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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 Sinner’ Finale: Creator on the Masked Captor’s Identity and What Season 2 Could Look Like


[Editor’s Note: The following contains spoilers from the season finale of “The Sinner.”]

“I know you did it for your son,” Cora Tannetti (Jessica Biel) tells the man who had imprisoned her for two months, during which he shot her up with heroin and obliterated her true memories. It’s a curiously generous statement for her to make, but it’s not the first time that “The Sinner” has found sympathy and common ground for people’s failings.

USA Network’s summer psychological thriller began with Cora stabbing Frankie Belmont (Eric Todd) to death seemingly without provocation during a day at the beach. It turns out that five years ago at a party, Frankie had tried and failed to revive Cora’s sickly sister Phoebe (Nadia Alexander) with whom he had been intimate. A song that was playing at the time of the tragic accident was the same song that triggered Cora to attack Frankie during that day at the beach.

The season finale reveals the author of Cora’s deeper psychological trauma: Frankie’s father Dr. Belmont (Christopher Innvar). In order to protect his promising med student son’s reputation, Dr. Belmont sent his son off to California for a job and took care of covering up Phoebe’s death without his son’s knowledge. Part of that cover-up involved holding Cora prisoner in a small bedroom and giving her heroin until she was addicted and her arms were scarred up. During these two months he also brainwashed her into forgetting the events of that fateful night and into thinking she was a drug addict and female escort.

In adapting the German novel “The Sinner” for the USA miniseries, showrunner Derek Simonds was satisfied with keeping the biggest reveals – the parts that Frankie and his father played in Cora’s trauma – the same for American audiences.

Jessica Biel and Christopher Innvar, "The Sinner"

“In the end, I’d say the big reveal and such are faithful to the book,” Simonds said in an an interview with IndieWire. “The thing that I love about this material is that it engages like a great suspense novel should, but every reveal and twist — and there are a lot of them – deepen the humanity of the characters rather than cheapens the humanity of the characters.

“There’s a lot of thrillers that by the third act, characters start acting in really extreme, unbelievable ways,” he added. “Someone you sympathized with suddenly is just plain old evil and they’re sort of reduced to a bad guy. ‘The Sinner’ never jumps the shark that way. It never exaggerates human behavior or resorts to cheap shocks. The reveals end up showing a lot of parents and children doing the best they can in tragic circumstances, and then the shame that results from that and the consequences of that shame. It feels like a very human story that could happen in the house next door versus a really overblown stylized gruesome thriller.”

The Creepy Ski Mask

One difference in the series is that Frankie’s dad hides his face behind a ski mask, instead of relying on Cora’s faulty memories to protect his identity.

“That’s one aspect that was not in the book at all that we created for some additional mystery and also just to make the backstory more plausible,” said Simonds. “If Dr. Belmont was keeping Cora for two months in her room, why would he show his face to her if he really wanted to hide his story. So that was something that we put a lot of logic that we parsed in the writer’s room.”

The imagery was effective, especially since the ski mask was a dark beige color, which made it appear more like a burlap sack, sort of like the one used on scarecrows.

“Our props master Duke Scoppa brought in a whole range of masks. This particular one, we all responded it,” said Simonds. “It was a vintage hunting mask for cold weather hunting. I think I responded to it partly because of the beige, that there’s something plush and kind of friendly and comfy about the material. It’s like a stuffed animal. Yet, when you put it on, it creates these dark holes for eyes and a kind of creepy, unknown face. So it’s this scary Muppet kind of [character], which is disturbing… and kind of unnerving.”

PTSD and Trauma

Jessica Biel, "The Sinner"

“The Sinner” isn’t only an exploration into the events of that one night or what Dr. Belmont did to Cora afterward. How her religiously fanatic mother raised her and the ways Phoebe took advantage of her instilled a deep sense of guilt and shame in Cora. She was already primed her for the shameful narrative that the doctor fed her. That deep repression of actual facts is also what led Cora to snap at the beach.

“We did a lot of research about PTSD in particular, the performance PTSD psychosis that Cora suffers from where she’s actually reenacting the moment of trauma,” said Simonds. “We talked to several social workers and psychologists who also work in the justice system and evaluate prisoners and suspects. This was a part of the story that we wanted to take very seriously. This is a genre story, it’s a psychological thriller and we wanted it to be entertaining, but we also wanted it to be responsible and speak authentically to these issues and ground them in as much reality as the story could in the time that we had.”

Simonds has been gratified that many viewers are responding not only to the mystery aspects of the show, but also to the psychological issues.

Nadia Alexander and Jessica Biel, "The Sinner"

“It’s fascinating the responses from people. For instance, the incest scene in Episode 6 between Cora and Phoebe, there such a range of reactions to that scene,” he said. “There were people who were incredibly offended and wanted to stop watching the show because we portrayed that scene. Then there were other people who really responded to exactly how traumatized Cora was, how she had lost her agency, how she was being manipulated by her mother and then her sister and JD. They saw what we were trying to say psychologically with that scene. It just reflects to me how open or not open people are to the sort of relating to others, how easily we can either judge or empathize.”

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