Lynch has always been fascinated by the freakishness of infirmity, and his work is at its best when his unflinching gaze (on the sick, on the malformed, on those who society at large would consider aberrant) is informed by a distant yet discernible empathy. The effect is truly surreal: We're forced to look at people long past the points of politesse and comfort, and in the process go beyond any exterior grotesquerie, toward the soul, awed and aching, underneath. We're all walking (or running or driving) toward the same destination, though as former Lynch collaborator John Hurt (the Elephant Man himself) once said in a very different context, quoting Ralph Waldo Emerson, "How much of human life is lost in waiting."
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How Beautiful Is This (Keith Uhlich / MUBI)
Dale Cooper is not what he seems...
Twin Peaks reaches an electrifying fork in the road (Emily L. Stephens / The AV Club)
In “The Return, Part 12,” Sarah Palmer warns her young cashier, and us, “Things can happen! Something happened to me.” In “The Return, Part 15,” something is happening, and as entertaining as the show’s winding, ominous roads have been, it’s energizing to see the show reach a crossroads, even if it’s not clear what lies ahead. Whatever is happening in “Part 15,” it’s turning up the electricity and cranking up the volume. Everyone on Twin Peaks is on the threshold of something, and the good, the bad, and the ugly are all revving up into the red. [...]
Things can happen. As Sarah Palmer’s suffering, Margaret Lanterman’s death, Nadine’s epiphany, and Ed and Norma’s love show, things will happen, good or bad. It’s just a question of getting to the crossroads, of working up your nerve to cross the threshold. In “The Return, Part 15,” Twin Peaks has crossed the threshold, and it looks like a promising point of no return.
Log Out (Sean T. Collins / Rolling Stone)
Twin Peaks is a show about respect. This, perhaps, is a strange thing to say about a series that routinely violates time, space, sanity and basic human decency. And that's to say nothing of the relatively run-of-the mill mockery it makes of its many lovable goofballs, from Dr. Jacoby to Dougie Jones. But this week's episode demonstrates the tremendous reverence and compassion with which co-creators David Lynch and Mark Frost depict people at their most defenseless. [...]
The Log Lady, Big Ed and Norma, Audrey, Steven and Gersten, the screaming woman at the Roadhouse: They're all connected not just by geography, but by states of spiritual extremis. They experience enormous, nearly crippling feelings – all of which leave them questioning their place in life. Lynch and Frost still bring the bizarre in this hour. But they also carefully, respectfully depict deep, vulnerable emotional states and trust us to take them seriously. That makes all the difference.
Long Live The Log Lady (Evan Davis / Decider)
Few Twin Peaks characters are as iconic as Margaret Lanterman, the Log Lady (Catherine Coulson). With her trusty log in her arms channeling cryptic pronouncements about owls and fire, Lanterman became a synecdoche for Twin Peaks’s gently surrealistic humor and mystical underpinnings. Not many took her seriously (except Hawk, of course), but she and her log always saw the truth behind the mystery.
And now, Lanterman is dead, taken by the same cancer that ended the life of the woman who portrayed her. Twin Peaks: The Return has been a lot of things, but its emotional weight has rested on Lanterman, and Coulson’s, shoulders. Her death in “Part 15” is perhaps the most moving moment of any iteration of the Twin Peaks narrative, and it is only fitting that David Lynch dedicated the episode not to Coulson (which he did back in “Part 1”), but to Lanterman herself. [...]
Coulson’s rail-thin body, post-chemo hair, and breathing tube have given Margaret an even deeper poignancy, as we know that she is not long for this world. Coulson gives the rawest of performances. Her illness cannot help but become Margaret’s illness. There’s barely any barrier between actor and performer.
That is what makes this final moment with Margaret so devastating. Margaret’s tears are Coulson’s tears, knowing that she is about to meet her end. When she says, “There’s some fear in letting go,” that could be Coulson talking with Lynch, a friend saying goodbye for the last time.
And it is all too obvious that this scene is Lynch and Coulson saying goodbye to one another. Lynch makes it achingly poetic, giving depth and texture to the dialogue he and Mark Frost wrote. He cuts from the end of the call to clouds covering the moon, as beautiful a symbol of death as has ever been committed to screen. [...]
David Lynch stared Catherine Coulson’s death right in the face, and she stared right back. This final moment is a love letter from one friend to another. It’s the only goodbye Lynch and Coulson would know how to say.
The most fist-pumping TV of the year so far (Dan Martin / The Guardian)
Twin Peaks is many things to many people. What it doesn’t always get credit for is the size of its heart. But part 15 was the most powerfully emotional yet, with a sense of things moving towards an endpoint – which stands to reason, given there are only three episodes left.
