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…


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!


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 2.3 “The Man Behind The Glass” (directed by Lesli Linka Glatter)


The third episode of season two opens at the hospital, where Ronette Pulaski (Pheobe Augustine) is having another freak out while Harry (Michael Ontkean), Cooper (Kyle MacLachlan), and Albert (Miguel Ferrer) look on.  Someone tried to poison her IV.  Cooper discovers that someone has also put a “B” under Ronette’s fingernail.  Harry says that Ronette was under guard all night and there is no way that anyone could have gotten to her.  Albert says, “Maybe she heard a Sousa march and got up to twirl a baton.”

Cooper reveals to Albert and Harry that he was visited twice by a giant and tells them the three clues that he was given.

“You were visited by a giant?” Harry says.

“Any relation to the dwarf?” Albert asks.

Elsewhere, Donna Hayward (Lara Flynn Boyle) goes to reclusive Harold Smith’s house and we finally meet Harold (played by Lenny Von Dohlen, who was the direct-to-video version of Anthony Perkins in the 1990s).  Harold’s house is full of flowers.  He explains that he used to be horticulturist but now he is a shut in.  He says that he and Laura were close and that she told him everything about Donna.  Donna asks why Laura never said anything about him.  Harold says that Laura liked to think of him as being, “the mystery in her life.”  After promising to come back and visit later, Donna leaves.

Back at the police station, Cooper is at the chalkboard again and explaining to Harry and Albert how four living people — Sarah Palmer, Ronette, Maddy, and himself — have seen the “long-haired man.”  Harry is still hung up on the giant.  “Did he have a booming voice?”

Albert suggests that Harry should learn how to walk without dragging his knuckles on the floor which leads to Harry grabbing Albert’s shirt and Albert declaring that he rejects violence.

“I love you, Sheriff Truman,” Albert says before leaving.

“Albert’s path is a strange and difficult one,” Cooper says.  No doubt, Coop.

James (James Marshall) comes to the station.  Cooper tells him that he is not being charged because the cocaine was planted and that he needs to stop hanging out around the police station.

Harry is still trying to understand what Cooper meant when he said he saw a giant when Leland (Ray Wise) finally shows up at the police station and tells them that “the long-haired man” used to live next door to his family’s summer home.  His name was “Robertson” but everyone called him Bob.  “One more thing,” Leland says, “he used to flick matches at me.”

At the Double R Diner, Lucy (Kimmy Robertson) is having lunch with Richard Tremayne (Ian Buchanan), who may be the father of her baby.  Richard is a salesman at Horne’s Department Store and he’s so slick that smooth jazz plays whenever he enters a room.  Richard and Lucy had one date, in which he promised to take her to the Seattle Space Needle but instead, took her to Pancake Plantation instead.  Lucy tells Richard that she’s pregnant.

At a nearby booth, James and Maddy (Sheryl Lee) sit and talk.  James is confused because he says that Donna is trying to “act tough all the time.”  James says that sometimes, he thinks he should just get on his bike and go.  (Maybe he has been watching old episodes of Then Came Bronson, starring tonight’s special guest star, Michael Parks.)  Donna comes in the diner and sees that James and Maddy are together.  Donna announces that she met Harold Smith and that he is bright and charming, “unlike anyone I know.”  Then, she leaves.

At One-Eyed Jack’s, Emory and Blackie (Victoria Catlin) have tied up Audrey (Sherilyn Fenn).  Blackie is going to hold Audrey hostage and demand a ransom from Ben Horne.

Back at the police station, the One-Armed Man, Mr. Gerard (Al Strobel), is showing Harry his latest selection in shoes.  Gerard blanks out for a minute and says that he sometimes gets disoreintated.  Harry goes to get Gerard a glass of water and runs into Shelly Johnson (Madchen Amick).  Cooper wants to talk to her about Leo and the fire at the mill but Shelly says she can’t testify against her husband.  Laying on the charm, Cooper tells her that is okay and then sends her out of the office.  He says the Shelly wants to get Leo’s life insurance and that she didn’t “think up this scheme by herself.”

But what about Laura Palmer!?  Isn’t that what Cooper is supposed to be investigating?

Cooper goes to the Great Northern and asks Ben Horne (Richard Beymer) if he knows where Audrey is.  Ben says that Audrey is missing but he does not seem to be to worried about it.

At One-Eyed Jack’s, tonight’s special guest star, Michael Parks, shows up.  He is playing Jean Reanault, the brother of Jacques Renault.  Blackie explains, to Emory, that Jean will act as their go-between with Ben.  In return for 30% of the ransom, Jean will pretend to be the one who has kidnapped Audrey.  Jean also demands that Agent Cooper, who he blames for the death of Jacques, be brought to him.  Jean gives Audrey a shot of something.  I had forgotten that Jean and Blackie kept Audrey drugged at One-Eyed Jack’s.  I hope it’s not heroin because I don’t know if I can handle Twin Peaks turning into The French Connection Part II.

Michael Parks, like Russ Tamblyn and Richard Beymer, was one of many 1960s teen idols to be cast in Twin Peaks.  Long before Tarantino has even made his first film, Lynch was resurrecting the careers of forgotten actors.  If it’s thanks to Tarantino and, not Lynch, that Michael Parks is currently having a career renaissance, that’s because Michael Parks, quite frankly, lousy on Twin Peaks.  Parks is much more convincing as Earl McGraw than he ever was as the French Canadian Jean Renault.

At the police station, Cooper wants to take a break and drink a cup of coffee but Harry is having a crisis because Josie is coming back to Twin Peaks tomorrow and he is worried about having to interrogate her about the fire at the mill.  Harry also mentions that the One-Armed Man came by the station to sell shoes.

“The One-Armed man was here!?” Cooper says.

“Yeah,” Harry shrugs.

“Remember, in my dream,” Cooper explains, “the One-Armed Man knew BOB.”

Good point Cooper.  Why wouldn’t Harry have told Cooper that the One-Armed Man was at the station?  Are they even trying to catch Laura’s killer anymore?  Even  Deputy Hawk gives Harry a “You fucked up” look.

Going to the men’s room and searching for the One-Armed Man, Cooper comes across a hypodermic needle.  “Without chemicals, he points,” Cooper says, “The Giant’s third clue.  Harry, we’ve got to find the One-Armed Man.”

(Too bad that they had the One-Armed Man and then Harry let him wander off.  Albert may have a point.)

