Monday, May 29, 2017

Twin Peaks: The Return 3x02 Recap: "Part 2: The Stars Turn And A Time Presents Itself" (That Arm Tree, Though) [Contributor: Erin Allen]

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"Part 2: The Stars Turn And A Time Presents Itself"
Original Airdate: May 21, 2017

Personally, I think Parts 1 & 2 are best viewed back to back as a two-hour film, but for recap purposes I will break them up into each part. Part 2 begins where Part 1 left off with Bill in jail. So much happens in this episode. More new characters are introduced, and old ones return. The Black Lodge gets even weirder than I thought was possible, and I am still giddy about all of it. Let’s dive right in, shall we?

The episode opens on Bill worrying about his fate in his jail cell. His wife, Phyllis, comes to see him, and they have an intense scene. It’s played almost entirely in a profile two-shot, and both actors are just incredible. Cornelia Guest is great as Phyllis. The character is reminiscent of Catherine Martell with her ruthlessness and unsympathetic manner. Like I said in my recap of Part 1, Matthew Lillard is playing Bill very ambiguously which is intriguing. Who was he having an affair with? Ruth? Betty? Both? He says that he was never at Ruth’s apartment, but he had a dream that he was there. Was it really a dream or do we have another BOB possession going on here. Can BOB inhabit two people at once? Are these storylines even happening along the same timeline? Is Phyllis setting him up? So many questions, and a lot of these questions spawn from Lillard’s gripping performance. Both Bill and Phyllis show such a palpable hatred toward each other which played really well here.

Phyllis leaves, running into their lawyer, George, on the way out. Phyllis and George are having an affair, and she tells him to meet her back at her place later. Bill is still reeling after their heated exchange as the camera dollies past the other jail cells. The one next to Bill’s is vacant, BUT the one next to that has a blackened dude — totally charred, suit, skin, hair, everything — sitting frozen. There seems to be the slightest movement until the image of the man fades away. Before the image is gone, though, the head kind of floats up like an errant balloon. WHAT EVEN? I thought the thing that appeared in the glass box was going to give me nightmares. I was sorely mistaken. It is this dude. BOB from the original run haunted me for years. And now it is this creature who was on screen for about 15 seconds.

I heard a theory that this is a CGI image of Frank Silva who played BOB. Silva, who has since passed away, is credited as BOB for this episode, but a flashback of BOB appears later. I’m not really subscribing to this theory, although it kind of works if Bill was inhabited by BOB when he killed Ruth. I don’t see David Lynch using CGI to bring back Frank Silva/BOB in this way. Maybe it will all be revealed later, maybe it won’t, but speculation about Twin Peaks is always fun, and the mystery is never lacking.

Phyllis arrives back at home to find BOB/Cooper waiting for her. “You did good. You follow human nature perfectly.” He then shoots her in the eye (similar to Ruth’s gunshot wound) with George’s gun, and leaves like it’s no biggie. Ah man, I liked Phyllis.

We leave Buckhorn and head to Las Vegas. A man, Mr. Todd, gives another man, Roger, two stacks of cash. “Tell her she has the job,” he says, cryptically. Roger is concerned about something, and he asks Mr. Todd, “Why do you let him make you do these things?” Mr. Todd implies that he is very dangerous. Are they talking about the billionaire who owns the glass box? We don’t find out in this episode, that’s for sure.

BOB/Cooper is at a diner with Ray, Darya, and a fella named Jack. Ray apparently is the only one that can get some information that BOB/Cooper wants — wants, not needs, which he makes abundantly clear that there’s a difference. Ray’s contact is Hasting’s secretary. Betty?

Back in Twin Peaks, Hawk is in the woods. The Log Lady calls him on his cell, and they have another beautiful exchange. Catherine Coulson, once again, gives a moving performance in just a few meticulous lines of dialogue over the phone. “The stars turn and a time presents itself.”

Hawk reaches the circle of sycamore trees in Glastonbury Grove. There’s a whooshing sound and the red curtains of The Black Lodge appear and disappear and reappear under Hawk’s flashlight beam. It’s unclear whether or not he sees the curtains.

