TV Review: Twin Peaks 2.19 “Variations on Relations” (dir by Jonathan Sanger)


“Butterfingers!”

— Catherine Martell (Piper Laurie) in Twin Peaks 2. 19 “Variations on Relations”

“Tastes kind of woody.”

— Lucy Moran (Kimmy Robertson), same episode

Well, everyone, we’re coming towards the end.

There’s only a few more episodes to go and then Leonard, Jeff, and I will be finished with our look back at Twin Peaks.  Have you been enjoying it?  I hope so!  And, before you feel too sad about the end of our look back, remember that, on May 21st, a new season of Twin Peaks will premiere on Showtime!  Who knows?  Maybe we’ll even review it on this site.

Today’s episode is the 19th of season 2.  It was the first episode, since Arbitrary Law, to be written by the show’s co-creator, Mark Frost.  It was directed by Jonathan Sanger, who in 1980 produced a film called The Elephant Man.  The Elephant Man was, of course, directed by David Lynch.  It was Lynch’s first mainstream success and it’s totally reasonable to say that, if not for The Elephant Man, Lynch would probably never had a chance to put a show on American television.

We start with the opening credits.  Knowing that the show is nearly over and that this latest review series is about to come an end, Angelo Badalamenti’s opening theme music sounds even more ominous than usual.  Both Joan Chen and James Marshall are still listed in the opening credits, despite no longer being on the show.  Not listed: Heather Graham, Billy Zane, or Kenneth Welsh, despite the fact that the last few episodes have revolved around them.

Harry (Michael Ontkean), Cooper (Kyle MacLachlan), Andy (Harry Goaz), and Hawk (Michael Horse) return to the Owl Cave and discover that someone has already turned the lever and caused the cave to collapse.  “Someone’s been here already,” Cooper says, “they did our work for us.”  Because Hawk can basically do anything, he notices a footprint and immediately recognizes it as being the same footprint that was found outside the power station.

“Windom Earle,” Cooper says.

“What would Windom Earle be doing here?” Harry asks.

Hey, here’s a better question — why did they leave the Owl Cave unguarded?  Why didn’t they try to turn the lever themselves?  Why didn’t they at least try to replace the part of the wall that fell off so that the lever wouldn’t just be out there in the open?  I realize that Cooper is supposed to be silly in love with Annie right now but this is still a mistake that he wouldn’t have made during the first season.

(One of the more annoying things about the latter half of the second season is that the characters are much more inconsistent.  Cooper’s level of competence changes from scene to scene.)

Cooper orders Andy to copy the drawing on the cave wall.  (To me, the drawing looks a lot like the mountains around Twin Peaks.)

We fade to Windom Earle (Kenneth Welsh) taking about how there was once a place of goodness called The White Lodge.  As Windom speaks, he smokes a pipe and, not for the first time, I find myself wondering if maybe Windom’s actually a hobbit.  Windom explains that the White Lodge was a ghastly place and then, literally, says “Heh heh.”  I know Windom’s supposed to be some sort of supergenius villain but he’s no Killer BOB.

Leo (Eric Da Re) listens as Windom explains that there was also a Black Lodge and the Black Lodge was a place of pure evil.  Windom intends to find it.  As the camera pans across the cabin, we see that Leo and Windom have a visitor.  We’ll call him Heavy Metal Stoner Dude (HMSD for short) and he’s played by Sam Raimi’s brother, Ted.  HMSD says the story’s cool but he was promised beer and a party.

“In time, young man,” Windom says, “Everything in time.”

Then, Windom starts to play that damn flute of his again.

At the Martell house, Pete (Jack Nance) is staring at a chess board and talking (to himself) about how much he loved Josie.  He even recites a poem or two.  Catherine (Piper Laurie) comes in the room and tells him to stop feeling sorry for himself.  Catherine wants to open the box that Eckhardt left behind but, as Pete quickly notices, there’s no keyhole.  It’s a puzzle box!  Pete tells a long anecdote about going on a date with two twins in Guam and then says that it could take years to open up the box.

At the Double R Diner, Bobby (Dana Ashbrook) tells Shelly (Madchen Amick) that he’s figured out the secret of success.  “Beautiful people get whatever they want,” Bobby says.  (It’s true.  We do.)  “When was the last time you saw a hot blonde go to the electric chair?” Bobby asks.  (Again, Bobby is correct but he’s Bobby so we won’t give him too much credit.)  Bobby has decided that Shelly needs to enter the Miss Twin Peaks Contest.  When Shelly tells Bobby that he’s being ridiculous, Bobby grabs her wrist and says, “Bobby’s in charge!”

Meanwhile, the Mayor (John Boylan) and Lana (Robyn Lively) sit in a booth, letting us know that, despite being with the town’s lethal sex goddess, the Mayor hasn’t had a heart attack yet.  Lana says that she wants to be Miss Twin Peaks.  I just remembered that Robyn Lively starred in Teen Witch.  Top that!

Cooper comes in and, of course, immediately goes to the counter and tells Annie (Heather Graham) that he needs doughnuts and coffee.  Cooper also asks Annie to accompany him on a nature study.  Cooper says he gets a tingling sensation when he talks to Annie.  “Interesting,” Annie says.

