Thursday, 11 September 2014

TWIN PEAKS, 1.5 - 'Cooper's Dream'

Thursday, 11 September 2014
LOG LADY: Fire is the Devil hiding like a coward in the smoke.
Wednesday 1 March 1989. The honeymoon period is over. Cooper (Kyle MacLachlan) is awakened by rowdy Icelandic businessmen who have arrived for a junket at the Great Northern, and their presence is the first uncomfortable bump for a murder case that our Fed has hitherto appeared to almost relish...

Jacques Renault's apartment is being turned over for clues by Sheriff Truman's (Michael Ontkean) people, but it's not until Cooper arrives that they find a copy of Flesh World magazine featuring adverts for Ronette and Laura -- the same issue found in Laura's safety deposit box. Then lab results conclude that the blood on Leo's (Eric Da Re) shirt actually belonged to Jacques, NOT Laura. Cooper is particularly struck by a photo of a cabin with red drapes (the one he visited in his dream of the dancing dwarf?), which leads Cooper, Truman, Hawk (Michael Horse) and Dr. Hayward (Warren Frost) into the woods to find Jacques' cabin retreat.

First though, the quintet stumble upon the Log Lady's abode (who claims she's been expecting them?), who serves them tea and makes cryptic remarks about owls, before the log she cradles like a child reveals it heard two men and two girls pass by on the night of Laura's murder, chased by a third man. Is she insane? Does she mean that she heard those noises, but is too shy to say so? Is her log a psychic link to whatever strange forces dwell in the town's surrounding forest, as mentioned by Truman recently? Is it housing the spirit of her late-husband? Interestingly, it's worth noting that fire appears to be a recurring antagonist for a town that owes its existence to trees and the wood they provide -- what with the "fire walk with me" cryptic statement and Ben's plan to burn down the Packard Mill.

From there, the lawmen press on to their intended destination: Jacques' red-draped cabin, where they discover an abundance of clues inside -- including missing mynah bird Waldo (a witness to Laura's death), a small blood stain on the carpet, and a cuckoo clock that dispenses some chips from One-Eyed Jack's brothel...

The mystery surrounding moneyed Ben Horne (Richard Beymer) also thickens, too, as he hosts the presentation for his "Ghost Wood" development with brother Jerry (David Patrick Kelly), and later it becomes clear that he's actually double-crossing Catherine (Piper Laurie) with Josie's (Joan Chen) help—a secret discovered by his daughter Audrey (Sherilyn Fenn), who once again snoops on her father using the spy-hole in-between the hotel wall.

Audrey herself gets one of the episode's best scenes, when she arrives at her father's department store for a job interview with manager Emory Battis (Don Amendolia). Here, Audrey uses the ruthless streak she's inherited from dad, plus her feminine wiles, to convince Emory to give her a place on the perfume counter instead of a back room role—by threatening to destroy his career by lying that he made unwelcome advances. Another fine moment from Fenn, who is quickly becoming a true highlight of the series, making it all the more depressing that the actress herself never amounted to much after Twin Peaks ended.

Plus, there's more quirky black-comedy from lamenting Leland (Ray Wise), who continues to drift into scenes to wallow in grief; here, he interrupts the Icelandic party at the hotel and makes a spectacle of himself by dancing alone.This forces an embarrassed Ben to push Catherine onto the dance floor and make Leland's appear less insane by partnering him to the music. Amusingly (never say Twin Peaks isn't funny), Ray's shambolic gait soon inspires strange dance moves from the other party-goers, convinced by Catherine's copycatting that Leland's at the cutting-edge of dance.

Laura's doppelgänger cousin Maddy (Sheryl Lee) is also brought tighter into the story with one simple scene, as she's taken into Donna (Lara Flynn Boyle) and James' (James Marshall) confidence after finding a tape belonging to her late-cousin. We'll have to wait to find out what's on it, and how far their investigation gets.

In a smattering of smaller plots, the Briggs family are in group therapy with Dr. Jacoby (Russ Tamblyn), who questions Bobby (Dana Ashbrook) in a private session afterwards about his relationship with Laura Palmer. It appears that Jacoby believes Bobby has feelings of inadequacy after sleeping with Laura (a motive for killing her, out of embarrassment?), and it's interesting to wonder if the kooky shrink's come to this hypothesis after hearing that audio-tape Laura made...

Also, Norma's (Peggy Lipton) ne'er-do-well husband Hank (Chris Mulkey) has been paroled and turns up in town, which has her running to Ed (Everett McGill) at his gas station. Later, Hank beats up Leo—apparently for daring to takeover as Twin Peaks' resident villain—and when a bloodied Leo returns home, he goes to take his frustrations out on punch-bag girlfriend Shelly (M√§dchen Amick), who finally snaps and shoots him with a gun.

Overall, what's great about Twin Peaks right now is how it manages the difficult trick of feeling crammed full of incident, while each episode is still able to breath and feel relaxed at the same time. More has happened in five episodes (plus the feature-length pilot, admittedly) than happens in the average twelve-part series these days, yet there's still a sense of slow-burn to everything because of its style and attitude. This fifth episode is the first to be written by co-creator Mark Frost on his own, and it's certainly a more straightforward piece without too many weird distractions, beyond the Log Lady scene. And that's the brilliance of the Frost/Lynch partnership in Twin Peaks—the show had the ideal middle-ground between quirky mystery and no-nonsense police investigation.

written by Mark Frost | directed by Lesli Linka Glatter | 10 May 1990

Notes from the Black Lodge

  • This episode features the first appearances of actors Don Amendolia (Emory Battis), Rick Giolito (Montana from the "Invitation To Love" soap opera), Mary Stavin (Heba), Kevin Young (diner customer Toad) and Brian Straub (Icelandic developer Einar Thorson).
  • The featured song "Into The Night" was nominated for an Emmy award.
  • Will Cooper be able to resist a naked Audrey in his bed? She could help take his mind off those noisy Icelanders.
  • So many clues are pointing to One-Eyed Jack's—it's strange they have yet to even knock on the club's door, but instead feel compelled to blindly follow Cooper's hunches that are based entirely on dreams! Speaking of which, this episode's title (a translation of the German broadcast's title, as they all are) is very misleading given the content of the episode itself.
  • We still don't know much about Hank's connection to Josie; just that she's afraid of him. Does she have information that could send him back to prison, possibly relating to the man he was supposed to have killed? Is Hank's wife Norma aware of anything? Is it just a coincidence that Norma and Shelly (both part of the Double R diner) have lovers who are bullying criminals?
Images from the Red Room:

(This review was originally posted 16 August 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.)