We go back to The Red Room for the first time since the flashback began Part 1. This time it is Older Cooper. He is having a conversation with MIKE, the one-armed man. “Is it future or is it past?” I DON’T KNOW, MIKE! He vanishes, and in walks Older Laura Palmer. Laura freakin’ Palmer, you guys! Her movements are backwards, like the language she speaks, and it looks super cool, especially the blinking. She tells Cooper “You can go out now,” and then they have the same exchange they had in Cooper’s dream in the third episode of season one.
Cooper: Are you Laura Palmer? 
Laura: I feel like I know her, but sometimes my arms bend back.
Then she tells him “I am dead… yet I live,” and I am like, same, girlfriend. This scene is simultaneously killing me and giving me life. Laura then opens her face (yep, you read that right) which reveals a bright light inside. Then she kisses Cooper and whispers in his ear just like in that episode. They both look up, Laura starts to convulse, and she is hurtled up into the air, screaming. “She is filled with secrets.” Is The Black Lodge mad about what she whispered to Cooper? Is she being banished from existence?

It only gets weirder from here, folks.

The curtains blow away, and the white horse that Sarah Palmer saw in her vision appears. Then, MIKE is back with his question that no one has the answer to, maybe not even David Lynch. Both MIKE and Cooper leave the waiting room and enter another room with a strobe tree with a pulsating wad of bubble gum head. This tree is The Arm. On the original series, The Arm was played by Michael Anderson. He was also referred to as the Man From Another Place. He told Cooper in the second season finale, “When you see me again it won’t be me.” This reincarnation of The Arm is so wild and out there. I absolutely love it. The Arm reminds Cooper of his doppelganger, and tells him, “He must come back in before you can go out.”

Back in Buckhorn, BOB/Cooper gives Jack a long and awkward cheek massage.

Darya quickly gets off the phone when BOB/Cooper comes into their motel room. She says she was talking to Jack when BOB/Cooper questions her. He tells her that Ray never showed, and then gets in bed for some cuddle time. Cuddle time with evil Mr. C is no cute and snuggly experience. He tells her that Jack is dead (Did the face massage kill him?). He plays back her whole phone conversation with Ray so they both can hear her deception. Ray says he got another call from Jeffries. Agent Phillip Jeffries? This is blowing my mind.

BOB/Cooper unsurprisingly kills Darya in a pretty brutal manner after telling her that he is scheduled to return to The Black Lodge, but doesn’t plan on going back. He is unable to get Ray’s information that he wanted which were coordinates of some kind. He then shows her a sinister looking playing card. It is an ace of spades with a black blob with ears drawn on it and some scratch marks. How Lynch got a playing card to be so scary, I don’t know, but he managed. Darya seems like she might have seen this before because she turns her head away from it.

He opens a briefcase with radio equipment in it and a transmission comes through. Is it Phillip Jeffries or Phillip Gerard?
Man: I missed you in New York, but I see you’re still in Buckhorn. 
BOB/Cooper: And you’re still nowhere, is that correct? 
Man: You met with Major Garland Briggs. 
BOB/Cooper: How did you know that? Phillip? 
Man: Actually I just called to say goodbye. 
BOB/Cooper: This is Phillip Jeffries, right? 
Man: You’re going back in tomorrow, and I will be with BOB again. 
BOB/Cooper: Who is this?
Holy moly! Now Major Briggs is mentioned? This is insane! So, this is not Phillip Jeffries, then? Is it MIKE?

BOB/Cooper seems unsettled by this conversation. He logs onto an FBI site, and downloads some data. He then goes to another motel room where Chantal, played by Jennifer Jason Leigh, waits for him. He tells her to clean up the other room, and that he needs her and her husband, Hutch, to be in a certain area in a few days.

