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It’s a Day to Mourn in Twin Peaks

“Rest in Pain”

Didn’t that dream leave quite the impression? One is always prone to change as a person in the wake of an experience. It may be something lived in the flesh, realised as epiphany from a dream. You know it for sure; it could also be a book, film or song, and so on. You’re never quite the same after those things. The state of Twin Peaks has drastically changed after Laura’s death. The foundations of the community as a living entity began to crumble at the scrutiny. The aesthetics of this gradual decay allow us to see the town under a new light. You could say it’s beautiful in its own way. It’s a new, fearsome beauty painted in broad red strokes.

These famous, fundamental if you will, first three episodes have given us the momentum. We got the basic themes, the character dynamics and enough food for thought. We also got a couple of different investigation methods to approach the truth. There is no shortage of involved parties to suspect, nor people to dislike. It goes with saying, but we have plenty of coffee and donuts also (it’s never enough). What more do we need to see this mystery through to its unveiling? We need to bury one bit of a tragic past.

“The right-ward slant in your handwriting indicates a romantic nature, Audrey. A heart that yearns. Be careful.”

We start off at the Great Northern Hotel. Audrey’s once again on the blushing prowl after Agent Cooper. He asks her to join him for breakfast, to which she agrees. He then plays a simple though effective gambit to figure out that Audrey had something to tell him. She was the one to slide the One Eyed Jack’s note under his door. The young woman’s certainly pointing Cooper into an eventful direction. It’d be somewhat plausible to first address these actions to her having a crush. But there’s actually more to it than that, as she reveals by talking to Cooper. Laura wasn’t her friend, but Audrey understood her far better than everyone else.

We know through Audrey that both Laura and Ronette worked the perfume counter at her father’s store. This is revealing in terms of plot, but also in terms of Audrey herself. We’ve seen two sets facets of the young woman thus far: mischievous and mature, devious and frank. Much as how she seems to know Laura better, Cooper starts knowing Audrey better than her own family. She is a foil of sorts to Laura. Whereas we find chaos in Laura’s perceived purity, Cooper finds purity in Audrey’s perceived chaos. I beg the indulgence to say, but Audrey is an amazing character. Better yet, we’ve only started with her. But more on her as the show goes on.

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“Do you know where dreams come from?”

Exit Miss Horne, and enter Truman and Lucy, followed by a breakfast involving ham and maple syrup. As expected, Truman is intrigued by last night’s call, in which Cooper told he knew who killed Laura. Rather than telling him a name outright, the Agent narrates every nuance to his dream. This includes Sarah Palmer’s visions and the flashes prior to the red room, as well as some new information. Cooper’s following retelling is a coherent narrative to the strange images the viewer’s seen so far. This is not a cheap expository number, as it merely presents pieces of the puzzle. The union of these is still where the meat lies.

Remember the one-armed man? His name is MIKE and his buddy’s name is BOB. Naturally, Truman associates these names with local scumbags Mike and Bobby, but Cooper denies any connection. MIKE and BOB were a duo in crime. Both individuals had a tattoo on their arm with the words ‘Fire, Walk with Me’, possibly symbolising their link to evildoing. MIKE could no longer stand their deeds, so he cut off his own arm. Alas, BOB vowed to kill again, so MIKE shot him, as you do. This is as palpable as this stage of the dream gets. It gives us a direct link to characters we’ve seen before, so it’s a boon of sorts.

The dream continued up to the Red Room. The events we saw at the end of last episode occurred 25 years later. The series’ production may not have actually planned that far ahead, especially given the second season’s tumbles. However, even by a joyous set of fortuitous circumstances, the time mention is extremely important. This is the first ‘meta-connection’ cast from this point in 1990 towards a future disclosure. This means Cooper’s revelation about to come will only shed so much light on the mystery. As for the killer’s actual identity: Cooper can’t remember. However, this slight doesn’t discourage Cooper. He’s determined to crack the code and solve the crime. Go Cooper!

“I’ve never in my life met a man with so little regard for human frailty. Have you no compassion?”

All good breakfasts come to an end. A call from Andy takes the narrative focus from the warm hotel to the frigid morgue. There’s a bit of a quarrel between Agent Albert and Dr. Hayward. The former wants to run some tests on Laura’s body, which would aid the investigation. The latter wants to send it off to be prepared for the funeral as respect for the deceased girl. Both stances are valid, really. Ben Horne is present at the behest of the Palmers and offers sober peace to the matter, in favour of Dr. Hayward. Shit starts heating up when Trooper arrive.

Truman punches Albert, which many saw coming. Cooper orders Albert to release the body and to turn in what results he already has by noon. This is the first time we see Dale wielding authority and oh dear, it’s SUPER EFFECTIVE. You can tell by the look on his face that he’s not happy about it. Alas, he has his shit together, so does Leland back at home. Twin Peaks’ televised soap operas have a way of retaining the viewer’s attention. A strangely familiar voice talks his eyes out of the screen for a most peculiar sight.

