TV Review: Twin Peaks 2.4 “Laura’s Secret Diary” (dir by Todd Holland)


“Heaven is a large and interesting place, sir.”

— Dale Cooper (Kyle MacLachlan) in Twin Peaks 2.4 “Laura’s Secret Diary”

I have to admit that I initially got really excited when I saw who had directed Laura’s Secret Diary.

That’s largely because I misread the name and I briefly thought that the episode was directed by the veteran horror director, Tom Holland.  I happen to be friends on Facebook with Tom Holland and I immediately started to try to figure out the least intrusive way to ask him about his experience directing for Twin Peaks… But no, on second glance, it turned out that the director of this episode was Todd Holland.  Todd Holland is another veteran director, though he’s best known for directing sitcoms.

Speaking of credits, this episode is credited to four different writers.  Along with Twin Peaks mainstays Mark Frost, Harley Peyton, and Robert Engels, credit is also given to Jerry Stahl.  Like Holland, Stahl worked on several sitcoms but he’s probably best known for his memoir, Permanent Midnight, in which he wrote about his experiences as a drug addict in Hollywood.  Permanent Midnight was later turned into a movie, starring Ben Stiller as Stahl.  (Of course, before all that, Stahl wrote the script for an odd sci-fi film called Cafe Flesh, a movie that many consider to be one of the best pornographic films of all time.)  As quoted in Reflections: An Oral History of Twin Peaks, Mark Frost says that Stahl wrote the initial script for Laura’s Secret Diary but the script was a “an absolute car wreck… He turned in a completely incomprehensible, unusable, incomplete script a few days late and as I recall there were blood stains on it.”  Stahl’s script was rewritten by Frost, Peyton, and Engels.

How did they do?  Well, let’s take a look at Laura’s Secret Diary!

As always, we start with the opening credits, attempting to lull us into the town’s false sense of security.  What’s interesting is that, with each subsequent viewing of the opening credits, those shots of Twin Peaks and the woods and the waterfall become more and more ominous.  Since the series started, we’ve learned a lot about goes on in those woods.  We know what’s lurking underneath the surface.

The show begins with a disturbing image, one that feels extremely Lynchian even if it was directed by Todd Holland.  We start with an extreme closeup of … well, we don’t know what we’re looking at it.  It appears to be a white surface that is covered with dark holes but, only as the camera pulls away, do we realize that we’re looking at the wall of the police station’s interrogation room.  On the soundtrack, we hear screams and a distorted voice repeating the words, “Daddy!” over and over again.

(As unsettling as this may be, it’s even more disturbing if you know what’s going to happen in the next few episodes.  Twin Peaks is one of the few shows that is even more unsettling in retrospect.)

We then see that Leland (Ray Wise) is staring at the wall while Harry (Michael Ontkean) and Cooper (Kyle MacLachlan) attempt to talk to him about the death of Jacques Renault.  Leland confesses to the murder, crying as he does so.  As always, Doc Hayward (Warren Frost) is standing in the background, watching.  Doc Hayward is always watching in the background, almost enough to make me wonder if he’s real or if he’s just a dream character, a symbol of old-fashioned decency who has been fantasized into existence by the beleaguered citizens of Twin Peaks.

After Leland’s confession, Hayward and Cooper talk.  When Hayward expresses some sympathy for Leland, Cooper snaps, “Do you approve of murder, doctor?”  (This is our first clue that Cooper’s going to spend most of this episode not acting like his usual friendly self.)  Cooper then storms off, probably leaving Hayward to wonder just what exactly he did wrong.  However, Hayward doesn’t have long to wonder because suddenly, he’s got Andy (Harry Goaz) to deal with.

Andy is concerned that he “flunked” his “sperm test” and wants another shot.  Doc Hayward gives him a specimen jar and tells him to put it in a brown paper bag once he’s done with it.  “I’ll be in the car,” Hayward says.  Andy goes off with the jar and a copy of Flesh World (and I think it might be the same copy of Flesh World that contained Laura and Ronette’s personal ads).  Of course, he happens to run into Lucy (Kimmy Robertson), who is none too happy to see her ex-boyfriend heading to the men’s room with a pornographic magazine.  “Hmmphf!” Lucy says.

While this drama unfolds, Harry informs Cooper that the judge will be arriving that afternoon.  His name is Clinton Sternwood.  He travels the circuit in a Winnebago.  The district attorney is also coming.  His name is Darryl Lodwick.  Also, it turns out that no one named Robertson ever rented the house next to the Palmers’ summer cabin.  The house is currently rented to a family named Kalispell.  I’m assuming that it must be Funny Name Day in Twin Peaks.

Andy wanders by and, being Andy, he accidentally drops his specimen jar and it rolls underneath a chair in the waiting room.  As Andy tries to retrieve it, Cooper sees that Andy is wearing the same brand of boots that they found at Leo Johnson’s house.  Cooper asks about the boots and Andy thinks he’s asking about sperm and hilarity ensues.  Anyway, it turns out that Andy bought the boots from the One-Armed Man, who is apparently still missing.

At the Great Northern, a frantic employee runs up to Ben Horne (Richard Beymer).

“Mr. Horne!” she says.

“Walk and talk,” Ben says and…

Wait a minute!  WALK AND TALK!?  AARON SORKIN, YOU’VE JUST BEEN RIPPING OFF TWIN PEAKS!

But anyway, the employee informs Ben that she’s heard a rumor that M.T. Wentz is coming to Twin Peaks.  Well, of course, he is.  It’s Funny Name Day, after all.  But apparently, M.T. Wentz is some sort of famous travel writer.  No one knows what Wentz looks like but a favorable Wentz review could put the Great Northern on the map.

Ben steps into his office and finds Jean Renault (Michael Parks) waiting for him.  Oh my God!  M.T. Wentz is Jean Renault!?  No, actually, it turns out that Jean is just there to show Ben a video tape of Audrey (Sherilyn Fenn) being held hostage.  Renault wants money and he wants Dale Cooper to serve as the delivery man.

At the Double R Diner, Hank (Chris Mulkey) tells Donna (Lara Flynn Boyle) that she looks pretty today and Donna says, “Thanks,” and considers that Hank is just as troubled as James Hurley but he doesn’t cry as much.  However, Hank ruins his chances by making fun of the people on Donna’s Meals on Wheels route.  “You wouldn’t understand,” Donna tells him.

Norma (Peggy Lipton) tells Hank that she’s just heard that M.T. Wentz is in town.  Hank has no idea who that is.  Apparently, they don’t read restaurant reviews in prison.  Norma explains that a good review from M.T. Wentz could being a lot of business to the Double R, especially if it appears in a “Seattle paper.”  Apparently, Norma is hoping to corner the vegan hipster market.

Though Hank doesn’t know who M.T. Wentz is, he still grabs a hundred dollar bill from the register and then leaves to buy flowers and other stuff that could make the Double R look worthy of a good review.  He also tells Norma to call Big Ed.  Big Ed can help clean the place up!  Norma nods.  It’s not as if Big Ed ever has anything else to do.

Meanwhile, Donna is having lunch with Harold Smith (Lenny Von Dohlen) and it must be said that Harold is probably on the cuter end of the recluse scale.  Donna has to be happy that she didn’t get stuck with some sort of Howard Hughes-type with uncut finger nails and empty Kleenex boxes on his feet.  Harold offers to read something from Laura’s secret diary.  Donna says sure.

Harold reads a passage where Laura talks about how much she loves Donna.  Laura worried that Donna wouldn’t be her friend if she knew “what my insides are really like.”  Donna starts to cry and Harold apologizes.  Donna says its okay but she wonders if maybe they should give the diary to the sheriff.

“No,” Harold says, “I’ve read this from cover to cover.  There are no solutions.”

(Harold wasn’t the only person who read Laura’s diary from cover to cover.  The Secret Diary of Laura Palmer was written by Jennifer Lynch and published shortly before the start of the second season.  I’ve ordered a copy from Amazon and I’ll read it as soon as it arrives.  Maybe if y’all are really nice to me, I’ll even write a review of it.)

