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By  · Published on August 9th, 2016

Written by Harley Peyton, Directed by Tina Rathbone
Airdate April 26th, 1990

We open on Audrey at The Great Northern. She’s spying on Coop for the purpose of surreptitiously arranging a flirty morning meet with the Special Agent. Coop humors her because a) she’s Audrey, and b) he wants to test her handwriting against that on the note he found slipped under his door the previous day which alerted him to look into One Eyed Jacks. It’s a match, and not just the handwriting but the perfume that scented the envelope, as well. She tells him she did it because she wants to help him solve Laura’s murder. She says One Eyed Jacks is more than a casino, she insinuates it’s a brothel, and when Coop asks if Laura worked there, Audrey doesn’t know but she does know Laura worked afterschool at her dad’s department store, specifically at the perfume counter. This sets off an alarm in Coop because that’s the same place Ronette Pulaski worked. Furthermore, if you remember Ben Horne’s gross comment to his brother Jerry about a new girl working at OEJ “freshly-scented from the perfume counter,” you’ll realize there is indeed a connection between one job and the other. This interlude is interrupted when Truman and Lucy show up, there to hear who Cooper thinks killed Laura, which he called Truman about in the middle of the night after his dream at the end of the last episode. Coop explains his dream to them, how two men, Mike and BOB – not Mike Nelson and Bobby Briggs – were a pair of killers living above a convenience store; Mike wanted to stop killing so chopped off his arm with a FIRE WALK WITH ME tattoo on it – the same phrase found written in blood on a scrap of paper at Laura’s murder scene – while BOB wanted to keep killing. To settle this dispute, Mike shot BOB*. Coop explains the Man From Another Place, the Laura-who’s-not-Laura-and-might-be-her-cousin, and all the other cryptic clues from the red room, and reveals the thing that Laura whispered in the ear of his older self was the name of her killer. Unfortunately, he doesn’t remember it. This is why I keep a notepad by the bed, Coop. Regardless, his ultimate point is that the dream is a code that if broken will solve the crime.

(* the “Mike shot BOB” thing is a matter of some confusion because it doesn’t really explain itself and it never comes up in the rest of the series. That’s because it’s a reference to the ending of the European pilot, which was a part of the initial deal with ABC: in case the pilot hadn’t been picked up, the network wanted an alternate ending that would close the narrative circle so they could sell it as a movie in Europe. In this alternate ending – and this is spoiler free for the actual series, don’t worry – BOB is shot and killed by Mike. This is also the reason Coop says Truman and Lucy were in his dream, which we didn’t see – another reference to the European pilot.)(This alternate ending is also proof that the Black and White Lodges hadn’t been conceived yet when the series began, but that’s a note for another time.)

Coop and Truman get called to the morgue by an irate Doc Hayward, who’s pissed at forensics specialist Agent Albert Rosenfield on account of some invasive tests he wants to run; the girl is set to be buried today. Oddly enough, it’s an inexplicably-present Ben Horne who brokers order and intercedes on behalf of the absent Palmers. Albert in his Albert fashion tells them all to screw off and starts to proceed anyway, which leads to a minor physical altercation in which Truman ends up slugging Albert. Coop sides with the others and orders Albert to release the body for the funeral and produce his results toot suite.

At the Palmer’s house, Leland is being administered intravenous sedatives, which he needs when Laura’s brunette doppelganger walks in. This is Madeline Ferguson, and like the not-Laura in Coop’s dream, she is a cousin (Sarah’s sister’s kid) who looks exactly like Laura Palmer but for the darker locks (curled for now) and a pair of big-ass Sally Jessie Raphael glasses. She’s come to town from Missoula, Montana (where David Lynch was born) for Laura’s funeral. Leland, sobbing, embraces her, which makes her sob as well, but really all you’re paying attention to is the fact that this girl looks exactly like Laura Palmer. It’s creepy times 10.

Maddy was another afterthought by Lynch after working with Sheryl Lee and discovering she had tons more to offer the series than just portraying a beautiful corpse. After the pilot had been shot and before the series had started to air Lynch convinced Sheryl Lee to take a leap of faith and move to Los Angeles. At that point Maddy hadn’t even been created, only the spark of her existed, but it was enough for Lee to feel like she could trust her instincts and go for it. Thank god she did, because Maddy provides a lot of the heart Laura was supposed to have, and fills an emotional void.

Meanwhile at the Double R diner, Norma is meeting with a parole officer, but not hers. Her heretofore unseen husband Hank is an inmate whose latest hearing is tomorrow and if all goes well, he could be released shortly thereafter. The officer wants to know if Norma can help Hank find gainful employment if that becomes the case, which of course she can because she owns the diner. The officer also hits on her pretty blatantly, but she shuts him down with that trademark Norma-coolness.

