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THE RETURN Nadine in S3

Cappy

Glastonbury Grove
Aug 4, 2022
119
79
I’ve been thinking about Nadine’s brief appearance in S3. I think it works at face value, it’s sort of zany and heartfelt like her character on the original series. And it’s comforting to achieve a kind of closure to her love triangle with Ed and Norma.

But I also wonder if, on a different level, we can view her as the antithesis to Cooper’s S3 arc. Watching Coop’s fumbles as he tries to revisit both Twin Peaks and the past is frustrating — I feel like they could do 3 more seasons and he’d still be making the same errors. Nadine, herself no stranger to delusional nostalgia, seems to almost provide an example of a person who lets go of their past and moves forward.

I don’t think any of the other characters in S3 are able to do this. James, Bobby, Shelly, and Ben Horne are all either stuck trying to live as their younger selves would, or tied down to some old love that prevents them from fully moving on.

But somehow Nadine of all characters manages to beat this. If S3 can be viewed as meta commentary on the pitfalls of nostalgia, then Nadine Hurley somehow emerged as its only conquering hero.
 

Mr. Reindeer

Waiting Room
Apr 13, 2022
212
346
I think Ben has had true growth since the original series, albeit his prior mistakes have left him seemingly living a fairly lonely existence. I suppose you could argue that he should just sell the hotel and make some radical life change that might make him happier, but overall I think he has the most personal maturing of any character.

That being said, I do really like your take on Nadine’s arc, and I agree!
 

Jordan Cole

Great Northern Hotel
Sep 22, 2022
59
81
I agree that Ben shows maturity and has calmed down in his older age, BUT I still think those scenes with him are telling us a sort of "if he could, he would"...like he's still kind of got the same impulses and desires and bad behavior in him, but he has self control and/or perhaps is just too damn old to really get up to much. He seems just sort of tired and depressed, wistful, really. I wish we got more of him because I found his scenes fascinating. I was surprised and kind of delighted that his stuff somehow picked up right from his season 2 arc.

Nadine does finally have her breakthrough, better late than never. Bobby is still longing for Shelly, true, but not sure if he's tied down...He's also got some sort of a life and career and responsibilities and he seems to be genuinely invested in his work, and perhaps he also senses something "off" about Red, not just that he's jealous.

I think the character I wanted much more out of was James, as I found his screen presence to be incredibly likable, sad and compelling in season 3. I think James Marshall showed a lot of growth as an actor in those scenes but there was just so little of him.

We got such brief glimpses of these characters, the downside is I want more, but the positive is it leaves so much open for speculation and filling in the gaps, which in a way is kind of a gift. It's more interesting and intriguing than Frost simply laying out their life stories in plain language in Final Dossier, at least.
 

Mr. Reindeer

Waiting Room
Apr 13, 2022
212
346
I think the fact that Ben still has the same impulses but resists them is what really shows his growth from the full-tilt hedonistic character of the original show. The really pivotal scene for him I think is when he asks Beverly to have dinner with him, and we’re left to wonder whether Beverly is actually there or if he’s speaking to an empty room. This is, as you say, The Return leaving us the ability to speculate: did Ben fall back into old patterns, or was he just wistfully voicing his desires in a harmless way? We’ll probably never know for sure.
 

AXX°N N.

Great Northern Hotel
Apr 14, 2022
55
125
Nadine's arc is interesting because it's still somewhat built on illusion and her tendency to hyper-commit. She's basically receiving therapy from a therapist, but it's in a format that isn't boxed in by institutional procedure on the therapist's end, and it allows her to have a more voluntary, active and participant agency. She's basically replaced an obsessive devotion, so I'm not sure I'd say it's fully breaking out of old patterns, and there's also the suggestion she's done this kind of thing before and usually swings back with a vengeance. So I'd say her arc ends ambiguously like Ben's does. But I don't think that in any way diminishes it, but more like it's embracing the fact that there isn't really discontinuity in life, and positive or negative we remain ourselves.

But if we take it for granted that it's a permanent change, it offers an interesting contrast to Cooper, who loses himself in the past both figuratively and literally, by way of how extraordinarily mundane it is as a solution. I think every other arc involves some kind of supernatural or dramatic intrusion, even including Dr. Amp's other on-screen viewer, Jerry. But with Nadine, she makes an internal decision and sticks by it, no reality-altering required, no high drama, just a long walk and some thinking.
 

