Episode 11 showcased a lot of the strengths of the new season of Twin Peaks, rewarding viewers who’ve been patiently waiting for the disparate threads of the series to come together. It leaves you wondering what David Lynch and Mark Frost might have done with the show’s original run if they’d been allowed to craft the plot as precisely as they’ve done this time around, with a running length set from the start — instead of facing an uncertain future, the threat of cancellation, and pressure from network brass.
Agent Cooper — still playing the role of reformed insurance man Dougie Jones — ends the episode on a high note, eating cherry pie and toasting his good fortune with the Mitchum brothers. The casino moguls’ plan had been to kill him, deceived by their double-dealing stooge Anthony Sinclair into thinking that Dougie was behind the denial of their $30 million insurance claim.
Instead, Dougie shows up at his would-be appointment with death bearing the cherry pie (in an absurdly oversized box, one of the many nice touches in this episode) — and a check for $30 million. That lines up with what Bradley Mitchum (Jim Belushi, in what might be his best role since Curly Sue) saw in a dream, and the brothers are left ecstatic with the man who, we’re reminded by a formerly destitute benefactor of Cooper’s supernatural good fortune who shows up to thank him, was formerly celebrated and reviled as “Mr. Jackpot.”
The episode doesn’t end so happily for William Hastings, who goes the route of the young couple from the penthouse observatory: his head messily destroyed by forces from beyond, in this case incarnated by one of the grey spirits who’ve become an ominous presence in this season. The principal’s death comes in the back of a car driven by Detective Macklay, at the site where Hastings and the late Ruth Davenport had their encounter with Major Briggs.
Gordon, Albert, and Tammy finally locate the librarian’s body — missing its head, of course — lying in some dry brush at the desolate site. The spot is still a charged portal to the dark beyond, as Gordon discovers when he looks up into the sky to see a whirling gateway that nearly sucks him up. Albert yanks a flickering Gordon back into our reality, though the deputy director is left with an odd twitch in his right hand.
Diane’s also along for the ride, trying surreptitiously to memorize a series of coordinates found on Ruth’s arm. (Those would be the coordinates Hastings mentioned in episode nine, stolen from a secret military database.) They’re partially smudged, but Albert has an idea of where they’re pointing: “A small town in the north…” Albert’s explanation is interrupted by the arrival of coffee and doughnuts, “the policeman’s dream,” as Gordon observes.
The most urgent segment of the episode concerns Becky Burnett — who, we learn, is the daughter of Shelly and Bobby. Becky’s no-good husband Steven is seemingly cheating on her, and in a wrenching scene she commandeers Shelly’s car, throwing the worried mother to the ground when she tries to stop Becky from driving off to the apartment of her husband’s paramour with a gun in hand. Becky fires the gun into the apartment door several times, but Steven and his lady friend have just left.
Who’s that lady friend? It’s actor Alicia Witt, returning as Donna’s sister Gersten. Remember, the princess pianist?
Back at the Double R, the three have a family conference, with both parents urging Becky to finally get out from under Steven’s thumb. The meeting is interrupted twice, though. First, a guy who knocks at the window is greeted by Shelly with a passionate kiss — as Bobby looks on, strengthening his arc as the face of stoic atonement for past sins.
Then, shots are fired into the diner, apparently by a young boy who got hold of a handgun that his irresponsible father left sliding around the floor of the family minivan. While Bobby IDs the parents and faces a hateful look from the li’l shooter, traffic backs up and horns start to honk.
The shattering bleats of the sedan immediately behind the minivan seem to be just another example of Lynch’s persistent attention to sound in this season — until Bobby goes back to ask the driver to cut it out, and finds a hysterical woman (a scene-stealing Laura Kenny) taking a young girl to a family gathering. “She’s sick!” yells the woman, a point that’s driven home when the girl starts to vomit a nasty green substance reminiscent of what we’ve seen coming out of characters who’ve been to the Black Lodge.
Speaking of stranger things, back at the Twin Peaks Sheriff’s Department, Hawk produces an animal-skin map (“very old, but always current”) that helps to make sense of the clues from Major Briggs. Hawk and Truman are headed to a remote spot where the map indicates fire. Good fire? Bad fire? That depends, says Hawk. The Log Lady calls with an ominous warning: “My log is afraid of fire.”
By the episode’s end, you might have forgotten how it started: with three boys playing ball at a trailer park, discovering a bloody woman crawling out of the woods. “Tell Mom,” says the oldest boy. Good idea…but there are some things that even moms can’t fix.