‘Twin Peaks’ Part 11 Recap: Swirling Skies And Cherry Pies

Photo: Suzanne Tenner/Showtime

Warning: This recap for ‘Part 11’ of Twin Peaks contains spoilers.

Is there any better image to sum up Twin Peaks than a dark, swirling vortex in the sky? It’s a reminder that at any moment we could be sucked into a nightmare. One minute you could be playing a friendly game of catch in the yard and the next you’re being confronted with a bloodied and battered woman crawling out of the weeds. You could be reconciling family differences around the dinner table only for a bullet to come flying past your head. Or perhaps you’re just trying to make it home in time for supper before your zombie-child starts drooling vomit into your lap.

Part 11 was David Lynch and Mark Frost at the height of their powers. The show’s many tones poured into a coffee cup and stirred into the perfect blend of damn good television. An episode of car rides and gunshots where horror and humor stood hand-in-hand. Where the warm glow of the original series, with the long-missed Angelo Badalamenti score, came crashing into The Return‘s abstract darkness and unrelenting violence. Every scene popped with color or comedy or creepiness, sometimes all three at once, culminating in perhaps the series most memorable episode next to Part 8.

Photo: Suzanne Tenner/Showtime

BUCKHORN, SD

It makes sense to start with the swirling nightmare cloud which almost pulls Gordon Cole (David Lynch) into its grasp. Gordon and Albert Rosenfield (Miguel Ferrer), with their guns cocked and loaded, approach a decaying house behind a chain link fence at the site Bill Hastings (Matthew Lillard) says he met Major Briggs (Don Davis). As one of the ghostly woodsmen drifts in and out of vision, Gordon sees a spiraling vortex in the sky, almost as if it’s ripping through the fabric of time — a portal between two worlds.

Perhaps I’m just obsessively looking for The Wizard of Oz references now, but once again the classic L. Frank Baum novel was the first thing that came to mind. The twisting vortex conjures images of the tornado that transported Dorothy from her Kansas home to the magical Land of Oz. Even the decrepit looking house Gordon and Albert stand outside of bears a striking resemblance to the house Dorothy lived in.

Photo: Showtime Screengrab

Before Gordon completely loses himself in his vision, Albert pulls him back into reality where they notice the headless body of Ruth Davenport on the grass nearby. Meanwhile, the shadowy woodsman fades into the back of Detective Macklay’s (Brent Briscoe) car and crushes Bill Hastings’ skull, which seems to be the woodsmen’s favored method of death. “He’s dead” Gordon declares with perfect comic timing. Poor Bill, he never will get to take that scuba diving trip.

Back at the Buckhorn Sheriff’s Department, around a table of coffee and donuts, Gordon recalls his vision, describing the “dirty bearded men” he saw standing on a staircase. An eagle-eyed Reddit user noticed that behind the woodsmen appears to be the same flower-patterned wallpaper from the painting Mrs. Tremond gave to Laura Palmer (Sheryl Lee) in Fire Walk With Me. The painting depicted an empty room with an open door which Laura later entered in a dream. You can make up your own mind whether it’s the same room or not, but I tend to believe it is:

Detective Macklay also confirms that the headless body belonged to Ruth Davenport and that there were coordinates scribbled on her arm. One would assume that the coordinates are leading to the same place that Sheriff Frank Truman (Robert Forster) and Hawk (Michael Horse) are trying to find. Also, the way Diane (Laura Dern) was trying to memorize the numbers is further evidence she is a double agent, passing along information, most likely to Mr. C (Kyle MacLachlan).

TWIN PEAKS

Photo: Suzanne Tenner/Showtime

Part 11 spends more time in the town of Twin Peaks than any other episode. The drama primarily revolves around the Briggs family who continue to represent both Twin Peaks past and present.

Becky (Amanda Seyfried) is reliving her mother’s formative years, shackled in a relationship with a deadbeat wife-beater who she simultaneously loves and hates. After finding out that Steven (Caleb Landry Jones) is cheating on her (with Gersten Hayward, piano-playing sister of Donna, played by original Peaks cast member Alicia Witt), she does her best Sarah Palmer impression by screaming into the phone, grabs a gun and steals Shelly’s (Madchen Amick’s) car. It’s a high-octane, heart-pounding scene as Shelly grips to the hood of the vehicle; her body tumbling to the side of the road as Becky speeds off in a murderous rage.

Luckily, Shelly survives with just a few scratches, but the emotional scars run a lot deeper. She is essentially watching her daughter reenact her past. At one time she was trapped in a toxic relationship, she even owned a gun just like Becky, and used it to shoot her drug dealing, abusive husband, Leo. Although when Shelly fired her weapon it was in self-defense, unlike Becky who blasts off a round of shots into Gersten’s apartment door, hoping that the two-timing couple is inside (they’re not; they’re hiding downstairs).

Photo: Suzanne Tenner/Showtime

It’s intense action, and Seyfried brings a palpable energy to her performance, but it’s the scene at the Double R that is truly the stand-out of this whole sequence. There’s a moment of reflection between the Briggs family, where Bobby (Dana Ashbrook) is confirmed as Becky’s father. The continued growth of Bobby Briggs is one of the series’ highlights, the barking bad boy of Twin Peaks turned concerned parent and upstanding lawman. The concern yet hope he has for his daughter echo the sentiments his own father shared with him in that very same diner some 25 years ago.

But Becky isn’t yet ready to turn her life around the same way her dad did. She still makes excuses for Steven, covers up his abuse, defends his actions. If Becky is a reflection of her mother then perhaps she will never change — Shelly turns into a giddy teenager again when Red (Balthazar Getty) appears at the window, and we all know he is bad news. The cycle of abuse is set to continue, and all Bobby can do is watch it unfold in front of him. He obviously still loves his wife (ex-wife?), he wants to step in to free his daughter from Steven but doesn’t want to push her away in the process, and he knows that darkness is lurking ahead.