Harold explains that people tells him their stories and he places them in a larger context.  “Friends and lovers,” Harold says, even though there don’t seem to be any around.  “Maybe you’ll be come one,” Harold says, as the creepy meter goes off the charts.

Meanwhile, at the Great Northern, Ben tells Cooper that Audrey has been kidnapped.  Cooper is upset that Ben has circumvented “normal channels” and has contacted him directly.  Uhmmm … is it just me or is Cooper kind of being a dick in this episode?  This definitely does not seem to be the same Dale Cooper who has been present in every other episode of the show.  It’s almost as if the script for this show was written by an outside writer who 1) hadn’t ever really watched Twin Peaks and 2) was struggling with personal issues of his own.

Meanwhile, at the Martell House, Josie (Joan Chen) has returned from Seattle.  Oh my God, could Josie be M.T. Wentz!?  IT WOULD EXPLAIN SO MUCH!  But anyway, Josie tells Pete (Jack Nance) that she’s sorry about the mill burning down and that she’s happy that Catherine was around to take care of things.  Pete mentions that Catherine died in the fire.  Josie and Catherine share a hug, even as Pete explains that they still haven’t found Catherine’s body but they’re still going to have a service.

“I don’t know what, exactly, we’ll be burying,” Pete says…

Wait!  If they haven’t found Catherine’s body, then she’s probably still alive!  Maybe Catherine is actually M.T. Wentz…

At One-Eyed Jacks, Emory (Don Amendolia) leads Audrey into an office where a displeased Jean is waiting.  Emory says that “Ms. Horne was a very bad girl, refusing to take her medicine.”  When Jean realizes that Emory has been hitting Audrey, Jean shoots him.  Good for Jean!

At the police station, Andy tries to approach Lucy but Lucy’s like, “Go talk to your magazines!” and she starts waving a big pair of scissors at him.  At that point, Cooper walks into the station and tells Andy to go get some air.   Cooper’s not in a good mood.  He doesn’t have time for all of this.  (In the past, Cooper would have made time but, in this episode, Dale Cooper is suddenly a raging jerk.)  After Andy leaves, Cooper orders Lucy to explain what’s bothering her.

Lucy complains that Andy doesn’t work out, doesn’t wash his car, and doesn’t own a sports coat.  That’s why she dumped Andy and started going out with Dick Tremayne.  Tremayne owns a lot of coats, Lucy explains.  Cooper asks Lucy if she knows what she wants.  “I don’t know!” Lucy wails before running off.

Having ruined Lucy’s life, Cooper tells Harry that, even though he can’t give any specific details, he needs one of the Book House Boys.  “The best one,” Cooper says.  (In other words, not James.)  “I’ll set it up,” Harry says, “9:30 at the Roadhouse.”

(Why do I have a feeling that Cooper’s going to show up at the Roadhouse and find Doc Hayward waiting for him?  Actually, the Book House Boys are starting to remind me of the Brets from Flight of the Conchords.)

That night, at the nearly deserted Double R Diner, Norma and Hank watch as a fat man with a beard (Ritch Brinkley) walks in.  “That must be him!” Norma says.  The fat man orders a cheeseburger and then heads to the bathroom.  Hank, proving the he really doesn’t understand how parole works, steals the man’s wallet while he’s gone.  Hank quickly discovers that the bearded man is not M.T. Wentz.  Instead, he’s Darryl Lodwick, the district attorney.  Hank might want to return that wallet.

At another booth, Donna and Maddy (Sheryl Lee) talk.  Maddy tries to apologize while Donna smokes a cigarette and glares at her.  She wants to steal the diary from Harold’s house.  She’ll do it with or without Maddy’s help.

As it rains outside, Harry goes to the Martell house and sees Josie.  Josie tries to distract him by modeling a sexy black dress that she bought in Seattle.  Being a paragon of truth and justice, Harry refuses to be distracted.  He demands to know if Josie set the fire at the mill.  “How could you!?” Josie responds.  Josie and Harry end up making love on a couch while a mysterious Asian man watches from outside.

(M.T. Wentz, maybe?)

At the police station, as lightning flashes outside and thunder rumbles, Lucy drinks a cup of coffee.  Judge Sternwood (played by Royal Dano, a veteran Western character actor) shows up at the station, followed by Harry and Cooper.

Sternwood asks how Cooper is finding Twin Peaks.

“Heaven, sir,” Cooper replies.

“Well, this week, heaven includes arson, multiple homicides, and an attempt on the life of a federal agent,” Sternwood replies.

“Heaven is a large and interesting place, sir,” Cooper says, a line which immediately made me think of Eraserhead and that radiator woman singing that, “In Heaven, everything is fine.”

Judge Sternwood and Cooper walk off and Lucy finally thinks that she can relax and drink her coffee.  Suddenly, here comes Dick Tremayne (Ian Buchanan).  Now, I have to say that, of all the new characters who showed up during the second season, Dick Tremayne is probably my favorite.  He’s just such a salesman.  Of course, he’s a jerk, too.  But Ian Buchanan gives such a lively performance.

Dick says that he hasn’t slept.  He hasn’t eaten.  He’s been a fool.  Dick has realized that he must do the right thing and that means … giving Lucy $650 for an abortion.  Lucy kicks him out of the station and then locks herself in Harry’s office, loudly sobbing.

Andy escorts Leland to his meeting with the judge, only briefly stopping when he hears the distraught Lucy cry out, “OH DICK!  WAS IT JUST YOUR ASCOT?!”

Judge Sternwood talks to Leland, saying that he knows Leland to be a decent man and a good attorney.  Sternwood says that procedures must be observed but promises to raise a glass with Leland in Valhalla.  Since Lodwick is still at the diner, the Judge decides to hold off on determining bail until the morning.  Leland says that’s fine and that everyone’s being very nice to him in jail.

After Leland is escorted out, the Judge tells Harry and Cooper that they all have very difficult jobs.  Maybe not as difficult as M.T. Wentz’s job but difficult nonetheless.

At the Great Northern, Ben is talking to the Lumber Queen semi-finalists while the mysterious Asian man stares at him.  Ben and the Asian Man bow towards each other.  The Asian man is checking into the hotel.  He says that he only pays in cash and that he’s from Seattle.  Oh my God, could it be M.T. Wentz!?  That’s certainly what the desk clerk thinks…

Except, of course, we know that it’s not M.T. Wentz.  It’s pretty obvious that the Asian man is actually Catherine Martell in disguise.  It doesn’t matter how much makeup she wear or how much she lowers her voice, Piper Laurie is Piper Laurie.

At the Martell House, Josie’s cousin, Jonathan (Mark Takano), has arrives.  Josie introduces him to Pete. Pete goes off to get coffee and suddenly, Jonathan sneers and says he doesn’t know how Josie survived living in Twin Peaks.  Jonathan says they have to get back to Hong Kong.  “Are there any complications?” Jonathan asks.

(Oh, there’s always a few.  It’s Twin Peaks!)

Meanwhile, at the Roadhouse, Dale waits for the arrival of the best Book House Boy.  Now, I have to admit that I was expecting either Hank or maybe M.T. Wentz to come walking through the door.  Instead, it’s Harry!

“Are we in any particular hurry?” Harry asks.

“Harry, let me buy you a beer,” Dale says.

Sure, Cooper, why not?  I mean, hey, IT’S NOT LIKE AUDREY’S BEEN KIDNAPPED WHILE TRYING TO HELP YOU OUT OR ANYTHING!

Seriously, what’s going on with Dale in this episode?

Hey, Cooper — remember Audrey!?

At the Double R, Hank (who apparently lives in the diner) is woken up by someone knocking on the front door.  When Hank goes to answer the door, he is attacked by Jonathan.  Jonathan knocks him to the floor and then says, “Blood brother.  Next time, I take your head off.”

And this rather frustrating and uneven episode of Twin Peaks comes to an end.

