Friday, June 26, 2009

Twin Peaks, Season 2, Episode 8 (or episode 15)

By Jill Duffy

[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.]

The same horrific screaming, moaning, dull thuds, and low music that marked the murder scene from the previous episode, bring us right back to that mood of terror in this episode. We see the Palmer house at night, with a few windows lit up. But it’s really the audio reminding us of what has happened.

Then it’s morning and we are zooming out from photographs of Laura. We hear thudding again, but this time it’s just golf balls as Leland chips them from a patch of Astroturf inside his living room. When Leland looks in the mirror, he still sees Bob. His golf bag contains sheet plastic and a bloody hand and hair, so we know that Maddy’s body is inside. Leland stuffs the golf bag in the trunk of his car, lowers the top of the convertible, and drives off.

It’s a bit weird, for a murder mystery/soap opera/nighttime TV drama for the audience to both know and not know what has happened without the detectives knowing. We know that Leland-as-Bob killed Maddy, though no one else even knows yet that she’s missing much less dead. We know, or at least very strongly suspect, that Leland-as-Bob killed Laura, too, though Cooper and Truman are on the wrong trail entirely, trying to coax a confession out of Benjamin Horne. And yet, there may be something more about Horne that we don’t know, that perhaps he was complicit in Laura’s murder in some way.
If you haven’t seen the show in 20 years, since it first aired, I can absolutely see how easy it would be to wipe from memory about 60 percent of the show. It’s easy, and in fact better, to remember Leland’s sinister possessor, Maddy’s murder scene, Cooper’s foray into the other world, and the one-armed man and his cryptic poems. I can see having a moment of “Oh, yeah! I kind of remember that,” when being reminded of Lucy and Andy’s comic love story, Catherine’s feigned death and return as the stereotypical Chinese man, Pete’s quirky manner of speech, and Nadine, who has a kind of amnesia that has propelled her back 20 years so that she’s reliving things like cheerleader tryouts. But you’ve probably forgotten Norma’s mother coming to visit and how Bobby tries to blackmail Horne and Lucy’s sister, Gwen. You might have also forgotten just how explicit Lynch and Frost are in getting the viewers to understand that Bob is Leland. We see the Leland recognize Bob has himself in the mirror multiple times, and on top of that, we are told several times and in several ways that Bob killed Laura. It leaves nothing to interpretation.

This episode ends with the discovery of Maddy’s body, wrapped in plastic, just as Laura’s was. I almost think the season and series could end here.

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