Slead Score: A
As BGH's own Sophie said, "Hey, hey, my boyfriend's back!"
The first few weeks of The Return had most of the community wondering if we'd ever see Agent Cooper break out of his Dougie stupor to become the fast-talking man we all know and love. By episode 12, it was pretty clear we would probably never see him return to his former glory, and instead, follow Dougie's silent escapades. In the shock of all shocks (literally), just one week before the two-hour finale airs, our beloved Agent Cooper is back. While his return could be painting this episode in a rose-colored light, it was undeniable that a majority of what was originally found in Lynch and Frost's first 9-episode draft is all here. Everything is indeed coming to a head, and it's a strange sensation to have the last few episodes of the season be some of the most amazing Twin Peaks content we've ever seen. Heartache, revelation, joy, sorrow, love, and lots of death packed into a glorious hour of television.
Let's kick things off with the death of one of the most despised new characters, Richard Horne. In the last episode, Mr. C took pity on the rat-faced Richard, letting him tag along to investigate the coordinates Diane had sent him. Well, the duo makes it to the site, and letting Richard take the lead, the boy heads to the top of a rock only to be mysteriously electrocuted to the point he explodes. Electricity is a clear theme this episode, relating not only to Richard's demise but to how Cooper returns to normalcy. Adding more intrigue to the already entertaining scene, Mr. C does refer to Richard as his son, giving us all the nod that Bob really did rape Audrey in her coma, which brings us to a delicate topic that is handled surprisingly well by Lynch.
While rape has been prevalent in the series since episode one, it has always been tricky to identify what Lynch was trying to say with it. Was he just using it as a tool for gripping storytelling? Or did he want to give victims a voice? While it's still debatable in the early series, Audrey's character arc seems to be more than what we initially thought, which is fantastic for several reasons. Many were disappointed in Sherilyn Fenn's return on the series, as she has mostly been resigned to arguing with Charlie about characters we know nothing about. In the final moments of episode 16, Audrey and Charlie do make it to the Roadhouse. It seemed we would just get another musical performance. The club emcee announces "Audrey's Dance" as Badalamenti's iconic score from the first season of Twin Peaks rises in the soundtrack as Audrey oddly sways and dances. The room parts and Audrey steps back into her iconic scene, now 25 years later and wiser.
While at first it seemed like fan service, a fight breaks out, causing Audrey to rush to Charlie's side. As Audrey attempts to ask for help we're shown her real state of being. She's in a white room, staring into a mirror. This answers so many questions about her initial return, including why she would never mention Cooper, Richard, or her previous life in Twin Peaks. I believe Audrey has been brain washed and trapped by Mr. C, which is why she only talks about these characters we still know nothing about. This goes hand in hand with what we learn of Diane, but more importantly, Audrey is going to have an actual arc that will explain what she's been through since we last saw her. Hopefully this will not only mean Audrey can give a voice to victims of sexual assault but will give us more of the woman we all love.
Diane is in the same ballpark. It's been shocking but intriguing to see the woman that knew Cooper best be attached to Mr. C like a cohort, but apparently, that was all a ruse. After Mr. C disposes of Richard he sends a text to Diane with a simple smiling face and the word "all." This sends Diane into a tizzy, but only for a moment. She walks back to Cole's room to explain what happened the night years ago when Cooper returned to see Diane. It's as if the real Diane has returned as she breaks down, exclaiming how excited she was to see Cooper but realizing he wasn't the same man anymore. She reveals Mr. C raped her and much like Audrey has been in an out of body state ever since. Before she can finish explaining that "she's not her," a spirit takes her over to pull out a gun from her purse to shoot Cole. However, Albert takes several shots before Diane disappears into the Black Lodge. Here she undergoes the same fate we saw with the real Dougie earlier in the season; her head explodes and her body evaporates into a small golden ball. She was just a creation, just like the other Cooper, which means the real Diane has to be somewhere. Sadly, she could be alive or dead.
When it comes to Dougie and Cooper returning, there's a lot of joy and bloodshed wrapped in one. While Dougie lies in his coma after electrocuting himself last episode, Janey-E and Sonny Jim sit by his side, only to have the Mitchum brothers appear with real food and lots of love for their new friend. Giving the family some space, the Mitchum brothers decide to stock the Jones' house with goodies. Before they can get back to the red-doored Las Vegas home, Chantal and Hutch show up to take out Dougie. The Jones' house is apparently the hot place to be, as the FBI also appear at one point, causing Chantal and Hutch to wonder what could possibly be going on with this guy. Before they can actually get a shot at Dougie a man returns to his home across the street, gets out of his car, and tells the killer couple to move their van. When they cuss him out and refuse to move, the man bashes his car into their van and takes out a submachine gun. Spooked, Chantal and Hutch try to speed away, only to have the man pepper the moving van with bullets, killing the couple. A strange but fitting end to two of the most dangerous characters this season.
It's hard to explain the joy that we all feel having Cooper back. It's palpable, and thankfully, it's all over Janey-E's face. I want to give a minute of credit to Naomi Watts here, as it's become increasingly clear the community has been hating her on the show. The joy and wonderment she shows on her face when Cooper speaks in his short, concise, and engaging dialect is how we all see Cooper. Of course, while Dougie was a contentious figure, it is sad to see that Janey-E and Sonny Jim might be without a father now, especially since everything good that has come to them was at the hands of Cooper. Perhaps this is what Janey-E always needed so she could stand up and be the powerful woman she's always been, but it would be nice to see her happiness get a chance at thriving too.
While Cooper drives away with the Mitchum brothers to head to Twin Peaks, we're left with pure ecstasy. We have our Cooper back and he's headed home. With the two-hour finale next week, what could possibly happen to bring everything together? What is clear is Lynch and Frost saved the most engaging parts for the end and the final two hours will be unforgettable.