Twin Peaks: The Return – Episode 5 Breakdown, Thoughts, and Analysis

Part 5
Written by Mark Frost and David Lynch
Directed by David Lynch

twin peaks part 5

Part 5 kicks off with the two men hired to take out Dougie Jones. They make a fall call to their employer, a very harried and anxious woman on the verge of tears. They explain they’ve been staking out Dougie’s car with no luck. She hangs up and sends a message via a pager/burner phone. The recipient is marked “Argent” on her phone, and the message is just a series of numbers. We cut to a dingy basement and a small black box electronic device, the implication being that this is where her message went. It just happens to be the same type of device Bob was using to get in contact with Phillip Jeffries back in Part 2.

We jump to Buckhorn, South Dakota where Constance Talbot (Jane Addams), the county coroner is delivering her analysis of the autopsy of the headless man. There are some good funny bad pun jokes she gives before dropping a pretty big bombshell to the audience. They found something in the stomach of the body, a wedding ring inscribed with “To Dougie, Love Janey-E.” This is Dougie Jones’ wedding ring. When we first met Dougie, he was already missing his wedding ring which was replaced by the Owl Ring, and that arm had gone numb. The question remains at what point did the rings change and how did this end up in the headless corpse’s body?

At Yankton Federal Prison, Bob sits waiting out his day before a judge. At one point, he rises to look at himself in the mirror, asking, “Are you still in there.” The mirror image proceeds to subtly morph until we are looking at Bob’s face superimposed over Doppel-Cooper’s. First, this was a masterful way to compensate for Bob’s original actor Frank Silva passing away. Second, it is creepy as hell, one of the most unnerving scenes of the series so far. And third, it confirms that the character are following is Cooper’s doppelganger and that Bob is sort of hanging on for the ride? I’ll still refer to him just as Bob to not make things too confused.

We’re in Twin Peaks where Mike Nelson, Bobby’s old high school pal and Nadine’s former love during her association in Season 2, is working as a bank manager (?). He calls in Steven, the boyfriend of Shelly’s daughter, who looks incredibly disheveled and apparently high. Mike proceeds to berate Steven for such a shoddy resume and tells him if he ever wants to get a job he needs to correct these things. Mike is no longer the drug dealing high school thug he once was apparently. Back in Part 2, one of Shelly’s friends mentioned that “everyone loves Steven” but I don’t see much of that charm here.

At the Twin Peaks Sheriff’s Department, Frank Truman is on the phone with Harry getting updates about his health and treatment progress. I suspect Harry has cancer and may die off-screen, still crossing my fingers for a surprise cameo by Michael Ontkean before the mini-series is over. Frank ends his call and receives a visit from his wife Doris (Candy Clark) who is furious about a host of problems at their house. Frank remains calm which seems to infuriate Doris even more before she storms out. It should be noted that Candy Clark is probably most known for her role as the love interest in the David Bowie film, The Man Who Fell to Earth. Bowie’s connection to Twin Peaks was playing Phillip Jeffries in Fire Walk With Me.

Back in Las Vegas, Janey Jones is rushing to get Sonny Jim to school while Cooper stumbles out after her. She reminds him that she’s hidden his casino winnings (over $400k). Cooper is distracted though and gazes at Sonny Jim waiting in the car. A tear trickles down his cheek. I’m wondering if this is part of Cooper coming to terms with how much time he has lost while being trapped in the Black Lodge. A quarter of his life gone, the chance of a family slipping away. It also needs to be noted (and you have to look very carefully), but the footage of Sonny Jim is in reverse. The final shot of him sitting in the car reveals this as his eyes blink backward. You could easily miss it, but it is there. Back in Part 4, Janey mentions that Cooper is acting worse than Sonny Jim. Later we, see Sonny Jim interact with Cooper without speaking, but he seems to understand his “dad” needs his help. It’s possible that Sonny Jim is the product of a union between a human and a Lodge spirit which would make him more than just a human child. I’m going to guess he’s perceived as mentally handicapped by our world though. The hitmen check on Dougie’s car, and it is still parked there. They drive on, and moments later a group of car thieves passes by casing the neighborhood.

