(This Good Friday review of the fifth episode of the 2nd season of Twin Peaks is dedicated to my mom, Gloria Elena Marchi, who would have been 59 years old today. So, it better be a good episode, right?)
This episode of Twin Peaks was directed by Graeme Clifford, an Australian filmmaker who has several films and tv shows to his credit. As an editor, Clifford worked on some of the best films of the 70s, several of which share the surrealistic vision of David Lynch. Among the films that Clifford worked on: Robert Altman’s Images, Nicolas Roeg’s Don’t Look Now and The Man Who Fell To Earth, and the ultimate cult classic, The Rocky Horror Picture Show.
The Orchid’s Curse (and, as I pointed out yesterday, I love the pulpiness of that title) is the only episode of Twin Peaks that he directed. It’s also the first of four episodes to be credited to writer Barry Pullman.
Let’s take a look at The Orchid’s Curse!
Following the haunting opening credits, we get Dale Cooper (Kyle MacLachlan). Dale is waking up in bed and, as always, talking into his tape recorder. He had a dream that he was eating a tasteless gum drop, just to wake up and discover that he was chewing on one of his ear plugs. As I listened to Dale speak, I breathed a sigh of relief. After the previous episode had him acting all out-of-character, it was nice to have the old Dale back.
Dale notices an envelope taped underneath his bed. It’s a note from Audrey, telling Dale that she’s gone up to One-Eyed Jack’s. Okay, Dale — now you know where Audrey is! GO RESCUE HER!
At the police station, Deputy Hawk (Michael Horse) comes in and wow, is he mad! Oh wait — he just has to go to the bathroom. As he explains to Harry (Michael Ontkean), two retired school teachers live in the house next to the Palmer summer home. Neither of them have ever seen BOB before but apparently, they made him drink two pots of tea before telling him that.
Lucy (Kimmy Robertson) tells Harry that she’s going to down to Tacoma to see her sister, who has just had a baby. She offers to stick around long enough to show the temp how to do everything. Harry tells her that they’ve got it covered but Lucy obviously knows better. As an administrative professional, I related so much to Lucy in this scene.
At the Johnson house, a salesman named Mr. Pinkle (David Lander) is showing Bobby (Dana Ashbrook) and Shelly (Madchen Amick) a product that he calls “porto-patient.” Basically, it’s a harness and crane that allows you to drag around a comatose person Shelly and Bobby are obviously planning on having some fun with Leo. Sure, how could that backfire? Bobby does worry that porto-patient appears to be a death trap and that they don’t want to kill Leo because then they won’t get his disability checks. Pinkle explains that it’s either porto-patient or a wheelbarrow.
Meanwhile, Judge Sternwood (Royal Dano) is holding court at the Roadhouse, for some reason. In my last review, I forgot to mention that Judge Sternwood travels with a much younger “law clerk.” I’m going to guess that the character of Judge Sternwood was based on Supreme Court Justice William O. Douglas.
William O. Douglas
Anyway, it’s time for Leland Plamer’s arraignment. Prosecutor Lodwick (Ritch Brinkley) argues that Leland (Ray Wise) should not be given bail because of the seriousness of the crime and “the oft-witnessed instability of Mr. Palmer after the death of his daughter.” Harry speaks on Leland’s behalf. Harry says that Leland is a well-respected member of the community.
(Meanwhile, Deputy Andy (Harry Goaz) gets even more adorable by doing courtroom sketches, all of which are pictures of the back of Leland’s head.)
Judge Sternwood released Leland on his own recognizance, a ruling that will prove to be so ill-thought that it actually could have been issued by William O. Douglas. (But I kid the late Judge Douglas!)
At the Harold Smith House, Donna (Lara Flynn Boyle) shows up with another Meals on Wheels tray. Harold (Lenny von Dohlen) is waiting for her, a glass of wine in his hand.
“What’s behind those deep blue eyes today?” Harold asks. Oh, Harold!
