Avenging Force (1986, directed by Sam Firstenberg)


If you think this year’s elections are messed up, just watch Avenging Force and see what happens when two martial artists run against each other for a seat in the U.S. Senate.

Steve James plays Larry Richards, a former military commando who is now running for the Senate in Louisiana.  His opponent is Wade Delaney (Bill Wallace), who is described as being “the South’s youngest senator” and who is also secretly one of the world’s greatest martial artists.  Wade is a member of Pentangle, a Neo-Nazi cult that is made up of wealthy businessmen and other politicians.  When Larry and his family are invited to ride a float in the most sedate Mardi Gras parade of all time, the Pentangle attempts to assassinate him.  While Larry escapes injury, his oldest son does not.

Larry’s best friend, Col. Matt Hunter (Michael Dudikoff), is also in town and Hunter just happens to be another one of the world’s greatest martial artists.  (This film leave you wondering if there’s anyone in Louisiana who isn’t secretly a ninja.)  Matt tries to protect Larry and the remaining members of his family from Pentangle.  Matt fails miserably.  With Larry and the entire Richards family now dead, Matt goes deep into the Louisiana bayou, seeking both to rescue his sister (who has been kidnapped and is set to be sold at some sort of Cajun-run sex auction) and avenge Larry’s death.

As you probably already guessed, Avenging Force is a Cannon Film and it’s crazy even by that company’s fabled standards.  It’s not often that you come across a movie about a U.S. Senator who is also a neo-Nazi ninja who spends his spare time stalking people through the bayous.  What makes this plot point even more memorable is that no one in Avenging Force seems to be shocked by it.  Matt isn’t surprised in the least when an elected official suddenly lunges out of the fog and attempts to drown him in swamp water.  Of course, Senator Delaney isn’t the only villain in the film.  In fact, he’s not even the main bad guy.  That honor goes to Prof. Elliott Glastenbury (John P. Ryan), who lives in a huge mansion and who sees himself as a real-life version of The Most Dangerous Game‘s General Zaroff.  He not only wants to secretly rule the world but he also wants to hunt human prey in the bayou.  When Matt shows up at Glastenbury’s mansion, he is greeted by a butler who complains that Matt hasn’t bothered to wipe the blood off his shirt before showing up.

Avenging Force was originally planned as a sequel to Invasion U.S.A., with Chuck Norris reprising the role of Matt Hunter.  When Norris declined to appear in the film, the connection to Invasion U.S.A. was dropped and Michael Dudikoff of the American Ninja films was cast in the lead role.  (Of course, they didn’t bother to change anyone’s name in the script so the hero of Avenging Force is still named Matt Hunter, even if he’s not meant to be the same Matt Hunter from Invasion U.S.A.)  What Dudikoff lacked in screen presence, he made up for in athleticism and Avenging Force features some Cannon’s best fight scenes.  The plot may be full of holes but the idea of ninjas in the bayou is so inherently cool that it carries the film over any rough patches.

The critics may not have loved Avenging Force when it was first released but it holds up well as a fast-paced and weird action film.  It is perhaps the best Cajun ninja film ever made.

Horror on the Lens: Hotline (dir by Jerry Jameson)


Yay!  Brianne O’Neill (Lynda Carter) has a got a new job, working at a crisis hotline!

Boooo!  The serial called known as the Barber is now obsessed with calling her!

The Barber is known as the Barber because he cuts his victims’s hair before killing them, which as far as I’m concerned, make him even worse than a normal serial killer.  You have to wonder if he resents being known as the Barber as opposed to The Stylist.

Anyway, it’s up to Brianne to figure out why The Barber keeps calling her and to hopefully discover his identity.  For whatever reason, no one else seems to be that concerned about it.

That’s the plot of Hotline, a 1982 made-for-TV movie that is today’s horror on the lens.  It’s not a bad film, though it does inspire a certain amount of snarkiness while you’re watching it.  For the most part, though, it’s well-acted and effectively directed.  If you’ve got 95 minutes to kill, why not kill them with Lynda Carter, The Barber, and Frank Stallone?

