Defiant Mothers, Broken Mothers and Magic Motherfuckers
It goes without saying that Part 6 of Twin Peaks: The Return is a tough watch because two people do die in truly shocking circumstances. Due to those scenes, it is easy to forget the other huge things that happen in this episode; the revelation of a woman we had all been waiting for and some of the most quoted lines of the series are all found here. I chose to cover this Part because I honestly don’t ever remember feeling such a wide range of emotions in such a short space of time — a roller coaster of horror, humour, delight and grief. I felt like throwing up when it was over, and for once, it was nothing at all to do with me eating too many doughnuts at 3 am.
We start with DougieCoop, right where we left him in Part 5, standing outside his workplace admiring the statue of a cowboy drawing his gun. What is it about this that brings comfort to DougieCoop? Does it remind him of his dear pal Harry? Though we knew Ontkean was not returning for Season 3, there was always hope of just a little cameo, a reuniting of the greatest bromance ever written. It was not to be *blub*.
After admiring the security guards badge, DougieCoop is shuffled off home to his wife. Janey-E eats the worlds noisiest sandwich and berates her husband for not sorting out his gambling debt. After discovering the magic of modern-day technology — clapping the lights on and off in his son’s bedroom — DougieCoop really finds himself in the dog house when Janey-E finds out about Jade. This leads us to the now-classic scene:
Despite discovering her husband’s misdemeanours, Janey-E still kisses her husband’s head protectively, her natural motherly instinct coming out, for ultimately, at this point, this is what Cooper is: a toddler. These small moments of love will all begin to imprint on the inner Dale — what could have been for him had he not stepped into that circle of sycamores on the trail of Windom Earle and Annie? Would this have been the life he ultimately could have led if he had not been so eager to save Annie and then Laura?
We see just what a tough broad Janey-E is in this episode. She quickly became the ball-breaking heroine of the show as she poetically smacked down the two thugs sent to collect the gambling debt. She may be hard on the outside, but she’s soft in the middle. You know all she really wants is someone to take care of her for a change, and you know? I think her dreams just may come true…
MIKE/Phillip Gerard appears now in the Black Lodge and as a vision to DougieCoop, telling him that he has to wake up and, with a strange sort of push of energy flow of the arm, tells him three times, “Don’t die“. With that, a little green/yellow sparkly lights dance across the pages of his case files, leading DougieCoop to draw ladders and steps in a childlike manner, linking crooked insurance broker Anthony Sinclair to some fraudulent activity at Lucky 7 Insurance. Later on, Bushnell Mullins, Dougie’s boss, will “make sense of it”. DougieCoop will spend a while gazing at Mullins’ ‘Battling Bud’ boxing poster — is this his realisation of the passing of time? While, as far as I can see, the poster does not tell the year, it is evident by looking at Mullins that a significant number of years have passed. More than Dale would expect?
In Part 4, Albert and Gordon had discussed a certain woman that they needed to bring to Cooper; Albert knew where she drank — fans speculated about who this woman could be, Sarah? — definitely a drinker; we knew that from the trailers. Audrey? Everyone was waiting patiently for her return but did she know Dale that well? Annie — could it really be? She had been totally and frustratingly absent from The Secret History of Twin Peaks, and Heather Graham was not on the cast list, so she was unlikely. Indeed, the majority guessed correctly that this would be the never before seen in ‘human’ (ah, how we laugh now) form Diane, formerly confined to the state of a Dictaphone. It was little surprise either that Laura Dern would play a character of such magnitude. Even despite the predictability of this revelation, the moment she turned around to show us her face at the bar was glorious indeed. What was she going to be like? What role had she played in the last 25 years? Did she still work for the FBI? How was she going to help? I don’t think any of us could have imagined exactly how her story would play out.
The Diane reveal was preceded by another perfect quote, that of a very annoyed and soaking wet Albert Rosenfield bringing us the first “motherfucker” of the day. It is always good to see Miguel Ferrer, always tinged with sadness, of course; he had passed already by the time the show aired.
Thank you for the memories, Sir.
