Friday, May 26, 2017

Twin Peaks: The Return 3x01 Recap: "Part 1: My Log Has A Message For You" (What’s In The Box?) [Contributor: Erin Allen]


"Part 1: My Log Has A Message For You"
Original Airdate: May 21, 2017

The return of Twin Peaks is everything I could’ve dreamed of and a billion times more. This is pure, unfiltered Lynch. I could not be more thrilled to be a fan at this time and to recap it for Just About Write. Join me while I attempt to unpack all the weirdness of the first installment of this 18-hour movie.

Let’s start at the beginning.

The beginning is really the end of the original run. We see footage of Twin Peaks with Special Agent Dale Cooper and Laura Palmer in The Black Lodge where she says, “I’ll see you in 25 years.” Did they plan this all along? Amazing. Cut to some more original establishing shots of the high school and a push into Laura Palmer’s prom picture. Angelo Badalamenti’s romantic yet haunting theme music begins while the shortened opening credits roll in that familiar font.

I cried.

The credits end on the zig-zag floor of The Black Lodge spinning in frame. It is dizzying. Much like what you will see in the next hour. It definitely sets up a disorienting feeling, so we know we are right on track. What we don’t know is where the next scene takes place. It seems like The Black Lodge, but not quite. In awesome looking black and white, Older Cooper sits across from The Giant. However, it is not The Giant. The actor that plays him is credited as ???????.

Yep, those are seven question marks. Cooper and Question Mark Man have a conversation where QMM speaks in the backwards language of The Black Lodge and Cooper responds normally saying he understands. Well, good for you, buddy, because I’m lost already. QMM gives us some clues — a number (430) and two names. “Richard and Linda” begin a long list of names to try to remember. Cooper blinks away like an old television set turning off.

Next is a very brief scene that reunites us with Dr. Lawrence Jacoby. He’s living in a trailer in the woods. He’s still sporting those rad glasses with the colored lenses, but his eclectic Hawaiian threads have been replaced with coveralls. A truck delivers a bunch of shovels and that is that. It’s odd to see the quirky psychiatrist living this way. It looks like he’s starting some project, so it will be intriguing to come back and see what those shovels are for.

We go from a box of shovels to a mysterious glass box in New York City. It is surrounded by cameras and a man sits and stares at it. He is told via intercom to go to Camera 3 where he exchanges the card and files it away in a vault. This scene has such major Mulholland Drive feels. The set design, the slow pacing, and the Kafkaesque intrigue instantly brought that Lynch film to my mind.

The box keeper goes out to the lobby for a delivery which is Madeline Zima as Tracey bringing him coffee. They ambiguously flirt in front of the security guard, but both men shut down her interest in what’s beyond the lobby. “Ooh, now I’m so curious. You’re driving me crazy.” Zima is amazing casting. I love everything about how she plays this role. Tracey is as intrigued and inquisitive as a Twin Peaks fan.

Back in Twin Peaks at The Great Northern Hotel, Benjamin Horne discusses some hotel business with his secretary, Beverly, played by Ashley Judd. Jerry Horne interrupts them raving about some food, which is the best way to be reintroduced to his character. “Sweet and sour, salty, crunchy!” Jerry is now a total hippie with a lucrative marijuana edibles business. This makes sense. I like it. This scene between the brothers ends with Ben asking Jerry “Is that mother’s hat?” I don’t know why, but that cracked me up.

The reacquaintance with familiar characters continues as we see Lucy — now with her name placard reading Lucy Brennan — working the front desk at the sheriff station. A man, possibly an insurance salesman, comes in asking for Sheriff Truman. Lucy informs him that there are two Sheriff Trumans and that he will have to be more specific. He is unable to, so he gives Lucy his card and leaves. I also noted that Lucy is playing solitaire at her desk. I don’t know if this means anything, but that is what this friggin’ show does to me. I am constantly in investigative mode.

The next scene begins with headlights on a dark road. This is a signature Lynch shot. Some really cool metal music plays which Shazam informs me is “American Woman (David Lynch Remix)” by Muddy Magnolias. I’m gonna need the Twin Peaks: The Return soundtrack tout suite! Not only is this song super rad, but it introduces us to Cooper’s evil doppleganger. I’m not sure what to call this person who is inhabited by the demon, BOB. Combos of their names (I played around with CooBOBber and Booper) sound too silly for this savage and terrifying character. I will refer to him as BOB/Cooper.

Well, this BOB/Cooper is one mean dude you do not want to mess with. He’s got long hair, and wears leather and a snakeskin print shirt. He effortlessly takes out the guy with a gun guarding some shack out in the woods. BOB/Cooper is there to pick up two associates. There is all sort of weirdness going on in this cabin. Otis looks like he is drinking moonshine, there is a little person in a wheelchair (which also reminds me of Mulholland Drive), and a woman named Buella says, “It’s a world of truck drivers.” Alright then.