Janey realizes Dougie’s car is still missing and drops Cooper off at work. He stops by a statue in the office plaza that depicts a cowboy/lawman, its gun drawn and pointing off into the distance. Cooper is closely drawn to this figure but eventually stumbles forward. He crosses paths with Phil Bisby (Josh Fadem) who has brought a bunch of coffees to work for the big meeting. Cooper is drawn to the coffee, and Phil lets him have Frank’s. Cooper lovingly consumes the cup, and we get Phil saying it’s some “damn good..joe”. So close. We learn Dougie works for Lucky 7 Insurance and that Tony (Tom Sizemore) has been covering for him for the last three days. Frank is upset that Phil gave his coffee away but is offered a green tea latte instead. With hesitation, Frank tries the latte and ends up pretty happy.

We’re introduced to the firm’s owner, Bushnell Mullins, who wants to go over some of Tony’s claims. One claim thought to be false is now legit, but a strange green light flashes across Tony which causes Cooper to spout that he’s lying. I suspect this is part of his deductive reasoning as an FBI agent slowly returning to him, that sort of sixth sense he exhibited throughout the original series. Tony seems enraged at Dougie, and I suspect we’ll see pay back later. Cooper is brought to Mullins office where he dumps a load of “homework” on our protagonist due to Dougie skipping out for three days. The words “agent” and “cases” seem to trigger a memory in Cooper. Bushnell Mullins is a direct reference to David Lynch’s personal artistic mentor growing up. In the documentary, David Lynch: The Art Life, he discusses Bushnell Keeler adopting him as a protege and encouraging the young Lynch to paint every spare hour he had. Lynch’s first film was a short documentary called “Sailing with Bushnell Keeler” that he shot in 1967.

Over at the Silver Mustang Casino, two men seemingly connected to the establishment’s ownership (Jim Belushi and Robert Knepper) show up to deliver a beatdown on the manager (Brett Gelman) for allowing Cooper to come in and clean out their slot machines. They promote the pit boss (David Dastmalchian) to the manager and tell him to call if Cooper ever comes back in the casino, which I suspect will happen. While the manager was getting his beatdown, three women in taffeta dresses and elbow-length pink gloves leaned against the wall watching with disinterest. A very Lynch detail to tag onto a scene reminded me of Mulholland Drive.

Back over at Dougie’s car, we revisit the neglected boy who lives across the street. His drug-addled mother slumps down at the card table, a string of drool dripping to her shoulder. The boy decides to go across the street and check out the car that’s been parked there for a full day. He is lightly touching the blinking device the hitmen planted there when the car thieves from earlier show-up and scare him off. They attempt to jack the car only have it explode on them and leave them in charred pieces. The boy runs home, and the mom wakes up hearing the door. Seeing the card table, playing cards spread out across it, reminded me of Bob’s strange Ace of Spades from back in the premiere. I’m also starting to see these two characters as a shadow version of the Tremonds/Chalfonts from the original series and FWWM. The destroyed car will likely lead authorities to Dougie’s house in some way. Or the hitmen will think they were successful only to have Cooper show up at the casino again.

Jade, the escort that was visiting Dougie in Part 3, is getting her car detailed when an employee brings her the Great Northern hotel room key Cooper dropped on the floorboards. She notices the “If this key is found…” sticker on the back of the tag and tosses it in a mailbox. I am suspecting this key’s return to Twin Peaks will jump start some connecting the dots between Hawk’s quest and Cooper’s return.

We’re at the Double R Diner in Twin Peaks where Norma (Peggy Lipton) is going over the restaurant’s bills. Becky (Amanda Seyfried), Shelly’s daughter comes in from her job at the baker to deliver bread. After the drop-off, she talks to Shelly (Madchen Amick) about needing some cash, pleading that her boyfriend Steven is trying to find a job. Shelly gives in, and Becky leaves. Norma comes over and tells Shelly she shouldn’t do this anymore, but Shelly reminds Norma they know all too well what it is like to be with a deadbeat guy.

Steven tries to assure Becky he will pay her mom back, but he notices Norma and Shelly watching from the window and moves the car. Steven tells Becky about his interview, but refers to getting chewed out by Mike as “feedback.” They snort a powdered drug, could be cocaine but the comments from episode 4 about designer Chinese drugs and the high school kid on them make that a possibility. What follows is one of those scenes that immediately became iconic for the series. This moment of love and euphoria, however ill-advised it will end up being for Becky is pure Lynch. He is able to develop characters not through plot and dialogue, but through aesthetics and emotional tone. It’s gorgeous and reminded me a lot of the loving shots of Laura Palmer in Fire Walk With Me, but also having that undercurrent of being unsettling.