Considering that I happen to like both Heather Graham and Kyle MacLachlan, I never thought I would say this but Cooper and Annie have got to be the most annoying couple ever.  First off, MacLachlan — whose performance is usually perfect — goes overboard with Cooper’s awkward shyness.  It’s as if the show is so desperate to convince us that he and Audrey actually don’t belong together that Cooper is now being written like an idiot in an effort to make us go, “So that’s what true love looks like!  People in love don’t have chemistry or intelligent conversations like Cooper and Audrey did!  Instead, they get a blank look in their eyes, grin an empty grin, and talk about nature studies!”

As for Annie, it’s obvious that she was a hastily created character.  Much as Cooper’s competence changes from scene to scene, the same can be said of Annie’s innocence.  Yesterday, Jeff compared Annie to an Amish girl on rumspringa and I think that’s the perfect way to put it.  She didn’t spend the last few years on Mars, after all.  She was just in a convent.

Anyway, back to the show:

As Cooper pays for the doughnuts, Shelly recites the poem that was left for her by Windom Earle.  Cooper recognizes the poem and says that he needs to see it immediately.  Shelly hands over the poem and Cooper leaves but not before promising to pick Annie up at 4:00 sharp.

At the station, Harry reads over the poem and Cooper explains that Audrey, Donna, and Shelly have all been contacted and presumably targeted by Windom Earle.  Cooper also explains that he once sent the same poem to Caroline.  If Windom’s goal is to hurt Cooper, I can understand targeting Audrey but why Donna and Shelly?  Neither one of them has really had anything to do with Cooper.

In the Conference Room, Maj. Briggs (Don S. Davis) watches as Andy draws the cave symbol on the chalk board.  The Major correct Andy’s drawing as Cooper steps into the room.  Cooper says that he needs the Major’s help but that he can’t tell him how or why.

“Go on,” Major Briggs nods.

(It’s interesting how Briggs has gone from being Bobby’s abusive, ultra-strict father to being some sort of seer.  I like the change, though.  Don S. Davis, who died just recently, was far too good an actor to be wasted as just another abusive father figure.  His simple but firm delivery of “Go on,” is a masterclass in great acting.)

Cooper explains that the Twin Peaks Sheriff’s Department is investigating three separate cases: the disappearance of Leo Johnson, the appearance of Windom Earle, and the drawings found in Owl Cave.  (Why would the sheriff’s department investigate cave drawings?  Isn’t that a job for Werner Herzog?)  Cooper says that logic would say the three are unrelated but he disagrees.  Cooper calls them three notes in one big song.

“What can I do to help?” Briggs asks, wonderfully nonplussed.

Cooper says that he needs to know exactly what Windom Earle was doing with Project Blue Book.  Briggs explains that, after his disappearance, his security clearance was revoked.  He also says that there are certain moral values that must be taken into consideration.

“Yes, sir,” Cooper says, “I understand.”

Briggs asks if this information will help to save lives.  Cooper says that it will.  Briggs than asks if the drawing is a copy of what was found in Owl Cave.  Briggs explains that he once saw the same thing in a dream.  Briefly, a monk-like figure wanders across the screen, followed by an owl flying through outer space.

Back in reality, Maj. Briggs says, “I will do what you ask.”

Hawk enters with Leo’s arrest report.  Cooper looks over Leo’s confession and then announces that the poem was transcribed by Leo Johnson.

Menawhile, at the Great Northern, the Stop Ghostwood Estates campaign continues with a charity wine tasting.  Ben (Richard Beymer) explains to Dick (Ian Buchanan) that Audrey will not be around to help because she has, quite conveniently, been sent to Seattle.  (This also means that Audrey won’t be around to get in the way of the Cooper/Annie romance.)  Dick is wearing an oversized bandage on his nose.  Ben says that they will also be paying Dick’s medical bills and they’ll be providing him worker’s comp.

“Capital!” Dick says, “I’ll alert my attorney.”

As Dick walks away, Ben mutters that the urge to be bad is hard to resist.  Personally, I prefer evil Ben to this Ben but I do like the fact that, even when Ben tries to be good, he still comes across as being sinister.

At the cabin, Windom Earle is still acting like a cartoonish super villain.  (This is to be expected since Windom is a cartoonish super villain but it’s still hard not to be disappointed that he’s not the calculating genius that Cooper originally described.)  Windom has got HMSD wrapped up in some sort of big paper mache thing.  HMSD thinks that it’s a float for the Lilac Parade so he’s shocked when Windom shoots him with an arrow.  Or, he would be shocked if not for the fact that he’s dead.

(Sadly, HMSD’s last words are: “What’s with the arrow, man?  This isn’t funny.”)

Meanwhile, at the Roadhouse, the Judging and Rules Committee of the Miss Twin Peaks Pageant is meeting.  The committee is made up of Doc Hayward (Warren Frost), the Mayor, and Pete.  (I assume that Laura Palmer was last year’s Miss Twin Peaks since she was everything else in town.)  Ben has asked to address the committee.  Ben suggests that this pageant should have a pro-environmental theme.  Ben says that this year’s question-and-answer session should deal with how to save the forests.

“We’ll take it under advisement,” Doc Hayward says.

The various candidates for Miss Twin Peaks are asked to approach the committee.  There’s Lana and Donna and Shelly and Nadine (Wendy Robie).  Nadine shows up with Mike (Gary Hershberger).  When Bobby (who is there with Shelley) asks Mike what he sees in Nadine, Mike whispers something about the combination of sexual maturity and super human strength in Bobby’s ear that is apparently so impressive that all Bobby can do is shout, “WHOA!”

(Remember when Mike and Bobby were drug dealers who killed people?  A lot has changed since the first season.)

