Twin Peaks: The Return – Episode 6 Breakdown, Thoughts, and Analysis

Part 6
Written by David Lynch & Mark Frost
Directed by David Lynch

carl rodd.png

We find Cooper in the same spot from the last episode, spending the night standing next to the statue of the lawman. A security guard approaches him and seems to sense something is off. Cooper is trying to get the green blazer off during this conversation and eventually divulges enough info to be taken back to Dougie’s house. Janey meets them at the door and brings Cooper inside. One of the guards points out a larger envelope on the floor. Janey decides to take Coop to the doctor the next day because of his behavior.

Upstairs, Cooper says goodnight to Sonny Jim, and we hear Dougie’s son speak for the first time. Despite speculation, he doesn’t have any weird Lodge traits about him. He’s reading The Hardy Boys which shows a connection between him and Cooper. In The Autobiography of Dale Cooper published back during the original series I believe he namedrops that series as a childhood favorite.

Downstairs, Janey finds a surveillance photo of Dougie with Jade, the escort, inside the unmarked envelope. She tears into Cooper about his infidelity about the same time the loan sharks call on the phone. Janey sets up a meeting with them and finds out her husband owes $50k and is pissed. Cooper sits alone at the kitchen table and receives a vision of the One-Armed Man in the Lodge. He implores Cooper to wake up and not succumb to his deterioration. Cooper cracks open the insurance case files he took from work last episode and strange green light appears to point out discrepancies. Cooper marks them with scribbles, a staircase, and a ladder with lines drawn between them.

coopers scribbles.png

We have a brief shot of the stop light at the corner of Sparkwood & Main. This image popped up a lot in the original series and is significant because it is the intersection where Laura Palmer hops off the back of James Hurley’s motorcycle and vanishes into the woods, headed towards her dark destiny.

We’re with Albert Rosenfeld who is either in Philadelphia or New York City, there are no titles to make that clear. He finishes up a phone call with Gordon Cole before heading out into the icy rain, remarking, “Fuck Gene Kelly, you motherfucker.” This is, of course, a reference to Singin’ in the Rain. Albert is at Max Von’s Bar where he is looking for someone close to Cooper, and he finds her: Diana Evans (Laura Dern). This is the famous Diane to whom Cooper recorded countless hours of tape detailing his investigations. She’s a character never once seen on screen throughout the original run or Fire Walk With Me. I suspect they’ll be taking her to South Dakota to speak with Bob and prove he is not the real Dale Cooper.

We cut to the former Packard Mill, now owned by Ben Horne according to The Secret History of Twin Peaks. In the wake of Pete and Andrew’s death in the series finale, Catherine became reclusive at the lake house and just sold everything to Ben for a song. We see Red (Balthazar Getty), the man who was flirting with Shelly back in the premiere. Well, he appears to be a Canadian drug dealer, bringing methamphetamine across the border. On the American side, Richard Horne is the one doing distribution in the states. These are likely the same drugs that are responsible for teenage overdoses at Twin Peaks high school, as mentioned in Part 4. And as we learned in Part 5, Deputy Chad is apparently providing some sort of service for Richard.

bigred twin peaks

Red gives off strong Frank Booth from Blue Velvet vibes. He has this volatile energy about him in the scene. The scene also reframes Richard Horne as a sniveling low-level punk rather than the rape-y menace he appeared last week. Red’s The King and I name drop is likely a reference to that musical’s most famous song, “Getting To Know You.” Red mentions Richard will pick up the rest of the drugs at Mary Ann’s, and Richard seems surprised the Canadian knows about her/this place. The young Horne is also seen driving a rather beat up Ford diesel truck, which brings into question why isn’t flaunting his family’s money more. I’m also starting to wonder if Richard is Jerry Horne’s son. We see him shortly after his meeting with Red, raging over being called “kid” and taking his frustrations out on his fellow drivers.

Then we are at the *NEW* Fat Trout Trailer Park, located in Twin Peaks. Carl Rodd (Harry Dean Stanton) reprises his role from Fire Walk With Me at the age of 90. He is taking a van into town when one of the park’s residents, Mickey asks to join. We find out Mickey has a wife, Linda, who was is an Iraq war vet and they have had a hell of a time getting a wheelchair from the V.A. Lynch also manages to squeeze a personal note about smoking; Mickey wants to but refrains the offer of a cigarette from Carl, Carl goes on to remark that he’s been smoking every day for 75 years and is fine.

Then we’re at the Double R Diner where we find Heidi, the incessantly giggling waitress from the original series, and meet Miriam Sullivan, a young school teacher with a penchant for Norma Jennings pies. She leaves a considerable tip for Heidi and Shelly who remark that she can’t afford it and refer to her as “poor thing”. Miriam appears in such good humor that I am curious about what she is like in her private life.

