Friday, November 21, 2008

Twin Peaks, Season 2, Episode 2 (or episode 9)

By Jill Duffy

“Sometimes things can happen just like this.” Snap.

The above line is delivered by a little boy, who is sitting in a big chair, in a room with an elderly woman named Mrs. Tremond. Donna has come to deliver food to Mrs. Tremond as part of the Meals on Wheels program.

The little boy is dressed formally, with a little bowtie. He’s studying magic, we’re told. He sits quietly for most of the scene, but there is something off about him.

Mrs. Tremond looks at the plate of food Donna has brought her and sees, to her utter frustration, a sloppy mess of creamed corn. She asks Donna, “Do you see creamed corn?” to which Donna answers, obviously enough, that yes, she does. Mrs. Tremond says she hates creamed corn and specifically requested no creamed corn. Then, in what seems to be a moment of senility, the woman’s asks Donna again, “Do you see creamed corn?” Donna looks down, and there is no creamed corn. There is nota speck of creamed corn’s existence on the plate at all, just a perfectly clean and empty third of the plate where it had been.

Donna looks over at the boy. He is cupping his hands, which are brimming with the gloppy, shiny creamed corn.

That whole scene has a grotesque quality that works really well with its overall creepiness. Sometimes things can happen just like that (snap). Sometimes things disappear just like that (snap). But creamed corn disappearing? And a little expressionless boy in a bowtie? It’s jarring and unexpected. It’s uncomfortable.

In looking up the cast of this episode to make sure I had Mrs. Tremond’s name correct, I came across the by actor’s name: Austin Jack Lynch. Indeed, this is David Lynch’s son. To me, this makes it even creepier.

In another disappearing act, we learn that Agent Cooper’s former partner, Windom Earle, was put in a mental institution but then “vanished into thin air.”

Other highlights of this episode include Albert, the brassy FBI agent with a strong distaste for local yokels. Albert is a treat to watch. He’s got a non-nonsense sensibility coupled with a cutting tongue. His verbal knocks are snappy and sassy, and yet they sometimes make him seem like a sixth grade boy who always gets picked last in P.E. class.

Lastly, a new plot line starts to develop about a man from Hong Kong, who is spying on Cooper and Albert in this episode, but quite frankly it’s one of these side stories that couldn’t be less interesting to me.

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