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Twin Peaks - The Return, Part 13 - Review: "Just You and I"

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Towards the end of "Part 13" there a scene that only Twin Peaks can make work. A call back to the iconic "Just You" scene from the original (a scene I've always loved, though I know some people hate), the Roadhouse speaker announces the name James Hurley, and our favourite motorcycle enthusiast walks out onto the stage with two background singers and starts playing the song the original series made so memorable. We haven't seen James since we glimpsed him briefly at the end of "Part 2", when Shelly made the bizarre statement that he "has always been cool". Was that line just Lynch messing with the fanbase, who famously loathed James with a passion? Who knows, but the brief glimpse of a weathered, sheepish James Marshall back in "Part 2" hinted at some juicy material to come for the actor in subsequent episodes. Then we didn't see him again.

But this scene made me forget about all that. Cutting between James and Jessica Szohr's Renee (who also hasn't been seen since "Part 2"), Lynch makes what could have been a silly scene something profoundly sad instead. Why does Renee break down crying while watching James sing? Will we ever see James and Renee again? None of it matters. It's just yet another example of a small but beautiful piece of humanity hidden in the middle of this expansive season of TV. The scene also calls to mind the famous "It is happening again" scene from the original, which saw an assortment of characters gathered in the Roadhouse suddenly get overcome with a wave of sadness in the moment Maddy is killed on the other side of the town.

"Part 13" is filled with moments like this, some given more context than others. Not an episode for significant plot developments (it's the first episode in a while without any appearances by the FBI or Hawk and Truman), it was a great episode for terrific smaller scenes, not designed to push the plot forward but to shed further light on characters and expose the well of emotion this season is built on.

One of the louder examples of this is the climax of Anthony's plot to kill Dougie. Tom Sizemore doesn't hold back in his performance as Anthony struggles and ultimately is unable to go through with it, his confession scene with Bushnell so effective because of how exposed the character is emotionally. In that way, the scene is similar to one from earlier in the season; Tammy's interrogation of Bill Hastings. But more than that, the Anthony material this week saw the show further explore the idea of Dougie as a force of pure good and kindness. Like what happened with the Mitchum brothers a few weeks ago, Dougie inadvertently turned what could have been a violent event into a moment of warmth and self-reflection. Could the same happen when Hutch and Chantal eventually try to kill him, or will that attempt go the way of Ike The Spike's?

Another example of terrific character drama - though this one almost entirely lacking in context - was this episode's scene with Audrey. Due to the lack of information given in her scenes with Charlie and the general weirdness of how they're presented has led to an explosion of fan theories, and while there is almost certainly something here that Lynch and Frost are holding back from us, this week's scene worked so well because it gave us an even better insight into who Audrey is now.

There's something strikingly sad about seeing Audrey, once an adventurous young woman full of confidence and steely determinism, reduced to such a frightened, confused and bitter shell of her former self. We don't need to know why she is this way or who Charlie actually is - though I'm sure answers are coming - to feel the impact of how Audrey has changed.

This episode was not entirely lacking in plot progression or creepiness. For example, we got our first sighting of Evil Cooper in a few weeks, in a terrifically strange sequence that forced him to win an arm wrestling match to get to Ray. His subsequent torture/interrogation of Ray led to some significant developments: not only did it feature another mention of Philip Jeffries, but Richard Horne's sudden appearance indicates that perhaps the theory that Evil Cooper is his father could well be true after all. The episode also featured one of the season's most unnerving scenes thus far with yet another check-in on the Palmer house, where Sarah spends her nights drinking and watching the same ten seconds of a boxing match on a loop.

But this was an episode made up of smaller, more intimate moments that served to remind us of the show's inherent humanism. There is no other show on TV filled with such compassion for its characters and their inner struggles. As the season prepares to enter its home stretch, maybe what we should end up taking from it all is these smaller moments, whether it's a woman breaking down crying listening to a song or a shared look between two former lovers, such as that between Big Ed and Norma. The key to interpreting Twin Peaks doesn't lie in its mythology or general weirdness, but instead in the beautiful humanity that holds it all together.

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