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‘Twin Peaks’ Review: Part 7 Leaves More Clues Than We Can Count as David Lynch Digs Deep Into the Past


[Editor’s Note: The following review contains spoilers for “Twin Peaks” Season 3, Episode 7 (“Part 7”).]

Well, this week’s a case for the “Twin Peaks” historians.

Plenty of  “Twin Peaks” 2017 (as we’ve come to identify Season 3, “The Return”) has relied on its past for narrative weight and plot development, but “Part 7” saw more allusions to the original seasons (and “Fire Walk With Me”) than ever, and it started right from the top.

LAST WEEK’S REVIEW: ‘Twin Peaks’ Review: The Person Everybody Has Been Waiting to See for Over 25 Years Doesn’t Disappoint

  • The letters Deputy Chief Hawk (Michael Horse) found last week were three of the four missing pages from Laura Palmer’s diary. They spoke of a dream she had in which Annie Blackburn (Heather Graham) told her about “Good Dale” (Kyle MacLachlan) being trapped in the Black Lodge long before it ever happened. Another page suggested Laura knew it was Leland Palmer (Ray Wise), not Bob (Frank Silva), who was coming after her.
  • Ding ding ding! One point for the “Twin Peaks” theorists who guessed the decapitated corpse belonged to Garland Briggs. Turns out the major’s floating head in Episode 3 was the right clue to follow. (Two points to anyone who can explain the 30-year gap between the presumed age of Briggs’ body and his actual age.)
  • Diane, Diane, Diane. Her meeting with Bad Cooper marked an emotional high for the episode, and her instinctual understanding that Bad Cooper wasn’t Good Cooper rewarded fans who’ve been invested in that relationship for 26 years (not to mention viewers who felt teased by an all-too-brief introduction last week).
  • Ben Horne (Richard Beymer) played a bigger role this week, even if we understand his significance less than ever. First, his brother (David Patrick Kelly) calls him lost from the woods. Then his assistant, Beverly (Ashley Judd), hears a “hum” in the hotel, and tells him they were sent the old key for the room where Cooper was shot. Something is up at the Great Northern Hotel.

Yet for each enlightening answer, there was an equally challenging question that went along with it — an ideal ratio for a mystery train that’s gaining speed but still has a long way to go. Hawk seems closer than ever to putting out an APB for Good Cooper, but how time functions in the Black Lodge (a.k.a. how Annie could have imparted these words to Laura in the first place) remains unknown. The same giant question mark hangs over Briggs’ younger-than-expected body, as well as Diane and Cooper’s suspicious rendezvous  at her house.

READ MORE: ‘Twin Peaks’: When David Lynch Killed Showtime’s Marketing Campaign, Here’s How The Network Improvised

When asked what happened the night they last saw each other, Diane told Director Cole, “You and I will have a talk sometime.” That’s as direct as signals get in Lynch’s world: He’s putting a pin in this story for now, but only because there was so much more to discuss in Part 7. Even with nearly three minutes dedicated to watching a bar-back sweep the floor, the latest hour of “Twin Peaks” was as efficient as it was exciting.

Twin Peaks 2017 Season 3 Kyle MacLachlan Part 7 Episode 7

It’s important to note that for all the nostalgic ties affecting the new “Twin Peaks,” none of the above allusions to the ’90s felt tired, easy, or inserted solely to appeal to our want for the familiar. Sure, Cole saying, “That’s damn good coffee” felt a tad forced, but even Lynch’s tossed off delivery indicated his dismissal of anything associated to fan service.

Consider how technology was incorporated into the episode: Sheriff Frank Truman (Robert Forster) calling Doc Hayward (Warren Frost) on Skype and Jerry Horne (David Patrick Kelly) holding his iPhone out in front of his face while high as a kite were peculiar for a purpose. Each moment invited you into a world once frozen in time, but now unearthed and given new life. Much like Frank punching those keys one at a time, Lynch is deliberately striking nostalgic notes and usurping them. He’s fueling a new mystery with the ashes of an old one, but there’s enough original content to keep the story churning forward.