Horror on the Lens: The Spiral Staircase (dir by Robert Siodmak)


For today’s horror on the lens, we have the 1946 suspense film, The Spiral Staircase!

In this film, Dorothy McGuire plays Helen, a young mute woman who has been hired to serve as a caretaker for wealthy old Mrs. Warren (Ethel Barrymore, who was nominated for an Oscar for this film).  At the same time, someone is murdering women in the same town.  Are they all connected?  Of course, they are!  The fun of the movie is discovering how they’re connected.

I was introduced to The Spiral Staircase by my friend and fellow member of the Late Night Movie Gang, Chris Filby.  It’s a gothic murder mystery, full of atmosphere and menace.  I think you’ll like it so, if you have 80 minutes to spend on it, please watch and enjoy!

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


Welcome back to Twin Peaks!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“That’s only $12, James,” Ed says.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Where is Donnie?” Mr. Bursotn asks.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Then we both die,” Cooper says.

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

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

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

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

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

Windom Earle has come to Twin Peaks!

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

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

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

  1. Twin Peaks: In the Beginning by Jedadiah Leland
  2. TV Review: Twin Peaks 1.1 — The Pilot (dir by David Lynch) by Lisa Marie Bowman
  3. TV Review: Twin Peaks 1.2 — Traces To Nowhere (directed by Duwayne Dunham) by Jedadiah Leland
  4. TV Review: Twin Peaks 1.3 — Zen, or the Skill To Catch A Killer (dir by David Lynch) by Lisa Marie Bowman
  5. TV Review: Twin Peaks 1.4 “Rest in Pain” (dir by Tina Rathbone) by Leonard Wilson
  6. TV Review: Twin Peaks 1.5 “The One-Armed Man” (directed by Tim Hunter) by Jedadiah Leland
  7. TV Review: Twin Peaks 1.6 “Cooper’s Dreams” (directed by Lesli Linka Glatter) by Lisa Marie Bowman
  8. TV Review: Twin Peaks 1.7 “Realization Time” (directed by Caleb Deschanel) by Lisa Marie Bowman
  9. TV Review: Twin Peaks 1.8 “The Last Evening” (directed by Mark Frost) by Leonard Wilson
  10. TV Review: Twin Peaks 2.1 “May the Giant Be With You” (dir by David Lynch) by Leonard Wilson
  11. TV Review: Twin Peaks 2.2 “Coma” (directed by David Lynch) by Jedadiah Leland
  12. TV Review: Twin Peaks 2.3 “The Man Behind The Glass” (directed by Lesli Linka Glatter) by Jedadiah Leland
  13. TV Review: Twin Peaks 2.4 “Laura’s Secret Diary” (dir by Todd Holland) by Lisa Marie Bowman
  14. TV Review: Twin Peaks 2.5 “The Orchid’s Curse” (dir by Graeme Clifford) by Lisa Marie Bowman
  15. TV Review: Twin Peaks 2.6 “Demons” (dir by Lesli Linka Glatter) by Leonard Wilson
  16. TV Review: Twin Peaks 2.7 “Lonely Souls” (directed by David Lynch) by Jedadiah Leland
  17. TV Review: Twin Peaks 2.8 “Drive With A Dead Girl” (dir by Caleb Deschanel) by Lisa Marie Bowman
  18. TV Review: Twin Peaks 2.9 “Arbitrary Law” (dir by Tim Hunter) by Lisa Marie Bowman
  19. TV Review: Twin Peaks 2.10 “Dispute Between Brothers” (directed by Tina Rathbone) by Jedadiah Leland
  20. TV Review: Twin Peaks 2.11 “Masked Ball” (directed by Duwayne Dunham) by Leonard Wilson
  21. TV Review: Twin Peaks 2.12 “The Black Widow” (directed by Caleb Deschanel) by Leonard Wilson

TV Review: Twin Peaks 2.12 “The Black Widow” (directed by Caleb Deschanel)


Twin Peaks

Ladies and Gentlemen, welcome back to Twin Peaks!

