TV Review: Twin Peaks 2.8 “Drive With A Dead Girl” (dir by Caleb Deschanel)


“In our world, he’s a shoe salesman and lives among the shadows.”

— Special Agent Dale Cooper (Kyle MacLachlan) in Twin Peaks 2.8 “Drive With a Dead Girl”

As always, this episode of Twin Peaks starts with the opening credits and, after 15 episodes, Angelo Badalamenti’s theme music has never sounded more haunting and the images of life in Twin Peaks — that mix of machinery and nature — has never seemed more ominous.  Things that seemed quaintly beautiful when they were first seen — like the waterfall or that bird sitting in trees — now seem threatening.

The opening credits give us time to reflect on what we’ve seen so far.  We’ve seen the venal Ben Horne (Richard Beymer) repeatedly ignore his own family in the pursuit of money.  We’ve seen Leo Johnson (Eric Da Re) abuse his wife, Shelly (Madchen Amick).  As of the previous episode, we now know Leland Palmer (Ray Wise), previously one of the show’s most sympathetic characters, not only murdered and raped his own daughter but then killed his niece as well.

You have to wonder if Dale Cooper (Kyle MacLachlan) still considers Twin Peaks to be “heaven,” just because it’s a town where “a yellow light means slow down instead of speed up.”

We open with an exterior shot of the Palmer house.  We can hear Maddy (Sheryl Lee), once again, screaming for help.

The next morning, the Palmer house is quiet.  Inside the living room, the camera moves over several pictures of Laura.  One is of her as a child.  Another is that famous homecoming photo.  We hear the sound of Leland laughing and immediately notice that there seem to be a lot of golf balls on the floor.  The camera pulls back to show us Leland, wearing a suit and looking disturbing cheerful, practicing his golf swing.

James (James Marshall) and Donna (Lara Flynn Boyle) knock on the front door.  They say that they came by to say goodbye to Maddy but Leland tells them that Maddy has already left.  He tells them that she thought they were going to come by the previous night and that she was a little bit disappointed that she didn’t get a chance to say goodbye to them.  Smiling like a father from a 1950s sitcom (and, at this point, it’s definitely not a coincidence that Twin Peaks, as a town, often seems to be a relic of a decade that is often thought of as being both “the good old days” and a symbol of repression), Leland says that they could write to her in Montana if they want.

(Today, Leland would never get away with this.  James and Donna would be texting Maddy like crazy.)

After James and Donna leave, Leland glances in a mirror and sees BOB (Frank Silva) staring back at him.  From upstairs, Mrs. Palmer (Grace Zabriskie), who apparently remembers nothing about the previous night, asks Leland to remember to sign them up for “Glenn Miller Night at the club.”

“Don’t worry, dear,” Leland says, with a big and creepy grin, “I won’t forget.”

Before leaving  for the club, Leland grabs his golf bag out of the closet.  Briefly, we catch a glimpse of Maddy, stuffed inside the bag.

(AGCK!  Seriously, Leland/BOB has got to be one of the scariest things ever.)

In his holding cell, Ben Horne (Richard Beymer) wins my sympathy by 1) being an innocent man accused of a terrible crime and 2) obsessively trying to wipe down the bars of his cell.  Seriously, that’s one reason why I could never handle being arrested.  Put me in one of the filthy cells and I can guarantee you that I’d do whatever I had to do to get out of there.

A cheerful Jerry (David Patrick Kelly) shows up to see Ben and I was happy that he did.  Jerry may be one of the most cartoonish characters on Twin Peaks (and that’s saying something!) but, after spending all that time with Leland/BOB, Jerry’s silliness is a relief.  Jerry has just returned from Japan and he even has a small Japanese flag pinned to his suit.

Jerry explains that, since Leland has been charged with murdering Jacques Renault, he will be handling Ben’s case personally.  (Of course, neither realizes that Leland is also responsible for the murder that Ben has been charged with.)  Unfortunately, Jerry doesn’t appear to be a very good attorney.

However, Jerry is impressed by the fact that Ben has bunk beds, which leads to an odd flashback of Ben and Jerry, as children, watching a woman named Louise Dombroski dancing in their bedroom while holding a flashlight.  (Even as children, Ben wore  suit and Jerry wore a bowtie.)

“Lord,” Jerry says, from the top bunk in Ben’s jail cell, “what’s become of us?”

