‘Twin Peaks’ Season 3, Episode 13: Starting Position

Here are these two Coopers: one wicked, one sweet; and one all-powerful while the other’s barely conscious of anything happening around him. Both are scarily effective at getting what they want.

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In the case of Dougie, the rewards he receives for his bizarre behavior extend beyond praise from his boss (and, y’know, not getting poisoned). After helping out Bradley and Rodney Mitchum a couple of episodes ago, he’s been gifted with a new BMW and a fancy new backyard jungle gym for Sonny Jim, complete with lights and music. Dougie’s wife Janey-E is so overjoyed that she doesn’t question where the presents came from or why. In her world, material success justifies itself — especially when the alternative is dealing with loan sharks and mobsters.

(As if to reinforce this dynamic, one of the funniest bits of the episode has the Fusco brothers laughing about the heavy amount of crime in their city, while from the next room we can hear the sounds of violence and screaming. The neighborhoods look nice in Vegas, but this is not the safest place to be.)

In contrast to the more significant action in Montana and Nevada, all the time we spend in Twin Peaks in the back half of this episode seems less purposeful — and some might even say pointless. Anyone who was annoyed by the less-than-spectacular reintroduction of Audrey Horne into “Twin Peaks” last week probably wasn’t any happier with her brief scene here, where she and her husband Charlie continue their circular conversation. “This is Existentialism 101,” he says to her, before asking “Do I have to end your story too?” All of this feels like it should matter, but Lynch and Frost have yet to clarify why.

That said, there is a lovely bit of framing in the Audrey scene. In the shots of Charlie, his wife’s reflection appears in a rectangular bit of glass just behind him, making it look like there’s a faded portrait of Audrey hanging on their wall. Similarly, a long, elliptical scene of Sarah Palmer watching a glitchy, looping video of an old boxing match (possibly featuring “Battling Bud” Mullins?) leaves the impression of an old world slipping away, which can only be retained in unsatisfying, incomplete fragments.

This leads us to…

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