With golden sunlight pouring through the branches of the woodland backdrop, we visit the Twin Peaks Sheriff’s Department for the first time in over 25 years.
Lucy Brennan (Kimmy Robertson) is sat behind reception. The change in her name as advertised on the counter brings us right up to speed with efficiency. Her and Andy are married now. Still, some things never change. Lucy’s taste in fuzzy sweaters for one. A reverse shot shows us a wonderful little detail; she’s been hard at work playing solitaire.
A man in a suit (Allen Galli) comes in through the Sheriff’s Department double doors and asks to see Sheriff Truman. Lucy stumps him by asking, “Which one?”
Some viewers might be stumped also. Which one? Wasn’t there always only the one? Wasn’t it Agent Cooper who had a nefarious doppelgänger…? Evidently doubles are going to be a preoccupation of Twin Peaks: The Return.
Lucy goes on to explain, “One is sick and the other is fishing.”
Throughout the first two seasons of Twin Peaks, Sheriff Harry Truman was played – and played well – by Michael Ontkean. However, by the time the show went off the air, Ontkean had become tired of the association. He doesn’t appear in the prequel film Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me and has been noticeably absent from all extras, interviews and promotional materials associated with the show in the years since. Of all those unlikely to return for The Return, Ontkean’s absence is the least surprising.
Nevertheless, Twin Peaks needs a sheriff, so Mark Frost and David Lynch cooked up his brother Frank Truman (Robert Forster). He’ll get his introduction a little way down the road, but this scene gets us up to date on circumstances. Forster – who sadly passed away in October 2019 – is no stranger to the Lynch collective. He was the director’s original first choice for the role of Harry way-back-when and also has a brief cameo in Mulholland Drive; a project which was initially intended to be a TV pilot. In Mulholland Drive Forster also plays a law man.
Harry being sick neatly excuses Ontkean from appearing in The Return.
There’s a mild nod to Brazil and Catch-22 in the suited man’s insistence on seeing a man who isn’t there. Both Terry Gilliam’s film and Joseph Heller’s book delight in scenarios in which – due to circumstances or bureaucracy – characters are prevented from their goals. Often times these characters struggle to accept the inconvenient truths presented to them.
The man leaves his card, and then leaves entirely, with Lucy still talking, trying to explain the situation.
Next time: A world of truck drivers