Twin Peaks digs deeper into the strange case of Agent Dale Cooper’s disappearance and the unnerving circumstances of his doppelganger’s presence with ‘Part 5’.
So far, the return of Twin Peaks has been a strange, fascinating ride. The series has managed to knock four episodes out of the park, each in remarkably different ways. David Lynch has brought all of his directorial know-how to the series, affording the audience everything from abject terror to laugh-out-loud comedy to the surrealism and dreamy nostalgia most of those familiar with Lynch’s work were likely expecting. In just four hours the series has reached highs that might have been though unattainable – perhaps even reaching its peak (no pun intended) with Michael Cera’s hilariously bizarro cameo as Wally, the rambling, leather-clad son of Andy and Lucy. And that’s saying nothing of the Dale Cooper doppelgängers running around, and the rebooted original (at least we think he’s the original) hero struggling to make a return to reality after spending the last quarter century in the Black Lodge.
Needless to say, there’s still a lot going on, as Lynch and Mark Frost have already threaded a number of new plot lines for the return of the series. There’s also the return of several characters from the original two season and movie waiting for their turn onscreen. There’s no telling where Lynch and Frost intend to take the series, but they’ve set out some intriguing breadcrumbs from Fire Walk With Me – namely, Phillip Jeffries, the mention of Blue Rose, and the mysterious green ring – that suggest the director’s words from January that the 1992 film would play a significant part in the new season are indeed true.
And now Twin Peaks digs deeper into the strange case of Agent Dale Cooper’s disappearance and the unnerving circumstances of his doppelgänger’s presence with ‘Part 5’. Or at least it appears to. The fifth episode of the Twin Peaks revival is the sort of hour of television that makes the series so appealing. There’s not much in the way of answers to what happened with Dale, Dark Dale, or even Dougie, but the hour is still equal parts bewilderment and gratification — so basically a pretty solid episode of Twin Peaks.
The hour moves back and forth between seemingly oppositional tones with as much ease as everything that’s come before. While there isn’t anything that’s as immediately memorable as, say, the monster of smoke and light emerging from a box in New York, a decapitated corpse in South Dakota, or Dark Dale’s toxic heave after rolling his car, Lynch and Frost make the most of every single moment, giving the audience a chance to better appreciate the wild swings between character threads – whether they revel in comedy or a slowly escalating sense of ominousness.
In that regard, ‘Part 5’ has plenty to offer fans of Twin Peaks’ brand of comedy. Kyle MacLachlan continues to pull double duty playing a wildly offset pair of Dale Coopers. Original flavor Cooper is still booting up the old hard drives, which affords the hour plenty of laughs as Dougie is dropped off at work by his wife Janey-E (Naomi Watts), who either continues to be incredibly understanding of her husband’s near catatonic condition or the real Dougie was just such a cipher that she can’t tell the difference. Watching Watts deal with this new Dougie without addressing what must be an enormous personality change is nearly as funny as watching MacLachlan wandering the offices of Lucky 7 Insurance, relishing the taste of coffee, accusing Tom Sizemore of being a liar, and zeroing in on a few key words, like “agent” and “case files” just so that a flicker of his true self can flash beneath the fixed surface that is Dougie’s expressionless face. As funny as Dougie’s adventures at the office are, there’s always something lurking just beneath the surface in Lynch’s work. In ‘Part 5’ that darkness manifests itself in a variety of different ways. And now that Twin Peaks has expanded far beyond the borders of the titular town, the various levels of darkness seem to be everywhere the camera looks.
By far the most unsettling moment of the hour is the time spent with Dark Dale, as he stares at his contorted face in the mirror of his jail cell, reminiscing about his time in the Black Lodge with Bob, saying “You’re still with me. That’s good.” Later, while making his phone call, Dark Dale causes alarms to go off – both in the facility that’s holding him and in his captors. In a world where Dougie’s dissimilarities go unnoticed, it’s both reassuring and terrifying to see that Dark Dale can elicit an appropriate response from those watching him.
‘Part 5′ has plenty of off-putting and unexpected responses that it plays to great effect. Amanda Seyfried shows up to get some money from Mädchen Amick’s Shelly, before revealing she and Caleb Landry Jones’ Steve Burnett are romantically involved. Like almost everything else, their relationship seems doomed – either by their hand or the forces at play elsewhere in the series. But perhaps most disturbing is Eamon Farren’s smoking Richard Horne, who accosts a young woman at the bar while Trouble, the strangely appropriately named band, plays on.
In all, ‘Part 5’ is the sort of hour of Twin Peaks that’s there for the audience to enjoy its various details and to further expand the world of show and the possibilities of its story.
Twin Peaks continues next Sunday with ‘Part 6’ @9pm on Showtime.