Next stop: Red. We had only met him for seconds before at the end of Part 2 as he shot a flirtatious imaginary bullet at Shelly across the Roadhouse. Romantic. We didn’t know if he was her new flame, if she was still with Bobby and he was just an admirer or if he was her bit on the side. We didn’t learn anymore after this scene, but we kinda hoped that they weren’t an item; as it turns out, Red is not a good guy at all! He’s a major drug dealer just like Leo, but unlike Shelly’s former husband, this guy is a “magic motherfucker” to boot. What we learn from this perfectly mesmerising dalliance with Richard Horne is that he is a bully; he has no fear and taunts the otherwise unpredictable and twisted Richard like he’s a little mouse under the paw of a mountain lion. A similar relationship to what Leo had with Bobby once upon a time, though Bobby was never in the same league as Richard — each of their respective fathers’ blood certainly made a difference to the repeating of history there. Red may be responsible for the growing number of deaths among the youth of Twin Peaks, bringing in Sparkle from across the border in Canada. Nothing much changes in this town, does it? Twenty-five years later, it’s the same story but a deadlier game now.
I would have loved to have learned more about Red. It was much discussed at the time whether he was the Tremond Grandson all grown up? We still don’t know the answer to that, and we probably never will. Still, age-wise, it would fit about right — if, of course, Lodge denizens age in a linear manner, which they do appear to, meaning that Grandma Tremond is deceased now. Saying that some Lodge folk evolve into electrified chewing gum trees, so what do I know.
Is there any other evidence to suggest that Red is the Grandson? Other than the magic trick, no, not really. He appeared to be new to the town and liked it there; retrospectively, we can assume maybe it was Shelly that made him so keen to stay in Twin Peaks, or perhaps the ripe picking of young and impressionable teens living in a town with very little else to entertain them but drugs was more of a draw for Red. If he is connected to the Black Lodge, then all the misery caused by drug addiction will reap a lot of garmonbozia, that’s for sure.
But was he even really doing magic tricks? Or was this the sudden effect of Sparkle on Richard’s mind? Was this all a hallucination? Red certainly knew how to spin Richard out, and his ‘muscle’ seemed to find it very amusing, like something he’d seen happen plenty of times before. Red will know the effect the drug will have and the moment it will kick in. Later on in the series, we’ll see Steven Burnett high on Sparkle talking nonsense about a “rhinoceros”, something “turquoise”, and “lightning bottles”, sure of the fact that he had done something terrible to Becky, and eventually taking his own life (probably) while under the influence. Sparkle is a powerful drug indeed. Sparkle mixed with Red’s metaphorical castration of Richard Horne will prove a deadly concoction — it leads to a child’s life being inadvertently taken in one of the most devastating sequences in Twin Peaks history.
I spoke personally of my shock and devastation of the hit and run scene in my episode analysis, so I will not go too deep into that again here. However, II will say that despite watching the scene several times since, it still makes me cry big style, every single time. The build-up is just torturous, and the acting by Lisa Coronado as the young boy’s mother is heartbreakingly realistic. The moments after the boy is hit, passersby stand around looking horrified, and it is quite absurd, almost comical.
This is one of those moments you feel pulled apart by Lynch, like seriously, what are you doing to me? Why would I find this funny? It is just like the scene at Laura’s funeral when Leland jumps on the elevating coffin. It is traumatic, but you can’t help but laugh. Then Shelly makes you feel bad for laughing when you witness her doing the same at the Double R Diner. Lynch/Frost have this cunning way of making you look at yourself and think, ‘Yeah, the human race is pretty grotesque’. But we laugh for self-preservation, of course; to find humour in the horror is perhaps the only way to save your mind.
So yes, a year ago, I was expecting the White Lodge to step in and take some drastic action. A little boy cannot be killed like that! I mean, the ‘drugged out mom’s son was saved from a car explosion last week. So why did ‘hit and run mom’ have to suffer like this? She was clearly a doting mother who adored her son. It is not fair! Well, this is life. In all its dreadfulness, this is life. Every single one of us has questioned ‘Why me?’ at some point. Likewise, I’m pretty sure most of us have made some kind of judgement about a parent allowing their kids to run riot and thought, ‘Look at them, I bet nothing bad happens to their kid too, it’s always the good people who get punished.’ Would you really want them to be punished though? Do any parents deserve something terrible to happen to their kids? Does any child deserve to die for the sins of their parents? Of course not. Only a few minutes earlier, Carl Rodd told us he’d smoked every day for 75 years, and there he was going strong. Did we judge him then? No, because we loved Carl Rodd and the man who played him, Harry Dean Stanton, who also smoked for that long, we were glad he stayed around as long as he did. Thank you for the memories, too, Sir.
