TV Review: Twin Peaks 2.13 “Checkmate” (directed by Todd Holland)


Welcome back to Twin Peaks!

This episode starts with Major Briggs (Don S. Davis) explains what happened the night that he disappeared.  He says that he remembers “stepping from the flame, seeing a vague shape in the darkness, and then nothing until I found myself standing next to the cooled remains of our campfire the next morning.”  While Briggs is saying this, he’s sitting on a stone throne in the middle of what appears to be a lush rain forest.  Briggs says that hypnotism will not help him conquer his amnesia because his memories are “immune to regression.”  He does, however, remember seeing a giant owl.

Suddenly, Briggs is in the conference room at the sheriff’s office, describing the owl to Cooper (Kyle MacLachlan), Doctor Hayward (Warren Frost), and Harry (Michael Ontkean).  Harry asks Briggs what exactly his work involves.  Briggs replies that information is classified but some information has to be revealed for the good of the soul.  Briggs asks if they are familiar with Project Blue Book, the Air Force investigation into UFOs.  Briggs explains that Project Blue Book was officially disbanded in 1969 but it still continues in an unofficial capacity.  Briggs says that they are looking for a place called “The White Lodge.”

At that exact moment, two MPs step into the room and announce that they have arrived to take the major back to the base.  “Colonel O’Reilly’s orders,” they say.  (Colonel O’Reilly or The Cigarette Smoking Man?)  Despite Harry’s objections, Briggs leaves with the MPs.

In another office, Denise (David Duchovny, who would later continue the work of Project Blue Book in Twin Peaks‘s spiritual successor, The X-Files) is pressuring Ernie (James Booth) to make the call to Jean Renault.  Cooper comes in and eats doughnut while Ernie finally makes the call.

(This episode was directed by Todd Holland, who also directed several episodes of another show famous for its David Duchovny guest spots, The Larry Sanders Show.)

With the call having been made, Cooper checks with Lucy (Kimmy Robertson), who says that she checked all of the personal ads in all of the national newspapers that Cooper listed and she did not find any mention of Windom Earle or any chess moves.

At the diner, Ed (Everett McGill) gives Norma (Peggy Lipton) a five dollar tip and also slips her a note telling her that they need to talk.

At the Johnson house, Leo (Eric Da Re) is still spitting up on Shelly (Madchen Amick) and Shelly is still complaining to Bobby (Dana Ashbrook) about having to do all the work.  Bobby tells Shelly that she is looking at Ben Horne’s new apprentice and that he has better things to do than hang out with her and give Leo bubble bath.  Shelly slaps him.  Bobby leaves.

As the Marsh house, James (James Marshall) finally calls Ed and lets him know that he’s okay.  James says that he needs a favor.  As Evelyn (Annette McCarthy) listens, James says that he needs Ed to get all of the money out of his savings account.

“That’s only $12, James,” Ed says.

Once James has arranged to receive all twelve of his dollars, Evelyn asks him to tell her about his life in Twin Peaks.  James talks about Laura and, how after she died, he felt as if she had stolen his life.  James and Evelyn kiss and James notices that Evelyn is wearing sunglasses to hide a bruise on her face.  Evelyn tells James that she needs his help.

Back at the diner, Nadine (Wendy Robie) sits down at the counter next to Mike (Gary Hershberger) and asks him if he wants to share a piece of cherry pie with her.  “Oh Lord!” a horrified Mike shouts.  Mike explains that he wants nothing to do with Nadine.  He doesn’t want to talk to her.  He doesn’t want to walk with her.  He doesn’t want to see her.

Nadine replies with, “Mike Nelson, you are the handsomest boy I know and I would really like it if you and I could go out on a date.”  She kisses him, leaving Mike stunned.

After being questioned by a suspicious Hank (Chris Mulkey), Norma leaves to see Ed.

Harry comes to the Martell house and demands to know why Josie (Joan Chen) did not move into his place and why she is working as Catherine’s maid.  Josie says she is no good for Harry.  Harry disagrees and soon, they’re kissing as passionately as Nadine tossing a teenager at wrestling practice.

At the Great Northern, Audrey (Sherilyn Fenn) discovers Ben (Richard Beymer) on the floor of his office,  wearing a gray Confederate uniform and recreating the Civil War with miniature army men.  Ben explains that a war has broken out between the States and that he can not do anything until the war is over.

Norma arrives at the Hurley house and tells Ed that he is the last thing she thinks of before she goes to bed and the first thing that she thinks of when she wakes up.  She wants to be with him.  Ed has no problem with that.

At the Sheriff’s station, Cooper and Harry watch as Hawk (Michael Horse) gets Ernie wired up for his meeting with Jean Renault.  Ernie talks about serving in the Korean War.  Cooper tells him to focus on the here and now and they talk about how they’re going to set up Jean Renault.  Cooper says that he wishes he could take part in the operation but he’s been suspended by the FBI.  Harry deputizes Cooper.  Denise steps into the office and is now wearing a suit.  “You can call me Dennis,” he announces.

Andy (Harry Goaz) and Dick (Ian Buchanan) are breaking into an orphanage, searching for information on Little Nicky’s parentage.  Dick finds Nicky’s file but then a happy couple step into the office.  They are the Burnstons and they have arrived to see Donnie, the child that they will be adopting.

“Where is Donnie?” Mr. Bursotn asks.

“Little Donnie is dead,” Dick replies.  “Dead-tired, I mean!  I’m afraid Little Donnie isn’t feeling up to snuff.”

Andy suggests that maybe they should leave but Dick insists on “helping out these nice people.”

