The TSL’s Grindhouse: Deceiver (dir by Jonas Pate and Josh Pate)


I have long contended that the most annoying serial killer of all time was Paul Michael Stephani, a resident of Minneapolis who killed three women in 1980.

Stephani was known as The Weepy-Voiced Killer.  (Even his nickname was annoying.)  Whenever Stephani committed a murder, he would promptly call 911 and confess while sobbing.  As you might expect would happen to someone who was enough of a dumbass to call the police right after murdering someone, Stephani was eventually captured and convicted.  Sentenced to 40 years, Stephani died of cancer while in prison and nobody misses him.

Unfortunately, because all of Stephani’s 911 calls were recorded, he’s recently become a very popular subject for true crime shows.  It’s not there’s anything particularly interesting about Stephani’s crimes.  It’s just that it’s easy (and cheap) to build a show around the sound of him whining on the phone.  As someone who probably spends too much time watching true crime realty television, I’ve had to listen to Stephani’s voice more than anyone should ever have to.  Making it even worse, there’s currently a show called Evil Calls, which uses a recording of Stephani in its commercials.  I’ve actually stopped watching Investigation Discovery just because I’ve gotten so sick of hearing that loser whining, “Please don’t talk, just listen… I’m sorry I killed that girl. I stabbed her 40 times…”

However, the Stephani tapes do provide one valuable service.  The sound of Stephani’s pathetic voice reminds us that most serial killers are not the urbanely witty and intelligent figures that we’ve gotten used to seeing in the movies.  Most real-life killers are whiny losers who kill for very basic reasons and who are stupid enough to call 911 and confess.  Movie killers are a different breed all together.

Take the 1997 mystery Deceiver, for instance.

In Deceiver, Renee Zellweger plays a world weary prostitute.  We only see her in flashbacks, largely because she was murdered before the film’s opening scene.  Her name was Elizabeth, which brings to mind Elizabeth Short, the legendary Los Angeles murder victim who is better known as the Black Dahlia.  Much like the real-life Black Dahlia, Elizabeth’s body was cut into two pieces and left in a park.  (According to the film’s imdb trivia section, Elizabeth was also named after Elizabeth Loftus, a psychologist who pioneered the study of false memories.)

Suspicion immediately falls on James Walter Wayland (Tim Roth).  The youngest son of a wealthy and powerful South Carolina family, Wayland is an infamous alcoholic.  Wayland admits that he knew Elizabeth.  He even took Elizabeth with him to a fancy party, all the better to offend his parents.  Wayland may be a black-out drunk with a history of erratic behavior but he also swears that he didn’t kill Elizabeth.

Two detectives are determined to trick Wayland into confessing.  Detective Edward Kennesaw (Michael Rooker) is a respected veteran, the type of detective who can get a confession out of almost anyone.  His partner is Detective Philip Braxton (Chris Penn), who is a bit less impressive.  As we’re informed early in the film, Braxton graduated at the bottom of his high school class and has been waiting for a promotion for quite some time.

From the minute that Kennesaw and Braxton start to interrogate Wayland, it becomes obvious that Wayland is hardly your typical murder suspect.  He’s certainly more impressive than the Weepy-Voiced Killer.  He’s witty.  He’s smart.  He’s cocky.  He admits to being an alcoholic and to suffering from black outs and seizures but he also claims that, unlike every other man who Elizabeth dealt with, he actually cared about her.  Wayland also reveals that he knows some details about Kennesaw and Braxton.  He knows about Kennesaw’s troubled marriage to a woman (Rosanna Arquette) who has a history of cheating on him.  He knows that Braxton is in debt to a local bookie (Ellen Burstyn).  And, as the interrogation continues, Wayland starts to suggest that one of the interrogators is hiding an even darker secret.

Deceiver‘s a frequently fascinating film to watch, even if it’s not always easy to follow.  If there’s any film that would seem to demand multiple viewings, it’s this one.  The majority of the movie takes place in one darkened room and directors Joan and Josh Pate do a wonderful job capturing the claustrophobia of that setting.  (Fortunately, there’s enough flashbacks to keep the film from getting too stagey.)  Roth, Rooker, and Penn all give intensely stylized performances.  They may not feel realistic but they fit in perfectly with the fever dream atmosphere of the film.  Roth, in particular, gives a performance that is both mannered and intriguing.  It even feel appropriate that his Southern accent is in no way convincing.  It just makes sense that Wayland wouldn’t sound like anyone else in the world.

