Monday, July 17, 2017


It's a cold and rainy Pacific North West day. Immediately, we are treated to yet another menagerie of dismembered animal parts, like the wayward stag’s head at the bank in Episode One.

In Cooper’s ridiculously rustic, “clean and reasonably priced” room at the Great Northern Hotel (room 315), we see dear hooves shaped into a gun rack, and an assortment of trophy animals and/or simulacra thereof crowds the kitschy log cabin décor. 

Cooper hangs upside down, most likely for his back, but still, it makes for a literal portrayal of his, let’s call it unique perspective on things. 

Another aspect of Cooper’s character (and, perhaps, Lynch’s project) is revealed when he admits to curiosity about the Kennedys’ relationship with Marilyn Monroe, and harbors doubts about the assassination of JFK. 

In other words, the only way Agent Dale Cooper could be any more American is if he shat apple pies and farted Yankee Doodle Dandy.

Which brings us to another element of Twin Peaks that percolated into the national consciousness: the connection between the Pacific Northwest and an excellent cup of coffee. There have been other allusions before Episode One, but it is in THIS episode that Cooper’s cuppa obsession reaches its apotheosis. 

The Great Norther’s java doesn’t disappoint.

Audrey Horne showing up just in time for an accidental “freshly squeezed” joke signals that this episode represents a shift in tone from the pilot, which was far darker and more serious. Episode One features gag after gag, from Cooper’s upside down act, Audrey’s ridiculously obvious flirtation, the coffee business, and then a bunch of people with their mouths full of donuts.

And then things turn dark, as we find out from Dr Edwards (Donna’s father) that Laura had had sex with at least three men in the 12 hours before her death, which took hours. She died from loss of blood due to numerous smaller wounds, none of which were enough to kill her on their own. Her tongue had been bitten through, though possibly she’d done it to herself. Grim, grim stuff.

From Dr Edwards asking “Who would do a thing like that?” we cut to Leo’s truck, the Big Pussycat.

He and Shelly share a typically loving home life moment, wherein he berates and threatens her, and forces her to do his dirty laundry before she goes to work. "Not later, NOW." And there’s that outdoor washing machine! Cozy set up.

But what's this that Shelly finds? A blood-soaked shirt!

Shelly manages to hide it just before Leo steps out back to say that her ride has arrived, and to yank on her cheek while demanding she save him a piece of pie for after work.

Meanwhile, back at the police station, James is being interrogated, and we see his hazy, loving memories of Laura. Interesting that she says she’s happy today because “I know you truly love me”, and not that she loves him.

He also reminisces about the locket that she broke in half and shared with him.

Bobby and his side-kick Mike Nelson discuss the fact that the 10,000$ in Laura’s safe deposit box belongs to Leo, obviously for some shady small town business like a drug deal, or perhaps prostitution, based on the magazine.

Big Ed sports a bandage from the bar fight from the previous episode. This is the first we hear about the nefarious Jacques Rennault, whom Ed suspects of doping his drink while he was tending bar that night.

Twin Peaks General Store features a train trestle, echoing the horrific sight of Ronette Pulaski walking across it, in a bloody daze. 

A train car was also where the horrific crimes against Ronette and Laura took place.

Nadine informs her husband’s mistress, that she wants to invent a way to quieten her blinds using cotton balls.

Cooper blows into a little pipe that he’s been whittling, and it sounds like a traditional quena flute played by the indigenous peoples of South America, particularly in the Andes mountain range.

As Cooper toots, Truman feels like Watson to his Holmes.
Cooper takes his coffee black “as midnight on a moonless night.” Unfortunately, this particular coffee was accidentally strained through a dead fish for some reason. You can almost hear the sad trombone sound playing over their disgusted reactions. 

Also, there are more animals and animal bits in the Packard home, like the ducks on the living room table, and the owls in Catherine Martell’s bedroom, which we see when she’s scheming about an arson plot to burn down the Packard saw mill with her lover, Ben Horne. And then, of course, there are the Pete Martell's ever-present fish, including an unseen one that was slipped into the coffee percolator.

When I first saw Donna entering the room to visit with Laura’s mother, I thought her sweater was clearly sporting twin runes representing “legacy, property, and inheritance”, but then I saw the same sweater from a different angle, and now I'm not so sure. Anyway, here's what I originally thought I saw. You make of it what you will.

Sarah Palmer’s nervous breakdown begins when she sees Laura’s face on Donna’s.

And then… WHO’S THAT?!

While interviewing Ronette’s parents, who reveal that their daughter worked as a perfume counter sales person at the Horne Department Store...

... Deputy Tommy "Hawk" Hill notices the one-armed man we first glimpsed in the pilot. 

The freezing blue glow behind the door at the end of the hall is particularly striking, whether in contrast with the warm lighting and earthy tones of the rest of the hospital...

...or isolated.

Apparently, you have to pass through the blue light if you want to reach the oxygen storage (the stuff of life) or the Morgue (the place of death). Not 100 percent sure that this is relevant, but what the heck; I'll throw it out there.

Bobby Briggs’ well spoken military father, with his medals and ribbons and his insistence on wearing a uniform to family dinner... obviously a heavy hitter of some sort, particularly when he's slapping the cigarette out of his asshole son's face shortly after saying grace.

Ed’s mistress, Norma Jennings, reveals that Laura Palmer was part of – indeed, had helped to organize, Twin Peaks’ Meals On Wheels program. More underlining of her special, selfless nature. The Log Lady asks Cooper to ask her log what it saw on the night of Laura’s murder, but he demurs.  

Leo murders a football with a knife, then hides it.

He then inserts a bar of soap into a sock.  

He then menaces, then beats, Shelly with it, over the fact that she “lost” his bloody shirt (she’d actually hidden it in a drawer right next to the washing machine after discovering it in his travel laundry).

This all takes place in their oddly half-finished home.

A very different family scene at the Hayward house, where James Hurley has been invited to share a meal with Donna and her seemingly nice, normal family.

In his bizarre room, intensely decked out in Polynesian décor...

Dr Jacobi listens to a tape Laura Palmer secretly recorded for him. So he DID know her, after all!

On the tape, Laura confesses to finding her secret boyfriend James sweet but “dumb”, and describes her fear of getting “lost in the woods again”, and meeting “that mystery man I told you about”. 

Obviously, this Laura gal is one complicated individual, and Twin Peaks is fractaling out into the kind of dense, multi-arc narrative complexity that we’ve now come to expect from the best of TV, but which, at the time, was unheard of. 

And there it is. Now we know who it was who dug up the second half of the broken locket! It was Dr Jacobi! 

But really, as the cliche' goes... this solution only brings up more questions than it answers.

In Summary: What the Hell is going on in Twin Peaks?! No wonder so many people became instantly addicted to this show.

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