel like treading water, and like two different shows have been spliced together. Twin Peaks isn’t necessarily where I would think to go for a rumination on rediscovering our childlike wonder. But then again, I didn’t watch it the first time.
What about his car?
Dougie’s licence plate, DUGE LV, delights me. Unfortunately, it is lost to the winds: After a day in which many people drove by and idled at his parked car — still outside the property where he and Jade were shagging illicitly — someone planted an explosive under it. The child of the meth mom across the street snuck across to poke around, but some car thieves chased him away, broke into the car, and got blown to smithereens. The kid beat a retreat back home.
Who blew it up?
No idea. We know Dougie owes people money; Naomi Watts has mentioned being able to pay their debt with his winnings. But the casino boss who was on the floor when Dougie won the jackpots — sweating bullets all the while — gets beaten up and fired by Jim Belushi and Robert Knepper (of Prison Break fame, among other things), who promote his subordinate and ask to be notified if Dougie shows his face again.
Is Jade, the awesome prostitute, back?
Just for a second. I hope these actors were all paid by the episode, because she and Brett Gelman (casino owner; way funnier than this cameo let him be) only show up for a second to button up their arcs. Jade’s detailer finds the Twin Peaks motel key that Dougie dropped, and she gazes at it and grins, “Oh, Dougie,” before following the instructions on the back and popping it in a mailbox.
What’s going on with Shelly Johnson?
We meet her daughter, Becky, played by Amanda Seyfried (who does indeed have good hair) in what could therefore turn out to be the most substantial of the celebrity cameos. Amanda is in love with a complete loser who is also a sensitive drug dealer, and we spend a lot of time staring up her nose right after some cocaine goes up it, as she leans back her head and blisses out. Shelly is worried. She does nothing about it, though, except keep giving her daughter money. Peggy Lipton, back as the owner of the diner, does not approve. NOR SHOULD SHE.
Commenter note (I’m editing to add them where needed): Becky and Steven have the same last name on IMDb, so must be married.
What’s going down at the Twin Peaks Police Department?
The new Truman’s wife, Doris, is a nightmare. Her short scene involves her being pissed at him for a variety of tiny nothings and shrieking excoriations about how he doesn’t let her spend money on rugs but he’s willing to let her buy a large bucket to deal with a leaking pipe. “YOU’RE IMPOSSIBLE,” she screams, and obviously he’s not; he’s sane and sensible and she is the worst. Sigh. I’m bored of that dynamic. Bring me Sarah Palmer. I need some Grace Zabriskie up in this place.
Otherwise, no one has broken anything on the Cooper matter — that being, where is he, and what did the Log Lady’s message mean — and Bobby Briggs is nowhere to be found. However…
Is Major Garland Briggs secretly not dead?
Oh no. He’s dead. But not in from the fire we THOUGHT killed him all those years ago. Per DNA evidence, he may be the headless male corpse found in Buckhorn, South Dakota, with the librarian’s head above it. Which would make him really most sincerely dead. (Ernie Hudson shows up as an army dude who exposits that they’ve had 16 hits on his fingerprints in the last 25 years.) Crucially, he was also in possession of a wedding ring engraved by one Janey-E to her husband Dougie — which is, of course, the Cooper doppelganger and his fie Naomi Watts. (I assume Janey-E is meant to be their inside joke, although Naomi Watts does not strike me here as someone who partakes in jokes or laughing of any kind.)
Have we been back to the bar, at least?
Yes! The Bang Bang Bar is the worst this time. Like, really viciously awful. A dude with a raging case of meanface sits down and lights up in a booth. He seriously oozes murder somehow. When the bar owner asks him not to, he refuses, and the bouncer comes over and offers to handle it. Instead, he accepts a payoff of cash inside a box of Marlboros — sorry, Morleys — and goes on his way, leaving Meanface alone to smoke and threaten to rape people. No, really. A girl from a giggly table comes to bum a light, and he grabs her and holds her to him and starts menacing her. It takes an insanely long time for one of her friends, played by Suburgatory’s Jane Levy, to tell him to stop. “I’m gonna laugh when I f**k you, bitch,” Meanface spits as he gris her neck. Nobody else in this godforsaken bar bats an eyelash. With Agent Creeper behind bars, the show had settled into more of a languid pace with cartoonish remnants of gore and violence — the dead bodies in New York, Briggs’s headless form — and so this blast of pure sociopathy was tonally jarring.
