*WARNING: SPOILERS FOR TWIN PEAKS SEASON 3, EPISODE 10*
TV’s spotlight turned inevitably to Game of Thrones’ season premiere this week, yet Twin Peaks still hummed quietly on in spite of all that bombast. It didn’t need dragons. It didn’t battles. It didn’t need Ed Sheeran. All it needed was Naomi Watts’ DTF face.
“Remarkable,” her Janey-E barely manages to splutter out at the doctor’s office, as she watches - for the first time - as Coop (Kyle MacLachlan) take his shirt off. Those muscles certainly don't belong to the body of the husband she remembers, and the bemusement spreads across her face like waves of electricity, each so expertly ignited by Watts herself.
Her crowning achievement will likely forever be Mulholland Drive, so it's fascinating here to see how Lynch teases out the elements which made her performance so iconic, only to repackage them as something entirely different in Janey-E.
Watts is an actor who positively vibrates with emotion. There is something so clear, so open, and so accessible about her expressions; it played so well into Betty's naïveté in Mulholland, but here that immediacy hides something seemingly denied and suppressed underneath.
She's hysterical (again) as she appears on the local news to recount Dougie's brush with death, while still attempting to keep her husband's childlike impulses in check, brushing his hand away as he repeatedly reaches out to fondle the local sheriff's badge; all while emphasising her husband's bravery and laser-sharp reactions.
Janey-E is, arguably, one of the most intriguing new characters to the series simply because of how she can live such a rich internal narrative while seemingly responding to nothing at all. In a way, she's almost a reflection of a kind of unavoidable narcissism.
Not in an evil, destructive way as possessed by others on the show, but in a way that's embedded within each of us. She's a character that manages to be both a pathetic, hysterical figure, but someone who's rich with empathy, too.
She sees the world as in constant communication with her, which is why she can play off Cooper's response to her sexual advances - absentmindedly chewing a piece of chocolate cake - as total reciprocation, before carrying that mindset on into the bedroom, screaming his name over and over again without noticing he's contributed nothing to the moment.
Janey-E's self-imagined domestic bliss, however, is a great divide away from the shadows of Bad Cooper. He was almost entirely absent from episode 10, but still felt. Richard Horne (Eamon Farren)'s ever-escalating levels of violence reached their grotesque peak here: having killed Miriam (Sarah Jean Long), witness to his hit-and-run, he heads over to the home of Sylvia Horne (Jan D'Arcy), brutalising her until she hands over her savings.
He calls her "grandma", however, confirming he's Audrey's son. The implications are terrifying considering his own actions seem to mirror those of Bad Cooper, who could plausibly have slept with Audrey at the end of the original series, giving into temptation where Cooper himself had resisted.
To Twin Peaks, though, he's a new BOB. He is the devil of small town Americana, which seems always to rotate in endless circles and cycles. Shelly Johnson’s daughter, Becky Burnett (Amanda Seyfried), for example, has ended up in exactly the same position as her mother, trapped in an abusive relationship with a man who leeches everything from her: her hard-earned money, her soul.
Between Becky, Miriam, and Sylvia, the abuse of women came once more to the forefront of Lynch’s nightmarish vision of the world. Candie (Amy Shiels), a showgirl employed by the Mitchum brothers, seems distraught after she accidentally smacks Rodney (Robert Knepper) in the face while attempting to kill a fly.
The terror in her voice speaks to another kind of violence, the kind which remains unseen. A violence which brings it all back to Laura Palmer (Sheryl Lee), with the episode bearing the title "Laura is the One", alongside a brief appearance by the character in a vision suffered by Gordon Cole (David Lynch).
Laura Palmer is the one who both suffered terrible violence so secretly, and then ever-so publicly. Laura is the one, but Laura is also all these women. She unites in her own tragedy.
Twin Peaks airs 2am on Mondays on Sky Atlantic and NOW TV with the Entertainment Pass, in a simulcast with the US. The episode will then be shown again at 9pm on the following day. You can catch up now on season one and two via Sky Box Sets and NOW TV.