TV Review: Twin Peaks 2.18 “On the Wings of Love” (dir by Duwayne Dunham)

Welcome back to Twin Peaks!

This episode opens at the Bookhouse, where lingerie-clad Jones (Brenda Strong) is climbing on top of Harry (Michael Ontkean).  Harry, in his whiskey-dazed state, thinks that she is Josie (Joan Chen).  He comes to his senses right when Jones wraps a garrote around his neck and starts to strangle him.  Harry manages to overpower her, leaving her knocked out cold on the couch.

At the Great Northern, Audrey (Sherilyn Fenn) delivers room service to Wheeler (Billy Zane).  I am not sure what to make of Wheeler.  I know that he was brought in so that Audrey would have a love interest other than Cooper but, since he’s played by Billy Zane, I don’t trust him.

At the sheriff’s station, Harry tells Cooper (Kyle MacLachlan) that he has not been able to get anything out of Jones.  She wants to talk to the South African consulate.  Harry wonders why Eckhardt would have wanted him dead.  “Sexual jealousy,” Cooper replies before saying that it is good to have Harry back.

In the sheriff’s office, Doctor Hayward (Warren Frost), Harry, and Cooper look at a Bonsai tree that was delivered that morning.  Harry looks at the card.  It was a present from Josie.  Before Harry can get too depressed, Hayward tells them about Windom Earle coming back his house and he shows them the knight that Earle gave to Donna.

Gordon Cole (David Lynch) enters the office, yelling as always and making Harry’s headache worse.  Cole shouts that he has just come from Bend, Oregon, that he is bringing Cooper the classified portion of Windom Earle’s file and that he is reinstating Cooper in the FBI.

What no one knows is that the Bonsai tree is hiding a microphone and Windom Earle (Kenneth Welsh) is listening to every word that they say.  Earle complains to Leo (Eric Da Re) that Cooper is refusing to play fair.  Earle has Leo pick three cards.  They are all queens — Queen Donna, Queen Audrey, and Queen Shelly.  Earle has Leo pick a king card — “Little Dale.”  Earle reaches behind Leo’s ear and produces one more card — the Queen of Hearts.  The Queen of Hearts will be whoever is named Miss Twin Peaks.

Cole tells Cooper that, in the institution, Earle was put on the same drug that the One-Armed Man used.  Cooper notices that Earle was involved with Project Blue Book, just like Major Briggs.  Cooper says that there is some definite linkage, which makes Cole think of sausage patties and breakfast.

At the Great Northern, Donna (Lara Flynn Boyle) spies on her mother, Eileen (Mary Jo Deschanel), meeting with Ben Horne (Richard Beymer).  Donna goes to the front desk and, as Mike (Gary Hershberger) and Nadine (Wendy Robie) check out, Donna asks to speak with Audrey.  When Audrey comes out, Donna asks her if there’s any reason why Donna’s mother would visiting Audrey’s father.  Audrey leads Donna to the secret passageway so that they can spy on their respective parents in Ben’s office.

In the office, Eileen tries to get Ben to take a bundle of letters but he refuses, saying that they are her letters.  They were written to her.  Ben says that he hasn’t held Eileen for nearly 20 years.  Ben asks if Eileen has “told her.”  Eileen tells Ben to stay away from her and to never come by the house again.

At the diner, Cole, Harry, and Cooper show up for breakfast. While  hungover Harry is busy throwing up, Cooper and Cole get a booth.  Cole spies Shelly and shouts, “What a beauty!”  Cole walks over to the counter and loudly asks Shelly if he might ask her for a cup of coffee “and in the process, engage you with an anecdote of no small amusement.”  Shelly says that he doesn’t have to shout and Cole is shocked to discover that he can hear her, even when she is speaking in her normal voice.

Back at the booth, Harry and Cooper are debating cars when Annie (Heather Graham) comes over and pours them both a cup of coffee.  Cooper and Annie flirt while Harry Days music plays in the background.  Annie notices that Cooper has drawn a picture of the three marks on Major Briggs’s neck and tells him that the same design can be found at Owl Cave.  Cooper tells Harry that he has to see this Owl Cave.

At the Hayward house, Donna gets a postcard from James.  He says that he is in San Francisco.  When Dr. Hayward steps into the room, Donna tells him that Ben visited yesterday.  Dr. Hayward tells her that Eileen and Ben are probably just working on a charity together.  Suddenly, roses arrive.  They are for Eileen.  There’s no card.

At the library, Audrey is getting a book on political science and civil disobedience when she runs into pipe-smoking Edward Perkins, who is actually Windom Earle in disguise.  Perkins says that he is a professor who teaches a class in poetry so Audrey asks him about the poem that she received.  Perkins tells her that it is by Shelley and that Audrey looks like a queen.  Realizing that there is something strange about Edward Perkins, Audrey says that she has to go and makes a hasty exit.

At the diner, Annie finds an advertisement for Miss Twin Peaks.  Shelly asks her if she is going to enter but Annie says life is already strange enough without wearing high heels and a bathing suit.  Annie says that it’s also strange being around men again and asks Shelley what she knows about Cooper.  Shelly tells Annie to go for it.

Back at station, Lucy (Kimmy Robertson) thanks Andy (Harry Goaz) for helping out during yesterday’s weasel riot.  “That’s more than a certain Dick did,” Lucy says.

At the Great Northern, Ben is talking to Audrey about the Kennedy Brothers.  Ben says that he needs Audrey to be his Bobby Kennedy.  He needs her to be by his side, always willing to tell him the truth.  Ben apologizes for not being a better father and then says that he needs Audrey to go to Seattle to meet with the environmentalists.  When Wheeler steps into the office, Audrey says she is not sure that she can leave on short notice but Ben will hear nothing of it.

After Audrey leaves, Ben confesses to Wheeler that he is not really sure how to be good.  Ben asks Wheeler, “What’s the secret?”  Wheeler tells him to keep his eye on his heart and always tell the truth.  Wheeler confesses that he is falling in love with Audrey.  He and Ben eat a carrot.

Meanwhile, Johnny Horne (Robert Bauer) is outside, shooting rubber arrows at wooden buffaloes.

That night, at Owl Cave, Cooper, Andy, Harry, and Hawk (Michael Horse) explore.  They find the markings on the cave and discover that they are a combination of the markings on the Major’s neck and the Log Lady’s leg.

Thanks to wonders of incredibly primitive CGI, an owl flies around the cave.  Andy panics and swings his pickaxe, accidentally embedding it in the symbol.  Part of the wall falls away, revealing a stone lever that is decorated with a petroglyph on an owl.  Cooper smiles and says he does not know where this is going to lead but he is sure it will be somewhere “both wonderful and strange.”

Annie sits alone in the Great Northern cocktail lounge, when Cooper, fresh from Owl Cave, enters.  Annie tells Cooper that it is strange being back in the real world.  Cooper notices the scars on her wrist.  Annie says that she worries that she might try again.  Annie tells Cooper that some people think that she is strange.  Cooper says that he knows the feeling.

Back at Owl Cave, Earle sneaks in and sees the lever.  He turns it and, as the episode ends, the entire cave starts to shake.

This episode, which played like a cross between Picket Fences and Lost, shows just how much of an identity crisis Twin Peaks suffered during its second season.  Is it a comedy? Is it a romance?  Is it supernatural?  No one seems to know.

The best part of the episode was the trip to the Owl Cave and Ben’s conversation with Audrey.  The worst part of the episode?  Annie, who spent a few years in a convent but is written like an Amish girl on rumspringa.

Up next: Variations on Relations.

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
  22. TV Review: Twin Peaks 2.13 “Checkmate” (directed by Todd Holland) by Jedadiah Leland
  23. TV Review: Twin Peaks 2.14 “Double Play” (directed by Uli Edel) by Jedadiah Leland
  24. TV Review: Twin Peaks 2.15 “Slaves and Masters” (directed by Diane Keaton) by Lisa Marie Bowman
  25. TV Review: Twin Peaks 2.16 “The Condemned Woman” (directed by Lesli Linka Glatter) by Leonard Wilson
  26. TV Review: Twin Peaks 2.17 “Wounds and Scars” (directed by James Foley) by Lisa Marie Bowman

TV Review: Twin Peaks 2.17 “Wounds and Scars” (dir by James Foley)

“It was like taking a hike to your favorite spot and finding a hole where the lake used to be.”