It’s hard to know what to make of Laura’s Secret Diary.  There were parts that I really liked, like the opening shot in the interrogation room and some of the humor between Andy, Lucy, and Dick.  But, at the same time, you’ve got Dale acting totally out-of-character, the strangely unresolved M.T. Wentz thing, and it’s hard not to feel that Audrey Being Kidnapped is a storyline that should have been resolved in two episodes, as opposed to being dragged out for as long as it was.  Audrey is too important a character to spend the first half of season 2 in a daze.

Tomorrow’s episode — The Orchid’s Kiss!

(That sounds like the title of one of the paperbacks that my sister would select for Artwork of the Day, doesn’t it?)

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

TV Review: Twin Peaks 2.2 “Coma” (directed by David Lynch)


Among fans of the series, the second season of Twin Peaks is a sore point.  Almost everyone agrees that it was a let down and that it never matched the brilliance of the first season.  The only question is why.

Was it because the first season started as a mid-season replacement and only had to come up with eight episodes worth of story?  If the first season had been a full, 22-episode season would it have eventually become as uneven as the second season?

Was it because, as some ABC executives have suggested, David Lynch and Mark Frost were making up their complex story as they went along and, when the second season did not immediately reveal who killed Laura Palmer, they ended up alienating the audience through their self-indulgence?

Was it because, as supporters of Lynch and Frost often argue, ABC demanded more control over the series during the second season?  One reason that it was such a shock to hear that Lynch would be bringing Twin Peaks back was because he swore, after the show’s first cancellation and the failure of the Mulholland Drive pilot, that he would never deal with television executives ever again.

It may be that all of the above is true but one thing is for sure.  If the first season of Twin Peaks showed how far the medium of television could be pushed, the second season showed just how hard television can push back.

The second episode of the second season, Coma, was directed by Lynch himself.  It opens with Cooper (Kyle MacLachlan) and Albert (Miguel Ferrer) eating breakfast at the Great Northern.  For some reason,  members of a Barbershop quarter, all wearing red striped jackets, are standing behind them.  Cooper talks about the Happy Generations of Tibet.  Albert is not happy about anything, not even Ronette Pulaski waking up.  Albert also warns Cooper that his former partner, Windom Earle, has escaped from a mental asylum.

(Windom will be, after BOB, this season’s Big Bad.)

Donna (Lara Flynn Boyle) is doing Laura’s Meals on Wheels route.  When she brought a meal to Mrs. Tremond, a coughing woman who is confined to her bed, it took me a few minutes to realize why Mrs. Tremond looked so familiar.  Mrs. Tremond was played by Frances Bay, who appeared on a classic episode of Seinfeld as a woman who is mugged for her marble rye.  (Bay also appeared in Blue Velvet.)

Mrs. Tremond has a grandson (Austin Jack Lynch, the real-life son of David Lynch and Mary Fisk).  He wears a tuxdeo, sits in a corner, and says, “Sometimes things can happen just like this,” before snapping his fingers.  When Mrs. Tremond sees creamed corn on her meals on wheel plate, says that she asked for no creamed corn and suddenly, the creamed corn appears in her grandson’s hands.

“My grandson is studying magic,” Mrs. Tremond says.

“That’s nice,” Donna says, while the grandson stares at her without the slightest hint of a smile.

Mrs. Tremond tells Donna that she did not know Laura but she recommends that Donna ask “Mr. Smith” next door.  “He was Laura’s friend.”

J’ai une ame soilitaire,” Mrs. Tremond’s grandson adds.

(Deliberately surreal scenes like this might be why ABC executives felt that they needed to step in and assert some control over the show.  Fans of David Lynch love this stuff and the scene may not seem that unusual now that we are living in a world where almost every show owes some sort of debt to Twin Peaks but, in 1990, viewers, many of whom were unfamiliar with Lynch’s films, were probably saying, “This is too weird for me,” and changing the channel.)

Donna goes next door and, when Mr. Smith fails to respond to her knocking, she slips a note under his door.

At the hospital, Cooper and Harry (Michael Ontkean) drop in on Ronette (Phoebe Augustine).  After some lengthy business about Cooper and Harry trying to figure out how set up a stool so that they can sit next to Ronette’s bed, Cooper shows Ronette sketches of both BOB and Leo.  Though Ronette cannot speak, she still shakes her head no when Cooper asks her if Leo is the man who hurt her.  However, the sketch of BOB causes Ronette to freak out.  “Trrr…trrr…” Ronette says, which Cooper interprets as meaning, “Train.”

At the Great Northern, Ben (Richard Beymer) and Jerry (David Patrick Kelly) sit on the floor and stare at two ledgers.  The real ledger shows the Packard Mill slowly sinking into bankruptcy.  The fake ledger shows the mill turning a profit.  Ben and Jerry are trying to decide which ledger to burn.  Since they can’t make up their mind, they decide to roast marshmallows instead.

(Meanwhile, in 1990, a housewife in Michigan says, “This is too weird,” and changes the channel over to Beverly Hills 90210 on Fox.)

At the Double R Diner, Andy (Harry Goaz) has been taping up pictures of BOB and now his hands are covered in tape.  The Log Lady (Catherine Coulson) enters and sits down next to Major Briggs (Don S. Davis).  Her log has something to tell Maj. Briggs.

“Can you hear it?” The Log Lady asks.

“No, ma’m, I cannot,” Maj. Briggs says.

“I will translate…deliver the message…do you understand?”

“Yes, ma’m, I do.”

At the police station, Lucy (Kimmy Robertson) kills a buzzing fly.  Andy, who still has a piece of tape attached to his forehead, comes in and tells Lucy that, when he last donated to the sperm bank, he was told that he was sterile.  So, if Lucy’s pregnant, it is not with his child.  Lucy pulls the tape off his forehead and refuses to speak to him.

Hank (Chris Mulkey) comes by and signs in with Harry.  Cooper watches as Harry and Hank have another tense conversation and, after Hank leaves, he asks Harry how long the two of them were friends.  Harry says that Hank used to be a Bookhouse Boy.  “Back then, he was one of the best of us,” Harry says.

Before Harry can continue, Ben Horne calls.  He tells Harry that Audrey has been missing for two days.  Then Jerry comes into Ben’s office and reveals that Catherine never signed the life insurance policy.  “Win a few, lose a few,” Ben says.

Suddenly, the newly energized and white-haired Leland (Ray Wise) comes walking into the office.  He says that Ben should call Thor Einer in Iceland, just to discover that Ben is already calling Thor Einer.  Einer reveals that Leland already called him to tell him about the fire at the mill.  Ben assures Einer that the fire is nothing to worry about, all the while glaring at Leland.

Leland sees a sketch of BOB in the corner of Ben’s office.  Leland picks it up and says, “I know him.”  Leland says that BOB used to live next door to his grandfather’s vacation home.  Leland runs out of the office.

“Jerry,” Ben says, “please kill Leland.”

“Is this real, Ben,” Jerry says, “or just some strange and twisted dream?”

(Meanwhile, in 1990, a farmer in Iowa shakes his head, switches over to CBS, and watches Doctor, Doctor, a sitcom starring Matt Frewer.)

At the hospital, Doc Hayward (Warren Frost) updates Shelley (Madchen Amick) on Leo’s (Eric Da Re) condition.  The bullet lodged in Leo’s spine.  He lost a lot of blood and suffered brain damage.  Shelly asks if Leo’s going to be a vegetable.  Shelly cries but does not seem to be that upset.

At the police station, someone calls for Sheriff Truman but refuses to reveal their name.  Lucy hangs up on them.

At One-Eyed Jack’s, Audrey (Sherilyn Fenn) brings a bucket of ice to a room where her boss at Horne’s Department Store, Emory Battis (Don Amendolia), is tied up, blindfolded, and listening to a vacuum cleaner.  Emory gets upset with the vacuum cleaner is turned off but is even more upset when Audrey wraps a cord around his throat, rips off his blindfold, and demands to know everything that he knows.

“I work for the owner of One-Eyed Jacks!” Emory says.

“WHO IS!?” Audrey demands, tightening the cord.

