A certain Special Agent is back and heading to Twin Peaks
Now that’s what I call a damn fine episode of Twin Peaks. Yes folks, the beloved Special Agent Dale Cooper is back! It took about 15+ hours of television, but Coop has finally flown the coop — and by coop, I mean the malaise of Mr. Jackpots.
Much has happened since the last time we discussed Mr. C’s epic arm wrestling match and the overall unpredictability of the series. In “Parts 14 and 15,” Sarah Palmer had a face transplant (or should I say soul implant?), Andy went to the White Lodge, and he brought back a faceless lady. And that’s not all. Mr. C visits the convenience store, Phillip Jeffries is a tea kettle, and Big Ed and Norma finally kissed! Oh how sweet a moment it was to see those two finally hook up as Otis Redding sang in the background. That beautiful, new relationship was 25 years in the making.
Yesterday’s “Part 16” continued the hot streak of quality episodes. Not only is Special Agent Dale Cooper back and flying to Twin Peaks, we learn that Diane was a tulpa like the original Dougie, Mr. C says “goodbye, my son” when Richard Horne is electrocuted to another realm(?), and Audrey perceived reality isn’t so.
There is much to digest as the final two parts of the Twin Peaks: The Return comes to an end. Will the FBI, Cooper, or Mr. C make it to Twin Peaks first? Is Naido (the eyeless woman Andy brings from the White Lodge) actually Diane? Before Diane was shot and magically disappeared to the Black Lodge, she was saying that she isn’t herself and is at the police station. Does that refer to the Twin Peaks Sheriff’s Department? The past three episodes have been dense with plot development as we inch closer to unraveling this mystery.
However, the question I would like to address relates to Dale Cooper. Should Cooper have been brought back so late in the series? He had to return at some point; he is the heart and soul of Twin Peaks. Did Frost and Lynch bring him too late, though? The answer isn’t as simple as using sour cherries over their sweet counterparts for baking pie.
On the one hand, having Cooper for only two full episodes isn’t enough. His good nature, optimism, and quirkiness in the original series are characteristics fans find endearing. He loves his coffee, pie, and solves mysteries via dreams. It’s really difficult to not like Dale Cooper. I would expect very few fans would make the argument of Coop would not have made Twin Peaks: The Return better. Though Dougie was the source of many comedic moments, it’s not as if it wasn’t at the very least slightly frustrating seeing Cooper so helpless and unaware. Much of the appeal of watching the Dougie scenes was to see if this would be the moment where Coop returns. Fans were at the edge of their seats with every sip of coffee and every piece of cherry pie Dougie consumed.
With that said, the other hand of the discussion is that Cooper returning sooner changes much of the story. Let’s say that at the end of “Part 4” when Dougie sips his coffee with an ill-fitted suit and a tie around his head, it snaps him out of being Mr. Jackpots. Special Agent Dale Cooper makes his triumphant return in “Part 5.” Now what? Where does the story go from there? How do we fill up the 14+ hours of the series? Trying to determine what Twin Peaks: The Return would have been with an early Cooper return is entirely speculative. The unknown nature of it makes it far too difficult to assess. All we can say with some certainty is that the series would have been different.
Different does not mean bad, awful, disappointing, or any other similar adjectives in this case. It just means that the Twin Peaks revival would not be the same as what has been depicted. So this raises one final question: do you want a different series?
If you have been following my thoughts on the series, you can easily tell that outside of “Part 12,” I’ve done nothing but shower this series with praise. It has truly been a thrilling adventure. Personally, I wouldn’t want these 16 parts to be any different. When Cooper awoke from the comma no longer as Dougie, I raised both my hands in the air and yelled, “He’s back!” with a large smile on my face. My smile was even larger when Cooper turns around to say, “I am the FBI.”
I waited so long to finally see Cooper in the series. The tension built up in each episode and each scene Dougie appeared made that hospital scene worth it. This may very well be hindsight affecting the following statement, but I don’t have the same reaction as I did last night if Cooper returned in “Part 4.” It’s a television moment I’m going to remember as I sipped coffee and ate my cherry pie from Emporium Pies.
Did I want Dale Cooper to return earlier in the series? I’d be lying if I said I didn’t. But I wouldn’t change Twin Peaks: The Return just to accommodate that desire because it would mean fundamentally changing the series. And as of right now, that’s the last thing I would want to happen.