Thursday, 18 September 2014

TWIN PEAKS, 1.6 - 'Realization Time'

Thursday, 18 September 2014
AUDREY: I can't believe you were ever my age.
COOPER: I've got the pictures to prove it.
Thursday 2 March 1989. Currently, there are three separate investigations attempting to find Laura Palmer's killer: Agent Cooper (Kyle Maclachlan) and Sheriff Truman's (Michael Ontkean) official murder investigation; Audrey Horne's (Sherilyn Fenn) plucky attempt to solve the mystery; and the trio of James (James Marshall), Donna (Lara Flynn Boyle) and Madeleine (Sheryl Lee), who here probe into Dr. Jacoby's (Russ Tamblyn) relationship with their murdered friend. What's interesting about this penultimate episode is how this triptych of sleuthing all result in undercover missions...

After declining Audrey's invitation of sex after finding her naked in his hotel bed, the next day Cooper meets with Doc Hayward (Warren Frost) and Truman to "interrogate" Waldo—the mynah bird they found in Jacques Renault's cabin who likely witnessed Laura's death there. As the species is a renowned mimicker of speech, Cooper decides to leave his voice-activated cassette-recorded next to Waldo's cage to pick up any vocals the bird may repeat. It's something you'd expect to see as a plot-point in a Scooby Doo episode, but that's part of the kooky charm to the series.

As the lawmen leave Waldo alone to talk, Cooper decides to investigate the source of the broken chip they discovered in Laura's stomach: One-Eyed Jack's. But, seeing as it's across the Canadian border and out of his jurisdiction, Cooper enlists the help of 'The Bookhouse Boys'—Truman and Big Ed (Everett McGill)—to go undercover with him at the bordello (in silly disguises and $10,000 of Bureau cash to gamble) to search for their prime suspect: Jacques Renault.

It's a plan Audrey also comes to herself, after sneaking into the office of her department store boss Mr. Battis (Don Amendolia) to eavesdrop on a conversation he has with a fellow shop girl. Indeed, Audrey appears to have quite a compulsion to snoop on people from behind walls and inside cupboards! She overhears how Battis is supplying One-Eyed Jack's with naïve female members of his staff to work as prostitutes (or "hospitality girls"), so Audrey assumes a new recruit's identity and arrives at the brothel for an interview with its madame "Blackie" (Victoria Catlin). Unfortunately, her deception is quickly exposed when she's asked a trick question to test her credentials, but Audrey still earns herself a place at the establishment by demonstrating her oral skills by knotting a cherry's stalk using only her tongue. A party trick that became one of Twin Peaks' most memorable and oft-copied moments.

The third prong of the town-wide investigation concerned the discover by Maddy of a stack of audio-tapes Laura made for her psychiatrist Dr. Jacoby, the content of which appears to show her cousin was having some kind of illicit romance with her shrink. Maddy shares this discovery with comrades Donna and James, who notice that a tape made on the night of her death is missing from the collection. So, the trio concoct a plan to draw Jacoby out of his apartment so they can search it for the missing cassette. Their plan involves utilising Maddy's striking similarity to Laura, by dressing her in a blonde wig and sending Jacoby a video of "Laura" holding the day's newspaper and demanding a rendezvous. After calling him on the phone to arrange the meeting, they succeed in getting Jacoby out of his apartment, but are unaware he's recognised where the video was filmed (a gazebo at Easter Park) and hotfoots it there to find Laura/Madeleine.

Elsewhere, having been shot by Shelly (Mädchen Amick), Leo (Eric Da Re) is nursing a flesh wound to his left shoulder and notices Bobby (Dana Ashbrook) visiting his distraught girlfriend while he's out of the house. But, before he can do anything about his lover's duplicity, he overhears chatter on his police radio that the cops have Waldo in their custody, and leaves with a rifle. Having spent most of the season as the viewer's prime suspect, Leo implicates himself further by shooting Waldo dead inside his cage (the bird's blood dripping on some leftover donuts), although Cooper is pleased to discover that Waldo's last words were captured on his micro-cassette: "Laura, don't go there... hurting me... Leo, no!" (the bird assumedly mimicking eye-witness Ronette Pulanski.)

Away from the murder-orientated plots, there's more pressing matters with a crime about to be committed at the saw mill. Josie (Joan Chen) confides in her lover Truman that she knows Ben (Richard Reymer) and Catherine (Piper Laurie) are plotting to raze her business to the ground. Meanwhile, Catherine grows suspicious when she's handed a life insurance policy arranged by Josie—who we know is actually in cahoots with her lover Ben and attempting to ensure Catherine is killed in the blaze. Confused yet? Anyway, Catherine refuses to sign the policy, citing absent amendments she wants to double-check with her lawyer, but perhaps she realises there are plans to profit from her death along with the mill's destruction—which will clear the ground for Ben's Ghostwood development for the Icelandic businessmen. As if things aren't complicated enough, we later see the recently-paroled Hank (Chris Mulkey) is with Josie—so what's his part in all this?

Overall, this was something of a focusing episode, but it felt like real progress was being made in cracking the mystery. It's now clear that Jacoby and Leo are guilty of something regarding Laura's death (both their names were divined via Cooper's stone-throwing technique, remember), and Cooper finds Jacques Renault working as a croupier at One-Eyed Jack's. While no major new pieces of information were disseminated here, "Realization Time" was juicy plot gum to chew on that set things up for the big finale very nicely.

written by Haley Peyton | directed by Caleb Deschanel | 17 May 1990

Notes from The Black Lodge:

  • Why is Lucy (Kimmy Robertson) refusing to talk to Deputy Andy (Harry Goaz) after her day off?
  • Whatever happened to Cooper's rude colleague Albert? Did he go back to the Bureau after Laura's funeral? And it's been awhile since we saw Laura's mother, Sarah, too.
  • The patent attorney has rejected Nadine's (Wendy Robie) silent drape runner design, leaving her distraught. It's still difficult to see the point to this character, though, beyond the fact she adds another layer of general quirkiness to the community.
  • Leland (Ray Wise) was glimpsed briefly as Maddy left the house, sitting alone in his unlit living room. Is that just a reminder he's still grieving and up till the early hours, or something more?
Images from the Red Room:

(This review was originally posted 26 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.)