At the hospital, the comatose Nadine (Wendy Robie) has been tied down.  Dr. Hayward (Warren Frost) tells Ed (Everett McGill) that Nadine now has Hulk-like super strength.  “She’s pumping out more adrenaline than a wildcat well,” Hayward explains.

Following the doctor’s advice, Ed sings “On top of Old Smokey” to her.  (I was waiting for James to come in with his guitar and provide accompaniment but I guess he was busy with Maddy.)  Ed singing causes Nadine to wake up and rip off her restraints.  “Good God!” Ed says.  Nadine does a cheer, because she now thinks that she and Ed are in high school and she is looking forward to cheerleader tryouts.

In his hospital room, Dr. Jacoby (Russ Tamblyn) is getting a foot massage from his Hawaiian wife, Eoloni, when Cooper and Harry drop by so that they can hypnotize him.  Jacoby is so good at hypnosis that he hypnotizes himself.  He flashes back to the murder of Jacques Renault and says that he knows the killer.

While this is happening, Donna puts some flowers (provided by Harold) on Laura’s grave.  Donna talks to the dead Laura.  Lara Flynn Boyle knocks her emotional monologue out of the park.

Of course, while Donna is pouring out her heart, James is kissing Maddy.  Donna walks in on them and then runs out on them.  James runs after her, screaming, “WHY!?”

Maddy goes to Leland for comfort but then Harry and Cooper show up and announce that Leland is under arrest.  For killing Laura?  No, for killing Jacques Renault.

Donna goes to Harold Smith and tells him about James and Maddy.  Harold gives her a gift, the secret diary of Laura Palmer.

There is a classic episode of The Simpsons, in which the producers of Itchy and Scratchy become concerned that their show has become stale and uninteresting.  To bring in new fans, they create the character of Poochie the Dog and, of course, they hire Homer to play him.  Poochie has no real personality or reason for being on the show.  He is just a mix of things that television executives think will appeal to their audience.

In Poochie’s first episode, Itchy and Scratchy are driving to the fireworks factory when they see Poochie standing on the side of the road.  They pull over.  “It’s our new friend, Poochie!”  Poochie introduces himself and suddenly, the entire cartoon becomes about Poochie.  Itchy and Scratchy are pushed to the side while Poochie sings, dances, raps, and plays basketball.

Watching the cartoon, Milhouse cries out, “When are they going to get to the fireworks factory!?”

That is probably how many viewers of Twin Peaks felt as they watched the second season.  They had gotten wrapped up in the show.  They had come up with their own theories about who killed Laura.  All they wanted to know was who killed Laura Palmer and yet the show refused to tell them.  Instead, it kept getting distracted by other things.

That is certainly the case with “The Man Behind The Glass.”  While this episodes does do a lot to push the story and the mystery forward, it also gets sidetracked by a lot of subplots — like Jean Renault, Nadine thinking she was a teenager, and Lucy’s pregnancy — that are far less compelling than the mystery that has always been at the heart of Twin Peaks.

Who killed Laura Palmer?

For tomorrow, Lisa is back and reviewing episode 2.4, “The Secret Diary of Laura Palmer.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Can you hear it?” The Log Lady asks.

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

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

“Yes, ma’m, I do.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“The owls are not what they seem.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

Way to Go, James!

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

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

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

Wait, what?

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

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

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

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

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

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

End credits.

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Walter Neff

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

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

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

Rest in Peace, Waldo

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

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

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

Kyle MacLachlan as Cary Grant in Touch of Pink

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  1. Twin Peaks: In the Beginning by Jedadiah Leland
  2. TV Review: Twin Peaks 1.1 — The Pilot (dir by David Lynch) by Lisa Marie Bowman
  3. TV Review: Twin Peaks 1.2 — Traces To Nowhere (directed by Duwayne Dunham) by Jedadiah Leland
  4. TV Review: Twin Peaks 1.3 — Zen, or the Skill To Catch A Killer (dir by David Lynch) by Lisa Marie Bowman
  5. TV Review: Twin Peaks 1.4 “Rest in Pain” (dir by Tina Rathbone) by Leonard Wilson
  6. TV Review: Twin Peaks 1.5 “The One-Armed Man” (directed by Tim Hunter) by Jedadiah Leland
  7. TV Review: Twin Peaks 1.6 “Cooper’s Dreams” (directed by Lesli Linka Glatter) by Lisa Marie Bowman



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Oh, Harry.  Never change.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Go to Hell, Sad Clown!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Thanks, Margaret,” Harry replies.

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

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

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

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

Jerry Horne announces that they are all Icelanders.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Up next: “Realization Time”

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

  1. Twin Peaks: In the Beginning by Jedadiah Leland
  2. TV Review: Twin Peaks 1.1 — The Pilot (dir by David Lynch) by Lisa Marie Bowman
  3. TV Review: Twin Peaks 1.2 — Traces To Nowhere (directed by Duwayne Dunham) by Jedadiah Leland
  4. TV Review: Twin Peaks 1.3 — Zen, or the Skill To Catch A Killer (dir by David Lynch) by Lisa Marie Bowman
  5. TV Review: Twin Peaks 1.4 “Rest in Pain” (dir by Tina Rathbone) by Leonard Wilson
  6. TV Review: Twin Peaks 1.5 “The One-Armed Man” (directed by Tim Hunter) by Jedadiah Leland

TV Review: Twin Peaks 1.5 “The One-Armed Man” (directed by Tim Hunter)

It’s all about team work.

Aren’t Lisa and Leonard doing a great job with their Twin Peaks reviews?  Yesterday, I was reading Leonard’s review of Rest In Pain and I immediately thought to myself, “I’m going to have to up my game if I want to keep up.”  That’s what team work does.  It challenges you to work harder and hopefully, it makes you better at whatever it is that you do.

For instance, Twin Peaks is usually thought of as being the “David Lynch show” but actually, there were several different creative voices involved and all of them left their mark on the series.  The show was co-created by veteran TV writer, Mark Frost (whose father, Warren Frost, played Doc Hayward).  Many of the show’s scripts are credited to Harley Peyton, who also wrote the film version of Less Than Zero.  Even Jerry Stahl, of Permanent Midnight fame, is credited with writing an episode.  While Twin Peaks had an easily identifiable style, only six of its 30 episodes were actually directed by David Lynch.  The other episodes were directed by directors like Uli Edel, Todd Holland, and Caleb Deschanel.  Even Diane Keaton directed an episode during season 2.  All of them brought their own talents and perspectives to this show and upped their game.

