A constant visual and auditory theme that comes up often in David Lynch‘s work is the veneer of the tailored, fashionable norm barely hiding a feral, agitated underneath.It’s true of the severed ear found amongst the slightly overgrown backyard grass in Blue Velvet, or the idyllic yet acidic love that drives the couple in Wild at Heart. It’s a dichotomy that comes up often in Part 10 of Twin Peaks: The Return, in which Cooper-Dougie unwittingly seduced his wife with his more toned physique.
The romantic folk song sung by Harry Dean Stanton‘s wanderer is disrupted by a crazed, abusive tirade from Caleb Landry Jones‘ insecure addict toward his wife (Amanda Seyfried). In some of the episode’s first shots, the pristine, almost bucolic image of the trailer set against the brush, fields, and trees is betrayed by the wails of the woman and Richard’s quick violent exertions. Most memorably, Chad’s seemingly friendly contemplations on how nice the weather is outside is essentially a front to ensure he can hide an incriminating letter about Richard from Sheriff Truman.
For all the little notations of thematic consistency that Lynch teases here, however, I’m still hesitant to forecast anything about what’s being built toward here. The unbridled genius of “Part 8” only arrived after a brief completion of plot involving Bad Cooper’s jailbreak, wrapped up finally in the opening moments of “Part 9.” `The grim opening of “Part 10” betrays an episode that delicately balances malice with joy, lust with anger, making for one of the funnier episodes of the season and the most visceral.
There’s a special kind of joy that comes from watching Gordon geek out over the cute date that Albert is on with Jane Adams‘ Constance, one of the lead investigators on the Hastings case. It’s moments like those that have continued to give Lynch’s series emotion weight to balance its vast, ever-changing existential dilemmas. There was a similar thrill in watching the build toward Dougie’s big sex scene with Janey-E after she gets a full look at his toned body, as well as returning to the wacky world of Doctor Jacoby’s online conspiracy show and fake gold shovel outlet. Especially in the latter case, the suggestion continues to be that there must be just as much care put into the illusion as there is into the sales.
The extended assault on Sylvia and her ailing husband by Richard, their grandson, is particularly vicious. It’s not that there’s blood or anything – that’s an option but not a necessity by any means. It’s the immediate liquidation of emotional relationship and worth that Richard sees in his relationship with his grandmother. She owes hiim a large portion of her riches because he perceives that to be his worth to her, no matter what she might think about the situation. Lynch has never been scared of milking a scene for big tears but here, he goes for big cuts and toxic indignation. As we see in the next scene, there are extensive repercussions in such reckless acts, not the least of which being the decision by Ben Horne, Richard’s grandfather, to ask out his very married secretary despite earlier trepidation.
Lynch goes as far as to question the value of illusions in the scenes with Tom Sizemore‘s insurance agent/agent of evil and the Mitchum brothers (James Belushi and Robert Knepper). Using Candy to tease up Sizemore’s character ends up at once underminded by their messenger’s kindness and the lack of foresight to see that Sizemore’s agent is trying to ensnare them. Earlier, the same young woman worries if scarring one of her employers on the job will effect their intimate relationship.
Considering the convoluted nature of all these exchanges, filled with squirreled-away double-meanings and coded symbolic power, the exchange between Log Lady and Hawk came with a comforting clarity. Log Lady’s monologue indulged the platitudes – “The Truman brothers are both true men.” – but was said with such crackled urgency and effortless intimacy that it nearly moved me to tears. As long as scenes like this continue to litter Lynch’s increasingly cryptic landscape of barely veiled horrors and domestic terrors, I’m confident enough in the director’s plan for the imposing, mystifying narrative.