— Phillip Jeffries (David Bowie) in Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me (1992)
Even among fans of the show, Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me is controversial.
If you read Reflections: An Oral History of Twin Peaks, you’ll discover that many members of the television show’s cast either didn’t want to be involved in the film or didn’t care much for it when it came out. Fearful of being typecast, Kyle MacLachlan only agreed to play Dale Cooper on the condition that his role be greatly reduced. (Was it that fear of being typecast as clean-cut Dale Cooper that led to MacLachlan later appearing in films like Showgirls?) Neither Lara Flynn Boyle nor Sherilyn Fenn could work the film into their schedules.
When Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me premiered at Cannes, it was reportedly booed by the same critics who previously applauded Lynch’s Wild at Heart and who, years later, would again applaud Mulholland Drive. When it was released in the United States, the film was savaged by critics and a notorious box office flop. Quentin Tarantino, previously a fan of Lynch’s, has been very outspoken about his hatred of Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me. When I first told people that we would be looking back at Twin Peaks for this site, quite a few replied with, “Even the movie?”
And yet, there are many people, like me, who consider Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me to be one of David Lynch’s most haunting films.
It’s also one of his most straight forward. Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me is a prequel, dealing with the events leading up to the death of Laura Palmer. Going into the film, the viewer already knows that Laura Palmer (Sheryl Lee) is full of secrets. They know that she is using drugs. They know that she is dating Bobby (Dana Ashbrook), while secretly seeing James (James Marshall). They know about her diary and her relationship with the reclusive Harold (Lenny Von Dohlen). They know that she is a friend to innocent Donna Hayward (Moria Kelly, somewhat awkwardly taking the place of Lara Flynn Boyle). Even more importantly, they know that she has spent the last six years of her life being abused by BOB (Frank Silva) and that BOB is her father, Leland Palmer (Ray Wise). The viewer starts the story knowing how it is going to end.
Things do get off to a somewhat shaky start with a nearly 20-minute prologue that basically plays like a prequel to the prequel. Theresa Banks, who was mentioned in the show’s pilot, has been murdered and FBI director Gordon Cole (David Lynch) assigns agents Chester Desmond (Chris Isaak) and Sam Stanley (Kiefer Sutherland) to investigate. Chester and Sam’s investigation basically amounts to a quick reenactment of the first season of Twin Peaks, with the agents discovering that Theresa was involved in drugs and prostitution. When Chester vanishes, Dale Cooper is sent to investigate. Harry Dean Stanton shows up as the manager of a trailer park and David Bowie has an odd cameo as a Southern-accented FBI agent who has just returned from the Black Lodge but otherwise, the start of the film almost feels like a satire of Lynch’s style.
But then, finally, we hear the familiar theme music and the “Welcome to Twin Peaks” sign appears.
“And the angel’s wouldn’t help you. Because they’ve all gone away.”
— Laura Palmer (Sheryl Lee), Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me (1992)
A year has passed since Theresa Banks was murdered. The rest of the film deals with the final few days of the life of doomed homecoming queen Laura Palmer. Laura smiles in public but cries in private. She is full of secrets that she feels that she has to hide from a town that has literally idolized her. She has visions of terrifying men creeping through her life and each day, she doesn’t know whether it will be BOB or her father waiting for her at home. She knows that the world considers her to be beautiful but she also know that, within human nature, there is a desire to both conquer and destroy beauty. When she sleeps, she has disturbing dreams that she cannot understand but that she knows are important. At a time when everyone says she should be happy to alive, all she can think about is death. Everywhere she goes, the male gaze follows and everything that should be liberating just feels her leaving more trapped. For all the complaints that Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me is somehow too strange to be understood, it’s not a strange film at all. This is David Lynch at his most straight forward. Anyone who thinks that Laura’s story is incomprehensible has never been a 17 year-old girl.
This is the bleakest of all of David Lynch’s films. There is none of broad humor or intentional camp that distinguished the TV show. After the show’s occasionally cartoonish second season, the film served as a trip into the heart of the darkness that was always beating right underneath the surface of Twin Peaks. It’s interesting how few of the show’s regulars actually show up in Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me. None of the characters who represented goodness are present. There’s no Doc Hayward. No Sheriff Truman. No Deputies Andy or Hawk. No Pete Martell. No Bookhouse Boys. Scenes were filmed for some of them but they didn’t make it into the final cut because their tone did not fit with the story that Lynch was seeking to tell. The Hornes, Dr. Jacoby, Josie, none of them are present either.
Instead, there’s just Larua and her father. As much as they try to deny it, Laura knows that she is going to die and Leland knows that he is going to kill her. Killer BOB and the denziens of the Black Lodge may be scary but what’s truly terrifying is the sight of a girl living in fear of her own father. Is Leland possessed by BOB or is BOB simply his way of excusing his own actions? If not for Leland’s sickness, would BOB even exist? When Laura shouts, “Who are you!?” at the spirit of BOB, she speaks for every victim of abuse who is still struggling to understand why it happened. For all the talk of the Black Lodge and all the surreal moments, the horror of this film is very much the horror of reality. Leland’s abuse of Laura is not terrifying because Leland is possessed by BOB. It’s terrifying because Leland is her father
David Lynch directs the film as if it where a living nightmare. This is especially evident in scenes like the one where, at the dinner table, Leland switches from being kindly to abusive while Laura recoils in fear and her mother (Grace Zabriskie) begs Leland to stop. It’s a hard scene to watch and yet, it’s a scene that is so brilliantly acted and directed that you can’t look away. As brilliant as Ray Wise and Grace Zabriskie are, it’s Sheryl Lee who (rightly) dominates the scene and the rest of the film, giving a bravely vulnerable and emotionally raw performance. In Reflections, Sheryl Lee speaks candidly about the difficulty of letting go of Laura after filming had been completed. She became Laura and gave a performance that anchors this absolutely terrifying film.
“Mr. Lynch’s taste for brain-dead grotesque has lost its novelty.”
— Janet Maslin
“It’s not the worst movie ever made; it just seems to be”
— Vincent Canby
If you need proof that critics routinely don’t know what they’re talking about, just go read some of the original reviews of Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me.
And yet, having just rewatched the show and now the movie, I can understand why critics and audiences were baffled by this film. This is not Twin Peaks the TV show. There is no light to be found here. There is no comic relief. (Even Bobby Briggs, who had become something of a goofy anti-hero by the time the series ended, is seen here shooting a man in the head.) There is no exit and there is no hope. In the end, the film’s only comfort comes from knowing that Laura was able to save one person before dying. It’s not easy to watch but, at the same time, it’s almost impossible to look away. The film ends on Laura’s spirit smiling and, for the first time, the smile feels real. Even if she’s now trapped in the Black Lodge, she’s still free from her father.
Since this was a prequel, it didn’t offer up any answers to the questions that were left up in the air by the show’s 2nd season finale. Fortunately, those questions will be answered (or, then again, they may not be) when the third season premieres on Showtime on May 21st.
But, all good things must come to an end and, at least until the third season premieres on Showtime later this month, we have reached the end of Twin Peaks. Episode 30 brought the story to a temporary end. (The movie, Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me, was a prequel about the last days of Laura Palmer. It’s a haunting film and one that we’ll look at tomorrow but, at the same time, it doesn’t offer up any answers to any of the questions that the finale left hanging.)
A little history: Twin Peaks was a huge success during its first season but, during the second season, ratings plunged. According to the book, Reflections: An Oral History of Twin Peaks by Brad Dukes, neither David Lynch nor Mark Frost were as involved during the second season as they had been during the first. As compared to the genuinely unsettling first season, the second season struggled to find its voice. Was it a mystery? Was it a broad comedy? Was it a show about the paranormal or was it a soap opera? It was all of that and, for many people, that was too much. Today, of course, audiences are used to quirkiness. They’re used to shows that straddle several different genres. It’s no longer a revolutionary idea to be openly meta.
But in 1991, Twin Peaks was the show that ABC both didn’t know what to do with and, by the end, didn’t really want. It was regularly moved around the schedule and, often, weeks would pass without a new episode. Consider this: nearly two months passed between the airing of The Path to the Black Lodge and the final two episodes of the show. (Miss Twin Peaksand Beyond Life and Death were both aired on June 10th, 1991.)
For the final episode, David Lynch returned to direct and, though hardly anyone saw it when it originally aired, it’s an episode that left such an impression that — 25 years later — Showtime agree to bring the series back. The third season of Twin Peaks will premiere later this month but until then, let’s go ahead and recap Beyond Life and Death.
One last time, we open with Angelo Badalamenti’s beautiful theme music and those haunting shots of Twin Peaks.
We start at the sheriff’s station, with Lucy (Kimmy Robertson) and Andy (Harry Goaz) having a moment. Lucy talks about how scared she was when the lights went out and then says she found herself wondering what would happen if they were stuck in an elevator in the hospital and she went into labor. Andy replies that, if that happened, he would deliver the baby “in front of God and everyone.” Awwwww!
In Harry’s office, Cooper (Kyle MacLachlan) and Hawk (Michael Horse) stare at the cave drawing while Harry (Michael Ontkean) says that he has deputies in three counties looking for Windom Earle. Windom appears to have vanished. Cooper replies that the only hope they have of finding Windom and Annie is in the map.
“Fire walk with me,” Cooper says, softly, “Fire walk with me.”
Pete (Jack Nance) steps into the office and announces that the Log Lady stole his truck. I love the way that Jack Nance delivers the line, “The Log Lady stole my truck!” (Sadly, Nance was murdered just a few years after the end of Twin Peaks.) Pete says that, when last seen, the Log Lady was driving into Ghostwood Forest.
“Pete,” Cooper announces, “the Log Lady did not steal your truck. The Log Lady will be here in one minute.”
“12 rainbow trouts in the bed,” Pete says.
This triggers Harry’s memory. He announces that there is a circle of 12 sycamores in Ghostwood Forest. It’s called Glastonbury Grove. Hawk says that Glastonbury Grove is where he found the pages from Laura’s diary. Cooper suddenly says, “That’s the legendary burial place of King Arthur! Glastonbury!”
“King Arthur is buried in England,” Pete says, dismissively, “Last I heard anyway.”
Right on time, The Log Lady (Catherine E. Coulson) shows up at the office.
“Where’s my truck?” Pete demands.
“Pete, Windom Earle stole your truck,” Cooper says.
Pete looks very confused. Jack Nance really acted the Hell out of this scene. (Interestingly enough, Catherine Coulson was, in real life, Nance’s ex-wife.)
The Log Lady ignores Pete. She has a jar of oil that she hands to Cooper. The Log Lady says that her husband claimed that the oil was the opening to a gateway. Everyone agrees that it smells like scorched engine oil. Cooper has Hawk bring in Ronette Pulaski (Phoebe Augustine), who says that she smelled the oil the night that she was attacked and Laura Palmer was killed.
Out in the woods, a pickup truck comes to a stop in front of Glastonbury Grove. Inside the truck, Windom Earle (Kenneth Welsh) forces Annie (Heather Graham) to look at the 12 rainbow trout in back. Annie tells Windom that, if he’s going to kill her, to go ahead and get it over with. Windom says that there is plenty of time for that but, right now, he is enjoying the fear that he is feeling.
(After being portrayed in far too cartoonish a manner over the past few episodes, Windom is finally menacing again. For that matter, this is the first — and, as fate would have it, the only — episode where Heather Graham seems to be truly committed to her role as Annie. This episode directly challenges anyone who thinks that David Lynch is merely a visual artist who can’t direct actors.)
As Annie recites Psalm 141, Windom drags her through the woods. Windom shoves her into the the middle of the grove.
“I tell you, they have not died,” Windom recites, “Their hands clasp, yours and mine.”
Suddenly, in the middle of the woods, the red curtains appears. Windom leads the now zombified Annie through them.
At the Hurley House, Doc Hayward (Warren Frost) is looking over the heavily bandaged Mike (Gary Hershberger) and Nadine (Wendy Robie). Meanwhile, Ed (Everett McGill) is cheerfully talking to Norma (Peggy Lipton) by the fire place. (I like the fact that, with everything that’s going on, Ed and Norma are just happy to be together.) Just as Ed and Norma start to dance, Nadine suddenly gets her memory back and starts to shout about silent drape runners. Nadine demands that Ed make everyone go away.
At the Hayward house, Eileen (Mary Jo Deschanel) sits in her wheelchair and stares at Ben Horne (Richard Beymer). Donna (Lara Flynn Boyle) comes walking down the stairs, carrying a suitcase. Eileen begs Donna not to leave but Donna starts screaming about not knowing who her parents are. Ben steps forward and apologizes. He says he only wanted to do good. He wanted to be good. He says that it felt good to finally tell the truth.
Doc Hayward arrives home and is not happy to see Ben. Ben is begging for forgiveness when, suddenly, his own wife (Jan D’Arcy) comes walking through the front door. She demands to know what Ben is trying to do to their family.
Donna looks at Doc Hayward and starts to chant, “You’re my Daddy! You’re my Daddy!” Eileen looks away, which is a polite way of saying, “No, Ben’s your Daddy and you’ve got a half-sister that everyone likes more than you.”
Ben tries to apologize again and, after 29 episodes of never losing his temper, Doc Hayward finally snaps and punches Ben. Ben falls back and hits the back of his head on the fireplace! Oh my God! Is Ben dead!? Is Doc Hayward now evil!?
(I know the answer but I’m not going to tell you until the end of this review.)
At the Martell House, Andrew (Dan O’Herlihy) is all excited because he’s figured out that the key is the key to a safety deposit box. He steals the key from the pie plate and replaces it with a duplicate. However, Pete steps into the room just in time to see Andrew doing it.
In the woods, Cooper and Harry come across the abandoned truck. They walk into the forest but Cooper suddenly announces that he must go alone. Cooper takes Harry’s flashlight and walks through the forest. Eventually, he hears the hooting of an owl and comes across Glastonbury Grove. Cooper steps into the circle and the red curtains appear. As Harry watches from a distance, Cooper steps though the curtains.
(Though it may just be coincidence, the red curtains always make me think about the opening of Dario Argento’s Deep Red.)
Cooper finds himself in the red curtained hallways. He walks until he reaches the room from his dreams. As the lights stobe, the Man From Another Place (Michael Anderson) dances while a lounge singer (Jimmy Scott) sings about Sycamore Trees. The Man From Another Place eventually hopes into a velvet chair. It’s deeply unsettling to watch because we know that, behind one of those curtains, BOB is lurking.
In the forest, Andy finds Harry. They sit outside of Glastonbury Grove and wait for Cooper to return.
Morning comes. We get a few final shots of the countryside around Twin Peaks. The mountains. The bridge where, 29 episodes ago, Ronette Pulaski was discovered battered and nearly catatonic. The forest. The countryside was beautiful when we first saw it but, after spending 31 hours in the world of Twin Peaks, it is now impossible to look at that wilderness without wondering what secrets are being concealed beneath the tranquil surface.
Harry and Andy are still sitting outside of Glastonbury and there is something truly touching about the sight of these two friends loyally waiting for their third friend to return. Andy volunteers to go to diner to get them breakfast. Harry says, “Yes.” Andy lists off all of the usual Twin Peaks food. Coffee. Pancakes. Desert. “Yeah,” Harry replies. When Andy finally asks if Harry wants pie, Harry falls silent. How can anyone eat pie with Cooper missing?