Donna says that she’ll share her life with Harold, as a part of his “living novel,” but only if he lets her read Laura’s secret diary. Harold offers to read the diary to her but he emphasizes that the diary must not leave his living room.
Donna starts telling Harold about her life but quickly turns things on him, asking where he’s from and where he grew up. Harold’s from Boston and he says he grew up in books. As I watched this scene, I found myself marveling at Lenny von Dohlen’s wonderful performance. Harold is definitely creepy but von Dohlen still brought a definite sweetness to the character. I actually found myself starting to get a little bit mad at the way that Donna was manipulating him.
Seriously, Donna, don’t hurt Harold!
Donna, apparently, was not listening to me because she snatched Laura’s diary and, teasingly, used it to lead Harold outside. Harold immediately had a panic attack, which should teach Donna an important lesson about trying to act like Audrey.
Back at the Road House, Judge Sternwood rules on Leo’s competency. Leo’s lawyer is played by songwriter Van Dyke Parks and, as I watched this scene, I found myself wondering why every lawyer and judge in Twin Peaks — with the exception Leland Palmer — insisted on dressing like an extra in a 1950s western. I mean, it kind of works and I guess you could make the argument that Judge Sternwood holding court in the Roadhouse is meant to pay homage to Judge Roy Bean.
In other words, Roy Bean + William O. Douglas = Judge Sternwood.
Judge Sternwood summons Cooper and Harry to the bar so that he can deliberate on Leo’s competency while his “law clerk” serves up drinks. Sternwood drinks something called a Black Yukon Sucker Punch. Yuck.
Anyway, because he’s not a very good judge, Sternwood rules that Leo is not competent to stand trail and sends him home with Shelly.
At the Hurley house, Big Ed (Everett McGill) and James (James Marshall) attempt to adjust to a new life in which one-eyed, middle-aged Nadine (Wendy Robie) thinks that she’s a teenager. Nadine goes to get a drink and rips off the refrigerator door. Apparently, that’s something that’s going to be happening from now on.
At the Great Northern, Ben (Richard Beymer) enters his all-wood office and is informed that a Mr. Tojamura is here to see him. Mr. Tojamura is the Japanese man that Ben saw last night, the one who smart viewers will have already figured out is actually Catherine (Piper Laurie) in a not very convincing disguise. Anyway, Tojamura says that he represents an investment firm that wants to invest in the Ghostwood Project and Ben gets all excited and…
WHY ISN’T BEN WORRIED ABOUT AUDREY!?
See, this is one thing that bothers me about season 2 of Twin Peaks. During season 1, Ben was greedy and amoral. He wasn’t a great father but, at the same time, he did love his daughter. That was what made Ben an interesting character. But, in season 2, Ben is just a caricature of an evil businessmen. Reportedly, after not interfering during season 1, ABC interfered a lot in season 2 and it’s obvious when you see how a character like Ben has been robbed of all his nuance.
Ben gets rid of Mr. Tojamura and then suddenly, Hank (Chris Mulkey) pops out of a secret passage and informs Ben that Cooper is on his way. On schedule, Cooper enters the office and Jean Renault (Michael Parks) calls from Canada. Jean wants Cooper to drop off a briefcase full of money at a merry-go-round, at midnight. “Leave it by the horse’s head.”
After Cooper gets the briefcase and leaves, Hank once again pops out of the secret passage. Ben tells Hank to follow Cooper, to make sure the money is delivered, and to bring back Audrey. Hank is confused. Shouldn’t Cooper bring back Audrey? No, Ben explains, Cooper isn’t coming back. Also, because Ben is cartoonishly evil now, he tells Hank to try to bring back both Audrey and the money.
That night, at the Hayward House, Donna and Maddy (Sheryl Lee) are conspiring on a way to ruin Harold’s life. Donna will distract Harold and Maddy will sneak into Harold’s house and steal the diary. Maddy, who tends to jump at her own shadow, seems like the worst possible person to use in a situation like this but then again, maybe that’s exactly why Donna’s using her.