Coop and Truman go pay a visit to Leo Johnson, who was “identified” by Coop’s Tibetan deductive stone-throwing last episode. The three men discuss Leo’s knowledge or claimed lack thereof regarding Laura, his minor but steadily-escalating criminal record, and his whereabouts the night of Laura’s murder: according to him he was on the road and called home from Montana, which he’s very, very certain his wife Shelly can verify, because he’s an abusive asshole.
As they ready themselves for the funeral, Major Briggs attempts to have a heart-to-heart with his son Bobby. As usual, the Major’s practical, analytical nature conflicts with Bobby’s hyper-rebellion to jarringly-melodramatic effects. Their relationship is one of the best on the show and gets more dynamic with each interaction.

Albert meets with Coop and Truman to present his results. The baggie found taped in Laura’s diary holding the safety deposit key did indeed have cocaine inside, and her toxicology exam was positive for the drug as well. There were two types of twine found in the ligature marks pressed into her wrists and upper arms; one type matches that found in the traincar, one matches that used to bind Ronette Pulaski. Albert concludes from all this that Laura was tied up twice the night she died, in two different places – once at the wrists, and once at the bicep with her arms pulled back. This recalls what not-Laura said in Coop’s dream: “sometimes my arms bend back.” Albert continues: there were traces of some kind of soap outside the traincar that matched traces found on the back of Laura’s neck. This soap is not the brand she used at home, which causes Albert to draw the super-creepy conclusion that the killer killed Laura, washed their hands, took her by the neck as they leaned in for a kiss, then vamoosed. Furthermore – yeah, there’s more, the grisly details of that night are starting to become appallingly clear – there are distinctive wounds on Laura’s neck and shoulders that Albert has determined are claw marks, animal in nature. Finally, there was a small piece of plastic found in Laura’s stomach which Albert will have to take elsewhere to analyze, owing to something-something-backwoods-dimwits, but in the meantime he points out a mark on the plastic that looks like the letter J. More answers that ask questions. At the scene’s conclusion, Albert tries to get Coop to sign his complaint against Truman for the sucker punch earlier that day. Coop refuses and stands up for the good people of Twin Peaks, which it is obvious he has developed a deep affinity for. After Albert leaves, perturbed, Coop makes a mention to Diane that he’s thinking of looking into property in Twin Peaks, property for himself, he means. This is the first solid evidence that the Special Agent is taking more than a passing fancy to the town, and is thinking about laying down roots. This is both very charming, and very, very dangerous.

In an ickily-amorous bit of exposition as they too are preparing for Laura’s funeral, Naomi reveals that she, Ed and Norma all went to high school together, and Ed and Norma were the quarterback-head cheerleader It couple. What she doesn’t reveal is how the tables turned so drastically for Big Ed, although this does explain the origins of the affair between Ed and Norma. Nephew James comes home amidst this and refuses to go with them to the funeral. He can’t do it. He just can’t.

Audrey has a secret passage between the walls of The Great Northern that allows her to spy in on her father’s office. Today she uses it to eavesdrop on an argument between her parents about whether or not they will be taking mentally-disabled brother Johnny to the funeral wearing his authentic Native American headdress. Mrs. Horne wants to let the boy alone, but Ben angrily thinks it’s inappropriate. It’s the first time he’s been on the right side. Fortunately, Dr. Jacoby is there to mediate, and the headdress comes off.

It’s time for Laura’s funeral. Pretty much everyone in town is there, even James, though he hangs back moodily from the graveside. During the service, Bobby flips the fuck out and starts blaming everyone, saying they all knew Laura was in trouble but no one did anything to help her. He calls them hypocrites, he says they killed Laura, every single one of them. Then he spies James. They lock eyes, separate loves for the same woman burning bright and hatefully in each. They charge at each other but get separated by the crowd before they can clash. Bobby publically vows to kill James, which in itself would be a pretty lousy way to end a funeral if not for what happens next: Leland, overwrought with grief, belly-flops onto Laura’s casket as it’s being lowered into the grave. The impact messes with the hydraulics, which raises the coffin then lowers it again, the raises it, lowers it, over and over again. I dare you not to laugh. Sarah however is not amused, and chides her husband not to “ruin this too.”

This is the only instance in the entire series in which all of the regular cast was on set the same day, and despite how it looks, the scene wasn’t shot in Washington State, but rather in a cemetery in Southern California where potted pines had to block out the palm trees in the background.

According to recollections in Bradley Dukes’ most-excellent REFLECTIONS: AN ORAL HISTORY OF TWIN PEAKS, there was a lot of flexibility to the scene in terms of improvisation. Dana Ashbrook (Bobby) stole the scene with his bombastic tantrum, and Ray Wise (Leland) suggested the tragically-hilarious coda. Just another example
of TWIN PEAKS as a living, breathing collaboration.