Here we are at Episode 12 of Season 2, “The Black Widow” was directed by Caleb Deschanel, who happens to be the father of Emily (Bones) and Zooey (New Girl). The episode opens with Bobby Briggs (Dana Ashbrook) paying a visit to Ben Horne (Richard Beymer). Ben is somewhat down on his luck, having learned the truth about Audrey’s (Sherilyn Fenn) visit to One Eyed Jack’s and Hank (Chris Mulkey) informing him that the brothel has been taken over by Jean Renault (Michael Parks). Ben gives Bobby a mission to follow Hank and get him on film, handing him a camera. Anything mischievous or crazy, Ben needs it for blackmail.

On the way out of Ben’s office, Bobby watches a screaming Lana Milford (Robyn Lively, who I found out is actress Blake Lively’s sister) as she runs through the hallways. Given the title of the episode, I think we may be able to get an idea of what happened.

Dale Cooper (Kyle MacLachlan) is finally settling down in Twin Peaks, and with a realtor in his office, he’s given two options for Open Houses. Being Dale, he leaves the decision to chance with the flip of a quarter. The quarter spins and lands on the picture of a third property that was left out. The realtor tells him that the property is known as “Dead Dog Farm”, and no one really stays there long. It’s the place for Dale and he asks to see it right away.

Judy Swain (Molly Shannon, SNL)  from the Happy Helping Hands Organization stops by the precinct to speak with Andy (Harry Goaz), Lucy (Kimmy Robertson) and Dick (Ian Buchanan) about little Nicky (Joshua Harris). Judy has some interesting news on Little Nicky. It turns out that his parents were killed by mysterious circumstances, and he was bounced around to various homes. Judy doesn’t say whether Nicky had a hand in his parents death, but we can figure the best course of action here maybe to get those Megiddo daggers from The Omen and take that little kid to a church.

TP-Molly Shannon

Sheriff Truman (Michael Ontkean) calls out to Andy as they have to make a run to the Great Northern. A tragedy has occurred. Sure enough, the next scene gives us the recently deceased Dougie Milford (Tony Jay) laying in bed. Doc Hayward (William Frost) declares it – a heart attack. Apparently, Dougie was in the throes of passion when his heart gave out. Mayor Dwayne Milford (John Boylan) says his brother couldn’t refuse a beautiful woman, and on seeing Lana in the hallway, he calls her out as a witch and a succubus. Hawk (Michael Horse) approaches Lana and attempts to console her, listening to her state that she’s cursed. Her Prom Night date in High School tried to kiss her, but his braces malfunctioned, leaving him with a lockjaw. Knowing a thing or two about curses, Hawk tells her not to worry and that when things go down, he’s the man. The scene ends on a laughable note.

Gym Class at the High School. The coach introduces the newest member of the wrestling team to her peers, Ms. Nadine Hurley (Wendy Robie). She challenges her crush Mike Nelson (Gary Hershberger) to a sparring session. Mike sets Nadine up in a grapple hold, but she easily tackles him to the ground. She manages to also put him in a head lock and even body slam the poor fellow. Mike is down and out for the count, waiting for someone to throw a python on him and call it a day. In the next scene, we see a damaged Mike as he makes his way down the hallways of school. He reaches Donna and begs her to help him get Nadine off his back. She tells him that maybe an older woman is what he needs.

At Evelyn Marsh’s (Annette McCarthy) residence, James (James Marshall) meets Malcolm Sloan (Nicholas Love) Evelyn’s brother and the family chauffeur. If you recall from the previous episode, James is staying with Evelyn to fix her husband’s Jaguar. He was given the job by his sister, and without it would have probably gone on to drink himself into a corner. He alludes to the idea that her husband Jeffrey (John Apicella) beats her often, and to get back at him, she damages his things. Apparently, she was the one to put the Jaguar in traction. Malcolm leaves James to deal with the info he’s just provided.

Irene Littlehorse (Geraldine Kearns) brings Cooper to Dead Dog Farm.

A tiny digression here. Angelo Badalamenti has a sweet eerie tune here that sounds very much like something Charlie Clouser (Saw, The Collector) would have worked on. The closest contemporary sound I could find was as a song called “Talk to Me” by Porcelain Raft. If you get a chance, give it a listen. I wouldn’t be shocked to discover Badalamenti was an influence to them and others. This might also explain how Trent Reznor’s involved in the Revival.