Meanwhile, at the bank — OH MY GOD! YOU MEAN WE’RE NOT GOING TO THE BLACK LODGE TO FIND OUT WHAT’S GOING ON WITH COOPER YET!? — an old lady sleeps at the new accounts desk. (It’s a very Lynchian image, to be honest.)
Audrey Horne (Sherilyn Fenn) comes in and says hello the elderly bank president, Mr. Mibbler (Ed Wright). Mibbler is really happy to see Audrey, even after she explains that she is going to be chaining herself to the vault as a part of her environmental protest. For whatever reason, almost all of David Lynch’s film features at least one elderly character who moves slowly and is utterly clueless about the world around them. Mr. Mibbler is certainly a part of that tradition.
(Speaking for myself, I like the way that the scene in the bank is shot and acted but it still frustrates me that, during the 2nd season, Twin Peaks could never quite figure out what to do with Audrey. When Kyle MacLachlan vetoed any romance between Cooper and Audrey, it pretty much destroyed Audrey’s storyline. To make us believe that Cooper and Audrey could actually fall in love with other people, the writers kept Cooper and Audrey from interacting and, as a result, it often seemed that Audrey was trapped in another, rather less interesting show. While Cooper investigated the Black Lodge and Windom Earle, Audrey was stuck playing Civil War with her father and improbably falling in love with John Justice Wheeler. Even in the finale, Audrey mostly serves as a distraction from the show’s main storyline. The character deserved better.)
Andrew and Pete show up at the bank. Mibbler is shocked to see that Andrew is still alive but Andrew is more concerned with opening up that deposit box. It takes Mibbler a while to find the box but when he does, he promptly opens it. What’s inside the box? Well, there’s a note from Thomas that read, “Finally got you, Andrew. Love, Thomas.” And there’s a bomb, which promptly explodes.
Oh my God, is Audrey dead!? Well, the episode never reveals who died or survived in the bank. However, having looked through the recently published The Secret History of Twin Peaks, I know the answer and I will reveal it at the end of this review.
At the Double R, Major Briggs (Don S. Davis) and Betty (Charlotte Stewart) are sharing a booth and, as opposed to the way they were portrayed all through the first season, they appear to be very much (and very playfully) in love.
At the counter, Bobby (Dana Ashbrook) watches his parents making out and then turns to Shelly (Madchen Amick.) He asks her to marry him. Shelly mentions that she’s still married to Leo and then she and Bobby start going, “Arf! Arf! Arf!,” which is a strangely cheerful callback to the way that Bobby and Mike taunted James Hurley at the end of the pilot. Bobby says that Leo is up in the woods, having the time of his life. A jump cut quickly reminds us that Leo is actually up in the woods trying to keep a bunch of tarantulas from falling down on his head.
Suddenly, Dr. Jacoby (Russ Tamblyn) and Sarah Palmer (Grace Zabriskie) step into the diner. They walk right over to Maj. Briggs. Dr. Jacoby says that Sarah has a message for him, one that she felt was very important. Speaking in the distorted voice of Windom Earle, Sarah says, “I am in the Black Lodge with Dale Cooper. I’m waiting for you.”
And here is where the finale basically goes insane. Seen today, the final 20 minutes of this episode remain genuinely unsettling and often rather frightening. I can only imagine how audiences reacted in 1991. I did a little research (which is a fancy way of saying that I looked on Wikipedia) and, believe it or not, the top-rated television show in 1991 was 60 Minutes. Needless to say, the finale of Twin Peaks was about as far from 60 Minutes as you could get.
In the Black Lodge, Cooper still sits in the room with red curtains. The Man From Another Place tells him, “When you see me again, it won’t be me.” The Man From Another Place explains that the room with red curtain is a waiting room. (Purgatory, perhaps?)
“Some of your friends are here,” The Man From Another Place continues.
Laura Palmer (Sheryl Lee), dressed in black, walks in and sits down beside The Man From Another Place. “Hello Agent Cooper,” she says, speaking backwards. “I’ll see you again in 25 years. Meanwhile.” Laura vanishes.
(The 25 years explains why, way back in the third episode, Cooper appeared to be a much older man in his dream. It’s also interesting to note that, later this month, the 3rd season of Twin Peaks will air roughly 25 years after the 2nd season ended.)
Suddenly, the room service waiter (Hank Worden) appears with a cup of coffee. “Hallelujah,” he says. “Hallelujah,” the Man from Another Place agrees.
The waiter places on a table next to Cooper. Suddenly, the waiter is gone and the Giant (Carel Struycken) stands in his place. The Giant sits down next to The Man From Another Place.
“One and the same,” he says.
(Even though I know what’s going to happen, watching this scene still makes me nervous. The Giant, the Waiter, and The Man From Another Place are the only friends that Cooper has in the Black Lodge. Once the Giant leaves, who will be the next to come out?)
The Giant vanishes. The Man From Another Place rubs his hands together and gets a sinister little smile on his face. As he has done so many times since the series began, Cooper attempts to drink his coffee but discovers that it is now frozen solid. Suddenly, it’s not frozen and it pours out of the cup. Then, just as suddenly, it’s thick and only slowly dribbles out when Cooper tips the cup.
“Wow, BOB, wow,” the Man From Another Place says. He looks directly at the camera and says, his voice now much more rougher, “Fire walk with me.”
It’s an incredibly unsettling moment in an already unsettling episode. By this point, we all know what “Fire walk with me” means.
There’s an explosion. A woman (Laura or Annie?) screams. The lights start to strobe. Cooper walks out of the room and finds himself, once again, in the hallway. Having heard the scream and knowing what BOB did to Ronette, Laura, Maddy, and countless others, it is a coincidence that the only decoration in the hallway is a reproduction of the Venus de Milo, a beautiful woman who does not have the arms necessary to protect herself? As well, it is surely not a coincidence that the Black Lodge could just as easily pass for an “exclusive” section of One-Eyed Jack’s.
Cooper steps through another set of curtains and finds himself in a second room, one that looks just like the first room except that it’s deserted.
Cooper returns to the first room where The Man From Another Place snaps, “Wrong way!”
Cooper goes back to the second room. At first, it appears to be deserted but suddenly The Man From Another Place appears, laughing maniacally. “Another friend!” he says and suddenly, Maddy Ferguson (Sheryl Lee), dressed in black much like Laura, steps into the room. “Watch out for my cousin,” she says and then vanishes.
Cooper returns to the first room, which is now deserted.
Suddenly, the Man From Another Place appears beside him.
“Doppleganger,” the Man says.
Laura, her eyes white, suddenly stands in front of Cooper. “Meanwhile,” she says.
Suddenly, Laura screams and the lights start to strobe again. Still screaming, Laura charges at Cooper. Cooper runs from the room and suddenly, finds himself in the Black Lodge’s foyer. He realizes that, like all of Windom Earle’s victims, he has been stabbed in the stomach. Cooper staggers back into the hallway and, following a trail of bloody footprints, he returns to the second room.
In the room, he sees himself lying on the floor next to Caroline Earle (Brenda E. Mathers). Like Cooper, Caroline has been stabbed. Suddenly, Caroline sits up and … IT’S ANNIE! Cooper calls out her name but suddenly, the bodies disappear and the strobe lights start again.
Calling Annie’s name, Cooper returns to the first room. Annie is waiting for him. “Dale,” she says, “I saw the face of the man who killed me. It was my husband.”
“Annie,” Dale says.
“Who is Annie?”
Suddenly, Annie is a white-eyed Caroline and then she transforms into the still shrieking Laura. Laura turns into Windom Earle. As Cooper and Windom stare at each other, Annie materializes and then vanishes again. Windom says that he will set Annie free but only if Cooper gives up his soul.
“I will,” Cooper says and, for the first time, Cooper’s voice is now as distorted as all the other inhabitants of the Black Lodge.
Windom stabs Cooper in the stomach and suddenly, there’s another explosion. The strobe lights start again and Windom is screaming for help. Cooper, no longer wounded, sees that BOB (Frank Silva) has grabbed Windom. Windom screams and BOB snaps, “BE QUIET!”
(As scary as BOB is, it’s undeniably satisfying to see Windom Earle finally not in control.)
BOB tells Cooper to go. Windom, BOB explains, is wrong. “He can’t ask for your soul. I will take his!”
Windom screams as BOB literally rips his soul out of his head. Finally, Windom falls silent. As BOB continues to laugh, Cooper runs from the room. Suddenly, someone else comes running through the room and — OH NO! IT’S A DOPPELGANGER COOPER AND WOW, IS HE ACTING WEIRD!
Cooper walks through the hallway when suddenly, Leland Palmer (Ray Wise) steps out from behind a curtain. His hair is brown again but his eyes are now white. Leland smiles and says, “I did not kill anybody.”
Doppelganger Cooper appears and chases after the real Cooper. They run through the Black Lodge until Doppelganger Cooper manages to grab the real Cooper.
BOB appears and stares straight at the camera. AGCK!
Suddenly, at Glastonbury Grove, the curtains appear. Night has fallen again but Harry is still loyally sitting in the forest, waiting for Cooper’s return. When he sees the curtains, Harry runs into the circle of trees and finds the bodies of both Cooper and Annie.
Cut to the Great Northern. Cooper wakes up in bed, with Doc Hayward and Harry sitting beside him. Speaking in an oddly mechanical tone of voice, Cooper first says that he wasn’t sleeping and then asks, “How’s Annie?” Harry says that Annie is at the hospital and she’ll be okay.
“I need to brush my teeth,” Cooper says.
In the bathroom, Cooper squeezes an entire tube of toothpaste into the sink. He then rams his head into the mirror and, as the reflection of BOB stares back at him, he starts to laugh. “How’s Annie?” he mocking repeats. “How’s Annie?”
And, with that deeply unsettling turn of events, Twin Peaks came to a temporary end. This brilliantly directed episode ended with three cliffhangers. What happened to Ben? Who died at the bank? What happened to Dale Cooper?
I promised you answers to some of those question so, according to The Secret History of Twin Peaks, here they are:
Ben survived his injury.
At the bank, the bomb killed Mr. Dibbler, Andrew, and Pete. (Perhaps not coincidentally, both Dan O’Herlihy and Jack Nance died long before Showtime announced that it was reviving the show.) Audrey survived, largely because Pete shielded her with his body. Shaken by the violent death of both her brother and her husband, Catherine returned to Ben everything that he had signed over to her. Catherine became a recluse.
As for what happened to Dale — well, that’s question that we will hopefully get an answer to when Twin Peaks returns to Showtime on May 21st!
Well, that concludes our Twin Peaks recaps! Thank you everyone for reading and thank you, Jeff and Leonard, for going on this adventure with me!
Now, how about we all get some coffee and slice of cherry pie?
This episode opens at the Bookhouse, where lingerie-clad Jones (Brenda Strong) is climbing on top of Harry (Michael Ontkean). Harry, in his whiskey-dazed state, thinks that she is Josie (Joan Chen). He comes to his senses right when Jones wraps a garrote around his neck and starts to strangle him. Harry manages to overpower her, leaving her knocked out cold on the couch.
At the Great Northern, Audrey (Sherilyn Fenn) delivers room service to Wheeler (Billy Zane). I am not sure what to make of Wheeler. I know that he was brought in so that Audrey would have a love interest other than Cooper but, since he’s played by Billy Zane, I don’t trust him.
At the sheriff’s station, Harry tells Cooper (Kyle MacLachlan) that he has not been able to get anything out of Jones. She wants to talk to the South African consulate. Harry wonders why Eckhardt would have wanted him dead. “Sexual jealousy,” Cooper replies before saying that it is good to have Harry back.
In the sheriff’s office, Doctor Hayward (Warren Frost), Harry, and Cooper look at a Bonsai tree that was delivered that morning. Harry looks at the card. It was a present from Josie. Before Harry can get too depressed, Hayward tells them about Windom Earle coming back his house and he shows them the knight that Earle gave to Donna.
Gordon Cole (David Lynch) enters the office, yelling as always and making Harry’s headache worse. Cole shouts that he has just come from Bend, Oregon, that he is bringing Cooper the classified portion of Windom Earle’s file and that he is reinstating Cooper in the FBI.
What no one knows is that the Bonsai tree is hiding a microphone and Windom Earle (Kenneth Welsh) is listening to every word that they say. Earle complains to Leo (Eric Da Re) that Cooper is refusing to play fair. Earle has Leo pick three cards. They are all queens — Queen Donna, Queen Audrey, and Queen Shelly. Earle has Leo pick a king card — “Little Dale.” Earle reaches behind Leo’s ear and produces one more card — the Queen of Hearts. The Queen of Hearts will be whoever is named Miss Twin Peaks.
Cole tells Cooper that, in the institution, Earle was put on the same drug that the One-Armed Man used. Cooper notices that Earle was involved with Project Blue Book, just like Major Briggs. Cooper says that there is some definite linkage, which makes Cole think of sausage patties and breakfast.
At the Great Northern, Donna (Lara Flynn Boyle) spies on her mother, Eileen (Mary Jo Deschanel), meeting with Ben Horne (Richard Beymer). Donna goes to the front desk and, as Mike (Gary Hershberger) and Nadine (Wendy Robie) check out, Donna asks to speak with Audrey. When Audrey comes out, Donna asks her if there’s any reason why Donna’s mother would visiting Audrey’s father. Audrey leads Donna to the secret passageway so that they can spy on their respective parents in Ben’s office.
In the office, Eileen tries to get Ben to take a bundle of letters but he refuses, saying that they are her letters. They were written to her. Ben says that he hasn’t held Eileen for nearly 20 years. Ben asks if Eileen has “told her.” Eileen tells Ben to stay away from her and to never come by the house again.
At the diner, Cole, Harry, and Cooper show up for breakfast. While hungover Harry is busy throwing up, Cooper and Cole get a booth. Cole spies Shelly and shouts, “What a beauty!” Cole walks over to the counter and loudly asks Shelly if he might ask her for a cup of coffee “and in the process, engage you with an anecdote of no small amusement.” Shelly says that he doesn’t have to shout and Cole is shocked to discover that he can hear her, even when she is speaking in her normal voice.
Back at the booth, Harry and Cooper are debating cars when Annie (Heather Graham) comes over and pours them both a cup of coffee. Cooper and Annie flirt while Harry Days music plays in the background. Annie notices that Cooper has drawn a picture of the three marks on Major Briggs’s neck and tells him that the same design can be found at Owl Cave. Cooper tells Harry that he has to see this Owl Cave.
At the Hayward house, Donna gets a postcard from James. He says that he is in San Francisco. When Dr. Hayward steps into the room, Donna tells him that Ben visited yesterday. Dr. Hayward tells her that Eileen and Ben are probably just working on a charity together. Suddenly, roses arrive. They are for Eileen. There’s no card.
At the library, Audrey is getting a book on political science and civil disobedience when she runs into pipe-smoking Edward Perkins, who is actually Windom Earle in disguise. Perkins says that he is a professor who teaches a class in poetry so Audrey asks him about the poem that she received. Perkins tells her that it is by Shelley and that Audrey looks like a queen. Realizing that there is something strange about Edward Perkins, Audrey says that she has to go and makes a hasty exit.
