Twin Peaks: The Return - Episode 11 "There's fire where you are going."
Slead Score: B+
Never let sick little girls vomit in your car.
Part 11 of the 18-hour movie known as Twin Peaks: The Return is one of the stronger pieces of evidence that we're seeing the Frost influence on the show, as a majority of the episode revolves around actually moving plot points further and giving character backgrounds. While the more surrealist episodes and deviations from the main plot aren't for everyone, it can't be that shocking to see how much Lynch's influence has impacted this new season, as it has always been a part of Twin Peaks, just in smaller doses than here. However, part 11 also reaffirms how Frost and Lynch as a team can create intriguing and thought-provoking television, and the choices they make to pace and tell the story won't hit home with every viewer. For the viewers hungry to spoon-fed their Twin Peaks, this week was much of that, as we learn more about the supposed new Laura Palmer stand in, Becky (Amanda Seyfried), and her connection to the town. As well, Dougie makes another long and silent appearance to tie up loose threads in the Las Vegas plot, while Gordon Cole and the FBI are busy dealing with Charcoal Men and black holes.
I need to say right away how important that opening sequence with the boys playing baseball was, but I'll cut into it later. First, who knew Bobby Briggs (Dana Ashbrook) would ever become as much of a role in this new season? Not only is his role as a police officer vital to connecting the dots with what's going on spiritually in Twin Peaks, but now we know his role as a father to Becky makes him that much more important. Oh, and lest we forget how important Major Briggs has been to the FBI subplot, bringing Bobby even closer to being the connective tissue of this entire series. It turns out high school sweethearts Shelly (Madchen Amick) and Bobby did, in fact, get married at one point, as Shelly's last name is Briggs. Sadly, we also know it didn't last because once Red (Balthazar Getty) shows up to the Double-R Diner, he and Shelly get down to smooching. Regardless, the more important piece of information we get in this family reunion scene is that Becky has gone haywire on Steven, the strung out husband of hers who's apparently hooking up with another woman. Taking a gun and demolishing the woman's door, Becky now owes for damages, and we already know she doesn't have the money to pay up. Bobby, being the newly caring and supportive guy we've come to see this season, offers to help, right before a gun shot strikes into the Double-R, sending everyone to the floor. Rushing outside, Bobby finds the strange scene of a woman berating her husband for letting their son play with a handgun, which the boy shot into the restaurant. All the while, a woman blares on her car horn behind the families stalled van, forcing officer Bobby to calm her down. In true Frost-Lynch fashion, the woman delivers an odd, and what at first seems humorous, speech about needing to be places on time. It's all fun and games until she mentions a sick girl in her passenger seat, and when Bobby leans in to look, a young girl slowly rises like a zombie towards his face and begins to vomit all over the screaming woman.
After many hours of thinking, the only theory I can come up with is that this is not a new subplot about a viral threat affecting the town, but a shocking symbolic reminder to Bobby that time is key. Leading up to this latest episode, Bobby's role has been uncovering the clues about the location of the White Lodge that Hawk and Sheriff Truman have been transfixed on, which all has to do with time. They all need to be at the specific coordinates at a certain time, with a certain type of soil in their pockets, which was given to him by his mother, who was told to only reveal the information at the right time. TIME! Let's tie this in with the baseball scene at the beginning as well because there is definitely a time shift happening there. There are three boys total playing catch, and we only see one constantly present, while the other two switch in and out after each cut. This is a more pronounced depiction of time rifts occurring in Twin Peaks, but we did see something similar a few episodes back when the shot changed at the Double-R, revealing different people sitting in the restaurant within mere seconds. While time is obviously important to everyone, it seems understanding that in this Twin Peaks universe, time is not a linear or singular entity, but rather a multi-faceted and warping force. With other dimensions brought into the mix, as well as Laura's screaming face last week, time is feeling like its own character now, revealing itself through shot-reverse-shot tricks and flashes to previous narrative beats of the series.
Also keeping to their appointments is the FBI crew, led by Cole and Albert. The terrifying possibility that Diane is not so innocent seems to be becoming clearer, as her text message to Mr. C on the FBI's plans just doesn't seem like something a good guy would do. With Higgins in tow, they all head to the coordinates where he met Major Briggs in another dimension, and sure enough, that dimensional vortex is ready to open up again. Cole seems completely willing to be taken away, arms stretched to the heavens, but once Albert sees the Charcoal Men may want to keep Cole for nefarious reasons, he pulls him back into reality and safety. Not everyone gets out unscathed though. Diane watches nonchalantly as a Charcoal Man slowly makes his way to the back of the police car to bash in Higgins' head, leaving everyone stunned. Even though Diane half admits later that she saw the man entering the car, it's almost impossible to defend her actions, leaving us to wonder why on earth she would have such a terrible reaction to meeting Mr. C again in jail if she's his accomplice. On top of that, before the hole closed, the body holding the coordinates that Higgins talked about does drop out, giving Albert a chance to snap a shot and lead them closer to the Black or White Lodge. This is also something Diane seems keen to understand, most likely to bring Mr. C closer to keeping good Cooper locked away.
While the revelation that Diane could be evil is disheartening, perhaps the real question we should have always been asking is what does Cooper know about Diane. We know that she knows everything about him, as he would detail every beat of his life to her via recorder, but why did he trust her? Or did he trust her fully? Bob may be an evil demon, but he does have the power of persuasion and reason, lending intrigue to the idea that Diane has something she needs to protect, and getting rid of good Cooper may be the only way to do that.