— Deputy Hawk (Michael Horse) in Twin Peaks 2.17 “Wounds and Scars”

The year was 1991 and all was not well in the world of Twin Peaks.  While, on the show, Leland Palmer murdered his daughter and Josie Packard died after killing Thomas Eckhardt, there was even more drama occurring behind-the-scenes.

Since the first season, the plan had always been for Agent Dale Cooper (Kyle MacLachlan) and Audrey Horne (Sherilyn Fenn) to end up together.  MacLachlan and Fenn had serious chemistry in their scenes together.  As characters, Cooper and Audrey seemed like they belonged together.  Even Cooper’s concerns about the age difference didn’t seem like that much of a problem.  (After all, Audrey may have been a teenager but Sherilyn Fenn was not.)  The show’s audience wanted them to end up together.

However, there was one problem.

Lara Flynn Boyle.

Kyle MacLachlan was dating Lara Flynn Boyle and, according to several people who worked on the show, Fenn and Boyle did not get along.  With Boyle not particularly excited about the prospect of watching her boyfriend play love scenes with her rival, Kyle MacLachlan complained to the show’s producers that Cooper would never get together with Audrey because of their age difference.  As a result, Billy Zane was hastily brought in to replace Cooper as Audrey’s love interest.

Personally, I’m not really sure that Cooper needed a love interest.  During the first season, he was written as being so old-fashioned and upright that he was nearly asexual.  (The only indication that Cooper even had a sex drive came when Laura kissed him in his dream and he smiled.)  In the second season, Cooper became a little more, for lack of a better word, “human.”  But he was still traumatized by the death of Caroline and he put his devotion to the Bureau above all else.  Ideally, Cooper would have spent the entire show as a chaste Galahad.

Obviously, ABC disagreed.  They wanted Cooper to have a girlfriend.  We’ll see how this was handled in today’s episode.

So, without any further ado, let’s look at “Wounds and Scar!”

Following the opening credits, we get an extreme close-up of Harry Truman’s (Michael Ontkean) bloodshot eyes.  He’s drinking at the Bookhouse.  A saxophone wails on the soundtrack.  That’s never a good sign.  He’s having flashbacks to his time with the now dead Josie.  Deputy Hawk (Michael Horse) brings Harry a breakfast from the diner.  Hawk tells Harry that everyone at the station is concerned.

“You and Cooper can handle it,” Harry says, “It’s a pretty simple town.”

Really?  Twin Peaks is a simple town?  What show have you been watching, Harry?

At the Diner, a new character steps through the front doors and — OH MY GOD!  IT’S HEATHER GRAHAM!  She’s playing Annie.  It turns out that she’s Norma’s (Peggy Lipton) sister and she has just left a convent.  Annie is going to be working at the diner.  Heather Graham has really pretty hair.

Meanwhile, Major Briggs (Don S. Davis) is finishing his breakfast when the Log Lady (Catherine Coulson) walks up to him and touches the marks on his neck.

Back at the sheriff’s station, Hawk tells Cooper that Harry is about hit bottom.  Cooper is frustrated with his lack of success in tracking down Windom Earle.  Luckily, Hawk speaks exclusively in wise sayings.  He suggests letting the rain fall where it may.

At the cabin (which, somehow, no one else seems to have stumbled across), Windom (Kenneth Welsh) sniffs the country air and tells his slave, Leo (Eric Da Re), that you can’t understand how wonderful country life is until you’ve lived it.  It plays like a nice little parody of Cooper and Harry’s conversation about whittling in the pilot.

Windom checks the newspaper and gets upset over Cooper’s latest move.  He says that Cooper is playing a stalemate game but he doesn’t know the meaning of stalemate.  Neither do I, to be honest.  I prefer checkers to chess.  Windom then realizes that Cooper must be getting help and he throws a fit because he cannot stand people who don’t play by the rules.  “Many people are going to regret this!”

Meanwhile, at the Great Northern, Audrey is demonstrating a proper runway walk while Dick (Ian Buchanan) hits on the models.  Mr. Pinkle (David L. Lander) — the same guy who sold Bobby and Shelly the porto-patient device that didn’t really work out that well — shows up to tell Dick about the pine weasel.  Mr. Pinkle is carrying a stuffed pine weasel but Dick says that they need a living pine weasel.  Showing a stuffed animal at a benefit for an endangered species?  That would be totally gauche.

Wheeler (Billy Zane) shows up to talk to Audrey about their dinner.  They both try to apologize at the same time.  Wheeler asks her to go on a picnic with him.  And, hey — Billy Zane is cute and all but the Wheeler/Audrey romance feels totally forced.  We all know that Audrey should either be with Cooper or killing ninjas in Hong Kong.  Those are really the only two options.

Harry is still drinking at the Bookhouse.  Cooper approaches and tells him about Josie’s sordid past.  He says that Harry has to understand that Josie was a hardened killer.  Harry yells at Cooper to go.

In her office, Catherine (Piper Laurie) looks over the plans for the Ghostwood Estatea when Jones (Brenda Strong) suddenly steps into the office and says that she’s there to expedite the transfer of Thomas and Josie’s bodies to Hong Kong.  Jones says she has a gift from Thomas, so Catherine promptly pulls a gun.  Calmly, Jones hands over a black box.

At the Hayward house, someone knocks on the door.  Donna answer, only to find a friendly old man who claims to be named Dr. Gerald Craig.  Dr. Craig says that he is an old friend of her father’s and he was just stopping by to see if old Doc Hayward was around and — wait a minute!  That’s not Gerald Craig!  That’s Windom Earle in disguise!

Donna asks Dr. Craig if he’d like to come inside and — DONNA, YOU IDIOT!  DON’T JUST INVITE STRANGE MEN INTO YOUR HOUSE!  In less than a month, a dozen people have died in Twin Peaks and Donna is still letting strange men into her house.  Anyway, Dr. Craig gives Donna a small gift for her dad, makes her promise not to open it, and then leaves.

Meanwhile, Pete Martell (Jack Nance) is studying a dozen or so chess boards.  Cooper comes in and Pete tells him that he’s studied every stalemate game in history but that there’s no way to play chess without losing at least a few pieces.  No matter what happens, Pete says, at least six people are going to die.  Cooper tells Pete to stick with it.

In the lobby, Lucy (Kimmy Robertson) and Andy (Harry Goaz) play chess.  Lucy gets mad because Andy moved his knight “without doing the little hook thing.”  “You don’t have to the little hook thing, that’s optional,” Andy says.  Sound good to me, Andy!  But, no, Pete explains that the hook thing is not optional.

Suddenly, Maj. Briggs and the Log Lady both step into the station.  They’re concerned because both of them have the same three triangle pattern, Briggs on his neck and the Log Lady on the back of her leg.  The Log Lady says that she got her mark when she was seven years old.  She was walking in the woods when she saw a flash of light and heard an owl.  When she returned home, she was told that she had been missing for a day.

Audrey and Wheeler are at their picnic.  Wheeler is singing.  C’mon, Audrey, are you actually falling for this?  Go see Cooper before he meets Annie…

At the Hayward House, Doc Hayward (Warren Frost) returns home with Mrs. Hayward (Mary Jo Deschanel) rolling along beside him.  Donna tells them that Gerald Craig visited.  Doc Hayward says that’s not possible.  Gerald Craig was Doc’s roommmate.  He drowned after a rafting accident.  (So?  Drowning never stopped Andrew Packard.)  Mrs. Hayward calls the contact number that Dr. Craig left and it turns out to be the number of a cemetery.  Doc Hayward unwraps Dr. Craig’s gift and it’s a chess piece!

At the gas station, Ed (Everett McGill) tries to talk to Nadine (Wendy Robie) about breaking up.  Unfortunately, Ed needs a divorce but Nadine still thinks they’re in high school.  Dr. Jacoby (Russ Tamblyn) is there to try to help her understand what’s happening but he’s not much help.  Nadine is more concerned about the fact that she just now noticed that she’s missing an eye.

Back at the Hayward House, someone else knocks on the door.  This time, Mrs. Hayward answers and it’s Ben Horne (Richard Beymer).  As Donna watches from the stairs, Ben whispers something in her mother’s ear and then kisses her.

At the diner, Peggy encourages Shelly (Madchen Amick) to enter the Miss Twin Peaks pageant.  Meanwhile, Cooper has entered the diner and seen Annie and he’s immediately so overwhelmed by her attraction to him that he actually stammers.  No, Cooper — AUDREY!

