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‘Twin Peaks’ recap: Diane! and Sharon Van Etten

Sharon Van Etten in 'Twin Peaks' (Showtime)

It was the briefest of scenes, but it was long enough to let Twin Peaks fans know their dreams had come true: for the first time in the history of the franchise, we got a look at Diane Evans, the assistant Agent Cooper dictated his notes to for the first two seasons. And she’s played by — yes! — Laura Dern.

We met her in a bar where Albert went to find her (struggling with his umbrella and cursing Gene Kelly). He’ll need her to weigh in on the doppelgänger currently in custody in South Dakota — but that’s a matter for a future episode. We actually didn’t see the doppelgänger at all in episode six, but we saw plenty of Kyle MacLachlan as the reincarnated Agent Cooper, now living the vexed life of Dougie Jones.

At the episode’s outset, we see Cooper/Dougie still standing by the statue outside his insurance company, cradling his case files and struggling with his pea-green sport coat. The cops bring him home, where he and Dougie’s wife Janey loudly eat sandwiches (all the chewing in this episode is very closely miked) until she discovers that his creditors have left a photo of Dougie with Jade, the sex worker Dougie enjoyed congress with just before being sucked back into the Black Lodge.

That’s not great for family harmony, nor is the call Janey takes from the gangsters who are demanding $50,000 from Dougie. She agrees to meet them the next day, realizing that her husband is nowhere near up to doing any negotiating. Storming off to bed, she leaves Cooper with the case files his boss sent home with him. Following a series of mysterious lights, Cooper draws a series of steps, ladders, and scribbled lines on the case files.

Cooper also has a spectral visit from MIKE, who calls out from the Black Lodge to urge Cooper to wake up. “Don’t die!” he cries. “Don’t die! Don’t die!”

Naomi Watts has a ball in this episode, playing Janey (technically, her name is Janey-E) as a hard-nosed realist who harangues the mobsters into collecting just $25,000 of the $50,000 they claim to be owed. “We’re the 99 percent!” she bellows.

Another character having a ball, albeit a very short-lived one, is Richard Horne — the seedy young man we saw threatening women and slipping cash to deputy Chad in episode five. This episode, we meet him trying a sample of some high-grade coke before being warned by his gesture-happy, magic-savvy (check out his cool dime trick) supplier that he’d better not try any false moves.

Driving off high and in a huff, Richard guns the motor of his truck and — in a surprisingly graphic scene, even by David Lynch standards — mows down a young boy who’s running across a Twin Peaks street, then just keeps on driving. The boy’s bereft mother is comforted by…wait for it…Carl Rodd!

Carl Rodd, as you surely remember (right?), was the owner of the trailer park visited by Chris Isaak’s character Agent Chester Desmond in the movie Fire Walk With Me. Desmond was there investigating the death of trailer park resident Teresa Banks, the young victim whose prior death made the death of Laura Palmer look like part of a pattern, prompting Agent Cooper’s first trip to Twin Peaks.

Rodd is still living at the trailer park, and still played by Harry Dean Stanton, who’s now 90 (“I’ve been smoking for 75 years, every f—ing day!” he chortles) and whose presence adds a tremendously poignant weight to one of the new season’s saddest scenes. The scene is also notable for a sighing Angelo Badalamenti cue, in an episode that features much more score than we’ve heard so far this season.

Another returning favorite is Heidi, the giggling German server from the Double R; returning actor Andrea Hays brings Heidi back in a scene that’s a lot of fun until tragedy strikes (see above). Heidi’s customer, seemingly a local schoolteacher, may be the only witness who gets a good look at Richard’s face after he strikes the child.

There’s more bloody death in this episode: after an ominous red square appears on his Lenovo ThinkPad, a Vegas operative grabs an envelope that gets passed to a local hitman who pauses his dice game (if by “game” you mean just rolling the dice and writing the resulting number down, over and over again) to go take an ice pick to a woman whose picture he finds in the envelope along with a shot of…yep, Dougie.

What about Dougie? Well, Dougie shockingly doesn’t get fired. His seemingly random drawings (at least for those characters who didn’t see the dancing lights) turn out to reveal some kind of pattern among the case files that deeply impresses his boss. It’s more coffee and smiles for the happy “Dougie,” who’s back wearing Agent Cooper’s black suit that fits him better than the chubby man’s green blazer did.

Back at the Twin Peaks Sheriff’s office, Hawk makes a breakthrough. Following a rolling Buffalo (“Indian head”) nickel into a bathroom stall, he notices that the stall door was manufactured by Nez Perce Manufacturing and spies a pattern that corresponds to his mysterious message from the log. He proceeds to pry open the stall door and discover a sheaf of pages…FROM LAURA PALMER’S SECRET DIARY?!?! I’m just speculating here, because we don’t find out in this episode.

What’s left to tell? Well, Chief Truman’s wife shows up to yell at him again, and a deeply insensitive reaction from deputy Chad follows the revelation that Truman’s wife is still grieving the death of their child. The cops find the license for Dougie’s destroyed car — on the roof of the strung-out druggie’s house. (“One one nine!” she shouts confusedly when she hears footsteps above her.)

Oh, and the music. It’s provided by a perfectly moody Sharon Van Etten, singing “Tarifa” to the blissed-out crowd at the Bang Bang Bar. Enjoy that reverie while it lasts…you never know when someone’s gonna come for you with an ice pick.

Catch up with season three

Twin Peaks returns, with the Cactus Blossoms and a whole lot of whaaaaaaa???

Twin Peaks episode five recap: The cow jumps over the moon