Meanwhile, at the Martell house, Harry is trying to get answers from Catherine.  He’s trying to understand who Josie was.  Catherine gets the puzzle box and says that it might have something to do with Josie.  As Harry looks at the box, Pete comes in the room and says that every beautiful woman in Twin Peaks is competing for Miss Twin Peaks.  Except, of course, for all the ones have died over the past month…

Anyway, Pete takes the box from Harry and accidentally drops it on the floor.  Catherine snaps, in the worst line in the history of Twin Peaks, “Butterfingers!”  However, the box opens as soon as it is dropped.  And what’s inside?  Another box, this one with a weird lunar pattern design on it.

(Maybe the blue key from Mulholland Drive is inside that one.  Who knows?)

Meanwhile, Cooper and Annie are sitting in a rowboat in the middle of the lake.  Annie says that she always struggled to make friends when she was younger.  Annie says that she’s had one serious boyfriend but doesn’t want to talk about him.  Annie explains that she left the convent and returned to Twin Peaks so she could face her fears “where everything went so wrong.”

Obviously, Annie is a lot of fun at parties.

Watching this scene, I again marveled at the total lack of chemistry between Heather Graham and Kyle MacLachlan.  If the Annie/Cooper relationship was meant to make us forget about the fact that Cooper and Audrey were meant to be together, scenes like this one didn’t help.  Even when Cooper and Annie kiss, it’s like watching two mannequin collide.  That’s not meant as an insult to either Kyle MacLachlan and Heather Graham.  I’ve raved about both of them on this very site.  It’s just that the Annie and Cooper scenes are incredibly awkward and unconvincing.

Anyway, after Cooper and Annie kiss, we see that they are being watched by Windom Earle, who is not even bothering to wear a disguise at this point.

At the Great Northern wine tasting, snobby people are drinking wine and Dick is serving as their host.  That this scene works is due almost entirely to Ian Buchanan.  It’s a lot of fun to watch and listen to him as Dick pretentiously describes each wine.  The fact that I don’t drink wine and consider wine tastings to be the height of bourgeois snobbery only served to make me enjoy this scene even more.

(And, of course, I love Dick but you already knew that.)

Andy and Lucy (Kimmy Robertson) are at the wine tasting,  Andy attempts to show off his knowledge by pointing out that, along with red wine, there are also white wines and sparkling wines.  Andy also makes the mistake of tasting his wine before he was supposed to, leading to Dick yelling, “Spit out!”

(I’m resisting the temptation to make a certain joke at this point.  You will thank me later.)

At the diner, Gordon Cole (David Lynch) is out on a date with Shelly.  It’s sweet little scene, actually.  Cole can actually speak in his normal voice and, while he may not be the world’s greatest actor, David Lynch has an oddly likable screen presence.  Interestingly, David Lynch and Madchen Amick have more chemistry than Heather Graham and Kyle MacLachlan.  If the Showtime revival opens with Shelly and Gordon married and living in Portland, I wouldn’t be upset.  (If the show opens with the Mayor of Portland talking about his strange younger brother, Dale Cooper, I’ll be even happier.)

Cooper comes in with Annie so, of course, Cole starts shouting again.  “THIS WORLD OF TWIN PEAKS SEEMS TO BE FULL OF BEAUTIFUL WOMEN!” he announces.  Cole also adds that “PEOPLE WHO NEED PEOPLE ARE THE LUCKIEST PEOPLE IN THE WORLD!”  Cole says that he doesn’t know when he’ll be returning to Twin Peaks, a line that’s extra poignant because, by this point, I imagine David Lynch probably knew his show wouldn’t be returning for a third season.

Just as Cole leans in to kiss Shelly, Bobby walks into the diner, demanding to know what’s going on.

“YOU ARE WITNESSING A FRONT 3/4 VIEW OF 2 ADULTS SHARING A TENDER MOMENT!” Cole replies.

Seriously, they’re so cute together!

Back at the wine tasting, Dick asks everyone what flavor of wine they just tasted.

“Tastes kind of woody,” Lucy says.

“No,” Dick says with a condescending smile.  “Lana?”

“Banana?” Lana suggests.

Yes, Dick says, there is a hit of banana.  At this point, Dick’s nose bandage has become soaked in wine.

From the back of the room, Andy shouts out that he tasted chocolate.

“Why don’t we just skip the wine and have a banana split!?” Lucy shouts.

Way to go, Lucy!  TOP THAT!

Later, Lucy does top that by spitting her wine in Dick’s face, explaining that she’s pregnant and not supposed to drink.

In the Great Northern lobby, Cooper and Wheeler (Billy Zane) stare into the fireplace.  Cooper is thinking about Annie.  Wheeler is thinking about Audrey and it just feels so wrong.  Wheeler says love is Hell.  Cooper replies that “(t)he Hindus say love is a ladder to Heaven.”  Shut up, Cooper.  I never thought I’d say that but I’ve lost a lot of respect for him now that, after making such a big deal about not allowing himself to get emotionally involved with anyone, he has managed to fall madly in love with a blank slate who has only been in town for three days.

(I mean, seriously, Audrey nearly died trying to help Cooper.  Annie just pours coffee and acts as if living in a convent was the equivalent of getting stuck on Mars with Matt Damon.)

