Introducing Annie Blackburn.
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EPISODE 24: “WOUNDS AND SCARS”
Written by Barry Pullman, Directed by James Foley
Airdate March 28th, 1991
This was the series’ first episode back after a six-week hiatus. Only the diehards were watching at this point, and there was a pervasive feeling among them that things were coming to an end; even if cancellation wasn’t certain at this point, the writing was on the wall all the same.
We open on Sheriff Harry S. Truman drowning his sorrows over Josie’s strange death in some whiskey and imagined sax at the Bookhouse. Hawk brings him some breakfast from the diner, because apparently the Sheriff has been drinking all night. He’s reticent enough to ask how things are at work. All about Earle, Hawk says, but they’re holding it together for now with Coop at the helm. Hawk leaves Truman to wallow because he knows the Sheriff needs to get this pain out of his system his own way.
At the diner, Norma’s little sister Annie arrives. My lifelong appreciation for Heather Graham began right here, following a major infatuation directed her way after seeing License to Drive. Annie, we recall, has returned to Twin Peaks after leaving her life in a convent. The sisters reunite but Annie is quick to note she doesn’t want charity, she wants to work for her keep. Beautiful and honest, what a combo. Down the counter Major Briggs is visited by the Log Lady, who notices the new mark behind his right ear. She seems distraught by it.
Hawk is reporting Harry’s condition to Coop, who’s a little overwhelmed with being in charge of the department, not to mention having seen BOB again when Josie died. Speaking of Josie, her autopsy results came back and Doc Hayward was unable to determine the cause of her death. Furthermore, she weighed an impossible 65 pounds. As for Earle, Coop’s just waiting for his response to the latest chess move.
In his cabin in the woods, Earle at that very moment is reading Coop’s move in the town paper’s personals column. When he realizes the move doesn’t allow him to claim any pieces, he knows what Coop is up to, and furthermore knows he’s being helped. This counts as cheating to Earle, and he vows many people are going to regret this then plays a jaunty tune on his shakuhachi flute. His wedding ring is prominently featured.
At The Great Northern, Audrey is running various tasks when JJW appears and they awkwardly but cutely apologize to each other for last night’s dinner, then set up a nice picnic for the weekend. Each seems equally smitten with the other.
Coop visits Harry with some cold truth: in addition to killing Eckhardt, killing Jonathan in Seattle, and trying to kill Coop, Josie was also wanted by Interpol for a long, long list of felony charges, two of which were for prostitution. Coop says Truman needs to know all this, who she was, he needs to know the person he’s making her to be in memory isn’t the person she was in reality. But Harry isn’t hearing it.
Catherine, meanwhile, is going about her business when Thomas Eckhardt’s lovely executive assistant Jones (Brenda Strong, Seinfeld) comes to see her. She’s there to expedite Eckhardt’s body back across the Pacific and says he and Josie are to be buried side-by-side. Catherine pulls a casual pistol on Jones to help her hurry to the point. Jones has brought a gift for Catherine from Thomas. It’s a black box. Jones says she’ll be leaving town that night and wishes Catherine good luck, then saunters out of the room. I wish there’d been more of Jones, she’s intriguing in a way Eckhardt was not, and there seems to be broad potential for the character. Alas, she’s all but done with Twin Peaks.
Earle, in disguise, shows up at Donna’s looking for her parents, who aren’t there. He claims to be a fellow doctor and an old friend stopping by for a surprise visit. So Donna, apparently unscarred by the murder of her best friend, her best friend’s cousin, and her own near-murder at the hands of Harold Smith, invites this strange adult male into her completely empty house. Small talk is made, then Earle says he has a gift for her dad for the occasion of the 30th anniversary of their med school graduation, but she can’t open it. He also gives her a card with his phone number. Not at all creepy, Donna, don’t worry about it.
