Friday, June 12, 2009

Twin Peaks, Season 2, Episode 6 (or episode 13)

By Jill Duffy

What’s funny about this episode is that you can easily pick and choose the scenes worth watching. It opens with a lame scene involving Harold Smith, the orchid-grower. In fact, it picks up precisely where the previous episode left off, in Harold’s house with Donna and Maddy scared for their lives, with Harold dripping blood from his face and delivering a little soliloquy. James rushes in to their rescue. Outside, after they’ve all escaped, Donna paws at James in front of Maddy. It’s boring. Who cares? Let’s move on.

I actually found the series of shots during the opening credits to be worth watching, as they set the mood for the later part of the show. We see a pan of trees, then the forest, an owl, and a lineup of motorcycles outside the lodge.

Elsewhere, not only has James rescued Donna and Maddy, but also Cooper has rescued Audrey. Why are all these helpless women being rescued? Even Bobby is trying to rescue Shelly from Leo, an ongoing situation that has become more comic now that Leo is a vegetable. He is 99.9 percent catatonic, and we get all kinds of gags about it, like watching his face fall into a plateful of birthday cake, and Shelly and Bobby sticking a kazoo in his mouth and then making out in front of his lifeless face.
Shelly and Bobby have a plan to scam the insurance company to the tune of $5,000 a month by caring for Leo in this state, but they end up paying so much for his healthcare that they get a measly few hundred dollars a month.

I’ve written before about how Twin Peaks is unafraid to use old school tricks to orient the viewer and remind the audience what’s going on and why, in case you weren’t paying attention. Twin Peaks does this exceptionally well, especially considering all the paranormal and indefinable stuff that David Lynch deals with. The show seems to say, “In case you missed last week’s episode or weren’t paying close attention, here’s a summary of what happened and why.”

This episode has a great example.

Cooper: “Jean Renault was after me.”
Truman: “The man who killed his brother.” [This reads as, “He’s after you because you killed his brother.”]
Cooper: “He planned to kill me and he used Audrey as bait. I went out of my jurisdiction—twice. I violated my professional code, and now Audrey is paying the price.”
Truman: “You got her back. And she’s going to be okay.”
Cooper: “Harry, this isn’t the first time my actions have brought suffering to someone in the name of doing what I had to do. Damn it, I should have known better.”
Truman: “That doesn’t change the fact that she’s here now and not at Jack’s with a needle in her arm.”

So, just in case you missed it, Cooper killed Jacques. Jean and Jacques were brothers. As revenge, Jean wanted to kill Cooper. He kidnapped Audrey and used her for bait to bring Cooper to him in Canada, which is technically out of Cooper’s jurisdiction. Because Cooper cares for Audrey, he left his jurisdiction to rescue her. They all almost got in deep do-do, but everyone is safe now, including Audrey whom, just in case you missed the reference, was drugged while she was at One-Eyed Jack’s.

Other highly watch-able moments include the introduction of Gordon Cole, played by David Lynch. Gordon Cole is Agent Cooper’s supervisor. He wears an old fashioned hearing aid, and he’s got a bunch of gags about not being able to hear, so people are constantly shouting at him, and he is incessantly shouting back. (I wondered if the character was shaped this way because Lynch can’t deliver convincing dialog.)

The final scene, which involves Philip Gerard, the one-armed man, is pretty amazing, and again, it explains with great clarity a lot of the supernatural stuff. On the other hand, this scene is full of riddles. I think that’s what makes it enjoyable to watch. That which is explained is explained totally clearly while that which is not explained is presented in a way that teases the viewer into wanting to know what it means, even if that requires waiting a few episodes. Twin Peaks gives the audience payoff by clarifying all the crazy stuff so that when new and unexplained stuff crops up, we feel pretty sure that it will be explained at some later date.

Anyway, in the final scene, the one-armed man is off his meds. “Mike,” an inhabiting spirit, hosted by Philip Gerard, tells us some information about Bob. “He is Bob, eager for fun. He wears a smile. Everybody run.” And: “Bob requires a human host. He feeds on fear. And pleasures. They are his children.”

Mike, apparently, used to be Bob’s partner in crime, but one day he “saw the face of god and was purified.” Mike changed his mind and decided he wanted to stop Bob. Few people can see Bob’s true face, he tells us, the gifted and the damned. Cooper presses him by asking where Bob is now.

“Bob is at the lodge house made of wood, surrounded by trees. The house is filled with many rooms, each alike, but occupied by many souls, night after night.”

Cooper: “The Great Northern Hotel”

Again, there’s that payoff. The riddle is explained, and we viewers trust that the show will do this over and over. Now, if only we could figure out who really killed Laura Palmer…

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