“Your father!  He owns everything!”  Emory goes on to say that Ben know Laura worked at One-Eyed Jack’s and then says, “Laura always got her way!  Just like you!”

At night, Bobby (Dana Ashbrook) and Shelly sit in his car and listen to the generic rock station.  They talk about ways to torture comatose Leo.  Bobby has a plan.  Shelly can bring Leo home and then collect his disability checks.

At the Great Northern, Dale records a message to Diane, telling her that Windom Earle has vanished.  Unfortunately, as someone who has sat through all of season 2, I already know how long the show is going to draw out the Window Earle storyline.  Before I can spend too much time dwelling on that, Maj. Briggs shows up at Dale’s hotel room.  Is he delivering the log’s message?

Yes, he is!  Maj. Briggs says that he can not reveal the nature of his work or the identity of the message sender but Briggs does reveal that, as a part of his work for the federal government, Maj. Briggs keeps an eye on transmission’s received by deep-space monitors, “aimed at galaxies beyond our own.”  Most of the time, the transmissions are just gibberish but, on Thursday night/Friday morning, the following transmission came in:

“The owls are not what they seem.”

This was followed, hours later, by another transmission: “Cooper.  Cooper.  Cooper.”

(Meanwhile, in 1990, a man in Florida says, “I can’t follow this,” and changes the channel to CBS so he can watch the last few minutes of the first attempt to bring The Flash to network television.)

We now reach one of the most derided scenes in the history of Twin Peaks.  At the Hayward House, James (James Marshall) plays guitar while Maddy (Sheryl Lee) and Donna sing a song into a microphone.  Supposedly, the inspiration for this scene came after David Lynch walked by James Marshall’s dressing room and heard Marshall playing a blues riff.

Musical interludes are actually one of Lynch’s trademarks.  Remember Dean Stockwell and Isabella Rossellini in Blue Velvet?  Or Bill Pullman at the jazz club in Lost Highway?  Or the Llorando scene in Mulholland Drive?  Even the pilot for Twin Peaks had Julie Cruise singing at the Road House.  The problem with the scene in Coma is that the song is boring and that the performance seems to drag on forever.  Whatever genius that Lynch thought he heard coming from Marshall’s dressing room is not present in the Hayward House.

(In 1990, a Montana rancher gives up once the song reaches the second verse.  He switches over to NBC, just in time to catch the final punchline in that night’s episode of a new sitcom called Wings.)

Finally, Donna gets jealous of the way that James is looking at Maddy and runs over to a corner of the house.  When James walks up to her, she kisses him.

Way to Go, James!

“Donna,” James asks, “what’s going on?”

Dude, don’t ask questions!  Just go with it!

“I’m trembling, James,” Donna says, “You made me.”

Wait, what?

The phone rings.  Donna ignores it but Doc Hayward answers and yells downstairs, “Donna, there’s a telephone call for you from a Harold Smith.”

Donna takes the call and asks Harold if they can meet.

Meanwhile, Maddy sits in front of the microphone with a “What did I do?” look on her face.  Suddenly, she sees BOB (Frank Silva) walking through the living room.  She screams as he climbs over the couch.  James and eventually Donna run over to her.  Bob has vanished.

At the Great Northern, Cooper has a dream.  He sees the Giant.  He hears Maj. Briggs saying, “The owls are not what they seem.”  BOB appears.  His face morphs into the face of an owl and then back again.

Cooper is woken up by the sound of his telephone ringing.  It’s Audrey.  She’s crying.  “Why aren’t you here?” she says.  Cooper tells her that she needs to come home.

Suddenly, the call is cut off.  Audrey has been discovered by Blackie (Victoria Catlin) and Emory.  “Trouble, Ms. Horne?” Blackie says.  “You don’t know what trouble is.”

End credits.

But do not worry.  Cooper, Audrey, Lucy, and all your favorites will return in the next episode, The Man Behind the Glass, which I’ll be reviewing tomorrow.

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

 

TV Review: Twin Peaks 1.7 “Realization Time” (dir by Caleb Deschanel)


“What I want and what I need are two different things, Audrey”

— Dale Cooper (Kyle MacLachlan) in Twin Peaks 1.7 “Realization Time)

In anticipation of the Showtime revival in May, Leonard, Jeff, and I have been reviewing every single episode of the original Twin Peaks!  Today, I will be taking a look at the 7th episode of season 1, “Realization Time.”

Now, I have to admit that I was not originally assigned to review this episode.  Much as I did with Zen, or the Skill To Catch A Killer, I literally got down on my knees and begged for the chance to review this episode.  Once again, as I explained why I felt that I was predestined to write this review, I shed many tears and threatened to utilize the power of excessive whining unless I allowed to do so.  Eventually, it paid off.

Why did I want to review this episode?  Well, first off, it’s a strong Audrey episode and, as I discovered while writing my previous Twin Peaks review, Audrey Horne is who I would be if I was a character on Twin Peaks.  She is the character to whom I most relate.

(Audrey was such a popular character during the initial run of Twin Peaks that, apparently, Mulholland Drive was originally conceived as being a spin-off in which Audrey would have gone to Hollywood and solved crimes.  In other words, no Audrey, no Mulholland Drive, no polls declaring Mulholland Drive to be the best film, so far, of the 21st century.)

Secondly, this was the final episode to feature Waldo the Myna Bird and I just happen to love the way that whenever Harry Goaz, in the role of Deputy Andy, said the name “Waldo,” he would drag out each syllable so that the bird’s name became “Walllll DOE.”

Anyway, with all that in mind, let’s take a look at Realization Time!

We start with those beautiful opening credits, that mix of machinery and nature that reminds us that Twin Peaks is a David Lynch production, even if this particular episode was directed by noted cinematographer Caleb Deschanel.

(Deschanel’s wife, Mary Jo, also played Ben Horne’s unhappy wife.  Interestingly enough, in the 1983 best picture nominee The Right Suff , for which Caleb Deschanel received an Oscar nomination, Mary Jo played the wife of John Glenn.)

This episode opens where the last one left off.  Audrey (Sherilyn Fenn) is naked in Dale Cooper’s (Kyle MacLachlan) bed and Dale is explaining that he is an agent of the FBI and, as such, he has taken an oath to uphold certain principles.  He tells Audrey that she needs a friend and he says he is going to get them two malts and that she is going to tell him all of her troubles.

This is one of those scenes — and there’s a lot of them to be found in the first season of Twin Peaks — that really shouldn’t work and yet it does.  Everything about it, from Cooper’s corny sincerity to the promise of two malts, serves to remind us that Twin Peaks often has more in common with an idealized 1950s than with any recognizable modern era.  I think that only Kyle MacLachlan could have made Cooper’s lines come across as being sincere as opposed to condescending.  Being rejected by an older man who has just found you naked in his bed is not as pleasant experience as this episode makes it appear to be.  And yet, Fenn and MacLachlan both do a great job at selling this scene.

And yet, there’s one key line in this scene that I think is often overlooked.  When Audrey says that she can’t tell Cooper all of her secrets, she then asks him, “Do you have any secrets?”  Cooper says, “No.”  However, we know that’s a lie.  We know because we saw the way that Cooper smiled when Laura kissed him in his dream.  We know that Cooper is not the asexual puritan that he pretends to be.  When Cooper says that there’s a difference between what he wants and what he needs, we perhaps understand his meaning more than he does.

We learn one of Cooper’s secrets the next morning when he shows up at the police station and discovers Harry (Michael Ontkean) and Doc Hayward (Warren Frost) looking in on Waldo the Myna Bird.  Doc Hayward explains that myna bird’s have an amazing ability to mimic the human voice but they only do it when they’re feeling playful and Waldo is definitely not in the mood.  He asks Cooper if he wants to give Waldo some food.  Cooper replies, “I don’t like birds,” and steps back in such a dramatic fashion that you’re left wondering what terrible bird-related misfortune befell Cooper during his youth.

(Personally, I suspect this was meant to be yet another one of the first season’s many Hitchcock references.  There’s a few more in this episode, which we’ll be getting too shortly.)

