TV: Twin Peaks S03 E13

Continuing where last week left off in a somewhat more darkly comic, absurdist and even shocking light than what the twelfth episode, David Lynch and Mark Frost once again have managed to churn out an episode full of surprises, unexpected comic pleasures and moments of abrupt extreme violence that will make you laugh and/or gasp at the same time.  Offering up arguably the most frightening display of Evil Cooper’s superhuman powers outside of being able to cheat death, viewers are treated to goofball/horrific arm wrestling scene set to rival the infamous Brundlefly biker gang arm wrestling match in David Cronenberg’s The Fly

For Lynch die-hards, it was fun spotting Frank Collison, better known as a vagrant who accosts John Lurie and Pruitt Taylor Vince from David Lynch’s Wild at Heart. We also, at long last, finally get to see Big Ed Hurley (Everett McGill) mingling with Bobby Briggs (Dana Ashbrook) and Norma (Peggy Lipton) at the RR diner and Dougie/Good Cooper leave room for the weirdest use of Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake since Darren Aronofsky’s Black Swan.  Arguably the biggest surprise of the latest episode goes to Tom Sizemore who all but sheds his tough guy persona in favor of something really unexpected.  The show also picks up where we left off with Audrey Horne (Sherilyn Fenn) and manages to confuse viewers even further of her oddly frustrating predicament than the previous episode.
Though largely comical with a truly absurdist turn by James Hurley who we only saw the one time in the second episode, there’s also an oddly melancholy streak running through this particular episode.  While Doctor Jacoby (Russ Tamblyn) and Nadine Hurley (Wendy Robie) have a peculiar and heartwarming exchange, we’re also treated to moments of desolation involving a lonesome Big Ed watching the cars pass by his gas station at night and in the episode’s most maddening scene a truly pathetic moment of Sarah Palmer (Grace Zabriskie) drinking herself into oblivion as a knockout in a boxing match replays on repeat.  It’s the one episode outside of the eleventh with Richard Horne’s home invasion scene that comes closest to transposing Lynch’s animated series Dumbland to live action form.

In true Lynch and Frost fashion, the series continues to advance the central storylines forward while playing out as a loose series of anecdotal abstractions.  There’s a recurring theme of loneliness among the aged characters who returned to the new show contrasted by the presence of younger newcomers, particularly involving Ed Hurley and Sarah Palmer.  If nothing else, the largest crux of the story falls on the shoulders of Kyle MacLachlan who is tasked with giving viewers two shades of Dale Cooper, channeling just enough of each side that we recognize the character while also feeling somewhat alienated by him.  It’s a tricky feat but MacLachan continues to soar with his interpretation of the characters and make viewers believe in the existence of both. 

Though there are only five episodes left of this new season, including reportedly a two-hour grand finale, fans of the world of Twin Peaks are at once watching Lynch take viewers down uncharted territory while slowly bringing us back to a glimmer of the Dale Cooper we came to know and love.  What I can say for certain is that this new Twin Peaks represents as of current some of the most innovative, daring, disturbing and oddly delightful television programming in the history of the medium which will leave you ready to come back for seconds.


- Andrew Kotwicki