Take, for instance, Good Cooper. We didn’t even see the man uncontrollably posing as Dougie Jones for more than half an hour, but his arrival felt perfectly timed; almost as if Lynch could hear us thinking, “Huh. I wonder what’s going on with Cooper,” and then bam: There he is, grinding a pen into his leather desk topper and letting Janey-E do his talking for him. During his discussion with the cops, Cooper appeared as regressed as ever. His progress has been debated over the last few weeks, but it seemed to have ground to a halt… until he swiftly disarmed Ike “The Spike” Stadtler (Christophe Zajac-Denek).

READ MORE: ‘The Leftovers’ and ‘Twin Peaks’: How Faith Can Color Your Opinion of a TV Show

In that brief moment, only foreshadowed by the events of the weeks prior, Lynch showed us just how much of the Old Cooper is left inside of Good Cooper’s mumbling, bumbling body. Moreover, he gave the theorists one more event to anticipate: What with all the news coverage given to “Dougie’s” heroics, it wouldn’t be all that surprising if someone in Twin Peaks saw his face and made a few phone calls. Perhaps this is how Good Cooper will be found.

And herein lies the beauty of Part 7: We know better than to start guessing what happens next on “Twin Peaks.” For every guess that comes true (like the unidentified corpse turning out to be Briggs’ body) there’s a scene of inexplicable wonder (like three minutes of sweeping). It’s a tough balance to strike, especially to keep such an eclectic fan base happy, but Lynch is inviting us to speculate and giving us more to examine than anticipated. He’s, dare I say it, plotting a masterful mystery. Scholars, it’s time to dig in.

Grade: A-

“Twin Peaks” airs Sundays at 9 p.m. on Showtime.

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‘The Crown’ Season 2 Review: Despite Focusing on Relationships, Netflix’s Drama Turns Too Dreary and Cold


There are far worse ways to study history than watching “The Crown” — high school history class comes to mind, especially at schools with misplaced teachers like Mr. Kraz. But there are better ways, as well, even in television’s incomplete, sensationalized fashion. Pertinent period details frame series like “The Americans” and “Mad Men,” or there are meaningful tales told of specific historical figures like “John Adams,” the “Band of Brothers,” and “The Young Pope.” (Hey, the future will one day be historical, too, and Lenny will be pope.)

What separates these programs from Netflix’s new crown jewel is an opinion; a stance, one way or another, on what all this means; a personality of its own making rather than a suffocating allegiance to facts. And in a darker second season about the most personal problems of Queen Elizabeth’s life, this voiceless neutrality breeds an even colder, more distant, and altogether less engaging set of historical accounts.

Those who enjoyed Season 1 won’t likely be overly upset, as these shifts are subtle and easily overshadowed by an onslaught of prestige. Scripts are well-crafted. Images are opulent in texture and scenery. Acting remains a top attribute, especially Matt Smith and Claire Foy who are even more front-and-center this year than last. Favorite figures like Jared Harris and John Lithgow are missed, as are their heartfelt characters (Harris’ kingly father figure) and episodes (most notably, “Assassins”), and Peter Morgan’s second season fittingly opens on a bleak, rainy day in February, 1957.

Queen Elizabeth (Foy) and the newly crowned Prince Philip (Smith) are at a crossroads. Sitting in the shadows, reluctant to face each other, the married couple’s allegiance to one another is being questioned in the public, and the two must decide how to move forward. Before an answer is given, the series shifts back in time five months to examine how the royal pair ended up in such a state.

The Crown Season 2 Episode 2 Matt Smith Netflix

Mercifully, this isn’t a framing device for the entire season — Morgan catches up to this scene in the third episode — but it does draw attention to the predominant themes of marriage, equality, and progress. Episodes focus on Philip’s frustrations with his position, his tragic childhood, and his perceived dalliances with women other than Elizabeth. The series doesn’t go so far as to show Philip with another woman, but it strongly implies casual couplings during his time away from the city and depicts a budding vanity that often distracts from his duties.

