Sunday, May 19, 2024

The Shadows Shift in Twin Peaks

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“The One-Armed Man”

It seems the more we attempt approaching the truth about Laura Palmer’s murder, the more elusive it becomes. It’s just as well, since the show’s pacing would suffer otherwise. If only the network and writers had grasped the fact during the second season. But I digress. With the addition of Albert Rosenfield to the team, the procedural approach to Laura’s murder is pretty much covered. Also, Cooper’s addition to the Bookhouse Boys will give us an arm against the evil that plagues Twin Peaks. This evil is manifested on the surface by drug trafficking, but there will be more to it. I’d say Trooper and the Boys have their work cut out for them.

Yet, these initial efforts may not be enough to unearth the full extent of the wrongness. We also got the schemes of Catherine Martell and Benjamin Horne concerning the Packard Mill. Considering the moral makeup of these characters, the deed surely involves more than the cold pragmatism of their trade. Alas, this is not the only obscure dynamic at play. Nobody, let alone the viewer, could forget Cooper’s dream. Such a peculiar sequence has provided our agent with a lead to pursue. By now, we’ve begun to understand the actual relevance of dreams in Twin Peaks. So, are we prepared to breach the haunting presence of the One Armed Man?

“I saw him, at the foot of Laura’s bed. He looked like an animal!”

A dire morning greets us at the Palmers’, a place troubled by terrible loss and a strange vision. Sheriff Truman and Andy have come at the request of Sarah Palmer. Repulsed and distressed, she describes the man she ‘saw’ in Laura’s room. Andy deftly makes a sketch from this description while Maddy serves coffee. Donna is also present. Leland shows up, strangely amused to mention that his wife actually had two visions. He refers to the Pilot’s closing: the gloved hand taking Laura’s necklace from under a rock. Donna appears troubled at Sarah speaking of this vision.

After they’re done at the Palmer household, Truman and Andy return to the department. They ask Lucy what’s going on, and they get a lengthy description of the events from the local favourite soap opera Invitation to Love. This is clearly not what they meant. However, it bears saying that the fascination some characters have with this programme is a lovely little motif to the series. It gives a wee bit of depth to Twin Peaks as a series, as well as possibly making a bit of a comment on fandom itself. If Lucy is a representation of fans in this particular instance, then I can’t see that comment as anything other than affectionate. Anyway, she tells them that Agent Cooper is in the conference room with Dr. Jacoby.  twinpeaks_s01e05_jacoby

The viewership is unlikely to figure out the secret behind Dr. Jacoby’s golf ball trick. Likewise, Cooper is unlikely to obtain information on Laura by asking plainly. Doctor-Patient confidentiality is sacred to Dr. Jacoby, it seems. The psychiatrist seems eager to help, but also somewhat unwilling to reveal what he knows. Clearly, the man cared for his patient, but failed to penetrate the terrible secrets she held. Jacoby’s discourse is as ambivalent as the lenses on his glasses, but he does reveal one thing. The night after her death, he followed a man she had talked to him about. It was a man driving a red Corvette: Leo Johnson drives one.

After the interview, Lucy patches a Gordon Cole through the intercom. This is Cooper’s supervisor, and he is quite a character. Gordon’s call reveals that the twine on Laura’s shoulders is a common household item. However, the twine on her wrists doesn’t match. Curiously, the bites on her shoulders turned out to be bird bites. Also, Albert has a bone to pick with Truman and he wants to take it to the officials. Cooper defends Truman, and that’s why he’s a pal. The call is over and Andy enters with the full sketch. The Agent confirms him as one of the men he saw in his dream, as for the other…


A call from Hawk takes Trooper and Andy to the Timber Falls motel. Here be the current whereabouts of the One Armed Man. However, Josie is also here, taking pictures in one of the rooms, as you do. Catherine and Ben are having a bit of a session while gloating on their nefarious methods. Throughout these past few episodes, Catherine’s been manipulating the books. Only she knows the location of the real books. Furthermore, they plan to set the mill aflame and frame Josie for it. As Ben goes for a shower, Catherine finds a One Eyed Jack’s chip fallen out of his pocket. Meanwhile, Cooper and company arrive in search of a Phillip Michael Gerard.

Everybody loves a good bust, especially when you walk in someone with a towel on. Sheriff Truman kicks the door down, with his gun drawn as procedure demands. What they find is a literal one armed man, literally with only a towel on. Whatever slapstick can be drawn from this is rendered null by the uncanny sight before them. Yet, it is even stranger that he seems so much different now than in Cooper’s dream. When shown the sketch, he fails to recognize the man. However, he does know a Bob, a veterinarian friend who’s in a coma.