See, this what I think is going on in Donna’s head: Maddy gets caught, Harold kills her, and then Donna gets James to herself. Donna has crossed into the dark side!
At One-Eyed Jacks, Jean and Blackie (Victoria Catlin) are rehearsing how Jean will get the briefcase and then kill Cooper with a blade that he has hidden underneath his sleeve. Can Jean and Blackie just die now? They’re kind of boring as villains. And every minute they’re alive, that’s another minute wasted on this stupid Audrey-bring-held-hostage subplot.
At the police station, Andy is struggling to figure out how to answer the phone and transfer calls. That’s right! Nobody appreciates a good administrative professional until she’s gone! Anyway, Andy calls the lab and discovers that he’s no longer sterile. As Doc Hayward puts it, “They’re not just three men on a fishing trip. They’re a whole damn town.” So, Andy could be the father of Lucy’s baby! Woo hoo! Excited, Andy calls Lucy in Tacoma and is shocked to learn that Lucy is not visiting her sister. Instead, she’s at Adams Abortion Clinic. “OH MY GOD!” Andy say.
In Harry’s office, Harry and Cooper are planning a raid on One-Eyed Jack’s. Hopefully, it won’t take them as long to attack as it took Rick to stand up to Negan on The Walking Dead. (Rick Grimes and Sheriff Truman have a lot in common but that’ll have to wait for a future post.)
Deputy Hawk comes in and says that he found out that the One-Armed Man has been staying at a motel but nobody’s seen him in a while. Hawk found a hypodermic needle and a weird drug in the motel room. “Weird, deep smell,” Hawk says. Harry sends Hawk home, apparently forgetting that Hawk is a member of the Book House Boys and, therefore, there’s no reason to leave him out of the planning of the raid.
At the Double R Diner, Maddy rushes in and asks for a cup of coffee to go. She doesn’t even notice that James is sitting at the counter. James looked a little offended and I was worried he was going to get all weepy but instead, he just said, “Hi.” Maddy says that she can’t talk now and, under Donna’s bad influence, she lies and says that she’s going back home.
At the Harold Smith House, Donna is talking to Harold. Donna tells Harold about the time that she and Laura went down to the Roadhouse to meet boys. The story starts with Laura talking Donna into wearing a short skirt and ends, as these often do, with skinny dipping. Harold, who would have loved Twitter, says that the story was beautiful. Meanwhile, Maddy lurks around outside.
At One-Eyed Jack’s, Cooper and Harry are also sneaking around outside. They’re both dressed in black, like Daniel Craig in the poster for SPECTRE, so we know that it’s commando time! As an owl — “The Owls are not what they seem,” — watches, Harry takes out one of the guards. They sneak through the backdoor and find themselves in the brothel section of One-Eyed Jacks, which is full of young women in lingerie and middle-aged men who all give off a “Ted-Kennedy-About-To-Drive-Mary-Jo-Kopechne-Home” sort of vibe.
Outside the Harold Smith House, Maddy drinks the coffee that she got at the Double R. Meanwhile, inside the house, Harold is telling Donna about orchids. Harold and Donna finally kiss and, overwhelmed, Harold has to leave the room. This is Maddy’s cue to break into the house and help Donna ruin the man’s life.
As Maddy lurks towards the house, Cooper is busy lurking around One-Eyed Jacks. “Hi,” Cooper says, grabbing Jean’s main lackey, “would you take me to Audrey Horne please?” Cooper is led to a bedroom, where an unconcious Audrey (Sherilyn Fenn) is tied up. After punching out Jean’s main henchwoman, Cooper untied Audrey.