Pete is keeping his chess skills sharp by plotting future hypothetical moves. He’s gone through every stalemate match in recorded history, and there’s no way to arrive at one without sacrificing a minimum of six pieces, or six people in the real world. Coop suggests they prioritize protecting royalty, that’s Earle’s real prize. Major Briggs and the Log Lady show up needing to talk with Coop about the mark Briggs got when he was missing. The log noticed it, and caused Margaret to remember something: she has a similar mark on the back of her right leg. It isn’t exactly the same, instead of three identical triangles it’s two irregular ones, symmetrically side-by-side. If you’re watching the series on the Gold Box Set, you’ll recognize Margaret’s symbol as the same as the episode indicator on the DVD menu. She says she got it when she was seven and went walking in the woods. It only felt like she was gone a few hours to her, but when she returned people told her she’d been missing for a day. All she could ever remember about her time away was a flash of light and the mark on her leg. Coop draws it on the chalkboard next to a sketch of Briggs’ mark. The Major points out that all three of them, Coop included, have seen this white light. Margaret adds that she heard the call of an owl at the time of the light, as did Briggs and Coop. She also says the only other time she heard that sound and saw that sight in conjunction is when her husband died in a fire the night they were wed. Looking at the symbols together, everyone can sense that they connect to something, but they’re just not sure what.
It’s picnic time for JJW and Audrey. He’s serenading her with acapella cowboy songs, and dude’s game is on point because she’s gobbling it up. These are two very beautiful people; the children they could’ve had. Audrey at this point is way over Coop and pretty much says so out loud, laying a clear emotional path for JJW.
Doc and Mrs. Hayward return and are told of their visitor. They know the name he gave, Gerald Craig, but say isn’t possible the man was actually there. Donna tells them the whole story and shows her father the card and the gift Earle left. Doc is unsettled, and rightfully so because Gerald Craig was his indeed roommate in med school but he died, drowned in a rafting incident, Doc knows for certain, he tried to save his friend’s life but failed. Eileen calls the phone number on the card: it’s a cemetery. Doc opens the gift: it’s a chess piece, a black knight, with a written move tied around its neck, Knight to King’s Bishop 3. Doc knows the danger this denotes and heads directly for Coop.
Meanwhile the other Doc in town, Jacoby, is brokering the relationship dissolution between Ed and Nadine. She thinks it’s a dating break-up, so Jacoby’s trying to get through to her without freaking her out that it’s a divorce they’re talking about. He’s not getting through, though, Nadine’s wounded mind just isn’t ready to handle the truth. So Jacoby puts it to her plainly. Her response is to instantly lose the imagined vision in her already dead eye, a sign she’s returning to the Nadine she was.
Back at the Hayward’s there’s a knock at the door. When Donna starts downstairs to answer it, she sees her mom is already there. Talking hushed tones, Ben Horne leans into view and takes Mrs. Hayward’s hand in a loving gesture, then gets on his knees so they are face to face – she’s in a wheelchair you’ll remember – and he places a finger over his lips then leans in tenderly and whispers something to her. Their body language betrays an intimate knowledge of one another. Donna watches everything undetected.
At the diner, Norma shows Shelly a flyer for the Miss Twin Peaks pageant and suggests Shelly enter, there’s cash and a scholarship up for grabs. Earle, in disguise as a biker, overhears and seconds the suggestion. Shelly is, after all, a bombshell in every way. Then Cooper enters. Earle sees him but Coop doesn’t recognize his former partner so pays him no mind. He can’t help but notice, however, the exquisitely beautiful young woman who comes to take his order: Annie. He’s instantly flustered and captivated in a way we’ve never seen him. He deduces who she is and introduces himself. She seems a little smitten as well. Coop notices a cut mark on Annie’s wrist, and Earle sourly notices their innocent flirtation. Cooper senses this ire, perhaps, but when he glances Earle’s direction the man is gone. But Hawk is there, telling Coop they have a problem at the Bookhouse.