Before Cooper can fall any further in love, Hawk enters and tells him that they have a problem at the Bookhouse.  Harry is destroying all of the furniture!  When Cooper shows up, Harry calls him Deputy Dale and yells at him some more.  This is the most emotion we’ve seen from Harry since the series began.

Uh-oh, Harry’s holding a gun and he doesn’t want to give it to Cooper.  However, Harry eventually breaks down, shouts that Josie didn’t have to die, and then falls into Cooper’s arms.  Cooper and Hawk put Harry to bed.  Hawk says that Harry has never been like this before.

At the Great Northern, Mike (Gary Hershberger) and Nadine are getting a room under the name “Mr. and Mrs. Hinkman.”  Seriously, the Great Northern looks way too expensive for just a one night stay.  They should have gone to the motel and gotten an hourly room.  Knowing Mike, they probably would have only needed it for 8 minutes or so.

In the ballroom, Ben Horne is thanking everyone for showing up at this charity fashion show.  This is one of those plotlines that you’d never see today.  Nobody has the guts to make fun of rich (and fake) environmentalists anymore.  It’s a shame.

Anyway, the fashion show starts and there’s Dick describing each outfit.  (I really love Ian Buchanan’s performance in this episode.  He makes Dick into such a likable phony.)  Lucy and Andy are two of the models.  Good for them!

While the model walk the runway, Catherine approaches Ben and tells him that she knows he’s a just faking all of his environmental concern.  Ben says that the experience of being accused of Laura’s murder and his subsequent bout with insanity have truly changed him.

Dick has Mr. Pinkle bring out a living pine weasel.  Pinkle explains that the pine weasel is attracted to certain sells, like very cheap cologne.  Of course, this immediately leads to the pine weasel leaping at Dick and biting down on his nose.  Panic breaks out!  Audrey nearly gets run over but luckily, Wheeler is there to literally sweep her off her feet and kiss her.

Meanwhile, at the Bookhouse, one deputy looks over the sleeping Harry.  Jones sneaks up behind him and quickly knocks him unconscious.  She places a gun on the nightstand beside Harry’s bed.  She then undresses, lets down her hair, and lay down beside him…

End credits.

Overall, this was a pretty good episode except for the fact that we all know that Cooper and Audrey belong together.  While I can understand Audrey’s flirtation with Wheeler, Cooper’s sudden attraction to Annie felt a bit out of character, a case of Twin Peaks trying a bit too hard.

Some would probably argue that the bit with the Pine Weasel was a bit overboard as well but I actually enjoyed that.  Ian Buchanan’s performance saved that bit for me.  Plus, wealthy environmentalists tend to be kind of smug so it’s always fun to see them satirized.

Up until this episode, I’ve had mixed feeling about Windom Earle but his scene with Donna was brilliantly creepy.

Tomorrow, we have “On the Wings of Love.”

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
  22. TV Review: Twin Peaks 2.13 “Checkmate” (directed by Todd Holland) by Jedadiah Leland
  23. TV Review: Twin Peaks 2.14 “Double Play” (directed by Uli Edel) by Jedadiah Leland
  24. TV Review: Twin Peaks 2.15 “Slaves and Masters” (directed by Diane Keaton) by Lisa Marie Bowman
  25. TV Review: Twin Peaks 2.16 “The Condemned Woman” (directed by Lesli Linka Glatter) by Leonard Wilson


TV Review: Twin Peaks 2.15 “Slaves and Masters” (dir by Diane Keaton)

“Get a life, punk!”

— Albert Rosenfield (Miguel Ferrer) in Twin Peaks 2.15 “Slaves and Masters”

Well, it had to happen some time.

We have reached the “Slave and Masters” episode of Twin Peaks.  Judging from what I’ve read online, most fans seem feel that this episoode was the worst in the show’s history.  Myself, I don’t know whether it is or isn’t.  I’m writing this introduction before watching the episode.  I guess I’ll know soon enough.

Interestingly enough, this episode was directed by actress Diane Keaton.  When I first saw Keaton’s name listed as director, I assumes that she must have been a fan of the show and that she lobbied for the chance to direct an episode.  However, according to Relections: An Oral History of Twin Peaks by Brad Dukes, the opposite was true.  While the cast all liked and respected Keaton as a director, there was also a feeling that she didn’t seem to actually know much about the show.  Considering that the show had suffered a severe ratings decline during the 2nd season, it seems probable that Keaton was hired to direct in an attempt to generate some new interest in the once hot show.

If that was the plan, it didn’t work.  Apparently, the ratings for this episode were so low that Twin Peaks was put on hiatus a week after it aired.  It was only due to a letter-writing campaign that ABC decided to air the last six episodes of the season.  In short, it can be argued that this episode was truly the beginning of the end for Twin Peaks‘s original network run.

So, with all that in mind, let’s take a look at the 23rd episode of Twin Peaks, “Slaves and Masters.”

As always, we begin with the haunting opening credits and Angelo Badalamenti’s lushly romantic (yet ominously threatening) score.  The mood has been set.  We have returned to the world of Twin Peaks.

After the credits, we immediately cut to a close-up of a chess board.  In slow motion, the camera glides over all of the pieces.  The Queen, The pawns, the King, the Bishop, the little horsey guy.  (I don’t know much about chess, sorry.)

Suddenly, we’re no longer looking at chess pieces.  Instead, the camera is panning up the legs of Evelyn Marsh (Annette McCarthy), who is dressed in black and even wearing a black veil and — OH MY GOD, HAS THIS STORYLINE NOT BEEN RESOLVED YET!?  Seriously, when people talk about Season 2 not being as inspired as Season 1, they’re talking about this half-assed film noir rip-off that James (James Marshall) rode into after he hopped on his motorcycle and left Twin Peaks.  From the minute that Evelyn first showed up, I knew exactly what was going to happen with her, James, and her husband.  Much like the whole Audrey kidnapping subplot, the Evelyn Marsh subplot should not have lasted any longer than an episode and a half.  Instead, it’s still going on!

Anyway, the cops are talking to Evelyn and Malcolm (Nicholas Love) about how someone might have killed her husband.  Malcolm is quick to blame James but Evelyn seems a little bit more conflicted about it.  There is a funny moment when Malcolm says that James was hired to fix the Jaguar and the cop can’t figure out how to spell Jaguar.  That made me laugh but, otherwise, this whole scene felt predictable and unnecessary.

Meanwhile, at Wallie’s Bar, a dozen cops are sitting at the bar, smoking cigars and listening to opera music.  (Weird image is weird but it’s just weirdness for the sake of weirdness.)  James and Donna (Lara Flynn Boyle) are in a corner of the bar.  Donna says that they need to get help but James is all like, “I don’t need nobody!”  He says that Malcolm framed him and that he just needs to talk to Evelyn.

Donna goes to call Ed but ends up having to talk to Nadine instead.  Though we only hear Donna’s side of the conversation, it sounds like Nadine is talking about her new boyfriend.  If her new boyfriend is Mike (Gary Hershberger) than that means that Nadine is now dating Donna’s ex and yet, Donna seems to be remarkably okay with that.

Back at the Sheriff’s station, Harry (Michael Ontkean) and Cooper (Kyle MacLachlan) are interrogating Bobby (Dana Ashbrook) and Shelly (Madchen Amick).  Bobby wants to know why Harry and Cooper aren’t making more of an effort to track down Leo.  Cooper asks Bobby about the night that the mill burned down.  Bobby lies and says that Hank Jennings shot Leo.

Harry says that he’ll have some deputies watch the house.  Bobby claims that he’s all the protection that Shelly needs.  (For some reason, Bobby is acting like a methhead in this scene.)  When Bobby and Shelly leave, they pass Albert Rosenfield (Miguel Ferrer), who takes one look at Bobby and shouts, “Get a life, punk!”

(We love you, Albert!)

After giving Harry an out-of-character bear hug (but that’s okay because I like it when dudes hug it out), Albert explains that he’s been sent to Twin Peaks by Gordon Cole.  He has brought with him a picture of Windom Earle, in which Windom looks like an extra in a 1930s gangster movie.  He also brings the news that Windom has been mailing different pieces of clothing to police agencies across the country.

Windom has mailed:

1. A white veil

2. A garter

3. A pair of white slippers

4. A peal necklace

5. A wedding dress

Oh my God, I said as Albert listed the items, Windom Earle is marrying Pippa Middleton!

Cooper says that the clothing belonged to Windom’s dead wife (and Cooper’s ex-lover), Caroline.  Albert says that Windom is definitely making his move and then says that Cooper looks good in the muted earth tones of a flannel shirt.  That was nice of Albert.