Episode 5, “The One-Armed Man,” was written by Robert Engels and directed by Tim Hunter.  Hunter, who directed two more episodes during the show’s second season, is best known for two sensitive films that he made about teenagers, Tex and River’s Edge.  Of the two, the surreal River’s Edge (which features Dennis Hopper playing a one-legged drug dealer who lives with a sex doll) feels the closest to Twin Peaks.

Episode Five opens with Sarah Palmer (Grace Zabriskie) giving a description of Killer BOB (Frank Silva) to Harry (Michael Ontkean) and Andy (Harry Goaz) while Doc Hayward and Donna (Lara Flynn Boyle) listen.  When Leland (Ray Wise) wanders into the room and taunts Sarah about having had two visions, Sarah talks about seeing someone digging up Laura’s necklace, making Donna uncomfortable since she’s the one who buried it in the first place.

(Whenever I see Grace Zabriskie and Warren Frost play a scene together, I am reminded of their later work on Seinfeld, where they played the bitter parents of Susan Ross and Mr. Ross was revealed to have been a former lover of John Cheever.)

Back at the police station, there’s a happening.  Lucy (Kimmy Robertson) is caught up in the latest episode of Invitation to Love, where the storyline seems to parallel the efforts of Ben Horne (Richard Beymer) and Catherine Martell (Piper Laurie) to run Josie (Joan Chen) out of business.  FBI Director Gordon Cole (voiced by David Lynch, himself) calls in to let them know that Albert has discovered that Laura Palmer was bound by household twine and that the marks on her shoulder came from a bird.  When Harry and Andy show Dale Cooper (Kyle MacLachlan) the sketch of BOB, Cooper identifies him as one of the men from his dream.

Dale also finally interviews everyone’s favorite psychiatrist, Dr. Jacoby (Russ Tamblyn).  Jacoby tries to beat Cooper at his own game, speaking in riddles and comparing the people of Tibet with the native Hawaiians.  Jacoby says that, when it comes to Laura, he can not violate doctor-patient confidentiality but he does share that “Laura was a woman” surrounded by boys and that, on the night Laura was murdered, he was following one of the men that Laura had told him about.  When Jacoby says that the man drove a red corvette, both Harry and Dale realize that he is talking about Leo Johnson (Eric Da Re).

Lucy interrupts to let Dale and Harry know that Deputy Hawk (Michael Horse) has just called.  He has tracked down MIKE, the one-armed man!

At the Timber Falls Motel, Ben and Catherine are having another tryst and discussing their plans for setting the mill on fire and forcing Josie into bankruptcy.  What they do not know is that Josie is sitting outside in her car, taking pictures.

The Timber Falls Motel is also the current home of the one-armed man and, as Harry, Andy, and Dale pull up, they are met by Hawk who tells them that the man is in room 101 and that his full name is Philip Michael Gerard.  (The One-Armed Man shares his name with Richard Kimble’s relentless pursuer on The Fugitive, a show that itself centered around the search for a one-armed man.  This episode aired years before the film version and Tommy Lee Jones reintroduced the world to the character.)

Andy has a Barney Fife moment when, standing outside of Room 101, he accidentally drops his gun and it goes off.  (“Gunplay,” Catherine says in her cabin, “Sounds serious.”)  When not even the sound of gunfire can get Gerard to open the door, Harry and Dale kick it in and discover their one-armed man stepping out of the shower.

Looking at a the drawing of BOB, Gerard says that he has never seen him before but that he does “look like someone.”  When Cooper asks if he has a friend named Bob, the one-armed man replies, “Bob Lydecker is just about my best friend in the world.”  He says that he’s been at the hospital because Bob, who is apparently the “best veterinarian in the county,” is in a coma.  Gerard is a traveling salesman, selling shoes.  He says that he lost his arm in a car accident.  He admits that he did have a tattoo on the arm that he lost.  In tears, he says that the tattoo said, “Mom.”

Al Strobel was a real-life amputee whose cameo in the pilot, riding in an elevator with Cooper and Harry, was originally meant to be his only appearance, a one-time homage to The Fugitive.  Lynch was so impressed with Strobel that he filmed some additional scenes with him that were used in the version of the pilot that was released theatrically in Europe.  (Those scenes were later incorporated into Cooper’s dream.)  In this episode, Strobel gives a memorable performance that justifies Lynch’s decision to expand his role.

At the high school, Audrey (Sherilyn Fenn) is smoking in the girl’s room and begging Donna to help her investigate Laura’s murder.  Audrey says that if she can solve the murder then maybe Dale will take her away with him.  When Audrey mentions One-Eyed Jacks, Donna proves herself to be just as crushworthy as Audrey by replying, “Isn’t that a western with Marlon Brando?”  Considering that One-Eyed Jacks was a box office flop that was released years before she was born, Donna’s knowledge of Marlon Brando’s filmography is truly impressive.

At the prison, Norma (Peggy Lipton) promises the parole board that, if Hank (Chris Mulkey) is released, she will give him a job at the diner and they will live together as “husband and wife.”  That will be interesting considering that Norma is now having an affair with Hank’s former best friend, Ed Hurley (Everett McGill.)

Meanwhile, Dale, Harry, Andy, and Hawk have pulled up in front of Dr. Bob Lydecker’s vet clinic.  Hawk immediately high-fives a biker.  Harry pets a little girl’s rabbit.  Cooper notices that a convenience store is right next to the clinic and sends Andy, who is still shaken up from nearly shooting himself, to discover whether the store sells the type of twine that was used on Laura.

Inside the clinic, Dr. Lydecker’s receptionist says that the sketch of Killer BOB looks nothing like the good doctor.  As a woman leads a llama through the waiting room, Dale asks whether Lydecker had any bird patients.  As Cooper explains to Harry, “The bird that attacked Laura Palmer is a client of this office!”

Meanwhile, back at the Johnson House, Shelly Johnson (Madchen Amick) is fooling around with Bobby Briggs (Dana Ashbrook).  Shelly says that Bobby’s outburst at the funeral really turned her on.  Bobby says that he’s going to “fix” James Hurley.  “Fix me first,” Shelley replies.  Bobby asks when Leo’s coming back and Shelly says that Leo will be gone for hours.  Whenever Shelly says that Leo won’t be back for a while, that is usually Leo’s cue to kick open the door and start yelling.