Meanwhile, it’s an awkward dinner at the Hayward house, where Donna (Lara Flynn Boyle) wonders about her mother’s relationship with Ben Horne.  What about happened to Donna’s sister?  She hasn’t been seen since the first season.  Maybe she ran away when it became obvious that everyone who knows Donna eventually ends up either dead (Laura, Harold, Maddy, Leland) or, like James, in San Francisco.

Donna asks her mother (Mary Jo Deschanel) how she knows Ben Horne.  Doc Hayward immediately says, “I told Donna about that benefit that you’re working on….”

(OH MY GOD, DONNA IS BEN’S DAUGHTER!  Which means that she is Audrey’s half-sister.  After reading all the stories about Lara Flynn Boyle and Sherilyn Fenn not getting along behind the scenes, this amuses me.)

Anyway, Donna gives her mother a hard time about seeing Ben while both of her parents try to change the subject.  If only Donna was as concerned about her suddenly missing sister.

That night, the police discover a huge crate has been left in the gazebo.  When Cooper and Harry open it, they discover a giant paper mache chess piece.  And inside the chess piece is the dead body of Stoner Heavy Metal Dude.  A note from Windom Earle is also found, announcing that the next victim will be someone who Dale knows.

Cooper says that Windom appears to be changing the way he plays the game, which is a polite way of saying that he’s a bit of an inconsistent character.

This episode wasn’t bad, though I still find myself cringing whenever Cooper and Annie start flirting.  But the scene with Cole and Shelly were fun and I’m really growing to appreciate Richard Beymer’s performance as the new, conflicted Ben Horne.  Two of my favorite Twin Peaks supporting actors, Ian Buchanan and Don S. Davis, got some good scenes as well.  While this episode can in no way match anything from the 1st season, it’s not bad for a 2nd season episode.

Well, there’s only three more episodes left and then the movie!  Jeff has tomorrow’s episode.  Then Leonard will be covering Sunday and then I’ll be back for the finale.  As for the movie — we’re still playing rock scissors paper to figure out who gets to play it.  We’re doing best out of a 1,000.  It could take a while.

While we figure it out, check out what led us to this point!

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

  1. Twin Peaks: In the Beginning by Jedadiah Leland
  2. TV Review: Twin Peaks 1.1 — The Pilot (dir by David Lynch) by Lisa Marie Bowman
  3. TV Review: Twin Peaks 1.2 — Traces To Nowhere (directed by Duwayne Dunham) by Jedadiah Leland
  4. TV Review: Twin Peaks 1.3 — Zen, or the Skill To Catch A Killer (dir by David Lynch) by Lisa Marie Bowman
  5. TV Review: Twin Peaks 1.4 “Rest in Pain” (dir by Tina Rathbone) by Leonard Wilson
  6. TV Review: Twin Peaks 1.5 “The One-Armed Man” (directed by Tim Hunter) by Jedadiah Leland
  7. TV Review: Twin Peaks 1.6 “Cooper’s Dreams” (directed by Lesli Linka Glatter) by Lisa Marie Bowman
  8. TV Review: Twin Peaks 1.7 “Realization Time” (directed by Caleb Deschanel) by Lisa Marie Bowman
  9. TV Review: Twin Peaks 1.8 “The Last Evening” (directed by Mark Frost) by Leonard Wilson
  10. TV Review: Twin Peaks 2.1 “May the Giant Be With You” (dir by David Lynch) by Leonard Wilson
  11. TV Review: Twin Peaks 2.2 “Coma” (directed by David Lynch) by Jedadiah Leland
  12. TV Review: Twin Peaks 2.3 “The Man Behind The Glass” (directed by Lesli Linka Glatter) by Jedadiah Leland
  13. TV Review: Twin Peaks 2.4 “Laura’s Secret Diary” (dir by Todd Holland) by Lisa Marie Bowman
  14. TV Review: Twin Peaks 2.5 “The Orchid’s Curse” (dir by Graeme Clifford) by Lisa Marie Bowman
  15. TV Review: Twin Peaks 2.6 “Demons” (dir by Lesli Linka Glatter) by Leonard Wilson
  16. TV Review: Twin Peaks 2.7 “Lonely Souls” (directed by David Lynch) by Jedadiah Leland
  17. TV Review: Twin Peaks 2.8 “Drive With A Dead Girl” (dir by Caleb Deschanel) by Lisa Marie Bowman
  18. TV Review: Twin Peaks 2.9 “Arbitrary Law” (dir by Tim Hunter) by Lisa Marie Bowman
  19. TV Review: Twin Peaks 2.10 “Dispute Between Brothers” (directed by Tina Rathbone) by Jedadiah Leland
  20. TV Review: Twin Peaks 2.11 “Masked Ball” (directed by Duwayne Dunham) by Leonard Wilson
  21. TV Review: Twin Peaks 2.12 “The Black Widow” (directed by Caleb Deschanel) by Leonard Wilson
  22. TV Review: Twin Peaks 2.13 “Checkmate” (directed by Todd Holland) by Jedadiah Leland
  23. TV Review: Twin Peaks 2.14 “Double Play” (directed by Uli Edel) by Jedadiah Leland
  24. TV Review: Twin Peaks 2.15 “Slaves and Masters” (directed by Diane Keaton) by Lisa Marie Bowman
  25. TV Review: Twin Peaks 2.16 “The Condemned Woman” (directed by Lesli Linka Glatter) by Leonard Wilson
  26. TV Review: Twin Peaks 2.17 “Wounds and Scars” (directed by James Foley) by Lisa Marie Bowman
  27. TV Review: Twin Peaks 2.18 “On The Wings of Love” (directed by Duwayne Dunham) by Jedadiah Leland

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


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

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

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

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

However, there was one problem.

