by Francis Friel, The Projectionist
“It’s not easy being green.”
Okay. So. That dead body in South Dakota. We still aren’t getting any textual evidence that it’s Major Briggs, despite the entire internet insisting that it must be him. We aren’t getting much from this storyline at all right now, really, but I open with it because what we do get is interesting.
Jane Adams’ autopsy reveals that the person hadn’t eaten anything (“at least not food”) in quite a while, but an object is found in the stomach. A wedding ring inscribed “To Dougie…” So this lays another breadcrumb on the path to reconnecting the FBI with the real Agent Cooper. It also reinforces the idea of the Golden Circle of Appetite and Satisfaction referenced by MIKE in Season 2 and again in Season 3 by the golden orb that materializes when Dougie is extinguished by the Black Lodge. So we have one definitive reason for all this weirdness. BOB is guiding the original Cooper doppelganger through the world trying to soak up as much garmonbozia as possible. We already knew this, but the show seems to be telling us repeatedly that nothing we are seeing should be taken for granted, and that, like I said last week, nothing on the show is simply strange for the sake of being strange. It’s all coming from somewhere, and there is a reason for all of it.
The only thing we don’t know for sure, narratively, is why BOB needs a doppelganger (or several) to do this for him at all. Yes, Frank Silva, the actor who portrayed BOB in the first two seasons and in Fire Walk With Me, died in the 1990s. But textually we don’t have an answer for why this is the route he’s taking. Why not simply keep possessing people and working through them? Certainly, the doppelganger is powerful, able to control physical reality and scare the shit out of the warden and guards working in the federal prison where he’s currently being held. Maybe a pure version incarnation of the Lodge is more efficient than a possessed human for this purpose? It certainly makes sense to have as many manufactured bodies running around doing your work for you as possible, as opposed to riding out a single vehicle for decades to achieve this end. I assume this will be addressed. Or it’s possible that addressing this question directly isn’t of much interest to Frost and Lynch. Either way, the doppelganger continues to be terrifying. Staring into the mirror in his cell, remembering his “birth” in the Black Lodge and his first face-to-face with BOB in Cooper’s hotel room bathroom mirror, he summons BOB himself, his face distorting into a grotesque half-Cooper/half-BOB grimace as he speaks: “You’re still with me. That’s good.”
Speaking of vehicles, this theme comes up again in this episode as well. The gangsters staking out Dougie’s house make a reappearance here, planting a bomb under Dougie’s car. When some carjackers roll by and try to steal the car, three of the them get blown up immediately (two get away). A guy working at a carwash finds Cooper’s Great Northern Hotel room key in Jade’s car, which she drops in the mailbox. Janey-E repeatedly tells Cooper, “Get out of this car and go to work!”
So the theme of Cooper losing his vehicle (or being forced out of it) is very strong here. Everyone is playing their part in trying to get him to wake up and resume the role of Special Agent. Certainly, that hotel room key eventually arriving back at the Great Northern after being missing for twenty-five years will be another step towards someone somewhere realizing that the real Cooper is back, out there in the world. And then we can start the process of bringing him back to his own life. Likewise, Dougie’s car being blown-up will (presumably) lead the gangsters who are after Dougie to assume he’s now dead (we still don’t know why anyone is after Dougie, exactly, unless it’s because Mr. C. is behind it all, but wasn’t his interest in keeping Dougie around for as long as possible?). That would be another step towards erasing the Dougie obstacle from people getting a clearer picture at who this “new” Dougie really is. Again, Janey’s line, “Get out of this car and get to work” indicates that as soon as Cooper can shed his accidental Dougie disguise/vehicle, his real work can begin.
Cooper has to make his way out of “dreamland,” as Dougie’s co-worker puts it. And he’s making some solid, if slow, progress. Previously he was able to identify jackpot-winning slot machines by paying attention to clues provided by the White Lodge. This week he gets some more help, in the form of a flash of green light projected over Tom Sizemore’s face during a work conference. Cooper can tell when someone is lying, an ability he’s displayed before, but here comes off as a huge deal since it’s also the first time in this new series (outside of the early scenes in the Lodge) that we see Cooper speaking and thinking for himself.
The green light also corresponds to Cooper’s green jacket. He stands out against the blandness of the conference room and the general mood and wardrobe of everyone else around him. So he walks around in the color of rebirth and eternal life, moving towards complete self-awareness (while wearing someone else’s clothes).
The “dreamland” reference reminded me of another Lynch/Naomi Watts connection, as her character in Mulholland Drive says “now I’m in this dream place!” This, in turn, leads us directly to the other major color-coded imagery of the episode, the big red ball and red balloons that hang all over the courtyard at Dougie’s insurance office. This imagery was previously used to great effect in David O. Russell’s I Heart Huckabees. In that film it is “the ball thing,” the way of transcending the current moment of dreary and dramatic “real life” and becoming “pure being." Lynch, being an adherent to transcendental meditation, would know this, whether the Russell reference was deliberate or not.