Don’t feel to bad for Waldo, though.  While Dale, Hayward, and Harry are watching the bird, Deputy Hawk (Michael Horse) enters with the forensic report on Jacques Renault’s cabin.  There was only one exposed negative on the roll of film and it’s a picture of Waldo biting Laura Palmer’s shoulder.  BAD WALDO!

Realizing that, regardless of how much he may hate birds, Waldo is the only witness they have, Dale leaves a voice-activated tape recorder at the base of Waldo’s cage.  When Waldo speaks, they’ll have it on tape.  Dale also suggests heading up to Canada and investigating One-Eyed Jacks.  When Harry points out that he has no legal authority in Canada, Dale says, “That’s why I was thinking it would be a good job for the Bookhouse Boys.”  Yay!  Vigilante justice!

Last episode, Shelly (Madchen Amick) shot Leo Johnson (Eric Da Re) and we all cheered.  Well, it turns out that Leo survived.  He’s hanging out in the woods, watching his house through a pair of binoculars.  That’s how he sees Bobby showing up at his house and Shelly greeting him with a kiss.  It’s interesting to note that, when Shelly was talking about Leo in The One-Armed Man, she lamented that she only married him because of his red corvette.  However, Bobby — who seems to be destined to grow up to be another Leo — drives a black corvette.  Shelly needs to stop picking her men based on their car.

While Leo sits outside with a sniper rifle, a sobbing Shelly confessed to Bobby that she shot Leo.  Shelly may be upset but Bobby thinks that all this sounds like a good thing.  “Leo Johnson is history!” he declares.  No, Bobby, Leo is sitting outside with a sniper rifle.  Fortunately, for Bobby, Leo has a police scanner with him and he hears Lucy (Kimmy Robertson) announcing that Waldo has been talking.  Leo gets into his pickup truck and drives off.

At the Hayward House, Donna (Lara Flynn Boyle), James (James Marshall), and Maddy (Sheryl Lee) listen to the tape that Maddy found in Laura’s room.  It turns out to be one of several tapes that Laura recorded for Dr. Jacoby (Russ Tamblyn.)  On the tape, Laura wonders why it’s so easy for her to get men to like her and, for a few minutes, I was worried that we’d have to deal with another “James-Gets-Weepy” scene.  Fortunately, Maddy distracts him by pointing out that there’s one empty case in Laura’s collection of tapes.  The missing tape was recorded the night that Laura was killed.  James deduces that Jacoby must have it and that Jacoby might also be Laura’s killer.  He comes up with a plan to get Jacoby out of his office so that he and Donna can search for the tape.  What if Jacoby gets a call from Laura?  Everyone looks over at Maddy.

At Horne’s Department Store, Audrey attempts to convince a customer to buy a perfume that will make her smell like a forest.  Since most forests smell like death, the customer really isn’t interested.  She wants a perfume that makes a statement.  Audrey suggests hanging the perfume around her neck.  “It’s a perfume.  It’s a fashion accessory.  Two statements for the price of one?”  “I don’t appreciate your attitude,” the customer says.  If only I had a dime for every time that I’ve heard that…

Anyway, Audrey isn’t really all that concerned about making sales.  She’s got an investigation to conduct!  This means hiding in the manager’s office and listening while he recruits one of Audrey’s co-workers to go work at One-Eyed Jack’s as a “hospitality girl.”  The manager says that the co-worker’s positive and money-hungrey attitude will take her far in life.  (It’s all about attitude at Horne’s Department Store.)  Later, Audrey deftly manipulates that co-worker into giving her the number to One-Eyed Jacks.  Audrey’s the best.

Meanwhile, at the Double R, Hank (Chris Mulkey) is working at his new job and boring Shelly with inspiring stories about his time in jail.  Little does Shelly know that, before she shot Leo, Hank beat him up.  They have something in common and personally, I think they’d make a cute couple.  I mean, Hank may be sleazy but he’s so damn likable.

Of course, Harry doesn’t like Hank but that’s probably just because of all the drug dealing and other assorted crimes that Hank has committed.  When Cooper and Harry stop by the diner, Harry tells Hank that if he misses one meeting with his parole officer, he’ll be sent back to jail.  Harry tells Cooper that people never change but Cooper is too busy appreciating a cup of black coffee to worry about Hank Jennings.  Cooper tells Harry that the secret of happy living is to give yourself a random present, like a good cup of coffee.

(It’s played for laughs but again, the important word to remember is secret.  Twin Peaks is all about to secrets.)

At the Hurley House, Nadine (Wendy Robie) watches the latest episode of Invitation to Love.  When Big Ed (Everett McGill) enters the room, Nadine announces that she’s eating bon bons because a patent attorney rejected her silent drape runners.  Ed assures her, in one of my favorite lines ever, “Nadine, there’s plenty of patent attorneys.  We’re just going to have to keep looking until we find one that understands drape runners.”  McGill delivers that line with just the right amount of gravitas too.  If I ever lose an eye and become obsessed with drapes, I hope my man will be as understanding as Big Ed Hurley.

At the Packard Mill, Pete Martell (Jack Nance) laments to Harry that a fish he recently caught was bigger before he sent it to the taxidermist.  “Once they take all the innards out,” he explains, the fish loses something, a reminder that everything that makes existence interesting (in both Twin Peaks and life itself), lies directly under the surface.

Harry’s come to see Josie (Joan Chen).  He knows that she was at the Timber Falls Motel on Tuesday but he doesn’t know why.  (She was spying on Ben and Catherine.)  At first, Josie lies and says she was at the mill on Tuesday but eventually, she reveals her secret.  She also tells Harry that she heard Catherine talking about burning down the mill.  Harry swears that he won’t let that happen.

Later, that night, Cooper, looking incredibly dashing in a tuxedo, is preparing to go to One-Eyed Jacks with Harry, Hawk, and Ed.  Cooper has $10,000 of the FBI’s money for them to use in the casino.  “Whenever I gamble with the bureau’s money, I like a 10 to 15% return,” he says.  Cooper’s a gambler?  Who would have guessed, especially since Cooper claimed to have no secrets?

Walter Neff

Twin Peaks, like most of David Lynch’s films, borrowed a lot from classic film noir and nowhere is that more obvious than in the next scene.  An insurance agent (Mark Lowenthal) had dropped in on Catherine Martell (Piper Laurie).  The agent’s name is Mr. Neff, as in Walter Neff from Double Indemnity.  He’s visiting because a life insurance policy has been taken out on Catherine by … Josie Packard!  And, as Mr. Neff goes on to explain, it appears that Ben Horne (Richard Beymer) originally said that he would make sure that Catherine signed the papers!   Apparently, thinking it was strange that Catherine would be “too busy” to appear in person to sign the policy, Mr. Neff held off on giving Josie and Ben the last page that needed to be signed.  Catherine, realizing that she’s been set up, coolly says that she’ll have to look over the policy with her lawyer before signing anything.  It’s a fascinating scene because both Catherine and Neff realize what’s happening but neither comes right out and says it.  Apparently, this was Neff’s only appearance and that’s shame because Mark Lowenthal gives a fun, scene-stealing performance in the role.

Meanwhile, at the police station, Waldo the Myna Bird is feeling well enough to say, “Laura … Laura…” Suddenly, there’s a gunshot.  Hawk, Dale, and Ed — who were busy trying on disguises in the next room — run into the conference room.  Someone — and we know that had to be Leo because he was the one with the sniper rifle — has killed Waldo!

And I have to admit that I felt really bad about Waldo.  The shot of Waldo’s blood dripping down on the uneaten conference room donuts is far more horrifying than you would think, based on the description.  In just one and a half episodes, I had grown rather attached to Waldo.  The fact that we know he was talking because he was finally feeling playful again makes his death all the more tragic.  Andy, with tears in his eyes, reaffirms why he’s one of my favorite minor characters when he says, “Poor Wall-DOE!”