Meanwhile, Lucy’s (Kimmy Robertson) back!  She shows up with her sister, Gwen (Kathleen Wilhoite), who is telling a long story involving a rusty nail and a purple toe.  (I tuned her out because rusty nails freak me out.)  Lucy asks Hawk (Michael Horse) if he’s seen Andy (Harry Goaz).  Gwen, meanwhile, worries that Hawk “must hate all of us white people after all that we’ve done to you.”

(Did I mention that Gwen had a crying baby with her and how much I was hoping that Gwen would only be around for a scene or two?  She’s kind of annoying.)

At the Great Northern, Harry (Michael Ontkean) and Cooper have just finished talking to the One-Armed Man.  As they walk past the lobby, they see Leland dancing with a golf club.

(Over the course of watching Twin Peaks, one thing that I’ve really grown to enjoy doing is spotting all of the strange guests who appear to stay at the Great Northern.  This episode, the guests appear to be a cross-section of gruff fishermen and Catholic schoolgirls.)

When Harry approaches Leland, Leland apologizes for creating a commotion with his dancing.  “Just call me Fred,” Leland says, which might be a reference to Fred Astaire but could just as easily be a reference to the fact that, at this point, Leland has been possessed for so long that it’s debatable whether Leland Palmer even exists at this point.  He’s either BOB or he’s Fred but he’s definitely not Leland.

Harry tells Leland that they’ve arrested Ben.  Leland says that they’re must be some sort of mistake but then promises Harry and Cooper that he will allow the law to handle it.  Leland stumbles out of the lobby.  As soon as he’s away from prying eyes, Leland starts to cry but then starts laughing.  He is nearly caught by Cooper, who steps up behind him and asks Leland to let him know if he can remember anything unusual about Ben’s behavior on the night of Laura’s death.

(Ray Wise, by the way, gives an absolutely amazing performance in this episode.  I don’t care if this episode aired nearly 30 years ago, give that man an Emmy.)

Harry and Cooper return to the sheriff’s station, where they watch as Doc Hayward (Warren Frost) draws blood from Ben’s finger.  (Twin Peaks was obviously made before DNA testing became commonplace.)

Jerry is there, protesting Ben’s treatment.  It’s obvious that everyone is enjoying making Ben’s life difficult, which actually makes me feel even more sorry for Ben.  Cooper reveals that Jerry graduated last in his class, passed the bar on his third attempt, and that his license has been revoked in several states.  Hey, Cooper — that’s fine and all but Jerry is absolutely right when he says that Ben is being deprived of his constitutional rights.

Cooper tosses Laura’s diary down in front of Ben, demanding to know if Ben knows what it is.  Cooper reads from the diary and tries to goad Ben into confessing.  It’s interesting to watch this scene because it’s hard not to feel that the normally upright Cooper has a hidden agenda here.  Cooper has become a father figure to Audrey and here’s his chance to get rid of Audrey’s actual father.  Twin Peaks is full of bad fathers, both literally and figuratively.

At the Johnson house, Bobby (Dana Ashbrook) listens to that microcassette that he found during the previous episode.  It’s a recording of Ben hiring Leo to burn down the Packard Mill.  Bobby is excite because this is his chance to blackmail Ben.  Meanwhile, Leo (Eric Da Re) spits up all over Shelly and her pretty blue nightgown.  BAD LEO!

At the Double R, Norma (Peggy Lipton) is shocked when her mother, Vivian, suddenly shows up!  Not only does Vivian appear to be rich but she’s played by Jane Greer, who starred in the classic film noir, Out of the Past.  By her presence alone, Greer serves to remind us of the huge debt that Twin Peaks has always owed to the conventions of film noir.

It turns out that Norma’s mom is very critical of both Norma’s cooking and Hank (Chis Mulkey).  It is also revealed that Norma’s mom has married a man named Ernie (James Booth), who appears to still be stuck in the 70s.

Norma says that she’s feeling nervous because there’s a food critic coming and that, with Shelly having quit to take care of Leo, she’s short of help.  “That’s why you made the place look nice,” her mom says.  (Passive aggressive for the win!)

At the Great Northern, the One-Armed Man (Al Strobel) wakes up when his armless shoulder starts to twitch.  “He’s close….” he says.  Unfortunately, the only other person in the room is a nurse and she doesn’t really seem to be paying attention.  The One-Armed Man asks her for a glass of water.  When she leaves the room, she passes a deputy.

Now, we’ve never seen this deputy before so I assume that he’s mostly there so he can be killed later on.  He walks into the One-Armed Man’s room and the One-Armed attacks him from behind.  Bye bye, Deputy Redshirt.  “I’m so sorry,” the One-Armed Man says before climbing out a window.

