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Twin Peaks - The Return, Part 9 - Review

And so here we are at the half-way point of the Twin Peaks revival (the existence of which I still find hard to believe), and while Lynch and Frost still refuse to give fans what they wanted or expected before the season began, after each episode the picture they are painting comes into greater and greater focus.

The season began as a massive sprawl, its first few episodes not just reintroducing us to the titular town at the show's centre, but entirely new locations and faces. While it was clear that each of the season's disparate strands were all connected somehow, those connections were - and, in many cases, still are - unclear. To many, the sheer size and scope of the story, as well as the relaxed, some would say lethargic, approach to telling it, made the show seem unfocused. But now all that is beginning to pay dividends.

It now seems clear that all of the season's narrative threads are beginning to interact and overlap as they all point towards one place: Twin Peaks itself. For example, "The Return, Part 9" brought together the Buckhorn case (which we haven't spent much time with since the premiere) and the FBI investigation, as Cole, Tammy, Albert and Diane arrive in South Dakota to see Briggs' body.

This part of the episode was probably my favourite. For one, it gave us more Bill Hastings (and Matthew Lillard's remarkable performance), thereby further expanding on the show's increasingly dense mythology. See, it turns out that Hastings and the librarian had independently discovered the Black Lodge (or White Lodge), which they named "the Zone". And there they met Major Briggs.

But this part of the episode was delightful for other reasons. It's been clear for a while that the FBI characters are the ones Lynch and Frost understand best (or enjoy writing for the most), and I was delighted to see another episode that dedicates a significant amount of time to them being snarky and doing their jobs competently. From Albert seeming to bond with the Buckhorn ME to Diane exclaiming "It's a fucking morgue!", this episode was full of wonderful character-specific moments. And then there was the loooong scene with Cole, Diane and Tammy standing outside the station in silence, which I mostly enjoyed just for the audacity of it (like the sweeping scene from a few weeks ago).

The most significant plot developments featured this week came in Twin Peaks itself, as Bobby, Truman and Hawk came across a message Briggs left for his son before he died regarding Cooper. This material is so exciting because it makes the show's various subplots feel closer, and gives the story even more forward momentum. It was also great to see Bobby again, a character who has only appeared in two episodes of the revival thus far yet is probably one of the best things about it.

In the last few episodes (excluding the bonkers "Part 8") the series has shifted focus away slightly from the Coopers and towards both the FBI investigation and the characters, both new and old, in Twin Peaks itself. Essentially, the show is gradually coming to more closely resemble the original, not just in setting but in tone. And so this episode hardly featured either Cooper.

Evil Cooper, fresh off dying in the previous episode, meets up with two companions, played by Tim Roth and Jennifer Jason Leigh (the latter of whom we met briefly back in the premiere), and gives Roth's character a job to kill a few people, one of whom being Warden Murphy and the other two presumably being Dougie and Janey-E. We probably won't get the real Cooper back until the Dougie and Evil Cooper story lines directly interact, and we're fast approaching that moment.

Speaking of Dougie, we don't see much of him this week, with much of the Las Vegas material dedicated to the Detectives Fusco arresting Ike The Spike. While I have enjoyed Dougie up until now (and, given that I'm still on board, I'll likely continue to enjoy him for as long as he's around), in large part due to Kyle McLachlan's incredible performance, as well as that of Naomi Watts, but I was glad to see less of him this week, as it did result in some forward momentum elsewhere in the show.

While Dougie may be frustrating to many of you now, when Coop does eventually return (likely in the next few episodes, if episode descriptions are any indication), I think it will all be worth it, and everything Dougie-related will soon be looked back on with greater appreciation. Meanwhile, I'm going to sit back and enjoy it. I love the idea of Coop essentially being reborn and learning how to live again, and the quirky, heartfelt execution is more than enough to keep me on board.

That's it for this week, guys! As far as I know I'll be reviewing "Part 10" next week, but if not, I'm not sure when or if I'll be back to write about the show. Whatever happens, it's been a pleasure discussing this crazy show.

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