Cappy

Glastonbury Grove
Aug 4, 2022
119
79
I agree that Ben shows maturity and has calmed down in his older age, BUT I still think those scenes with him are telling us a sort of "if he could, he would"...like he's still kind of got the same impulses and desires and bad behavior in him, but he has self control and/or perhaps is just too damn old to really get up to much. He seems just sort of tired and depressed, wistful, really. I wish we got more of him because I found his scenes fascinating. I was surprised and kind of delighted that his stuff somehow picked up right from his season 2 arc.

Nadine does finally have her breakthrough, better late than never. Bobby is still longing for Shelly, true, but not sure if he's tied down...He's also got some sort of a life and career and responsibilities and he seems to be genuinely invested in his work, and perhaps he also senses something "off" about Red, not just that he's jealous.

I think the character I wanted much more out of was James, as I found his screen presence to be incredibly likable, sad and compelling in season 3. I think James Marshall showed a lot of growth as an actor in those scenes but there was just so little of him.

We got such brief glimpses of these characters, the downside is I want more, but the positive is it leaves so much open for speculation and filling in the gaps, which in a way is kind of a gift. It's more interesting and intriguing than Frost simply laying out their life stories in plain language in Final Dossier, at least.
Yeah, Bobby is weird in this context -- he does seem to have grown quite a bit, but there is still evidence he 's strongly tethered to the past. He briefly shows cracks in his maturity, with his unresolved feelings for both Shelly and Laura slipping through. And maybe this is a reach, but I personally get the impression that Bobby's entire career path has been an attempt to gain acceptance and love from the memory of his father. He hasn't been building a future as much as he's been struggling to make peace with the past.
 

Cappy

Glastonbury Grove
Aug 4, 2022
119
79
I think the fact that Ben still has the same impulses but resists them is what really shows his growth from the full-tilt hedonistic character of the original show. The really pivotal scene for him I think is when he asks Beverly to have dinner with him, and we’re left to wonder whether Beverly is actually there or if he’s speaking to an empty room. This is, as you say, The Return leaving us the ability to speculate: did Ben fall back into old patterns, or was he just wistfully voicing his desires in a harmless way? We’ll probably never know for sure.
Ben does seem to go back and forth in this regard, but the scene I keep going back to is where Frank Truman informs Ben that Richard killed a kid and very nearly killed a witness, then Ben just sort of gets lost reminiscing about a bicycle he owned over 60 years ago.

I think he sincerely wants to break with his past and change, but he just can't for whatever reason. It might help if he actually left his office once in Season 3, lol...
 

Cappy

Glastonbury Grove
Aug 4, 2022
119
79
Nadine's arc is interesting because it's still somewhat built on illusion and her tendency to hyper-commit. She's basically receiving therapy from a therapist, but it's in a format that isn't boxed in by institutional procedure on the therapist's end, and it allows her to have a more voluntary, active and participant agency. She's basically replaced an obsessive devotion, so I'm not sure I'd say it's fully breaking out of old patterns, and there's also the suggestion she's done this kind of thing before and usually swings back with a vengeance. So I'd say her arc ends ambiguously like Ben's does. But I don't think that in any way diminishes it, but more like it's embracing the fact that there isn't really discontinuity in life, and positive or negative we remain ourselves.

But if we take it for granted that it's a permanent change, it offers an interesting contrast to Cooper, who loses himself in the past both figuratively and literally, by way of how extraordinarily mundane it is as a solution. I think every other arc involves some kind of supernatural or dramatic intrusion, even including Dr. Amp's other on-screen viewer, Jerry. But with Nadine, she makes an internal decision and sticks by it, no reality-altering required, no high drama, just a long walk and some thinking.
Well said! My thinking about Nadine's arc was pretty closely aligned with your first paragraph for most of the past 5 years. I guess what changed for me was the realization that there likely isn't going to be a S4 or movie follow up, and we are never going to see how Cooper gets out of the past, in either the literal or figurative sense. So I just started looking in S3 for solutions for the problems with nostalgia and the past that it raises. And... Nadine seems like the only character willing to make a radical break with the past.