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Meet Madeleine Ferguson, Maddy for short. She is the very image of her cousin Laura, albeit brunette and bespectacled. Her inclusion is charming because it gives Sheryl Lee the opportunity to participate actively. It also gives us one more signature aesthetic ‘Lynch-pin’. All familiar with Mulholland Drive or Lost Highway will get it – the near identical double. It’s never gratuitous, so we best keep an eye on this character. She’s come to pay her respects and to open the tearful floodgates anew.

Back on the cold side of things, let’s return to the Double R Diner. Norma doesn’t look very pleased during her meeting with her husband’s parole officer. Hank Jennings (Chris Mulkey) is as much of a criminal as Leo, though more ‘professional’. His good behaviour may see him back on the streets again or at least back with Norma. Shelly’s experiences with Leo are already telling, though better the devil that we know if such a thing can apply to domestic abuse. Things aren’t looking pretty with the foreshadowing of a new villainous character.

“Okay, Albert. What have you got?”

We’re back to the investigation angle. Last episode, Cooper’s peculiar method pointed to Mr. Plausibility himself. It’s time Cooper met Leo Johnson in the flesh. Normally, one wouldn’t expect a man chopping wood to be cooperative. Well he isn’t, but he only shows annoyance at Trooper’s presence. The FBI Agent knows plenty about his criminal record, so Leo can’t fuck around. The night of Laura’s murder, he was on the road, he says. Apparently, Shelly can confirm his alibi. Yet she and the viewers know better as per the bloodied shirt.

Back at the Sheriff’s Department, Albert has some test results. He basically confirms Cooper’s suspicions of cocaine consumption, a habit actually. She was also bound by the wrists and upper arms, thus bending her arms back. This directly alludes to Cooper’s dream and links Laura to Ronette Pulaski. Albert also concludes that the killer washed his hands in the train car. Disturbingly enough, the killer also grabbed Laura by the chin and leaned in for a kiss. Claw marks and bites were found on her skin as well.

Finally, a partially dissolved piece of plastic was found in her stomach. Reconstruction appears to spell out the letter J. Most curious, indeed.

“In ceremony begins understanding, the will to carry on without those we must leave behind.”

Meanwhile, Major Briggs has a chat with his son prior to Laura’s funeral. Normally, you’d expect a man of his uniform and stiff countenance to be, well, stiff and authoritative. In a surprising subversion, he turns out to be a man full of empathy, reaching towards his son. Bobby being Bobby, he’s not very accepting of his father’s aid. Alas, one more subversion! Bobby actually takes the forthcoming funeral with a strange devious gravitas. We’ll see the product of this later on. For now let’s look at some other grieving attendees suiting up.

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Ed, for once, is shown genuinely warm affection by Nadine. Usually these characters are out of focus within the grander scheme, but we got something interesting going here. Big Ed’s expression is pretty deadpan about his wife kissing him. Clearly he’s not a happy man, not having married the woman he truly loves. Even Nadine lampshades this, as she reminisces of younger days when seeing Norma and Ed together. Her voice sours with a rueful tone, intertwined with words of immense gratitude.

This incipient bittersweet contrast reveals that Nadine is a very insecure woman. She perceives that marrying Ed is something far better than she could aspire to. The happiness of both within this marriage is not possible; only Nadine’s. Ed accepts this as he embraces her. Thusly, both draw organic compassion towards their characters because of the realness of the situation and the traits it brings out of them. A wild James then shows up to ruin the whole thing by exhibiting his one dominating trait. He’s not attending the funeral. He’ll fuck off somewhere else on his bike and be sad on his own. Quite literally, he’s BORN TO BE SAD (I actually stole this phrase from a pin I saw on Instagram).

At the Hornes’, Audrey is dressed and hair-done for the occasion. Hearing her parents argue about whether or not Johnny should attend the funeral, she decides to literally get inside the walls for a better look. Audrey looking through a hole in the wall takes after Lynch’s Blue Velvet closet scene, which is a neat shoutout. Much like an interpretation of Jeffrey’s character in that film, Audrey’s snooping seems to derive out of genuine concern. She sees Dr. Jacoby assisting Johnny to remove his feather headdress for the funeral. The latter eventually does so by his own accord, which fills Dr. Jacoby with heartfelt pride.

“AMEN!!!”

