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‘Twin Peaks’ Season 3, Episode 9: Red, Beige and Blue

Meanwhile, in South Dakota, FBI Deputy Director Gordon Cole persuades his former employee Diane to join him on a trip to Buckhorn to look into a “Blue Rose” case. There, he and his associates examine Garland Briggs’ surprisingly young-looking corpse, and interrogate William Hastings, who breaks down weeping as he tells Special Agent Preston about what he found when he and Ruth crossed over into the Zone. They saw “so many people” (including the Arm, the Woodsmen, and all of their cronies, perhaps?); and they watched Major Briggs float up to the sky in a moment disrupted by some kind of mayhem, ending with folks getting decapitated left and right.

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What’s most interesting about the FBI’s trip to Buckhorn is that they learn so much that’s relevant to their real ultimate goal — finding Agent Cooper — and yet in typical “Twin Peaks” fashion, they have no idea how to interpret what they’re hearing. They know Major Briggs’ stomach contained Dougie Jones’ engagement ring, for example; but since they don’t know who the “Dougie” or “Janey-E” engraved on the ring refer to, there’s no way yet for them to trace these clues back to Las Vegas.

Similarly, in Vegas, a trio of pear-shaped cops named Fusco (played by Larry Clarke, Eric Edelstein and David Koechner) have discovered that Dougie Jones sprang into existence around 1997, and that he’s been an anonymous insurance company employee for about 12 years. But they don’t know what to do with this info. They’re more interested in finding the man who tried to kill Dougie, “Ike the Spike” — which they ultimately do, tracking his prints to a cheap motel thanks to his entire palm being left behind on the would-be murder weapon.

The only one who really seems to have a handle on what’s happening with the different Coopers is his evil doppelgänger Mr. C, who has recovered from being shot dead in “Part Eight,” and in this episode makes his way to “the farm” he previously discussed with his shooter, Ray. There he finds Gary “Hutch” Hutchens (played by Tim Roth), waiting for him alongside his lover/operative Chantal. But because his associate Duncan Todd failed in his assignment to have Cooper killed (thanks to Ike underestimating his target), Mr. C’s forced to ask Hutch to take over, to do a “doubleheader” in Vegas. (“Oh, let’s play two,” Hutch cackles, like a sadistic Ernie Banks.)

What we have in “Part Nine” then is a series of miscommunications and failed connections, with the specter of grievous physical harm hovering over every missed signal. And that’s not even taking into account the unusual number of disjointed, hard-to-parse scenes back in Twin Peaks: like Lucy and Andy bickering over whether to buy a red chair or a beige chair online; or Johnny Horne running through the house and bloodying his head by running into a glass picture frame on the wall; or Jerry Horne freaking out in the woods and becoming convinced that his foot is not his foot.

The hour ends as usual with a musical performance at the roadhouse, but this is another one of those episodes that cuts away from the stage to show some locals pounding down beers and having an elliptical conversation. In this case it’s a couple of young women, one of whom has just lost her burger-slinging job for showing up to work high on drugs and now has a mysterious rash under her arm.

So we’re right back to the version of Twin Peaks where the town’s kids are doomed to decadence and decline. This is the life or rot that Bobby escaped. But he had the honorable Major Garland Briggs looking after him. And that man’s long, long gone.

Extra Doughnuts:

• After the last episode’s veritable encyclopedia of astonishing images, “Part Nine” is much plainer, visually. But there’s one nifty bit of Lynch-ness in the scene where Cooper at the police station is staring intently at an American flag, right before his attention’s pulled away by an attractive pair of legs in bright red shoes — and then to a humming electrical outlet, just like the one that spat him out in Las Vegas a few days ago. Here’s what Cooper loves: duty, beauty, and the dark.


Laura Dern in “Twin Peaks: The Return.”


• Diane herself is a remarkable bit of visual design, with her bobbed white hair and her colorful asymmetrical outfit — looking like a ringmaster at an avant-garde circus. She’s also the source of some fresh intrigue this week, as she keeps anxiously checking her phone until she receives a message that reads, “AROUND THE TABLE THE DINNER CONVERSATION IS LIVELY,” presumably from Mr. C, who sent the same message on his burner phone earlier in the episode.

• Albert, as always, has the full-on funniest line in the episode, when he hears about Hastings’ wife getting murdered and his secretary exploding, and quips, “What happens in season two?”

• Just when oafish Twin Peaks deputy Chad Broxford seems like he can’t get any worse, he eats two apparently malodorous microwaved dinners in the typically sacred space of the department’s main conference room, forcing Sheriff Truman to ask Bobby to open a window.

• We have a repeat musical guest: the dream-pop trio Au Revoir Simone returns, after first appearing in “Part Four,” the episode that introduced the world to Wally Brando. Does it mean anything that they’ve reappeared in the most Twin Peaks-centered (and deadpan comical) hour since the fourth? That’s not a crazy thing to consider, given how densely self-referential this show can be.

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