Also, from a narrative standpoint, Nadine being the low key hero of the Return lends more significance to all those scenes where Jacoby is preparing his golden shovels. Initially I thought all the build up and mystery being paid off by that scam commercial with Dr. Amp was just a cynical gag, but perhaps there is something more to it.
 

Jordan Cole

Great Northern Hotel
Sep 22, 2022
59
81
Yeah, Bobby is weird in this context -- he does seem to have grown quite a bit, but there is still evidence he 's strongly tethered to the past. He briefly shows cracks in his maturity, with his unresolved feelings for both Shelly and Laura slipping through. And maybe this is a reach, but I personally get the impression that Bobby's entire career path has been an attempt to gain acceptance and love from the memory of his father. He hasn't been building a future as much as he's been struggling to make peace with the past.

Well sure, well put, and I think you hit the nail on the head, but isn't that like...everybody? I don't necessarily see that as out of the ordinary or a character flaw or anything, but pretty normal human stuff. I mean I think it would be weirder if he WASN'T like that.
 

Mr. Reindeer

Waiting Room
Apr 13, 2022
212
346
Ben does seem to go back and forth in this regard, but the scene I keep going back to is where Frank Truman informs Ben that Richard killed a kid and very nearly killed a witness, then Ben just sort of gets lost reminiscing about a bicycle he owned over 60 years ago.

I think he sincerely wants to break with his past and change, but he just can't for whatever reason. It might help if he actually left his office once in Season 3, lol...
That’s true. I’ve observed in the past that Ben is more prone to childhood reminiscing than any other character, and it seems to be his default under stressful circumstances. Aside from the moment you mentioned, there is Ben in jail reminiscing about Louise Dobrowski (although Jerry technically initiates this), and Ben watching old films of his dad breaking ground on the Great Northern when he has a breakdown. He really seems to be stuck in his childhood.
 

Cappy

Glastonbury Grove
Aug 4, 2022
119
79
Well sure, well put, and I think you hit the nail on the head, but isn't that like...everybody? I don't necessarily see that as out of the ordinary or a character flaw or anything, but pretty normal human stuff. I mean I think it would be weirder if he WASN'T like that.
You are exactly right -- Bobby is about the most normal and balanced character in S3.

I just think Nadine can be viewed as making a radical break with her past, in a way that forms a kind of antithesis to Cooper's follies. But certainly Bobby is a part of this discussion -- his arc represents something of a middle way between Nadine's dramatic self reinvention and Coop's stubborn insistence that he can fix things that are long since beyond repair.
 

Jordan Cole

Great Northern Hotel
Sep 22, 2022
59
81
I was watching some clips of Twin Peaks on youtube recently and something hit me about Bobby, which is that the scene of him yelling at everybody at Laura's funeral, how the whole community failed her, is a strong hint of his future in law enforcement. Something deep within him is a bit righteous and disappointed in the corruption of the town, even as he's participated in it. Bobby was always a character who seemed destined for better things and I really feel these threads were placed there quite subtly throughout the show.
 

AXX°N N.

Great Northern Hotel
Apr 14, 2022
55
125
Also, from a narrative standpoint, Nadine being the low key hero of the Return lends more significance to all those scenes where Jacoby is preparing his golden shovels. Initially I thought all the build up and mystery being paid off by that scam commercial with Dr. Amp was just a cynical gag, but perhaps there is something more to it.
I think the something more to it is what I take to be a kind of fascinating truthism: there are things in life that appear bullshit but can in fact have positive impacts on the people who truly believe in it. Positive outcomes aren't always rational--in fact, if you're a cynic, pessimist, or nihilist, they pretty much never are.
 
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Mr. Reindeer

Waiting Room
Apr 13, 2022
212
346
I think the something more to it is what I take to be a kind of fascinating truthism: there are things in life that appear bullshit but can in fact have positive impacts on the people who truly believe in it. Positive outcomes aren't always rational--in fact, if you're a cynic, pessimist, or nihilist, they pretty much never are.
The Dr. Amp stuff is interesting. In Frost’s books, he seems to present Jacoby’s motives as pure and redemptive, and I believe Russ Tamblyn has also made twitter posts implying that he endorses Jacoby’s views. And honestly, most of what he’s saying is not all that radical, although Lynch directed Russ to a rather deranged performance, and then the editing throws in that hilariously abrupt cut from his anti-capitalism message to an infomercial mail-in screen. But then, in the scene when he meets Nadine, Jacoby does seem genuinely sincerely happy that he has touched someone. Jacoby has always been a very conflicted and ambivalent character (see the cemetery scene with Cooper in Episode 3), struggling with the urge between cynicism and desire for human connection. I’m not exactly sure what Lynch’s intentions were for those scenes, but it feels in line with what has gone before for the character that he would be genuinely trying to help people while also trying to cash in for an easy few bucks (especially after losing his psychiatry license).
 