Also, seriously, that guy has the MEANEST FACE. Young lady, bum a light from someone who doesn’t look like he eats the flesh off of femurs.
Commenter note: The character is credited with the last name Horne, as in Audrey, and Ben and Jerry the Motel Owners. HMM.
Where is Agent Creeper?
Still in the slammer. He gazes into a mirror and remembers the ending of season two, when Cooper slammed his head in the mirror and then looked up to see BOB’s reflection. It’s how we knew he was possessed. We also get a lot of flashbacks to the maniacal laughing. So, so much laughing. Back in the present: “You’re still with me,” Creeper intones. “That’s good.” He appears to be talking to his own BOBness, because in that moment Creeper’s face morphs a bit and takes on a BOB quality, which you’ll see in the slideshow. It then quickly shifts back to being Creeper’s own. I actually missed it the first time.
He later pulls a nifty trick with a telephone during his One Phone Call Allowed time, which he takes in an isolated room where he knows he’s being watched. After threatening to call a Mr. Strawberry, which I assume is former baseball great Darryl, his captors (among them former 24 silver fox James Morrison, aka CTU chief Bill Buchanan) turn pale. Creeper says pointedly, “I don’t think he’s taking calls.” Oh, I don’t know, Darryl seems like an amiable enough dude. And the STORIES he has from his playing years. Instead, Creeper dials a bunch of numbers seemingly at random until all the prison’s power goes haywire and the alarms sound. It stays that way until until he says, “The cow jumped over the moon.” Then he hangs up and stares back up at the surveillance cameras as everything returns to normal. “What did this guy just do?” breathes . I feel you, sir.
Here’s one thing he did: That little action imploded a tiny device in Argentina — a device, by the way, which a random woman at the top of the hour was paging in a panic because “this job was supposed to be done yesterday.” She’s talking to two guys staking out Dougie’s car, presumably trying to kill him. Maybe BOB is trying to eliminate all the Cooper clones, so that Dale can’t… I don’t even know. I’d think clones would be useful, and hey, look at how handy Dougie was. He deflected Dale from entering Agent Creeper’s body.
Weren’t the feds kinda onto Creeper, though?
Agent Preston seems to be. (Preston is the one working with Miguel Ferrera and David Lynch’s FBI honchos; if I recall correctly we got a gratuitous shot of her butt in a tight skirt as she walked away from them in exasperation last week, because of course.) She studies Cooper’s and Creeper’s fingerprints and sees something that alarms her, but we don’t learn what that is. However, the actress bears a passing resemblance to box office hero Gal Godot, so if anyone can save this shindig and usher in some strong female mojo ’round these here Lynchian parts, it could be her.
Yes. Dr. Jacoby’s shovels are in play: He’s apparently broadcasting rants online (“This is Dr. Amp doing the vamp for liberty, climbing the ramp for justice, and lighting the lamp for freedom”) about how the world is weighing us down with its shit… as a way of selling his gold-plated shit-digging shovels for $29.95, which was the punch line delivered just deep enough into this thing to be a true surprise. I mean, I hope he makes a mint? But man. We listened to a LOT of rant to get there. Which may end up being a metastatement about this entire show. Commenters note: One of the people listening may have been Jerry Horne, one of the motel-owning brothers.
– I’ve been acting like BOB/Agent Creeper is actually Dale Cooper’s original body, just… altered. But what if it’s not? What if he’s just ANOTHER Cooper clone that BOB jumped to?
– Do we think the box in New York is just a writ-large version of the cigarette lighter through which Agent Creeper resisted being sucked (in the last installments)? Dale floated through it briefly before being deposited somewhere else. Maybe that box is trying to catch BOB or something like him.
– Also, if the authorities have video of the box, and detected the Unidentified Blur that killed Buzzcut and Tracey, how come they didn’t see Agent Cooper floating around in there?