David Bowie is a teakettle, but who is Judy ? (Clarisse Loughrey / The Independent)
It’s clear the [Convenience Store] is another portal to the alternate dimension ; as they walk through and trees flicker at the sides of the frame, we’re reminded that all of this comes back to Twin Peaks. It’s beyond the portal that we are finally reintroduced to Phillip Jeffries. Presumably, this would have been David Bowie’s cameo in the show, but his absence leaves a bizarre substitute : a sputtering teakettle.
Voiced by Nathan Frizzel, Jeffries in such an obtuse, intimidating form finally feels like a match for Bad Cooper. Their exchange brings to the surface our new, big mystery to obsess over : who is Judy ? Jeffries in Fire Walk With Me insisted that he would not talk about Judy, but now comes a new revelation, “you’ve already met Judy”.
Fear in Letting Go ('Hulk' / Vulture)
“I sent my Soul through the Invisible,
Some letter of that After-life to spell:
And by and by my Soul return’d to me,
And answer’d: ‘I Myself am Heav’n and Hell”
— Omar Khayyám
This quote kept coming to mind as I watched the 15th episode of Twin Peaks: The Return unfurl upon the screen. It was at times joyous, soulful, and lovely, and at times terrifying, chaotic, and angst-ridden. But there was so much specific imagery and mention of death, passing, and the changing phases of life that it was impossible to ignore as the motif that ran throughout. Specifically, how our sacredness and our evilness are our own. [...]
We do our best to bring a small bit of heaven to Earth, but in this kind of world, hope sometimes feels hopeless. Even then, we cling to this Earth because, as the episode’s title tells us, “There’s some fear in letting go.” For some brave souls, death can perhaps just be seen as a good rest after a long, tiring day. A sadness, but merely another change. To all this, I will say the same words as Hawk:
“Good night, Margaret. Good-bye, Margaret.”
Romance and Death Are All the Rage on 'Twin Peaks' (Jess Zimmerman / Vice)
"Who's Judy?" Doppelcoop demands of the bell-shaped, spouted device that seems to house the soul of Phillip Jeffries. (We've seen four of these so far: on the roof of the cube before Naido falls off into space, in the Giant's living room, in the ballroom with the device that releases the Laura-sphere toward Earth, and now this one. Is each a conduit to a specific soul? Major Briggs's face does float by shortly after the first one is activated. Or is it more of a network, a way of moving the dead around like electricity through wires? The devices look a little like insulators; maybe they are.) Doppelcoop can't know, of course, that every Fire Walk with Me fan has been asking this for 25 years—but David Lynch can, and does. The implication is that we're returning to mysteries left unexplained in the movie, and that we may start getting some answers—but who knows if they'll be any use. (The one Jeffries gives Doppelcoop isn't really, though it's tantalizing. "You've already met Judy," he says.)
Some ideas arrive in the form of a dream (Jeff Jensen | Entertainment Weekly)
Part 15 of Twin Peaks: The Return (“There’s some fear in letting go”) contained passages that mirrored the heartland grace of The Straight Story. The first came at the start. We watched Nadine Hurley traverse a stretch of highway like so many other Lynch protagonists have done before — except she did so on foot, with a sunny smile on her face. She also had her golden shovel slung over her shoulder, a totem of her hard-won liberation from the mire of madness and misery, an expression of her counter-cultural opposition to the degrading muck of the world. A series of fades told us that she had been walking this walk for a long time. She followed a continuous white line toward her final destination, the service station owned by her estranged husband, Ed Hurley, where mechanics in greased overalls repaired broken transmissions and a decorative exhaust pipe puffed the clean smoke of righteous industry. She was a woman on a mission of reconciliation and release. If there was a song in her heart, it might have been Sting’s “If You Love Someone, Set Them Free.”
Nadine was here to love Ed with the most ironic of romantic of gestures; she had come to give him a divorce. Divorce of all kinds — relational disruptions; divided selves; psychotic breaks from reality — has been a recurring theme this season, and the deeper irony of Nadine is that she has represented all of them throughout all of Twin Peaks. It’s possible she might still. Ed himself wasn’t convinced his wife was in her right mind as she described herself as “jealous” and “manipulative,” a “bitch” who had “guilted” him into remaining in the marriage even as he pined for Norma. I wondered if Ed thought, as I did, that Nadine, a victim of mental illness, was being ridiculously hard on herself. As the Log Lady once said: “Sometimes when we are ill, we are not on our best behavior. By ill, I mean any of the following: physically ill, emotionally ill, mentally ill, and/or spiritually ill.” (From her Bravo introduction of episode 4, season 2.)