This Part has so many different energies, many of them really intense. The raw emotion of the Ed/Norma reunion, and Margaret's death, the surreal mythological excitement of the Dutchman's, the existential terror of the Gersten/Steven scene, the weirdly horrific "Axolotl" closing. This one leaves me feeling like I've been through the wringer maybe more than any other installment of TR.
Series wraps for Ed, Nadine and Norma. Episode 29 redeemed Nadine and Ed in a small way after the debacle of season 2, and TMP gave us a beautiful Ed/Norma deleted scene. But this Part really brings a truly wonderful resolution to the love triangle. The acting in the Ed/Nadine scene sort of veers back and forth between genuine emotion and camp, but it works perfectly. It kills me when Nadine says she loves Ed and always will. I love her joy in letting him go be happy. It's so pure and genuine. Their last hug is so heartbreaking, and Everett McGill is maybe better than he's ever been watching Nadine walk away (it's very subtle, but he chokes back two sobs). However flawed the marriage was, this is the end of a 45-year relationship with real emotion there, and McGill really sells it. If this ends up being the last thing he ever acts in (and that certainly seems likely given that he's been in retirement for this entire millennium barring Lynch calling him up again for TR), what a way to go out.
Note that Ed and Nadine no longer live next door to the Gas Farm (he’s shocked that she has walked there). I believe this is the third Gas Farm location (after the Pilot and series)? Or was there another one somewhere along the way?
Ed dusting off his butt before he goes in to profess his intentions to Norma is such a beautiful little Lynchian touch. His giddy little wave when he walks inside the Diner too. What a perfect scene.
"I thought you told me you didn't have any family," is an interesting line, in light of Annie. Norma contradicts Walter, saying she has a wonderful family (seemingly talking about Ed, maybe?), but it's not really clear if Norma actually told him she didn't have family or not. From Episode 29 on, it seems like Lynch is weirdly set on forgetting that any family ties existed between Norma and Annie.
I've never really been that engaged with the Walter/franchise storyline, which seems like just an excuse for some very easily resolved conflict. But knowing that these are the last scenes Peggy Lipton will ever appear in as Norma, it hit me with a lot more impact this time. When he talks about the seven diners, and she says, "I'm happier with just the one," it feels like such a perfect mission statement for the character.
I know some people have interpreted Ed's slightly growing smile before Norma touches him to mean that what comes after is a fantasy scenario. I don't buy it. I think he is eavesdropping on Norma and Walter and hears that she's just kicked him to the curb.
I'm pretty sure that both McGill and Lipton are terrific all the way through that "Marry me" scene, but I can't tell you for certain because I've never watched it all the way through without tears clouding my vision. Finally. Good for those two crazy kids.
It's interesting that Mark has denied any knowledge of most of Lynch's visual trickery/Easter eggs in the new show (Ed's reflection, the Double R extras moving around), but he seemingly was not only aware of the subtle Sarah/Jumping Man hybrid shot, but liked it enough to use it as the end piece in TFD.
I'm still really intrigued by the fact the the Dutchman's presents itself as the Red Diamond City Motel, the site of Leland's initial sin (Teresa Banks). I'm not sure what that means, but it certainly seems to tie Cooper's doppelgänger to Leland in an even more meaningful way besides just being Bob's next host. “Find Laura,” Leland told Cooper. Here, the doppel finds himself at the place where Leland inadvertently found Laura.
Jeffries is in Room 8. Interesting in light of the 8-like symbol he projects for Cooper in Part 17. Can anyone with knowledge of the shooting location say if this is the same room where Laura & co. were in FWWM? I don’t think it is, based on the angles/direction of the courtyard. EDIT: Definitely a different room.
I'm still trying to wrap my head around what the hell Jeffries's role is in all of this (it's harder since it's never quite clear when Jeffries is actually him as opposed to someone impersonating him), but it's worth noting that here, Jeffries (seemingly the real one) is in the Mansion Room, which is seemingly a White Lodge space...but is accessed via the Dutchman's, which is guarded by Woodsmen, whom I believe are Judy's envoys.
I've never been quite sure if Jeffries's "We used to talk" is solely referring to the brief Philadelphia meeting or to some further congress between the two after Cooper entered the Lodges. The Doppelgänger's memory immediately goes back to the FWWM scene, but maybe the real Cooper and Jeffries had further talks which the doppelgänger's isn't privy to? The doppel seems to retain all Cooper's memories before the doppelgänger left the Lodge, but he seemingly doesn't have those memories that occurred after they switched places. So Cooper and Jeffries may have formed further plans the doppelgänger isn't privy to.