Anyway, Irene and Cooper find that Dead Dog Farm was recently visited. As they go inside, they discover more clues. It appears someone’s been there in the past few hours (how Cooper realizes that is beyond me, but he’s Cooper. He deals in luck and sorcery, we’ll just accept it). He discovers baby laxative in the sink, and cocaine in a chair. With a smile, he tells Irene that they have to contact the Sheriff. The trail has become hot, and he wasn’t even trying.

Dick and Nicky are at their campsite, and Dick is trying to fix a flat. Nicky is being somewhat annoying by playing with the steering wheel and honking the horn. Dick yells at him, and Nicky puts himself out of the way, somewhat happy at the mayhem he’s caused. However, when the jack on the car gives way and almost injures Dick, Nicky runs and hugs him, worried about if he died. Dick seems a little surprised by this, and it’s something of a bonding moment between them. Then again, perhaps Nicky was just setting a trap for Dick.

At the preceinct, Truman and Cooper are talking with Colonel Riley(Tony Burton) regarding Garland Briggs’ (Don Davis) disappearance. There appears to be a connection between some messages from deep space that pertain to Agent Cooper. According to the Colonel, the source of the messages weren’t from space, but from an area very near to, or practically in Twin Peaks. The Colonel mentions that Briggs’ disappearance is a very serious thing with extreme ramifications to national security.

At the Marsh residence, James is finished fixing the Jaguar. He asks Evelyn about her husband, about what he’s done to her. She argues the point, but after a kiss and the honk of a car, she goes on alert. Jeffrey has come home, and she runs out to meet him.

Audrey meets Bobby at the Great Northern, congratulating him on the job he’s acquired with her father. She also asks him if he’d be willing to work with her as well. Misunderstanding the meaning of business, he leans in for a kiss, which she deftly evades. He smiles, saying he likes the way she thinks and heads to Ben Horne’s office.

That scene bothered me a little, and this may have to do with the idea that at the time, Lara Flynn Boyle was dating Kyle MacLachlan. Since the two of them were together, it supposedly caused a bit of a rift between she and Sherilyn Fenn. The setup that would have possibly led to an Audrey / Cooper courtship was derailed and by this point, it looked like the writers weren’t entirely sure of where to put Audrey in the scheme of things. As long as she was far from Cooper, it worked out. That’s just my speculation.

Audrey snoops in on Ben and Bobby from one of the cubbyholes in the lodge. She sees that he was able to get the pictures for Ben, though to what end, we’re not sure.

Josie (Joan Chen) is doing maid duty for Catherine Martell (Piper Laurie) to pay for her scheming against here. There isn’t much to the scene save that Catherine is relishing where she has Josie here.

Cooper records something for Diane, saying that the response to Windom Earl’s first move was printed in the local paper, but he received the response to that move the day before. He understands that Windom is one step ahead of him, and needs to find a way to change that. He also points out that in the time since his suspension, he’s looked for a home, and he has to worry about his defense, which could be a problem.

Just in time, Audrey knocks on the door, presenting Cooper with a package. Inside are the pictures from Ben’s office. Pictures that include Ernie Niles (James Booth). Audrey’s happy here, considering that the information may actually exonerate Cooper, but before she could continue, Cooper’s door knocks again. This time, it’s Denise Bryson (David Duchovny), who is introduced to Audrey.

Tp-Denise-Audrey-Coop

“They have women agents?” she says, shaking Denise’s hand, a glint in her eye that suggests she may have found her calling.

“More or Less.”, Denise responds. Audrey thanks the both of them and kisses Cooper (Finally!!!) before leaving the room. It’s here that Denise points out something I missed in Audrey’s age. Cooper smiles, telling Denise that with her change in perception and identity, he assumed girls wouldn’t factor into all that. Her response is simple and it’s an effective close to the scene:

“Coop. I may be wearing a dress, but I still pull my panties on one leg at a time, if you know what I mean.”