Meanwhile, in his cabin, Windom Earle (Kenneth Welsh) plays a flute while Leo (Eric Da Re) lies on the floor.  (I have to be honest that these cabin scenes between Windom and Leo made me think about Peter Boyle burning down Gene Hackman’s hut in Young Frankenstein.)  Once Leo wakes up, Windom — who was previously described as having a mind like a diamond, cold and precise — starts acting like a Satanic little wood sprite.  He jumps around the cabin.  He says a lot of evil quips.  He beats Leo with a flute and then reveals that he’s placed a collar around Leo’s neck.  Windom can electrocute Leo whenever he feels like it.  Windom forces Leo to eat gruel while Windom pretends to be a kitty cat.  “Purrrr,” he says.

(Windom’s a genius so why is he acting like a sadistic towel manager?)

We cut to Ed (Everett McGill) laying in bed with Norma (Peggy Lipton) and talking about how it’s been twenty years since they first fell in love.  They agree that it’s sucked not being together.  Suddenly, they hear Nadine (Wendy Robie) arriving home.  Norma starts to leave but Ed says, “No, no.  We may as well talk to her now.”  Sure, Ed — have this conversation with Nadine while you and Norma are laying in bed in your underwear.  That’ll really avoid any hurt feelings.

Suddenly, Nadine rips the bedroom door off of its hinges.  She comes into the room, carrying a wrestling trophy, and then jumps into bed with Ed and Norma.  Nadine apologizes for beating up Hank and then says that she knows about the two of them.  Nadine says it’s okay because she’s in love with Mike now.

Cut to the Martell house, where Harry and Cooper are talking to Josie (Joan Chen) about what happened to her in Seattle.  Josie says she doesn’t know who killed Jonathan.  Harry begs Josie to tell him the truth.  Out of nowhere, a surprisingly cheerful Cooper announces, “I think I’ll get another cup of Joe!”

(Somewhere, Joe Biden looks up and says, “Oh my God, they’re talking about me in an old episode of Twin Peaks!”  No, Joe, they’re not.  Sorry.  Maybe later.)

While Cooper’s getting more coffee, Pete (Jack Nance) stumbles in.  He has picked up the dry cleaning and can barely see above all of the clothes that he’s holding.  He and Cooper do that thing where, instead of being smart and putting the clothes somewhere first, they stand around and attempt to have a conversation, despite the fact that Pete is about fall over backwards.  When the phone rings, Pete gives the clothes to Cooper and now its Cooper’s turn to struggle to remain standing.  Eventually, Cooper puts the clothes on a chair (was that so hard!?) and then picks one thread off of a jacket.

Speaking of Josie, the phone call was for her.  It turns out that the call is from Thomas Eckhardt (David Warner) and he is wondering if he and Josie could get together.  Thomas reveals that he is responsible for Jonathan’s death.

After hanging up the phone, Thomas and his assistant, Jones (Brenda Strong), stare at a black trunk.

Meanwhile, Ben Horne (Richard Beymer) is apparently still convinced that he’s a Civil War general because he’s talking to Dr. Jacoby (Russ Tamblyn) about Stonewall Jackson.  Much like all that stuff with Evelyn Marsh, this is a plotline that should have been resolved after an episode and a half.  Instead, it’s been dragged out way past the point of being amusing.  The Ben-Goes-Crazy storyline is the epitome of how Season 2 abandoned surrealism in favor of just being weird for the sake of being weird.

It turns out that Ben and Jacoby have an audience.  Audrey (Sherilyn Fenn) and Jerry (David Patrick Kelly) are listening.  Johnny Horne (Robert Bauer) is rocking back and forth while wearing a Native American headdress.  And there’s a few members of the Hotel Staff, who have been transformed into some sort of marching band.

While Ben rants in his really crummy Southern accent, Jerry and Audrey leave the office.  Audrey is worried about her father but Jerry seems to be fairly indifferent.  (Needless to say, this goes against everything that we’ve previously seen about Jerry and his relationship with Ben.)  Audrey points out that, conveniently enough, she is set to inherit the entire Horne business empire if anything happens to Ben and that Jerry better do what she says or she’ll cut him off.

Audrey returns to Ben’s office, where Dr. Jacoby looks perplexed.  Audrey walks up to him and says she wants her father to turn back to normal. Jacoby says that he’s got it all taken care of.  Bobby shows up, dressed like a Confederate soldier.  Ben sings Dixie.  Can this storyline just end, please!?

Meanwhile, at Walli’s, Evelyn is still dressed in black.  Though the bar appears to be closed (there are chairs on the tables and everything), Evelyn is drinking.  Suddenly, Donna walks up to her.  Why is Donna still there?  How much school can you miss in Twin Peaks?  Why are Evelyn and Donna both hanging out in a bar that appears to be closed?

Suddenly, the bartender wanders by, lingering just long enough for Evelyn to order Donna a drink, “one that has a little umbrella in it.”  Okay, is this bar closed or open?  If it’s open, why are the tables covered in chairs?  This stuff is confusing, especially for a non-drinker like me.

Anyway, Donna gets mad when Evelyn says that she won’t help James.  Evelyn explains that life is crap.  (Her words.)  Suddenly, Malcolm (Nicholas Love) shows up and tells Evelyn to go home.  He then threatens Donna and Donna reacts by yelling and then crying.

Back at the station, Albert reveals that the thread that Cooper found was from the carpet outside of Cooper’s hotel room.  Apparently, this proves that it was Josie who shot Cooper at the end of Season 1.  Bad Josie!

After swearing Albert to secrecy, Cooper heads to Harry’s office, where Harry is playing darts.  Harry tells Cooper that the dead vagrant has been identified as being Eric Powell, a former member of the Merchant Marines.

“Powell was Caroline’s maiden name!” Cooper says.

Cooper says that this is all a big chess game to Windom.  Harry says that, if Cooper needs a chess expert, they have one of the best right in town.  And his name is Pete Martell!

At the diner, Pete shows of his mad chess skills by playing and winning four games at once.  Cooper is impressed and invites Pete to help him play Windom’s chess game.  Pete better be good because, every time that Cooper loses a piece, Windom is going to kill an innocent person.

Shelly walks into the diner and asks Norma if she needs any help.  Norma hires her back.  Then Harry shows up and says that he needs to talk to Norma.  They slip into the kitchen where Harry explains that Hank is going away for a long time.  Norma’s okay with that but I’m not.  Hank may be a sociopath but he’s hella charming.

That night, Thomas shows up at the Martell house, where he is greeted by Catherine (Piper Laurie).  Thomas appears to be slightly surprised by the sight of Josie in her maid’s uniform.  Thomas and Catherine drink wine, eat dinner, and discuss art and killing.  It quickly becomes apparent that Thomas has shown up to take Josie and that Catherine is more than willing to allow him to do that, for a price.

Meanwhile, at the Marsh house, Evelyn is stunned when James shows up in the living room and demands to know why Evelyn killed her husband and attempted to frame him.  James says that it was hella lame to manipulate him with everything that he’s been going through.  Evelyn confesses to everything.  She says that she set James up.  She says she did it for the money and also just because she felt like doing it.

Suddenly, Malcolm barges into the room and knocks James out.  Malcolm says that they can now kill James and claim that it was self-defense.   And you know what?  He has a point.  Bye, James.

Meanwhile, Ben and the gang recreate another Civil War battle.  This whole Civil War subplot is so freaking stupid that I don’t even feel like talking about it anymore.  While pretending to be General U.S. Grant, Dr. Jacoby announces that he’s surrendering.  Having won the Civil War, Ben proceeds to faint.  When he wakes up, Ben says that he had the strangest dream about being a general during the Civil War.  He even does the whole “And you were there …. and you … and you!” thing.  Anyway, Ben appears to be back to normal.

At the cabin, Windom is putting on a disguise.  He continues to torment Leo with the electroshock collar.

At the Marsh mansion, James is still unconscious on the floor while Malcolm and Evelyn look down on him.  Donna watches from outside the window.  When Malcolm repeats that they can kill James and make it look like self-defense, Donna runs into the living room and screams, “NO!”

As Evelyn watches Donna cry over a motionless James, she stands up.  Uh-oh, she’s got a gun.  Evelyn shoots Malcolm and then says that she’ll frame Malcolm for her husband’s death though I don’t think it’ll be that difficult a frame-up because Malcolm is actually guilty.