The wind blows on the trees as we arrive at Laura Palmer’s funeral. Just about everybody is present, and for the moment, there’s no thinking in terms of suspects. James does end up attending, but he stays by the trees, quite distraught. Agent Cooper has a spot around the coffin and he has eyes for Bobby’s troubled expression. The speaking priest, who had also known Laura, delivers the eulogy lovingly. Once more, Angelo Badalamenti’s score works brilliantly, infusing the scene with heart and gravity. One sloppy, but sincere amen from Johnny Horne introduces dissonance into the scene. A wrathful, screaming amen from Bobby follows.

The youth pushes his way in through the attendees. His troubled expression gives way to a fury quite unlike anything we’ve seen so far. Forget about lecherous, adulterous, drug-involved, scumbag, rebellious Bobby. This is frank Bobby, and he’s come to angrily address the hypocritical attitude of all present. Everybody knew there was something wrong, but nobody did a thing. In preserving a facade of goodness, everybody played a part in her death. Well, he’s not wrong, but this emotional moment unleashes considerable chaos. Bobby picks a fight with James. Leland, broken by grief throws himself onto his daughter’s casket.

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“There’s a sort of evil out there; something very, very strange – these old woods. Call it what you want: a darkness, a presence. It takes many forms but it’s been out there for as long as anyone can remember. And we’ve always been here to fight it.”

What a scene. It’s always best to chill for a bit after such intense moments. Norma’s diner is the place to be. Ed, Hawk, Truman meet Cooper, promising some pie; Coop sure loves pie, as you do. There’s a reason for this gathering, though: a righteous stand against the influx of drugs into town. Their first lead is Jacques Renault, bartender at the Roadhouse, as proposed by Ed. Agent Cooper’s quick to note that Ed is not in law enforcement. This is no police move we’re talking about. When kids are being sold drugs, who you gonna call? THE BOOKHOUSE BOYS. This collective, hereby represented by these characters, is tasked with the pursuit of justice. There’s more to it than that, though.

As the viewer already suspects, there’s something about Twin Peaks beyond the mundane. Sheriff Truman acknowledges this as a timeless evil that needs to be kept at bay. Cooper quickly picks up, quite excited, that he’s talking about a righteous secret society. This trope always has its mystique and its charm, and a meeting place, of-fucking-course-fuck-yes-let’s-go. The Boys’ hangout looks pretty cosy and it has free coffee and loads of books everywhere. It also has James and one Joey Paulson (Brett Vadset) as part of this society, and a man tied to a chair, as you do. Meet Bernard Renault (Clay Wilcox), Jacques’s younger brother. He crossed the border with cocaine on him. He doesn’t seem to cooperative when being questioned. Cooper’s skills come in handy quick enough.

Meanwhile, Jacques’s on his way to work, but he finds out his brother’s in trouble. Who’s he gonna call? Fucking Leo Johnson, of course. Mr. Plausibility takes off in his truck; shit’s bound to fly, but not tonight. Tonight, we have an entirely different kind of shady to look at.

“Do you believe in the soul?”

Who doesn’t love a peaceful stroll at a cemetery? It’s quiet and green; quite a place for a picnic (I personally vouch for it). However, you’re prone to bring some attention to yourself. This is twofold if your name is Lawrence Jacoby, a man absent at Laura’s funeral, now leaving flowers at her grave. Cooper runs into him, and much like Audrey, Lawrence gives off a much different impression than initially apparent. He appears a man devoid of eccentricity, now full of honest sorrow. Aesthetically-wise, night in Twin Peaks seems to bring out emotional moments, for good or ill.

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After witnessing a brief glimmer of heartbreak at the cemetery, we are then treated to a loving scene between Josie and Truman. The former is concerned about underhanded tactics by Benjamin Horne and Catherine Martell and seeks comfort in the sheriff’s arms. As a personal note, the following is one my favourite moments in the show, technically-wise. The show’s main theme plays on as they kiss and the tone is set flawlessly. A cut to the waxing yellow moon outside matching the theme’s bridge sheds a strange benign beauty upon the logical followup to their kissing. The shot and music are sustained as transitional devices to the hotel, where Cooper and Hawk talk as kindred spirits.

The two discuss their views on the soul as an entity. The nightly ambience of the previous scene prevails here and imbues Hawk’s words with a faithful tone. One click of a toast with beer bottles and things feel sort of peaceful for once in this haunted town. It seems that laying Laura’s body to rest provided somewhat of a respite to the current state of affairs. However, this doesn’t apply much to Leland, standing amidst dancing couples. His facial expression starts off easy, and he even starts to dance on his own. This doesn’t last, as the man breaks down into pained sobs. He desperately asks for somebody to dance with him and ends up crouching on the floor. The night must come to an early end; it’s time for Coop and Hawk to take Leland home.

Laura’s body now lies beneath the ground. A few phantoms seem to be at peace if only briefly, but new devils are to arise. These episodes will only be getting more eventful.


Images courtesy of CBS

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Devotee of coffee, whiskey and baleful sentiment. I also write a lot of things.

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