(Actually Deputy Redshirt is just knocked to the floor and doesn’t die but you can still be sure that this would never have happened to Hawk.)

Hank finally shows up at the Double R Diner, apologizing for being late.  It turns out that Hank has been missing for a few days.  Norma gets mad at Hank but seriously, Hank is the most charming ex-con in Twin Peaks.  Hank gets Norma to forgive him but then realizes that Vivian is working in the kitchen.  Uh-oh!

Pete (Jack Nance) comes by the sheriff’s office and catches Harry birdwatching.  As Pete talked to Harry, I noticed that Harry has a large picture of the other Harry S Truman — the mafia-connected President, old Give ‘Em Hell Harry — hanging in his office.  Pete tells Harry that Josie has left Twin Peaks.  Pete and Harry both talk about how they both loved Josie.  Harry laments that he stood there and watched as Josie left with her assistant.  Pete realizes that the “assistant” was probably Catherine in disguise.  The fact that Harry has yet to realize any of this gives us some insight into why the FBI has basically taken over the role of law enforcement in Twin Peaks.

Andy finally returns to the sheriff’s station and is shocked to see Lucy, holding Gwen’s baby.  Andy sees the baby and, assuming that Lucy somehow gave birth to a 4-month old baby over the weekend, he promptly faints.

Pete sneaks into the holding cells and plays a tape for Ben.  Ben listens to Catherine (Piper Laurie) explaining that she’s alive and that she remembers that Ben was with her on the night that Laura Palmer died.  Catherine is willing to provide an alibi but only if Ben signs over both the mill and Ghostwood Estates over to her.  Pete starts to giggle like a maniac.  (Pete!  I thought you were a nice guy!)  As an angry Ben tears apart his jail cell, another deputy that we’ve never seen before stares in at him.

Meanwhile, Leland is happily driving down a street.  He’s singing.  Sorry, I’m not going to look up which song that he’s singing.  He’d driving rather recklessly, which will certainly bring him to the attention of Cooper and Harry, who are currently driving along the same street.  Cooper is even whistling the same song that Leland is singing, a reminder that Cooper is not quite as upright as everyone thinks.  He has secrets of his own.

(I was tempted to point out that the scenes of Leland driving are shot in much the same way as the driving scenes in Lost Highway but, seeing as how David Lynch did not direct this episode, I’m going to assume it’s just a coincidence.  That said, Caleb Deschanel does a good job of recreating Lynch’s unique visual style throughout this episode.)

Just as I predicted, Leland nearly collides with Harry and Cooper.  They pull him over, right next to the golf course.  As the three of them talk, we hear the sound of golf balls being hit in the distance, and we are reminded that there is a golf bag in Leland’s trunk and that Maddy is currently in that bag.

Leland lies and says that, on the night Laura was murdered, Ben got a phone call and had an angry conversation with someone about a “dairy.”

“A diary?” Cooper corrects him.

“That could be!” Leland says.

Lucy calls for Harry.  While Harry goes back to the police cruiser, Leland asks Cooper if he’d like to see his new golf club.  Leland leads Cooper to the trunk of his car.  While he’s getting the club, Harry shouts that the One-Armed Man has been found.  Cooper looks away from Leland just as Leland sneaks up behind him with the golf club raised…

AGCK!

And yet, I have to admit that I laughed when I saw Leland about to bash the unsuspecting Cooper with that club.  It all comes down to Ray Wise’s brilliant performance as Leland/BOB.  Wise does such a good job of playing the role that we totally believe that he could successfully fool everyone in town.  We know that he was fully capable of killing Cooper at that moment but no one else would ever suspect such a thing to be true.  Even though everyone knows that he killed Jacques, everyone still thinks of him as being Leland Palmer, the somewhat goofy 1950s sitcom dad.

At the police station, Andy has recovered.  Gwen is talking to him about a time that she fainted in the produce section.  “People want terrible things to happen to you,” Gwen tells him, “I know.”  Meanwhile, Hawk leads the One-Armed Man through the police station.

In the interrogation room, Harry, Cooper, and Jerry watch as the One-Armed Man walks in a circle around Ben.  The One-Armed Man announces that “He’s been close but BOB is not here now!”  Jerry demands that Harry either charge Ben or let him go.  That may have been a mistake because Harry promptly steps forward and charges Ben with murdering Laura.

Cooper pulls Harry outside and says that they’re “saddling the horse before we’re ready to ride.”  Now, suddenly, Cooper thinks that Ben is innocent.  Harry tells Cooper that they can’t base the entire investigation on dreams and giants.  They need hard evidence and, what little evidence they have, all points to Ben Horne.

