Thursday, 28 August 2014

TWIN PEAKS, 1.3 – 'Rest in Pain'

Thursday, 28 August 2014
TRUMAN: There's a sort of evil out there. Something very, very strange in these old woods. Call it what you want. A darkness, a presence. It takes many forms but... its been out there for as long as anyone can remember, and we've always been here to fight it.
A weird duality licks at the edges of this third episode, as the citizens of Twin Peaks come together for Laura Palmer's funeral. After the extraordinary events of Cooper's (Kyle McLachlan) trippy dream, our intrepid investigator calls Sheriff Truman (Michael Ontkean) and Lucy (Kimmy Robertson) to his hotel's dining room, only to throw cold water on their belief he knows who killed Laura Palmer. Unfortunately, Cooper forgot the most important part of his dream (whodunit), but is convinced that his reverie is a code that can be cracked...

In particular, Coop believes that a long-haired man called Bob is a prime suspect, a former partner of a one-armed man known as Mike -- both men who featured in his dream. Those names are the episode's first sly echo, as we're already aware of a Mike Nelson (Gary Hershberger) and Bobby Briggs (Dana Ashbrook). Deputy Hawk (Tommy Hill) is tasked with finding the one-armed man he mentions seeing outside comatose Ronette's hospital room, but doesn't have much luck. Elsewhere, Cooper's colleague Albert (Miguel Ferrer) locks horns with locals who are demanding Laura Palmer's body be handed over to them for immediate burial, despite insisting his work will uncover more clues about her killer.

This is the first episode where we really get a sense that Cooper's falling in love with Twin Peaks, too. The town holds more than just a rustic charm for the pie-n'-coffee-obsessed lawman. He's actually won over by how Laura Palmer's death has affected every man, woman and child in the community. In fact, he sides with the locals over their grievance and only gives Albert till noon to finish his autopsy report—even after Albert delivers a treasure trove of fresh clues that would appear to demand he be given more time! The forensic evidence shows Laura Palmer's flesh was scratches or bitten by an animal, she has snorted cocaine, there was a small plastic letter "J" in her stomach (to go with the "R" Cooper found under her fingernail), and her arms were bent back while restrained by two types of twine (explaining the bizarre "... sometimes my arms bend back" dialogue from Coop's dream.)

We also discover that some of Twin Peaks' inhabitants are aware there's something strange about their beatific town, inferring that they enjoy an idyllic life in equilibrium with an "evil presence" in the surrounding woods. Cooper's intrigued when he's told that Sheriff Truman, Deputy Hawk (Tommy Hill), James (James Marshall) and Big Ed (Everett McGill) are all members of a twenty-year-old secret society called 'The Bookhouse Boys', set up to fight this forest-dwelling malevolence.

That goes some way to explaining their tolerance of various strange events (like Cooper's rock-throwing and faith in dreams), while also striking James from the list of murder suspects. Here, Cooper is taken to see a man the Bookhouse Boys have caught called Bernard Renault, the brother of a man called Jaques they suspect is running drugs across the Canadian border. In some ways it feels like a distraction from Cooper's assigned case, but remember that Albert has proven Laura Palmer took drugs—so did she get her supply from the Renault brothers?

Back to the aforementioned duality of this episode. The script by Harley Peyton is peppered with classic film references, opposing forces, and twins. Leland Palmer (Ray Wise) is taking the death of his daughter very badly, and we catch up with him absent-mindedly watching cheesy soap "Invitation To Love", which stars twin sisters Emerald and Jade. Immediately, back in reality, Leland's niece Madeline Ferguson arrives to lend her condolences, and we realise she's the doppelgänger of his daughter behind her thick glasses and dark hair. Both characters played by Sheryl Lee, of course.

Laura Palmer's funeral is a significant, outrageous moment for the show, too. The whole scene plays like a parody of something you'd expect to see in "Invitation To Love", with its sentimental eulogy and Leland's crazed leap onto his daughter's coffin. You can't help but cringe when Leland's weight causes the burial mechanism to malfunction and the casket to buzz upwards and downwards erratically, as his wife screams "don't ruin this too!" from the ground above. Really nice work from director Tina Rathbone, and the ensuing argument between Bobby and James hints that the townsfolk are in some way all responsible for Laura's terrible fate.

written by Harley Peyton | directed by Tina Rathbone | 26 April 1990

Notes from the Black Lodge

  • Josie Packard (Joan Chen) discovers that one of the two ledgers has been removed from the safe, by her sister-in-law Catherine. I have to say, right now this is a sub-plot that I'm struggling to enjoy, as it doesn't feel attached the murder-mystery that otherwise fuels the show and keeps even the more humdrum scenes relevant. Still, I guess it's interesting that Catherine's husband Peter has sided with Josie, and his own wife knows he's helping her late-brother's immigrant wife and beneficiary.
  • Audrey Horne (Sherilyn Fenn) snooping on her father and mentally-retarded brother Johnny (Robert Bauer) through a spy-hole in some secret wall-space. Shades of Blue Velvet and Psycho.
  • Leland's the epitome of paternal grief, seen dancing with "himself" at a party—likely imagining he's sharing a dance with his beloved daughter.
Images from the Red Room:

(This review was originally posted 24 July 2009, and has been republished with new HD-sourced vidcaps and amendments to celebrate the release of the Twin Peaks - Entire Mystery Blu-ray box-set.)