Norma (Peggy Lipton) and Ed (Everett McGill) have a small moment over Pie about the lives they planned, and the plans that didn’t work out. She touches his hand, and says that they can make new plans, but this falls within earshot of someone holding a domino in their hands. Hank perhaps? We’re not shown. They better be careful.

Dick comes into the Precinct, pulls Andy aside and whispers that Little Nicky may very well be the Devil. Called it. Totally called it.

Mayor Milford is in Truman’s office with Truman and Doc Hayward, looking to press charges against Lana over his brother’s death by sex. He yells that she won’t get a red cent of Dougie’s money and storms out.

And here’s one of the best scenes of the episode, if short. Hawk, standing in the doorway of the room with Lana (playing the Ingenue) behind him asks the men in the main room (Hayward, Andy, Truman, and Dick) for some Irish creme to add to Lana’s coffee. Dick breaks into Act 1, Scene 5 of Romeo & Juliet, with Hayward joining in. They’re all transfixed on the redhead in the room, which reminded me of both Rita Hayworth’s introduction in Gilda, the cover models in some of the detective stories that Erin has posted here on the Lens, and Lindy Booth’s character in Cry Wolf. When everyone disperses, a phone call comes in on the line, which Lucy picks up. She finds, however, that she’s unable to reach Truman, Andy or anyone. Walking back to the room where Lana was in, she opens to door to find everyone laughing and listening to Lana’s stories. Even Andy is caught up in the magic. This, of course, infuriates Lucy, who leaves and slams the door behind her. I would have loved to know if slamming the door had any effect on the guys in the room. Whether Lana presents any kind of danger is unknown at this point, but that honestly was a great setup if we do find she’s a Femme Fatale.

We’re back at the diner, with a pair of heeled legs that step into the room. Ernie Niles is having dinner when Denise slides into the seat across from him. Taking out the pictures that Audrey stole, she informs Niles that he’s guilty of a parole violation and unless he helps her (she says, reapplying her lipstick), she’ll do everything she can to make sure he stays there. It’s a cute little scene.

We then find Ernie being interrogated by Cooper and Denise in a cabin under the midst of a thunderstorm. Ernie confesses he had about four kilos of coke, and Denise has him set up a meet at the Dead Dog Farm, where she’ll meet him as a drug trafficker. On realizing that Denise is more than who she says she is, he kind of has a bad reaction and runs to the restroom.

Cut to the Marsh residence. Screaming. Glass breaking. James wakes up to these sounds and when Malcolm steps into the room, he asks if Evelyn will be alright. He states that he once thought revenge, but she stopped him for both of their sakes. This leaves James wondering if he should intervene.

The final scene of this episode has Betty Briggs (Charlotte Stewart), weeping over the loss of Major Briggs. Bobby has a great moment here where he tells her of the dream his father had about him and his future. During the storm, the lights go out, and in the darkness, we find Major Briggs suddenly in the living room. How did he get there? Where the heck was he?! He asks Bobby to fix him a drink, and when asked if everything’s alright, his answer is simple.

“Not exactly.”

And isn’t that always how is it in Twin Peaks? That’s the episode. This one was actually really good, and so far the show is holding up well. Tune in tomorrow for “Checkmate”, the next episode in our Marathon.

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

TV Review: Twin Peaks 2.10 “Dispute Between Brothers” (directed by Tina Rathbone)


The 10th episode of the 2nd season of Twin Peaks opens with a shot of Laura and Leland Palmer’s pictures on the mantle and a title card telling us that it has been three days since Leland’s death.

At the Palmer house, Mrs. Palmer (Grace Zabriskie) is preparing to bury her husband.  Doctor Hayward (Warren Frost) tries to give her a shot, which she refuses.  Agent Cooper (Kyle MacLachlan) assures her that Leland did not actually kill her daughter.

(It’s interesting to note that this episode was directed by Tina Rathone, whose last episode also featured a funeral.)

At Leland’s wake, the entire cast has shown up and they’ve all brought food.  Nadine (Wendy Robie) is dressed like a 1950s teenager.  Audrey (Sherilyn Fenn) wonders if people are invited to wakes or if they just show up.  Hank (Chris Mulkey) grabs all the food that he can.  Donna (Lara Flynn Boyle) tells Ed (Everett McGill) that James is blaming himself for everything that happened.  Ed promises Donna that James will eventually come back.  Speaking of coming back, Doctor Jacoby (Russ Tamblyn) has finally returned from Hawaii and arrived just in time for the wake.

