Friday, June 05, 2009

Jill Duffy on Twin Peaks Season 2, Episode 5 (or episode 12)

[Jill Duffy continues her episode by episode look at Twin Peaks. For more in this series see the labels at the bottom or the toolbar on the right.]

We are reminded of the smallness of the town of Twin Peaks when a court case to try Leo Johnson takes place in a saloon. The judge’s table is situated on the music performance stage, and the attorneys are seated below in the audience area.

Horne is as vile as ever, more concerned with following through on business transactions than he is with rescuing his daughter, Audrey, who is being held for ransom by Jean Renault and Blackie. As they discuss their situation and what they will do with Audrey (kill her), Jean says to a slightly hesitant Blackie, “You know, you love a good steak, but you don’t want to know how it got on your plate.” Jean is also conspiring to kill Cooper.

Deputy Andy gets comic relief laughs when he fills in for Lucy as the sheriff’s office admin. The details in the set design make his scenes even more fun to watch. At one point, he is covered in Post-It notes. They are stuck to his shirt everywhere. He looks down at the ink blotter pad covering Lucy’s desk, and it’s filled with childlike scribblings and drawings.

Harold, the shut-in orchid-grower, has a significant role in this episode. When he was first introduced, I had high hopes for his character. I liked the idea of bringing in some other love interest for Donna and Maddy besides James, the dumb hunk. Harold, on the other hand, is literate and very odd, but he fits with the overarching theme of the show by being an unknowable figure, perhaps spiritual, perhaps just a little too reserved—but whatever the case, the point is we don’t know him and every time we learn something about him, it just opens more questions. For example, he’s a recluse, but why? He had a relationship with Laura that may have been sexual in nature, but we don’t really know for sure.

Donna hatches a plan to seduce and distract Harold while Maddy breaks into his home to steal Laura’s secret diary. In the previous episode, Donna was equally cruel to him, luring him outside with the diary, only to have him shake and collapse in a panic attack. As Maddy goes for the diary, Harold catches her, and becomes confrontational with the two girls. His character grows dark, and we realize in this moment just how little we really know of him. “Are you looking for secrets?” he asks them. “Do you know what the ultimate secret is?” He raises a rusty gardening tool. “Do you want to know? Laura did. The secret of knowing who killed you.” Then, instead of attacking them, he tears the rake across his own face.

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