In Las Vegas, Cooper wanders out of the office building and into the plaza where he remains, staring at the lawman statue. Night falls. At the Twin Peaks Sheriff’s Department, Hawk and Andy continue mulling over the files still looking for the item connected to Cooper that is missing.

We finally get the answers behind Dr. Jacoby and his golden shovels. Well, it turns out he regularly films an Alex Jones, Infowars style show from his trailer home. His broadcast name is Dr. Amp, and he rants about a vast global corporate conspiracy that is trying to kill us all. We glimpse the audience in the form of Jerry Horne who lights up a joint and appears to not take it seriously while Nadine Hurley watches with awe and reverence. He finally gets around to the shovels, and much like Alex Jones hawking his health products, Jacoby is selling gold shovels to “Shovel your way out of the shit.” I found it a very fun and amusing way to tie that strange sub-sub-plot up. Jacoby refers to his home on White Tail Peak being the American Hindu Kush. The Hindu Kush are the mountain range between Afghanistan and Pakistan. They were historically important sites in the development of Buddhism, home to ancient monasteries. Once again, Twin Peaks and the Buddha are connected.

Surprisingly we jump to the Pentagon where Air Force Colonel Davis (Ernie Davis) receives news that Major Briggs’ fingerprints have had a hit on a police database in Buckhorn, South Dakota. We learn this is the sixteenth time in 25 years that Briggs’ fingerprints have popped up but they all appear to have been false leads. Davis and his assistant are planning to fly out to Buckhorn where I suspect they will cross paths with Gordon Cole and company. This is also confirmation that the headless corpse is Briggs’ body? It’s a tragic way for that character’s story to end but I am very intrigued to know what happened between him and Bob.

At the Roadhouse, the band trouble is performing who are fronted by Riley Lynch, David’s son and who played the Chalfont boy in Fire Walk With Me. Our focus in this scene is a skeevy looking young man smoking a cigarette in front of a NO SMOKING sign. The bartender tells the man to stop but is met with cold resistance. Deputy Chad, last seen in Part 4, steps forward and takes the entire pack. Inside the pack is a wad of cash that Chad seems to have been expecting to find. So now we have a Twin Peaks deputy likely engaged in drug trafficking, much like the deputy from Deer Meadow in Fire Walk With Me. The real twist of this scene comes with a couple young women sitting nearby engage the skeevy young man. Charlotte approaches him for a light and tells her to come sit him which she does. He suddenly gropes her and tells her he’s going to have sex with her and she protests. Her friend, Elizabeth (Jane Levy) protests to which he just laughs. The really awful part comes if you look at this skeevy man’s name in the credits. He’s playing Richard…Horne. Possibly, Ben Horne’s son through a second marriage or even worse Audrey’s son. His name is significant because in the very start of Part 1 The Giant tells Cooper,  “Remember 430. Richard and Linda. Two birds with one stone.” 430 could be a room number in The Great Northern? And who is Linda if this is Richard?

Tamara Preston examines an old photo of Cooper and begins comparing the fingerprints of Bob to Cooper’s on file. She notices something wrong. Looking closely at the screen you can see his ring print (the owl ring) is backward from Cooper’s.

Bob has his one phone call. He seems to know the warden is listening in and watching the call. I was reminded of the scene in FWWM where Cooper stares up into the security camera here, as Bob stares deep into the soul of the warden and his men watching on the other side of the cameras. He contemplates aloud who he should call and mentions Mr. Strawberry. This name gets a very visceral reaction from the warden implying Bob can see into his mind? Bob quickly dials a series of numbers and does something to the security system in Yankton Prison. Everything goes haywire until he hands up. Could this be connected to the information he downloaded in Part 2? He only speaks one sentence into the phone before hanging up, “The cow jumped over the moon” which I guess is spy code directed at Phillip Jeffries.

We leap to Buenos Aires, Argentina. It’s the same basement the nervous woman was keying in a message to at the start. The black box flashes its lights, beeps, and is suddenly a tiny crushed piece of metal. Buenos Aires is where Phillip Jeffries teleported from and back to in FWWM, just recently glimpsed when the Missing Pieces were released.

We end on Cooper still standing in the plaza, this time gingerly touching the shoes of this lawman statue.


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