Lara Flynn Boyle.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

End credits.

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

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

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

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

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

  1. Twin Peaks: In the Beginning by Jedadiah Leland
  2. TV Review: Twin Peaks 1.1 — The Pilot (dir by David Lynch) by Lisa Marie Bowman
  3. TV Review: Twin Peaks 1.2 — Traces To Nowhere (directed by Duwayne Dunham) by Jedadiah Leland
  4. TV Review: Twin Peaks 1.3 — Zen, or the Skill To Catch A Killer (dir by David Lynch) by Lisa Marie Bowman
  5. TV Review: Twin Peaks 1.4 “Rest in Pain” (dir by Tina Rathbone) by Leonard Wilson
  6. TV Review: Twin Peaks 1.5 “The One-Armed Man” (directed by Tim Hunter) by Jedadiah Leland
  7. TV Review: Twin Peaks 1.6 “Cooper’s Dreams” (directed by Lesli Linka Glatter) by Lisa Marie Bowman
  8. TV Review: Twin Peaks 1.7 “Realization Time” (directed by Caleb Deschanel) by Lisa Marie Bowman
  9. TV Review: Twin Peaks 1.8 “The Last Evening” (directed by Mark Frost) by Leonard Wilson
  10. TV Review: Twin Peaks 2.1 “May the Giant Be With You” (dir by David Lynch) by Leonard Wilson
  11. TV Review: Twin Peaks 2.2 “Coma” (directed by David Lynch) by Jedadiah Leland
  12. TV Review: Twin Peaks 2.3 “The Man Behind The Glass” (directed by Lesli Linka Glatter) by Jedadiah Leland
  13. TV Review: Twin Peaks 2.4 “Laura’s Secret Diary” (dir by Todd Holland) by Lisa Marie Bowman
  14. TV Review: Twin Peaks 2.5 “The Orchid’s Curse” (dir by Graeme Clifford) by Lisa Marie Bowman
  15. TV Review: Twin Peaks 2.6 “Demons” (dir by Lesli Linka Glatter) by Leonard Wilson
  16. TV Review: Twin Peaks 2.7 “Lonely Souls” (directed by David Lynch) by Jedadiah Leland
  17. TV Review: Twin Peaks 2.8 “Drive With A Dead Girl” (dir by Caleb Deschanel) by Lisa Marie Bowman
  18. TV Review: Twin Peaks 2.9 “Arbitrary Law” (dir by Tim Hunter) by Lisa Marie Bowman
  19. TV Review: Twin Peaks 2.10 “Dispute Between Brothers” (directed by Tina Rathbone) by Jedadiah Leland
  20. TV Review: Twin Peaks 2.11 “Masked Ball” (directed by Duwayne Dunham) by Leonard Wilson
  21. TV Review: Twin Peaks 2.12 “The Black Widow” (directed by Caleb Deschanel) by Leonard Wilson
  22. TV Review: Twin Peaks 2.13 “Checkmate” (directed by Todd Holland) by Jedadiah Leland
  23. TV Review: Twin Peaks 2.14 “Double Play” (directed by Uli Edel) by Jedadiah Leland
  24. TV Review: Twin Peaks 2.15 “Slaves and Masters” (directed by Diane Keaton) by Lisa Marie Bowman
  25. TV Review: Twin Peaks 2.16 “The Condemned Woman” (directed by Lesli Linka Glatter) by Leonard Wilson

 

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


“Get a life, punk!”

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

Well, it had to happen some time.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(We love you, Albert!)

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

Windom has mailed:

1. A white veil

2. A garter

3. A pair of white slippers

4. A peal necklace

5. A wedding dress

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Agck!

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

Always look on the bright side of life.

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

  1. Twin Peaks: In the Beginning by Jedadiah Leland
  2. TV Review: Twin Peaks 1.1 — The Pilot (dir by David Lynch) by Lisa Marie Bowman
  3. TV Review: Twin Peaks 1.2 — Traces To Nowhere (directed by Duwayne Dunham) by Jedadiah Leland
  4. TV Review: Twin Peaks 1.3 — Zen, or the Skill To Catch A Killer (dir by David Lynch) by Lisa Marie Bowman
  5. TV Review: Twin Peaks 1.4 “Rest in Pain” (dir by Tina Rathbone) by Leonard Wilson
  6. TV Review: Twin Peaks 1.5 “The One-Armed Man” (directed by Tim Hunter) by Jedadiah Leland
  7. TV Review: Twin Peaks 1.6 “Cooper’s Dreams” (directed by Lesli Linka Glatter) by Lisa Marie Bowman
  8. TV Review: Twin Peaks 1.7 “Realization Time” (directed by Caleb Deschanel) by Lisa Marie Bowman
  9. TV Review: Twin Peaks 1.8 “The Last Evening” (directed by Mark Frost) by Leonard Wilson
  10. TV Review: Twin Peaks 2.1 “May the Giant Be With You” (dir by David Lynch) by Leonard Wilson
  11. TV Review: Twin Peaks 2.2 “Coma” (directed by David Lynch) by Jedadiah Leland
  12. TV Review: Twin Peaks 2.3 “The Man Behind The Glass” (directed by Lesli Linka Glatter) by Jedadiah Leland
  13. TV Review: Twin Peaks 2.4 “Laura’s Secret Diary” (dir by Todd Holland) by Lisa Marie Bowman
  14. TV Review: Twin Peaks 2.5 “The Orchid’s Curse” (dir by Graeme Clifford) by Lisa Marie Bowman
  15. TV Review: Twin Peaks 2.6 “Demons” (dir by Lesli Linka Glatter) by Leonard Wilson
  16. TV Review: Twin Peaks 2.7 “Lonely Souls” (directed by David Lynch) by Jedadiah Leland
  17. TV Review: Twin Peaks 2.8 “Drive With A Dead Girl” (dir by Caleb Deschanel) by Lisa Marie Bowman
  18. TV Review: Twin Peaks 2.9 “Arbitrary Law” (dir by Tim Hunter) by Lisa Marie Bowman
  19. TV Review: Twin Peaks 2.10 “Dispute Between Brothers” (directed by Tina Rathbone) by Jedadiah Leland
  20. TV Review: Twin Peaks 2.11 “Masked Ball” (directed by Duwayne Dunham) by Leonard Wilson
  21. TV Review: Twin Peaks 2.12 “The Black Widow” (directed by Caleb Deschanel) by Leonard Wilson
  22. TV Review: Twin Peaks 2.13 “Checkmate” (directed by Todd Holland) by Jedadiah Leland
  23. TV Review: Twin Peaks 2.14 “Double Play” (directed by Uli Edel) by Jedadiah Leland