Cooper tells Harry (Michael Ontkean) and Major Briggs (Don S. Davis) that he has some vacation time coming up so he will be sticking around town for at least a few more days.  The Major invites Cooper to go night fishing.

Twin Peaks’s elderly mayor, Dwayne Milford (John Boylan) throws a swing at his equally elderly brother, Dougie (Tony Jay), the owner of the town’s newspaper.  As Harry and Ed pull them apart, Pete (Jack Nance) tells Cooper that Dougie and Dwayne have had a running feud for over 50 years.  Cooper says he’s really going to miss Twin Peaks.

Fade to commercial.

When the show returns, Ed and Jacoby are at Twin Peaks High School and trying to talk the vice principal (Don Calfa) into admitting 35 year-old Nadine as a member of the senior class.  Nadine runs into the office and tells them to hurry up because class is about to start and she wants to try out for cheerleader.

Cooper is in his hotel room, packing.  Audrey comes in, says that she’s from customer relations, and asks if his stay has been satisfactory.  Audrey asks if Cooper’s just going to leave and break her heart.  Cooper explains that he can’t get involved with anyone who was involved in any of his cases.  Cooper explains that he once fell in love with a material witness.  He was supposed to protect her but, when the attempt was made on her life, he was not prepared and she died in his arms.

At the Johnson house, Bobby (Dana Ashbrook) is trying on Leo’s (Eric Da Re) suit.  Bobby is going to try to convince Ben into giving him a job.  Shelly (Madchen Amick) is already getting bored with her new life.

At the sheriff’s station, Harry walks into his office and finds Catherine (Piper Laurie) waiting for him.

“Hello, Harry,” Catherine says.

“Forgive me for saying so, Catherine,” Harry replies, “but aren’t you dead?”

Catherine shrugs.  She explains that, after the explosion at the mill, she woke up in the woods with no knowledge of how she got there.  She says that a guardian angel must have rescued her.  She spent a week living in the woods, eating only tuna fish.  Harry asks what made her come back.  Catherine says that she ran out of tuna fish.

In the lobby, Dick (Ian Buchanan) tells Lucy (Kimmy Robertson) that he wants to talk about their “bambino.”  Dick says he wants to be a father, he believes the child is his, and that he’s enrolled in parenting classes.  After hiding around the corner and listening to the conversation, Andy (Harry Goaz) walks into the lobby and says that, for the sake of the baby, they should all be friends.  As Andy later explains to Hawk (Michael Horse), the key to Lucy’s heart lies in “morals and manly behaviors.”

Cooper stops by Harry’s office to say goodbye.  Harry gives Cooper a parting gift of a special fishing lure and a Book House Boy patch.  Cooper then says goodbye to Hawk, Andy, and Lucy.  However, the goodbyes are interrupted by the arrival of FBI Agent Roger Hardy (Clarence Williams IIIand Preston King (Gavan O’Herlihy) of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.

(Long before they both appeared on Twin Peaks, Clarence Williams III and Peggy Lipton co-starred on The Mod Squad.  Gavan O’Herlihy is the son of Dan O’Herlihy.  Best known for playing Conal Cochran in Halloween III, Dan will join the cast of Twin Peaks in one more episode.  As for Gavan, he is probably best known for playing Chuck Cunningham during the first season of Happy Days and getting shot by Charles Bronson in Death Wish II.)

Roger tells Cooper that he has been suspended from the FBI.  Cooper’s raid on One-Eyed Jack’s was a violation of FBI policy because it involved crossing the border into Canada.  Roger says that there are other allegations as well but they’re waiting for the evidence to arrive.  Roger explains that King was involved in a sting operation to capture Jean Renault and that Cooper’s actions screwed it up.  Also, the cocaine that King was using as a part of the operation disappeared after Cooper’s raid.  Roger tells Cooper that he has 24 hours to assemble his defense.

