By Jill Duffy, girl reporter [continuing her episode by episode look at Twin Peaks.]
Why is Windom Earl so hokey?
Before we knew him, when we only knew of him, he was threatening. Before a character is formally introduced, if we viewers are told that he’s a mastermind evil genius, we’ll buy it. “Hey, our guy Cooper seems legitimately afraid of what Windom Earl might do, so we’d better take him seriously.”
Eventually (several episodes ago), Windom Earl does become a character with a face, a voice, body language, and a maniacal laugh. Only the laugh isn’t so maniacal. It’s more like the laugh of a bad guy on a children’s Saturday afternoon low-budget television show; like I expect Windom Earl to shout out, “Rats! Foiled again!” and shake his fists in anger when 30 minutes is up. Here, and in the previous one or two episodes, he keeps putting on ridiculous disguises as he trails Cooper, Donna, Shelly, and Audrey. It’s goofy. He’s very cartoonish. Need I remind anyone that this is the same tactic Bugs Bunny used to outwit Elmer Fudd?
On the other hand, Kyle McLaughlin is such a strong actor and has such a strong hold on his character, Agent Cooper, that he’s still at center stage.
In contrast, a very young Heather Graham, now on the cast as Annie Blackburn, is flat. It’s as if she arrived on the set and the director told her, “Okay. You’re Annie Blackburn. You used to be in a convent. You don’t trust men. And… go!”
David Lynch playing Gordon is still hilarious. He has a few touching and emotional lines that he delivers by shouting them out with great articulation (because he has hearing loss), and he sounds almost like a nerdy boy playing drill sergeant: “COOP! SHE’S A RARE AND PRECIOUS INDIVIDUAL, DON’T YOU THINK?” And to Bobby, “YOU ARE WITNESSING A FRONT THREE-QUARTER VIEW OF TWO ADULTS SHARING A TENDER MOMENT!”
["Front three-quarter view" is a very technical way of describing the way people look from a particular angle: it reminds us that he is a director.]