However, that does not happen this time.  For once, Leo does not show up.  According to Shelly, he is with “creepy Jacques, that Canuck who works at the Roadhouse.”  Realizing that Jacques must be the one supplying Leo with cocaine, Bobby does his innocent act.  He says that he knows that Leo has been selling drugs at the high school, maybe even to Laura.  Now, if only he can find evidence linking Leo to Laura, maybe they can get Leo out of their lives forever.  Shelly helps out by showing Bobby the bloody shirt that she found in Leo’s truck.  She also shows Bobby the gun that she just bought and she asks Bobby to show her how it works.  Hopefully, Bobby’s better with a gun than Andy.

Fan Service, Twin Peaks Style

Speaking of which, Andy is still feeling upset over nearly shooting himself so, back at the police station, Andy, Cooper, Harry, and Hawk gather at the shooting range for some gunfire and male bonding.  They all agree that women cannot be understood and they all marvel over Dale’s marksmanship.  Not only does Dale do dream interpretation but he can shoot a man in the nostrils.

At the diner, Norma thanks a man named Toad for his tip.  When Shelly comes in, they bond over their shared experience of being married to loser drug dealers.  Shelly says that she’s ready to get rid of Leo but, after seeing him at the parole hearing, Norma is now less sure about her plan to divorce Hank and marry Big Ed.  She is even more unsure after she gets a phone call telling her that Hank got his parole.  He is coming home.

Meanwhile, Ed’s nephew, James (James Marshall), is using the diner’s payphone (remember those?) to call Donna.  However, James is distracted when Maddy (Sheryl Lee), Laura’s look-alike cousin, walks into the diner.  After James approaches her, Maddy explains that she and Laura used to be close but had recently drifted apart.  Maddy says that she lives in Missoula, Montana. Missoula just happens to be the birthplace of David Lynch.

Meanwhile, at the Great Northern, Audrey deftly manipulates her father into giving her a job working at the perfume counter at Horne’s Department Store.  Audrey says that it is because she wants to learn the family business but actually, it’s because both Laura and Ronette Pulaski also worked at the perfume counter.  Ben agrees and then leaves so that he can hire Leo Johnson to burn down the Packard Mill.  Who suggested Leo to Ben?  Hank Jennings!

At the police station, Cooper, Harry, and Andy pour over the files on all of the birds treated by Dr. Lydecker.  Albert faxes over a reconstruction of a poker chip from One-Eyed Jacks that was found in Laura’s stomach, along with the information that the bird bites on Laura’s shoulder came from a mynah bird.  At the exact moment, Andy redeems himself by announcing that Jacques Renault owns a mynah bird named Waldo.

When the police show up at Jacques’s apartment, Jacques is not there.  However, Bobby Briggs is.  Bobby runs as soon as the police arrive and manages to escape out a back window.  (Assuming that Bobby is Briggs, Hawk gives chase but loses him in the woods.)  Cooper finds what Bobby was planting the apartment, Leo’s bloody shirt.

In the woods, Donna and James go to the location where Donna buried the necklace and discover that Sarah Palmer’s vision was correct.  Someone followed them and dug up the necklace.  Donna and James agree they have to solve the murder and share a kiss while an owl watches above.

At the mill, Pete (Jack Nance) asks Josie if she would consider entering a fishing competition with him.  Josie and Pete?  That would be an interesting match.  But Josie soon has more to worry about, after she receives a drawing of a domino in the mail.  No sooner has she looked at the drawing then she gets a phone call from a man asking her if she got his message.

Who is on the other line?

The suddenly very important Hank Jennings!

“The One-Armed Man” is a good episode, one that moves the story forward, introduces some new mysteries, and justifies that faith that David Lynch put into collaborators like Tim Hunter and Al Strobel.  As I said at the start of this review, it’s all about team work.

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

TV Review: Twin Peaks 1.4 “Rest in Pain” (dir by Tina Rathbone)

David Lynch loves Dreams.

Whether it’s the nightmare of losing a loved one in Lost Highway, the dreams of being more than what you are in Dune, or the waking nightmare waiting around the corner of a diner  in Mulholland Drive, Lynch has always managed to have a dream sequence be a story driving medium. So, with Episode 3’s fantastic ending, we’re left with some major clues to the truth if they can be deciphered. Imagine living in an age before cell phones and Twitter. An episode like that comes on and the moment you arrive at your workplace (or school), the first conversation on everyone’s lips is “What the heck was that?!” While I don’t quite recall how big the impact was, Twin Peaks was a highly talked about show for its time. A cliffhanger like that was pretty daring, particularly for being only the third episode.

Episode Four, “Rest in Pain” opens at the lodge, with Audrey Horne (Sherilyn Fenn) waiting for Special Agent Dale Cooper (Kyle McLachlan) to make an appearance.  She obviously has a crush on him, and he asks her to join him for breakfast. Though she’s unable to stay for long, Audrey explains that she was the one who left the “Jack with One Eye” note under Cooper’s door. Telling him that Jack’s is something like a brothel (“Men go there….women work there.”), they’re able to piece together that both Laura Palmer (Sheryl Lee) and Ronette Pulaski (Phoebe Augustine) worked for Audrey’s dad at the perfume counter of his store. Is there a connection between the two locales?  Before they can elaborate any further, Sheriff Truman (Michael Ontkean) and Lucy (Kimmy Robertson) enter the dining hall, causing Audrey to excuse herself at Cooper’s suggestion.

Cooper welcomes his companions and gleefully orders a short stack of griddle cakes, which sounds really good. Now comes the question that has everyone leaning forward in their seats with anticipation. When asked who killed Laura Palmer, Cooper goes over the dream from the night before – of Mike and Bob with the “Fire…Walk With Me” tattoo, the backwards speaking midget (Michael Anderson, Carnivale) and his cousin who looks a lot like Laura. This red room dream sequence may be extra important to the Revival, as it takes 25 years into the future. The cousin mentions she’s filled with secrets and that sometimes, her arms bend back. Additionally, where she’s from, the birds sing a pretty song and there’s always music in the air. The woman whispers the name of Laura’s killer….but Cooper is unable to remember what she said to him.

Dammit, Cooper. You’re an FBI agent, how could you forget something as important as that?!

This, of course, is a good thing, because we really can’t have the mystery solved that quickly, can we?