At the Great Northern, Audrey helps Bobby get into Ben’s office but Ben (Richard Beymer) immediately has Bobby tossed out.  Audrey saves Bobby from Ben’s goons.  In order to thank her, Bobby buys Audrey an ice cream cone.  “I like to lick,” Audrey says.

At Twin Peaks High School, Nadine tries out for cheerleader.  Nadine now has Hulk-like super strength now, which she demonstrated by picking up a student and throwing him through the air.

Bobby calls Shelly to tell her about the meeting.  While Shelly talks on the phone about how they have to put Leo in a home, Leo moves forward in his wheel chair.  “He moved!” Shelly says, shocked.

At the diner, Norma (Peggy Lipton) takes the fancy table cloths off the tables and complains to Vera (Jane Greer) about a bad review that the Double R got from the mysterious travel writer, M.T. Wentz.  Vivian reveals that she’s M.T. Wentz and she gave her own daughter’s diner a negative review.  Vera says that she can’t violate her professional ethics.

At One-Eyed Jack’s, Hank and Ernie (James Booth) are chasing women and acting like fools.  Hank is pressuring Ernie to steal Vera’s money.  Ernie says he could never do that, he’s gone straight.  That’s when Hank introduces Ernie to his new employer, Jean Renault (Michael Parks).  Jean is looking for someone to serve as a money launderer and Ernie agrees, bragging that he has set up deals for everyone from the Colombians to the Bolivians.  Jean is pleased and introduces Ernie to his other partner, Preston King of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.

That night, Harry is woken up by someone knocking on the door to his cabin.  When he opens the door, Josie (Joan Chen), who was supposed to be in Seattle, stumbles in and collapses.

In the woods, Cooper and Major Briggs are camping, roasting marshmallows, and discussing right and wrong.  Briggs says that it is some men’s fate to face great darkness.  Briggs asks if Cooper has ever heard of the White Lodge.  Cooper says he hasn’t but he looks forward to hearing more about it.  Cooper then goes off to relieve himself.  There is a flash of white light.  “Cooper!” Briggs shouts as a hooded man appears in the woods.  Cooper runs back to the camp, just to discover that Briggs has vanished.

This uneven episode finds Twin Peaks struggling to establish an identity after the conclusion of the Laura Palmer storyline.  For me, the highlight was Leland’s wake, which showed Twin Peaks as a community.  Nadine’s adventures in high school may be cartoonish but they hold up better than I thought they would.  Finally, this was the first episode to mention that all-important White Lodge.

Tomorrow, both David Duchovny and Dan O’Herlihy join the cast in Masked Ball.

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“A diary?” Cooper corrects him.

“That could be!” Leland says.

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

AGCK!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

 

 

 

So You Want To Be A Rock’n’Roll Star: The Idolmaker, Breaking Glass, That’ll Be The Day, Stardust


So, you want to be a rock and roll star?  Then listen now to what I say: just get an electric guitar and take some time and learn how to play.  And when your hair’s combed right and your pants fit tight, it’s gonna be all right.

If you need any more help, try watching these four films:

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The Idolmaker (1980, directed by Taylor Hackford)

The Idolmaker is a movie that asks the question, “What does it take to be a star?  Who is more interesting, the Svengalis or the Trilbys?”  The year is 1959 and Vinny Vacari (Ray Sharkey, who won a Golden Globe for his performance but don’t let that dissuade you from seeing the movie) is a local kid from New Jersey who dreams of being a star.  He has got the talent.  He has got the ambition and he has got the media savvy.  He also has a receding hairline and a face like a porcupine.

Realizing that someone who looks like him is never going to make hundreds of teenage girls all scream at once, Vinny instead becomes a starmaker.  With the help of his girlfriend, teen mag editor Brenda (Tovah Feldshuh) and a little payola, he turns saxophone player Tomaso DeLorussa into teen idol Tommy Dee.  When Tommy Dee becomes a star and leaves his mentor, Vinny takes a shy waiter named Guido (Peter Gallagher) and turns him into a Neil Diamond-style crooner named Cesare.  Destined to always be  abandoned by the stars that he creates, Vinny continually ends up back in the same Jersey dive, performing his own songs with piano accompaniment.