At the Great Northern, Cooper walks down a hallway and stops in front of an elevator.  He looks at a picture of Caroline that he has in his wallet.  As he does this, a poorly disguised Windom Earle steps off the elevator.  Windom goes to the front desk an drops off a note for Audrey.  (Oh, goddamnit, is this going to be the start of yet another Audrey-gets-kidnapped storyline?)  He also notices several postcards that all feature owls.  “Owls,” he says.

Cooper arrives back at his room.  He finds a white mask on his bed.  Windom Earle has been there and he’s left a taunting message.  The episode ends with Windom’s line: “It’s your move.”


As for this episode, it definitely felt a bit off.  The main problem is that it focused on two largely uninteresting subplots — Evelyn Marsh and the Civil War — and portrayed Windom Earle as so cartoonishly evil that it’s hard to believe that he could also be the villainous mastermind that Cooper’s spent the last few episodes describing.  It was a weak episode but at least it finished off the whole Evelyn Marsh thing.

Always look on the bright side of life.

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
  22. TV Review: Twin Peaks 2.13 “Checkmate” (directed by Todd Holland) by Jedadiah Leland
  23. TV Review: Twin Peaks 2.14 “Double Play” (directed by Uli Edel) by Jedadiah Leland




TV Review: Twin Peaks 2.14 “Double Play” (directed by Uli Edel)

Welcome back to Twin Peaks!

Last episode, Major Briggs (Don S. Davis) returned from the land of missing and brought with him a tale of the White Lodge.  Ben Horne (Richard Beymer) obsessed over the Civil War.  James Hurley (James Marshall) found himself trapped in a second-rate film noir.  Jean Reanult (Michael Parks) was finally killed but, when Cooper (Kyle MacLachlan) and Harry (Michael Ontkean) returned to the sheriff’s station, they discovered that someone had left them a present: a dead man sitting in front of a chess board.

Things start with the station still in darkness.  Doctor Hayward (Warren Frost), Harry, and Cooper are looking over the dead man’s body.  The first thing that they discover is that a chess pawn has been stuffed in his mouth.  When Cooper correctly guesses that the dead man will have a stab wound in his chest, severing the aorta, Harry deduces that this is not the first time that Cooper has seen something like this.

Cooper says that he knows that his former partner, Windom Earle, is responsible.  He guesses that the victim was a vagrant who was offered a lift by Earle.  (In reality, the victim was played by Craig MacLachlan, brother of Kyle.)  Earle stabbed the man and then set off the explosion in the woods.  When everyone was distracted, Earle carried the body into the station.  “Windom Earle has been in this room,” Cooper says, “I can still feel his presence.”

At the Great Northern, Audrey (Sherilyn Fenn) makes a deal with Bobby (Dana Ashrbook).  She wants Bobby to help her bring her father back from “limbo land.”  “From now on, Bobby,” Audrey says, “I’m the one you suck up to.”

“What about Shelly?” Bobby asks.

“What about Shelly?” Audrey replies.

Speaking of Shelly, she is in trouble because Leo (Eric Da Re) has suddenly woken up and now she’s trapped in a dark house, with no power and a very angry husband.  Fortunately, Bobby arrives home right when Leo is about to attack Shelly with an axe.  When Leo attacks Bobby instead, Shelly stabs Leo in the leg with a kitchen knife.  Like an unmasked Jason Voorhees, the wounded Leo staggers off into the woods while Bobby and Shelly embrace.

The next morning, back at the station, Cooper watches as the body is wheeled away.  Harry gives Cooper a cup of coffee and tells Cooper that, until he is reinstated in the FBI, he is still a deputy.  “If you want this case,” Harry says, “it’s yours.”

Out in the front lobby, Andy (Harry Goaz) tells Lucy (Kimmy Robertson) that he has to talk to her about Nicky.  Andy explains that he and Dick have been doing some detective work and they think that Nicky may have murdered his parents.

“He’s nine years old,” Lucy says.

“We know,” Andy nods, “we think he was six at the time of the crime.”

Lucy is not amused.

At the Marsh place, James is working on another one of classic cars when Jeffrey Marsh (John Apicella) walks up and introduces himself.  He says that he’s envious of James’s carefree lifestyle.  He says that he’d love to talk to James about the cars later in the day but James says that he should probably be moving on.  Evelyn (Annette McCarthy) walks up and says that she is sure that she can find all sorts of things for James to do around the house.  James walks back inside the garage and Jeffrey drives away in the car that James just finished working on.  As Evelyn looks off in the distance, there is the sound of screeching tires and a car crash.

At the diner, Ed (Everett McGill) is having a cup of coffee of Doctor Hayward.  Ed is worried because Nadine wants to start dating boys and, since she’s She-Hulk now, Ed worries that Nadine could kill them with her sex drive.  Doctor Hayward suggests that Ed tell her to be home by 9:00 on school nights.  I could be wrong but I don’t think Doctor Hayward is taking Nadine’s condition very seriously.

Doctor Hayward is actually more concerned about Donna, who took the van that morning to go see James.  Ed explains that Donna is taking James some money, presumably all twelve of the dollars that were in James’s bank account.

After the doctor leaves, Norma (Peggy Lipton) sits down across from Ed.  She says that Hank is in the hospital.  He says that a tree fell on him but Ed tells her that Nadine actually beat him up.  Norma is happy because, once Hank gets out of the hospital, he will be going back to prison for violating his parole.

At the sheriff’s station, Cooper and Harry are staring at the chess board that Windom Earle placed in front of the dead man.  Cooper explains that he and Earle played a game of chess every day for three years.  Earle thought that all the answers to life’s mysteries could be found in the game of chess.

Cooper explains that Windom Earle was his first partner.  Everything that he learned about the law and the bureau he learned from Windom Earle.  Cooper tells the story (the same one that he told Audrey earlier) of how, four years ago, he fell in love with a woman named Caroline who was a material witness to a federal crime and how, when she was attacked, Cooper was not prepared and could not save her life.  Cooper adds the detail that she was stabbed, in the same way as the vagrant.  Cooper also reveals that Caroline was Windom Earle’s wife.

Donna (Lara Flynn Boyle) arrives at a bar called Wallies, looking for James.  James is not there but Evelyn is.  “You look like someone who needs help,” Evelyn says.  When Donna says she’s looking for James, Evelyn says that James did some work for her and then left for Mexico.  Donna leaves, presumably taking James’s twelve dollars with her.

At the Great Northern, Dr. Jacoby (Russ Tamblyn), Audrey, and Jerry (David Patrick Kelly) watch as Ben continues to play with his little army men.  Ben thinks that Jerry is General J.E.B. Stuart.  Ben assures everyone that they are marching forward and only God can stop them.  “The almighty is a Southerner,” Ben declares.  Dr. Jacoby explains that if Ben can reverse the defeat of the Confederacy then he will also reverse his own recent mental defeats.  Jacoby and Ben start to sing Dixie.

At the sheriff’s station, Major Briggs stumbles in, says that he needs to see Harry, and then collapses.

When he comes to, Major Briggs explains to Harry and Cooper that, when his superiors questioned him about his disappearance, they exhibited a degree of “intolerance and suspicion” that apparently left Briggs feeling traumatized.  Briggs goes on to explain that, during his disappearance, he believes that he was taken to the White Lodge.  Briggs goes on to say that there will be much trouble ahead.  “I will return,” Briggs says, “but until that time, I will be in the shadows if you need me.”

As Briggs leaves, Andy enters the office and tells Cooper and Harry that he needs to show them something.  He leads them to the conference room, where Dr. Jacoby announces that he has spent the last few hours talking to Lana Milford (Robyn Lively) and he has found no evidence of her being crazy or cursed.  There is no way that Lana is responsible for Dougie’s death, Jacoby says.  Jacoby goes on to say that Lana has a heightened sexual drive and skills that few men could ever hope to experience.  Jacoby announces that he and Lana are going to go bowling but, as soon as they step out of the office, they run into Mayor Milford (John Boylan), who was a rifle and who demands that nobody move.

The Mayor wants blood but Cooper has a solution.  He takes the rifle and then locks Milford and Lana in the conference room together.  After a few minutes, Lana and the Mayor are in love and talking about adopting a child.

At the Martell house, Pete (Jack Nance) tells Catherine (Piper Laurie) that they forgot to pick up the hot dogs.  Catherine is more interested in telling Pete the true story of how she survived the fire and marshaled the resources to defeat Ben.  She reveals that her brother (and Josie’s husband), Andrew Packard (Dan O’Herlihy), is not actually dead and he’s sitting in the study.  Andrew explains that he and Catherine faked his death in a boating accident because a contract had been taken out on Andrew’s life by Andrew’s former business partner, Thomas Eckhardt.  Catherine also reveals that Josie works for Thomas Eckhardt and that Eckhardt will be returning to Twin Peaks to rescue her from having to work as Catherine’s maid.