At the diner, Annie finds an advertisement for Miss Twin Peaks. Shelly asks her if she is going to enter but Annie says life is already strange enough without wearing high heels and a bathing suit. Annie says that it’s also strange being around men again and asks Shelley what she knows about Cooper. Shelly tells Annie to go for it.
Back at station, Lucy (Kimmy Robertson) thanks Andy (Harry Goaz) for helping out during yesterday’s weasel riot. “That’s more than a certain Dick did,” Lucy says.
At the Great Northern, Ben is talking to Audrey about the Kennedy Brothers. Ben says that he needs Audrey to be his Bobby Kennedy. He needs her to be by his side, always willing to tell him the truth. Ben apologizes for not being a better father and then says that he needs Audrey to go to Seattle to meet with the environmentalists. When Wheeler steps into the office, Audrey says she is not sure that she can leave on short notice but Ben will hear nothing of it.
After Audrey leaves, Ben confesses to Wheeler that he is not really sure how to be good. Ben asks Wheeler, “What’s the secret?” Wheeler tells him to keep his eye on his heart and always tell the truth. Wheeler confesses that he is falling in love with Audrey. He and Ben eat a carrot.
Meanwhile, Johnny Horne (Robert Bauer) is outside, shooting rubber arrows at wooden buffaloes.
That night, at Owl Cave, Cooper, Andy, Harry, and Hawk (Michael Horse) explore. They find the markings on the cave and discover that they are a combination of the markings on the Major’s neck and the Log Lady’s leg.
Thanks to wonders of incredibly primitive CGI, an owl flies around the cave. Andy panics and swings his pickaxe, accidentally embedding it in the symbol. Part of the wall falls away, revealing a stone lever that is decorated with a petroglyph on an owl. Cooper smiles and says he does not know where this is going to lead but he is sure it will be somewhere “both wonderful and strange.”
Annie sits alone in the Great Northern cocktail lounge, when Cooper, fresh from Owl Cave, enters. Annie tells Cooper that it is strange being back in the real world. Cooper notices the scars on her wrist. Annie says that she worries that she might try again. Annie tells Cooper that some people think that she is strange. Cooper says that he knows the feeling.
Back at Owl Cave, Earle sneaks in and sees the lever. He turns it and, as the episode ends, the entire cave starts to shake.
This episode, which played like a cross between Picket Fences and Lost, shows just how much of an identity crisis Twin Peaks suffered during its second season. Is it a comedy? Is it a romance? Is it supernatural? No one seems to know.
The best part of the episode was the trip to the Owl Cave and Ben’s conversation with Audrey. The worst part of the episode? Annie, who spent a few years in a convent but is written like an Amish girl on rumspringa.
— Albert Rosenfield (Miguel Ferrer) in Twin Peaks 2.15 “Slaves and Masters”
Well, it had to happen some time.
We have reached the “Slave and Masters” episode of Twin Peaks. Judging from what I’ve read online, most fans seem feel that this episoode was the worst in the show’s history. Myself, I don’t know whether it is or isn’t. I’m writing this introduction before watching the episode. I guess I’ll know soon enough.
Interestingly enough, this episode was directed by actress Diane Keaton. When I first saw Keaton’s name listed as director, I assumes that she must have been a fan of the show and that she lobbied for the chance to direct an episode. However, according to Relections: An Oral History of Twin Peaks by Brad Dukes, the opposite was true. While the cast all liked and respected Keaton as a director, there was also a feeling that she didn’t seem to actually know much about the show. Considering that the show had suffered a severe ratings decline during the 2nd season, it seems probable that Keaton was hired to direct in an attempt to generate some new interest in the once hot show.
If that was the plan, it didn’t work. Apparently, the ratings for this episode were so low that Twin Peaks was put on hiatus a week after it aired. It was only due to a letter-writing campaign that ABC decided to air the last six episodes of the season. In short, it can be argued that this episode was truly the beginning of the end for Twin Peaks‘s original network run.
So, with all that in mind, let’s take a look at the 23rd episode of Twin Peaks, “Slaves and Masters.”
As always, we begin with the haunting opening credits and Angelo Badalamenti’s lushly romantic (yet ominously threatening) score. The mood has been set. We have returned to the world of Twin Peaks.
After the credits, we immediately cut to a close-up of a chess board. In slow motion, the camera glides over all of the pieces. The Queen, The pawns, the King, the Bishop, the little horsey guy. (I don’t know much about chess, sorry.)
Suddenly, we’re no longer looking at chess pieces. Instead, the camera is panning up the legs of Evelyn Marsh (Annette McCarthy), who is dressed in black and even wearing a black veil and — OH MY GOD, HAS THIS STORYLINE NOT BEEN RESOLVED YET!? Seriously, when people talk about Season 2 not being as inspired as Season 1, they’re talking about this half-assed film noir rip-off that James (James Marshall) rode into after he hopped on his motorcycle and left Twin Peaks. From the minute that Evelyn first showed up, I knew exactly what was going to happen with her, James, and her husband. Much like the whole Audrey kidnapping subplot, the Evelyn Marsh subplot should not have lasted any longer than an episode and a half. Instead, it’s still going on!
Anyway, the cops are talking to Evelyn and Malcolm (Nicholas Love) about how someone might have killed her husband. Malcolm is quick to blame James but Evelyn seems a little bit more conflicted about it. There is a funny moment when Malcolm says that James was hired to fix the Jaguar and the cop can’t figure out how to spell Jaguar. That made me laugh but, otherwise, this whole scene felt predictable and unnecessary.
Meanwhile, at Wallie’s Bar, a dozen cops are sitting at the bar, smoking cigars and listening to opera music. (Weird image is weird but it’s just weirdness for the sake of weirdness.) James and Donna (Lara Flynn Boyle) are in a corner of the bar. Donna says that they need to get help but James is all like, “I don’t need nobody!” He says that Malcolm framed him and that he just needs to talk to Evelyn.
Donna goes to call Ed but ends up having to talk to Nadine instead. Though we only hear Donna’s side of the conversation, it sounds like Nadine is talking about her new boyfriend. If her new boyfriend is Mike (Gary Hershberger) than that means that Nadine is now dating Donna’s ex and yet, Donna seems to be remarkably okay with that.
Back at the Sheriff’s station, Harry (Michael Ontkean) and Cooper (Kyle MacLachlan) are interrogating Bobby (Dana Ashbrook) and Shelly (Madchen Amick). Bobby wants to know why Harry and Cooper aren’t making more of an effort to track down Leo. Cooper asks Bobby about the night that the mill burned down. Bobby lies and says that Hank Jennings shot Leo.
Harry says that he’ll have some deputies watch the house. Bobby claims that he’s all the protection that Shelly needs. (For some reason, Bobby is acting like a methhead in this scene.) When Bobby and Shelly leave, they pass Albert Rosenfield (Miguel Ferrer), who takes one look at Bobby and shouts, “Get a life, punk!”
(We love you, Albert!)
After giving Harry an out-of-character bear hug (but that’s okay because I like it when dudes hug it out), Albert explains that he’s been sent to Twin Peaks by Gordon Cole. He has brought with him a picture of Windom Earle, in which Windom looks like an extra in a 1930s gangster movie. He also brings the news that Windom has been mailing different pieces of clothing to police agencies across the country.
Windom has mailed:
1. A white veil
2. A garter
3. A pair of white slippers
4. A peal necklace
5. A wedding dress
Oh my God, I said as Albert listed the items, Windom Earle is marrying Pippa Middleton!
Cooper says that the clothing belonged to Windom’s dead wife (and Cooper’s ex-lover), Caroline. Albert says that Windom is definitely making his move and then says that Cooper looks good in the muted earth tones of a flannel shirt. That was nice of Albert.
Meanwhile, in his cabin, Windom Earle (Kenneth Welsh) plays a flute while Leo (Eric Da Re) lies on the floor. (I have to be honest that these cabin scenes between Windom and Leo made me think about Peter Boyle burning down Gene Hackman’s hut in Young Frankenstein.) Once Leo wakes up, Windom — who was previously described as having a mind like a diamond, cold and precise — starts acting like a Satanic little wood sprite. He jumps around the cabin. He says a lot of evil quips. He beats Leo with a flute and then reveals that he’s placed a collar around Leo’s neck. Windom can electrocute Leo whenever he feels like it. Windom forces Leo to eat gruel while Windom pretends to be a kitty cat. “Purrrr,” he says.
(Windom’s a genius so why is he acting like a sadistic towel manager?)
We cut to Ed (Everett McGill) laying in bed with Norma (Peggy Lipton) and talking about how it’s been twenty years since they first fell in love. They agree that it’s sucked not being together. Suddenly, they hear Nadine (Wendy Robie) arriving home. Norma starts to leave but Ed says, “No, no. We may as well talk to her now.” Sure, Ed — have this conversation with Nadine while you and Norma are laying in bed in your underwear. That’ll really avoid any hurt feelings.
Suddenly, Nadine rips the bedroom door off of its hinges. She comes into the room, carrying a wrestling trophy, and then jumps into bed with Ed and Norma. Nadine apologizes for beating up Hank and then says that she knows about the two of them. Nadine says it’s okay because she’s in love with Mike now.
Cut to the Martell house, where Harry and Cooper are talking to Josie (Joan Chen) about what happened to her in Seattle. Josie says she doesn’t know who killed Jonathan. Harry begs Josie to tell him the truth. Out of nowhere, a surprisingly cheerful Cooper announces, “I think I’ll get another cup of Joe!”
(Somewhere, Joe Biden looks up and says, “Oh my God, they’re talking about me in an old episode of Twin Peaks!” No, Joe, they’re not. Sorry. Maybe later.)
While Cooper’s getting more coffee, Pete (Jack Nance) stumbles in. He has picked up the dry cleaning and can barely see above all of the clothes that he’s holding. He and Cooper do that thing where, instead of being smart and putting the clothes somewhere first, they stand around and attempt to have a conversation, despite the fact that Pete is about fall over backwards. When the phone rings, Pete gives the clothes to Cooper and now its Cooper’s turn to struggle to remain standing. Eventually, Cooper puts the clothes on a chair (was that so hard!?) and then picks one thread off of a jacket.
Speaking of Josie, the phone call was for her. It turns out that the call is from Thomas Eckhardt (David Warner) and he is wondering if he and Josie could get together. Thomas reveals that he is responsible for Jonathan’s death.
After hanging up the phone, Thomas and his assistant, Jones (Brenda Strong), stare at a black trunk.
Meanwhile, Ben Horne (Richard Beymer) is apparently still convinced that he’s a Civil War general because he’s talking to Dr. Jacoby (Russ Tamblyn) about Stonewall Jackson. Much like all that stuff with Evelyn Marsh, this is a plotline that should have been resolved after an episode and a half. Instead, it’s been dragged out way past the point of being amusing. The Ben-Goes-Crazy storyline is the epitome of how Season 2 abandoned surrealism in favor of just being weird for the sake of being weird.
It turns out that Ben and Jacoby have an audience. Audrey (Sherilyn Fenn) and Jerry (David Patrick Kelly) are listening. Johnny Horne (Robert Bauer) is rocking back and forth while wearing a Native American headdress. And there’s a few members of the Hotel Staff, who have been transformed into some sort of marching band.
While Ben rants in his really crummy Southern accent, Jerry and Audrey leave the office. Audrey is worried about her father but Jerry seems to be fairly indifferent. (Needless to say, this goes against everything that we’ve previously seen about Jerry and his relationship with Ben.) Audrey points out that, conveniently enough, she is set to inherit the entire Horne business empire if anything happens to Ben and that Jerry better do what she says or she’ll cut him off.
Audrey returns to Ben’s office, where Dr. Jacoby looks perplexed. Audrey walks up to him and says she wants her father to turn back to normal. Jacoby says that he’s got it all taken care of. Bobby shows up, dressed like a Confederate soldier. Ben sings Dixie. Can this storyline just end, please!?
Meanwhile, at Walli’s, Evelyn is still dressed in black. Though the bar appears to be closed (there are chairs on the tables and everything), Evelyn is drinking. Suddenly, Donna walks up to her. Why is Donna still there? How much school can you miss in Twin Peaks? Why are Evelyn and Donna both hanging out in a bar that appears to be closed?
Suddenly, the bartender wanders by, lingering just long enough for Evelyn to order Donna a drink, “one that has a little umbrella in it.” Okay, is this bar closed or open? If it’s open, why are the tables covered in chairs? This stuff is confusing, especially for a non-drinker like me.
Anyway, Donna gets mad when Evelyn says that she won’t help James. Evelyn explains that life is crap. (Her words.) Suddenly, Malcolm (Nicholas Love) shows up and tells Evelyn to go home. He then threatens Donna and Donna reacts by yelling and then crying.
Back at the station, Albert reveals that the thread that Cooper found was from the carpet outside of Cooper’s hotel room. Apparently, this proves that it was Josie who shot Cooper at the end of Season 1. Bad Josie!
After swearing Albert to secrecy, Cooper heads to Harry’s office, where Harry is playing darts. Harry tells Cooper that the dead vagrant has been identified as being Eric Powell, a former member of the Merchant Marines.
“Powell was Caroline’s maiden name!” Cooper says.
Cooper says that this is all a big chess game to Windom. Harry says that, if Cooper needs a chess expert, they have one of the best right in town. And his name is Pete Martell!
At the diner, Pete shows of his mad chess skills by playing and winning four games at once. Cooper is impressed and invites Pete to help him play Windom’s chess game. Pete better be good because, every time that Cooper loses a piece, Windom is going to kill an innocent person.
Shelly walks into the diner and asks Norma if she needs any help. Norma hires her back. Then Harry shows up and says that he needs to talk to Norma. They slip into the kitchen where Harry explains that Hank is going away for a long time. Norma’s okay with that but I’m not. Hank may be a sociopath but he’s hella charming.
That night, Thomas shows up at the Martell house, where he is greeted by Catherine (Piper Laurie). Thomas appears to be slightly surprised by the sight of Josie in her maid’s uniform. Thomas and Catherine drink wine, eat dinner, and discuss art and killing. It quickly becomes apparent that Thomas has shown up to take Josie and that Catherine is more than willing to allow him to do that, for a price.
Meanwhile, at the Marsh house, Evelyn is stunned when James shows up in the living room and demands to know why Evelyn killed her husband and attempted to frame him. James says that it was hella lame to manipulate him with everything that he’s been going through. Evelyn confesses to everything. She says that she set James up. She says she did it for the money and also just because she felt like doing it.
Suddenly, Malcolm barges into the room and knocks James out. Malcolm says that they can now kill James and claim that it was self-defense. And you know what? He has a point. Bye, James.
Meanwhile, Ben and the gang recreate another Civil War battle. This whole Civil War subplot is so freaking stupid that I don’t even feel like talking about it anymore. While pretending to be General U.S. Grant, Dr. Jacoby announces that he’s surrendering. Having won the Civil War, Ben proceeds to faint. When he wakes up, Ben says that he had the strangest dream about being a general during the Civil War. He even does the whole “And you were there …. and you … and you!” thing. Anyway, Ben appears to be back to normal.
At the cabin, Windom is putting on a disguise. He continues to torment Leo with the electroshock collar.
At the Marsh mansion, James is still unconscious on the floor while Malcolm and Evelyn look down on him. Donna watches from outside the window. When Malcolm repeats that they can kill James and make it look like self-defense, Donna runs into the living room and screams, “NO!”
