The trouble with leaving this realm and entering another dimension, as Twin Peaks likes to do, is that real human stakes cease to exist. Most science fiction circumvents this problem by leaning into the importance of life vs. death. (See: Last summer’s Stranger Things, which used Joyce Byers as a gauge for the value of Will Byers’ disappearance.) When Agent Cooper inhabits these other dimensions, the scene feels distant. That is to say, we don’t understand the stakes of these otherworldly locations.
For starters, we don’t know if Agent Cooper if dead. (I stated in my last recap that he was probably dead, yet alive, like the Red Room version of Laura Palmer. While I applaud myself for that elegant comparison, it makes so sense and doesn’t help me figure this most recent episode out at all.) We don’t know whether he’d like to stay alive, or if there’s a specific purpose he’d like to fulfill. Instead, he’s floating about the universe of the show without aim — he’s like a lost twentysomething just out of college, wandering about the East Village. One wants to holler: Do something! Investigate! Say something about ‘damn good coffee’!
First, there’s Purple Floating Land, where that ominous hum looms large. Or ominous whoosh. It seems vaguely connected to the warehouse of the last two episodes — clearly, this glass box contains multitudes. It’s probably a portal of some sort.
From Purple Floating Land, Cooper travels to Dark Hotel Lobby, where a woman with no eyes sits by the first. The woman appears to warn Cooper, which leads me to believe there’s monstery things afoot. The first episode gave us that slinky-wormy alien monster — the one who devoured Tracy and Sam Colby in New York City. Is the same alien haunting Dark Hotel Lobby?
After following the faceless woman about, Cooper finds himself on a box floating in space. Like, literally space. The galaxy. We lose the woman to some electrocution — we barely knew ye! — and Cooper encounters yet another woman who warns, “You’d better hurry, my mother’s coming.” Mothers are monsters, it seems.
There’s an awful lot of preamble, but we do eventually get our Agent Cooper back. Well, not our Agent Cooper, but a version of him. This episode reveals that there are two doppelgangers in the world. There’s Agent Cooper Sleazy, and there’s a man named Dougie, who looks like a tidier version of the character actor Stephen Root. Cooper escapes the Red Room and takes the place of Dougie, but not before Dougie vomits a toddler-sized chunk of unmentionables. Dougie, it seems, is wrapped up in the wrong crowd. Cooper finds himself in the company of a kindly sex worker, who gives him a fiver and suggests he “call for help.”
Poor Cooper isn’t in his right mind yet. He can only say “call for help” or repeat whatever the last stranger told him. This doesn’t prevent him from entering a casino and winning $28,400, though. Little floating red hats (or, as I wrote in my notes, red Solo cups) guide Cooper to the slot machines that will win him the most money. Eugene from The Walking Dead makes an appearance as a character named aptly “wise guy.” Wise Guy tells Cooper that he’s won big! And that is all Eugene is there to do.
Agent Cooper Sleazy is also struggling with interdimensionality. It seems the Black Lodge is trying to slurp him back to the ether, but Agent Cooper Sleazy doesn’t want to go. He, like Dougie, vomits violently in his car before crashing it. Two policeman come to investigate the car and tell us this: It really stinks something awful.
Back in the average Twin Peaks ‘verse, Sheriff Hawk is trying to decode the Log Lady’s advice. He asks Lucy, “what is missing?” After a moment, she realizes that the chocolate bunny she ate is missing. Is it the bunny? She wonders. Is that the clue? I will not try to decipher this encounter but will say this: Lucy Moran is a delight.
The episode closes with a realm that looks somewhat familiar: the FBI. (David Lynch himself plays the deputy FBI director.) A group of agents gather around and analyze the case of Sam Colby and Tracy, the kids who died in New York City. Turns out, they didn’t fare too well — their bodies looked like they’ve been melted by the Arc of the Covenant. Just as the agents begin to examine this very bizarre case, there’s a phone call.
Someone’s found Agent Cooper.
Click HERE to read more from Refinery29.