The next scene is one of my favorites in this episode. It has Dr. Hayward and Al Rosenfeld (Miguel Ferrer) fighting over Laura Palmer’s body. Hayward needs to make preparations for the funeral, yet Rosenfeld is determined to perform an autopsy. It doesn’t help that Rosenfeld has a quip for everyone he runs into, clearly displaying his animosity for the small town life and it’s inhabitants. Ferrer was known for playing that guy you just wanted to pop in the mouth, particularly in his roles for Robocop and the really awful Deep Star Six. It wasn’t until TV’s Crossing Jordan that I saw Ferrer could be more of a good guy. It was a treat seeing him here on the show and in researching the Twin Peaks Revival, I found out he was part of the cast before his passing. Film fans will also make the connection to David Lynch’s Dune here, as Lynch worked with Miguel’s father, Jose in that film. The scene ends with Rosenfeld opening his mouth a little too much and getting socked for his troubles by Truman. Cooper intervenes, giving control of Laura’s body to Dr. Hayward but asking Rosenfeld to make his tests quick and with little damage. For a scene that deals with a dead body in the room, it has just enough comedy in it to lighten the mood without turning into something akin to the Naked Gun series.

Back at the Palmer home, Leland (Ray Wise, also in Robocop) is still grieving over Laura when he’s surprised by a visit from Laura’s cousin Maddy (Sheryl Lee). He can’t help but stare at her in disbelief, possibly because of how much of a resemblance she bears to his daughter. We can’t help staring because of the connection to the dream. Is this the “cousin” the midget was referring to? I liked Wise’s reaction of disbelief here. Either way, it was nice small scene.

If there’s one storyline in Twin Peaks that I could care less about, it’s Norma (Peggy Lipton) and Hank (Chris Mulkey, from Michael Crichton’s Runaway). Hank’s parole officer, Mr. Mooney stops by the Double R, and explains that her husband is being released soon and into her care. Having been a model prisoner, the early release brings him back into Norma’s life, who clearly doesn’t want to have him around. She could have moved on after his imprisonment, but her dating life wouldn’t work out with a homicidally jealous ex popping around the shop now and then. It helps to set the tone for Hank’s introduction to the shop, if nothing else.

Cooper and Truman visit the house of Leo Johnson, to ask him about Laura Palmer. He initially states that he doesn’t know her, and then confesses that the heard of her. After Cooper reads him his rap sheet, Leo states that he was on the road and called his wife Shelley (Madchen Amick) from Butte, Montana. Granted that she can support his alibi, that takes him off the suspect list. Damn, I kind of thought he could be the one up to that point, particularly with the football incident in the previous episode.

At Bobby Briggs’ (Dana Ashbrook) house, his father (Don Davis) has a conversation regarding the upcoming funeral, where he tells his son to not be afraid of it. Bobby has other plans for the funeral, which he barks about. “Afraid!! I’m gonna turn it upside down!!!” Truly, I’ve never seen anyone so excited about attending a funeral since Will Ferrell in Wedding Crashers. He could have yelled at his mother for some meatloaf and it would have fit perfectly here.

Cooper and Truman meet up with Rosenfeld, who gives them the breakdown of what he found on Laura. Cocaine was found in Laura’s diary, along with two different kinds of twine. Rosenfeld reveals that the twine used on Laura’s wrists were also the same used on Ronette, and it appears to have come from a railroad car. Laura was apparently tied in two places on her arm. When Rosenfeld demonstrates this, Cooper mutters a line from his dream..”Sometimes my arms bend back.”  Again, an element from the Dream makes an appearance, which lends a great deal of credibility to Agent Cooper’s prowess. Most FBI agents would have relied on extreme forensics work and motives, but here we have an individual whose dreams are possibly taking him in the right direction so far. Rosenfeld mentions he also found industrial strength soap, suggesting that the killer washed his hands on site. Additional clues include what appeared to be bite or claw marks on her shoulder, and a chip of plastic taken from her stomach with the letter “J” on it. There’s that letter “J” again, for Jack’s, perhaps?

So where does this leave us? If the killer washed their hands, they were methodical. The chances they’d leave any other evidence behind other than what was found on the body doesn’t likely. That could also possibly rule out the still missing One Armed Man suspect Hawk is searching for. Additionally, Laura’s clues bring more questions than answers.

On the way out, Rosenfeld pulls Cooper aside and asks him to assist in having assault files brought up on Sheriff Truman. Cooper refuses, letting Rosenfeld know that during his time at Twin Peaks, all he’s seen has been peace and goodwill. Personally, I’m surprised Cooper didn’t hit Rosenfeld at that point, but the forensic scientist leaves empty-handed. Cooper makes a recording note to maybe buy some property in the town of Twin Peaks.

When I originally joined on this project, I started with the episode I was assigned, but it was the next scene that made me jump back to the beginning of the series and continue through it’s conclusion. We have Ed (Everett McGill, Dune), who returns home and receives a hug from his wife Nadine (Wendy Robie). At this point, I stared in shock and then started laughing. I wasn’t aware the two actors were even in this show together. I know the pair from Wes Craven’s The People Under the Stairs, so seeing them in this context (they were a sibling pair in the film) was just weird. I have to go back to that movie at some point to see the chemistry there again.

Anyway, Nadine gushes about her love for Ed, and how she used to watch him in high school with Norma. Ed’s eyes are a bit jaded here, as if his mind is more on Norma than on Nadine, but they’re both interrupted with the arrival of James. Ed informs him that they have to get ready for the funeral, but James tells them they can’t and leaves. It seems Laura’s passing has struck a nerve with everyone in town, but wouldn’t the person who carried half of his sweetheart’s necklace want to be at her funeral to pay his last respects? Unless of course, either the guilt of being with Donna gotten to him, or he has secrets of his own to hide.

Back at The Great Northern, we find Audrey dressed for the funeral. She sneaks into one of the special cubbyholes and peeks in on an adjoining room. She finds Dr. Jacoby (Russ Tambyn, West Side Story) helping to put Johnny (Robert Bauer) in something more suitable for a funeral. She closes the peeking hole and we move along.

The next scene opens with the swaying of trees. We are all gathered for the funeral of Laura Palmer, and the best scene in the entire episode. The priest gives a small sermon, with everyone close to Laura surrounding her coffin, save for Dr. Jacoby. Cooper, his guard always up, takes notice of Bobby’s disgust at the sudden appearance of James at the funeral. We cut between the major players with the priest’s reflection on Laura, who he also loved in a way “reserved for the headstrong and bold”. Donna seems a little pained at the thought, while Audrey still can’t keep her eyes off of Cooper. They exchange the smallest of smiles before Johnny exclaims an Amen to the crowd. It’s here that Bobby steps up with an even louder “Amen”, ready to actually turn things upside down as he promised. He blames everyone present for Laura’s death, stating that they were all aware she was in trouble, but no one came to her aid. The entire town failed her in his mind, and this causes a brief fight between Bobby and James. The two have to be restrained by separate parties.