As Evelyn watches Donna cry over a motionless James, she stands up. Uh-oh, she’s got a gun. Evelyn shoots Malcolm and then says that she’ll frame Malcolm for her husband’s death though I don’t think it’ll be that difficult a frame-up because Malcolm is actually guilty.
At the Great Northern, Cooper walks down a hallway and stops in front of an elevator. He looks at a picture of Caroline that he has in his wallet. As he does this, a poorly disguised Windom Earle steps off the elevator. Windom goes to the front desk an drops off a note for Audrey. (Oh, goddamnit, is this going to be the start of yet another Audrey-gets-kidnapped storyline?) He also notices several postcards that all feature owls. “Owls,” he says.
Cooper arrives back at his room. He finds a white mask on his bed. Windom Earle has been there and he’s left a taunting message. The episode ends with Windom’s line: “It’s your move.”
As for this episode, it definitely felt a bit off. The main problem is that it focused on two largely uninteresting subplots — Evelyn Marsh and the Civil War — and portrayed Windom Earle as so cartoonishly evil that it’s hard to believe that he could also be the villainous mastermind that Cooper’s spent the last few episodes describing. It was a weak episode but at least it finished off the whole Evelyn Marsh thing.
— Leland/Bob (Ray Wise) in Twin Peaks 2.9 “Arbitrary Law”
Well, this is it.
This is the episode where the “Who Killed Laura Palmer?” storyline was finally resolved. So, let’s jump right into it:
Following the haunting opening credits, the show opens with a shot of the dead body of Maddy Ferguson (Sheryl Lee), still wrapped in plastic. A flashlight shines on her face. It’s a very disturbing shot, for all the obvious reason. It is perhaps not a coincidence that this episode was directed by Tim Hunter, who previously directed River’s Edge, an entire movie that revolves around a lifeless body that is dumped next to a river.
This fades into a shot of Cooper (Kyle MacLachlan), Harry (Michael Ontkean), Albert (Miguel Ferrer), and Hawk (Michael Horse). It’s the morning and they are walking through the woods. It’s an interestingly framed shot and the fact that it’s done in slow motion gives it a dream-like feel. It’s as if they’re four gunslingers walking towards some alien version of the O.K. Corral.
Albert is holding the letter “O” that was put underneath Maddy’s fingernail. Albert tells them what they already know. The same man who killed Laura also killed Maddy. White strands of fur, perhaps from a rug, where also found on Maddy’s body.
Harry says that they need to call Maddy’s family. “Leland should have their number…”
NO, HARRY, LELAND’S THE MURDERER!
Fortunately, Cooper speaks up. He asks Harry to give him 24 hours so that Cooper can “finish this.” Albert says that only Cooper knows where he’s going but that he needs to do whatever needs to be done “before this beast bites again.” Albert has such a way with words.
Cut to a restaurant that I don’t think we’ve seen before. Donna (Lara Flynn Boyle) is sitting in a booth when James (James Marshall) comes to meet her. Wait — are Donna and James meeting somewhere other than the Double R or the Roadhouse!? Well, just stab Norma in the back, why don’t ya?
Anyway, James is all happy because he went for a drive on his motorcycle. He then gives Donna a ring and says that he just feels that they should be together all the time. Donna agrees but I have a feeling that this won’t last.
Meanwhile, at the Double R, Norma (Peggy Lipton) is probably wondering where Donna and James are. She’s also having to deal with Vivian (Jane Greer), who is eating her food and being just as critical as ever. Norma complains that nothing she does is ever good enough. Vivian, who is pretty obvious M.T. Wentz, gives Norma advice on how to make the perfect omelette.
Andy (Harry Goaz) eats a slice of pie and keeps repeating “I am a lonely soul,” in French. Donna and James walk up to him so I guess they were at the diner all the time. That’s weird because that booth that they were sitting in earlier looked nothing like anything we’ve ever seen in the Double R before. Anyway, they want to know what Andy’s talking about, like it’s any of their business. Andy tells Donna that he’s repeating the words of Harold Smith’s suicide note and that, of course, reminds Donna that she’s essentially responsible for Harold killing himself. Donna says that she needs to find Agent Cooper.
Apparently, she manages to do just that because, in the next scene, Donna is leading Cooper up to the house of Mrs. Tremond. Fortunately, for all of us who had forgotten, Donna explains that Mrs. Tremond told her about Harold Smith and, also, that Mr. Tremond had a strange grandson who performed magic and said the same French phrase — J’ai une âme solitaire — that Harold used in his suicide note. Donna says that the note had to be a message.
(Yes, Donna, the message was probably something like, “Someone who pretended to be my friend totally betrayed me and now I’m dead.”)
Reaching the Tremond House, Donna is shocked when the door is answered by a woman that she’s never seen before. Yes, the woman is named Mrs. Tremond. No, there is no old woman or little boy living in the house. However, this Mrs. Tremond does have an envelope that was left in her mailbox on the day that Harold killed himself. The envelope is addressed to Donna.
And what’s in the envelope? A page from Laura’s secret diary!
Laura wrote that, on February 22nd, she had a strange dream. She was sitting in a chair in a red room, with a small man (Michael Anderson) and an old man. Laura wanted to tell the old man who BOB was but she couldn’t make herself understood. Cooper realizes that he and Laura had the same dream! Laura also wrote that BOB was only scared of one man, a man named MIKE.
On February 23rd, Laura wrote, “Tonight is the night that I die. I know I have to because it’s the only way to keep BOB away from me.”
(If you’re not already totally disturbed by all this, just reminds yourself that Laura is writing about her father.)
Cooper goes to see MIKE (Al Strobel). Doc Hayward (Warren Frost) is there, which is not surprising since Doc Hayward appears to be everywhere. He explains that Gerard/MIKE is in pretty bad shape. Cooper asks how he can find BOB. MIKE says that Cooper must ask the Giant but he is not clear on just how exactly Cooper can find the Giant. MIKE tells Cooper that 1) he has all the clues that he needs and 2) Cooper has “so much responsibility.”
Cooper steps out into one of the Great Northern hallways and sees the old waiter (Hank Worden) carrying a tray that has one glass of milk on it. “I know about you,” the waiter says. “That milk’ll cool down on you but it’s getting warmer now.”
“Getting warmer now,” Cooper repeats before heading over to Ben’s office. Harry is in the process of searching Ben’s office and is super excited because he thinks that he’s found more evidence proving Ben’s guilt. Both Harry and Cooper notice the white fox rug, which would seem to indicate that Maddy was in Ben’s office.
“He killed Maddy here!” Harry says.
As if by magic, Albert pops up and reveals that Maddy died the night before last, between 10 pm and midnight. “That fits,” Harry said, “we didn’t take Ben in until after midnight…”
Cooper nods but you can tell he’s thinking, “Nope, the Giant would totally disagree with you on this point.”
At the Sheriff’s station, Andy approaches Lucy (Kimmy Robertson) and says he wants to talk about “his” child. Not now, Andy! I mean, I think you and Lucy are a cute couple and all but there’s some important stuff going on….
In the holding cell, Ben (Ricard Beymer) is visited by Catherine (Piper Laurie), who is still poorly disguised as a Japanese man. (So, I guess anyone can just wander around the sheriff’s station whenever they feel like it?) Not realizing that he’s talking to Catherine, Ben says that he cannot proceed on the Ghostwood Estates deal until he gets a better lawyer and gets out of prison. Catherine then reveals her painted toenails and says that she intends to make the rest of Ben’s “pathetic existence” miserable. Ben signs over the mill and Ghostwood Estates to Catherine, hoping that she’ll give him an alibi for the night Laura was murdered. Catherine says she’ll consider it and then leaves.
(Silly Ben! You should have signed over the Mill first and then held off on Ghostwood until after Catherine talked to the Sheriff. Of course, if Twin Peaks took place today, DNA testing would have already gotten Ben out of jail.)
At the Palmer house, Leland (Ray Wise) greets Donna, who is dropping off a tape of a song that she and Maddy did with James. Donna is wearing a pair of Laura’s old sunglasses. She also lights a cigarette in the Palmer house. Donna’s the best!
Anyway, Donna tells Leland about Laura’s secret diary. Needless to say, Leland is disturbed by the news. Suddenly, he gets a call from Maddy’s mother. Maddy hasn’t shown up in Montana. As Donna listens, Leland says that he took Maddy down to the bus station.
After hanging up, Leland pops a stick of gum in his mouth and announces that Maddy never made it home. (“That gum you like is going to come back in style.”) Anyway, Donna is worried but Leland tells her not to worry. He goes over to a mirror and straightens his tie. BOB (Frank Silva) stares back at him.
Leland goes to get a glass of lemonade. When he returns, Donna is staring at all of the pictures of Laura on the mantle. Leland walks up behind her and — AGCK! — strokes her hair. He tells her that he knows the “cure for what ails you.” He puts some cocktail music on the phonograph and, suddenly, we’re no longer seeing Leland. Instead, we’re seeing BOB and he is pure nightmare fuel. However, Donna still just sees Leland acting like goofy old Leland.
Leland starts to dance with Donna in the middle of the living room but suddenly, he yanks her close to him and violently embraces her.
The doorbell rings. Leland goes to answer it, leaving a very shaken Donna. Fortunately, it’s Harry at the door. He explains that they need Leland’s help. There’s been another murder. Harry says he can’t go into specifics but he needs Leland to go with him. Leland and Harry leave and Donna is able to make her escape.
Donna meets with James at the park. (James rides up on his motorcycle and — well, I’ve defended James in the past but here, he just looks like kinda dorky. Sorry, James.) Donna tells James that Maddy’s dead.
“I gotta go,” James says, “Nothing matters. Nothing we do matters.”
Having discovered ennui, James jumps on her motorcycle and leaves Donna behind.
Night rolls in. Thunder. Lightning.
At the otherwise deserted Roadhouse, Ben sits in a booth. Cooper and Albert sit at the bar. Everything important happens at the Roadhouse, apparently.
Leland, escorted by Harry and Ed (Everett McGill), enters. After telling Leland that they are going to be meeting someone, perhaps the killer, Cooper has all the tables and chairs cleared off the floor. While this goes in, Hawk enters with the catatonic Leo (Eric Da Re) and Bobby Briggs (Dana Ashbrook). Everyone who has been a serious suspect in the murder of Laura Palmer is now in the Roadhouse.
“Hail, hail,” Ben says, “the gang’s all here.”
Cooper then proceeds to do the Agatha Christie thing, announcing that the killer is someone in the room. He talks about his duty as a member of the FBI. He seeks simple answer to difficult questions. (Don’t we all?) Dale says that, after employing all of his other deductive techniques, he is going to try to something new. “For a lack of a better word,” he says, “magic.”
Suddenly, Major Briggs (Don S. Davis) shows up with the waiter. Major Briggs says that he was on his way home when the waiter flagged him down and asked for a ride to the roadhouse.
The waiter gives Cooper a stick of gum. Leland/BOB smiles and says, “I know that gum. I used to chew it when I was a kid.”
(That’s an interesting line, for many reasons. Last episode, Jerry wondered how he and Ben had grown up to be who they were. Leland is now talking about the gum that he used to chew as a child, which presumably would be the same time that BOB was living next door to his summer house. Throughout Twin Peaks, the innocence and hope of youth is contrasted with the dark secrets of adulthood.)
The waiter tells Leland that the gum is going to come back in style, which leads to several freeze frames. Time has stopped for everyone but Cooper, who is now seeing the Man from Another Place dancing in the room with the red curtains. Laura is whispering in Cooper’s ear but this time, he hears what she has to say. “My father killed me.” The Giant appears and hands the ring back to Cooper. The Giant vanishes.
“Ben Horne!” Cooper announces, “I would like you to accompany me back to the station! You might like to bring along Leland Palmer as your attorney.”
At the station, Ben is forcefully led to down to interrogation. Leland/BOB follows behind them. However, once they reach the interrogation room, Harry suddenly shoves Leland into the interrogation room, slamming and locking the door behind him.
Leland/BOB starts to howl like a wild animal while pounding on the walls. Cooper tells Hawk to release Ben.
“Leland?” a stunned Ben says.
“That’s not Leland,” Cooper says.
Cooper then explains that Laura told him that Leland killed her in a dream. Always the master of the understatement, Harry says, “We’re going to need stronger evidence than that.” That’s okay. Cooper’s sure that he can get a confession.
While Hawk aims a gun at Leland’s head, Cooper interrogates him. It quickly becomes obvious that Leland is now totally possessed by BOB. BOB taunts Cooper about something that happened in Pittsburgh and then says that Leland was a good ride but he’s too old and weak now. BOB says that it’s time to “shuffle off to Buffalo…”
(The implication, throughout both the show and the feature film that followed, is that Leland — as BOB — had been molesting Laura since she was a child. Since most child molesters were themselves molested as children, the suggestion that BOB used to live next door to Leland would suggest that BOB previously possessed someone who molested Leland. Twin Peaks has such a reputation for being a “strange” show that I think people overlook just how disturbing its portrait of the “perfect” family truly was.)
Having gotten their confession, Harry, Cooper, and Hawk leave Leland alone in the interrogation room.
Meanwhile, Dick Tremayne (Ian Buchanan) shows up to see Andy and … no, I’m sorry. I love Andy and Lucy and I enjoy Ian Buchanan’s performance as the hilariously shallow Dick but now is not that time for the baby subplot. There’s some serious stuff going down with Leland/BOB right now…
(Lucy does say, “I’m going to keep my baby.” Papa don’t preach…I’m in trouble now…papa don’t preach…)
Outside the interrogation room, Cooper reveals that 1) Ben had the wrong blood type and 2) both Leland and the Man from Another Place danced. In other words, it’s a pretty good thing that they got that confession because I’m not sure dream dancing would hold up in court.
Uh-oh, Leland/BOB is shouting in the interrogation room. It’s the fire walk with me poem! That’s never good!
“I’LL CATCH YOU WITH MY DEATH BAG!” Leland/BOB shouts, “I WILL KILL AGAIN!”
Suddenly, the smoke detector goes off and the sprinklers come to life. With water raining down upon him, Leland/BOB rams his head into the door, leaving a mix of blood, skin, and probably brains behind.
Harry and Cooper rush into the room, to discover Leland lying on the floor, dying. Leland, who now seems to be Leland again, cries for his daughter and begs for forgiveness. Leland says that he saw BOB in a dream and that he invited BOB in. And when BOB “came inside” him, he made Leland kill Laura. As Leland died, Cooper tells him that it’s time to walk down the narrow path and enter the light. Leland says that he can see Laura and then dies.
(That may sound silly but I had tears in my eyes. MacLachlan and Wise are brilliant in this episode.)
We cut to daylight. Cooper, Harry, and Albert walk through the woods, where they run into Maj. Briggs. Harry says that Leland was insane but Albert argues that people actually did see BOB in visions.
Maj. Briggs says, “Gentlemen, there is more in Heaven and Earth, than is dreamt of in our philosophy.”
Harry says he’s having a hard time believing that BOB existed. Cooper asks — and this question gets to the heart of the David Lynch aesthetic — whether it’s any more comforting to believe that a man would, of his own free will, rape and murder his own daughter.