About the man himself, he claims to have lost his arm in a traffic accident. These days, he works as a shoe salesman. His lost arm also had a tattoo; it read “Mom”. It’s really quite difficult to reconcile this man, now breaking down in tears, with the ominous figure from Dale’s dream. For all intents and purposes, our heroes leave empty-handed, but not quite. Upon exiting into the parking lot, Hawk figures out that Josie Packard was there a while ago.

“I’ve been doing some research. In real life there is no algebra.”

I don’t particularly remember much of high school. But I figure a restroom is the most suitable place to hold a profound, soul-bearing conversation. Audrey and Donna have a bit of chat in the school’s most peculiar restroom. The former breaks the ice with a few words on her infatuation with Agent Cooper. Yet it soon turns out that she means to aid his investigation. Donna doesn’t seem too cooperative at first. This changes when Audrey reveals – after seeing behind the walls – that Laura was seeing Dr. Jacoby.

Donna didn’t know about this or about Laura’s possible involvement with One Eyed Jack’s. She also didn’t know about Ronette Pulaski working at the same perfume counter as Laura did. She now agrees to aid Audrey’s efforts, under the promise to keep their findings to themselves. No matter what your walk of life is, competence and initiative are universally attractive. Audrey’s proving to be much more than a pretty, nutty, charming young woman.

“I’ve changed. Give me a chance to prove it to you”

Last episode, Norma’s expression gave a foreboding approach at her husband. Now, at the State Prison, we’ll meet him in the flesh as she visits him. Hank Jennings’ very presence is a tad intimidating and his promises of change don’t ring too credibly. At the parole hearing, we learn that he’s been incarcerated for vehicular homicide. We also learn that the man is a bit of a wordsmith; he certainly knows how to talk. This and his shuddering wife’s statement leave a favourable impression towards his release. Unseen to all but the viewer, Hank toys with a domino 3/3 tile. Nothing about this character is encouraging and his imminent release may give Mr. Plausibility a rival in the ways of villainy. Still, neither of them seems to match the sheer vileness of the man seen in visions, dreams and a sketch.

Thinking back on Mr. Gerard’s words, Trooper stop at the Lydecker Veterinary Clinic. Cooper asks Andy to get some twine at a nearby convenience store while he and Truman go in. At this point, the giant hydrant and the pet llama should be fairly commonplace so, on to business. Cooper shows the receptionist the sketch, but she denies him being Dr. Lydecker. However, the Doctor does treat birds, which alludes to the bites found on Laura’s body. Cooper needs to confiscate the veterinary’s files, as the bird who attacked the young woman is most likely a patient in that clinic.


The lead to the clinic was not as solid as we may have expected. However, if Audrey is any indication, sometimes you just need to trust the kids for insight. Bobby proves an unlikely case during a make out session with Shelly. In between kisses, Shelly tells him that Leo is seeing Jacques Renault. Bobby works out that the two scumbags are smuggling cocaine across the border and pushing it at school. He starts thinking that they may have supplied Laura with drugs. In turn, Shelly shows him the bloodied shirt she had found in his laundry. Bobby thinks this shirt may just be the solution to their problems. Shelly and Bobby’s devious pragmatism look to be quite a foil to Audrey and Donna’s peculiar altruism.

“One woman can make you fly like an eagle another can give you the strength of a lion but only one in the cycle of life can fill your heart with wonder and the wisdom that you have known a singular joy. I wrote that for my girlfriend.”

Back at the department, the Boys bring the files. It’s time to sort out all the people who own birds, as you do. This is going to take Lucy some time but that’s alright; there is a pressing matter to address. To maintain a competent team, you need to observe the well-being of the individual parts. Andy’s been stressed because Lucy won’t talk to him. Such is life. Cooper and the Boys go down to the shooting range for some practice, from which Andy could benefit. Since the problem is of a ‘relationshippy’ nature, Truman ends up asking Cooper on his own experiences. Apparently, not even one like he can dodge the pains of heartbreak – the look on his eyes unmistakably says so.

As with many things, Hawk comes to the rescue with sound words. I’ve said that we all could benefit from listening to Cooper’s ways and putting them into practice. Well, this applies also for Hawk. Boys, girls, and all in-between and beyond: be proud of your significant others, love them and flaunt them because they’re magnificent. Anyway, Lucy notifies them that the files are alphabetically sorted by the pets’ names. So, this will take a while… longer. In the mean time, let’s go to the diner for a lamentable subversion of Hawk’s words quote above.