 

 

 

TV Review: Twin Peaks 2.9 “Arbitrary Law” (dir by Tim Hunter)


“Fire, walk with me!”

— 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!

AGCK!

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…

What?

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:

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

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

What do you think, Cooper?

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“A diary?” Cooper corrects him.

“That could be!” Leland says.

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

AGCK!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

 

 

 

TV Review: Twin Peaks 2.5 “The Orchid’s Curse” (dir by Graeme Clifford)


(This Good Friday review of the fifth episode of the 2nd season of Twin Peaks is dedicated to my mom, Gloria Elena Marchi, who would have been 59 years old today.  So, it better be a good episode, right?)

This episode of Twin Peaks was directed by Graeme Clifford, an Australian filmmaker who has several films and tv shows to his credit.  As an editor, Clifford worked on some of the best films of the 70s, several of which share the surrealistic vision of David Lynch.  Among the films that Clifford worked on: Robert Altman’s Images, Nicolas Roeg’s Don’t Look Now and The Man Who Fell To Earth, and the ultimate cult classic, The Rocky Horror Picture Show.

The Orchid’s Curse (and, as I pointed out yesterday, I love the pulpiness of that title) is the only episode of Twin Peaks that he directed.  It’s also the first of four episodes to be credited to writer Barry Pullman.

Let’s take a look at The Orchid’s Curse!

Following the haunting opening credits, we get Dale Cooper (Kyle MacLachlan).  Dale is waking up in bed and, as always, talking into his tape recorder.  He had a dream that he was eating a tasteless gum drop, just to wake up and discover that he was chewing on one of his ear plugs.  As I listened to Dale speak, I breathed a sigh of relief.  After the previous episode had him acting all out-of-character, it was nice to have the old Dale back.

Dale notices an envelope taped underneath his bed.  It’s a note from Audrey, telling Dale that she’s gone up to One-Eyed Jack’s.  Okay, Dale — now you know where Audrey is!  GO RESCUE HER!

At the police station, Deputy Hawk (Michael Horse) comes in and wow, is he mad!  Oh wait — he just has to go to the bathroom.  As he explains to Harry (Michael Ontkean), two retired school teachers live in the house next to the Palmer summer home.  Neither of them have ever seen BOB before but apparently, they made him drink two pots of tea before telling him that.

Lucy (Kimmy Robertson) tells Harry that she’s going to down to Tacoma to see her sister, who has just had a baby.  She offers to stick around long enough to show the temp how to do everything.  Harry tells her that they’ve got it covered but Lucy obviously knows better.  As an administrative professional, I related so much to Lucy in this scene.

At the Johnson house, a salesman named Mr. Pinkle (David Lander) is showing Bobby (Dana Ashbrook) and Shelly (Madchen Amick) a product that he calls “porto-patient.”  Basically, it’s a harness and crane that allows you to drag around a comatose person  Shelly and Bobby are obviously planning on having some fun with Leo.  Sure, how could that backfire?  Bobby does worry that porto-patient appears to be a death trap and that they don’t want to kill Leo because then they won’t get his disability checks.  Pinkle explains that it’s either porto-patient or a wheelbarrow.

Meanwhile, Judge Sternwood (Royal Dano) is holding court at the Roadhouse, for some reason.  In my last review, I forgot to mention that Judge Sternwood travels with a much younger “law clerk.”  I’m going to guess that the character of Judge Sternwood was based on Supreme Court Justice William O. Douglas.

William O. Douglas

Anyway, it’s time for Leland Plamer’s arraignment.  Prosecutor Lodwick (Ritch Brinkley) argues that Leland (Ray Wise) should not be given bail because of the seriousness of the crime and “the oft-witnessed instability of Mr. Palmer after the death of his daughter.”  Harry speaks on Leland’s behalf.  Harry says that Leland is a well-respected member of the community.

(Meanwhile, Deputy Andy (Harry Goaz) gets even more adorable by doing courtroom sketches, all of which are pictures of the back of Leland’s head.)