Major Briggs asks if it matter what causes evil. Cooper says that it does. “It’s our job to stop it.”
Albert suggests that BOB may have just been “the evil that men do.”
(Meanwhile, the spirit of Shakespeare looks up and says, “I sense that I am being quoted without attribution…”)
“Where’s BOB now?” Harry wonders.
Cut to an owl flying straight to the camera. End with a freeze frame!
Seriously, that was a great episode. I wonder how people reacted to it in 1990. From what I’ve read, a lot of people stopped watching before this episode, which is a shame.
Well, Laura’s murder has been solved. I guess the show’s over now. Thanks for reading everyone and…
Oh. Apparently, the show did go on and we’ve got 13 more episodes to review.
So, join us tomorrow for another review! And until then, why not check out the story so far:
— Dale Cooper (Kyle MacLachlan) in Twin Peaks 2.4 “Laura’s Secret Diary”
I have to admit that I initially got really excited when I saw who had directed Laura’s Secret Diary.
That’s largely because I misread the name and I briefly thought that the episode was directed by the veteran horror director, Tom Holland. I happen to be friends on Facebook with Tom Holland and I immediately started to try to figure out the least intrusive way to ask him about his experience directing for Twin Peaks… But no, on second glance, it turned out that the director of this episode was Todd Holland. Todd Holland is another veteran director, though he’s best known for directing sitcoms.
Speaking of credits, this episode is credited to four different writers. Along with Twin Peaks mainstays Mark Frost, Harley Peyton, and Robert Engels, credit is also given to Jerry Stahl. Like Holland, Stahl worked on several sitcoms but he’s probably best known for his memoir, Permanent Midnight, in which he wrote about his experiences as a drug addict in Hollywood. Permanent Midnight was later turned into a movie, starring Ben Stiller as Stahl. (Of course, before all that, Stahl wrote the script for an odd sci-fi film called Cafe Flesh, a movie that many consider to be one of the best pornographic films of all time.) As quoted in Reflections: An Oral History of Twin Peaks, Mark Frost says that Stahl wrote the initial script for Laura’s Secret Diary but the script was a “an absolute car wreck… He turned in a completely incomprehensible, unusable, incomplete script a few days late and as I recall there were blood stains on it.” Stahl’s script was rewritten by Frost, Peyton, and Engels.
How did they do? Well, let’s take a look at Laura’s Secret Diary!
As always, we start with the opening credits, attempting to lull us into the town’s false sense of security. What’s interesting is that, with each subsequent viewing of the opening credits, those shots of Twin Peaks and the woods and the waterfall become more and more ominous. Since the series started, we’ve learned a lot about goes on in those woods. We know what’s lurking underneath the surface.
The show begins with a disturbing image, one that feels extremely Lynchian even if it was directed by Todd Holland. We start with an extreme closeup of … well, we don’t know what we’re looking at it. It appears to be a white surface that is covered with dark holes but, only as the camera pulls away, do we realize that we’re looking at the wall of the police station’s interrogation room. On the soundtrack, we hear screams and a distorted voice repeating the words, “Daddy!” over and over again.
(As unsettling as this may be, it’s even more disturbing if you know what’s going to happen in the next few episodes. Twin Peaks is one of the few shows that is even more unsettling in retrospect.)
We then see that Leland (Ray Wise) is staring at the wall while Harry (Michael Ontkean) and Cooper (Kyle MacLachlan) attempt to talk to him about the death of Jacques Renault. Leland confesses to the murder, crying as he does so. As always, Doc Hayward (Warren Frost) is standing in the background, watching. Doc Hayward is always watching in the background, almost enough to make me wonder if he’s real or if he’s just a dream character, a symbol of old-fashioned decency who has been fantasized into existence by the beleaguered citizens of Twin Peaks.
After Leland’s confession, Hayward and Cooper talk. When Hayward expresses some sympathy for Leland, Cooper snaps, “Do you approve of murder, doctor?” (This is our first clue that Cooper’s going to spend most of this episode not acting like his usual friendly self.) Cooper then storms off, probably leaving Hayward to wonder just what exactly he did wrong. However, Hayward doesn’t have long to wonder because suddenly, he’s got Andy (Harry Goaz) to deal with.
Andy is concerned that he “flunked” his “sperm test” and wants another shot. Doc Hayward gives him a specimen jar and tells him to put it in a brown paper bag once he’s done with it. “I’ll be in the car,” Hayward says. Andy goes off with the jar and a copy of Flesh World (and I think it might be the same copy of Flesh World that contained Laura and Ronette’s personal ads). Of course, he happens to run into Lucy (Kimmy Robertson), who is none too happy to see her ex-boyfriend heading to the men’s room with a pornographic magazine. “Hmmphf!” Lucy says.
While this drama unfolds, Harry informs Cooper that the judge will be arriving that afternoon. His name is Clinton Sternwood. He travels the circuit in a Winnebago. The district attorney is also coming. His name is Darryl Lodwick. Also, it turns out that no one named Robertson ever rented the house next to the Palmers’ summer cabin. The house is currently rented to a family named Kalispell. I’m assuming that it must be Funny Name Day in Twin Peaks.
Andy wanders by and, being Andy, he accidentally drops his specimen jar and it rolls underneath a chair in the waiting room. As Andy tries to retrieve it, Cooper sees that Andy is wearing the same brand of boots that they found at Leo Johnson’s house. Cooper asks about the boots and Andy thinks he’s asking about sperm and hilarity ensues. Anyway, it turns out that Andy bought the boots from the One-Armed Man, who is apparently still missing.
At the Great Northern, a frantic employee runs up to Ben Horne (Richard Beymer).
“Mr. Horne!” she says.
“Walk and talk,” Ben says and…
Wait a minute! WALK AND TALK!? AARON SORKIN, YOU’VE JUST BEEN RIPPING OFF TWIN PEAKS!
But anyway, the employee informs Ben that she’s heard a rumor that M.T. Wentz is coming to Twin Peaks. Well, of course, he is. It’s Funny Name Day, after all. But apparently, M.T. Wentz is some sort of famous travel writer. No one knows what Wentz looks like but a favorable Wentz review could put the Great Northern on the map.
Ben steps into his office and finds Jean Renault (Michael Parks) waiting for him. Oh my God! M.T. Wentz is Jean Renault!? No, actually, it turns out that Jean is just there to show Ben a video tape of Audrey (Sherilyn Fenn) being held hostage. Renault wants money and he wants Dale Cooper to serve as the delivery man.
At the Double R Diner, Hank (Chris Mulkey) tells Donna (Lara Flynn Boyle) that she looks pretty today and Donna says, “Thanks,” and considers that Hank is just as troubled as James Hurley but he doesn’t cry as much. However, Hank ruins his chances by making fun of the people on Donna’s Meals on Wheels route. “You wouldn’t understand,” Donna tells him.
Norma (Peggy Lipton) tells Hank that she’s just heard that M.T. Wentz is in town. Hank has no idea who that is. Apparently, they don’t read restaurant reviews in prison. Norma explains that a good review from M.T. Wentz could being a lot of business to the Double R, especially if it appears in a “Seattle paper.” Apparently, Norma is hoping to corner the vegan hipster market.
Though Hank doesn’t know who M.T. Wentz is, he still grabs a hundred dollar bill from the register and then leaves to buy flowers and other stuff that could make the Double R look worthy of a good review. He also tells Norma to call Big Ed. Big Ed can help clean the place up! Norma nods. It’s not as if Big Ed ever has anything else to do.
Meanwhile, Donna is having lunch with Harold Smith (Lenny Von Dohlen) and it must be said that Harold is probably on the cuter end of the recluse scale. Donna has to be happy that she didn’t get stuck with some sort of Howard Hughes-type with uncut finger nails and empty Kleenex boxes on his feet. Harold offers to read something from Laura’s secret diary. Donna says sure.
Harold reads a passage where Laura talks about how much she loves Donna. Laura worried that Donna wouldn’t be her friend if she knew “what my insides are really like.” Donna starts to cry and Harold apologizes. Donna says its okay but she wonders if maybe they should give the diary to the sheriff.
“No,” Harold says, “I’ve read this from cover to cover. There are no solutions.”
(Harold wasn’t the only person who read Laura’s diary from cover to cover. The Secret Diary of Laura Palmer was written by Jennifer Lynch and published shortly before the start of the second season. I’ve ordered a copy from Amazon and I’ll read it as soon as it arrives. Maybe if y’all are really nice to me, I’ll even write a review of it.)
Harold explains that people tells him their stories and he places them in a larger context. “Friends and lovers,” Harold says, even though there don’t seem to be any around. “Maybe you’ll be come one,” Harold says, as the creepy meter goes off the charts.
Meanwhile, at the Great Northern, Ben tells Cooper that Audrey has been kidnapped. Cooper is upset that Ben has circumvented “normal channels” and has contacted him directly. Uhmmm … is it just me or is Cooper kind of being a dick in this episode? This definitely does not seem to be the same Dale Cooper who has been present in every other episode of the show. It’s almost as if the script for this show was written by an outside writer who 1) hadn’t ever really watched Twin Peaks and 2) was struggling with personal issues of his own.
Meanwhile, at the Martell House, Josie (Joan Chen) has returned from Seattle. Oh my God, could Josie be M.T. Wentz!? IT WOULD EXPLAIN SO MUCH! But anyway, Josie tells Pete (Jack Nance) that she’s sorry about the mill burning down and that she’s happy that Catherine was around to take care of things. Pete mentions that Catherine died in the fire. Josie and Catherine share a hug, even as Pete explains that they still haven’t found Catherine’s body but they’re still going to have a service.
“I don’t know what, exactly, we’ll be burying,” Pete says…
Wait! If they haven’t found Catherine’s body, then she’s probably still alive! Maybe Catherine is actually M.T. Wentz…
At One-Eyed Jacks, Emory (Don Amendolia) leads Audrey into an office where a displeased Jean is waiting. Emory says that “Ms. Horne was a very bad girl, refusing to take her medicine.” When Jean realizes that Emory has been hitting Audrey, Jean shoots him. Good for Jean!
At the police station, Andy tries to approach Lucy but Lucy’s like, “Go talk to your magazines!” and she starts waving a big pair of scissors at him. At that point, Cooper walks into the station and tells Andy to go get some air. Cooper’s not in a good mood. He doesn’t have time for all of this. (In the past, Cooper would have made time but, in this episode, Dale Cooper is suddenly a raging jerk.) After Andy leaves, Cooper orders Lucy to explain what’s bothering her.
Lucy complains that Andy doesn’t work out, doesn’t wash his car, and doesn’t own a sports coat. That’s why she dumped Andy and started going out with Dick Tremayne. Tremayne owns a lot of coats, Lucy explains. Cooper asks Lucy if she knows what she wants. “I don’t know!” Lucy wails before running off.
Having ruined Lucy’s life, Cooper tells Harry that, even though he can’t give any specific details, he needs one of the Book House Boys. “The best one,” Cooper says. (In other words, not James.) “I’ll set it up,” Harry says, “9:30 at the Roadhouse.”
(Why do I have a feeling that Cooper’s going to show up at the Roadhouse and find Doc Hayward waiting for him? Actually, the Book House Boys are starting to remind me of the Brets from Flight of the Conchords.)
That night, at the nearly deserted Double R Diner, Norma and Hank watch as a fat man with a beard (Ritch Brinkley) walks in. “That must be him!” Norma says. The fat man orders a cheeseburger and then heads to the bathroom. Hank, proving the he really doesn’t understand how parole works, steals the man’s wallet while he’s gone. Hank quickly discovers that the bearded man is not M.T. Wentz. Instead, he’s Darryl Lodwick, the district attorney. Hank might want to return that wallet.
At another booth, Donna and Maddy (Sheryl Lee) talk. Maddy tries to apologize while Donna smokes a cigarette and glares at her. She wants to steal the diary from Harold’s house. She’ll do it with or without Maddy’s help.
As it rains outside, Harry goes to the Martell house and sees Josie. Josie tries to distract him by modeling a sexy black dress that she bought in Seattle. Being a paragon of truth and justice, Harry refuses to be distracted. He demands to know if Josie set the fire at the mill. “How could you!?” Josie responds. Josie and Harry end up making love on a couch while a mysterious Asian man watches from outside.
(M.T. Wentz, maybe?)
At the police station, as lightning flashes outside and thunder rumbles, Lucy drinks a cup of coffee. Judge Sternwood (played by Royal Dano, a veteran Western character actor) shows up at the station, followed by Harry and Cooper.
Sternwood asks how Cooper is finding Twin Peaks.
“Heaven, sir,” Cooper replies.
“Well, this week, heaven includes arson, multiple homicides, and an attempt on the life of a federal agent,” Sternwood replies.
“Heaven is a large and interesting place, sir,” Cooper says, a line which immediately made me think of Eraserhead and that radiator woman singing that, “In Heaven, everything is fine.”
Judge Sternwood and Cooper walk off and Lucy finally thinks that she can relax and drink her coffee. Suddenly, here comes Dick Tremayne (Ian Buchanan). Now, I have to say that, of all the new characters who showed up during the second season, Dick Tremayne is probably my favorite. He’s just such a salesman. Of course, he’s a jerk, too. But Ian Buchanan gives such a lively performance.
Dick says that he hasn’t slept. He hasn’t eaten. He’s been a fool. Dick has realized that he must do the right thing and that means … giving Lucy $650 for an abortion. Lucy kicks him out of the station and then locks herself in Harry’s office, loudly sobbing.
Andy escorts Leland to his meeting with the judge, only briefly stopping when he hears the distraught Lucy cry out, “OH DICK! WAS IT JUST YOUR ASCOT?!”
Judge Sternwood talks to Leland, saying that he knows Leland to be a decent man and a good attorney. Sternwood says that procedures must be observed but promises to raise a glass with Leland in Valhalla. Since Lodwick is still at the diner, the Judge decides to hold off on determining bail until the morning. Leland says that’s fine and that everyone’s being very nice to him in jail.
After Leland is escorted out, the Judge tells Harry and Cooper that they all have very difficult jobs. Maybe not as difficult as M.T. Wentz’s job but difficult nonetheless.
At the Great Northern, Ben is talking to the Lumber Queen semi-finalists while the mysterious Asian man stares at him. Ben and the Asian Man bow towards each other. The Asian man is checking into the hotel. He says that he only pays in cash and that he’s from Seattle. Oh my God, could it be M.T. Wentz!? That’s certainly what the desk clerk thinks…
Except, of course, we know that it’s not M.T. Wentz. It’s pretty obvious that the Asian man is actually Catherine Martell in disguise. It doesn’t matter how much makeup she wear or how much she lowers her voice, Piper Laurie is Piper Laurie.
At the Martell House, Josie’s cousin, Jonathan (Mark Takano), has arrives. Josie introduces him to Pete. Pete goes off to get coffee and suddenly, Jonathan sneers and says he doesn’t know how Josie survived living in Twin Peaks. Jonathan says they have to get back to Hong Kong. “Are there any complications?” Jonathan asks.
(Oh, there’s always a few. It’s Twin Peaks!)
Meanwhile, at the Roadhouse, Dale waits for the arrival of the best Book House Boy. Now, I have to admit that I was expecting either Hank or maybe M.T. Wentz to come walking through the door. Instead, it’s Harry!