It’s here that something magically weird occurs, because it just wouldn’t be Twin Peaks without something strange. To even think about it makes me laugh, but in the context of the story, I suppose it makes sense. In the middle of the altercation, Leland is so overcome with grief that he throws his arms open and flings himself on top of Laura’s coffin, the result of which damages the hydraulics. The coffin goes down into the hole and rises again slowly, repeating the action. Sarah (Grace Zabriskie) admonishes Leland for his actions. “Don’t ruin this too!”. It takes something somber and totally spins it on its ear. I laugh every time I see it.

By the time you’re done feeling bad about Leland’s actions, we find ourselves at the Double R by night. Shelley is re-enacting the coffin sequence to some laughing patrons. We find Ed, Hawk (Michael Horse) and Truman waiting for Cooper to arrive. Ed is sure that Cooper’s not going to get what’s they’re planning, but Truman takes him up on the wager. After making his order – Huckleberry Pie and Ice Cream with Coffee – Cooper immediately catches the look between Norma and Ed. When he brings this to Ed’s attention, Ed can only sigh. Truman gives him the tab for the Pie and Ice Cream. Truman explains that they’ve been doing some detective work of their own, as some drugs have been smuggled into Twin Peaks. Truman also tells of a secret society that helps to protect Twin Peaks from darker forces for more than 20 years.

Cooper, Ed, Hawk and Truman head over to the Book House Boys, a quasi Dead Poets Society Club. Here they find Bernard Renault, the brother of Jacques Renault. Truman mentions that he was caught with cocaine and they ask him about his connections to his brother. While they’re questioning Bernard, Jacques is about to enter the Book House Boys club when he notices a flickering red light on the roof. This causes Jacques to run to the nearest pay phone (wow, pay phones), where he makes a call to Leo, asking him to get him out there. Leo agrees to meet him and leaves Shelley behind. The scene ends with Shelley removing her gun and hiding it behind a panel in a nearby dresser.

Josie Packard (Joan Chen) and Truman meet back at the lodge later that night. Truman releases that something’s up with her, but she’s not quite ready to share. After pressing the issue, Josie states that Catherine Martell (Piper Laurie, Carrie) and Ben Horne ( Richard Beymer, Free Grass) are out to hurt her. What she doesn’t realize is that Catherine is listing in on her conversation via the intercom system. Josie opens a vault to show Truman the two sets of ledgers that show their books are being cooked, but only one is there. We’re shown that Catherine has the other book under a desk panel in her room. Not much else is said about this, so we can only speculate that more of this will come to light in a later episode.

At the cemetery, we find Dr. Jacoby finally paying his respects. Cooper also makes an appearance. Dr. Jacoby describes the pain of losing Laura as she was the only person who made him feel anything, despite the time he spent listening to others’ issues. We come to find that even he is affected by the loss, and he hopes that she can forgive him for not making an appearance earlier that day.

Josie is fearful that what happened to Andrew may happen to her, and that Catherine and Ben are after the Mill. With the Mill and Josie gone, they’d have the land to do with as they please. Truman promises to protect her, and they have a passionate moment right there on the rug. In the back of my mind, I found myself thinking “Hey, stop that! Catherine can probably still hear all your moaning!”, but of course, they’re unaware of this.

The final scene of this episode brings us back to the Great Western, with Cooper asking Hawk about his belief in the Soul. Hawk mentions there are many souls. In particular, there is the Dream Soul that wanders the land of the dead and brings life to the mind and the body. On whether Laura may be one of these, Hawk assures him that “she’s in the ground”. They raise a toast to their name and drink. Leland, also present at the location, begs for anyone to dance with him while the music plays. To dance the way he did with Laura’s picture in his hands. Cooper offers to take him home, to which Leland concedes. This final part was a little weird to me. Leland’s dance compulsion seems a really quirky thing, but then again, it’s not every day one has to bury their daughter.

So, we have a few answers to the Dream sequence, but even more questions on top of that. We’ll have to see where it all goes.

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

TV Review: Twin Peaks 1.3 “Zen, or the Skill to Catch a Killer” (dir by David Lynch)

“She’s filled with secrets. Where we’re from, the birds sing a pretty song and there’s always music in the air.”

— The Man From Another Place (Michael Anderson) in Twin Peaks Episode 1.3, “Zen, or the Skill to Catch a Killer”

Oh my God, this is the episode with the dream!!!

Okay, a confession.  Originally, this episode was not assigned to me.  Originally, it was assigned to someone else.  However, as soon as I realized that this was the episode that ended with the dream sequence, I begged and begged to be allowed to review it.  I even cried a little.

Seriously, I love this episode.

Of course, when people talk about how “weird” Twin Peaks supposedly was, this is one of the episodes that they usually cite as evidence.  They always mention that little man who speaks backwards and who dances in the room with the red curtains.

However, I think that labeling this episode — or, for that matter, anything else that David Lynch has directed — as merely being “weird” is a major misreading of Lynch’s signature style.  When it comes to examining Lynch, it’s important to remember that, before he became a filmmaker, David Lynch was a painter.  A David Lynch-directed film (or television episode) is essentially a moving painting.  Often times, the plot is not to be found in the dialogue or what actually happens on screen.  The plot is to be found in the mood that Lynch’s visuals create.

I once read an interview with Lynch where he talked about being fascinated by the fact that, if you removed bark from a tree, you could discover a very chaotic world happening underneath an otherwise genteel surface.  All of his work has been about peeling back the outer layers of our world and seeing what lies underneath.  When you think of this episode’s famous dream as just being another layer, one that is hidden until we close our eyes, shut off our assumptions, and go to sleep, you realize that there’s nothing strange about it.

It’s just Twin Peaks.

So, with all that in mind, let’s take a look at the third episode of Twin Peaks, “Zen, or the Skill to Catch A Killer.”

 To say that we start with the opening credits probably sounds like the most obvious thing that I could possibly say conerning this episode but it’s still important to point out.  The opening credits of Twin Peaks — the combination of the mill, the mountains, the road, and Angelo Badalamenti’s beautiful theme music — are absolutely brilliant.  More than just letting you know what show you’re watching, the opening credits of Twin Peaks transport you into the world of this sordid little town.