Rest in Peace, Waldo

Dale listens to the tape.  As Angelo Badalamenti’s somber music plays in the background, we hear Waldo say, “Laura!  Laura!  Don’t go there!  Hurting me!  Hurting me!  Stop it!  Stop it!  Leo, no!”  As the camera cuts between Dale and Harry listening to Waldo mimicking Laura’s death, I stopped to once again marvel at the genius of Twin Peaks.  This scene should have been ludicrous.  Instead, I’m getting teary-eyed just writing about it.

Leaving behind the unfortunate Waldo, we go to One-Eyed Jacks.  Cooper and a bewigged Big Ed show up.  (Cooper’s wearing a pair of glasses that look unbelievably adorable on him.)  Blackie (Victoria Catlin) approaches them, which gives us a chance to witness flirtatious Cooper.  On the one hand, flirtatious Cooper is specifically written to be kind of dorky.  That’s just who Dale Cooper is.  But, on the other hand, nothing he says is as dorky as the way Jerry and Ben Horne behaved when they visited One-Eyed Jacks in Zen, or the Skill To Catch A Killer.  Cooper, at least, has the excuse of being undercover.

Blackie takes one look at Big Ed and announces, “You look like a cop.”  Cooper smiles and says, “I’m the cop,” which leads to Blackie says that Dale looks like Cary Grant.  Ironically, MacLachlan would play Cary Grant in the 2004 film, Touch of Pink.

Kyle MacLachlan as Cary Grant in Touch of Pink

Meanwhile, Maddy sneaks out of the Palmer House, barely noticed by Leland (Ray Wise), who is sitting in the shadows.  It’s time for Operation Freak Out Jacoby and here’s where we get this episode’s other big Hitchock reference.  In order to fool Jacoby, Maddy has not only taken off her oversized glasses but she’s also put on Laura’s clothes and is now wearing a blonde wig.  Now is as good a time as any to point out that Madeleine Ferguson’s name comes from Hitchcock’s Vertigo, a film that starred Kim Novak as Madeleine and Jimmy Stewart as Scottie Ferguson.  In Vertigo, of course, Novak played two roles, just as Sheryl Lee does here.  In Vertigo, Novak was used to trick Jimmy Stewart into believing the woman he loved was still alive.  Essentially, that’s the same thing that James and Donna are planning to use Maddy to do to Jacoby.

Back at the Great Northern, Jerry (David Patrick Kelly) and Ben (Richard Beymer) are partying with the Icelandic businesspeople.  (Iceland appears to be full of a lot of fun people.)  Jerry is enraptured with the Icelandic people but Ben is more concerned about getting the contracts signed.  It turns out that the Icelanders only want to sign the contracts if they can do it at One-Eyed Jacks.  Ben agrees and then sends Jerry out of the office so that he can call Josie.  Apparently, the plan is to kill Catherine in the fire that Ben hired Leo to set.

It turns out that Ben and Jerry are not the only Hornes heading to One-Eyed Jacks,  Audrey has already arrived and is meeting with Blackie. As soon as Audrey enters Blackie’s office, we immediately notice all of the red curtains.  That’s never a good sign.  Audrey hands Blackie her resume.  “Hester Prynne,” Blackie says, as she looks the resume over, “Pretty name.”

Audrey has made the mistake of claiming to have worked extensively in Canada.  When Blackie started to quiz Audrey about where specifically she had worked, I yelled, “Degrassi!  Say Degrassi!”  (Later I realized that was foolish on my part, as Twin Peaks predates Degrassi by over a decade,)  Instead, Audrey makes the mistake of mentioning an obviously fake “dude ranch,” (which I guess is where they grow dudes because I’ve never quite understood that term) and answers a question that Blackie asks about someone named Big Amos.

Big mistake.  It turns out that Big Amos is a dog and Blackie read The Scarlet Letter in Canadian high school.

(That said, borrowing the name of a Nathaniel Hawthorne heroine is such an Audrey thing to do that it automatically becomes the greatest thing ever.)

Blackie asks Audrey for one good reason not to kick her out.  Fortunately, there’s a cheery nearby so that Audrey can take it, eat it, and then use her tongue to tie the stem in a knot.  (Before anyone asks, despite having a very flexible tongue, I cannot do that.  However, neither can Sherilyn Fenn.  Apparent, she already had a pre-tied stem in her mouth when they shot the scene.)  Audrey has the job, which — considering how much her father and uncle love visiting One-Eyed Jacks — has the potential to be all sorts of creepy.

 

Inside the casino, Dale is playing blackjack,  His original Jamaican dealer goes on break and is replaced by … JACQUES RENAULT (Walter Olkewicz).

At Jacoby’s office, the good doctor (Russ Tamblyn) is watching Invitation to Love because, apparently, that’s the only show that plays on Twin Peaks television.  When the phone rings, the Hawaii-obsessed Jacoby answers with a somewhat perfunctory, “Aloha.”  (In my experiences, a true Hawaiian can make even the most somber “Aloha” sound like an invitation to the greatest party ever.)  On the other end, Maddy pretends to be Laura.  She tells Jacoby to go to his door.  “There’s something waiting for you.”

And indeed there is!  A VHS tape has been left outside Jacoby’s office.  The tape features Maddy (as Laura) holding that day’s newspaper.  From the payphone, Maddy tells Jacoby to “Meet me at Sparkwood and 21 in ten minutes.”

(Everything in the town of Twin Peaks revolves around wood, both figuratively and literally.)

What James, Maddy, and Donna don’t realize is that they’re being followed by Bobby, who is just as shocked as Jacoby to see “Laura” apparently alive.  (Now is as good a time as any to, once again, point out that Laura was named after the title character from Otto Preminger’s Laura, a film noir about a woman who is incorrectly believed to be dead.)

When Jacoby runs off to find “Laura,” James and Donna sneak into his office.  Meanwhile, Bobby plants cocaine in James’s motorcycle.  As for Maddy, she hangs out around the gazebo, little realizing that someone is watching her from behind the trees…

What a great episode!  Tomorrow, Leonard looks at the finale of season 1!

By the way, if you want even more Lynch, be sure to check out Gary’s review of three of Lynch’s short films and Val’s look at a music video that was made for one of Lynch’s songs.

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

 

 

TV Review: Twin Peaks 1.6 “Cooper’s Dreams” (dir by Lesli Linka Glatter)


“She said that people tried to be good. But they were really sick and rotten on the inside, her most of all. And every time she tried to make the world a better place, something terrible came up inside her and pulled her back down into hell, and took her deeper and deeper into the blackest nightmare. Each time it got harder to go back up to the light.”

— Bobby Briggs (Dana Ashbrook) in Twin Peaks 1.6 “Cooper’s Dreams”

Hi, everyone!  Well, though it wasn’t specifically planned, we’ve got a bit of David Lynch festival going on here at the site.  Not only are Leonard, Jeff, and I reviewing every single episode of Twin Peaks (in anticipation of next month’s Showtime revival) but right now, Jeff is focusing on movies with a Twin Peaks connection for his Movie A Day feature and Val is currently highlighting the various music videos that Lynch has directed over his career.  And, while we’re on the topic, Erin put together an artist profile for David Lynch a few years back.  Be sure to check them all out if you haven’t already!

As for the sixth episode of Twin Peaks, I have to admit that I was really excited when I saw that it was called “Cooper’s Dreams.”  OH MY GOD, I thought, MORE DREAMS!  YAY!  So, you can imagine my surprise when I watched the episode and Cooper did not have a dream.  Apparently, David Lynch and Mark Frost made the specific decision not to title any of their episodes.  Instead, they just called them “Episode 5,” “Episode 6,” and so on.  It was ABC that assigned and came up with the title for each episode.  Some the titles they came up with were pretty good.  (I will always love the sound of Zen, Or the Skill To Catch a Killer.)  Other titles, like “Cooper’s Dreams,” were just kind of there.

(That said, the title isn’t totally random.  It does ultimately work for this episode.)

With all that in mind, let’s take a look at Cooper’s Dreams!

We open with the opening credits.  Yes, I know that’s redundant but I will always mention the opening credits because I love them so much.  After watching the opening credits, you literally feel like you could step outside and find yourself in the town of Twin Peaks.  They are quite simply amazing.

