The Blog Formerly Known as Rebel Prince

Cult TV, Gen Y rants, and endless opera.

Twin Peaks: Episode Three Review

Posted by therebelprince on July 19, 2009


Welcome back as we continue our retrospective look at Twin Peaks.  “Episode Three”, or “Rest in Pain”, is the fourth straight pitch-perfect episode of the series. No wonder it had so much to live up to late in the piece.


“Everybody knew she was in trouble, but we didn’t do anything. All you good people… you wanna know who killed Laura? You did. We all did! And pretty words aren’t gonna bring her back, man, so save your prayers. She would’ve laughed at them anyway.”

– Bobby Briggs

We open with Cooper at breakfast where, after some light flirting with Audrey (back when the network apparently thought this relationship was okay… or before Lara Flynn Boyle pulled back the leash on then-boyfriend Kyle MacLachlan, if you believe the rumours), he is met by Sheriff Truman and Lucy. After some exquisite stalling, Coop makes the announcement: he’s forgotten who killed Laura Palmer, as revealed to him in last night’s dream.

The town prepares for Laura’s funeral, and it’s emotional through-and-through. In fact, the entire episode is astonishing: the autopsy sequence, as Ben and Doc Hayward stand off against Albert, who has come to examine the body and wishes to delay the funeral. Cooper takes the side of the townspeople, and has his own subtle moment with the body as he contemplates the nature of Laura’s life and death.

Later, the funeral itself is one of the standout moments of the series. Johnny Horne blurts out random cries of “Amen!” as Bobby launches into a cutting eulogy, implicating all those around her in Laura’s death. The event devolves into a fistfight and then hystrionics from Sarah, who had managed to keep herself composed until Leland jumps on top of the coffin as it is being lowered into the ground. It’s…. complicated.

There are a number of touching scenes scattered throughout the first half of the episode: Major Briggs gets the first of his many monologues, here accompanied by a slightly-overacting Dana Ashbrook. Don S. Davis was just fantastic during the series, imbuing every scene with poignance, even in the most surreal of his speeches.

There’s a lovely moment between Nadine and Ed as they prepare for the funeral. It neatly suggests – as do other scenes in these early episodes – that her season two persona is not just the result of the drug overdose, but that her mental facilities were on edge already. And the scene also portrays Ed’s dilemma quite nicely. The Ed/Norma relationship was always one of my favourites, not just because of the maturity and chemistry of Everett McGill and Peggy Lipton, but because they each faced real struggles. Ed, particularly, is perfectly drawn: his reasons for marrying Nadine (which we’ll explore in “Episode Eight”) were poorly chosen but he can’t regret it. She’s not just in love with him, she relies on him, and that’s not something he can reject lightly.

 Below: among the mourners Cooper (Kyle MacLachlan), Nadine (Wendy Robie), Ed (Everett McGill), Norma (Peggy Lipton) and Shelley (Madchen Amick).

After the funeral, Cooper gets his first look at the Bookhouse: the secret organisation with members including James, Truman, Hawk and Joey Paulson. It puts a few breadcrumbs in the trail of plot points that will lead to blackjack dealer and bartender Jacques Renault (Walter Olkewicz) and his connection to drug running over the Canadian border. More importantly, it allows us to get the first hints of the “evil” that lurks in the woods. The scene where Truman explains the nature of Twin Peaks to Cooper is eerie and well-written; it’s a pity that it’s forgotten in season two, when Truman becomes much less interesting and a whole lot more ho-hum, as he bemusedly follows the FBI Agent around in search of the supernatural.

But anyway, we end with a few plot tidbits: Josie lures Truman into the battle between her and Catherine by mixing truth (the two ledgers) with lies (a belief that Catherine killed Andrew Packard). Elsewhere, Leland breaks down at the Great Northern and Laura’s very similar cousin Madeleine Ferguson (also Sheryl Lee, in the show’s most overt use of duality to date) shows up to stay.

The episode ends with two wonderful duologues for Cooper. First, he meets Dr. Jacoby out at Laura’s grave. Russ Tamblyn always proves himself to be moving and effective, here realising how much he misses Laura. Then, Hawk speaks with Cooper about the spirit world, and the mysteries surrounding Twin Peaks. Watching this show, I’ve often cringed for poor Michael Horse having to spout the pseudo-mythical “Native American” dreck that the writers came up with. In season one, however, he is as well-written as the characters around him, and adds a nice touch to the Twin Peaks mosaic.

Intrigued by the pictures of the diary and the Great Northern’s waterfall clock? They’re from Twin Peaks Props, a niche – but fascinating – website featuring photographs and details on many of the iconic props used in the series. Check it out.

Next time: Audrey begins her own investigation, Hank Jennings gets parolled, and Little Elvis gets a bath…

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