‘Twin Peaks’ Season 3 Episode 5 Recap: Digging Deeper

Hey, at least we found out what the gold shovels are for!

We’re far enough into this series of Twin Peaks for at least some resolution to the many questions raised by the first couple of episodes, and while there are still no answers about what the hell was going on with Ronette Pulaski in the Purple Room and why a weird shadow erupted out of an empty glass box to slaughter the unfortunates tasked with watching said box, at least one question was answered last night: why the hell was Dr Jacoby spraypainting a bunch of shovels gold?

The answer, gloriously, is that the wacky psychiatrist has spent the 25 years since we last saw him evolving into a sort of Pacific Northwest crusty forest version of Alex Jones. Last night featured an extended scene of Jacoby ranting into a webcam about the evils of the world, about how “they’re” out to get us with fluoride in the water and every other right wing paranoiac touchpoint. The scene climaxes with Jacoby offering us one of his gold-plated shovels for $29.99 — his Dr Amp’s Gold Shit-Digging Shovel, to give it its full name — so that we can dig ourselves out of the shit. His audience — which appears to consist of Nadine, looking crazier than every, and Jerry Horne, looking stoner-ier than ever — looks like they’re ready to get out their wallets at a moment’s notice.

Mostly, though, last night’s episode introduced more questions and more characters. Foremost amongst these: how long is the amusing-but-limited Cooper-as-Dougie plot going to be dragged out? (On that point, at least, there was a hint that Coop might slowly be working out who he is — he repeats the word “Agent” when someone says it, and looks like there’s a small flicker of memory kindling in his poor abused brain — along with the revelation that he can apparently read minds as well as hit jackpots.) It’s entertaining, sure, and Kyle Maclachlan seems to be having a blast playing it, but the sooner the real Agent Cooper returns, the better. Because… he will return at some point? Right…?

Elsewhere, we meet the other Sheriff Truman’s shrewish cariacture of a wife, we visit Hawk and Andy as they continue to sift through all the Agent Cooper files (it’s the key that’s missing, guys! The key!), we watch as a very unpleasant young man flat-out assaults a local girl at the Bang Bang Bar as Trouble (featuring Alex Zhang Hungtai of Dirty Beaches, along with David Lynch’s son Riley) play in the background, and we take a detour to the Pentagon to learn that high level military types are monitoring internal access to the file about Garland Briggs, Bobby’s late father whose information led Cooper to the Black Lodge in the first place. As ever, the show cuts between comedy and drama in a way that no other show has really done before or since; one minute we’re giggling at Dougie’s desperate grasp for coffee, the next we’re staring at a very graphic shot of a headless body.

The best and most frightening scene, though, comes at the episode’s conclusion, as Evil Cooper takes his one phone call in prison. He uses it to call a mysterious device in Buenos Aires — the same device, apparently, that whoever it is who’s been trying unsuccessfully to put a hit on Dougie has been calling — and somehow uses that to take over the prison’s entire power grid, setting alarms ringing, lights flashing and the warden, understandably, freaking the fuck out. Earlier in the episode, Evil Cooper stares at himself in the mirror, in a scene that harks directly back to the conclusion of the show’s second season, and allows his face to slowly, subtly morph into that of BOB. It’s a face that’s not got any less frightening over the years.

Indeed, there are clear echoes of Lynch’s previous work, so much so that it’s awfully tempting to view his entire filmography as leading up to … this. The Cooper-in-prison plot (and the other plot involving the man accused of the decapitation of the headless body we mentioned before, which didn’t feature at all this episode) both recall Lost Highway‘s narrative about a man being imprisoned for a crime apparently committed by some other version of himself. And the scene where Amanda Seyfried, playing Shelley’s daughter (and inheriting her mother’s terrible taste in men), sinks back blissfully in her car seat after taking a bump of something off her deadbeat boyfriend’s hand… that’s a dead ringer for Mulholland Dr.‘s shot of Naomi Watts’s Betty character marveling at the imagined delights of her Potemkin Hollywood.

God knows how, or if, this is all going to get tied together — but hoo boy, is it going to be a fascinating ride to find out. This season doesn’t end until September, but I expect we’ll be dissecting and obsessing over it for a long, long time. Hurrah.