Judge Sternwood released Leland on his own recognizance, a ruling that will prove to be so ill-thought that it actually could have been issued by William O. Douglas.  (But I kid the late Judge Douglas!)

At the Harold Smith House, Donna (Lara Flynn Boyle) shows up with another Meals on Wheels tray.  Harold (Lenny von Dohlen) is waiting for her, a glass of wine in his hand.

“What’s behind those deep blue eyes today?” Harold asks.  Oh, Harold!

Donna says that she’ll share her life with Harold, as a part of his “living novel,” but only if he lets her read Laura’s secret diary.  Harold offers to read the diary to her but he emphasizes that the diary must not leave his living room.

Donna starts telling Harold about her life but quickly turns things on him, asking where he’s from and where he grew up.  Harold’s from Boston and he says he grew up in books.  As I watched this scene, I found myself marveling at Lenny von Dohlen’s wonderful performance.  Harold is definitely creepy but von Dohlen still brought a definite sweetness to the character.  I actually found myself starting to get a little bit mad at the way that Donna was manipulating him.

Seriously, Donna, don’t hurt Harold!

Donna, apparently, was not listening to me because she snatched Laura’s diary and, teasingly, used it to lead Harold outside.  Harold immediately had a panic attack, which should teach Donna an important lesson about trying to act like Audrey.

Back at the Road House, Judge Sternwood rules on Leo’s competency.  Leo’s lawyer is played by songwriter Van Dyke Parks and, as I watched this scene, I found myself wondering why every lawyer and judge in Twin Peaks — with the exception Leland Palmer — insisted on dressing like an extra in a 1950s western.  I mean, it kind of works and I guess you could make the argument that Judge Sternwood holding court in the Roadhouse is meant to pay homage to Judge Roy Bean.

In other words, Roy Bean + William O. Douglas = Judge Sternwood.

Judge Sternwood summons Cooper and Harry to the bar so that he can deliberate on Leo’s competency while his “law clerk” serves up drinks.  Sternwood drinks something called a Black Yukon Sucker Punch.  Yuck.

Anyway, because he’s not a very good judge, Sternwood rules that Leo is not competent to stand trail and sends him home with Shelly.

At the Hurley house, Big Ed (Everett McGill) and James (James Marshall) attempt to adjust to a new life in which one-eyed, middle-aged Nadine (Wendy Robie) thinks that she’s a teenager.  Nadine goes to get a drink and rips off the refrigerator door.  Apparently, that’s something that’s going to be happening from now on.

At the Great Northern, Ben (Richard Beymer) enters his all-wood office and is informed that a Mr. Tojamura is here to see him.  Mr. Tojamura is the Japanese man that Ben saw last night, the one who smart viewers will have already figured out is actually Catherine (Piper Laurie) in a not very convincing disguise.  Anyway, Tojamura says that he represents an investment firm that wants to invest in the Ghostwood Project and Ben gets all excited and…

WHY ISN’T BEN WORRIED ABOUT AUDREY!?

See, this is one thing that bothers me about season 2 of Twin Peaks.  During season 1, Ben was greedy and amoral.  He wasn’t a great father but, at the same time, he did love his daughter.  That was what made Ben an interesting character.  But, in season 2, Ben is just a caricature of an evil businessmen.  Reportedly, after not interfering during season 1, ABC interfered a lot in season 2 and it’s obvious when you see how a character like Ben has been robbed of all his nuance.

Ben gets rid of Mr. Tojamura and then suddenly, Hank (Chris Mulkey) pops out of a secret passage and informs Ben that Cooper is on his way.  On schedule, Cooper enters the office and Jean Renault (Michael Parks) calls from Canada.  Jean wants Cooper to drop off a briefcase full of money at a merry-go-round, at midnight.  “Leave it by the horse’s head.”

After Cooper gets the briefcase and leaves, Hank once again pops out of the secret passage.  Ben tells Hank to follow Cooper, to make sure the money is delivered, and to bring back Audrey.  Hank is confused.  Shouldn’t Cooper bring back Audrey?  No, Ben explains, Cooper isn’t coming back.  Also, because Ben is cartoonishly evil now, he tells Hank to try to bring back both Audrey and the money.

That night, at the Hayward House, Donna and Maddy (Sheryl Lee) are conspiring on a way to ruin Harold’s life.  Donna will distract Harold and Maddy will sneak into Harold’s house and steal the diary.  Maddy, who tends to jump at her own shadow, seems like the worst possible person to use in a situation like this but then again, maybe that’s exactly why Donna’s using her.

See, this what I think is going on in Donna’s head: Maddy gets caught, Harold kills her, and then Donna gets James to herself.  Donna has crossed into the dark side!

At One-Eyed Jacks, Jean and Blackie (Victoria Catlin) are rehearsing how Jean will get the briefcase and then kill Cooper with a blade that he has hidden underneath his sleeve.  Can Jean and Blackie just die now?  They’re kind of boring as villains.  And every minute they’re alive, that’s another minute wasted on this stupid Audrey-bring-held-hostage subplot.

At the police station, Andy is struggling to figure out how to answer the phone and transfer calls.  That’s right!  Nobody appreciates a good administrative professional until she’s gone!  Anyway, Andy calls the lab and discovers that he’s no longer sterile.  As Doc Hayward puts it, “They’re not just three men on a fishing trip.  They’re a whole damn town.”  So, Andy could be the father of Lucy’s baby!  Woo hoo!  Excited, Andy calls Lucy in Tacoma and is shocked to learn that Lucy is not visiting her sister.  Instead, she’s at Adams Abortion Clinic.  “OH MY GOD!” Andy say.