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Jasper

Bureau HQ
TULPA MOD
Apr 12, 2022
82
202
The Dr. Amp stuff is interesting. In Frost’s books, he seems to present Jacoby’s motives as pure and redemptive, and I believe Russ Tamblyn has also made twitter posts implying that he endorses Jacoby’s views. And honestly, most of what he’s saying is not all that radical, although Lynch directed Russ to a rather deranged performance, and then the editing throws in that hilariously abrupt cut from his anti-capitalism message to an infomercial mail-in screen.

I don't have a link handy, but I'm pretty sure that I recall an interview with Lynch where the subject of Dr. Amp arose, and Lynch declared something like, "He's the one telling the truth!" So, it seems that there might have been some agreement between Frost and Lynch that Dr. Amp is indeed sincere.
 

Cappy

Glastonbury Grove
Aug 4, 2022
119
79
That’s true. I’ve observed in the past that Ben is more prone to childhood reminiscing than any other character, and it seems to be his default under stressful circumstances. Aside from the moment you mentioned, there is Ben in jail reminiscing about Louise Dobrowski (although Jerry technically initiates this), and Ben watching old films of his dad breaking ground on the Great Northern when he has a breakdown. He really seems to be stuck in his childhood.
Yeah Ben's perpetual infantilism is what makes him a great villain. He will always hurt people, because he's ultimately just a kid who's never really been held accountable for anything.

It still bothers me that Audrey found out about One Eyed Jack's and was working for her dad a week later..
 

Cappy

Glastonbury Grove
Aug 4, 2022
119
79
I was watching some clips of Twin Peaks on youtube recently and something hit me about Bobby, which is that the scene of him yelling at everybody at Laura's funeral, how the whole community failed her, is a strong hint of his future in law enforcement. Something deep within him is a bit righteous and disappointed in the corruption of the town, even as he's participated in it. Bobby was always a character who seemed destined for better things and I really feel these threads were placed there quite subtly throughout the show.
Yeah, plus Bobby had the decency not to attend Leland's farce of a wake... What an epic tirade that would have been.
 

Mr. Reindeer

Waiting Room
Apr 13, 2022
212
346
Yeah Ben's perpetual infantilism is what makes him a great villain. He will always hurt people, because he's ultimately just a kid who's never really been held accountable for anything.

It still bothers me that Audrey found out about One Eyed Jack's and was working for her dad a week later..
Yeah, not only finding out about OEJ, but also Audrey finding out that Ben was having sex with her classmate Laura, and then immediately afterwards Audrey is “rah rah Team Horne!” This is probably the hugest instance in the entire series of the writers failing a character.
 

Cappy

Glastonbury Grove
Aug 4, 2022
119
79
Yeah, not only finding out about OEJ, but also Audrey finding out that Ben was having sex with her classmate Laura, and then immediately afterwards Audrey is “rah rah Team Horne!” This is probably the hugest instance in the entire series of the writers failing a character.
In my Twin Peaks fantasy league, that would be the point where she cuts ties with her dad and starts working at the RR, eventually filling the Annie Blackburn role.
 

Mr. Reindeer

Waiting Room
Apr 13, 2022
212
346
Cappy’s reference to Ben’s “perpetual infantilism” inspired me to rewatch the scene in Episode 14 where Ben is arrested for Laura’s murder, the one time he is held accountable (albeit not EXACTLY for something he did). This is possibly my favorite Beymer performance on the show, and it completely supports Cappy’s appraisal of the character. He at first tries to lord his power over them. When that fails, he resorts to complete denial, just dismissive, like he can make Cooper and Truman vanish by sheer force of will. Then he says he’s going out for a sandwich (Episode 2 callback!). And when they finally grab him, he flails and screams “No!! No!!” over and over like a child being dragged to his room. You literally see a narcissistic adult regressing to child form over the span of a minute. Great stuff.
 
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