And what’s happening in Twin Peaks?  It’s the third day of the Laura Palmer investigation.  The homecoming queen who tutored Johhny Horn (Robert Bauer), taught Josie (Joan Chen) how to speak English, and helped organize the local Meals on Wheels program is still dead and a shocked town is still struggling to come terms with it.  It all goes back to what I said earlier about how this show is all about peeling back layers and revealing what lies underneath.  Though each episode may end with Laura’s blandly pretty homecoming photo, the layers underneath are full of chaos and secrets.

The episode opens with an awkward dinner with the Horne family.  It’s Ben (Richard Beymer), Audrey (Sherilyn Fenn), Johnny, and Ben’s wife.  They’re all sitting in a dining room that, like every room in Ben’s hotel, is completely made out of wood.  (Again, you have to remember what Lynch said about the world underneath the bark.)  Nobody speaks.  It’s as awkward as that montage in Citizen Kane, the one where the collapse of Charles and Emily’s marriage is shown over the course of several increasingly strained breakfasts.  But then Ben’s brother, Jerry (David Patrick Kelly), shows up.  Jerry has just returned from Paris and he’s brought bread!

Up until this point, Ben has been a stiff figure, one who was largely defined by his greed.  But when Jerry shows up, Ben’s face lights up and, almost like an animal, he bites into the bread.  Why shouldn’t Ben be happy?  Jerry is as flamboyant and eccentric as Ben was measured and closed off.  (It helps that Jerry is played by David Patrick Kelly, who is one of those actors who can go totally over the top without losing his credibility or his charm.  Before playing Jerry, Kelly achieved pop culture immortality by chanting, “Warriors, come out to play!” in 1979’s The Warriors.)  When Jerry gets depressed at the news that the Norwegian deal fell through and that Laura Palmer’s dead, Ben suggests that they go to everyone’s favorite Canadian brothel, One-Eyed Jacks.

While we watch Ben and Jerry (undoubtedly named for everyone’s favorite Vermont capitalists) flirt with the lingerie-clad prostitutes at One-Eyed Jacks, we’re struck by just how dorky both of them truly are.  The Hornes may be one of the richest and most powerful families in town but, emotionally, Ben and Jerry are children, still trying to impress each other with their stunted masculinity.  The general ickiness of One-Eyed Jacks is nicely contrasted with a genuinely sweet scene of James Hurley (James Marshall) and Donna Hayward (Lara Flynn Boyle), wondering if they should feel guilty for being chastely attracted to each other so soon after Laura’s death.

Back at the hotel, Dale (Kyle MacLachlan) gets a call from Deputy Hawk (Michael Horse), informing him that a one-armed man has been seen wandering around the hospital.  There’s a knock at the door.  When Dale answers it, he finds only a note.  It reads: “Jack with One Eye.”

Meanwhile, the three least likable people on the show — Bobby Briggs (Dana Ashbrook), Leo (Eric Da Re), and idiot Mike (Gary Hershberger) — get to have a scene of the very own.  Bobby and Mike go out to the woods to pick up the drugs that they paid Leo for.  Leo’s waiting for them, of course.  He wants to know if Bobby knows who Shelley’s been cheating on him with.  Since that person would be Bobby, Bobby is quick to say that he has no idea.  It’s tempting to compare Bobby and Mike to Ben and Jerry.  Whereas Ben and Jerry are rich and can pretty much indulge their vices without any fear of retribution, Bobby and Mike are still trying to reach that point.  They still have to deal, on a face-to-face basis, with dangerous people like Leo.  Again, I found myself looking that all trees, all the bark, and all the layers that surrounded Mike, Bobby, and Leo.  Ben and Jerry may be rich but peel away and you’ll find Mike and Bobby.  Mike and Bobby may be football stars but peel away and you’ll find Leo.

The next morning, life in Twin Peaks continues.  Shelley (Madchen Amick), bruised from her latest beating, walks around the curiously unfinished home that she shares with Leo.  When Bobby comes by and says that he’ll kill Leo if he ever hits Shelley again, they kiss and the camera zooms in on the bruise on Shelley’s jaw.  When Ed Hurley (Everett McGill) gets yelled at for accidentally stepping on one of Nadine’s (Wendy Robie) drapes, he goes to the diner to see Norma (Peggy Lipton).

(Of all the minor characters in Twin Peaks, Nadine may seem like the most cartoonish but one should not be too quick to dismiss her.  Her obsession with creating a silent drape runner may seem insane but actually, it’s an attempt to bring a little peace and order to an otherwise chaotic world.  Nadine has become so obsessed with creating that peace that she doesn’t realize that she’s managed to alienate everyone around her.  Her attempts to find perfection have only amounted in creating more chaos.)

It’s all a bit soapy and I don’t want to spend too much time on any of those subplots.  Not in this review, anyway.  What’s important is what Agent Cooper, Harry (Michael Ontkean), Hawk, Andy (Harry Goaz), and Lucy (Kimmy Robertson) are doing during all of this.  If anyone had any doubt that Twin Peaks‘s version of the FBI is a bit different from the real world FBI, those doubts will be erased by the scene in which Cooper displays his investigative technique.

Out in the woods (and again, we’re reminded of the layers under the bark), Cooper has set up a blackboard.  “By way of explaining what we’re about to do, I am first going to tell you a little bit about the country called Tibet…”

Cooper explains the sad history of Tibet and how Communist China forced the Dalia Lama into exile.  “After having a dream three years ago,” Cooper woke up with much sympathy for the plight of the people Tibet and also with the knowledge of a new type of deductive technique.

That deductive skill comes down to throwing rocks at bottles while Sheriff Truman reads the name of every suspect whose name starts with a “J.”  If Dale hits a bottle, Lucy is instructed to put a check mark next to that person’s name.  Andy is sent down to stand near the bottle.

“I’m getting excited!” Andy shouts.

We all are, Andy.

Dale misses when Harry reads the names of James and Josie.  But, when he says, “Lawrence Jacoby!,” the rock hits the bottle but does not break.  “Make a note,” Dale says, regarding to the bottle not breaking, “that’s very important.”

The rest of the throws only lead to Andy getting bonked by a rock.  At least, that is until the final throw.  “Leo Johnson!” Harry says.  Dale throws the rock.  The bottle shatters.