The Idolmaker is a nostalgic look at rock and roll in the years between Elvis’s induction into the Army and the British invasion.  The Idolmaker has some slow spots but Ray Sharkey is great in the role of Vinny and the film’s look at what goes on behind the scenes of stardom is always interesting.  In the movie’s best scene, Tommy performs in front of an audience of screaming teenagers while Vinny mimics his exact moments backstage.

Vinny was based on real-life rock promoter and manager, Bob Marcucci.  Marcucci was responsible for launching the careers of both Frankie Avalon and Fabian Forte.  Marcucci served as an executive producer on The Idolmaker, which probably explains why this is the rare rock film in which the manager is more sympathetic than the musicians.

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Breaking Glass (1980, directed by Brian Gibson)

At the same time that The Idolmaker was providing American audiences with a look at life behind-the-scenes of music stardom, Breaking Glass was doing the same thing for British audiences.

In Breaking Glass, the idolmaker is Danny (Phil Daniels, who also starred in Quadrophenia) and his star is an angry New Wave singer named Kate (Hazel O’Connor).  Danny first spots Kate while she is putting up flyers promoting herself and her band and talks her into allowing him to mange her.  At first, Kate refuses to compromise either her beliefs or her lyrics but that is before she starts to get famous.  The bigger a star she becomes, the more distant she becomes from Danny and her old life and the less control she has over what her music says.  While her new fans scare her by all trying to dress and look like her, Kate’s old fans accuse her of selling out.

As a performer, Hazel O’Connor can be an acquired taste and how you feel about Breaking Glass will depend on how much tolerance you have for her and her music.  (She wrote and composed all of the songs here.)  Breaking Glass does provide an interesting look at post-punk London and Jonathan Pryce gives a good performance as a sax player with a heroin addiction.

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That’ll Be The Day (1973, directed by Claude Whatham)

Real-life teen idol David Essex plays Jim MacClaine, a teenager in 1958 who blows off his university exams and runs away to the Isle of Wright.  He goes from renting deckchairs at a resort to being a barman to working as a carny.  He lives in squalor, has lots of sex, and constantly listens to rock and roll.  Eventually, when he has no other choice, he does return home and works in his mother’s shop.  He gets married and has a son but still finds himself tempted to abandon his family (just as his father previously abandoned him) and pursue his dreams of stardom.

David Essex and Ringo Starr

Based loosely on the early life of John Lennon, the tough and gritty That’ll Be The Day is more of a British kitchen sink character study than a traditional rock and roll film but rock fans will still find the film interesting because of its great soundtrack of late 50s rock and roll and a cast that is full of musical luminaries who actually lived through and survived the era.  Billy Fury and the Who’s Keith Moon both appear in small roles.  Mike, Jim’s mentor and best friend, is played by Ringo Starr who, of all the Beatles, was always the best actor.

That’ll Be The Day ends on a downbeat note but it does leave the story open for a sequel.

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Stardust (1974, directed by Michael Apted)

Stardust continues the story of Jim MacClaine.  Jim hires his old friend Mike (Adam Faith, replacing Ringo Starr) to manage a band that he is in, The Straycats (which includes Keith Moon, playing a far more prominent role here than in That’ll Be the Day).  With the help of Mike’s business savvy, The Stray Cats find early success and are signed to a record deal by eccentric Texas millionaire, Porter Lee Austin (Larry Hagman, playing an early version of J.R. Ewing).

When he becomes the breakout star of the group, Jim starts to overindulge in drugs, groupies, and everything that goes with being a superstar.  Having alienated both Mike and the rest of the group, Jim ends up as a recluse living in a Spanish castle.  Even worse, he gives into his own ego and writes a rock opera, Dea Sancta, which is reminiscent of the absolute worst of progressive rock.  Watching Jim perform Dea Sancta, you understand why, just a few years later, Johnny Rotten would be wearing a homemade “Pink Floyd Sucks” t-shirt.

Stardust works best as a sad-eyed look back at the lost promise of the 1960s and its music.  Watch the movie and then ask yourself, “So, do you really want to be a rock and roll star?”

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