At the exact same time, Thomas Eckhardt (DAVID WARNER!) and his assistant, Jones (Brenda Strong), are checking into the Great Northern.

At the sheriff’s station, Lucy is sick of both Andy and Dick (Ian Buchanan) so she brings Doctor Hayward in to talk to both of them.  Doctor Hayward explains that he called the orphanage and that Nicky is no murderer.  Nicky’s mother was a chamber maid at the Great Northern and his father was a man who fled back to Canada following the back alley assault that led to Nicky’s conception.  Hayward explains that Nicky’s mom died in childbirth.  Nicky was adopted by a loving couple who died in an icy car crash.  Six year-old Nicky heroically attempted to pull his adoptive parents to safety but failed.  Andy and Dick both start to cry.

Harry gets an alert from Seattle, telling him that the man who Josie left with, the one who Josie claims that she merely escaped from, has been found murdered.  Since Cooper is now a deputy, Harry orders Cooper to find out if Josie killed him.  For once, Harry gets to order Cooper around.

At the Marsh house, James is packing his stuff when Evelyn comes in and swears the she is in love with him.  Evelyn says that there’s been an accident and Jeffrey’s dead.  James immediately figures out that Evelyn killed her husband and set him up to take the fall.  Evelyn says that it was Malcolm’s idea and that Malcom isn’t really her brother.  As the police arrive outside, Evelyn tells James to run and go find “that young girl who loves you.”

As James tries to sneak out of the house without being spotted by the cops, he runs into Donna, who is hiding behind a tree.  They run off while Evelyn talks to the police.

In the woods, a dazed and confused Leo comes across a cabin.  Inside the cabin, a man (Kenneth Welsh) plays a flute and invites Leo to enter.  The man sits down in front of a chess board and introduces himself as Windom Earle.

End credits.

This episode shares the same flaws as a lot of season 2.  There are a lot of good scenes, like Leo menacing Shelly and Bobby or the introduction of Windom Earle, but there are also scenes that are just too cartoonish, like anything involving the Mayor and Lana.  This episode was the first and only episode to be directed by German director Uli Edel and he does a pretty good job, putting his own unique spin on the show’s signature style.

Tomorrow: “Slaves and Masters,” in which Cooper gets unexpected help in his chess game against Windom Earle.

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
  22. TV Review: Twin Peaks 2.13 “Checkmate” (directed by Todd Holland) by Jedadiah Leland

Hallmark Review: Love by Chance (2016, dir. Gary Harvey)


Okay, let’s get them out of the way right up front. If you felt burned by Chance at Romance, then take a chance on Love by Chance. That’s the first joke that came to mind when I heard the title of this movie. Lucky for me, it turned out to be accurate. This is one of the best Hallmark movies I’ve seen so far. I am up to 168 at the time of writing this. The other thing is this opening piece of stock footage.


They cut to that right after a shot of the space needle, which told us this is supposed to be Seattle. There’s no way someone realistically would notice this while watching the movie, but I did when I went over my screenshots to write this review. Look at the street signs. I’m pretty sure this is stock footage from China. Either that, or it’s a Chinatown somewhere. Those street signs have Chinese characters on them and the Romanized version of those characters. I looked where they got their stock footage for this film and couldn’t find it.

Now let’s talk about the movie.

The movie opens up by reminding us that pastries exist before teasing long time Hallmark fans as to whether they can figure out if the bakery is using the same set as the kitchen from the Murder, She Baked series. It isn’t. This one is much larger whereas the kitchen in that series always felt surprisingly claustrophobic in its size. During this we are introduced to our secondary lady of the film named Claire Michaels played by Beau Garrett.


That’s right! I said secondary. This isn’t really her movie and how she ends up with Eric Carlton played by Benjamin Ayres. Hallmark knew this. It’s Brenda Strong that they interviewed on Home & Family to plug this movie, not Beau Garrett. I don’t watch the show, but this always pops up during the credits of these movies. They tease a talk with the star of the movie that you just watched.


Brenda Strong plays the mom named Helen Michaels. Despite her being in a lot of stuff over the years people probably still remember her best from the couple of episodes of Seinfeld she was is in back in the 90s as Sue Ellen Mischke. Since I don’t have that particular season of Seinfeld, you are stuck being reminded that she was in the lousy film The Leisure Class last year.

The Leisure Class (2015, dir. Jason Mann)

The Leisure Class (2015, dir. Jason Mann)

Or I’m sure if Lisa could, then she would have me insert a Degrassi animated GIF to describe just how much she disliked that movie.

By the way, along with Bridget Regan who was in The Magic Stocking, that makes two actors from The Leisure Class who were also in Hallmark movies in the past year.

The other main actor in this film is Brenda Strong’s husband Sam Michaels played by actor Garwin Sanford.


You have no idea how much it bothered me trying to remember where I knew this guy from. I sometimes wish Hallmark would popup a thing on the screen that would say, “Here’s where you might know such and such actor from.” In his case, he played Narim on Stargate SG-1.

He was kind of the humans go between guy with one of the very advanced races the team encountered along with the Tokra, The Nox, and The Asgard. The difference was that the Tollan were incredibly arrogant, isolationist, and thought their superior technology meant they were automatically safe from any threat. They were practically offended at the idea that someone would say they might be in trouble. In the end, their race was brutally wiped out.

Stargate SG-1

Stargate SG-1

With Garwin Sanford showing up in this movie, that makes at least two major/very memorable side characters who have shown up in Hallmark movies from Stargate SG-1 in the past month with Michael Shanks being in Hearts of Spring. I especially bring up Sanford’s role on that show because if you do remember him from that series, then know that he plays the husband in a similar fashion. In Stargate SG-1 he was level-headed, kind, charming, had a bit of a child-like wonder about things, and a great deal of maturity about him and the way he spoke. That’s him in this movie to Brenda Strong’s nutty matchmaking mother. Whereas in that he was that to Amanda Tapping who incidentally was named Samantha, but was always called Sam. I’m sure that’s not a coincidence on Hallmark’s part that his name in this movie is Sam.

The parents are so much the center of attention of the movie here that I am going to kind of treat this like a Godfrey Ho movie. If you already have heard me explain what that means in another review, then you feel free to skip over this explanation. Ho was a director in Asia who popularized the cut and paste technique of filmmaking. He would take old or unreleased films from the region, shoot some footage with caucasian actors, then clumsily spliced them together. In reviewing his films, it’s common practice to review each set of footage separately, while occasionally mentioning how the two unrelated plots are connected. Sometimes you will even find the caucasian footage on YouTube edited out of the other original film. That’s how I’m going to review this movie. I’m mainly just going to tell the story as if the whole thing plays on the parents side with some minor connections to the other story since that’s really how it is.

The film opens up and meet Mom walking outside with a confidence as if she is going to break into the theme song from That Girl before coming into her daughter’s bakery


She really tries to set up her daughter. She even just gave out her phone number to a guy. She is holding a party at her daughter’s bakery so that she can attempt to set her up again while also trying to help out her business.

At the party Mom is trying to explain to her daughter who this man is that she called out of the blue. This is also when we find out Mom and Dad are about to go globetrotting. At least that’s the plan. Enter Dad!


A little side thing to mention. The actor on the right in the picture below, named John Cassini, is excellent in this.


He’s one of those quality characters actors that can make a big difference in a movie. His character’s name is Marco and is the daughter’s close friend at the bakery.

The attempt at matchmaking continues from the party into the kitchen. After complimenting her on her smile and sealing the deal on her going on a date with a guy, she gives a smile herself that either says, “that’s my daughter!” or, “I’m going to kill you in your sleep.”


I love Brenda Strong in this.

I gotta give it to this first guy she goes out with. He’s kind enough to realize that she is going to need a lot of wine to get through his boring story.


At home, Mom and Dad are having a conversation about their daughter finding love. While Mom is preoccupied with finding her daughter a lover, he is wondering what ever happened to them spending their retirement together. That will be the main part of this story. The Mom becoming so obsessed that the Dad all but up and quits the idea of going to Italy. If he were an idiot he would have even thought she was cheating on him at one point.