It annoys me to no end that L/F in both TR and the books seem to have retconned the FWWM Jeffries scene from 1988 (as it appears in the edit of FWWM to this day) to 1989 (as it was originally scripted/shot before the scene was moved in editing, and as it appears in TMP). But an interesting possibility presents itself: given the strangeness that's going on throughout the series with seemingly intersecting/slightly-alternate timelines, what if the "alternate" 1989 take used in TMP was actually a bit of misinformation/false memory Jeffries used to trick the doppelgänger? Maybe the real Cooper remembers the "correct" FWWM version, and Jeffries can somehow tell that this is the doppelgänger because he remembers the other version that took place in 1989? After Mr. C references 1989, Jeffries immediately responds, smugly, "So you are Cooper," almost as if he's leading him on.
Jeffries says Cooper has already met Judy. Or the doppelgänger has. Is this referring to Sarah, or something else?
Ack, I caught a really blatant error on my timeline. I have the Mr. C scene in this Part (where he sends the “Las Vegas?” text) the night before Diane receiving the text. Will have to reevaluate. Not sure how to reconcile this with Mr. C saying it’s been only five days since the Part 2 call. This show is a beautiful experience, but a real bitch to pin down time-wise.
It’s a little odd that no reference is ever made to any law enforcement agency actually trying to find DoppelCoop after he escapes jail, and he never seems to really worry about being caught. On a more traditional TV show, he’d be America’s Most Wanted, but it almost seems like the FBI just sort of resigns itself to the fact that he got away.
There was a sort of assumption at one point that Steven had killed Becky and that's why he's feeling so guilty. Mark seemed to put this to bed in TFD. I'm now wondering if maybe, based on Gersten's line "What the fuck did she give you?"...is it possible that Becky did actually slip Steven some bad drugs out of anger about his infidelity? I don't know that she necessarily wanted him to kill himself, but maybe at least just to mess with him. I mean, this is the same woman who shot at his girlfriend's apartment door repeatedly.
I still don't know quite what to make of Steven's "high school graduate" line, but if nothing else, it sure hammers home that Gersten was a child prodigy who got into Stanford (per TFD), then apparently had a nervous breakdown and spiraled. It's so sad to see the promising little girl from Episode 8 reduced to dating this drugged-out married scumbag.
Cyril Pons's shambling walk cracks me up. It was interesting to read in the Bushman book that Mark has a lot more stage acting background than I realized. It definitely shows, even in this little cameo, and it's cool that he got a chance to very briefly act opposite HDS. I'm sure he treasured that.
I've noted before that Gersten staring up at the sky acts as sort of a perverse counterpart to the happy Otis Redding montage earlier in the Part. However, I'm not sure I've ever noticed before that the positioning of Gersten's face (tilted back, staring up) also acts as an equally perverse counterpart to the Becky "Love How You Love Me" driving scene from Part 5.
What the hell is the weird poster to the left of the door on Steven and Becky's trailer? It looks almost like a target in a shooting range, and has writing above and below it. I can make out the words "dying for" below the image, but I'm not sure about the rest. It can be seen at 30:41.
That "VOLUME" sign at the Roadhouse is 100% Lynch's handwriting.
Alright, after I made a big deal in Part 14 about Sophie drinking a blatantly fake prop "American Colonial" beer bottle to support my "manufactured reality" theory, this Part has Renee, James and Freddie all drinking American Colonial beers. So much for that.
The POV shots of Renee/Chuck looking up at James might be the only time we see the Roadhouse ceiling.
Agent Headley's encounter with the fake-Jones family is so so great, but it makes me laugh even more having seen the behind-the-scenes footage of Lynch trying desperately to get the kids to scream.
Not only does Duncan Todd glitch when he gets shot, so does Roger. And Warden Murphy in Part 12. Honestly, I think DKL was just trying something new and different with depicting shootings in this project. I'm not sure that there's too much more to read into it.
Chantal in Louboutins is quite a sight! She cleans up OK, given her Wendy's and Cheetos diet.
Although Hawk is the one officially escorting him, it's jarring to see Bobby assisting in arresting James. Quite a shift from the Pilot, when Bobby was barking at James from the opposite cell.
At the beginning of the Margaret scene, as the phone is ringing, she's staring down at her log and affectionately stroking it. That moment rips my fucking heart out every time, knowing the reality of Coulson's situation.
Blue Pine Mountain again gets name-checked as Judy's domain.
It's a heartbreaking scene when Hawk breaks the news of Margaret's death. But I love that it begins with Frank sitting in the dark trying to figure out how to get a laptop out of screensaver mode.
Seeing Lucy crying is so heartbreaking. I love Andy immediately putting his hands on her shoulders, almost as an instinct. Frank removing his hat, slowly, is lovely. And Michael Horse is just the greatest. I'm so glad TR gave him such a significant role, and he played it all with such beautiful warmth and spirituality and humanity.
I'm sorry. I really love Audrey, but I am officially declaring myself Team Charlie. He's tired! I feel for the guy.
Part 18 preview: Interesting that this Part not only has Janey-E screaming as Cooper electrocutes himself and blacks the house out, but then also has the Part end on Ruby screaming, with the lights flashing and then going to black.
-- Janey-E serves him chocolate cake (Janey-E: "Is it delicious?" Coop: "Delicious?")