By Jill Duffy, girl reporter [continuing her episode by episode look at Twin Peaks.]
What is the purpose of this episode?
Given that the final installment of Twin Peaks is near at hand, this episode should theoretically help to speed up some plots, give vital information, and otherwise help tie up loose ends. And in many ways, it does. We learn some things that are crucial to understanding the last episode and understanding the true nature of a few characters. For example, Windom Earl reveals that he was the one who actually killed his wife: “I haven’t been this excited since I punctured Caroline’s aorta,” he says when he learns how to get inside the Black Lodge. I think we’re supposed to gasp a little bit at this moment, having previously believed that Caroline was killed by some villain who was really after Cooper (that’s a basic summary, though it’s slightly more complicated than that).
But at other moments, this episode is a free-for-all. There are three -- count ’em, three! -- dance numbers. They all take place during a “Miss Twin Peaks Beauty Pageant,” but three dance performances is fluff no matter what context it’s in.
Another moment of gratuitousness happens with Donna, a character I could easily do without at this stage of the game, finds out that her biological father is not the honorable and respected Dr. Hayward, but in fact the town’s sleaze himself, Benjamin Horne. Donna is constantly stomping her tiny little feet and flailing her delicate hands, and screaming and crying at someone. She seems like such a pain in the ass. I would never want to be friends with this girl.
Audrey Horne, on the other hand, has grown on me tremendously since the show’s start. She has developed into a much more interesting and mature character. In the opening scene of this episode, Audrey looks like a brunette Marilyn Monroe. She wears a red flowing dress, very similar in cut, fabric, and movement to Monroe’s famous white one. She’s curvy and buxom. Her lips are full. She has a beauty mark on her face. Her eyes are dashed in makeup, and her eyebrows have an alluring tilt similar to Monroe’s, too. The red dress is what really situates Audrey in a different time and place. I don’t know if the Marilyn Monroe allusion was deliberate, but David Lynch has a history of juxtaposing two nearly identical looking female characters side-by-side, as he did earlier in Twin Peaks with Laura and Maddy.
Some other fun stuff to note: Briggs. Once again, Major Briggs, Windom Earle, and Leo Johnson are together in a shack in the woods, and Earle is torturing Leo and Briggs. Comically bad and filled with dialogue you might hear in an episode of Scooby Doo (in the vein of “Now I know how to solve the crime!”), the scene is salvaged by Briggs, who is playing a doped up torture victim who is fighting to not cooperate. Even though the whole situation is hackneyed in a kind of spooky horror movie way, I was on the edge of my seat waiting to see what Briggs would do and say next.
Miraculously, Briggs escapes. He’s still drugged, but by force of will, he gets himself loose and breaks free. “Yes!” I cheered to myself, “Briggs, you embody the mind-over-matter spirit! Go Briggs, go! Get away from Windom Earle!”
Hawk finds him, picks him up and takes him in. Briggs is an unshakable man, and now he is close to broken. I watched all this super attentively. I was enthralled.
Another plot point to mention is that Catherine has received a secret puzzle box, though it turns out to be a box inside a box inside a box, from Eckhardt. Catherine, Andrew, and Pete all know about it and all try their hand at opening it, searching for a secret latch or trick button. The first box opens accidentally (an episode or two ago). One by one, they open the boxes, and now they are certain they’re at the last one. Out of frustration, Andrew shoots it open, right in their home kitchen, putting bullet holes right in the cabinetry.
So what’s inside? A key. The three of them don’t trust each other, so they hide the key in plain sight under a glass cake dome, much like The Purloined Letter.
At the end, Windom Earl sneaks backstage at The Miss Twin Peaks Pageant by dressing up as the Log Lady, and if you didn’t believe me when I said his costumes were reminiscent of Bugs Bunny cartoons, maybe now you will agree.
Annie wins the pageant. The lights flicker and strobe, and in the pandemonium, Earle kidnaps Annie.