Sunday, August 6, 2017

"The Return Part 13" Solidifies The Focus On Twin Peaks!

The Good: Good acting, Moments of character, Good ending, Most of the episode's mood
The Bad: Somewhat aimless plot for the latter half
The Basics: "The Return Part 13" mixes wonderfully concrete elements in Cooper and Dougie's stories with somewhat pointless Twin Peaks scenes.

As the new season of Twin Peaks enters its final third, the story is well-beyond the novelty of the prior cast members appearing and the show is committed to actually resolving the massive plot threads it began many episodes prior. "The Return Part 13" does a lot of things that are necessary to achieve that goal, most notably, returning Cooper to the narrative. As well, Richard Horne becomes relevant as he ends up in the same time and place as Cooper.

"The Return Part 13" picks up after "The Return Part 12" (reviewed here!), which was delightful in that it included the return on-screen of Audrey Horne, played by Sherilyn Fenn. Given the delight that fans had at her return, "The Return Part 13" had a lot to live up to. "The Return Part 13" does a good job of blending surreal and weird elements with concrete ties of elements and characters in the Twin Peaks universe. Unfortunately, it feels like David Lynch had half an episode and had to fill out the back half, so he threw in a ton of homages to the original Twin Peaks, including Big Ed's return to the narrative and James Hurley performing the song he sang back in the day with Donna.

At Lucky 7 Insurance, the Mitchum Brothers bring Dougie back, where they present Bud Mullins with a lot of expensive gifts for paying out his their claim. Cooper's agent at the firm, Anthony, is given a day to take care of Dougie. Dougie returns home to find that the Mitchum brothers have bought a gym set for his son and Janie is quite amorous to him. In Western Montana, Cooper arrives to confront Ray, who attempted to kill him. Cooper is given the opportunity to arm wrestle to take over Ray's territory and insists on Ray's life instead. When Cooper wins the match and kills the boss, he interrogates Ray about the scheme to murder him. Cooper asks Ray for the coordinates that Ray was given.

In South Dakota, the police discover that Dougie Jones is supposed to be both an escaped convict and a missing F.B.I. agent. The insurance agent approaches a police officer on the take for a poison to kill Dougie. When the time comes for the agent to attempt to kill Dougie, though, he breaks down and is unable to go through with it. At the RR Diner in Twin Peaks, Shelly gets a call from her daughter before Norma is visited by the man she is seeing, who has franchised her diner. Audrey confronts her husband with an identity crisis that he is unhelpful in resolving.

Kyle MacLachlan is amazing in "The Return Part 13." MacLachlan's arm wrestling scene is an impressive feat. MacLachlan embodies Bob with a vicious streak and a power that is impressive. His physical restraint in the scene is contrasted brilliantly by the very active physical performance of the man who plays Ray's boss. MacLachlan's role as Dougie is minimal in "The Return Part 13," but he continues to play him as appropriately stiff and out-of-touch as Dale Cooper slowly becomes conscious within Dougie's body. MacLachlan commits to a face-plant into a glass door as Dougie that is unsettling for its realism.

While the performances and moments of character - when they exist - are quite good, the plot goes from being delightfully focused and possessing a sense that the show is working to tie together important plot elements, "The Return Part 13" becomes aimless in its second half. Sure, it's nice to see Big Ed (though Everett McGill looks like "David Lynch pulled me out of retirement to eat a fucking cup of soup?!" over the closing credits) again and the reunion of Dr. Jacoby and Nadine is delightful for the sheer volume of crazy in the scene's subtext. While James may be stuck in his past, the viewer is not and we need something more than just to be trapped in Twin Peaks.

David Lynch starts "The Return Part 13" strong, but seems unable or unwilling to keep the focus and intensity of the first half of the episode in the second half.

For other works with Everett McGill, please visit my reviews of:
Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me
Twin Peaks
Licence To Kill

[Knowing that single episodes are an inefficient way to get episodes, it's worth looking into Twin Peaks - The Complete Third Season on DVD or Blu-Ray, which is also a better economical choice than buying individual episodes. Read my review of the temporally displaced season of the surreal show here!


For other television reviews, please visit my Television Review Index Page for an organized listing!

© 2017 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.
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