Now Mom goes too far and signs up her daughter on a dating website. I know it’s a Hallmark cliche, but this may be the first Hallmark movie since The Color of Rain that I’ve seen what I am quite sure is Linux showing up in a Hallmark movie.


Who cares that the URL isn’t quite right because it’s Brenda Strong using Linux! That’s awesome.

We also have the return of the use of IMDb publicity photos within the movie.


Screen Shot 2016-04-25 at 5.51.52 PM (2)

Mom actually sets up a date with this guy. No, I don’t mean that she tells her daughter to meet with this guy. I mean that she actually meets with the guy at a bar and tries to sell him on her idea of meeting her daughter. I love when he asks her if she’s done this before. You’d expect an answer like, “No, but I’m desperate to find her someone.” Nope! She just casually mentions that she has done it twice already before continuing with her pitch as if there is nothing unusual going on. Luckily, the fact that the camera keeps cutting behind these things…


doesn’t prevent the guy on the right from jumping in. That’s Dr. Eric Carlton (Benjamin Aryes). He’s actually there waiting for someone, but she’s called away on the grounds that this is a Hallmark movie as soon as she shows up. After telling him that “Doctor Gorgeous” isn’t for him, she gives him his card and actor Benjamin Ayres gives us a great look on his face.


He tries to pass this off to “Doctor Gorgeous” as her just being a real estate agent. Ha! Mom isn’t going to be dissuaded by any of this.

Mom shows up the next day at his practice, it turns out the secretary/nurse knows her, and she immediately uses that to coerce him into going to get coffee with her. Cue Benjamin’s face!


Just as he’s leaving, a colleague of his says out loud, “Why can’t I ever meet older, married women?”

This is when Mom goes into full real estate agent/matchmaker mode. She actually convinces him here, and this sales pitch continues outside.


It’s about here where we find out that at least part of this movie was filmed in Maple Ridge, British Columbia. I think that’s a new one on me for a Hallmark movie.

Mom has invited him to a fundraising gig to meet her daughter. The fundraiser is being held at a gallery that is actually at 3045 Granville St, Vancouver, BC V6H 3J6, Canada.


After Mom tries to pry her daughter for some details, Mom and him meet again to talk.


Turns out he likes the daughter, but has a little problem. That problem being her mother. Think that’s gonna stop her?


After a short conversation between Mom, Dad, and their daughter we discover something.


That’s right! While this film is going on,…

I Do, I Do, I Do (2015, dir. Ron Oliver)

I Do, I Do, I Do (2015, dir. Ron Oliver)

Autumn Reeser is about to enter her own version of Groundhog Day and…

Hearts of Spring (2016, dir. Marita Grabiak)

Hearts of Spring (2016, dir. Marita Grabiak)

Lisa Whelchel is about to enter the Mommy Blogger’s Convention.

This building is clearly the romantic nexus of Hallmark films.

Now Dad is starting to get really confused about what happened to them enjoying their retirement.


Mom meets with Eric again and tells him that it has to be her to tell the daughter she set this up. Mom now tries to find a way to tell her daughter by setting up a shopping trip with her. Dad is getting more fed up with all of this.


On this trip, the daughter drops into the conversation that one of the things she loves about her new relationship is that “somehow we found each other.” She says it’s just “like you and Dad.” Of course, it will turn out that it was no chance Mom met Dad either. Another great look from Brenda Strong that sums up her character at this point quite nicely.


Now Mom and Dad have a conversation over a map of Italy. This is probably the most adult and realistic conversation you’ll hear in a Hallmark movie.


While Brenda Strong has the majority of the scenes in this movie, Garwin Sanford plays every single one of his scenes perfectly.

Mom has a heart to heart with Eric, but this is where things go really wrong…sort of. The Uncle (Peter Graham-Gaudreau) of the family sees Mom and Eric on a bridge talking, snaps a photo, and goes to Dad with it. Dad is preoccupied at first with a fountain that looked smaller online, but then he hears the Uncle out. To which we get this.


He immediately goes to the computer and finds out that his wife set up their daughter on a dating website. How it was all just sitting there instantly waiting to be discovered or why she was looking at dating profiles for a guy named George who is using location manager Braden Jennings’ picture or Producer, Cinematographer, and owner of Bass Tracks films Stefan Berrill going under the name of Neal, we are never told. Dad goes and has a long talk with Mom. She confesses that she kind of setup their meeting up too. It’s sweet and all, but he knows that their daughter might not see what she did so nicely the way he does concerning their meeting. However, at the end of the day they still are a long married couple that loves each other so the real outcome of their talk is that the both agree the fountain really is big.


Mom and Dad now make a full confession to the daughter. I love that one of the daughter’s responses is “Ok, so he witnessed your insanity and he still thought it was a good idea to meet your daughter?”

We now discover where the bakery is in real life.


It’s Mc Burney Coffee & Tea House at 20504 Fraser Hwy, Langley, BC V3A 4G3, Canada. Hallmark really likes shooting in Langley. If you are curious, the restaurant from Appetite For Love is just a little east along Fraser Highway from this place.

Mom has a talk with Eric, then a nice talk with Dad. They are okay, and Mom agrees to back off.


In the end, the young couple forgives all of these issues and kisses.


Meanwhile! Yes, the daughter has had her own plot this whole time. While Mom, Dad, and Eric were doing their thing and having a few scenes with the daughter, Claire and her friend Marco have been trying to prepare for a restaurant critic named The Wandering Gourmet. They mistake several people for this critic. They fuss about it. Of course that works out too.


If you’re coming to this movie to see yet another young love film with the parents played by quality actors pushed into the background, then go elsewhere. The movie is a story about a woman who is going to be leaving to go to Italy with her husband, but feels this unbearable feeling that she can’t leave without knowing her daughter has found love. In the end, she lets go of it. Of course the love thing has to work out cause it’s Hallmark, but it could have just as easily ended without that part. I think I’ve mentioned just about everyone here, but you might be wondering how Beau Garrett’s performance is here. She’s perfectly fine. There’s just not much for her to do so it’s not a performance to really judge her on. You are watching this movie for Brenda Strong, Garwin Sanford, Benjamin Ayres, and John Cassini in a good supporting role. It’s their film.

I highly recommend it.

Here are the songs:


Because anything this divisive gets my attention. So, I also watched The Leisure Class…


First off, I have never watched that TV Show, and based off of Lisa’s description in her review of this film, I’m glad I don’t. It sounds like a seasons worth of footage of that dog from Godard’s Goodbye To Language (2014) pooping. In other words, I had no vested interest in this movie developed by watching the show. I just wanted to see what all the fuss was about.

The movie opens with that title card which would make you think you’re about to watch something like Last Year At Marienbad (1961). Then we cut to a party and meet some of our characters.


That’s William (Ed Weeks) and Fiona (Bridget Regan). One thing that stuck with me from Lisa’s review about the production of this is that it was shot on film, and it shows. I don’t know if it comes through in that screen shot, but it feels like it’s trying to remind me of Merchant Ivory Productions from the 70s and 80s.


That’s Edward (Bruce Davison) and Charlotte (Brenda Strong). This is a party the family is having to celebrate the wedding of William and Fiona that is going to take place the next day. William is marrying into this wealthy political family.


This is Carolyn (Melanie Zanetti) who is Fiona’s sister. She’s the short horny sister whose character is abandoned rather quickly and seems to exist only to give the next character who shows up a foothold in this whole setup.


Then this guy shows up at the party. He is William’s brother and is about to throw a wrench into William’s plan to marry into this family. William is actually a conman. A lousy conman cause this movie already starts telegraphing the ending of the film to you at this point. Now the brother does have a name in the movie, but let’s call him what he is. He’s Withnail (Tom Bell), minus any lines people will be quoting decades from now. William tells Withnail to leave the party, but of course he doesn’t even for money. He latches on to Carolyn and generally begins acting like a jackass.


Since night is upon them, they move inside. Then what I can only assume is the boom mic pops in from the upper left hand corner.


But enough of that little technical goof because we need more characters. We have the parents who seem to be basically oblivious at this point. Fiona is basically the same way at this point. Carolyn wants With to Nail her. And of course there’s our conman William. Naturally that’s why the movie needs a detective character. That comes in the form of another sister named Allison (Scottie Thompson). She tends to stay away from the family and is a lawyer.


And you can tell she doesn’t like him because of that I just met you, but I already know your kind very well look on her face.

Well, after William tries to get some.


And so does take me now Carolyn.


Withnail decides to round up some booze and people to go off to a party!