Carl Rodd was another mystery man. We met him first in FWWM at the original Fat Trout Trailer Park in Deer Meadow, and it was here that he said to Agents Desmond and Stanley, “I have already been places. I just want to stay where I am“. This might allude to a few things, his apparent ‘alien abduction’ as a child, along with Margaret Coulson and Alan Traherne being the first. I personally don’t feel that his abduction was sinister, but that he and his pals may have been sucked up into a vortex in the woods and paid a visit to The Fireman. Why? Those who meet with The Fireman tend to have a part to play in this picture and come back with a ‘special power’ of some kind. The Log Lady had wisdom, Freddie a powerful punch, Andy a vision and a message, Briggs and Cooper, of course, won the biggest roles of all.
Carl seemed to have been ‘blessed’ with an intuition, a sixth sense and the ability to just make things better. Was his ‘been places’ a vision of this future event? Had he already seen the terrible things to come?
Carl was a man you could rely on, one who always looked out for his neighbours despite his personal sadness. Good through and through. As the boy dies in his mother’s arms, Carl watches his golden/green soul travel out of his body and disappear, seemingly into the electric powerline above the road. I am not a religious person, but I am not an atheist either. I guess I have always thought that we are all made up of energy, atoms and electricity if you like (just call me Mrs Tremond), so when a life is snuffed out like that unexpectedly, something must happen to all that energy, right? So this scene made sense to me. That the soul would travel somewhere — and how better to travel in modern times than via electricity cables? But where to?
I can’t shake the feeling that this is a hint to reincarnation, but that may warrant an article of its own. I will touch on the three locations of the utility pole marked 324810 #6 — seen firstly in Deer Meadow at the original Fat Trout Trailer Park, then here at this road intersection in Twin Peaks. The same place where back in 1989 Phillip Gerard/MIKE caught up with Leland and Laura travelling in the car together and screamed at her to realise that it was her father who was molesting her and revealing the Owl Cave Ring — almost as if he was trying to get her to ‘wake up’ and smell the scorched engine oil. A bit like how he’s been helping DougieCoop throughout The Return. He has been helping, right? The pole wasn’t there in 1989; it appears to have travelled with the Trailer Park to Twin Peaks, which in itself is odd, but is even stranger considering what we see at the end of the Series — The Fireman shows the pole to Andy during his smokey visit to The White Lodge (assuming it is the WL, it is literally a grey area). The pole in the vision is outside Carrie Page’s house in Odessa, Texas.
I want to note the colours of the ‘soul’ — gold and green, same as the owl cave ring. It has been long debated whether the ring was made from a piece of the Formica table in the Convenience Store. If it was then Formica or just Mica (what’s in a name, MIKE?) in its true mineral form, it’s a known electrical insulator. We now know that wearing the ring when dead or about to become dead à la Laura means your soul will be transported to the Black Lodge. Could this mean then that the ring binds you from being able to reach the White Lodge? Could that be the reason why Cooper tells her not to take the damn ring in FWWM? That might be the only thing that Coop ever needs to do — stop her from taking the ring and save her soul, but not her life. Could that be what we see at the end of FWWM? The timeline where Laura doesn’t take the ring, finally? That would, of course, suggest that MIKE is not on the ‘good’ side at all — which you know, I’m starting to believe more and more. Who can you trust in the Black Lodge? His main upset was the stolen corn; is it just the garmonbozia he wants? He just wants BOB back in the Lodge to bring him his dinner; he doesn’t care about Laura. Flashing that ring in her face, there was no way she wasn’t going to take it that fateful night in the train car.
This is not to say that the ring is the only way to reach the Black Lodge, of course — some souls are just damned to go there, and sometimes the stars align and the curtains open without even the requirement of death to get you inside.
