Hello-o-o! Now that we’ve all binged the first four episodes of the “Twin Peaks” revival and waited two weeks like the good residents of the Black Lodge that we are, part five is now upon us. “Case Files” isn’t as wild a ride as some of what we’ve already seen, which is what makes it ideal as the first standalone episode: Its oddity is the kind that will take longer to digest, though one hopes it goes down more easily than garmonbozia.
David Lynch, by all accounts, is not a fan of the binge-watching approach to television. After this latest episode, it’s easy to see why: There’s nothing as outwardly jarring as the glass-box monster or Evil Cooper’s endless stream of vomit, and so “Case Files” might easily get lost in the shuffle of an hours-long binge. Watching it on its lonesome, however, we’re allowed to savor the off-putting portentousness of the imprisoned Evil Cooper unsettling his captors by causing an electrical disturbance and saying “I don’t think I’ll call Mr. Strawberry. I don’t think he’s taking calls.”
“You’re still with me,” he had said to Bob earlier while looking into the mirror. “That’s good.” Good for whom, though? Evil Cooper’s face contorts slightly as he speaks, showing what might be the most visible sign of the malignant entity we’re going to see now that Frank Silva is no longer with us; as always with Lynch, evil is roiling just below the surface, doing everything it can to ingratiate itself into the world beyond.
It isn’t all doom and gloom, though. If you’ve been wondering how many more laughs are to be had from the sight of Dougie walking through daily life like a coffee-obsessed zombie, the answer is: a lot. After being dropped off at work by Janey-E (Naomi Watts) and quickly becoming enamored of a statue in the courtyard, he roams the halls of Lucky 7 Insurance without much direction until finding himself in a conference room where we learn something of the utmost importance: One of his colleagues likes green-tea lattes.
Amid that slapstick, there are darker shades still: the pit boss on duty when Mr. Jackpots took home $425,000 being beaten and fired as three women in pink outfits look on silently; a car bomb claiming two victims in an otherwise quiet suburb of Las Vegas that will surely host more bloodshed in the episodes to come; the medical examiner’s perfect delivery of the line “Cause of death: Took me awhile, but I think someone cut this man’s head off.”
As for Twin Peaks itself, it turns out that Amanda Seyfried and Caleb Landry Jones’ characters are an item; their vibe is more than a little reminiscent of Shelly and Bobby from the original series. Elsewhere in town, Jacoby is now an Alex Jones–style conspiracy theorist whose audience includes Jerry Horne and Nadine (our first sighting!). His rantings are as entertaining as they are nonsensical, which is to say they’re right at home in this world.
The most satisfying — and confusing, and at times even alienating — aspect of this new “Twin Peaks” is the way it doubles as a kind of David Lynch Cinematic Universe. It’s as though he’s crammed every far-flung idea he’s had in the decade-plus since “Inland Empire” into this 18-hour project, which makes it unwieldy and compelling all at once. Much of it takes place far, far away from its namesake, and so “Twin Peaks” now means more than Twin Peaks. As the show’s geography has expanded, so too have its unnerving implications.