Back in the narrative, in a rare moment of non-sweetness, Shelly entertains diner patrons with her napkin-dispenser rendition of Leland’s funeral freak out. Admittedly it’s pretty funny, but too soon Shell, too soon. In the background, Truman, Hawk and Ed are meeting. Ed’s afraid “someone” won’t be able to figure out “something” on his own, and warns Truman to be careful who he trusts. Truman isn’t worried, though, because the “someone” in question is Coop. The Special Agent shows up and they let him in on a town secret: someone’s been bringing in drugs from Canada. They’ve been working six months on a bust that targets everyone in the operation from top to bottom, including Road House bartender Jacques Renault. Coop notes that this is a police matter and Ed’s not police, which leads to Truman explaining how Twin Peaks’ idyllic isolation isn’t always as serene as it seems; there is an evil here, a darkness in the woods that takes many forms and has existed as long as recorded history, but so have the men of Twin Peaks who have sworn to fight off this evil, men like those seated with Coop at the table, known in respected whispers as the Bookhouse Boys. They swipe the outside of their right eye, their secret signal, and take Coop to this Bookhouse they’re named for where James and another biker Joey Paulson – the same kid who took Donna from The Road House to rendezvous with James at the end of episode one – have Bernard Renault, Jacques’ brother, bound and gagged. Bernard was caught that morning crossing the Canadian border with an ounce of cocaine, and they want to ask him a couple questions, Bookhouse-style. Bernie-boy claims the coke is for personal use, and dispels the theory that Jacques is on the run, saying he’ll be at work that very night. Seems a little too easy to Coop, and turns out it is.

As he’s walking to The Road House, Jacques notices a small red light flashing on top of the building, which causes him to turn tail and skedaddle. He calls Leo and tells him he’s got to give him a lift northward. Leo obliges. Shelly meanwhile, takes a pistol from her purse and hides it away with Leo’s bloody shirt.

At her place, Josie and Truman are sharing a bottle of red and some do-me eyes, but she’s troubled, convinced something horrible is going to happen to her via Catherine and Ben Horne. She insinuates her husband Andrew’s accidental death maybe wasn’t an accident at all, and tells Truman about the two mill ledgers she found in Catherine’s safe, one legit, one not so much. Josie doesn’t think Catherine knows she knows, but oh she knows, cuz she’s listening over the intercom. C’mon, Josie! This awareness is punctuated when Josie takes Truman to the safe to show him the two ledgers but can’t because there’s only one ledger in there now. Guess which one? Catherine herself is clutching the fakie, which she re-hides.

Staking out Laura’s gravesite that night, Coop observes Dr. Jacoby saying the solemn and solitary goodbye he hadn’t been able to say at the funeral because he hadn’t been in attendance. Coop approaches him. Jacoby tells how Laura was more than a patient to him, her trauma reached him emotionally, it forged a connection that constitutes a feeling like love for the girl. It’s creepy in a sad way, but doesn’t seem predatory.

Back at the Packard place, a nervous Josie now knows what Catherine and Ben want – the mill and the land, respectively – and worries they’ll try to kill her to get it. Not while Sheriff Harry S. Truman is around they won’t. Smooching ensues.

And finally, at The Great Northern Coop and Hawk have a soulful discussion, literally, and Leland makes the dance floor a real uncomfortable place when “Transylvania 6–5000” comes on and he starts crying and begging women to dance with him. Coop and Hawk take him home, and the last thing we see is a red, wind-swung stoplight perhaps warning them against it.

This episode was the first written by Harley Peyton, who would go on to become one of the series’ main scripters along with Frost and Robert Engels (who gets his solo shot next episode). Peyton was Emmy nominated for this episode, and over the course of the series would write or contribute to a dozen others. No one, not even Frost, had his name on more scripts than Peyton. At the time his only credit was the screenplay for LESS THAN ZERO (which kicks ass and is the first on-screen pairing of Iron Man and Ultron, if you want to get weirdly technical), but since then he’s gone on to write a slew of features including the Bruce Willis-Cate Blanchett vehicle BANDITS and the biopic THE BRONX IS BURNING about 1977 New York City and its beloved Yankees.
At the helm of the episode was Tina Rathborne, who was hot off the acclaim of her 1988 feature ZELLY AND ME, which starred Isabella Rossellini and featured David Lynch in an acting role. At the time, Rossellini and Lynch were in a romantic relationship that sprang out of their work on BLUE VELVET and would last until roughly around the time TWIN PEAKS started to air. ZELLY AND ME remains Rathborne’s only feature, and the episodes of TWIN PEAKS she directed (she returns in season 2) were the last time she’s listed as being behind the camera.

All in all, after a couple episodes of secrets and cryptic clues, the investigation into the death of Laura Palmer finally starts to get some traction this episode, and the meticulous progress through the case showcases Mark Frost’s police procedural background from his days as a writer and story editor on HILL STREET BLUES. Coop and co. are chasing down leads and looking for evidence the old fashioned way, with interrogations and observation-based deduction. This is more linear storytelling, like the crime dramas audiences of the time were used to, and it’s a stroke of genius to balance this against the previous episode and its eight-minute trip into the red room, because this is the TWIN PEAKS narrative aesthetic: give them something weird then give them something they recognize, balance the offbeat with the conventional, using the former to subvert the latter. This reminds the more skeptical audience members that though the way TWIN PEAKS arrives at a solution is going to be unpredictable, there is indeed a solution, and it will be unearthed.


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