6:48pm PT by Chris E. Hayner
'Twin Peaks': A Hero's Return Sets Stage for Series Finale
[Warning: This story contains spoilers from Part 16 of Showtime's Twin Peaks: The Return.]
"I am the FBI."
After being stuck in the body of someone else and practically comatose throughout Twin Peaks: The Return, the most beloved character in all of Twin Peaks finally returned during Sunday's penultimate episode.
When Dougie Jones (Kyle MacLachlan) stuck a fork in an electric socket at the end of last week's "Part 15," it put him in a coma. Upon awakening though, Dougie was no more. Instead, Agent Dale Cooper was back and, as he assured Mike (Al Strobel) during a Black Lodge vision, he's "100 percent." What a long, strange trip Cooper's journey through the life and mind of Dougie Jones was, but for viewers, seeing Cooper finally back to himself is more than welcome. And the long-missing FBI agent took no time in getting down to business.
Despite speaking few words throughout the first 15 episodes of The Return, Cooper became a regular chatterbox as he ordered people around and made some calls — all preparations to get back to the town of Twin Peaks and battle his evil doppelganger. After being discharged from the hospital and giving Bushnell (Don Murray) a message for Gordon Cole (David Lynch), Cooper quickly got on the phone with Rodney (Robert Knepper) and Bradley Mitchum (Jim Belushi) to borrow their jet and get him back to the Twin Peaks sheriff station.
But just because Cooper is back doesn't mean that Dougie is gone forever. Instead, Cooper has retained his memories from his time as Dougie — and with them his feelings for Janey-E (Naomi Watts) and Sonny Jim (Pierce Gagnon). Before bidding them farewell to them, he promised he still loves them and will return to them once his business is handled.
This isn't a side of Cooper viewers got to see often during the original Twin Peaks. While he has a girlfriend in the second season, this older and more familial Cooper is a different iteration of the character altogether. And it's a welcome evolution for the man that has gone from quirky FBI agent to the epicenter of a supernatural plot that has crossed nations.
This promise of a strange but possible happy ending for Cooper after whatever happens in the upcoming two-hour finale of The Return is not only something the character deserves but the audience as well. For 25 years, he has essentially been in perpetual torment. In a way, viewers were in the same boat not having proper closure for the story or its hero. Now the building blocks are being set out to deliver on it.
Cooper's return is something to get excited about, the rest of the episode was perhaps the saddest of the season. The series finally got to the route of Diane's tragic story when she revealed that years after his disappearance, she was visited by Cooper's evil Doppelganger. During that encounter, he raped her. After telling the story to Cole and his associates, Dianne pulls a gun and is immediately shot and killed.
Instead of actually dying, she disappears to the Black Lodge, where it's revealed she was manufactured. It seems the actual Diane was trapped somewhere in the Black Lodge. And she isn't alone: Audrey (Sherilyn Fenn) seems to be there as well. That was revealed moments after she finally appears at the Roadhouse and does the dance she made famous in the original series. After melting down, she quickly flashed to a white room, confused as the sounds of electricity could be heard.
The two women, so important to Cooper, were completely victimized by his Doppelganger, and there's no telling whether they can truly be saved. But with Cooper not making his way back to the small town that started it all — and only a single two-hour installment until Twin Peaks: The Return comes to a close — it's not going to take long to find out.
Twin Peaks: The Return wraps its run with a two-hour finale, airing Sunday, Sept. 2, at 8 p.m. on Showtime.