It’s a heavily stylized film, full of odd dialogue and skewed camera angles.  It’s a film that often feels like a journey right to the center of an extremely twisted mind.  (Of course, the movie is designed so that you’re never quite sure whose mind you’ve entered.)  There’s nothing realistic about it but that’s okay.  It’s certainly preferable to watching a movie about The Weepy-Voiced Killer.

Bronson One Last Time: Death Wish V: The Face of Death (1994, directed by Allen Goldstein)


To quote Geoffrey Chaucer, “All good things must come to an end.”

Death Wish V: The Face of Death marked the end of the original Death Wish franchise, concluding the violent saga of Paul Kersey 20 years after it began.  It probably should have ended sooner.

After the box office failure of Death Wish IV and the subsequent bankruptcy of Cannon Films, future plans for the Death Wish franchise were put on hold.  After the collapse of Cannon, Menahem Golan started a new production company, 21st Century Film Corporation.  In 1993, needing a hit and seeing that the previous Death Wish films were still popular on video, Golan announced that Paul Kersey would finally return in Death Wish V: The Face of Death.  Charles Bronson also returned, though he was now 72 years old and in poor health.  Death Wish V would also mark the end of Bronson’s feature film career.  He would make appearances in a few television movies before subsequently retiring from acting.

Death Wish V finds Paul in the witness protection program.  His latest girlfriend, Olivia (Lesley-Anne Down), just happens to be the ex-wife of a psychotic mobster named Tommy O’Shea (Michael Parks).  Throughout the entire franchise, the Death Wish films argued that crime is so out of control that no one was safe and that Paul had no choice but to pick up a gun and shoot muggers.  But, judging from Death Wish V, Paul just seems to have incredibly bad luck.  What are the odds that a mild-mannered architect would lose his wife, his maid, his daughter, his best friend from the war, his next two girlfriends, and then end up dating the ex-wife of New York City’s craziest gangster?

The district attorney’s office wants Olivia to testify against her ex-husband so Tommy gets his henchman, the dandruff-prone Freddie Flakes (Robert Joy), to kill her.  Looks like it’s time for New York’s favorite vigilante to launch a one-man war against the Mafia!

The only problem is that New York’s favorite vigilante is too old to chase people down dark alleys and shoot them.  He has to get creative, which means using everything from poisoned cannoli to a vat of acid to take out his targets.  One gangster is killed by an exploding soccer ball!

With both Bronson and Lesley-Anne Down giving an indifferent performances, it is up to the supporting cast to keep the movie interesting.  Appearing here after his bravura turn as Jean Renault in Twin Peaks but before Robert Rodriguez and Quentin Tarantino introduced him to a whole new generation of filmgoers, Michael Parks is flamboyantly evil as Tommy O’Shea and injects the movie with what little life that it has.  Speaking of Twin Peaks alumni, Kenneth Welsh (who played Windom Earle in the last few episodes of season 2) plays this installment’s understanding police detective.  Saul Rubinek plays the district attorney who is willing to look the other way when it comes to killing gangsters.

Dull and cheap-looking, Death Wish V was a box office bomb and it brought the original franchise to a definite end.  Will the Eli Roth/Bruce Willis reboot of Death Wish also lead to a reboot of the franchise?  Time will tell!

The TSL’s Horror Grindhouse: Nightmare Beach, a.k.a. Welcome to Spring Break (dir by Harry Kirkpatrick and Umberto Lenzi)


Did Umberto Lenzi direct the 1989 film, Nightmare Beach?

That’s a question that Italian horror fans have been debating for a while now.  The film’s credited director is Harry Kirkpatrick.  Due to the fact that Kirkpatrick has no other known credits, it’s generally agreed that Kirkpatrick was a pseudonym.  But was it a pseudonym for Lenzi, screenwriter James Justice, or both of them?  In an interview for the book Spaghetti Nightmares, Lenzi said that he was originally hired to direct but, at the last minute, he changed his mind because he felt the film was too similar to his 1972 giallo, Seven Blood-Stained Orchids.  Lenzi says that he withdrew from directing but that he remained on set to provide technical assistance to the film’s actual director, “Harry Kirkpatrick,” who Lenzi also says co-wrote the script.  That may sound simple enough but skeptics point out that worrying about repeating himself didn’t dissuade Lenzi from following up Eaten Alive with Cannibal Ferox.  (Add to that, would Lenzi really have been concerned about duplicating a film that he made 17 years previously?)  As well, James Justice only has two credits listed on the imdb, one for writing this film and one for 2006’s Lesser Evil.

(For the record, I did a google search on James Justice and I didn’t find much.  However, I did comes across several Scientology sites that featured testimonials from “James Justice, screenwriter.”)

