All conventional sense of time in Twin Peaks has long been lost, but the strange loop that David Lynch has kept us on throughout The Return finally comes closer to biting its tail. Fifteen episodes later, we have our beloved Cooper back, but Mr. C, his evil doppelgänger, continues his nefarious plans.
Last episode, Cooper’s woozy alter ego Dougie Jones stuck his fork into a light socket, which put him in a coma, but woke the real Coop from his slumber. From his hospital bed, Cooper sees a vision of the one-armed man (aka MIKE), who says what we’re all thinking: “You’re awake . . . finally.” Cooper responds: “Do you have the seed? . . . I need you to make another one,” while pulling a lock of hair from his head. He also takes the gold and green owl ring. Is he asking for MIKE to create another Cooper doppelgänger? There’s no telling what the mysterious seed does yet, but for now we can assume it manufactures doubles of a person — just as we witness with Diane.
It seems our Girl Friday isn’t really who we thought. Diane receives a text from Mr. C while at a hotel bar that simply says “:-) All” after he sends Richard Horne to the top of a hill in the desert where the unhinged young man is electrocuted and vanishes into thin air. “Goodbye, my son,” Mr. C says as Jerry Horne looks on from the distance (freaking out). Cue theories about the Audrey/Coop/Mr. C backstory.
After Diane responds to Mr. C with a string of numbers, another coordinate, she goes to Gordon Cole’s (David Lynch) room/makeshift office to tell him and Agents Preston and Rosenfield the story of that horrible night she was sexually assaulted by what sounds like Mr. C. It was a few years after Agent Cooper disappeared. She tells the trio that he brought her to what looked like an old gas station. Suddenly, as though her wires are crossed, she starts raving about the “sheriff’s station” and screaming “I’m not me!” She pulls a gun, Tammy and Albert shoot her, and she vanishes — only to reappear in the Black Lodge. There, the one-armed man tells her: “Someone manufactured you.’ “I know. Fuck you,” she replies before crackling into oblivion. A gold ball, or seed, floats out of her head.
Meanwhile, Coop is already back in action. Nothing feels as good as hearing him say, “I am the FBI,” as the series theme plays. Our intrepid agent is already making plans to get back to Twin Peaks, thanks to the help of his hilarious mob pals Bradley and Rodney Mitchum. Coop’s goodbyes to Janey-E and Sonny Jim are brief, but sweet. Although Coop was lost in the ether, his Dougie persona experienced everything. He tells the family: “You’ll see me soon. I’ll walk through that red door, and I’ll be home for good.”
Back at Dougie and Janey-E’s suburban abode, things aren’t nearly as sentimental. There’s a gaggle of agents and thugs all looking for Dougie, including Hutch and Chantal in a van with a gun. They get into a beef with one of Dougie’s neighbors — a strange man in a car that says “Zawaski Accounting.” He guns them down, and our junk food-loving couple is dead.
Back at the Roadhouse, Eddie Vedder plays on stage (performing under his given name, Edward Louis Severson). “Who I am, who I was, that will never come again,” the song goes — a little on the nose, but true to the episode’s theme nonetheless. Audrey and her husband have finally made it to the bar. Before we know it, the dance floor clears, Audrey’s theme plays, and she’s doing that dreamy, familiar sway Twin Peaks fans know and love. It’s a strange moment, but we soon realize that it might not be real. The scene flashes to a white room and Audrey staring at herself in a mirror. Is it a dream? Has the real Audrey been trapped somewhere as she plays out a strange fantasy in her head? The ongoing fan theory is that after Coop’s disappearance/transformation, Audrey lost touch with reality, became institutionalized, and Charlie is her doctor.
Lynch’s characters often experience self-illusions as a way to cope with trauma, creating bizarre time loops that take us further and further away from reality. It’s this strange confluence of endings and beginnings that Lynch likes to play with. Next week’s season finale, quite possibly the end of Twin Peaks once and for all, won’t be as neat as another show’s conclusion — but we wouldn’t want it any other way.