“Are we in any particular hurry?” Harry asks.
“Harry, let me buy you a beer,” Dale says.
Sure, Cooper, why not? I mean, hey, IT’S NOT LIKE AUDREY’S BEEN KIDNAPPED WHILE TRYING TO HELP YOU OUT OR ANYTHING!
Seriously, what’s going on with Dale in this episode?
Hey, Cooper — remember Audrey!?
At the Double R, Hank (who apparently lives in the diner) is woken up by someone knocking on the front door. When Hank goes to answer the door, he is attacked by Jonathan. Jonathan knocks him to the floor and then says, “Blood brother. Next time, I take your head off.”
And this rather frustrating and uneven episode of Twin Peaks comes to an end.
It’s hard to know what to make of Laura’s Secret Diary. There were parts that I really liked, like the opening shot in the interrogation room and some of the humor between Andy, Lucy, and Dick. But, at the same time, you’ve got Dale acting totally out-of-character, the strangely unresolved M.T. Wentz thing, and it’s hard not to feel that Audrey Being Kidnapped is a storyline that should have been resolved in two episodes, as opposed to being dragged out for as long as it was. Audrey is too important a character to spend the first half of season 2 in a daze.
Tomorrow’s episode — The Orchid’s Kiss!
(That sounds like the title of one of the paperbacks that my sister would select for Artwork of the Day, doesn’t it?)
“What I want and what I need are two different things, Audrey”
— Dale Cooper (Kyle MacLachlan) in Twin Peaks 1.7 “Realization Time)
In anticipation of the Showtime revival in May, Leonard, Jeff, and I have been reviewing every single episode of the original Twin Peaks! Today, I will be taking a look at the 7th episode of season 1, “Realization Time.”
Now, I have to admit that I was not originally assigned to review this episode. Much as I did with Zen, or the Skill To Catch A Killer, I literally got down on my knees and begged for the chance to review this episode. Once again, as I explained why I felt that I was predestined to write this review, I shed many tears and threatened to utilize the power of excessive whining unless I allowed to do so. Eventually, it paid off.
(Audrey was such a popular character during the initial run of Twin Peaks that, apparently, Mulholland Drive was originally conceived as being a spin-off in which Audrey would have gone to Hollywood and solved crimes. In other words, no Audrey, no Mulholland Drive, no polls declaring Mulholland Drive to be the best film, so far, of the 21st century.)
Secondly, this was the final episode to feature Waldo the Myna Bird and I just happen to love the way that whenever Harry Goaz, in the role of Deputy Andy, said the name “Waldo,” he would drag out each syllable so that the bird’s name became “Walllll DOE.”
Anyway, with all that in mind, let’s take a look at Realization Time!
We start with those beautiful opening credits, that mix of machinery and nature that reminds us that Twin Peaks is a David Lynch production, even if this particular episode was directed by noted cinematographer Caleb Deschanel.
(Deschanel’s wife, Mary Jo, also played Ben Horne’s unhappy wife. Interestingly enough, in the 1983 best picture nominee The Right Suff , for which Caleb Deschanel received an Oscar nomination, Mary Jo played the wife of John Glenn.)
This episode opens where the last one left off. Audrey (Sherilyn Fenn) is naked in Dale Cooper’s (Kyle MacLachlan) bed and Dale is explaining that he is an agent of the FBI and, as such, he has taken an oath to uphold certain principles. He tells Audrey that she needs a friend and he says he is going to get them two malts and that she is going to tell him all of her troubles.
This is one of those scenes — and there’s a lot of them to be found in the first season of Twin Peaks — that really shouldn’t work and yet it does. Everything about it, from Cooper’s corny sincerity to the promise of two malts, serves to remind us that Twin Peaks often has more in common with an idealized 1950s than with any recognizable modern era. I think that only Kyle MacLachlan could have made Cooper’s lines come across as being sincere as opposed to condescending. Being rejected by an older man who has just found you naked in his bed is not as pleasant experience as this episode makes it appear to be. And yet, Fenn and MacLachlan both do a great job at selling this scene.
And yet, there’s one key line in this scene that I think is often overlooked. When Audrey says that she can’t tell Cooper all of her secrets, she then asks him, “Do you have any secrets?” Cooper says, “No.” However, we know that’s a lie. We know because we saw the way that Cooper smiled when Laura kissed him in his dream. We know that Cooper is not the asexual puritan that he pretends to be. When Cooper says that there’s a difference between what he wants and what he needs, we perhaps understand his meaning more than he does.
We learn one of Cooper’s secrets the next morning when he shows up at the police station and discovers Harry (Michael Ontkean) and Doc Hayward (Warren Frost) looking in on Waldo the Myna Bird. Doc Hayward explains that myna bird’s have an amazing ability to mimic the human voice but they only do it when they’re feeling playful and Waldo is definitely not in the mood. He asks Cooper if he wants to give Waldo some food. Cooper replies, “I don’t like birds,” and steps back in such a dramatic fashion that you’re left wondering what terrible bird-related misfortune befell Cooper during his youth.
(Personally, I suspect this was meant to be yet another one of the first season’s many Hitchcock references. There’s a few more in this episode, which we’ll be getting too shortly.)
Don’t feel to bad for Waldo, though. While Dale, Hayward, and Harry are watching the bird, Deputy Hawk (Michael Horse) enters with the forensic report on Jacques Renault’s cabin. There was only one exposed negative on the roll of film and it’s a picture of Waldo biting Laura Palmer’s shoulder. BAD WALDO!
Realizing that, regardless of how much he may hate birds, Waldo is the only witness they have, Dale leaves a voice-activated tape recorder at the base of Waldo’s cage. When Waldo speaks, they’ll have it on tape. Dale also suggests heading up to Canada and investigating One-Eyed Jacks. When Harry points out that he has no legal authority in Canada, Dale says, “That’s why I was thinking it would be a good job for the Bookhouse Boys.” Yay! Vigilante justice!
Last episode, Shelly (Madchen Amick) shot Leo Johnson (Eric Da Re) and we all cheered. Well, it turns out that Leo survived. He’s hanging out in the woods, watching his house through a pair of binoculars. That’s how he sees Bobby showing up at his house and Shelly greeting him with a kiss. It’s interesting to note that, when Shelly was talking about Leo in The One-Armed Man, she lamented that she only married him because of his red corvette. However, Bobby — who seems to be destined to grow up to be another Leo — drives a black corvette. Shelly needs to stop picking her men based on their car.
While Leo sits outside with a sniper rifle, a sobbing Shelly confessed to Bobby that she shot Leo. Shelly may be upset but Bobby thinks that all this sounds like a good thing. “Leo Johnson is history!” he declares. No, Bobby, Leo is sitting outside with a sniper rifle. Fortunately, for Bobby, Leo has a police scanner with him and he hears Lucy (Kimmy Robertson) announcing that Waldo has been talking. Leo gets into his pickup truck and drives off.
At the Hayward House, Donna (Lara Flynn Boyle), James (James Marshall), and Maddy (Sheryl Lee) listen to the tape that Maddy found in Laura’s room. It turns out to be one of several tapes that Laura recorded for Dr. Jacoby (Russ Tamblyn.) On the tape, Laura wonders why it’s so easy for her to get men to like her and, for a few minutes, I was worried that we’d have to deal with another “James-Gets-Weepy” scene. Fortunately, Maddy distracts him by pointing out that there’s one empty case in Laura’s collection of tapes. The missing tape was recorded the night that Laura was killed. James deduces that Jacoby must have it and that Jacoby might also be Laura’s killer. He comes up with a plan to get Jacoby out of his office so that he and Donna can search for the tape. What if Jacoby gets a call from Laura? Everyone looks over at Maddy.
At Horne’s Department Store, Audrey attempts to convince a customer to buy a perfume that will make her smell like a forest. Since most forests smell like death, the customer really isn’t interested. She wants a perfume that makes a statement. Audrey suggests hanging the perfume around her neck. “It’s a perfume. It’s a fashion accessory. Two statements for the price of one?” “I don’t appreciate your attitude,” the customer says. If only I had a dime for every time that I’ve heard that…
Anyway, Audrey isn’t really all that concerned about making sales. She’s got an investigation to conduct! This means hiding in the manager’s office and listening while he recruits one of Audrey’s co-workers to go work at One-Eyed Jack’s as a “hospitality girl.” The manager says that the co-worker’s positive and money-hungrey attitude will take her far in life. (It’s all about attitude at Horne’s Department Store.) Later, Audrey deftly manipulates that co-worker into giving her the number to One-Eyed Jacks. Audrey’s the best.
Meanwhile, at the Double R, Hank (Chris Mulkey) is working at his new job and boring Shelly with inspiring stories about his time in jail. Little does Shelly know that, before she shot Leo, Hank beat him up. They have something in common and personally, I think they’d make a cute couple. I mean, Hank may be sleazy but he’s so damn likable.
Of course, Harry doesn’t like Hank but that’s probably just because of all the drug dealing and other assorted crimes that Hank has committed. When Cooper and Harry stop by the diner, Harry tells Hank that if he misses one meeting with his parole officer, he’ll be sent back to jail. Harry tells Cooper that people never change but Cooper is too busy appreciating a cup of black coffee to worry about Hank Jennings. Cooper tells Harry that the secret of happy living is to give yourself a random present, like a good cup of coffee.
(It’s played for laughs but again, the important word to remember is secret. Twin Peaks is all about to secrets.)
At the Hurley House, Nadine (Wendy Robie) watches the latest episode of Invitation to Love. When Big Ed (Everett McGill) enters the room, Nadine announces that she’s eating bon bons because a patent attorney rejected her silent drape runners. Ed assures her, in one of my favorite lines ever, “Nadine, there’s plenty of patent attorneys. We’re just going to have to keep looking until we find one that understands drape runners.” McGill delivers that line with just the right amount of gravitas too. If I ever lose an eye and become obsessed with drapes, I hope my man will be as understanding as Big Ed Hurley.
At the Packard Mill, Pete Martell (Jack Nance) laments to Harry that a fish he recently caught was bigger before he sent it to the taxidermist. “Once they take all the innards out,” he explains, the fish loses something, a reminder that everything that makes existence interesting (in both Twin Peaks and life itself), lies directly under the surface.
Harry’s come to see Josie (Joan Chen). He knows that she was at the Timber Falls Motel on Tuesday but he doesn’t know why. (She was spying on Ben and Catherine.) At first, Josie lies and says she was at the mill on Tuesday but eventually, she reveals her secret. She also tells Harry that she heard Catherine talking about burning down the mill. Harry swears that he won’t let that happen.
Later, that night, Cooper, looking incredibly dashing in a tuxedo, is preparing to go to One-Eyed Jacks with Harry, Hawk, and Ed. Cooper has $10,000 of the FBI’s money for them to use in the casino. “Whenever I gamble with the bureau’s money, I like a 10 to 15% return,” he says. Cooper’s a gambler? Who would have guessed, especially since Cooper claimed to have no secrets?
Twin Peaks, like most of David Lynch’s films, borrowed a lot from classic film noir and nowhere is that more obvious than in the next scene. An insurance agent (Mark Lowenthal) had dropped in on Catherine Martell (Piper Laurie). The agent’s name is Mr. Neff, as in Walter Neff from Double Indemnity. He’s visiting because a life insurance policy has been taken out on Catherine by … Josie Packard! And, as Mr. Neff goes on to explain, it appears that Ben Horne (Richard Beymer) originally said that he would make sure that Catherine signed the papers! Apparently, thinking it was strange that Catherine would be “too busy” to appear in person to sign the policy, Mr. Neff held off on giving Josie and Ben the last page that needed to be signed. Catherine, realizing that she’s been set up, coolly says that she’ll have to look over the policy with her lawyer before signing anything. It’s a fascinating scene because both Catherine and Neff realize what’s happening but neither comes right out and says it. Apparently, this was Neff’s only appearance and that’s shame because Mark Lowenthal gives a fun, scene-stealing performance in the role.
Meanwhile, at the police station, Waldo the Myna Bird is feeling well enough to say, “Laura … Laura…” Suddenly, there’s a gunshot. Hawk, Dale, and Ed — who were busy trying on disguises in the next room — run into the conference room. Someone — and we know that had to be Leo because he was the one with the sniper rifle — has killed Waldo!
And I have to admit that I felt really bad about Waldo. The shot of Waldo’s blood dripping down on the uneaten conference room donuts is far more horrifying than you would think, based on the description. In just one and a half episodes, I had grown rather attached to Waldo. The fact that we know he was talking because he was finally feeling playful again makes his death all the more tragic. Andy, with tears in his eyes, reaffirms why he’s one of my favorite minor characters when he says, “Poor Wall-DOE!”
Rest in Peace, Waldo
Dale listens to the tape. As Angelo Badalamenti’s somber music plays in the background, we hear Waldo say, “Laura! Laura! Don’t go there! Hurting me! Hurting me! Stop it! Stop it! Leo, no!” As the camera cuts between Dale and Harry listening to Waldo mimicking Laura’s death, I stopped to once again marvel at the genius of Twin Peaks. This scene should have been ludicrous. Instead, I’m getting teary-eyed just writing about it.
Leaving behind the unfortunate Waldo, we go to One-Eyed Jacks. Cooper and a bewigged Big Ed show up. (Cooper’s wearing a pair of glasses that look unbelievably adorable on him.) Blackie (Victoria Catlin) approaches them, which gives us a chance to witness flirtatious Cooper. On the one hand, flirtatious Cooper is specifically written to be kind of dorky. That’s just who Dale Cooper is. But, on the other hand, nothing he says is as dorky as the way Jerry and Ben Horne behaved when they visited One-Eyed Jacks in Zen, or the Skill To Catch A Killer. Cooper, at least, has the excuse of being undercover.
Blackie takes one look at Big Ed and announces, “You look like a cop.” Cooper smiles and says, “I’m the cop,” which leads to Blackie says that Dale looks like Cary Grant. Ironically, MacLachlan would play Cary Grant in the 2004 film, Touch of Pink.
Kyle MacLachlan as Cary Grant in Touch of Pink
Meanwhile, Maddy sneaks out of the Palmer House, barely noticed by Leland (Ray Wise), who is sitting in the shadows. It’s time for Operation Freak Out Jacoby and here’s where we get this episode’s other big Hitchock reference. In order to fool Jacoby, Maddy has not only taken off her oversized glasses but she’s also put on Laura’s clothes and is now wearing a blonde wig. Now is as good a time as any to point out that Madeleine Ferguson’s name comes from Hitchcock’s Vertigo, a film that starred Kim Novak as Madeleine and Jimmy Stewart as Scottie Ferguson. In Vertigo, of course, Novak played two roles, just as Sheryl Lee does here. In Vertigo, Novak was used to trick Jimmy Stewart into believing the woman he loved was still alive. Essentially, that’s the same thing that James and Donna are planning to use Maddy to do to Jacoby.
Back at the Great Northern, Jerry (David Patrick Kelly) and Ben (Richard Beymer) are partying with the Icelandic businesspeople. (Iceland appears to be full of a lot of fun people.) Jerry is enraptured with the Icelandic people but Ben is more concerned about getting the contracts signed. It turns out that the Icelanders only want to sign the contracts if they can do it at One-Eyed Jacks. Ben agrees and then sends Jerry out of the office so that he can call Josie. Apparently, the plan is to kill Catherine in the fire that Ben hired Leo to set.
