Thursday, 4 September 2014

TWIN PEAKS, 1.4 - 'The One-Armed Man'

Thursday, 4 September 2014
DR JACOBY: Laura had secrets and around those secrets she built the fortress that, well that in my six months with her, I was not able to penetrate and for which I consider myself an abject failure.
Tuesday 28 February 1989. There are plenty of developments in the murder case during this episode, in a story that plays more like a typical investigation with a soup├žon of quirkiness—best exemplified by a moment where Cooper (Kyle MacLachlan) comes face-to-face with a llama in a vet's waiting room. Importantly, we come to realise that Cooper shares visions with the deceased's apparently psychic mother, Sarah Palmer (Grace Zabriskie), after he confirms that her sketch of the long-haired man crouched at the foot of her daughter's bed is the mysterious "Bob" from his own dream...

Eventually, Cooper and Sheriff Truman (Michael Ontkean) locate one of the two prime suspects from Cooper's dream: the one-armed man, who is found staying at the Timber Falls motel. But far from being a calculating killer, he appears to be an unassuming shoe salesman who says his name is Philip Michael Gerard—not "Mike" as the dream identified him. He's also never met a Bob, although he knows the local vet Dr. Bob Lydecker, whose office is situated near a convenience store also mentioned in Cooper’s dream.

Cineaste's may be grinning at the script referencing the film noir Laura here, which features a character called "Waldo Lydecker", and Waldo turns out to be the name of a mynah bird Cooper and Truman unearth paperwork of from the absent vet's files. Could that pet be the responsible for the marks on Laura's body, now confirmed as bird pecks? Waldo belongs to Jacques Renault, but when they arrive at Renault's apartment they find it's been abandoned. Inside, they find Leo's (Eric Da Re) bloodstained shirt, which we know was planted there by Bobby (Dana Ashbrook). Still, it's undoubtedly evidence that links Jacques and Leo to Laura's death...

A brand new storyline also gets under-way, with Double R diner owner Norma Jennings (Peggy Lipton) awaiting the parole of her husband Hank (Chris Mulkey), who appears to have an odd fixation with a double-three domino—a sketch of which he has posted to Josie (Joan Chen), which she opens seconds before he calls her from prison before his release. It all plays like a creepy threat, but what exactly is the relevance of that domino? And why is Josie following Catherine (Piper Laurie) and her secret lover Benjamin (Richard Beymer) at the hotel? It seems likely she's collecting evidence of their illicit affair, perhaps to help her ally Pete (Jack Nance) get a divorce? Or maybe she just suspects they're plotting against her, quite perceptively.

Benjamin Horne becomes a bigger player in this mystery than ever before, as he's unequivocally seen conspiring with Leo to burn down the Packard saw mill (and Josie along with it), so his lover Catherine can claim the insurance using the faked accounts ledger she's been keeping—the one Josie discovered before it was re-hidden by Catherine—and build his Ghostwood Development on the site. It's great to see some sizeable development here, as the hitherto dull saw mill storyline appears to have its fingerprints on more characters than expected. It also feels justifiable that Leo may have murdered Laura, as he's now killed Bernard Renault at Ben's behest.

Meanwhile, Audrey Horne (Sherilyn Fenn) decides to starts her own investigation into Laura's death, primarily to impress Agent Cooper (whom she has a crush on) with her Nancy Drew pretensions. To help her, she enlists the help of Donna (Lara Flynn Boyle) to be her Dr. Watson, after they discuss the whole sorry affair in a restroom. Later, Audrey gets back in her father's good books, by making Benjamin realize she's the only viable heir to his fortune, and persuading him she's serious about making something of her life at last. She even agrees to take a job at his department store, where Laura and her friend Ronette once worked...

written by Robert Engels | directed by Tim Hunter | 3 May 1990

Notes from the Black Lodge

  • Interestingly, one-armed Gerard admits that the limb he lost in an accident was tattooed with the word "Bob". Is he innocent? Is Cooper's dream of Gerard's involvement too obscure to be taken literally
  • There's been a curious lack of information about Ronette since she was admitted to hospital, despite the fact she's likely the sole witness to Laura's murder and could identify the killer. Don't the police want to interview her family, at least?
  • James (James Marshall) meets Madeleine Ferguson (Sheryl Lee) at the Double R diner and notes her startling resemblance to her cousin Laura. Right now, it feels likely that James will perhaps find himself drawn closer to Madeleine, purely because of her likeness to the girlfriend he's lost. Later, Donna and James meet again to dig up Laura's necklace they buried in the "Pilot", but find that's it been taken by some—just as Sarah Palmer claimed after her vision.
  • It also seems that Cooper will soon be calling at One-Eyed Jack's up river, as a colleague has reconstituted a poker chip belonging to the brothel, found in Laura's stomach. This girl's body was riddled with clues, no?
  • Co-creator/writer David Lynch is the voice of Regional Bureau Chief Gordon Cole, who informs Cooper of the poker chip found in Laura's stomach.
Images from the Red Room

(This review was originally posted 31 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.)