IMG_4247Now take a good look at Fiona’s hair here. I’ll bring that up later. Now a couple of them, including Fiona jump in a pool.


Oh, did I say a pool. I meant a plot device to clearly establish that Carolyn is drunk, Fiona is her own woman, and William is in over his head. Well, seeing as Carolyn is drunk and something needs to bring things to a head, we get a car accident.


You see the look on Fiona’s face. That’s the look of the audience when they realize this scene only works if William has never seen a movie where rich people get away with things like car accidents they are at fault for. I hate when movies depend on their characters existing in a world where movies don’t exist that have covered situations they’re in. But again, they are trying to foreshadow the ending of this movie some more here.


This is when you need to take another look at Fiona’s hair. I have taken physics before so I’m aware of how hair works when it comes to hydrogen and disulfide bonds, but something tells me being in a pool for all of a couple of minutes doesn’t transform hair from looking perfectly straight to looking like you just had it curled at a salon. I’ll have to ask the lady who does my hair, but this struck me as a continuity error. A minor error like the boom mic, but my only guess is that it was left in to make her character appear more vulnerable and less hoity toity so that we would see her come full circle back to the way she was at the beginning, but worse.


Anyways, this is when Edward decides to give William a good talking to. So he pulls out a report that apparently shows all sorts of inconsistencies in William’s story. Hmmm…and why he didn’t pull this report out I don’t know… prior to the night before the wedding? The movie never really says. The best explanation we are given is in a scene coming up when Edward makes it clear that he wanted a son to carry on his name, but he only seems to produce girls. Perhaps we are expected to believe that Edward was willing to turn a blind eye to this report that he clearly had before because it meant he would have a son-in-law. Fiona also gets a talking to about how the wedding could affect his and her political careers. But who cares about that because we need another character…apparently…for reasons?


This is Carla the prostitute played by Christine Lakin. I actually know who she is since she played Jackie on Melissa & Joey. The girl who wanted Joey’s sperm to impregnate her one way or another. Here she plays a pointless character thrown in so that Withnail won’t leave the movie alone. At least I hope that’s the reason because otherwise she’s just a character who brings Fifty Shades Of Grey (2015) into this movie by bringing up nipple clamps. I know what you are thinking. This movie needs a scene that looks like it belongs in a Tarantino movie or something like Funny Games. And it comes next.


This is when Edward just flips out on the boys and his family. He pulls out a gun, he strips and whips Withnail, and probably give the best performance in this whole movie. Even if it is a bit much.


Cut to the next morning and Edward with two penises drawn on his face makes his daughter and Withnail offers they can’t refuse. Much to the dismay of William who at this point probably figured he and Fiona would be riding off into the sunset having told her the truth about himself and that he truly does love her. At least Carla leaves the bride with a wedding present.


Then a little wedding stuff before the movie ends on this shot.


And that’s The Leisure Class. Why did this movie stir up so much crap over Lisa’s review? It’s a movie with it’s fair share of problems, but those are a dime a dozen. Director Jason Mann tried something probably a little too ambitious for the conditions he was working under, and it never really came together. It happens. It’s his first film. What were people hoping for here? I don’t know. I just know what the finished product is. A forgettable movie that amounts to Withnail Crashes A Wedding.

As for some of the nasty comments that came Lisa’s way. I don’t mind the down votes. That’s what they’re for, but if you only want to hear what you have to think about something then don’t read other people’s reviews of things. You don’t need anyone else’s validation to have an opinion about something.

Well, I’m moving on with my life now.

So, I watched The Leisure Class…


Well, it had to happen sometime.

After 8 weeks of showing us how the film was made, HBO finally had to broadcast the latest Project Greenlight film.  Over the course of the series, we’ve watched the seemingly humorless director Jason Mann struggle to maintain his “artistic vision” while directing his first feature film, The Leisure Class.  We watched as he fought for and won the right to shoot on film.  We wondered if Jason would be able to pull off the film’s big stunt.  Even more importantly, we watched because we were hooked on the hostility between Jason and the film’s producer, Effie Brown.  Jason resented having to answer to Effie.  Effie resented having to work on something like The Leisure Class.  For 8 weeks, viewers were either Team Jason or Team Effie.

And through it all, we wondered — was The Leisure Class any good?

From the minute that Jason was named as The Leisure Class‘s director, I had my doubts.  A comedic sensibility is something that you either have or you don’t.  At first glance, there was nothing about Jason that suggested he even had a sense of humor.  Once filming started, nothing that we were shown looked all that promising.  The film’s trailer felt more frantic than anything else and I slowly found myself dreading the prospect of sitting through The Leisure Class.

But sit through it I did and … well, it was bad.  Unfortunately, it really wasn’t bad enough to be enjoyable.  Instead, it was just a bland misfire.  If the film was interesting, it was because I related each scene to what I had previously seen on Project Greenlight.  Wow, I thought, Effie sure was mad when they were shooting this scene.  A few minutes later: Is this the scene that Jason was worried would be underlit?  And then later: This is the scene where Bruce Davison wasn’t sure whether he should say pricks or dicks!  I’m glad they were able to make a final decision…

As for the film itself — well, how do you describe the plot of a film that really didn’t seem to have a storyline?  Charles (Ed Weeks) is actually William, a British con artist.  He is about to marry Fiona (Bridget Regan), the daughter of Sen. Langston (Bruce Davison).  At first, Charles was just planning on stealing Langston’s money but now he’s fallen in love with Fiona.  The day before the wedding, Charles’s alcoholic brother, Leonard (Tom Bell), shows up at the Langston estate.  He pretends to be Charles’s best friend.  And then, Leonard gets drunk and encourages a bunch of teenagers to skinny dip.  And then there’s the car accident.  (This is the big stunt that Jason was so concerned with.)  And then Sen. Langston gets drunk and there’s this amazingly ugly scene where he says a lot of nasty things to his wife and his daughters.  And then Langston nearly murders Charles and Leonard but Fiona ends up pulling a gun on him.  And then the next morning, Leonard draws on Langston’s face.  There’s also a prostitute, named Carla (Christina Lakin), who shows up for no reason but at least she gets a few funny lines.  The film doesn’t add up too much, with none of the characters or their actions making much sense.  The script feels like a first draft and, even at only 80 minutes, the movie seems to be way too long.

The overriding theme of Project Greenlight‘s fourth season has been that Jason has gotten nearly everything that he wanted while shooting his film.  Personally, it wouldn’t surprise me to discover that this season was pretty much edited to cast Jason in as negative a light as possible.  (Otherwise, the HBO execs would have to take responsibility of the train wreck that is The Leisure Class.)  Still, it’s impossible to deny that Jason fought a lot of battles and that none of them seem to have made much difference as far as the end product is concerned.

Jason fought to shoot The Leisure Class on film, as opposed to going digital.  He even turned down extra shooting days so that he could get film.  But visually, The Leisure Class is flat and boring.  It may have been shot on film but it still looks like a single camera sitcom.  (In fact, it’s hard not to feel that the film could have been improved if it had taken an Office or Modern Family mockumentary approach.  At least that way, the characters could have explained their often confusing motivation.)

Jason got the cast that he wanted but that cast is let down by a poorly conceived script.  All of the characters are so one-dimensional that it’s doubtful that there’s much anyone in the cast could have done to make them interesting.  I like both Ed Weeks and Tom Bell but the film let both of them down.  Meanwhile, Bruce Davison is reduced to bellowing out his lines.

Jason fought to find the perfect location and spent a lot of time talking about how the Langston estate was almost as important as the characters.  The house looks gorgeous but the film is directed in such a haphazard manner that you never really get to appreciate it.  For a director who spent so much time obsessing over minutiae, Jason’s film is unique for its total lack of interesting detail.

Let’s not forget — when the season began, Jason was selected to direct a broad comedy called Not Another Pretty Woman.  Jason is the one who suggested making The Leisure Class instead.  That said, I have a hard time believing, as some have suggested on twitter, that Not Another Pretty Woman would have been much of an improvement.

Ultimately, Jason seems to be an okay technical director.  He knows how to light a scene.  He understands the importance of moving the camera.  I imagine he could probably spend hours explaining why he chose to use a certain type of lens.  Unfortunately, there’s not a single scene in The Leisure Class that feels spontaneous.  There’s no humanity to the characters.  It’s a cold movie that feels more like a student film than anything else.

From what I’ve read, it appears that there will be at least one more season of Project Greenlight.  And I’m happy to hear that because the show makes for good drama.  I just wish that it would occasionally make for a good movie.