Smith builds a character who’s easy to dislike without being totally alien: It’s both a challenging and enviable development to take on, and Smith progresses Philip quite well. The kind of presumptive sexism displayed will make him an even more hated figure given current cultural context, but he’s not a monster or a predator; he’s merely a powerful man doing what powerful men did at the time.

The latter point is more of the show’s stance than an absolute interpretation. Morgan makes some bold choices in what he’s willing to include, but bold choices do not equate to bold positions. “The Crown” only goes so far, after all, even with its principal subject. Though Elizabeth is often made into a pitiable object, she’s more reactive than declarative in Season 2.

The Crown Season 2 Claire Foy Matt Smith Netflix

Characters often bring up the queen’s obligation to the crown, and they almost always frame her allegiance to tradition in contrast to personal desires. Last season saw Elizabeth deny her sister the love of her life because their marriage would embarrass the family. Margaret (Vanessa Kirby) is still smarting from that decision — she’s quite the drunkard in Season 2 — but Elizabeth has moved on; she’s accepted her duty and is entirely possessed by it.

The show seems to have followed suit, and the fifth episode illustrates the underlying problem of hiding behind history. Based around Lord Altrincham, an unknown newspaperman and failed politician, “Marionettes” focuses on how the writer’s scathing opinion of a speech made by the queen gains traction. At first, her advisers tell Elizabeth not to worry about it. They think it will be dismissed outright because of the subjects’ undying loyalty to her office.

But when Altrincham appears on television to defend his articles, the tide turns. He’s not a crackpot or an attention-seeker. He genuinely loves the monarchy and wants to help it transition into the 20th century. He’s speaking for the people, and the people are behind him. The episode ends with a footnote, saying the royal family eventually adopts every one of Altrincham’s suggestions, and this final word successfully shifts the episode from its original position — the condemnation of a crackpot vs. the queen — to its ultimate message: that one man speaking truth to power can sway the course of history.

The Crown Season 2 Dogs, corgis, running Netflix

It’s a strong episode on its own, but “The Crown” lacks the same courage overall. Morgan’s drama only feels comfortable taking a stance when its got historical precedent behind it: The condemnation of the royal family’s stuffy policies is included because someone actually condemned it and they listened, whereas when the family’s outdated and inhumane beliefs are brought up — like their disgusted intolerance of homosexuality — “The Crown” seems to shrug and say, “Well, that’s how it was back then.”

Whereas “Mad Men” and “The Americans” provide context to indicate how the audience should react (think about the opposing marketing firm throwing piss balloons on black protesters, or Philip’s struggle to follow through on certain missions), “The Crown” is content to just depict what happened. When the queen is forced to think about homosexuality, she collapses and her hand is shown grasping the window, like Kate’s in “Titanic” — except Elizabeth isn’t in the midst of passionate backseat sex, she’s just passionately unhinged at the idea of a man kissing another man. Such a simple point could’ve been made without the grandiose bombasticity that lends the series a coldness that’s hard to come back from.

It doesn’t condemn these ideas just as it doesn’t condemn Philip’s actions. Of course, it doesn’t support them either. While very good at instructing the audience how Philip and Elizabeth are feeling, rarely does it evoke the same level of feeling from viewers. The series is so diligent to the history books — “There was a meeting and, as best we can tell, this was discussed, so they probably reacted like this…” — there are more frustrations than surprises and more acceptance than understanding.

Some viewers may look for exactly this in their television: a beautiful recreation of historical events, connected by safe assumptions about the people who lived through them. But television is capable of so much more, and whether you like “The Crown” or not, its medium evokes stronger, richer feelings elsewhere.

Grade: B-

“The Crown” Season 2 premieres December 8 exclusively on Netflix.

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