“What I want and what I need are two different things, Audrey.” – Special Agent Dale Cooper, Season 1, Episode 6.
“I don’t need anything. I want.” – Mr. C, Twin Peaks: The Return, Part 2.
The Special Agent Dale Cooper of old was a refreshingly moralistic figure, even if much of that morality was allegedly enforced by the paranoid politicking of offscreen lover Lara Flynn Boyle. Whether the decision made not to consummate the incendiary chemistry shared by the lawman and the high school temptress was clouded by real-life circumstances is irrelevant; Cooper was a vanguard of virtue.
What is deeply ironic about Part 7 of Twin Peaks: The Return – a tremendous hour of television, in which the time of modern day Twin Peaks reveals itself – is that, for all its superficial comforts and icons of familiarity, for all its recovered ambience, the implications of it are considerably more distressing than any unfamiliar detour into South Dakota, or any abbreviated screen time of a much-loved regular.
A pocket of the Twin Peaks fandom has both retroactively ‘shipped for a Cooper/Audrey coupling and held out hope for a revisit of their charged meetings. If indeed Mark Frost and David Lynch have not dropped a red herring, an old adage may have been subverted in another indictment of the original, cosy cult groupthink.
Twin Peaks is far from a slice of heaven.