At the Great Northern, Vivian is eating dinner with Norma, Hank, and Ernie and critiquing all of the food.  OH MY GOD, could Vivian be M.T. Wentz!?  While Norma and Vivian excuse themselves to go to the ladies room, we discover that Hank and Ernie were in prison together.   Ernie used to be a gambler but he says that he’s “out of it” now.

That night, in his hotel room, Cooper talks into his tape recorder.  He says that Ben Horne is in custody and that the investigation is nearly done.  The trail, Cooper says, is narrowing but the last few steps are always the most difficult and dangerous.

Someone knocks on the door.  No surprise, it’s Audrey (Sherilyn Fenn).  She wants to come in and talk to the man who will be her new father figure if Ben is sent to prison.  Audrey asks if Cooper arrested her father.  Yep.  Did he do it?  That’s for a court to decide.  (Awww, Dale.  Your faith in the system is so touching, if misplaced.  Never change.)   Audrey says that all she ever wanted was for her father to love her and not be ashamed of her.

I watched that little scene with tears in my eyes, becoming so overcome with emotion that it was a bit of a relief when Cooper’s phone rang.  After answering it, a suddenly alarmed Cooper orders Audrey to go back to her room and lock the door.

At the waterfall, the police are in full force.  Maddy’s body, wrapped in plastic, has been found.

Between Ray Wise’s brilliant performance and that haunting final shot of Maddy, this episode left me exhausted.  As uneven as the second season was, this episode (and the one that preceded it) are as strong as anything seen during the first season.

 

Previous Entries in The TSL’s Look At Twin Peaks:

  1. Twin Peaks: In the Beginning by Jedadiah Leland
  2. TV Review: Twin Peaks 1.1 — The Pilot (dir by David Lynch) by Lisa Marie Bowman
  3. TV Review: Twin Peaks 1.2 — Traces To Nowhere (directed by Duwayne Dunham) by Jedadiah Leland
  4. TV Review: Twin Peaks 1.3 — Zen, or the Skill To Catch A Killer (dir by David Lynch) by Lisa Marie Bowman
  5. TV Review: Twin Peaks 1.4 “Rest in Pain” (dir by Tina Rathbone) by Leonard Wilson
  6. TV Review: Twin Peaks 1.5 “The One-Armed Man” (directed by Tim Hunter) by Jedadiah Leland
  7. TV Review: Twin Peaks 1.6 “Cooper’s Dreams” (directed by Lesli Linka Glatter) by Lisa Marie Bowman
  8. TV Review: Twin Peaks 1.7 “Realization Time” (directed by Caleb Deschanel) by Lisa Marie Bowman
  9. TV Review: Twin Peaks 1.8 “The Last Evening” (directed by Mark Frost) by Leonard Wilson
  10. TV Review: Twin Peaks 2.1 “May the Giant Be With You” (dir by David Lynch) by Leonard Wilson
  11. TV Review: Twin Peaks 2.2 “Coma” (directed by David Lynch) by Jedadiah Leland
  12. TV Review: Twin Peaks 2.3 “The Man Behind The Glass” (directed by Lesli Linka Glatter) by Jedadiah Leland
  13. TV Review: Twin Peaks 2.4 “Laura’s Secret Diary” (dir by Todd Holland) by Lisa Marie Bowman
  14. TV Review: Twin Peaks 2.5 “The Orchid’s Curse” (dir by Graeme Clifford) by Lisa Marie Bowman
  15. TV Review: Twin Peaks 2.6 “Demons” (dir by Lesli Linka Glatter) by Leonard Wilson
  16. TV Review: Twin Peaks 2.7 “Lonely Souls” (directed by David Lynch) by Jedadiah Leland

 

 

 

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12 responses to “TV Review: Twin Peaks 2.8 “Drive With A Dead Girl” (dir by Caleb Deschanel)

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  8. Pingback: TV Review: Twin Peaks 2.16 “The Condemed Woman” (dir by Lesli Linka Glatter) | Through the Shattered Lens

  9. Pingback: TV Review: Twin Peaks 2.17 “Wounds and Scars” (dir by James Foley) | Through the Shattered Lens

  10. Pingback: TV Review: Twin Peaks 2.18 “On the Wings of Love” (dir by Duwayne Dunham) | Through the Shattered Lens

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  12. Pingback: TV Review: Twin Peaks 2.20 “The Path to the Black Lodge” (directed by Stephen Gyllenhaal) | Through the Shattered Lens

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