The boy won’t be heading for the Black Lodge, not in my mind, at least. I hope that he was spirited away straight to the White Lodge, and for him, it is more like the place Briggs described in his vision of Bobby, not the grey 1920’s theatre where The Fireman and Señorita Dido reside, that doesn’t look like a fun place for a child to hang out at all. And where is everyone? Not all trapped in bell-shaped machines, I hope? If that’s the case, I am going to make a conscious effort to sin more. The Black Lodge looks way more fun.
Ok, if I veer any further off track here, I’ll end up in the purple sea. Back in NYC, Mr Todd receives a message on his computer screen, a big red square. He knows what this means immediately and takes out an envelope from a safe. That envelope arrives shortly afterwards at a motel where hitman Ike ‘The Spike’ plots the outcomes of a roll of a dice. Nothing in Twin Peaks comes without meaning, and this, I feel, is a hint to the sheer number of attempts it has taken to find/save Laura or find/defeat Judy and just how many potential outcomes there can be with each roll. But who is the roller? Right now, it is Cooper, but it has been Briggs, Jeffries before him, and Doug Milford possibly before that. All of them have become ‘non-existent’ while on their journeys, and I fear Cooper has succumbed to the same fate.
The envelope contains photos of Lorraine and the ‘real’ Dougie Jones, whom Ike is now on a mission to dispose of. It doesn’t take him long to find poor worrier Lorraine, whom he attacks brutally with his spike. The sound of her murder, the squelch of each time the spike is planted in her chest, and the pure venom in the attack are genuinely sickening. No more ‘Blunted Beatz’ to be heard now but a blunted spike, and that saddens Ike. He cares more about his tool than anything else [insert sarcastic generalisation of men joke here].
Well, this has been exhausting. I have wept, I’ve winced, I have laughed, and Janey-E is my new hero; what could possibly happen next?…
Elation! Hawk, you beauty! Margaret was, of course, right about Hawk’s heritage leading him to an important bit of missing information from the Laura Palmer murder case. A Native American coin rolls across the men’s bathroom floor, which leads Hawk to notice the panel of the cubicle door had been tampered with. He tampers with it some more and discovers the missing pages of Laura’s secret diary. I cannot tell you the joy I felt at this moment. Those missing pages had been the one thing for me that kept this mystery alive all these years. They were out there; it meant there was hope for another series — that thread had not been torn. It won’t be for a few more weeks that we learn what was written in them, but of course, the Twin Peaks fandom delivered the goods and deciphered at least one crucial snippet of information while we waited. The word Annie. Hoorah! She DID exist! Who knows where or when, but she had not been completely obliterated from existence. I cried. Through sheer excitement of what was to come, I cried. “The Good Dale is in the Lodge and he can’t leave. Write it in your diary.” Good girl Laura! You did what Annie told you to do, and now the whole case is blown wide open. The men are coming to save you, Laura…for better or worse.
To end my thoughts of Part 6, I feel there was an overarching theme of ‘mothers’. I guess you could say that about the whole series, but this episode, in particular, focused on broken mothers. Of course, the hit ‘n’ run mom but also Doris Truman, whom we discover this week, lost a son to suicide after his time as a soldier. We now understand why she behaves as she does, and we feel bad for laughing at/or hating her previously. She is in despair. Lastly, ‘drugged out mom’ who appears to have one foot firmly in the Black Lodge and cries out ‘119!’ but no one is there to hear her call for help. It is a tragedy indeed.
And one last thought of the day. The Sheriff’s station used to be a place you could trust; you knew you could rely on the boys in, well, brown, to protect you, but not anymore. Deer Meadow was always considered a sort of evil doppelgänger to Twin Peaks, but now it seems the evil has corrupted even the holiest of places in our town. Deputy Chad is an excellent example of this, with his lack of empathy for Doris and mocking our beloved Log Lady. Deputy Jesse may not be a bad cop, but he appears to come from the same planet as Candie, Mandie and Sandie. If they are ‘Ballerina Barbie’, then he is ‘Action Man’. These characters all seem to be malleable, posed into position, gazing off into the distance. I know not what that means, but it looks funny, and that’s all that matters.
The Part ends with Sharon Van Etten at the Roadhouse singing Tarifa, a perfectly melancholy way to end this Part, time to reflect and hug your loved ones.
I hope you have enjoyed my thoughts, and I would love to hear yours! I am sure there are many gems that I missed.