Back in The Black Lodge, Cooper is listening to The Arm which is hissing a bunch of what, to me, seems like nonsense, but I am so transfixed that it doesn’t matter. After telling us another mysterious number (253) to add to our list of clues, The Arm tells Cooper, “Go now! Go now!” Cooper goes running around The Black Lodge in rooms that lead back into themselves. He finds Leland Palmer sitting in one of the waiting rooms. Leland looks petrified, and tells Cooper to find Laura. This is interesting because Laura was whisked away from the room after whispering to Cooper. He exits the room in a different way than he has before. Electricity sounds crackle, and the room undulates around him. MIKE is back with his arm tree thing, looking alarmed. “Something’s wrong.” There are a couple of slo-mo push-ins to the white marble statue, and a whooshing sound.

Cooper pushes the red curtain back, and instead of being an exit or entrance to another room, it’s a lookout over a stretch of highway. BOB/Cooper is in a car on that highway heading straight under The Black Lodge. As he passes under, all hell breaks loose. The Arm freaks out, its chewed wad of gum head turns into a toasted marshmallow looking thing, and it screams “non-exist-ent!” The zig zag floor under Cooper breaks apart and he falls into black water (or the scorched engine oil) and then through a black galactic space.

He lands on a piece of glass with a thud. The glass box! He melts through the surface into the box and floats inside. No one is watching the box, but the cameras are on and the bonsai is there. We cut to the lobby to the same scene from Part 1 where the guard is gone and Tracey asks Sam to go in the back.

The glass box with Cooper inside begins to expand and contract, and then he’s falling through starry space (or lying on a black carpet with a lot of lint, I’m not sure). The ominous sounds come to a crescendo, and there is a sharp cut to a night establishing shot of the Palmer house. Sarah, surrounded by tons of cigarette butts and smoking, is watching a horrifically graphic nature show.

Then we cut to The Roadhouse, also known as The Bang Bang Bar. On the stage, bathed in blue lights, is a blonde singer with an ethereal voice reminiscent of Julee Cruise, The Roadhouse mainstay during the original series. The band is Chromatics performing “Shadow.” There is a big, hipster crowd, much different from the patrons of the bar in the 90s. Shelly is there with a group of girlfriends, and James Hurley walks in with a young British fellow.

Shelly mentions that her daughter, Becky, is with the wrong guy. James makes googly eyes at one of the girls sitting with Shelly. Her friend says that there’s something wrong with him, and Shelly is quick to defend him. He was in a motorcycle accident because of course he was. Then she says one of the funniest things I’ve heard in a long time: “James is still cool. He’s always been cool.” That’s not even remotely true. James was anything but cool. This is such an odd statement for Shelly, of all people, to say with such conviction. Are we sure she wasn’t in a motorcycle accident? It’s like the show is trying to trick the new audience into thinking James is cool. But, they will know. Oh, they will know. I say the show just embraces his douchiness. Maybe it’s David Lynch and/or Mark Frost trolling us because they like the character of James Hurley.

Shelly makes eye contact with a gentleman at the bar. They share a moment of silent flirtation across the room, and the credits roll over the Chromatics on stage.

Stray Observations:
  • The guy that plays Mr. Todd had a small, but really memorable role in Mulholland Drive which I love. 
  • Twin Peaks has such an observant fandom. I didn’t notice during the episode, but a fan pointed out that BOB/Cooper is eating creamed corn at the diner. Garmonbozia, which is pain and suffering, has the appearance of creamed corn. BOB feeds on it, so it makes sense that BOB/Cooper is eating it here.
  • “I’m too weak to go with you, but stop by. I have coffee and pie for you.” Margaret bringing the FEELS!
  • The bartender behind the man that Shelly is looking at looks an awful lot like Jacques Renault. The credits confirm that it is the same actor, Walter Olkewicz, but his character name is Jean-Michel Renault. Another Renault brother?!
  • Al Strobel who plays MIKE, the one-armed man, is in the credits as Phillip Gerard, his earthly human name.
  • It’s really sad to hear the name of the character that David Bowie played knowing that he died before he could film his scenes. RIP.

2 comments:

  1. Perhaps Shelly calling James cool is her way of romanticizing the good old days of her youth now that she is all grown up. I suspect she had a daughter with Bobby who is probably her husband.

    It nearly moves me to tears seeing the Log Lady in poor health. It gives the scene between her and Hawk a certain level of poignancy.

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    1. I meant to say "she had her daughter with Bobby..."

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