The show begins with a shot of a blood-red full moon, the same moon that hung over the end of the previous episode.  On the soundtrack, we hear singing.  Lots and lots of singing.  It turns out that there’s a bunch of drunk businessmen from Iceland at the Great Northern and they’re currently celebrating some sort of beer holiday.  They’ve managed to wake up Dale Cooper (Kyle MacLachlan).  For the first time since the series began, we get to see Dale actually peeved about something and it’s a wonderfully funny moment, even though it is also used to highlight one of the key themes in the series.  Grabbing his tape recorder, Cooper announces that this proves that “once a traveler leaves home, he has lost 100% of his ability to control his environment.”  The inability to control a previously undiscovered and unknown environment is, in many ways, the engine that keeps this show moving.

Why are the Icelandic businessmen at the hotel?  Again, it has to do with the Horne Brothers and their attempts to try to attract developers to the town.  Since their deal with the Norwegians fell through, Ben (Richard Beymer) and Jerry (David Patrick Kelly) have moved on to Iceland.  When I reviewed the pilot, I speculated that the Norwegians were meant to be a reference to Henrik Ibsen, who was the David Lynch of his day.  However, after doing hours of research, I honestly can’t come up with any subtext to the use of Iceland in this episode.  My best guess, quite frankly, is that no one ever expects a bunch of Icelandic businessmen to show up at a hotel in upstate Washington.

The next morning, a grouchy Agent Cooper drinks coffee and complains to his waitress about his lack of sleep.  Audrey (Sherilyn Fenn) sits down at his table and tells him that she’s gotten a job at her father’s store and wonders if she could help Cooper investigate Laura’s death.

“When I was your age, Wednesday was traditionally a school day,” Cooper says, reminding us all that he’s essentially a man out of time.

Audrey picks up on this, telling him that she finds it hard to believe that Cooper was ever her age.  She then mentions that she’s 18.  In other words, perfectly legal.

In his office, Ben talks to Jerry.  Jerry is super excited, as usual.  Ben is worried about business, as usual.  Jerry announces that the Icelanders are “insane for the Ghostwood Estate projects!”  (The name Ghostwood is interesting, considering that the woods around Twin Peaks appear to be literally haunted.)  Ben and Jerry’s celebration is interrupted by the arrival of Leland Palmer (Ray Wise).  As usual, Leland is distraught.  He says that, as Ben’s attorney, he needs to be a part of the Iceland deal.  Obviously, neither Ben nor Jerry want him freaking out the Icelandic businessmen with talk of his dead daughter and they both try to convince him to go on a trip somewhere.  While Leland sobs, another Icelandic drinking song begins in the background.  Of all the characters on Twin Peaks, Leland’s grief is always the most raw.  While we’re not surprised by the venality of the Horne brothers, even sympathetic characters rarely seem to know how to respond to Leland.

(Of course, there’s a deeper and more disturbing reason behind Leland’s breakdown but that will have to wait for a later review.)

As I watched this scene unfold, I once again found myself thinking about how impressive the production design of Twin Peaks was.  I really love Ben’s all-wood office.  Even Ben’s nameplate is carved out of wood.

Meanwhile, at Jacques Renault’s apartment, the investigation continues.  Harry (Michael Ontkean) tells Dale that Renault can’t be found and neither can his brother, Bernie.  Doc Hayward (Warren Frost) confirms that the blood found on Leo’s shirt was not Laura Palmer’s.  Instead, it was Jacques Renault’s.  Dale isn’t surprised by any of this.  Instead, he’s more interested in the copy of Flesh World that Jacques had hidden up in his ceiling.  Flesh World was the magazine that featured both a “personal ad” from Ronette Pulaski and a picture of Leo Johnson’s truck.  This copy of Flesh World contains a letter that was mailed to Ronette from Georgia.  The letter comes with a picture of a bearded man wearing a blue night gown.  “That’s no Georgia peach,” Harry says.

Oh, Harry.  Never change.

Back the Johnson House, Shelly (Madchen Amick) and Bobby Briggs (Dana Ashbrook) are playing with her pistol and role playing various scenarios that involve forcing Leo to cook before shooting him.  At the risk of being unpopular, I have to admit that I really like Shelly and Bobby as a couple.  Yes, they’re both unlikable and sleazy and they’re both trying way too hard to frame Leo for Laura’s murder.  But, even with all that in mind, they just seem like they belong together.  Maybe it’s just because they’re both so pretty.  Who knows?

Shelly and Bobby’s fun gets interrupted twice.  First, Andy (Harry Goaz) drops by and, while Bobby hides, Shelly says that she overheard Leo having an argument with Jacques.  Immediately after Andy leaves, Leo calls.  Leo wants to know if anyone’s looking for him.  Shelly assures him that no one is and begs him to hurry on home, all the while staring down at the gun in her hand.

Meanwhile, Norma (Peggy Lipton) and Ed (Everett McGill) are having relationship drama of their own.  Norma stops by the auto yard to tell Ed that Hank’s (Chris Mulkey) gotten parole and is coming home.  Ed mentions that Nadine (Wendy Robie) is meeting with a patent lawyer.  “The silent drape runners?” Norma asks.  I don’t know what Norma’s being so snarky about.  Silent drape runners sound like a great invention to me!  Anyway, Ed and Norma decide to give up on their relationship.  The scene veers a bit too close to getting a bit too mawkish but Angelo Badalamenti’s theme music saves it.

At Horne’s Department Store, the manager makes the mistake of trying to assign Audey to a position other than the perfume counter.  Audrey replies that if she doesn’t get to work where she wants to work, she’s going to rip her dress, scream, and tell everyone that he made a pass at her.  Perfume counter it is!

Meanwhile, Donna Hayward (Lara Flynn Boyle) meets James Hurley (James Marshall) at a lakeside gazebo and, as I watched them talk, I found myself wondering if maybe Cooper didn’t have a point earlier.  Audrey’s at the department store, blackmailing her way to a sales job.  Bobby is playing with Shelley.  James and Donna are at the gazebo.  Does anyone in this town go to school!?  I guess Mike (Gary Hershberger) is probably there, pushing freshmen into lockers and leering at cheerleaders.  But otherwise, Twin Peaks High School is probably close to being deserted by this point.

Anyway, James tells Donna that his father was a musician and his mother was a writer and that neither one of them was a good parent.  He wants his relationship with Donna to be an honest relationship.  In my research of this show, I’ve seen a lot of criticism of James Marshall’s performance in the role of James Hurley.  Personally, I think Marshall did the best that he could do with a character who tended to be a bit of a drag.  All things considered, James Hurley could be a little bit whiny.  I mean, yes, his parents sucked.  But his uncle is willing to do anything for him.  His beautiful girlfriend may have been murdered but now he has a new beautiful girlfriend.  Nobody thinks that he murdered Laura.  And he apparently never has to actually go to school.  Cheer up, James!

(I read an interesting interview with James Marshall where he said that James Hurley started out as the cool James Dean of Rebel Without A Cause, just to become the weepy James Dean of East of Eden.  That’s the perfect way to put it so give Marshall some credit for that.)

Back at Jacques’s apartment, we’re reminded why the police are too busy to enforce the truancy laws.  They’ve got a murder to solve!  Searching the apartment, Dale finds pictures of a cabin that has red curtains (just like the curtains from his dream).  He realizes that the curtains are also visible in one of the personal ads in Flesh World, an ad that, like Ronette’s, was apparently placed by Jacques Renault.  Though her face isn’t visible, Dale deduces that the picture with the red curtains features Laura Palmer.  Hawk (Michael Horse) mentions that the Renault brothers have a cabin on the border.  Dale suggests that everyone pack a lunch and prepare for a walk around the woods.

(I have to admit that, during this scene, I kept getting distracted by the painting of a sad clown hanging on the wall.  I found myself wondering it was the same sad clown who used to show up whenever I would play The Sims.  I hated that clown and, whenever he would show up, I would always lead him into a room with a fireplace, delete the door, place a dozen rubber trees in front of the fireplace, and then light a fire.  You do what you have to do when it comes to sad clowns.)