In Harry’s office, Harry and Cooper are planning a raid on One-Eyed Jack’s.  Hopefully, it won’t take them as long to attack as it took Rick to stand up to Negan on The Walking Dead.  (Rick Grimes and Sheriff Truman have a lot in common but that’ll have to wait for a future post.)

Deputy Hawk comes in and says that he found out that the One-Armed Man has been staying at a motel but nobody’s seen him in a while.  Hawk found a hypodermic needle and a weird drug in the motel room.  “Weird, deep smell,” Hawk says.  Harry sends Hawk home, apparently forgetting that Hawk is a member of the Book House Boys and, therefore, there’s no reason to leave him out of the planning of the raid.

At the Double R Diner, Maddy rushes in and asks for a cup of coffee to go.  She doesn’t even notice that James is sitting at the counter.  James looked a little offended and I was worried he was going to get all weepy but instead, he just said, “Hi.”  Maddy says that she can’t talk now and, under Donna’s bad influence, she lies and says that she’s going back home.

At the Harold Smith House, Donna is talking to Harold.  Donna tells Harold about the time that she and Laura went down to the Roadhouse to meet boys.  The story starts with Laura talking Donna into wearing a short skirt and ends, as these often do, with skinny dipping.  Harold, who would have loved Twitter, says that the story was beautiful.  Meanwhile, Maddy lurks around outside.

At One-Eyed Jack’s, Cooper and Harry are also sneaking around outside.  They’re both dressed in black, like Daniel Craig in the poster for SPECTRE, so we know that it’s commando time!  As an owl — “The Owls are not what they seem,” — watches, Harry takes out one of the guards.  They sneak through the backdoor and find themselves in the brothel section of One-Eyed Jacks, which is full of young women in lingerie and middle-aged men who all give off a “Ted-Kennedy-About-To-Drive-Mary-Jo-Kopechne-Home” sort of vibe.

Outside the Harold Smith House, Maddy drinks the coffee that she got at the Double R.  Meanwhile, inside the house, Harold is telling Donna about orchids.  Harold and Donna finally kiss and, overwhelmed, Harold has to leave the room.  This is Maddy’s cue to break into the house and help Donna ruin the man’s life.

As Maddy lurks towards the house, Cooper is busy lurking around One-Eyed Jacks.  “Hi,” Cooper says, grabbing Jean’s main lackey, “would you take me to Audrey Horne please?”  Cooper is led to a bedroom, where an unconcious Audrey (Sherilyn Fenn) is tied up.  After punching out Jean’s main henchwoman, Cooper untied Audrey.

Meanwhile, Harry is watching Jean and Blackie talking in another room when, suddenly, Jean stabs Blackie to death.  Well, that one down.  Jean spots Harry and runs off.  At the same time, Cooper runs up, carrying Audrey over her shoulder.  Cooper and Harry start to run for the exit when they run into a bald man holding a gun.

“Goddammit,” I yelled, “I thought this stupid kidnapping plot was finally over!”

Suddenly, the bald man falls dead.  There’s a knife on his back.  It turns out that Deputy Hawk not only followed Harry and Cooper to One-Eyed Jack’s but he’s totally cool with killing people.  Hawk’s a badass, y’all.

Outside One-Eyed Jack’s, Hank watches as Cooper, Harry, Audrey, and Hawk run off.  He calls Ben but is then grabbed from behind by Jean.

At the Harold Smith House, Maddy is looking for the diary but, because Maddy is generally incompetent and no longer wearing her big red glasses, she is struggling to find it.  Donna, who is in the greenhouse and waiting for Harold to return, tries to direct her.  You can tell Donna’s thinking, “Why couldn’t it have been me and Laura looking for Maddy’s secret diary instead?  That would have been so much easier!”

Suddenly, Harold’s back!  He’s brought Donna big flower!  Harold’s so sweet.

Despite Donna’s efforts to distract him, Harold sees Maddy stealing Laura’s diary.  Cornering Maddy and Laura and holding a scary-looking gardening tool, Harold shouts, “Are you looking for secrets!?  Do you know what the ultimate secret is!?”

At this point, I was hoping Harold would quote Jean Renior’s The Rules of the Game and say that the ultimate secret is that everyone has their own good reasons.  Instead, Harold says that it’s “the secret of knowing who killed you,” and proceeds to use the tool to cut open his face!

NO, HAROLD!

Maddy screams, as well she should.  Way to destroy someone’s life, Maddy.  I realize that it was Donna’s plan but Maddy’s the one who took too long to find the diary.

Plus, I just don’t like Maddy.

Cooper to the rescue! Yesssssssss!

Anyway, that’s it for The Orchid’s Secret.  This was a definite improvement over the previous episode, even with the kidnapping subplot.  The performances of Lara Flynn Boyle and Lenny von Dohlen elevated this entire episode while Pullman and Clifford did a pretty decent job recreating the unique style of Lynch and Frost.

All in all, a worthy episode.

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Mr. Horne!” she says.

“Walk and talk,” Ben says and…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(M.T. Wentz, maybe?)

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

Sternwood asks how Cooper is finding Twin Peaks.

“Heaven, sir,” Cooper replies.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Hey, Cooper — remember Audrey!?

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

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

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

Tomorrow’s episode — The Orchid’s Kiss!

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

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

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