Once there, they see Truman has torn the place apart in rage. He’s drunk as a skunk and down as a goose, and more than a little crazy with grief. He’s got his gun out. Even Coop can’t calm him at first. This is the single best scene Michael Ontkean ever performs in the series, and his portrayal of Truman at his lowest delivers us to a place of unexpected emotional depth. The anger and desperation tearing this strong, stoic man apart is heartbreaking, but in time Harry crumbles into his friend’s embrace and the corner is turned.
Mike and Nadine are checking into The Great Northern for one night only, under assumed names, and in costume. Kinky.
Ben is in the lounge hosting a Stop Ghostwood campaign meeting aimed at halting the development from hastening the extinction of the pine weasel. The highlight of the evening is a fashion show hosted by Dick Tremayne with models including Lucy and Andy as prepped by Audrey. At the bar, Catherine pops by to say hello to Ben and openly doubt his newfound sincerity. He’s been changed, he claims, fundamentally altered as a person, and now he needs to thoroughly scrub his conscience clean, hence the do-gooder attitude. He hopes the same can happen for her, and she almost believes him. Almost. Pinkel (David Lander again, the medical supply salesmen last seen at Leo’s) brings out a live pine weasel in an attempt to implore donations from the audience. He takes it out of its cage and starts extolling the creature’s virtues and traits, such as its attraction to bright shiny objects, like the studs of Dick’s tuxedo shirt, and the smell of cheap cologne, like whatever Dick is wearing. I think you can see where this is going. Dick is persuaded to give the weasel a kiss for the audience at which point it bites him square on the nose, which incites a room-clearing panic that ends with Audrey and JJW kissing amidst the chaos.
At the Bookhouse, the unknown deputy left to watch over a passed-out Sheriff Truman is knocked out by Jones, who then undresses and gets into bed with the Sheriff…
This episode is the third of four written by Barry Pullman; he’ll be back for episode 28, the penultimate. Directing the episode is James Foley, who at the time was known for his early films Reckless, At Close Range with Sean Penn and Who’s That Girl? with Madonna, for whom he also directed some music videos, including “True Blue” and the uber-cinematic “Papa Don’t Preach.” If you’re catching a Penn-Madonna-Foley connection, it goes even deeper than you think: at the wedding of Penn and Madonna, Foley was the best man. After Twin Peaks his career would really pick up on the big screen – with films like Glengarry Glen Ross, The Chamber, and Confidence – and in television shows like Hannibal, House of Cards, and Billions. This would be the only episode of this series he would direct, and in fact it was his first foray into television. For a debut, Foley handles a mid-stream show with myriad plotlines adeptly enough.
The White Lodge gets a tad bit of exploration this week, namely through its connection to Margaret the Log Lady. By all accounts, it would seem she too has visited the White Lodge (as a child), so is another attuned to its particular vibrations. We also get the most information to date on her husband, who though still unnamed is also revealed to have had experience with the Lodge – it’s the only other time Margaret saw the white light and heard the owl together, the seeming announcement of the White Lodge – but given that his experience ended with a fire that killed him, it seems safe to say it wasn’t just the White Lodge he encountered. This thread won’t be sufficiently answered, if ever, until a certain scene in Fire Walk With Me involving a certain cultural and musical icon.
The overall atmosphere at this point is a chess match, not just between Coop and Earle, good and evil, but also between the network and the show, the network seeking to wrap things up, and the show trying to claim as much narrative territory as possible before this happens. You can almost feel the series and its cast and crew fighting for their show, or at least looking to solidify themselves in the public mind before moving on to the next job.
And while the mirrored Coop/Annie and Audrey/JJW romances are charming in their own ways, ultimately they’re a hurtful substitute for the love between the Special Agent and Miss Horne that should have been.
Between Two Worlds: Perspectives on Twin Peaks
The first two seasons of Twin Peaks are now available to stream on Netflix and Showtime’s digital platforms. Season 3 starts sometime in the next few months on Showtime. If you need an episode guide layered with insight, might I recommend the above, and for more Twin Peaks updates, trivia, and assorted ephemera, follow me on Twitter.