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‘Twin Peaks’ Season 3, Episode 11: There’s No Backup for This

At the same time, the 11th episode was a bracing reminder of how much Lynch’s characters — and, by extension, us — accept the premises we are given. When Hawk presents Sheriff Truman with a map “that’s very old but always current,” he accepts the “black fire” symbol and the other terrible premonitions the maps seems to suggest, and so do we. When Gordon and Albert come across the headless body of Ruth Davenport — after a sequence of events with more supernatural mojo than the car outside the Double R — they accept the writing on her arm as coordinates, and so do we. When the sinister apparition of a Woodsman slips into the back of an unmarked police car and rips the top of William Hastings’ head off, the FBI braintrust accept that the usual suspects don’t apply, and so do we. And when Mitchums halt their plan to cap Dougie Jones because of Bradley’s dream, they accept the cherry-pie-in-a-box, and so do we.

With “Twin Peaks” now heading down the backstretch, the world of the show is starting to contract toward a point of absolute darkness, not unlike the swirling vortex that appears over Gordon’s head as he investigates the place where Hastings saw Major Briggs. It may be difficult to connect all the dots — your usual recapper, Noel Murray, does better than anyone, and he’ll return next week — but Lynch has “Twin Peaks” in a place where nonrational connections and associations are the order of the day. We may not be able to guess what will happen next — and certainly won’t be able to guess how — but it’s getting easier to see the sense in the senseless.

Yet Episode 11 proves that “Twin Peaks” isn’t merely an exercise in abstraction, either. When Dougie/Cooper bites into the cherry pie and offers the assessment we’ve been longing to hear (“damn good”), the Proustian impact of that moment is overwhelming. Add to that the Angelo Badalamenti number (“Heartbreaking”) that’s cascading from the restaurant piano and suddenly Dougie/Cooper is transported back to place he hasn’t been since taking up residence at the Black Lodge. All those old feelings are rushing back, for him and for “Twin Peaks” fans, and for a second there, Kyle MacLachlan’s voice shifts unmistakably in kind.

Extra Doughnuts:

• As if “damn good” wasn’t moving enough, the disheveled old woman who shared Mr. Jackpots’s good fortune at the casino returns to thank him for his generosity. Though Dougie Jones was acting wholly on supernatural instinct at the time, the sentiment nevertheless feels earned. The essential decency of his character comes out whether he’s aware of it or not.

• Two effective camera moves: The swing back and forth (back and forth, back and forth) as the boys play catch, which amplifies the feeling that something dreadful is coming, and the bullet-speed shot of the apartment building after Becky fires into Gersten’s apartment, ending with the illicit lovers clutching each other at the bottom of the stairs.


A screenshot from “Twin Peaks: The Return.”


• The staging of the big scene with Gordon and company in Buckhorn, S. D. is a master class of perspective. From Gordon’s eyes, we can see (and hear) him get hung up in the vortex overhead. From Albert, who’s close by, there’s a kind of a blurry, hostile barrier between him and his partner. From Diane, who’s watching from a distance, there’s the more curious sight of Gordon just standing there frozen with his arms up.

• Forget Uber or Lyft. Harry Dean Stanton with a whistle is the future of ride-sharing services.

• “My log is afraid of fire. There’s fire where you are going. Hawk, there’s fire where you are going.” According to the Log Lady, we haven’t seen the worst of it yet.

• A few useful GIFs to store away for future use: Phil using coffee to lead Dougie into the boss’s office, Bradley’s ecstatic “cherry piiiiiiieeeee” reaction, and, of course, Dougie/Cooper taking that first revelatory bite.

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