Carl Rodd sits on a park bench, contemplating nature, smiling at a mother and son playing tag. And then tragedy strikes. Richard Horne rages at a line of cars waiting for the mom and her son to cross and cuts into the oncoming lane. In a brief moment, he hits and kills the child, never stopping and screaming instead. Carl witnesses this and suddenly sees the spirit of the boy lift up and dissipate into the heavens. He walks over and kneels beside the grieving mother with a comforting hand on her shoulder. This is one of those moments of beautiful tragedy Lynch was always so good at conveying in the original series. He is able to communicate such deep loss and grief. Even better is Harry Dean Stanton’s performance. He doesn’t pity this woman, he actively empathizes with her, present in her grief, acknowledging the profundity of her suffering through a simple look.

Some big notes on this sequence. This is the same intersection Laura and Leland encountering the One Armed Man on in Fire Walk With Me. There is a cut to a utility pole that bears the same “6” like the one in the Fat Trout Trailer Park in FWWM, where we heard the call of the Arm. This time we listen to a distinct electrical crackling noise as the camera pans up the pole. Carl Rodd’s vision of the departing spirit possible ties to his mentions in the Secret History by Mark Frost. Carl was one a trio of children who were seemingly abducted by “UFOs” post-World War II. One of the other kids was Margaret Coulson aka The Log Lady. Carl mentions in FWWM that he’s “seen things,” a phrase never expanded on but may have to do with his encounter with the spirits of the Lodge as a child.

Edit: I was made aware from looking at other posts online about some additional Carl Rodd backstory from the Secret History that adds to the weight of this scene. In the 1960s, Carl became lost in the Alaskan wilderness and ended up living with an Aleut tribe for a few months. He married one of the women and she ended up dying in childbirth. I can’t help but review that scene now and imagine these memories are a part of what Carl experiences in the moment.

We return to Mr. Todd (Patrick Fischler) in Las Vegas for the first time since Part 2. As he types away at e-mail, a red square fades into view. He knows what this is and responds by extracting an envelope with an off-center black dot on it. This leads to Dougie’s burnt out husk of a car being retrieved by Las Vegas police. The license plate, still attached to the trunk lid, flew onto the roof of the drugged out mother across the street.

Then we meet Ike the Spike, a little person assassin who receives the envelope from Mr. Todd. Inside are two photos: Lorraine, the woman who hired the hitmen to kill Dougie and was in communication with Phillip Jeffries, and Dougie Jones. Ike gets his name from his weapon of choice, a wooden handle ice pick. Ike is seen rolling dice and making notes in a journal. This is likely a reference to The Dice Man, a novel by Luke Rhinehart published in the 1970s. The book tells the story of a bored psychiatrist who begins making all his life decisions with the roll of dice, and this leads to some rather disturbing sexual and violent encounters, while also disrupting large corporate and societal structures as a result.

Janey Jones is at the park and meets with Tommy and Jimmy, the loan sharks. Naomi Watts nails this scene, tearing into the two men, bringing up the fact that her family drives crappy cars, how they are 99%-ers, and that $50k is unreasonable. Using her knowledge as a banker, she gives them $25k saying the interest is a better deal than most get and they accept it. What we learn here is that the hitmen after Dougie probably have nothing to do with gambling debts and are more likely tied to Bob and Jeffries large scale plans.

Ike the Spike makes his hit, killing Lorraine. This is a brutal, bloody, horrific scene, but even with that Lynch is still able to pull dark humor from somewhere. Reminded me a lot of the hit man scene in Mulholland Drive, without the bumbling around.

Richard Horne frantically tries to clean the child’s blood off the hood of his truck. The same distinct electrical crackling sound is heard as we see power lines reflecting in the windshield.

Deputy Hawk is washing his hands in the men’s room at the Twin Peaks Sheriff’s Department when a coin falls from his pocket and rolls under the stall. He goes to retrieve it and notices it is an Indian head nickel. He turns to look at the inside of the stall door and sees it is branded with “Nez Perce Manufacturing.” Nez Perce is the tribe Hawk belongs to and in the Secret History there is a lot of their connection with the spirits in the woods. Hawk notices the inside panel of the door is missing a bolt and retrieves a crowbar to pry it off. Deputy Chad enters and is a typical dick. Hawk finds three folded up pieces of paper hidden inside the door. The only thing I could think they might be are the pages from Laura Palmer’s diary where she details her dream/vision from Fire Walk With Me. Annie appears in that dream and tells her to write down that “the Good Dale is trapped in the Lodge.” The big question is, if these are her diary pages, how did they end up hidden in the stall door of the men’s room bathroom. If Bob wanted them out of the way to prevent suspicion, you would think he’d destroy them before skipping town.

Doris Truman shows up raging at Frank about her father’s car. Chad continues to be a typical douchebag and Maggie, the dispatcher explains their son killed himself, and this is the reason Doris is on edge all the time. Chad says he knows that their son was a veteran who “couldn’t handle it” and continues this character march towards wanting to see him die.

We conclude with Sharon Van Etten performing “Tarifa” at the Roadhouse. If you don’t know her music, you might recognize her from Netflix’s The O.A.

More musical things:

Chrysta Bell’s cover of “Falling”

Xiu Xiu’s cover of “Falling”

Johnny Jewel’s track “Windswept” which is being used as the Cooper/Dougie theme.

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