As much mileage as Lynch gets out of Peggy Lipton's very expressive face on the new Twin Peaks, plenty of ground was covered with Miguel Ferrer's lack of expression in last night's new episode. Not since Buster Keaton has a stone face been so well deployed for laughs. After last week's very eventful episode, last night returned to haunting atmosphere and perhaps even more haunting new questions.
Spoilers after the screenshot
One way you can tell this show is working is that people who were dying to see Audrey's (Sherilyn Fenn) return feel disappointed we didn't get more Candie this week instead. But Audrey's return is no disappointment--like everything else on the new series, it wastes no time on nostalgia and hits the ground running.
It's like a glimpse into a gutsy one act play. Apparently Audrey has married a guy named Charlie (Clark Middleton), a little person with a bald, pointed head. He looks like a missile in a waistcoat, his piles of paperwork combining with his appearance to give him a slightly Lewis Carroll quality.
It's apparently entirely a marriage of convenience about which Audrey's tired of making any pretence over, boldly telling him that she's fucking someone named Billy. There's some drama involving a truck being borrowed or stolen--could this be the same truck Richard hit the child with? Is Billy the farmer Andy was talking to?
I'm inclined to think Richard is Audrey's son. There are things that make me uncertain. Why did Sheriff Frank Truman (Robert Forster) go to Ben Horne (Richard Beymer) to report Richard's crime instead of Audrey if she's his mother? Ben laments Richard's lack of a father. Eamon Farren, who plays Richard Horne, was born in 1985, before the events of the original Twin Peaks series. He could be playing younger--is he the product of Audrey's night spent with Billy Zane's character, John Justice Wheeler, in the second season? Wheeler seemed like he might indeed be the sort to be absent from Richard's life.
I love how much Richard Beymer gets to chew on in his scenes as Ben Horne. Coupled with the assassination of a father by Tim Roth's character elsewhere in the episode, one could be led to believe that Lynch is arguing for the necessity of a paternal influence in a child's life, but one then needs to consider Ben Horne's not entirely scrupulous life despite apparently having really fond memories of his father.
Diane (Laura Dern) discovering the coordinates on Ruth Davenport's arm indeed leads to Twin Peaks as Albert (Miguel Ferrer) teased last week; it's no surprise that the little town is ground zero for the damage to, or portal in, the fabric in reality which Gordon (David Lynch) has apparently been investigating for decades with his Blue Rose task force. At the end of the episode, we're treated again to another vignette of young women talking in a roadhouse booth, joined briefly by Lynch regular Scott Coffey. The impression given is that the world of dysfunction, misdirected or doomed love, and dangerous hedonism is truly vast in the little town. Is it a sign that Twin Peaks is where the strange demons released by the atomic bomb are concentrated?
The scene where Tammy (Chrysta Bell) is brought into the Blue Rose fold finally explains just what the Blue Rose is and connects it to Project Blue Book, with which Major Briggs was involved. The scene is notably reminiscent of the Black Lodge with Diane entering by parting a red curtain and uttering the Man from Another Place's first line, "Let's Rock." Scenes of revelations and crucial choices often seem to be set in places where the set design seems to deliberately echo the Black Lodge--scenes in One Eyed Jacks in the original series come to mind as well as Laura and Donna's misadventure in the Pink Room in Fire Walk with Me.
One of the first scenes in the episode is a truly wonderful and scary moment with Sarah Palmer (Grace Zabriskie) at a liquor store. She's disturbed by the sight of beef jerky that's made from turkey. I had two theories about what this could mean--Laura, in Fire Walk with Me, called herself a "turkey in the corn" and last week we saw black corn on Hawk's (Michael Horse) map. There's also the possibility that it's a reference to Sarah's experience with possessing spirits. The turkey jerky is externally like the beef jerky but it's in essence a different thing. Then she leaves the store talking to herself in the third person. It's worth remembering that, before the new series, chronologically the last time we saw her, in the finale of the second season, Sarah was delivering a message to Major Briggs and she was speaking with another voice.
And what are we to make of Gordon's encounter with the vivacious French woman (Berenice Marlowe)? It was like a scene from Amarcord, it definitely was the most Fellini-ish I've seen Lynch. It added to the feeling that what the new Twin Peaks is is even bigger than being a great new David Lynch project--it feels like a resurrection of a kind of great filmmaking in France and Italy in the 60s and 70s--it's worth mentioning now that the great French New Wave actress Jeanne Moreau passed away yesterday. If you haven't seen any of her movies, remedy it. Jules et Jim is essential viewing.
This daughter of a turnip farmer on Twin Peaks seems to be posing for Gordon, it almost feels more like a moment where Lynch is dwelling on the collaborative relationship between a director and an actress in creating the impression of a beautiful woman on screen.