Shelly arrives at work with a heavy expression on her face. Norma just knows this is about Leo. The two empathise about their similar situations concerning the men they married. We know Leo abuses his wife, and Norma’s attitude about Hank doesn’t speak highly of him either, especially given her dismay when he is given parole. Although the context of their respective marriages’ subversions varies, their interaction portrays the timeless, loathsome reality of abusive relationships. The rude awakenings in this series tend to contrast with the uncanny and strange. They also make the diegetic universe all the more palpable.

“Please, let me be your daughter again.”

Meanwhile, James comes in to call Donna via payphone. She tells him that there’s new info on Laura, so they agree to meet up later. All the while, James is strangely not sad for once; he’s eying a girl who just came in. Given how closely lovely Maddy resembles Laura, this can be expected. He hadn’t met her before, so seeing Laura’s countenance alive once more inevitably leaves an impression. We can expect the effect to be reprised as the kids know her; good thing she’s staying for a while. Speaking of kids, however, let’s take a look at Audrey.

The young woman has a bit of a chat with her dad. She shows herself particularly vulnerable; we know better but Ben doesn’t. Her desire to start learning the ropes to her father’s business is rather convincing. This and her acting (or lying) abilities allow her to earn a position at the bottom of her father’s business. It’s the precise position she wants: the perfume counter, the lead to Laura and Ronette. It’s endearing to see Ben as a family man, but let’s not get too comfortable there. He soon gets a pretty suspicious call from somebody; plans for later are made.

“Fellas, let’s make a house call.”

We’re back to the tedious deskwork at the Sheriff’s Department. Cooper gets a call from Gordon with an update on Albert’s analysis. The bites were made by a parrot or a myna bird. The plastic object inside Laura’s stomach is a poker chip: One Eyed Jack’s. Also, Andy gets the winning file: a myna bird called Waldo, owned by Jacques fucking Renault. We got a link, and Andy should get a biscuit; well done, loveable doofus. AutoBoys, roll out!

Our heroes go in for another bust at an apartment complex. Little do they know, Bobby is around, behind the door they’re knocking on. He jumps out the window before they kick their way in. Hawk pursues the one they believe to the Jacques, but Bobby gets away. Nevertheless, Cooper finds the plausible bloody shirt: Leo Johnson and Jacques Renault got a connection. Immediately, we cut to Leo waiting in the woods for someone, in full red-Corvetted glory, as you do. We expect Jacques to be meeting him but, oh dear, it’s Benjamin Horne.

Mr. Horne wants him to do something for him. He knows Leo’s the man for the job, as Hank himself vouched for him; beautiful. Leo’s not too happy; when the fuck is he, anyway? He’s not satisfied with the performance of his business associates, the Renault Brothers. He killed one of them, Bernard because he was a liability. We learn from Leo that Jacques is staying in Canada, which complicates things a bit. Anyway, Mr. Horne wants Leo to burn the mill to the ground; lovely.

“James, the police didn’t love Laura. Nobody loved her but us.”

Also in the woods, Donna and James look for the spot where Laura’s necklace is buried. She told him of Sarah’s vision as referenced earlier in the episode and shown at the end of the pilot. Indeed, they don’t find anything, much to their bewilderment. Donna tells him that Laura’s mum used to see things and that Laura herself did too. The strange atmosphere encroaches inwards around them and an owl’s hoot seals the deal. This may prove too much for just the two of them. Nevertheless, their resolve to solve the mystery is strong. The passion of this moment flows through their veins, and so they kiss tenderly.

We close off this episode at the mill. Josie gets a call from Harry, who wants to know if she was at the motel earlier. She tells him she’ll call him in the morning, looking rather suspicious. She sorts through the mail and becomes unsettled at the sight of letter in particular. She opens it up, revealing it to be an image of 3/3 domino tile. Soon after, she receives another phone call… from Hank. He wants to know if she got his message.

We didn’t look much at the uncanny face of Twin Peaks this time around. Rather we got something just as obscure. Cooper and the Boys have their leads to pursue, but they’re pretty submerged in the dark still. With these strange connections, the spectators don’t have that much of an edge either. It goes to show that the affairs of human kind can be black as a moonless night, even without the intervention of the unexplainable. Everybody seems to have a hand deep in this game of shadows. Who can you trust not to pull a dagger from the obscurity? Until next time.


Images courtesy of CBS

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