Meanwhile, Harry is watching Jean and Blackie talking in another room when, suddenly, Jean stabs Blackie to death. Well, that one down. Jean spots Harry and runs off. At the same time, Cooper runs up, carrying Audrey over her shoulder. Cooper and Harry start to run for the exit when they run into a bald man holding a gun.
“Goddammit,” I yelled, “I thought this stupid kidnapping plot was finally over!”
Suddenly, the bald man falls dead. There’s a knife on his back. It turns out that Deputy Hawk not only followed Harry and Cooper to One-Eyed Jack’s but he’s totally cool with killing people. Hawk’s a badass, y’all.
Outside One-Eyed Jack’s, Hank watches as Cooper, Harry, Audrey, and Hawk run off. He calls Ben but is then grabbed from behind by Jean.
At the Harold Smith House, Maddy is looking for the diary but, because Maddy is generally incompetent and no longer wearing her big red glasses, she is struggling to find it. Donna, who is in the greenhouse and waiting for Harold to return, tries to direct her. You can tell Donna’s thinking, “Why couldn’t it have been me and Laura looking for Maddy’s secret diary instead? That would have been so much easier!”
Suddenly, Harold’s back! He’s brought Donna big flower! Harold’s so sweet.
Despite Donna’s efforts to distract him, Harold sees Maddy stealing Laura’s diary. Cornering Maddy and Laura and holding a scary-looking gardening tool, Harold shouts, “Are you looking for secrets!? Do you know what the ultimate secret is!?”
At this point, I was hoping Harold would quote Jean Renior’s The Rules of the Game and say that the ultimate secret is that everyone has their own good reasons. Instead, Harold says that it’s “the secret of knowing who killed you,” and proceeds to use the tool to cut open his face!
Maddy screams, as well she should. Way to destroy someone’s life, Maddy. I realize that it was Donna’s plan but Maddy’s the one who took too long to find the diary.
Plus, I just don’t like Maddy.
Cooper to the rescue! Yesssssssss!
Anyway, that’s it for The Orchid’s Secret. This was a definite improvement over the previous episode, even with the kidnapping subplot. The performances of Lara Flynn Boyle and Lenny von Dohlen elevated this entire episode while Pullman and Clifford did a pretty decent job recreating the unique style of Lynch and Frost.
All in all, a worthy episode.
Previous Entries in The TSL’s Look At Twin Peaks:
- Twin Peaks: In the Beginning by Jedadiah Leland
- TV Review: Twin Peaks 1.1 — The Pilot (dir by David Lynch) by Lisa Marie Bowman
- TV Review: Twin Peaks 1.2 — Traces To Nowhere (directed by Duwayne Dunham) by Jedadiah Leland
- TV Review: Twin Peaks 1.3 — Zen, or the Skill To Catch A Killer (dir by David Lynch) by Lisa Marie Bowman
- TV Review: Twin Peaks 1.4 “Rest in Pain” (dir by Tina Rathbone) by Leonard Wilson
- TV Review: Twin Peaks 1.5 “The One-Armed Man” (directed by Tim Hunter) by Jedadiah Leland
- TV Review: Twin Peaks 1.6 “Cooper’s Dreams” (directed by Lesli Linka Glatter) by Lisa Marie Bowman
- TV Review: Twin Peaks 1.7 “Realization Time” (directed by Caleb Deschanel) by Lisa Marie Bowman
- TV Review: Twin Peaks 1.8 “The Last Evening” (directed by Mark Frost) by Leonard Wilson
- TV Review: Twin Peaks 2.1 “May the Giant Be With You” (dir by David Lynch) by Leonard Wilson
- TV Review: Twin Peaks 2.2 “Coma” (directed by David Lynch) by Jedadiah Leland
- TV Review: Twin Peaks 2.3 “The Man Behind The Glass” (directed by Lesli Linka Glatter) by Jedadiah Leland
- TV Review: Twin Peaks 2.4 “Laura’s Secret Diary” (dir by Todd Holland) by Lisa Marie Bowman