As brilliant as MacLachlan is as Cooper, what really makes this scene work are the reactions of Harry, Hawk, Andy, and especially Lucy.  Harry watches it all with a resigned but respectful skepticism.  Hawk nods sagely as Cooper talks about the importance of being attuned with the spiritual world.  Andy insists that it didn’t hurt when he got hit in the head by a rock.  And Lucy gets totally and enthusiastically caught up in the minutiae of Cooper’s technique.  When Harry says that “Jack with One Eye” is probably a reference to One-Eyed Jacks, Lucy very earnestly explains that she’s going to have to erase Jack With One Eye off of the list of suspects.  By trying to apply logical rules to Cooper’s illogical technique, Lucy serves as a stand-in for the audience.  The pure and sincere earnestness of Kimmy Robertson’s performance is one of the best things about his episode.

At the diner, the Hayward Family eats an after-church lunch when Audrey comes in and plays a song on the jukebox.  Apparently, the jukebox only carries mood music written by Angelo Badalmenti.  Donna and Audrey talk and the scene makes good use of the contrast between the two, Donna being the stereotypical good girl with secrets and Audrey being the artist who has been incorrectly typecast as a bad girl.

Back at the police station, Albert Rosenfield (Miguel Ferrer) shows up and I have to admit that I got a little bit choked up when I saw Ferrer looking so young and healthy.  Albert is a forensic pathologist and he’s as abrasive as Dale is cheerful.  If Dale immediately fell in love with small town life, Albert hates everything about it.  Harry and Albert take an immediate dislike to each other, as well they should.  But the thing with Albert is that it’s impossible to dislike him because he’s played by Miguel Ferrer.  Ferrer could make even the most obnoxious of characters charming.

(Miguel Ferrer was the son of Jose Ferrer.  I just recently watched the 1952 best picture nominee Moulin Rouge, which starred Jose as artist Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec.  If I hadn’t already known they were related, I would have guessed just from looking at Miguel in this episode.  Miguel Ferrer died on January 7th of this year.  He and his immense talent will certainly be missed.)

Night falls in Twin Peaks.  Catherine (Piper Laurie) and Pete (Jack Nance) bicker.  Leland Palmer (Ray Wise) deals with his grief by picking up Laura’s picture and dancing with it while Pennsylvania 6-5000 plays on a record player.  “We have to dance for Laura!” Leland yells.  (This scene is even more disturbing if you’ve seen Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me.)

And, back in his hotel room, Dale Cooper is having the dream.

(It’s interesting to note that, when Dale goes to bed, he wears the type of pajamas that you would normally expect to see a suburban dad in a 1950s sitcom wear.  For all of his zen, Cooper truly is a symbol of what we think of as being a more innocent time.)

In his dream, a much older, gray-haired Dale Cooper sits in a room with red curtain.  (The old age makeup that was put on MacLachlan for the dream sequence immediately made me think of Keir Dullea watching himself age, at the end of 2001: A Space Odyssey, before being reborn as a new being.)  A little man — credited as being The Man From Another Place (Michael Anderson) — stands in a corner with his back to Dale and shakes in a way that almost seems obscene.  Somewhere, perhaps behind the curtains, a distorted voice chants, “Laura!  Laura!”

There are a succession of quick cuts.  Mrs. Palmer (Grace Zabriskie) runs down the dark staircase in her house.  The character who will eventually be known as Killer BOB (Frank Silva) stares menacingly at the viewer.

The one-armed man, who has wandered through the previous two episodes, appears and recites a poem: “Through the darkness of futures past/ The magician longs to see/ One chants out between two worlds/ Fire Walk With Me.”  The one-armed man says that “we lived among the people.  I think you say convenience store.  We lived above it.”  The man says that he was touched by the “devilish one.”  He has a tattoo on his left shoulder but when the man saw the face of God, he chopped his arm off.  “My name is Mike … his name is BOB.”

(Intentionally or not, we are reminded of another Mike and Bob who live in Twin Peaks.  Could the Mike and BOB of Cooper’s dream but just layers of what lies underneath the two drug-dealing star football players?  Is Cooper dreaming or is he just looking under the bark?)

BOB appears, sitting in what appears to be a boiler room, bringing to mind another film about a dream killer, Wes Craven’s A Nightmare on Elm Street.  BOB, never one for subtlety, announces, “I’ll catch you with my death bag! You may think I’ve gone insane, but I promise, I will kill again!”

The older Cooper is back in the room with red curtains.  The Man From Another Place continues to shake in the corner, his jerky movements almost mimicking masturbation.  Meanwhile, Laura Palmer, in a black dress, sits across from Cooper and smiles.

What follows is one of the best scenes in David Lynch’s legendary career.  When The Man From Another Place finally turns around and starts to talk to Cooper, his voice has been dubbed backwards.  The same is true of Laura when she speaks.  We only know what they say because of the subtitles.  It’s a very disconcerting effect, one that leaves us feeling as if the world is spinning in the wrong direction and might come off its axis at any moment.

The Man and Laura say a lot to Cooper.  Some of what they say we know to be true.  When The Man says that Laura is full of secrets, we know that he speaks the truth.  When he says that Laura is not Laura but is instead his cousin (“but doesn’t she look like Laura Palmer,” he says) we may be confused but lovers of film noir will immediately think of Otto Preminger’s Laurain which a detective thinks he’s falling in love with a dead woman until it’s revealed that the woman who was killed was not actually Laura but instead a look alike.  (It has been suggested that Laura Palmer was specifically named after the title character in Preminger’s film.)  When Laura says that, “Sometimes I feel like her but my arms bend back…,” it’s an obvious reference to the torture she endured in that railway car.

But there are other lines that only make sense if you’re willing to accept that they’re meant to be random.  Why does the Man tells Cooper, “The gum you like is going to come back in style?”  It could be an acknowledgement that the chivalrous and optimistic Cooper is a man out of time.  Or it could just be something that the Man said to make conversation.

And why does the Man From Another Place dance at the end of the dream?  That question gets asked more than any other and the answer is deceptively simple.  If you know anything about the aesthetic of David Lynch, you know that the Man From Another Place dances just because he does.  Things happen and, Lynch suggests, there often is no specific reason.

While the Man dances, Laura kisses Cooper.  As I rewatched this scene, I particularly noticed that creepy way that the previously chaste Cooper smiled as Laura kissed him.  It’s hard not to compare his smile to the somewhat goofy grin that decorated the face of Ben Horne when he visited One-Eyed Jacks at the start of this episode.  Again, another layer has been peeled away and we’ve seen what lurks underneath.

Laura whispers in Cooper’s ear as the episode ends.  What she says will have to wait for our next review.  What’s important, for now, is that Cooper awakes, calls Harry, and announces, “I know who killed Laura Palmer!”

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