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‘Twin Peaks’ Episode 4 is a Gift Filled with Answers — and A Warning About Wanting More

The absurdist fourth episode gives us insane comedic highs and pertinent narrative coherence, but there's no reason to expect more of the same.

Twin Peaks Kyle MacLachlan David Lynch

Suzanne Tenner/SHOWTIME

Whether Lynch realizes how significant the moment is for the audience at home and is taking advantage of it, or if he and Frost saw the exchange as a necessary function of the plot, well, that will remain a mystery. Lynch and Frost don’t answer such questions, but those of us watching at home should take this win and run with it. It may never happen again.

“Part 4” was littered with connective tissue to past episodes, and it pushed the plot along nicely. Like a dark, winding road lit only by the headlights of a smooth-riding automobile, the audience should have caught glimpses of signposts during the first four episodes; signs that promised you were on the right path, and you just needed to keep going.

READ MORE: ‘Twin Peaks’ Guide to Returning Characters and How They’re Helping – or Hurting – Cooper (An Ongoing List)

The floating head of Major Briggs, which we saw drifting through the cosmos outside the Black Lodge in “Part 3,” was the first to mutter the “Twin Peaks” trigger words: “blue rose.” The term dates back to “Fire Walk With Me,” when Laura Palmer’s case was described as a “blue rose” case, but we hear it again right after Cole admits to Albert he doesn’t know what’s going on: “Blue rose,” Albert says. “It doesn’t get any bluer,” Cole replies.

Twin Peaks Season 3 Michael Horse

Do we know what “blue rose” means? Not at all, but the connection is the “Twin Peaks” equivalent of blatant exposition. Even traditionally structured mysteries seem baffling when they start out, and “Twin Peaks” is far from a typical TV mystery. We’re not supposed to have all the answers yet, but it’s a very, very good sign that Lynch is providing these links. Similarly, we learned the following in Episode 4:

  • Philip Gerard (Al Strobel) tells Cooper he’s been “tricked” and now either he or his doppelgänger has to die. That kind of dialogue is a big deal, given that the dynamic was well-conveyed even before Cooper saw images of the Red Room in a bedroom chair. The additional definition is appreciated.
  • There’s a deepening connection between the murders in South Dakota and Doppelgänger Cooper’s “undercover” antics. We’ve seen similarities in the corpses left behind, most notably the gaping bullet hole in the eye sockets of two victims (including Phyllis Hastings, who we saw Doppelgänger Cooper murder). Now, he’s in South Dakota and ready to talk to Cole. Who knows if what he says will be true, but his presence there is holding together a season with significant geographical expansion.

But before we get too far down the fan theory rabbit hold, it’s important to remember that’s not what “Twin Peaks” is about. We shouldn’t be sitting in wait for further answers in future episodes, just like we can’t expect more clarity in general. There are prevalent Lynchian aspects in the story that have me worried for non-“Twin Peaks” reasons — the “Lost Highway” DNA is the most troubling — but we also have to remember that the series is at its best when it blends the comedic highs and narratively satisfying moments with extreme horror and off-putting violence. This is surrealism angled to represent the loss of innocence among those who cling to it.

It’s not about answers. It’s about the experience. Episode 3 is the best of the first four released because it’s the most atmospheric, formally challenging, and deeply affecting hour yet. Episode 4 is just the most fun. Credit the absurd humor within Cooper’s casino adventures for kicking off a high-spirited episode, but don’t discount the ending for adding a dose of nostalgia with a warning for the future.

Like the mixed emotions of seeing MacLachlan play a man who looks like Cooper having a conversation with David Lynch’s Agent Cole, “Twin Peaks” will continue to contort fantasies for a desired effect. It will give you what you want and take it away in an instant. It will combine your dreams with your nightmares. It will not play by the rules.

“Twin Peaks” will bite back soon enough, so enjoy the fun while it lasts.

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