It turns out that Ben and Jerry are not the only Hornes heading to One-Eyed Jacks, Audrey has already arrived and is meeting with Blackie. As soon as Audrey enters Blackie’s office, we immediately notice all of the red curtains. That’s never a good sign. Audrey hands Blackie her resume. “Hester Prynne,” Blackie says, as she looks the resume over, “Pretty name.”
Audrey has made the mistake of claiming to have worked extensively in Canada. When Blackie started to quiz Audrey about where specifically she had worked, I yelled, “Degrassi! Say Degrassi!” (Later I realized that was foolish on my part, as Twin Peaks predates Degrassi by over a decade,) Instead, Audrey makes the mistake of mentioning an obviously fake “dude ranch,” (which I guess is where they grow dudes because I’ve never quite understood that term) and answers a question that Blackie asks about someone named Big Amos.
Big mistake. It turns out that Big Amos is a dog and Blackie read The Scarlet Letter in Canadian high school.
(That said, borrowing the name of a Nathaniel Hawthorne heroine is such an Audrey thing to do that it automatically becomes the greatest thing ever.)
Blackie asks Audrey for one good reason not to kick her out. Fortunately, there’s a cheery nearby so that Audrey can take it, eat it, and then use her tongue to tie the stem in a knot. (Before anyone asks, despite having a very flexible tongue, I cannot do that. However, neither can Sherilyn Fenn. Apparent, she already had a pre-tied stem in her mouth when they shot the scene.) Audrey has the job, which — considering how much her father and uncle love visiting One-Eyed Jacks — has the potential to be all sorts of creepy.
Inside the casino, Dale is playing blackjack, His original Jamaican dealer goes on break and is replaced by … JACQUES RENAULT (Walter Olkewicz).
At Jacoby’s office, the good doctor (Russ Tamblyn) is watching Invitation to Love because, apparently, that’s the only show that plays on Twin Peaks television. When the phone rings, the Hawaii-obsessed Jacoby answers with a somewhat perfunctory, “Aloha.” (In my experiences, a true Hawaiian can make even the most somber “Aloha” sound like an invitation to the greatest party ever.) On the other end, Maddy pretends to be Laura. She tells Jacoby to go to his door. “There’s something waiting for you.”
And indeed there is! A VHS tape has been left outside Jacoby’s office. The tape features Maddy (as Laura) holding that day’s newspaper. From the payphone, Maddy tells Jacoby to “Meet me at Sparkwood and 21 in ten minutes.”
(Everything in the town of Twin Peaks revolves around wood, both figuratively and literally.)
What James, Maddy, and Donna don’t realize is that they’re being followed by Bobby, who is just as shocked as Jacoby to see “Laura” apparently alive. (Now is as good a time as any to, once again, point out that Laura was named after the title character from Otto Preminger’s Laura, a film noir about a woman who is incorrectly believed to be dead.)
When Jacoby runs off to find “Laura,” James and Donna sneak into his office. Meanwhile, Bobby plants cocaine in James’s motorcycle. As for Maddy, she hangs out around the gazebo, little realizing that someone is watching her from behind the trees…
What a great episode! Tomorrow, Leonard looks at the finale of season 1!
“She said that people tried to be good. But they were really sick and rotten on the inside, her most of all. And every time she tried to make the world a better place, something terrible came up inside her and pulled her back down into hell, and took her deeper and deeper into the blackest nightmare. Each time it got harder to go back up to the light.”
— Bobby Briggs (Dana Ashbrook) in Twin Peaks 1.6 “Cooper’s Dreams”
As for the sixth episode of Twin Peaks, I have to admit that I was really excited when I saw that it was called “Cooper’s Dreams.” OH MY GOD, I thought, MORE DREAMS! YAY! So, you can imagine my surprise when I watched the episode and Cooper did not have a dream. Apparently, David Lynch and Mark Frost made the specific decision not to title any of their episodes. Instead, they just called them “Episode 5,” “Episode 6,” and so on. It was ABC that assigned and came up with the title for each episode. Some the titles they came up with were pretty good. (I will always love the sound of Zen, Or the Skill To Catch a Killer.) Other titles, like “Cooper’s Dreams,” were just kind of there.
(That said, the title isn’t totally random. It does ultimately work for this episode.)
With all that in mind, let’s take a look at Cooper’s Dreams!
We open with the opening credits. Yes, I know that’s redundant but I will always mention the opening credits because I love them so much. After watching the opening credits, you literally feel like you could step outside and find yourself in the town of Twin Peaks. They are quite simply amazing.
The show begins with a shot of a blood-red full moon, the same moon that hung over the end of the previous episode. On the soundtrack, we hear singing. Lots and lots of singing. It turns out that there’s a bunch of drunk businessmen from Iceland at the Great Northern and they’re currently celebrating some sort of beer holiday. They’ve managed to wake up Dale Cooper (Kyle MacLachlan). For the first time since the series began, we get to see Dale actually peeved about something and it’s a wonderfully funny moment, even though it is also used to highlight one of the key themes in the series. Grabbing his tape recorder, Cooper announces that this proves that “once a traveler leaves home, he has lost 100% of his ability to control his environment.” The inability to control a previously undiscovered and unknown environment is, in many ways, the engine that keeps this show moving.
Why are the Icelandic businessmen at the hotel? Again, it has to do with the Horne Brothers and their attempts to try to attract developers to the town. Since their deal with the Norwegians fell through, Ben (Richard Beymer) and Jerry (David Patrick Kelly) have moved on to Iceland. When I reviewed the pilot, I speculated that the Norwegians were meant to be a reference to Henrik Ibsen, who was the David Lynch of his day. However, after doing hours of research, I honestly can’t come up with any subtext to the use of Iceland in this episode. My best guess, quite frankly, is that no one ever expects a bunch of Icelandic businessmen to show up at a hotel in upstate Washington.
The next morning, a grouchy Agent Cooper drinks coffee and complains to his waitress about his lack of sleep. Audrey (Sherilyn Fenn) sits down at his table and tells him that she’s gotten a job at her father’s store and wonders if she could help Cooper investigate Laura’s death.
“When I was your age, Wednesday was traditionally a school day,” Cooper says, reminding us all that he’s essentially a man out of time.
Audrey picks up on this, telling him that she finds it hard to believe that Cooper was ever her age. She then mentions that she’s 18. In other words, perfectly legal.
In his office, Ben talks to Jerry. Jerry is super excited, as usual. Ben is worried about business, as usual. Jerry announces that the Icelanders are “insane for the Ghostwood Estate projects!” (The name Ghostwood is interesting, considering that the woods around Twin Peaks appear to be literally haunted.) Ben and Jerry’s celebration is interrupted by the arrival of Leland Palmer (Ray Wise). As usual, Leland is distraught. He says that, as Ben’s attorney, he needs to be a part of the Iceland deal. Obviously, neither Ben nor Jerry want him freaking out the Icelandic businessmen with talk of his dead daughter and they both try to convince him to go on a trip somewhere. While Leland sobs, another Icelandic drinking song begins in the background. Of all the characters on Twin Peaks, Leland’s grief is always the most raw. While we’re not surprised by the venality of the Horne brothers, even sympathetic characters rarely seem to know how to respond to Leland.
(Of course, there’s a deeper and more disturbing reason behind Leland’s breakdown but that will have to wait for a later review.)
As I watched this scene unfold, I once again found myself thinking about how impressive the production design of Twin Peaks was. I really love Ben’s all-wood office. Even Ben’s nameplate is carved out of wood.
Meanwhile, at Jacques Renault’s apartment, the investigation continues. Harry (Michael Ontkean) tells Dale that Renault can’t be found and neither can his brother, Bernie. Doc Hayward (Warren Frost) confirms that the blood found on Leo’s shirt was not Laura Palmer’s. Instead, it was Jacques Renault’s. Dale isn’t surprised by any of this. Instead, he’s more interested in the copy of Flesh World that Jacques had hidden up in his ceiling. Flesh World was the magazine that featured both a “personal ad” from Ronette Pulaski and a picture of Leo Johnson’s truck. This copy of Flesh World contains a letter that was mailed to Ronette from Georgia. The letter comes with a picture of a bearded man wearing a blue night gown. “That’s no Georgia peach,” Harry says.
Oh, Harry. Never change.
Back the Johnson House, Shelly (Madchen Amick) and Bobby Briggs (Dana Ashbrook) are playing with her pistol and role playing various scenarios that involve forcing Leo to cook before shooting him. At the risk of being unpopular, I have to admit that I really like Shelly and Bobby as a couple. Yes, they’re both unlikable and sleazy and they’re both trying way too hard to frame Leo for Laura’s murder. But, even with all that in mind, they just seem like they belong together. Maybe it’s just because they’re both so pretty. Who knows?
Shelly and Bobby’s fun gets interrupted twice. First, Andy (Harry Goaz) drops by and, while Bobby hides, Shelly says that she overheard Leo having an argument with Jacques. Immediately after Andy leaves, Leo calls. Leo wants to know if anyone’s looking for him. Shelly assures him that no one is and begs him to hurry on home, all the while staring down at the gun in her hand.
Meanwhile, Norma (Peggy Lipton) and Ed (Everett McGill) are having relationship drama of their own. Norma stops by the auto yard to tell Ed that Hank’s (Chris Mulkey) gotten parole and is coming home. Ed mentions that Nadine (Wendy Robie) is meeting with a patent lawyer. “The silent drape runners?” Norma asks. I don’t know what Norma’s being so snarky about. Silent drape runners sound like a great invention to me! Anyway, Ed and Norma decide to give up on their relationship. The scene veers a bit too close to getting a bit too mawkish but Angelo Badalamenti’s theme music saves it.
At Horne’s Department Store, the manager makes the mistake of trying to assign Audey to a position other than the perfume counter. Audrey replies that if she doesn’t get to work where she wants to work, she’s going to rip her dress, scream, and tell everyone that he made a pass at her. Perfume counter it is!
Meanwhile, Donna Hayward (Lara Flynn Boyle) meets James Hurley (James Marshall) at a lakeside gazebo and, as I watched them talk, I found myself wondering if maybe Cooper didn’t have a point earlier. Audrey’s at the department store, blackmailing her way to a sales job. Bobby is playing with Shelley. James and Donna are at the gazebo. Does anyone in this town go to school!? I guess Mike (Gary Hershberger) is probably there, pushing freshmen into lockers and leering at cheerleaders. But otherwise, Twin Peaks High School is probably close to being deserted by this point.
Anyway, James tells Donna that his father was a musician and his mother was a writer and that neither one of them was a good parent. He wants his relationship with Donna to be an honest relationship. In my research of this show, I’ve seen a lot of criticism of James Marshall’s performance in the role of James Hurley. Personally, I think Marshall did the best that he could do with a character who tended to be a bit of a drag. All things considered, James Hurley could be a little bit whiny. I mean, yes, his parents sucked. But his uncle is willing to do anything for him. His beautiful girlfriend may have been murdered but now he has a new beautiful girlfriend. Nobody thinks that he murdered Laura. And he apparently never has to actually go to school. Cheer up, James!
(I read an interesting interview with James Marshall where he said that James Hurley started out as the cool James Dean of Rebel Without A Cause, just to become the weepy James Dean of East of Eden. That’s the perfect way to put it so give Marshall some credit for that.)
Back at Jacques’s apartment, we’re reminded why the police are too busy to enforce the truancy laws. They’ve got a murder to solve! Searching the apartment, Dale finds pictures of a cabin that has red curtains (just like the curtains from his dream). He realizes that the curtains are also visible in one of the personal ads in Flesh World, an ad that, like Ronette’s, was apparently placed by Jacques Renault. Though her face isn’t visible, Dale deduces that the picture with the red curtains features Laura Palmer. Hawk (Michael Horse) mentions that the Renault brothers have a cabin on the border. Dale suggests that everyone pack a lunch and prepare for a walk around the woods.
(I have to admit that, during this scene, I kept getting distracted by the painting of a sad clown hanging on the wall. I found myself wondering it was the same sad clown who used to show up whenever I would play The Sims. I hated that clown and, whenever he would show up, I would always lead him into a room with a fireplace, delete the door, place a dozen rubber trees in front of the fireplace, and then light a fire. You do what you have to do when it comes to sad clowns.)
Go to Hell, Sad Clown!
At the Double R Diner, James and Donna have a meeting with Maddy (Sheryl Lee) and her oversized red glasses. Maddy is one of those characters who I always struggle with. She is way too cheerful for own good but I think that may have been intentional. Whenever she smiles and innocently says that everyone says that she and Laura were exactly alike, it’s a reminder that Laura Palmer was not at all who people thought she was. Laura was, to quote the Man From Another Place, full of secrets. Cheerful, happy Maddy is who everyone assumed Laura was but Maddy is also never as interesting a character as Laura was. Maddy’s fatal flaw will ultimately prove to be that she has no secrets and therefore, no understanding of just how dangerous the world can be. Anyway, Donna and James tells Maddy that they want to solve Laura’s murder. Maddy agrees to help.
Far more interesting is the interaction between Hank and Norma. Having just gotten out of jail, Hank is hanging out at the diner when Norma and Shelly come in. Both Norma and Shelly have gotten makeovers and now look like they should be posing for DianeArbus. Hank tells Norma that he won’t try to kiss her. He wants to earn his place back in her heart. Even though I know Hank’s a bad guy, Chris Mulkey gives such a charming performance that I can’t help but like him.
Meanwhile, it’s family counseling with the Briggs family! Bobby, his military father (Don S. Davis), and his cross-wearing mother (Charlotte Stewart) are meeting with Dr. Jacoby (Russ Tamblyn). Jacoby is wearing a tie with a turtle neck sweater. Let that sink in.
Despite Jacoby’s sartorial missteps, this is one of the best scenes in the entire episode. Jacoby sends Maj. and Mrs. Briggs out of the office and has a one-on-one discussing with Bobby. As they talk, it becomes apparent that Jacoby’s main interest is in finding out about Bobby’s relationship with Laura. Because Jacoby was secretly treating Laura, he knows exactly what to ask Bobby to get a reaction. Jacoby is not only investigating Laura’s death but he’s also taunting a romantic rival and, ultimately, actually helping Bobby have a breakthrough. For the first time, Bobby cries and shows some sign that he actually has human feelings. Both Tamblyn and Ashbrook give amazing performances in this scene.
In the woods, Cooper, Harry, Hawk, and Doc Hayward (who I guess is some sort of cop now) search for the cabin. They find a cabin but it’s not the cabin that they’re looking for. Instead, it belongs to … THE LOG LADY (Catherine E. Coulson). YAY! The Log Lady will explain everything.
“Come on in,” The Log Lady says, “My log does not judge.”
Inside the cabin, the Log Lady adds, “Shut your eyes and you’ll burst into flame.”
“Thanks, Margaret,” Harry replies.
The Log Lady, who wears the same oversized red glasses as Maddy, says that 1) they’re two days late and 2) that her log saw something significant. The Log Lady assures her log that she’ll do the talking and then says that, the night Laura Palmer was murdered, the log was aware of many things. The owls were flying. There were two men. There was much laughing. Two girls. A flashlight passing the bridge. “The owls were near,” the Log Lady says, “the dark was pressing in on her.” Eventually, the owls were silent.
