It’s been a while, but when we last left the town (and show) of Twin Peaks, Agent Cooper had been shot, and so had Leo Johnson. Shelly Johnson, Catherine Martell and Pete Martell all seemed doomed in the burning mill. Audrey Horne was in over her head posing as the new prostitute at One Eyed Jacks and about to come face-to-face with the owner, her father. Big Ed came home and found that Nadine had OD’ed on pills while his nephew James was arrested after Bobby Briggs put cocaine on his motorcycle. It was the biggest night in town since the Elk Lodge burned down in the 50s according to Doc.
Hovering somewhere between life and death, it seemed the time was right for Cooper to have another one of his visions. This time, a giant came to Cooper, with three pieces of information that were all true: there’s a man in a smiling bag, the owls are not what they seem, and without chemicals – he points. The giant also tells Cooper that Leo was locked in a hungry horse, and swears that some mysterious “we” he represents wants to help Cooper. The giant takes Cooper’s ring as collateral of sorts, promising to return it once all his warnings came true.
The extent of Cooper’s injuries are not as bad as they looked, a bulletproof vest caught two of the slugs, but the agent took the third in the belly where his vest was riding up. One of the things I appreciated was the complete and utter lack of urgency in the lead character being shot. I’ve seen a lot of TV cliffhangers, and they almost universally use this kind of life-threatening danger to a main character as a way to propel the audience with immediate energy into the season premiere. Not Twin Peaks though. Twin Peaks let’s Cooper affably suffer on the floor as the old room service attendant slowly and diligently goes about his work.
The smoke (pun intended) cleared on the fates of the other characters. Leo survived Hank’s attempted assassination, which was under the orders of Ben Horne who was cleaning up the loose ends from the mill arson. Catherine Martell is missing, although Pete and Shelly escaped with smoke inhalation. The mill itself seems to be gone for good, perhaps foreshadowed by lengthy scenes of the mill at work in the extended opening credits, like a remembrance of sorts. As for the mill’s owner, Josie Packard, she is also missing. Pete later assumes from a note he finds that she’s gone to Seattle for some shopping, but if that’s the innocent reason then who’s this Asian dude with a ponytail that called looking for her?
So Catherine’s toast, right? Piper Laurie‘s name was conspicuous by its absence in the opening credits, so we can only assume that she’s done, right? I wouldn’t put anything past that woman (or this show), and Sheryl Lee did come back as Laura Palmer’s cousin/doppelgänger Maddy, so perhaps Catherine has some kind of double out there who will blow back into town and wreck havoc. There is, of course, that old dramatic adage about death only being real once you’ve seen a body, and Jerry Horne’s celebration over the idea that only Catherine’s teeth remain unburned under the wreckage of the old mill seems premature, especially since Catherine would have a major beef with his big brother when and if she comes back.
One person we know is dead is Jacques Renault, killed by Leland Palmer in the hospital as revenge for his daughter’s murder. It seems that vengeance has given Leland a new sense of optimism, surprising Sarah and Maddy with a song and a new white head of hair that only Doc Hayward seems able to question the existence of later at the Hayward family supper club. Leland goes to the Hornes and with a jaunty “I’m back!”, and leads Ben and Jerry in a celebration of the mill’s fire and the ability to proceed with their development project. What is concerning is that Leland looks and sounds like a whole new person, and with all this talk from Dr. Jacoby about Laura seeming like two people, in the end you have to wonder, is Leland more than one person too?
So aside from there being a question of what’s going on with Leland, this case is pretty much wrapped, right? Of course not. Not only is there the mystery of the masked man that shot Cooper, but there’s the question of the third man involved in Laura’s murder, Bob. The episode ends with Ronette having a mission of Laura’s murder at the hands of Bob. Yes, we had forgotten about Ronette hadn’t we? It seems she’s been in a coma of some kind of since being discovered on the railway tracks, but now she’s starting to stir, and just in time because it does seem like there’s a roadblock in the case.
Unlike almost everything else going on in Twin Peaks, Bob seems to have no connection to anyone. Theresa Banks is another blast from the past that makes a return reference in “Episode 8”. Cooper had investigated Banks’ murder the year before, and its connections to Laura’s death were what brought him to Twin Peaks to begin with. Looking into Leo Johnson’s background though Cooper learns that he was in prison in Montana when Theresa was killed, in the town of Hungry Horse as mentioned by the giant, so there’s no connection there. Which brings us back to Bob. Who is Bob? Where did he come from? Where is he now? And will the return of the One-Armed Man, salesman Philip Michael Gerard, lend any further insight into who Bob is?
The other pressing mystery is Who Shot Agent Cooper, and was it Bob? Fascinatingly, the question of who shot a federal agent three times takes a bizarre backseat to the dozen other matters before local law enforcement, the entire episode take place over 19 hours from when Cooper is shot to when he goes to bed again, and never did we hear about how the investigation into Agent Cooper’s shooter is going. Perhaps the giant was right, and the only way you can lay a path is to do it one stone at a time, and for now the focus will be on finding the one person known to Cooper that’s seen Bob.
Closing out though, the giant tells Cooper’s he’s forgotten something, but what has the agent forgotten? Is it Ronette, who can likely identify Bob, and seems to have been forgotten in context of the mystery while in her comatose state? Or maybe it’s Audrey, whose note is now under Cooper’s bed waiting for him to find it and learn that she’s stuck at One Eyed Jacks. One wonders if Audrey’s psychic mayday might be able to reach Cooper’s finely and psychically tuned mind, but that revelation will have to wait for another time.