Photo: Suzanne Tenner/Showtime

That darkness is given sudden physicality when a bullet smashes through the window of the Double R, unleashing one of the strangest and most terrifying scenes of the series. A small boy found his father’s gun on the backseat of his minivan and pulled the trigger. Bobby jumps into cop mode and surveys the area. The boy’s mother yells at the clumsy father while Bobby tries to keep the peace. A woman in the car behind honks her horn over and over again. It’s all screaming and screeching and honking. The young boy, in his camo print jacket, stares at Bobby, unfazed and unapologetic. Bobby attempts to calm the road rage woman but instead, is greeted with a sick child popping up from the passenger seat like the girl in The Exorcist, vomit dribbling down her chin. An absolute horror show that tells us things are definitely not right in Twin Peaks.

This encroaching evil is glimpsed elsewhere in town. A bloodied Miriam (Sarah Jean Long), who survived her attack from Richard Horne (Eamon Farren), crawls out of the woods where a group of kids are playing catch. The Sheriff’s Department receives an abundance of emergency calls, one after another. Frank and Hawk analyze symbols on an old map (fire, black corn, death); “There’s a fire where you are going,” The Log Lady (Catherine Coulson) tells Hawk. Twin Peaks is going to hell.

LAS VEGAS

Photo: Suzanne Tenner/Showtime

The threat of violence and impending danger was also in the air in Las Vegas, but things turned out much cheerier (or should that be cherrier?).

Guided by the smell of coffee and visions of the Red Room, Dougie Jones (Kyle MacLachlan) goes to meet the Mitchum Brothers in the desolate Nevada desert, carrying with him a check for $30 million and a cardboard box. It’s almost a parody of the final scene in David Fincher’s Se7en. Bradley Mitchum (a truly on his game Jim Belushi) can’t wait to kill Dougie but shows reluctance after a dream he has suggests Dougie is a friend, not an enemy. Bradley whispers to his brother Rodney (Robert Knepper) that if there is a cherry pie inside the box then his dream was real and they can’t murder Dougie. It reminds me of the Winkie’s Diner scene in Mulholland Drive, except this dream-turned-reality has a much nicer ending.

Photo: Suzanne Tenner/Showtime

The box does indeed contain a pie, and before he knows it, Dougie has gone from potential murder victim to the Mitchum brothers’ new best friend. They wine and dine him a casino restaurant, tucking into the dream cherry pie, and toasting to new found friendship. I couldn’t stop smiling during this scene, everything about it was stupendous. The gorgeous new Badalamenti composition on the piano, which almost slips into Laura’s Theme. Dougie-Coop letting out a “damn good” as he chows down his pie. Candie (Amy Shiels) vacantly staring into the distance while yabbering about Las Vegas traffic. And, of course, the return of a dolled up Lady Slot-Addict (Linda Porter), thanking Dougie for saving her life. This entire sequence was so pricesly orchestrated that I wanted to bow down to my TV in praise of Lynch-Frost.

As the dark cloud swirls above us, pulling us further and further into a world of pain and suffering, Agent Cooper is the light at the other side. Cooper, even in his Dougie-state, is saving lives and brightening people’s days even when the threat of death looms large. “Someone’s on their way” is what the Sheriff’s Department dispatcher keeps telling the Twin Peaks residents, and you can’t help but read that “someone” as Cooper. Only Agent Cooper, and perhaps a slice of cherry pie, can stop Twin Peaks from hurtling into eternal damnation.

THOUGHTS FROM ANOTHER PLACE

Photo: Showtime Screengrab

“I haven’t seen a movie in years – all I watch is TV shows about cars,” Lynch said in an interview earlier this year. Cars are a frequent motif in the director’s work. The psychopathic joy-ride in Blue Velvet. The roadside wreckage Lulu and Sailor encounter in Wild At Heart. The limo collision that kicks off the events of Mulholland Drive, and of course, Richard Horne’s hit and run devastation in this very series of Twin Peaks. There was a ton of car action in Part 11.  Becky stole Shelly’s car. Bill Hastings was killed in the back of Macklay’s car. A child shot a gun from his parents’ minivan while zombie-girl puked in the car behind them. Carl Rodd (Harry Dean Stanton) summoned a VW bus with some sort of dog whistle. Dougie was picked up in a limo and driven down the Vegas strip, accompanied by Shawn Colvin’s poppy cover of “Viva Las Vegas.” Even Deputy Jesse (James Grixoni) interrupted Frank to ask him if he wanted to come and look at his new car. The American automobile as a symbol of pent up American rage?

Photo: Suzanne Tenner/Showtime

The black symbol (from Mr. C’s playing card and the Major’s notes), which is either a drawing of The Experiment or maybe the frog-fly bug, shows up again on Hawk’s map. When Frank inquires about it, Hawk very sternly tells him, “You don’t ever want to know about that.” I shuddered. I’m sure there are more clues to be deciphered on this map – I’ll leave that to the Reddit sleuths.

Photo: Suzanne Tenner/Showtime

The site Bill Hastings took the FBI was 2240 Sycamore, another recurring Twin Peaks motif. The entry point to the Lodge in Glastonbury Grove was a pool of scorched oil surrounded by twelve sycamore trees in a circle. Earlier this season, Dougie-Coop passed a Sycamore Street on his way to the Silver Mustang Casino.

Twin Peaks airs Sundays on Showtime at 9 pm.

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