As for what the film’s about, it’s a strange combination of genres.  It starts out with a prisoner named Diablo (Tony Bolano) being sent to Florida’s electric chair.  Diablo was the leader of an infamous motorcycle gang.  He was convicted of murdering a teenage girl but, as he dies, Diablo yells that he’s been framed and that he was innocent.

However, no need to worry too much about Diablo!  No sooner has Diablo been sent to the chair then suddenly, Nightmare Beach turns into a spring break comedy!  Teenagers and college students are flooding the beaches of Florida and all they want to do is have a good time!  The local fire-and-brimstone preacher (Lance Le Gault) can’t stop the party, no matter how many times he says that everyone’s going to Hell.  The police chief (John Saxon) puts extra patrols on the beach.  The local doctor (Michael Parks) prepares to treat a hundred cases of alcohol poisoning.

The beach turns into a huge party!  Bands play.  T-shirts get wet.  For some reason, one dorky frat boy does the whole pretending to be dead while floating in the pool routine.  A young woman tries to stay in a hotel for free without getting caught.  Meanwhile, two college football players, Skip (Nicolas de Toth) and Ronny (Rawley Valverde) roll into town.  Skip is depressed because he lost the big game but Ronny is determined that his best friend is going to have a good time and get laid!  Whenever Skip gets depressed, Ronny pelts him with condoms.

It’s Spring Break!  Everyone’s going to have a good time…

Except, suddenly, a mysterious figure on a motorcycle rolls into town.  He never speaks.  He never takes off his helmet.  However, he does electrocute everyone that he meets.  Sometimes, he uses live wires and sometimes, he just has them sit on the back of his motorcycle, which has been designed to act as an electric chair.  Could it be the ghost of Diablo, seeking vengeance?  When Ronny disappears — NO!  NOT COMEDY RELIEF RONNY — Skip is determined to find out what’s going on.  Working with him is Gail (Sara Buxton), the sister of the girl that Diablo was convicted of murdering…

One reason why so many Italian horror aficionados are convinced that Umberto Lenzi must have directed Nightmare Beach is because, with its odd mix of genres and its weird combination of comedy and extreme gore, it just feels like an Umberto Lenzi film.  Add to that, around the same time that Nightmare Beach was filmed and released, Lenzi also filmed and released another film about teenagers being murdered during spring break, Hitcher In The Dark.

Because it’s such a strange mix of genres, Nightmare Beach is a much more interesting film than Hitcher In The Dark.  The motorcycle-driving killer is somehow both ludicrous and frightening at the same time. Plus, how can you resist a movie with both John Saxon and Michael Parks as ineffectual authority figures?  It just can’t be done.

One Hit Wonders #3: LONG, LONESOME HIGHWAY by Michael Parks (MGM Records, 1970)


cracked rear viewer

Did you know the late actor Michael Parks (1940-2017) once reached #20 on the Billboard charts with the song “Long, Lonesome Highway”:

Parks was appearing at the time in the NBC-TV series THEN CAME BRONSON, a sort of ROUTE 66 on two wheels, riding his Harley across America in search of meaning. The show aired during the 1969-70 season, and was a nod to the counterculture movement going on at the time. THEN CAME BRONSON had some good writing and featured guest stars both established (Iron Eyes Cody, STAR TREK’s James Doohan, LA Dodgers pitcher Don Drysdale, Beverly Garland, Gloria Grahame, Jack Klugman, Fernando Lamas, Elsa Lanchester, James Whitmore) and up-and-coming (Dabney Coleman, Bruce Dern, Diane Ladd, Penny Marshall, Kurt Russell, Martin Sheen, folk singer Buffy Sainte-Marie), but lost it’s ticket to ride because of CBS’s ratings powerhouse HAWAII FIVE-O, and was cancelled after 26 episodes.

The song was written by James Hendricks (not…

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4 Shots From 4 Films: RIP Michael Parks (1940-2017)


4 Shots From 4 Films is just what it says it is, 4 shots from 4 of our favorite films. As opposed to the reviews and recaps that we usually post, 4 Shots From 4 Films lets the visuals do the talking. Cult actor Michael Parks died yesterday at the age of 77. In honor of his passing, here’s a visual look at the films and TV appearances of Michael Parks:

Bus Riley’s Back in Town (1965, D: Harvey Hart)

Then Came Bronson (TV series, 1969-1970)

Twin Peaks (TV series 1990-1991)

From Dusk to Dawn (1996, D: Robert Rodriguez)

Thank you, Michael.

 

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 2.10 “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