Slead Score: B
Well? Is the beef jerky display new or not?
We're now two-thirds of the way through The Return's 18-hour run, and although it doesn't pack the same punch as the last several episodes, there's enough to delve into this twelfth hour that will most likely add to the overall plot reveal at the end of the season. Hell, if we get a clear answer, which knowing Lynch-Frost's track record makes the possibility slim. A majority of the episode is actually spent in Twin Peaks though, and even the outlining plot threads end up pointing back to the strange town, so it seems hour by hour, we're getting closer to returning full time to Washington. Most notably, we have the return of two Twin Peaks staples: Sarah Palmer and Audrey Horne.
Despite seeing Sarah in the first hour of the season, she hasn't popped up again, leaving most believing she was just a passing cameo, much like a majority of the 200 new characters we meet this season. However, after she throws a tantrum at a liquor store over a new stand of beef jerky, the happenings at the Palmer house seem surprisingly more mysterious than when Leeland and Laura actually lived there. Trusty Hawk pays Sarah a visit, and although he doesn't make it past the doorway, it's apparent Sarah is not alone in the house, which could mean anything at this point, but perhaps she's been taking the same precautions Diane has since good Cooper left reality; appeasing whatever dark forces that come to ask for support. It's interesting, but the most striking aspect of Sarah's return is just how much of a magnifying glass it is for the entire series. It's increasingly clear fans of the original series are not satisfied with this revisiting of the show, and of course, there are arguments to support that frustration. However, much like Sarah's visibly deteriorated state of being, the events that Bob and Laura set in motion over two decades ago can't be remedied with a cup of coffee and a slice of pie. These people's lives were deeply affected, with Sarah's, in particular, looking as bleak as it can get, as her daughter and husband both met tragic ends to varying degrees of deservedness. How does a person come back from that? Do they? As much of a supernatural soap opera Twin Peaks was, the character's were still displayed as real people suffering real issues, regardless of dramatic validity, so it wouldn't be easy to jump back into a show twenty-five years later and pretend everything is hunky-dory, would it? It'd be about as easy as slapping Sarah across the face and telling her to get over it.
The same dark temperament goes for Audrey, the once bubbly and smooth-talking bad girl of Twin Peaks. The extended scene we see her in she's pleading, well, more like demanding, that her meek husband get the hell up and take her out. She's not happy in her life, and we haven't even touched on the damage she's felt from her son Richard has done this season. In simple terms, things are dark, which makes what we've seen so far an interesting retrospective look on how television is delivered to us as a viewer. The annoying Dougie "Hellloooooooooo"s and constant need to watch him fumble around, but it's a nice and pleasant departure from the heap of crap that's piling up in Twin Peaks (literally, Dr. M is selling golden shovels just to keep the citizen's waist high). Would we have wanted to see good Cooper going around and repairing people's broken lives? I'm hoping the answer is no, and the more satisfying plot to follow is the one we have, which is leading everyone back to Twin Peaks, including Diane. With her great memorization skills at play, she types in the coordinates written on Ruth's dead arm and it brings her to none other than Twin Peaks. It's still hard to know just how invested Diane is with Mr. C's plans, and my hunch is that she's helping him out of fear and not real loyalty. The same goes for whatever is happening with Sarah; she's scared. Hell, so is Audrey. Everyone is afraid of something so far, whether it's Bobby watching his wife fall into the arms of another loser, Ben Horne completely losing his mind over Richard's actions, or Dougie realizing coffee can't be sipped on all day. The fear is a common thread and it's all pointing back to the town we all started with, so let's see where the rest of these hours take us.