Go to Hell, Sad Clown!

At the Double R Diner, James and Donna have a meeting with Maddy (Sheryl Lee) and her oversized red glasses.  Maddy is one of those characters who I always struggle with.  She is way too cheerful for own good but I think that may have been intentional.  Whenever she smiles and innocently says that everyone says that she and Laura were exactly alike, it’s a reminder that Laura Palmer was not at all who people thought she was.  Laura was, to quote the Man From Another Place, full of secrets.  Cheerful, happy Maddy is who everyone assumed Laura was but Maddy is also never as interesting a character as Laura was.  Maddy’s fatal flaw will ultimately prove to be that she has no secrets and therefore, no understanding of just how dangerous the world can be.  Anyway, Donna and James tells Maddy that they want to solve Laura’s murder.  Maddy agrees to help.

Far more interesting is the interaction between Hank and Norma.  Having just gotten out of jail, Hank is hanging out at the diner when Norma and Shelly come in.  Both Norma and Shelly have gotten makeovers and now look like they should be posing for Diane Arbus.  Hank tells Norma that he won’t try to kiss her.  He wants to earn his place back in her heart.  Even though I know Hank’s a bad guy, Chris Mulkey gives such a charming performance that I can’t help but like him.

Meanwhile, it’s family counseling with the Briggs family!  Bobby, his military father (Don S. Davis), and his cross-wearing mother (Charlotte Stewart) are meeting with Dr.  Jacoby (Russ Tamblyn).  Jacoby is wearing a tie with a turtle neck sweater.  Let that sink in.

Despite Jacoby’s sartorial missteps, this is one of the best scenes in the entire episode.  Jacoby sends Maj. and Mrs. Briggs out of the office and has a one-on-one discussing with Bobby.  As they talk, it becomes apparent that Jacoby’s main interest is in finding out about Bobby’s relationship with Laura.  Because Jacoby was secretly treating Laura, he knows exactly what to ask Bobby to get a reaction.  Jacoby is not only investigating Laura’s death but he’s also taunting a romantic rival and, ultimately, actually helping Bobby have a breakthrough.  For the first time, Bobby cries and shows some sign that he actually has human feelings.  Both Tamblyn and Ashbrook give amazing performances in this scene.

In the woods, Cooper, Harry, Hawk, and Doc Hayward (who I guess is some sort of cop now) search for the cabin.  They find a cabin but it’s not the cabin that they’re looking for.  Instead, it belongs to … THE LOG LADY (Catherine E. Coulson).  YAY!  The Log Lady will explain everything.

“Come on in,” The Log Lady says, “My log does not judge.”

Inside the cabin, the Log Lady adds, “Shut your eyes and you’ll burst into flame.”

“Thanks, Margaret,” Harry replies.

The Log Lady, who wears the same oversized red glasses as Maddy, says that 1) they’re two days late and 2) that her log saw something significant.  The Log Lady assures her log that she’ll do the talking and then says that, the night Laura Palmer was murdered, the log was aware of many things.  The owls were flying.  There were two men.  There was much laughing.  Two girls.  A flashlight passing the bridge.  “The owls were near,” the Log Lady says, “the dark was pressing in on her.”  Eventually, the owls were silent.

After leaving the Log Lady, Dale says that the two girls were Ronette and Laura.  And the two men?  Jacques and Leo?  Or could it be that the two men are symbols of something far more disturbing?

The group finally comes across the cabin with red curtains.  Inside,a record player plays the haunting sound of Julie Cruise singing about the night and Dale remembers the Man from Another Place saying that, where he and Laura are from, there’s always music in the air.  There’s no sign of Jacques but there is a camera.  And a myna bird named Waldo.

According to the Netflix subtitles, the next scene begins with people “Singing Home On The Range In Icelandic.”  We’re back at the Great Northern Hotel.  Like a femme fatale in a film noir, Josie (Joan Chen) sits in the shadows of an office and smokes a cigarette.

Jerry Horne announces that they are all Icelanders.

Meanwhile, in the Great Timber Room (everything’s about wood), a reception is being held for the Icelandic businessmen.  The Horne Brothers have invited the best and brightest of Twin Peaks.  Catherine (Piper Laurie) and Pete (Jack Nance) show up.  Jack tells Catherine to go easy on the alcohol so Catherine immediately orders a drink.

Ben talks to the businessmen.  He says, “What do you get when you cross a Norwegian with a Swede?  A socialist who wants to be king!”  I’ll be sure to remember that joke in case I ever find myself trapped in an elevator with a Bernie Sanders supporter.

Catherine and Ben meet in Ben’s office, little realizing that they’re being watched by Audrey.  Apparently, the Great Northern is full of secret passages and Audrey, being a badass, knows about every single one of them.  But even beyond the fun of a secret passage, this gets back to something that I’ve been saying since my very first review of Twin Peaks.  This show is about the unknown that lies underneath the facade of normalcy.  Just as it’s inevitable that Laura Palmer would be full of secrets, it’s inevitable that the all-wood Great Northern would be full of secret passages.

(The scene of Audrey crouches in front of a peephole also is a nice visual shout out to Psycho.)

Audrey discovers that Catherine is upset because Ben had a poker chip from One-Eyed Jacks in his suit.  Audrey’s smile as she watches Catherine slap Ben is one of the main reasons why I relate so much to Audrey.  Like me, she loves to observe the melodrama while, at the same time, remaining slightly detached from what’s actually happening.  By observing through a peephole, she mimics what every viewer is doing while they watch Twin Peaks unfold on a screen, regardless of whether that screen belongs to a TV, a laptop, or a phone.  Audrey is the audience.  She loves Cooper because, in the tradition of Gary Cooper, he’s the perfect cinematic hero and the audience always loves the hero.  She wants to know who killed Laura less out of a sense of justice more out of a need for the story she’s watching to have a proper conclusion.  Audiences always demand a perfect and proper conclusion.

Uh-oh, Leland’s shown up at the party!  And he’s dancing!  And sobbing!  Catherine runs out onto the dance floor and starts to dance with him, a big smile plastered across her face.  When Leland starts to pound his fists against his head, Catherine mimics him but she does it with a smile.  The Icelandic visitors start to dance as well.  Soon everyone is beating their head and laughing, except for Leland who is still sobbing.  It’s a whole new party and again, as always, Leland is pushed to the side.  Significantly, it is Audrey — who was so detached just a few minutes ago — who watches Leland and starts to cry.  Again, she is the audience, suddenly touched by Leland’s plight.  She alone understands the scene that she’s watching.  This scene is Twin Peaks at its absolute best, a combination of raw emotion and painfully dark comedy.

At the Palmer House, Maddy calls Donna that she found an audio tape in Laura’s bedroom.  They agree to meet tomorrow and listen to it.  Sure, why not?  What else are they going to do?  Go to school?

Back at the Great Northern, Ben is having a secret meeting with … JOSIE PACKARD!  OH MY GOD, COULD IT BE JOSIE IS NOT AN INNOCENT AS WE ALL THOUGHT?  Well, yeah.  It’s Twin Peaks after all.

At the Johnson House, Leo finally returns.  First Hank shows up and beat him up, yelling at him for mismanaging their drug business.  When Leo tries to take it out on Shelly, she shoots him.  Good for Shelly.

Dale finally arrives back at his room.  He’s annoyed to hear that the Icelandic singing is still continuing.  He’s even more annoyed when he realizes that someone is waiting for him in his dark room.  He draws his gun.  “Turn on the light!” he announces.

The light comes on and … there’s a naked Audrey in his bed!  “Please, don’t make me leave,” she says.

With that, the episode ends.  This is one of those episodes that starts out a little bit slow but, by the end, it actually becomes a classic.  Between the Jacoby therapy session, the meeting with the Log Lady, and Leland’s dance, this was ultimately Twin Peaks at its best.

Up next: “Realization Time”

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