So we are getting new information on past imagery here as well, as we know from previous episodes that Dougie’s house had a red door. The lights on the car bomb (and on a mysterious black box which we’ll get to later) blink red. So we now know that the red door on the house not only represents Cooper’s exit from the Black Lodge, but more specifically it signals his specific entrance back towards his own life of clear understanding, of pure being. It is this purity of vision that the Lodge was likely after in the first place, so this idea tracks all the way back to the beginning of the series and beyond, to Annie telling Laura that “the good Dale is in the Lodge” before the Good Dale ever even came to town.
The red ball in the house across the street is the most explicit example of this, resembling the exact ball used in I Heart Huckabees. Lynch even mirrors an image of the young boy who lives in that house walking into frame as his torso (heart) blocks the ball from our view with the earlier shot of Cooper framed in the background with his green jacket against Dougie’s car. The visual language of the episode is telling an entire story here, as the red ball becomes the boy’s heart right before he witnesses the car bombing (again, representative of Cooper’s journey back to his own “real world”). Later, we see red balloons displayed against the side of a building in the courtyard where Dougie/Coop goes to work. Cooper, in his green jacket of rebirth, looks up in the direction of the balloons as he contemplates a statue of a police officer. He sees himself in both, as the dual symbols of his loyalties are staring him (and us) right in the face, the big red heart of problem-solving Coop frozen like a statue in someone else’s heart chakra-colored jacket/vehicle/life. Coop needs to step it up and get moving, get out of the car and get back to work. Or, as Gordon Cole said in Episode 4, “Fix your hearts or die.”
Cooper is well on his way. He’s starting to come around, recognizing little clues in Dougie’s life that will lead him back to where he’s supposed to be. His repeating of sound bites from people around him is paying off. “Coffee. Agent. Case files.”
Extra thoughts / bits of info:
Mike Nelson’s back! We see him here “interviewing” Steven (Caleb Landry Jones), who later turns out to be married to Becky (Amanda Seyfried), who in turn is Shelly’s daughter. We also get a glimpse of the RR Diner, looking much the same as it ever did.
Shelly’s still behind the counter, Norma’s still in a booth in the back looking over receipts and bills. The two women seem closer now than ever, having both lived hard lives and always had each other’s backs. It was good seeing them together again.
Becky, it seems, is headed for some trouble. She asks Shelly for some money to give to Steven, who Shelly seems to not like (we learn right away that the two are addicts, snorting something in the car right after getting the money from Shelly). But here we get the shot of the episode, as Becky looks up at the sky through the top of the car as ‘I Love How You Love Me’ plays on the car radio, looking absolutely blissed-out, if not a little too much like Laura in the White Lodge at the end of Fire Walk With Me. Like I said, might be some trouble there...
I got a weird vibe from the Mike/Steven scene, too, almost like they might be father and son and not just a potential employer / employee. Certainly, I’d expect Steven to throw a “fuck you” or something at Mike for seemingly calling him in for the interview just to then shit all over his resume and tell him to get his ass out of his office. Instead, he just kind of sulks away. We’ll see.
We also find out what was up with Jacoby and the golden shovels. Turns out the doctor has reinvented himself as an internet conspiracy broadcast host (though the nature of which conspiracy he’s railing against is murky, something about the powers that be or something). He’s selling the golden shovels for $29.99, a way to symbolically (literally?) “shovel your way out of the shit!” He’s not just shouting this stuff into the void, either. He’s got a pretty rapt audience. We see both Jerry Horne and Nadine Hurley watching. Nadine, especially, seems to be just absolutely loving it.
Eamon Farren (recently seen in Girl Asleep) turns up as Richard Horne, violently harassing a woman in the Roadhouse. Looks like this Horne definitely falls from the casual-sexual-assault branch of the family tree.
We get a weird countdown in this episode, as Becky and Steven in the car turn the radio to station 87.7, then the scene cuts to Cooper in the elevator descending floors 6, 5, 4. What are we counting down to?
And finally, we get a tiny glimpse of the larger universe Twin Peaks is now covering. Mr. C. gets his “private phone call,” and threatens the guards on duty by mere mention of the name “Mr. Strawberry.” My hunch (I’m probably not alone) is that Mr. Strawberry is the guy Patrick Fischler referenced earlier this season. I’d originally thought Mr. C. himself was this man, so this show just keeps getting bigger and more dangerous as the weeks go by.
The number he dials lights up a small black box in Buenos Aires (another Philip Jeffries callback), which immediately shrinks (melts?) into the bowl it’s sitting in. Don’t know what to make of this, other than that the box is also somehow tied to the men on the mission to kill Dougie, and the woman who’s apparently employing them.
As the alarms are blaring throughout the prison, Mr. C. speaks into the phone, “The cow jumped over the moon.” We don’t get a lot to go on here, other than a quick reference check of Hey Diddle Diddle leading me to the information that The Cat and the Fiddle was a common name for a pub or lodge around the time of the rhyme’s writing in the eighteenth century. It could also just be some Black Lodge Mafia code word. It could be anything. It could be nothing. It’s driving me bananas, though.
I want to say how grateful I am to Lynch and Frost and Showtime (whatever their involvement might be) for not including “next time on Twin Peaks” teasers at the ends of the episodes (at least not on the streaming versions I’m watching). It’s always a great surprise when actors turn up and you’re not expecting them (Nadine!)
In memory of Don Davis and Marv Rosand.