Airing in the UK on Sky Atlantic, Mondays at 2am and Tuesdays at 9pm
Writers: Mark Frost, David Lynch
Director: David Lynch
Essential Plot Points:
- A woman with a connection to Dougie worries about him not getting in touch.
- The coroner makes jokes about the headless body in Buckhorn, South Dakota. She finds a wedding ring in his stomach with Dougie’s name on it.
- Bad Coop is in jail. He looks in the mirror and sees BOB. “You’re still with me,” he says of his spirit-friend. “That’s good.”
- We meet former teenage jock Mike Nelson, who now works in an office. He tells off a potential employee for writing such a terrible CV.
- Sheriff Truman’s wife turns up at the police station and complains about him. A LOT.
- Janey hustles Dougie – actually Agent Cooper – out of the house and off to work at an insurance company, where he is ushered into a meeting after stealing someone’s coffee.
- Coop sees a green flash on a colleague’s face. “He’s lying,” he says. His boss gives him a dressing down.
- The manager of the casino where Coop won big faces the consequences from his displeased employers. Ouch.
- Dougie’s car, still parked outside the house where he had a liaison with a prostitute, becomes the target for a gang of car thieves. However, it goes kablooie when they start the engine. Serves ’em right, the little hoodlums.
- The prostitute, Jade, finds Coop’s hotel key in her car and drops it in a mailbox to the Great Northern Hotel.
- At the Double R Diner, Norma watches in displeasure as Shelly gives her daughter, Becky, some money. Becky is dating a no-good low-life named Steven – the guy who wrote the terrible job application – and worse, they’re doing drugs. Shades of Shelly’s own early days there!
- We discover that Dr Jacoby is a crazy radio preacher, railing at the world on behalf of liberty. Jerry Horne and Nadine Hurley watch his broadcast. Then the Doc starts selling shovels. It’s a scam!
- Major Garland Briggs’ fingerprints have turned up at the Buckhorn crime – odd, seeing as he’s been dead for years. The military investigate.
- A seedy guy is smoking in the Bang Bang Bar. He gives someone a packet full of money, then assaults a nearby girl.
- Bad Coop freaks out the police department by showing some scary psychic powers and setting off all their alarms. “The cow jumped over the moon,” he says on his phone call. Weirdo.
- The real Coop is still useless, standing outside his office and staring at a statue.
After four episodes of slow-paced storytelling, which has been a little frustrating – although still fun – we finally get the pay-off to one or two of the plot threads from earlier episodes. We find out why Dr Jacoby was painting those spades, for instance, and we see that the device planted under Dougie’s car was indeed a bomb (so someone clearly wants him dead).
You can’t help but wonder, however, given David Lynch’s penchant for weirdness in lieu of what we’d call ‘mainstream’ storytelling, where everything else is going. Will all these other plot strands ever be tied up? The dead bodies in Buckhorn now seem like an afterthought, for example, which is odd given how much time was spent on them in the premiere. Why have we seen Ben and Jerry, but they’ve not done anything? Why do we care about them, or anybody else on this show so far who’s popped up in a cameo? And new characters are //still// being introduced into what must be the largest cast on any television show in history. How are people still keeping track?
Lynch and Mark Frost clearly have faith in their viewers, and that’s great; let’s hope the viewers continue to have faith in them. But yes, so far this really has been irritatingly obtuse at times. More answers would be nice. In the original series the showrunners were famously pressurised into giving us the answer to the question “Who killed Laura Palmer?” too early – but here they seem to be going the other way entirely. Remember Lost, guys? You can only suspend an audience’s interest for so long…
Anyway, Agent Cooper’s adventures are still as silly as ever; the occupants of an elevator screaming at him when he doesn’t move is kind of hilarious, as are those oh-so-painful trips to the bathroom. However, if Coop is like this for any more episodes it’s going to wear thin. And long-time fans of the show are really missing their dynamic FBI Agent – perhaps the reason all this is feeling so nebulous is because he’s not holding it together in the way he used to. Fingers crossed he’ll come back to us soon.
Elsewhere the show is still sadly exhibiting a rather disturbing amount of misogyny towards its female characters – not that the original was a shining example on that front, but this feels even more bitter and vile. We’ve had a lot of nagging wives or sexualised, naked ladies, not to mention women being murdered – and then there’s that mysterious guy in the bar assaulting the girl, which is horrible. Yes, it’s hard for a programme based on a show about a cheerleader getting murdered to steer clear of women in peril, but it’s still 2017 and writers need to be more aware of the cliches of always casting women as either harridans, sluts or victims. Come on!
As for that mysterious grabby guy: he’s identified on the end credits as Richard Horne. Is he Ben Horne’s son? Or could he be Audrey’s? If so, who is the father? Given his penchant for assaulting and strangling women, we’re guessing Bad Coop. Poor Audrey.
MacLachlan’s performance as the whacked-out Coop is very good – even his eyeblinks are longer and more languid than usual.
Gotta love the casino ladies looking totally bored while their boss is beaten up.
Bless her socks, she’s endearing in small doses, but the clueless Lucy is starting to get a bit annoying, even when only on an intercom.
The car thieves do a really good job of staying inconspicuous in a quiet neighbourhood, pumping out music from their easily identifiable car as they circle the block looking for prey…
The office guy with all the drink orders exhibits some really, really bad coffee cup acting – you can plainly see every cup is empty. Would it kill actors to ask for actual water in those cups so they look like they’re holding something other than air?
A lifetime of wearing different coloured lenses in his glasses really hasn’t done Dr Jacoby’s sanity any good, has it?
We see Sheriff Truman on the phone to his brother, Harry, who is awaiting test results. Michael Ontkean was asked to return to the show but has retired from acting.
Dr Jacoby: “Dig yourself outta the shit! Only $29.99!”
Reviewed by Jayne Nelson