7:37pm PT by Josh Wigler
'Twin Peaks': Agent Cooper Unleashes the Cobra and Makes His Move in Episode Seven
[Warning: this story contains spoilers for the seventh episode of Twin Peaks: The Return.]
If you mess with the bull, you get the horns. And if you mess with the cobra? Well, you get Dougie Jones.
The waking dream formerly known as Agent Dale Cooper (Kyle MacLachlan) and currently known as Lucky Seven insurance salesman Dougie Jones showed some new signs of his old life in the seventh chapter of David Lynch's and Mark Frost's Twin Peaks revival, thwarting an assassination attempt with spectacular serpentine style. Elsewhere, Cooper's other doppelganger — the flesh-and-blood vessel of the nefarious Killer BOB — made some killer moves of his own, putting the two versions of the same man on a deadly collision course yet again.
That's not even scratching the surface of the classic Twin Peaks callbacks in the latest episode of the series, among the most intriguing installments yet. Read on for the highlights.
The Spike versus the Cobra
Ever since returning to our mortal plane of existence after years trapped in the Black Lodge, Dale Cooper has been a little bit...well, off, to put it mildly. He's lived out the life of a salesman named Dougie Jones, taking on his corporate woes, trouble he's engendered with local criminals, and a strained marriage with the tough-as-nails Janey-E Jones (Naomi Watts).
Until this week's episode, Dougie was doing little more than bumbling his way through life, discovering the simple pleasures like coffee and doodling all over important paperwork. But he returned to his Agent Cooper roots in one of the most satisfying moments of the series thus far, as Ike "The Spike" Stadtler (Christophe Zajac-Denek) attempts to assassinate Dougie in broad daylight. Cooper reacts immediately, pinning Spike to the ground, and removing the man's gun with an assist from the evolved form of the Man From Another Place.
In the aftermath, witnesses declare that "Douglas Jones moved like a cobra," giving viewers some hope that the Agent Cooper we know and love is closer to returning than ever before.
Diane versus "Dale"
Laura Dern debuted last week as Diane, Agent Cooper's offscreen confidant from the original Twin Peaks. What was little more than a cameo before becomes a full-on role in this week's outing, as Gordon Cole (David Lynch) and Albert Rosenfield (the late Miguel Ferrer) manage to convince the foul-mouthed Diane to accompany them to South Dakota, in an effort to get to the bottom of the matter of the imprisoned man who claims to be Agent Cooper.
At first, Diane hesitates to engage with "Cooper," cursing off anyone and everyone involved in the investigation. Eventually, she concedes, allotting no more than ten minutes for her interrogation of Dale's long-haired look-alike. Turns out she doesn't need more than a few quick words before she knows that this Cooper is not the genuine article. Despite the fact that Bad Coop knows that the last time they saw each other was in her apartment, Diane can tell that there's something very wrong with this man.
What's more, Diane tells Cole that there's something important about the final conversation she ever had with Cooper — but that's a story for another day.
"Dale" versus Murphy
As if the situation in Yankton Federal Prison couldn't get any weirder and worse, Bad Coop delivers some bad news for Warden Murphy (James Morrison).
Shortly after Diane's visit, Bad Coop tells a guard that he wants to have a meeting with the warden in his office. "Tell him we need to speak about a Strawberry," he says. The warden accepts the invite, albeit without security cameras and with a gun trained on the prisoner at all times. But the power shifts as soon as Bad Coop starts talking about some skeletons in Murphy's closet — skeletons that include a set of dog legs, and a man by the name of Joe McClusky. The shaken warden accepts Bad Coop's terms and releases him from prison later that night, gifting him a rental car, a "friend in the glove compartment" and even fellow criminal Ray Monroe (George Griffith) as a traveling companion.
What's Bad Cooper going to do next? That's anyone's guess — but it can't be good news for Diane, Cole, Rosenfield and anyone else wrapped up in this investigation.
Past versus Present
Of the many tensions in this week's episode, the collision of past and present ranks right at the top of the list, with a few tremendous callbacks to the original series, not to mention some satisfying answers as well.
For one, Deputy Hawk (Michael Horse) lets Sheriff Frank Truman (Robert Forster) in on the news that he found missing pages from Laura Palmer's (Sheryl Lee) diary in a bathroom stall door. The missing pages come with Laura's ominous warning that "the good Dale is in the Lodge and he can't leave." Hawk fills Truman in on what happened when Cooper returned from the Lodge all those years ago, and comes to a scary conclusion: "If the Good Cooper is in the Lodge, then the one who came out of the Lodge with Annie that night was not the Good Cooper."
Later, Frank makes two calls, first to his brother Harry (Michael Ontkean), who is too sick to field the updates about Cooper. The next day, Frank participates in a memorable Skype session with Doctor Hayward (the late Warren Frost), to get his take on what he remembers about the last time he saw Agent Cooper 25 years ago. He recalls the tale, and in the process, casually answers one of the original show's biggest cliff-hangers: Audrey Horne (Sherilyn Fenn) survived the bank explosion, and was rendered comatose as a result.
Elsewhere in Twin Peaks, there are two additional echoes from the past: a man who appears to be Jacques Renault (Walter Olkewicz) is seen tending bar at the Roadhouse, despite his apparent death at the hands of Leland Palmer (Ray Wise) back in the original run. Then there's Benjamin Horne (Richard Beymer) and his assistant Beverly (Ashley Judd), who hear a distinct hum ringing throughout the Great Northern. Could it be that Josie Packard is returning to Twin Peaks after all, or is that too much to wish for?
Finally, far away from Twin Peaks itself, there's the return of Major Garland Briggs (the late Don Davis)...in a manner of speaking, anyway. It's confirmed that the decapitated body found in the first episode of the new series does indeed belong to Major Briggs, but there's a confusing caveat: The body belongs to someone in this 40s, who was killed just a few days before, which doesn't jive given that Briggs would be in his 70s by now. Then again, seeing as we saw Major Briggs' head floating through space all the way back in episode three, it would seem the answer lies somewhere in the stars above.
Twin Peaks: The Return airs Sundays at 9 p.m. on Showtime. Keep checking with THR.com/TwinPeaks for continuing coverage of the series.