BOB/Cooper leaves with Ray and Darya and we cut back to NYC. The box keeper (whose name I learned from the credits is Sam Colby) is still cataloging the camera chips. He hears the elevator in the lobby, but no announcement this time. Tracey is back with coffee, and the guard is gone. “Weird,” Sam says. Since there is no one to stop them, Sam takes Tracey back to the mysterious room with the box. He tells her that some anonymous billionaire owns the place, and that his job is to watch the box to see if anything appears. He hasn’t seen anything yet, but the guy he replaced saw something, but wasn’t allowed to talk about it. They sit with their coffees and watch the box for a minute before making out. The kissing progresses, and as they go at it, something appears in the box. This totally fits the horror movie formula, and what takes place is Lynch’s version of a horror movie. The being that appears in the box crashes through the glass and brutally beats the couple. Whoa.

I try to pick my jaw up off the floor as we head to Buckhorn, South Dakota. A woman enters an apartment building, and her dog, Armstrong, smells something at her neighbor’s door. She calls the police. They show up and have a heck of a time trying to get into the apartment. There are multiple conversations where they talk in circles and rattle off a bunch of names to the point where my head is spinning.

Turns out the woman with the dog who is friendly, but spacey, had a key the whole time. They enter the apartment of one Ruth Davenport. Ruth is in bed, dead with her eye shot out. Well, it’s Ruth’s head. Under the covers is what looks like a man’s headless body posed under Ruth’s head.

Before we can wrap our brains around that, we go back to Twin Peaks and Margaret, The Log Lady. The Log Lady is one of my favorite characters from the original. Catherine Coulson was able to film some scenes for The Return before her death in 2015. With the nostalgia and the sadness of the actor’s passing, this scene is really emotional. Coulson plays it full of emotion, too. She calls Deputy Chief Hawk. She holds the phone at a distance from her ear and cradles her log lovingly.
The Log Lady: My log has a message for you. 
Hawk: Okay. 
The Log Lady: Something is missing and you have to find it. It has to do with Special Agent Dale Cooper.  
Hawk: Dale Cooper? What is it? 
The Log Lady: The way you will find it has something to do with your heritage. This is the message from the log.  
Hawk: Okay, Margaret. Thank you. 
The Log Lady: Good night, Hawk. 
Hawk: Good night, Margaret.
Oh my God. My heart.

Back in Buckhorn, the police have matched fingerprints found in Ruth’s apartment to local school principal, Bill Hastings. The cops go to Bill’s house and arrest him, much to his wife, Phyllis’ chagrin. “But the Morgans are coming to dinner!” Why do I love this line and her delivery so much?

Hawk begins to decipher the log’s message. He tells Andy (Andy!) and Lucy to get the files pertaining to Agent Cooper. Andy and Lucy are confused, and then proceed to bring up some random facts about their 24-year old son, Wally. “He was born on the same day as Marlon Brando.”

Detective Dave Macklay questions Bill about Ruth. I have never been a big fan of Matthew Lillard, but his turn as Bill is changing my attitude. He’s always been a goofy, frat boy kind of character, but he does this serious role exceptionally well. I can’t get a read on whether he’s guilty or not. He’s playing it right on the line where it could go either way.

The cops get a warrant to search Bill’s house, and once again Phyllis brings up the Morgans. I love it. Phyllis looks really shifty as they look around. Detective Macklay and state police Detective Don Harrison check out Bill’s car. In the trunk under a cooler is... I don’t know what it is. A piece of a body part? Det. Macklay’s flashlight is broken and blinks on and off. This is a callback to the pilot when Agent Cooper looks under Laura’s fingernail. The fluorescent light was broken and flickering. Flashing lights came to be of some significance throughout the series.

This part rolls the end credits over the gramophone at whatever realm Question Mark Man was in from the beginning.

Stray Observations:
  • Is Ben Horne no longer a womanizer? “R-E-S-P-E-C-T. Respect. She’s a beautiful soul and she’s married.” Jerry’s response is gold (“Gold, Jerry, gold.” Sorry, the Seinfeldian inside me couldn’t resist.): “That never stopped you before. Sock it to me. Sock it to me. Sock it to me. Sock it to me.”  
  • There is a bonsai in the room with the glass box. Windom Earle bugged the sheriff’s office with a bonsai plant in the original run. If Windom Earle is the anonymous billionaire, I will freak out. There’s another theory that I like even more, though, and that is that the billionaire is Audrey Horne.
  • Hawk tells Andy and Lucy “I’ll bring the coffee and the donuts,” and it is the most comforting thing!


  1. I'm happy to see that recaps are being done for Twin Peaks Season 3. Already off to a good start.

    1. I'm so sorry I didn't notice your comment earlier! I hope you're enjoying The Return. I certainly am! -Erin