While this is going on, Donna (Lara Flynn Boyle) is knocking on the door of the Hurley house.  When Ed answer, Donna says that she needs his help.  She says that she can’t find James.  Ed says that James has left town but not to worry because he will soon have $12.

Donna leaves and then Norma slips out the back door.  No sooner has Ed finished saying goodbye to Norma then Hank pops up and punches Ed.  Nadine comes home from cheerleading practice, just in time to see Hank beating up Ed.  Since Nadine is now She-Hulk, she has little difficulty beating the crap out of Hank.

At the Great Northern, Ben is discussing Confederate war strategy with Bobby.  Bobby leaves the office and tells Audrey that her father has gone insane.  Audrey says that Dr. Jacoby is going to see Ben tomorrow.  “Don’t worry, baby,” Bobby says, “Bobby’s on the case.”  While they talk, Catherine sneaks past them and enters Ben’s office.  Ben recognizes Catherine and asks if she’s come to gloat.  “Well, go ahead and gloat,” Ben says, “I have defeated General Meade.”  Catherine says that, despite the whole attempted murder/insanity thing, she still loves Ben.

At the Marsh mansion, James reveals that he has fixed Evelyn’s car.  They drink champagne to celebrate.  Evelyn tells James that she can always tell what he’s thinking and then asks him for his plans.  She asks where he will go and James says he doesn’t know.  Evelyn tells him not to leave.  They kiss, with James not realizing that they are being watched by Evelyn’s brother, Malcolm. (Nicholas Love).

Outside of a farmhouse, Cooper watches through a pair of binoculars as Ernie and Dennis talk to Jean Renault (Michael Parks) and Preston King (Gavan O’Herlihy).  Renault notices that Ernie is sweating, like a man wearing a wire.  Ernie explains that he is naturally a heavy sweater.  However, the sweat causes the wire to short circuit and soon, smoke is coming from Ernie’s shirt.

Realizing that Cooper is watching, Renault comes out of the farmhouse, holding Dennis and Ernie as hostages.  He demands that Cooper show himself.  When Cooper steps out from hiding, Renault demands safe passage across the border.  Cooper offers a trade.  If Jean releases Dennis and Ernie, Cooper will agree to take their place as the hostage.  While this goes on, Harry orders Hawk to call in the state police.

That night, at the Marsh mansion, Evelyn leaves behind a sleeping James and goes to Malcom.  “How’s our baby boy?” her brother asks, “Lucky baby boy.  Lucky lucky lucky lucky lucky lucky….”

Back at the hostage standoff, the state police have arrived and even Andy is aiming a gun at the farmhouse.  Inside the farmhouse, King tells Jean that he wants to make a deal and then make a run for it.  Cooper, who has been beaten up, replies that the police will not make a deal and they will not let them run.  Surrender is the only option.

“Okay,” Jean says.  The only question is whether they give up quietly or if they kill Cooper first.

“Then we both die,” Cooper says.

Jean says he doesn’t care if he dies.  He just wants to avenge his two brothers.  He explains that everything was quiet until Cooper showed up.  After Cooper showed up, Bernie was shot in the woods and Jacques was smothered in a hospital.  Jean knows that Cooper did not kill either one of them but he suspects that Cooper brought “the nightmare” with him.  Maybe, Jean explains, the nightmare will stop if Cooper dies.

King says that he doesn’t know what Jean’s talking about but that they have a problem and it has to be solved.  King looks outside and sees a waitress approaching the farmhouse.  Is it Norma?  Could it be Shelley?  No, it’s Denise and, as soon as she entered the farmhouse, she reveals that she has a gun in her garter.  As Denise slams King against the wall, Cooper grabs the gun and kills Jean.

At the Johnson house, Shelly lies on the couch while the power goes on and off.  When Shelly gets up to investigate, she discovers that Leo is not in his bed or his wheelchair.  Instead, Leo’s standing in a corner, smiling at her and saying her name.  Shelly screams as the lights go out.

At the Sheriff’s office, Cooper, Harry, Hawk, and Andy arrive and Lucy tells them that someone called in to say that there was a bomb hidden in the woods.  Then there was a huge explosion and all of the lights went out.  As Hawk goes to turn on the backup generator, Cooper steps into the darkened station.  Using his lighter for illumination, Cooper discovers something.  He calls Harry into the station and tells him to come alone.

In Harry’s office, a dead man (played by Kyle MacLachlan’s brother, Craig) has been propped up in front of Harry’s desk.  On the desk, in front of the man, is a chess game.

Windom Earle has come to Twin Peaks!

This was an okay episode.  I can’t bring myself to care about anything that’s happening with James but “Checkmate” did a good job of wrapping up the Jean Renault plot and setting up the show’s next big storyline, Windom Earle.  Again, I was surprised to see that the whole Nadine goes to high school subplot holds up a lot better than I thought it would.

Tomorrow, I’ll be back with “Double Play,” in which the history of Windom Earle will be revealed!

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
  17. TV Review: Twin Peaks 2.8 “Drive With A Dead Girl” (dir by Caleb Deschanel) by Lisa Marie Bowman
  18. TV Review: Twin Peaks 2.9 “Arbitrary Law” (dir by Tim Hunter) by Lisa Marie Bowman
  19. TV Review: Twin Peaks 2.10 “Dispute Between Brothers” (directed by Tina Rathbone) by Jedadiah Leland
  20. TV Review: Twin Peaks 2.11 “Masked Ball” (directed by Duwayne Dunham) by Leonard Wilson
  21. TV Review: Twin Peaks 2.12 “The Black Widow” (directed by Caleb Deschanel) by Leonard Wilson
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13 responses to “TV Review: Twin Peaks 2.13 “Checkmate” (directed by Todd Holland)

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