This Week on 'Twin Peaks', Bobby Briggs Fights On
The heat is on in Twin Peaks and the mysteries are slowly finding their solutions. That doesn’t mean there isn’t still time to take a few diversions or catch up on some fan favourites. After last week’s emotional strain of an episode, chock full of violence against women, we return to the aftermath of that pain. Violence has always tied this town together, binding it in a way its façade of blissful Americana never could, and the scars it leaves behind permeate every corner of it, and each of its residents. Time hasn’t moved on for Dale Cooper, but outside of the lodge in the town he was fascinated by, their lives have continued, many in the most unexpected ways.
Three young brothers playing catch on the grounds outside their trailer park find the bloodied body of Miriam crawling towards them, left for dead after Richard Horne’s brutal attack. You can’t help but be relieved to see her alive but the shock of her brutalised frame shuffling across the ground near futilely searching for help is still a stinging vision. Richard was nowhere to be seen this episode, so the consequences of his action will be left for another day, as will the aftermath of abusive husband Steven Burnett’s attack. The latter, however, did come close to facing some sort of repercussions for beating and exploiting his wife Becky, as she discovered he’d been cheating and promised vengeance.
Becky, previously seen as meek and quick to please her manipulative waster of a husband, suddenly releases a valve of pent up fury upon discovering the news, steals her mother Shelly’s car and storms towards his lover’s house, screaming for Steven, seemingly uncaring that her mother is hanging onto the car bonnet and pleading with her to stop. He’s not there, but that answer doesn’t satisfy her, so she empties the gun of bullets into the apartment door, and the smog of anger is suddenly lifted, as the camera swerves through the apartment building corridors and stops where Steven and his lover have hidden from Becky. Later, she seems broken by the constant frustration of living with her husband, this man who does nothing to improve their lives then blames her for their problems, but admits to her parents that she loves him. The excuses for his behaviour are given, the same stock lines of him having a difficult time and this not being like him at all, but Shelly knows this routine. She’s been there before and has the hard earned gift of hindsight. She and Becky’s father are staring Becky’s inevitable fate in the face but there’s only so much you can do to make a grown woman change her mind. In Twin Peaks, as in life, coming to those crucial realisations is a long and painful process.
For a brief moment in the RR Diner, there is a scene of family harmony. Bobby Briggs, the former boyfriend of Laura Palmer and bad boy of Twin Peaks, sat across from Shelly and Becky, playing the role of loyal but disappointed father. He’s another one who’s learned from his past. Who would have thought that this revival would redeem Bobby Briggs of all people? The whiny brute of a teen who dealt coke, cheated on his girlfriend and seemed perpetually ready to throw a tantrum is now the town’s most upstanding citizen, the deputy sheriff and doting father. Watching this season, with all its obtuseness and labyrinthine plotting, has presented many surprises, but it few have been as simply satisfying as knowing that redemption is possible. Twin Peaks may be poisoned by darkness, but Bobby followed the light and made his father proud. Major Briggs is still MIA (or at least his head is), but he knew things would work out well for Bobby, and the parallels of father and son’s family diner talks offered a keen reminder of David Lynch and Mark Frost’s eye those quieter moments.
Sadly, not everything has changed. Becky’s on a dark path, but Shelly may never have left it. Even while hugging her traumatised daughter, it takes little for her to step aside and run out of the diner to passionately embrace her new beau, made all the more awkward by Bobby’s forlorn expression as he watches. The new man in her life is Red (Balthazar Getty), the town drug dealer and man who terrifies even Richard Horne.
Watching Shelly fall into his arms in a melodramatic display of unbridled attraction unsettled, but perhaps that’s out of her control. Red may not be of this world, as his coin spinning trick demonstrated, which doesn’t bode well for users of his particular brand of merchandise. If he is a spirit of the black and white lodges, what do the drugs do? Are they offering users an insight into those worlds? Deputy Hawk’s map, ‘very old but still current’, may know the solution, with the black fire possibly leading the way, but even he is tentative to give all the answers. Whatever the case, it was hard not to feel sorry for Bobby as he watched the woman he clearly still cares for dash into another’s arms.
The day didn’t get much better for Bobby, as shots were fired into the diner and he rushed to the rescue. The culprit, a small boy who got hold of his father’s gun, seemed aware of what he’d done and stared at Bobby with an odd coldness that unsettled even Bobby. Chaos prevails, as the parents of the child scream in frustration and surrounding cars honk their horns unaware. One testy driver who Bobby tries to quieten seems beyond comforting, her passenger even more so, as a sickly figure sits up from the adjacent chair, zombie-style, and spews watery green fluid from their mouth like Linda Blair in The Exorcist. Bobby’s reaction is that of every viewer - disgust but no real surprise. Any self-aware resident of Twin Peaks is completely beyond surprise by now, and Bobby’s already been dealing with his father leaving him messages from the past.
Twin Peaks was and remains populated by families unhappy in their own ways. The Horne family are splintered by divorce and abuse, the Joneses are unwittingly dealing with a doppelganger, and the Brennan’s son is Michael Cera. After an adolescence tainted by pain and bad decisions, Bobby Briggs is now the show’s embodiment of how even the most trapped souls can be redeemed. David Lynch has an often morbid definition of hope, but here, Bobby has become the model for a new way of being for the men of the town. While sitting with Becky, he promises her that he won’t hesitate to arrest Steven if he breaks the law, and there would be no sweeter moment on the show than seeing him allowing justice to prevail. We may not have entirely believed Major Briggs when he said he knew his son would turn out okay, but it’s still a thrill to see it come to fruition.
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