‘Twin Peaks’: Audrey’s Back & Sarah Palmer Unravels

Following a series of episodes that felt satisfying with plot movement, this hour of “Twin Peaks” felt like table setting for a meal that should already be in progress. But it also gave us a lot to chew on: new information about “Blue Rose” and a chillingly enigmatic performance by Grace Zabriskie as Laura Palmer’s beleaguered mother Sarah. Also, Audrey Horne (Sherilyn Fenn) finally showed up (but not exactly how we pictured)! Can we make any sense out of all of this? Let’s rock.

We open with Gordon Cole (David Lynch), Albert (Miguel Ferrer), and Agent Preston (Chrysta Bell) in a room that bears a striking resemblance to the Red Room, if not just for the dramatic red curtains. They want to let her in on a secret. “Here’s to the bureau,” they begin with a cheer, letting Agent Preston in on the following: In 1970, the United States Air Force shut down “Project Bluebook,” a twenty-year investigation into UFOs, concluding that no credible threat existed and therefore, our national security wasn’t at risk. A few years after that, the military and the FBI formed a top-secret task force to explore the troubling abstractions raised by cases “Project Bluebook” failed to resolve. They called it “Blue Rose” after a phrase uttered by a woman in one of the cases just before she died, suggesting the answers could not be reached except by an alternate path they’ve been traveling ever since. Gordon suggested Agent Phillip Jeffries (David Bowie) to head the squad comprised of three others: Albert, Chester Desmond (Chris Isaak), and Dale Cooper (Kyle MacLachlan). Albert points out he’s the only one who hasn’t disappeared without a trace, and a result, Gordon’s been reluctant to bring in new blood. But they’ve been impressed with Agent Preston’s skills and education, and they’d like her to join them. She accepts. Meanwhile, Diane (Laura Dern) receives a text from Bad Coop that simply asks “Las Vegas?” to which she replies, “They haven’t asked yet.” She also looks up the coordinates found on Ruth Davenport’s arm. You guessed it: They lead to Twin Peaks.

And in that town with the mysterious woods filled with secrets, Sarah Palmer heads to the store for what appears to be her typical $100+ order of booze and cigarettes, likely to be enjoyed as she watches graphic images of animals tearing each other apart. But something catches her eye at the register: turkey jerky. Visibly shaken, she pounds the poor check-out girl with questions about what it is and when it arrived. “Were you here when they first came?” she asks, and there’s a strong feeling she’s not asking about the jerky anymore. “The room is different and the men are coming!” she screams incoherently, going on about how things can happen and they happened to her and she’s trying to warn them before exiting the store. Could this just be a woman still haunted by the horrors she and her family faced over twenty-five years ago or is something else at work here? Is it possible the turkey jerky reminded her of a convenience store, say one filled with the charcoal demons, lending more credence to the possibility that Sarah was the young girl who swallowed the frog that hatched from the egg in that bonkers atomic bomb episode? Here’s something else for thought: In “Fire Walk With Me,” Laura Palmer calls herself a “turkey” during a conversation with James before making gobbling sounds. Lastly, the name brand on the jerky is Albatross, a word sometimes used to mean “a psychological burden.”

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Or (and go with me here), is it possible that Sarah Palmer is possessed? She seemed to be talking to herself to get out of the store, but it appeared she was getting instructions from someone else. If Laura Palmer could escape the Red Room, maybe she needed a human host to facilitate the exit? Later, “Laura’s Theme” plays as Hawk (Michael Horse) pays a visit to Sarah. Before she answers the door, we see the famous Palmer household fan spinning ominously, and its importance is punctuated with another disconcerting close-up. Hawk says there have been cases popping up that reminded him of her and that he just wanted to make sure she was okay. The sound of a glass clanking comes from inside the house and Sarah says it’s just something in the kitchen before he can pry too much about it. He offers her “help of any kind” if she needs it. Who’s in the house with her?

Sheriff Truman (Robert Forster) drops by Benjamin Horne’s (Richard Beymer) office to fill him in on everything the police department knows about his evil grandson, Richard (Eamon Farren). Benjamin says that Richard was “never quite right” and that “he never had a father,” causing him to wax nostalgic about a green bike his own father gave him as a child. Speaking of Hornes, Jerry (David Patrick Kelly) finally escapes the woods after what could only be described as possibly the worst high ever! But he has both his feet, so maybe they are his.

All of this finally leads us to the arrival of fan favorite Audrey, who isn’t searching for her son Richard or pining away for lost Coop, but having a very strange and labored conversation with her workhorse (and oh so sleepy) husband Charlie (Clark Middleton) about a man named Billy. However, this isn’t the cool and ethereal Audrey we once knew. She’s angry and riddled with anxiety, which is to say she could be any of us since November. Her marriage to Charlie seems to be held together by some sort of contract that’s mentioned, the terms and conditions of which are murky. But it’s clear she’s sleeping with Billy and wants to find him and this information doesn’t particularly bother her husband. A phone call is made even though it’s late and Audrey watches impatiently as Charlie hears bad news Billy’s wife Tina tells him involving a truck. What truck? Quite possibly the one that Richard was driving the day of the fatal accident. But who’s Billy? Could be the man whose absence reverberated through the Double R a couple weeks back.

And another chapter in this mystifying, exhilarating, beautiful, and evocative series comes to an end. Are you happy with where we’ve been and where we may be headed? Do you think Sarah Palmer is possessed by her daughter Laura or am I way off base? What did you think of Audrey’s introduction? There are only six more hours left, folks. See you next week!