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‘Twin Peaks’: While Men Dream, Women Own ‘The Return’ — No Violence Needed

No women were harmed in the latest "Twin Peaks," and it was a better episode for it.

Twin Peaks Episode 14 Laura Dern Part 14

Suzanne Tenner/Showtime

Sarah Palmer Will Eat You

Similarly, viewers don’t know who or what is inhabiting Sarah Palmer (Grace Zabriskie), but her scene provides a visceral rush along with an lingering uneasy feeling. On its face, Mrs. Palmer attacking a contemptible man can read as a response to all those scenes where women were the victim of brutal violence, rather than the inflictor of it. Seeing an apparently feeble and quiet elderly woman bite out the throat of a much bigger, much younger man is a “fuck yeah” moment for the hour, if not the season. That guy earned his comeuppance almost as quickly as he physically received it.

But Mrs. Palmer isn’t herself. It’s important to note she’s aware of what she’s done, despite lying to the bartender about what happened. “Yeah, sure is a mystery, huh,” she deadpans when pressed about how the man lost his throat. She knows what happened, but does she know why she did it? Does she know what’s inside her, grinning in a black-and-white cloud, speaking in a man’s voice when Mrs. Palmer’s face is lifted away?

In short, Sarah was polite. She said please while asking to be left alone — twice. She also said, “I’ll eat you” before taking off her face. Is that the voice inside her? Or is it someone, something, else?

This leads us to our final, pivotal scene and an alternative answer to Bellucci’s question: Who is the dreamer? Why not Naido (Nae Yuuki)?

Twin Peaks Part 14 Episode 14 Nae Yuuki 2017

Naido: The Dreamer Who Lives Inside Her Dreams

A lot of what Bellucci says related back to Dale Cooper. It’s his dream she first points to, and Cooper is the identity put into question seconds later by Phillip Jeffries (David Bowie). Cooper is also our only connection to Naido, who he saw in “Part 3.” She met Cooper in the giant iron building, led him to the roof, and received an electric shock that sent her spiraling into the stars.

In a very dreamy series, the sequence was the most dream-like to date. No one was waiting on pins and needles to find out where Naido went, but now she’s become the focus again after Andy (Harry Goaz) discovered her in “Part 14.” Appearing naked in the woods where the Twin Peaks sheriff’s department was sent, Andy informs the group there are people who want Naido dead and it’s very important they keep her safe.

Despite her vulnerable state, Naido’s emergence doesn’t feel like victim. It’s not that she’s helpless, but more so that she lives in another realm. She exists in a permanent dream space both because of where she was first introduced — another dimension, reality, or plane of existence often accessed through dreams — as well as her sightless state.

She protected Cooper in “Part 3,” and helped him get back to the real world. There’s no reason to think she’s not there to help Andy, Lucy (Kimmy Robertson), and the citizens of Twin Peaks, as well. Naido could be the dreamer needed to interpret what’s coming.

“Part 14” provided agency to three women in a series that often brutalizes and fetishizes the female body. Whether Lynch is commenting on a patriarchal culture or succumbing to it is a longer discussion, but part of what made the latest “Twin Peaks” such a smooth ride came in the aforementioned scenes: Diane is in absolute control of her situation and has her fellow agents doing her bidding (even though they know she’s not to be trusted). Monica Bellucci is David Lynch’s dream detective. Sarah Palmer took a bite out of a douchey dude rather than a douchey dude taking advantage of her.

And finally, there’s Naido: Is she the dreamer who lives inside her dreams, helping people like Cooper and Andy who drift through in search of guidance? With only four hours left, viewers certainly need her as a chaperone. Luckily, it seems like she — and a few other women — are finally in control.

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