After leaving the Log Lady, Dale says that the two girls were Ronette and Laura. And the two men? Jacques and Leo? Or could it be that the two men are symbols of something far more disturbing?
The group finally comes across the cabin with red curtains. Inside,a record player plays the haunting sound of Julie Cruise singing about the night and Dale remembers the Man from Another Place saying that, where he and Laura are from, there’s always music in the air. There’s no sign of Jacques but there is a camera. And a myna bird named Waldo.
According to the Netflix subtitles, the next scene begins with people “Singing Home On The Range In Icelandic.” We’re back at the Great Northern Hotel. Like a femme fatale in a film noir, Josie (Joan Chen) sits in the shadows of an office and smokes a cigarette.
Jerry Horne announces that they are all Icelanders.
Meanwhile, in the Great Timber Room (everything’s about wood), a reception is being held for the Icelandic businessmen. The Horne Brothers have invited the best and brightest of Twin Peaks. Catherine (Piper Laurie) and Pete (Jack Nance) show up. Jack tells Catherine to go easy on the alcohol so Catherine immediately orders a drink.
Ben talks to the businessmen. He says, “What do you get when you cross a Norwegian with a Swede? A socialist who wants to be king!” I’ll be sure to remember that joke in case I ever find myself trapped in an elevator with a Bernie Sanders supporter.
Catherine and Ben meet in Ben’s office, little realizing that they’re being watched by Audrey. Apparently, the Great Northern is full of secret passages and Audrey, being a badass, knows about every single one of them. But even beyond the fun of a secret passage, this gets back to something that I’ve been saying since my very first review of Twin Peaks. This show is about the unknown that lies underneath the facade of normalcy. Just as it’s inevitable that Laura Palmer would be full of secrets, it’s inevitable that the all-wood Great Northern would be full of secret passages.
(The scene of Audrey crouches in front of a peephole also is a nice visual shout out to Psycho.)
Audrey discovers that Catherine is upset because Ben had a poker chip from One-Eyed Jacks in his suit. Audrey’s smile as she watches Catherine slap Ben is one of the main reasons why I relate so much to Audrey. Like me, she loves to observe the melodrama while, at the same time, remaining slightly detached from what’s actually happening. By observing through a peephole, she mimics what every viewer is doing while they watch Twin Peaks unfold on a screen, regardless of whether that screen belongs to a TV, a laptop, or a phone. Audrey is the audience. She loves Cooper because, in the tradition of Gary Cooper, he’s the perfect cinematic hero and the audience always loves the hero. She wants to know who killed Laura less out of a sense of justice more out of a need for the story she’s watching to have a proper conclusion. Audiences always demand a perfect and proper conclusion.
Uh-oh, Leland’s shown up at the party! And he’s dancing! And sobbing! Catherine runs out onto the dance floor and starts to dance with him, a big smile plastered across her face. When Leland starts to pound his fists against his head, Catherine mimics him but she does it with a smile. The Icelandic visitors start to dance as well. Soon everyone is beating their head and laughing, except for Leland who is still sobbing. It’s a whole new party and again, as always, Leland is pushed to the side. Significantly, it is Audrey — who was so detached just a few minutes ago — who watches Leland and starts to cry. Again, she is the audience, suddenly touched by Leland’s plight. She alone understands the scene that she’s watching. This scene is Twin Peaks at its absolute best, a combination of raw emotion and painfully dark comedy.
At the Palmer House, Maddy calls Donna that she found an audio tape in Laura’s bedroom. They agree to meet tomorrow and listen to it. Sure, why not? What else are they going to do? Go to school?
Back at the Great Northern, Ben is having a secret meeting with … JOSIE PACKARD! OH MY GOD, COULD IT BE JOSIE IS NOT AN INNOCENT AS WE ALL THOUGHT? Well, yeah. It’s Twin Peaks after all.
At the Johnson House, Leo finally returns. First Hank shows up and beat him up, yelling at him for mismanaging their drug business. When Leo tries to take it out on Shelly, she shoots him. Good for Shelly.
Dale finally arrives back at his room. He’s annoyed to hear that the Icelandic singing is still continuing. He’s even more annoyed when he realizes that someone is waiting for him in his dark room. He draws his gun. “Turn on the light!” he announces.
The light comes on and … there’s a naked Audrey in his bed! “Please, don’t make me leave,” she says.
With that, the episode ends. This is one of those episodes that starts out a little bit slow but, by the end, it actually becomes a classic. Between the Jacoby therapy session, the meeting with the Log Lady, and Leland’s dance, this was ultimately Twin Peaks at its best.
Aren’t Lisa and Leonard doing a great job with their Twin Peaks reviews? Yesterday, I was reading Leonard’s review of Rest In Pain and I immediately thought to myself, “I’m going to have to up my game if I want to keep up.” That’s what team work does. It challenges you to work harder and hopefully, it makes you better at whatever it is that you do.
For instance, Twin Peaks is usually thought of as being the “David Lynch show” but actually, there were several different creative voices involved and all of them left their mark on the series. The show was co-created by veteran TV writer, Mark Frost (whose father, Warren Frost, played Doc Hayward). Many of the show’s scripts are credited to Harley Peyton, who also wrote the film version of Less Than Zero. Even Jerry Stahl, of Permanent Midnight fame, is credited with writing an episode. While Twin Peaks had an easily identifiable style, only six of its 30 episodes were actually directed by David Lynch. The other episodes were directed by directors like Uli Edel, Todd Holland, and Caleb Deschanel. Even Diane Keaton directed an episode during season 2. All of them brought their own talents and perspectives to this show and upped their game.
Episode 5, “The One-Armed Man,” was written by Robert Engels and directed by Tim Hunter. Hunter, who directed two more episodes during the show’s second season, is best known for two sensitive films that he made about teenagers, Tex and River’s Edge. Of the two, the surreal River’s Edge (which features Dennis Hopper playing a one-legged drug dealer who lives with a sex doll) feels the closest to Twin Peaks.
Episode Five opens with Sarah Palmer (Grace Zabriskie) giving a description of Killer BOB (Frank Silva) to Harry (Michael Ontkean) and Andy (Harry Goaz) while Doc Hayward and Donna (Lara Flynn Boyle) listen. When Leland (Ray Wise) wanders into the room and taunts Sarah about having had two visions, Sarah talks about seeing someone digging up Laura’s necklace, making Donna uncomfortable since she’s the one who buried it in the first place.
(Whenever I see Grace Zabriskie and Warren Frost play a scene together, I am reminded of their later work on Seinfeld, where they played the bitter parents of Susan Ross and Mr. Ross was revealed to have been a former lover of John Cheever.)
Back at the police station, there’s a happening. Lucy (Kimmy Robertson) is caught up in the latest episode of Invitation to Love, where the storyline seems to parallel the efforts of Ben Horne (Richard Beymer) and Catherine Martell (Piper Laurie) to run Josie (Joan Chen) out of business. FBI Director Gordon Cole (voiced by David Lynch, himself) calls in to let them know that Albert has discovered that Laura Palmer was bound by household twine and that the marks on her shoulder came from a bird. When Harry and Andy show Dale Cooper (Kyle MacLachlan) the sketch of BOB, Cooper identifies him as one of the men from his dream.
Dale also finally interviews everyone’s favorite psychiatrist, Dr. Jacoby (Russ Tamblyn). Jacoby tries to beat Cooper at his own game, speaking in riddles and comparing the people of Tibet with the native Hawaiians. Jacoby says that, when it comes to Laura, he can not violate doctor-patient confidentiality but he does share that “Laura was a woman” surrounded by boys and that, on the night Laura was murdered, he was following one of the men that Laura had told him about. When Jacoby says that the man drove a red corvette, both Harry and Dale realize that he is talking about Leo Johnson (Eric Da Re).
Lucy interrupts to let Dale and Harry know that Deputy Hawk (Michael Horse) has just called. He has tracked down MIKE, the one-armed man!
At the Timber Falls Motel, Ben and Catherine are having another tryst and discussing their plans for setting the mill on fire and forcing Josie into bankruptcy. What they do not know is that Josie is sitting outside in her car, taking pictures.
The Timber Falls Motel is also the current home of the one-armed man and, as Harry, Andy, and Dale pull up, they are met by Hawk who tells them that the man is in room 101 and that his full name is Philip Michael Gerard. (The One-Armed Man shares his name with Richard Kimble’s relentless pursuer on The Fugitive, a show that itself centered around the search for a one-armed man. This episode aired years before the film version and Tommy Lee Jones reintroduced the world to the character.)
Andy has a Barney Fife moment when, standing outside of Room 101, he accidentally drops his gun and it goes off. (“Gunplay,” Catherine says in her cabin, “Sounds serious.”) When not even the sound of gunfire can get Gerard to open the door, Harry and Dale kick it in and discover their one-armed man stepping out of the shower.
Looking at a the drawing of BOB, Gerard says that he has never seen him before but that he does “look like someone.” When Cooper asks if he has a friend named Bob, the one-armed man replies, “Bob Lydecker is just about my best friend in the world.” He says that he’s been at the hospital because Bob, who is apparently the “best veterinarian in the county,” is in a coma. Gerard is a traveling salesman, selling shoes. He says that he lost his arm in a car accident. He admits that he did have a tattoo on the arm that he lost. In tears, he says that the tattoo said, “Mom.”
Al Strobel was a real-life amputee whose cameo in the pilot, riding in an elevator with Cooper and Harry, was originally meant to be his only appearance, a one-time homage to The Fugitive. Lynch was so impressed with Strobel that he filmed some additional scenes with him that were used in the version of the pilot that was released theatrically in Europe. (Those scenes were later incorporated into Cooper’s dream.) In this episode, Strobel gives a memorable performance that justifies Lynch’s decision to expand his role.
At the high school, Audrey (Sherilyn Fenn) is smoking in the girl’s room and begging Donna to help her investigate Laura’s murder. Audrey says that if she can solve the murder then maybe Dale will take her away with him. When Audrey mentions One-Eyed Jacks, Donna proves herself to be just as crushworthy as Audrey by replying, “Isn’t that a western with Marlon Brando?” Considering that One-Eyed Jacks was a box office flop that was released years before she was born, Donna’s knowledge of Marlon Brando’s filmography is truly impressive.
At the prison, Norma (Peggy Lipton) promises the parole board that, if Hank (Chris Mulkey) is released, she will give him a job at the diner and they will live together as “husband and wife.” That will be interesting considering that Norma is now having an affair with Hank’s former best friend, Ed Hurley (Everett McGill.)
Meanwhile, Dale, Harry, Andy, and Hawk have pulled up in front of Dr. Bob Lydecker’s vet clinic. Hawk immediately high-fives a biker. Harry pets a little girl’s rabbit. Cooper notices that a convenience store is right next to the clinic and sends Andy, who is still shaken up from nearly shooting himself, to discover whether the store sells the type of twine that was used on Laura.
Inside the clinic, Dr. Lydecker’s receptionist says that the sketch of Killer BOB looks nothing like the good doctor. As a woman leads a llama through the waiting room, Dale asks whether Lydecker had any bird patients. As Cooper explains to Harry, “The bird that attacked Laura Palmer is a client of this office!”
Meanwhile, back at the Johnson House, Shelly Johnson (Madchen Amick) is fooling around with Bobby Briggs (Dana Ashbrook). Shelly says that Bobby’s outburst at the funeral really turned her on. Bobby says that he’s going to “fix” James Hurley. “Fix me first,” Shelley replies. Bobby asks when Leo’s coming back and Shelly says that Leo will be gone for hours. Whenever Shelly says that Leo won’t be back for a while, that is usually Leo’s cue to kick open the door and start yelling.
However, that does not happen this time. For once, Leo does not show up. According to Shelly, he is with “creepy Jacques, that Canuck who works at the Roadhouse.” Realizing that Jacques must be the one supplying Leo with cocaine, Bobby does his innocent act. He says that he knows that Leo has been selling drugs at the high school, maybe even to Laura. Now, if only he can find evidence linking Leo to Laura, maybe they can get Leo out of their lives forever. Shelly helps out by showing Bobby the bloody shirt that she found in Leo’s truck. She also shows Bobby the gun that she just bought and she asks Bobby to show her how it works. Hopefully, Bobby’s better with a gun than Andy.
Fan Service, Twin Peaks Style
Speaking of which, Andy is still feeling upset over nearly shooting himself so, back at the police station, Andy, Cooper, Harry, and Hawk gather at the shooting range for some gunfire and male bonding. They all agree that women cannot be understood and they all marvel over Dale’s marksmanship. Not only does Dale do dream interpretation but he can shoot a man in the nostrils.
At the diner, Norma thanks a man named Toad for his tip. When Shelly comes in, they bond over their shared experience of being married to loser drug dealers. Shelly says that she’s ready to get rid of Leo but, after seeing him at the parole hearing, Norma is now less sure about her plan to divorce Hank and marry Big Ed. She is even more unsure after she gets a phone call telling her that Hank got his parole. He is coming home.
Meanwhile, Ed’s nephew, James (James Marshall), is using the diner’s payphone (remember those?) to call Donna. However, James is distracted when Maddy (Sheryl Lee), Laura’s look-alike cousin, walks into the diner. After James approaches her, Maddy explains that she and Laura used to be close but had recently drifted apart. Maddy says that she lives in Missoula, Montana. Missoula just happens to be the birthplace of David Lynch.
Meanwhile, at the Great Northern, Audrey deftly manipulates her father into giving her a job working at the perfume counter at Horne’s Department Store. Audrey says that it is because she wants to learn the family business but actually, it’s because both Laura and Ronette Pulaski also worked at the perfume counter. Ben agrees and then leaves so that he can hire Leo Johnson to burn down the Packard Mill. Who suggested Leo to Ben? Hank Jennings!
At the police station, Cooper, Harry, and Andy pour over the files on all of the birds treated by Dr. Lydecker. Albert faxes over a reconstruction of a poker chip from One-Eyed Jacks that was found in Laura’s stomach, along with the information that the bird bites on Laura’s shoulder came from a mynah bird. At the exact moment, Andy redeems himself by announcing that Jacques Renault owns a mynah bird named Waldo.
When the police show up at Jacques’s apartment, Jacques is not there. However, Bobby Briggs is. Bobby runs as soon as the police arrive and manages to escape out a back window. (Assuming that Bobby is Briggs, Hawk gives chase but loses him in the woods.) Cooper finds what Bobby was planting the apartment, Leo’s bloody shirt.
In the woods, Donna and James go to the location where Donna buried the necklace and discover that Sarah Palmer’s vision was correct. Someone followed them and dug up the necklace. Donna and James agree they have to solve the murder and share a kiss while an owl watches above.
At the mill, Pete (Jack Nance) asks Josie if she would consider entering a fishing competition with him. Josie and Pete? That would be an interesting match. But Josie soon has more to worry about, after she receives a drawing of a domino in the mail. No sooner has she looked at the drawing then she gets a phone call from a man asking her if she got his message.
Who is on the other line?
The suddenly very important Hank Jennings!
“The One-Armed Man” is a good episode, one that moves the story forward, introduces some new mysteries, and justifies that faith that David Lynch put into collaborators like Tim Hunter and Al Strobel. As I said at the start of this review, it’s all about team work.