Twin Peaks: Episode Six Review
Posted by therebelprince on July 29, 2009
” I feel like I’m going to dream tonight” – Laura Palmer
As it neared the end of its phenomenal first season, Twin Peaks oscillated between the steady, plot-progressing hand of Mark Frost, and the abstract and ambiguous 1950s-looking world of David Lynch. It was this combination that allowed it to remain critically successful and yet attract the entire world as an audience, but also the fragile balance that would lead to audience dissatisfaction and quick cancellation. This is the last episode that really pretends Twin Peaks is your standard suspense-fuelled mystery, and every scene purports to be related to Laura Palmer’s death.
The Audrey and Cooper sexual cliffhanger from last week is swiftly defused, as Cooper convinces Audrey to put her clothes back on, and they spend the night talking about her problems. In the morning, Coop and Truman prepare for their big sting on One-Eyed Jack’s.
As befits a penultimate episode, we get small snippets of every storyline, but not enough to be conclusive about most of them: Lucy (Kimmy Robertson) is ignoring Andy (Harry Goaz), but he doesn’t know why. I must admit, I find Lucy and Andy painful to watch ninety percent of the time. Given the number of ways Lucy’s character was used by the network – as an act-out “see you in a minute!” girl, for a hotline purporting to have “clues” (really just Lucy narrating what happened in the previous episode), and for various other advertisements – I must accept the tragic possibility that her antics were considered hysterical back in the day. Sadly, I can’t see how. If anyone has seen Lynch and Frost‘s On The Air – and if you haven’t, you should just for a laugh: it’s basically just Miguel Ferrer and half a dozen Lucys wandering around inside David Lynch’s head. Bizarre and painfully unfunny, On The Air is a testament to what happens when you don’t keep a steady hand on a truly strange artist. (And I say this as someone who loves the man)
Audrey follows a co-worker at Horne’s and discovers that Emory Battis uses the perfume counter as a way of linking pretty young girls to Black Rose’s brothel at One-Eyed Jack’s. Audrey schemes her way into a job interview there, which goes exceptionally well after she pulls the old “cherry-stem-in-the-mouth” bit. Unfortunately, Cooper doesn’t get around to receiving her message about this, as he himself is already heading across the border. It’s no surprise that Sherilyn Fenn was the pin-up of Twin Peaks. While Lara Flynn Boyle and Madchen Amick are just as pretty (not to mention Peggy Lipton, who hasn’t aged since about 1976), it’s Sherilyn who gets to pout and undress in these scenes and she plays it with panache.
(Incidentally, for a Thursday no one seems particularly interested in going to school this week – I know they’re approaching graduation, but it’s only March!)
Meanwhile, Ben and Jerry take a delegation of Icelanders up to One-Eyed Jack’s to seal the Ghostwood deal. Ben is in especially high spirits, since within a few hours he and Josie are going to have Catherine – and the mill – burned to a crisp… or so they think.
The life insurance salesman, to his credit, begins to suspect that Catherine’s new policy – signed without her in attendance – is a bit funky, so he comes to see her about it. Catherine plays it cleverly, defusing suspicion while also suffering the realisation that Ben and Josie are out for her blood.
Elsewhere, Hank tricks Shelley into revealing that Ed was the one who “helped” Norma through his absence, and Leo figures out that Bobby is sleeping with Shelley.
As Cooper, Truman, Ed and Hawk prepare to leave for their sting, a gunshot rings out: Waldo the mynah bird, the key witness to Laura’s experience in the log cabin with Jacques, Leo and Ronnette, has been shot. His cage swings over the spread of donuts, blood spattering on them. His last words as recorded by tape? “Laura don’t go there… Leo no!”. It all seems pretty convincing to Coop (and to us, since we know that Leo was the one who offed the bird) but also a little too convincing… clearly not all is as it seems.
It strikes me now, after watching this ABC Primetime Special on the disappointment many fans felt after the season ended, that people didn’t know what they were watching at all. Advertised by the network as an adventurous murder mystery, that was what audiences tuned in for (understandably). As such, every scene purports to tie back in the story. Subplots that we view today as “Norma’s plot” or “Bobby’s plot” seemed at the time to be potential causes for Laura’s death. It’s not necessarily bad (heck, it’s the reason that season one is so much tighter than season two) but it also means that the audience went into episode seven expecting resolution, and the connection of the increasingly diverging plotlines to the central one. We’ll discuss this more in the weeks to come, but certainly a feeling of disilluisonment about the season’s ending woudl be the first death knell for Twin Peaks.
Anyway, the episode ends with James and Donna implementing their plan: Madeleine (in a godawful Laura wig) lures Jacoby out of his office so the investigative duo can sneak in and get the missing tape Laura sent him. Jacoby, however, doesn’t go to the misdirected location but instead goes to the gazebo, where he has deduced Maddy/Laura is waiting. And someone else is already there, watching from the bushes…
* In the shooting script, Bobby also has a moment where he notices Maddy in the Laura wig. Apparently, he just moves on with little thoughts on the subject: clearly not among Twin Peaks’ best and brightest.
Next week: The first season comes to its end, with no resolution anywhere in sight. And J.R. Ewing finally gets a rival for gunshot cliffhangers.