EPISODE 10: “THE MAN BEHIND GLASS”
Written by Robert Engels, Directed by Lesli Linka Glatter
Airdate October 13th, 1990
This week’s episode opens on a frantic note with Ronette Pulaski thrashing about violently in her hospital bed, seizing and ripping out her IV. She has to be restrained and sedated, and only then is it determined by Albert that her IV has been tainted by someone, someone who, Coop discovers, also slipped a small typed letter under her fingernail, the same sort as was found on the bodies of Laura and Teresa Banks, which indicates this attack was meant to be fatal. The letter is B. Truman doesn’t understand how any of this is possible as there’s been a guard on the room 24 hours a day, but the proof can’t be denied. Since the letters were never made public, Coop knows this can only be the work of the one true killer. He tells Albert and Truman about his visit by the Giant and the three things he told Coop. They take this odd news as well as anyone would.
Donna meets with Harold Smith, the agoraphobe on Laura’s Meals on Wheels route and the man she was told by the mysterious Mrs. Tremond who might know something about Laura. Harold is a surprise – not the old shut-in Donna was expecting but a younger, handsome man – and furthermore reveals he knows who exactly Donna is, Laura had wanted him to get in touch if anything ever happened to her. His apartment is unusually warm because he grows a ton of orchids inside. He wonders if Donna might do him the favor of taking one of the flowers to lay at Laura’s grave. Of course she will, and he steps away to prepare it. While he’s out of the room, she spies a piece of paper sticking out of his bookshelf and moves to investigate. Before she can learn anything, though, Harold re-enters with the orchid.
She takes it and leaves but says she’ll return, which he obviously likes the sound of.
At the station, Coop is going over with Truman the three letters they have – R, B, and T – from the three victims of BOB – Teresa Banks, Ronette Pulaski, and Laura Palmer, respectively. As far as Coop knows, there are only four people involved with the investigation who have seen BOB: Sarah Palmer and Maddy Ferguson in visions, himself in a dream, and Ronette in person. Albert proceeds with his latest findings: the cocaine found in James’ gas tank matched the traces found in Jacques Renault’s apt and at Leo Johnson’s house. The supposition is Leo planted it on James, but they can’t exactly ask Leo because he’s pretty much a vegetable after being shot. The boots found under the porch at Jacques’ cabin haven’t been worn, and the letter planted under Ronette’s fingernail was taken from an issue of Flesh World. Pictures of the BOB sketch have been sent nationwide but so far no one has him in any database. And lastly, Coop was shot with a Walther PPK, best known as 007’s gun, but that’s all there is to know about that situation. Albert and Truman have yet another clash of personalities that leads to a minor scuffle during which Albert reveals himself to be an aggressive pacifist whose philosophy, like Gandhi and MLK, is based on a foundation of unconditional love. He tells Truman he loves him, then he leaves. It’s the most beautiful moment of male bonding I’ve ever seen.
James is released from jail, but Coop’s tired of the boy’s interference and sternly tells him so. James goes, and Dick Tremayne (Ian Buchannan) enters. Apparently he’s another paramour of Lucy’s, as well as the menswear designer for Horne’s fashion store. Lucy’s a little miffed at him and he notices so offers to take her to lunch. Dutch, of course.
Then Leland Palmer shows up at the station with the wanted poster of BOB he saw at The Great Northern. He tells Coop, Truman and Hawk that he knows this man from when his was a little boy, he was Leland’s grandfather’s neighbor at Pearl Lakes; he thinks the man’s name was Robertson. This aligns with the three letters pulled from the girls’ fingernails. There’s one last thing Leland remembers: Robertson used to flick lit matches at him and asked if he wanted to play with fire. This aligns with what James told Coop Laura said her mystery man often asked her. This was revealed in the conversation Laura and James had the night she recited the “Fire Walk With Me” poem to him, and the same conversation, we all remember, when she also said her mystery man asked if she wanted to play with BOB. Adding all this up, Coop’s convinced this Robertson is their man.
Dick and Lucy dine at the Double R. He’s a self-absorbed bore and no kind of gentleman. Lucy reveals they had a thing – a romantic thing – but it’s been six weeks since he called her. He lamely claims he lost her phone number, but she’s not letting him off the hook that easy. She says they’d been going out for three months, he’d made promises to her, including a trip to Seattle. They were intimate. Then he ghosted her. He offers to buy her a dress to make up for things. She thinks that’s a grand idea, and suggests one from the maternity department. Dick falls uncharacteristically quiet.
In a booth nearby, James is asking Maddy if Donna seems a little different lately; she’s been smoking, acting all tough, and wearing those sunglasses of Laura’s, not to mention the way she kissed him in jail. Maddy doesn’t care for this last detail but James doesn’t notice, as he’s too preoccupied with his own angst, and is contemplating taking a bike trip to clear his head. Maddy consoles him by taking his hand, and this is the opportune moment when Donna happens to walk in. Naturally, she misreads the situation and proceeds to play up Harold Smith as a handsome, charming, smart man, “completely unlike” anyone she knows. James, ever the dullest tool in the shed, doesn’t catch her drift, but Donna doesn’t bother to explain it to him and instead bolts in a huff.
Audrey is still at One Eyed Jacks where she’s been revealed as Ben Horne’s daughter and as such is bound, gagged, and being drugged by Blackie and Emory Battis. Battis wants to get rid of her because she knows Laura briefly worked there and she knows it’s her own dad who owns the joint. It’s because of all this, though, that Blackie’s willing to bet Ben will pay handsomely to get his daughter and his secrets back, and with that kind of money she could buy him out of One Eyed Jacks and own the place free and clear. In the meantime and for good measure, she’s going to turn Audrey into a heroin junkie, just like Ben did to her.
Phillip Gerard the one-armed man is showing Truman some of the boots he sells. While talking up his product, he sees the wanted poster of BOB and gets lightheaded. He asks to use the bathroom so that he might take his “medication. “
Truman takes this opportunity to meet with Shelly, who is waiting in his office at his request. She saves him the pitch, though: she’s not going to make a statement against Leo regarding the mill fire and her abduction/attempted murder. Truman tries to talk her into it, saying they already know the truth, they just need her to verify it, but she sticks to her stubborn guns. Coop jumps in and gives it a reverse-psychological go, but that doesn’t work, either. The girl’s mind is made and that’s where it’s staying. When she leaves, Coop says he knows her refusal is part of an insurance scam, he just can’t figure out who’s helping her.
In the bathroom, meanwhile, Gerard’s trying to shoot up something but starts having an episode, twitching, contorting, grimacing and groaning, but then stops as suddenly as he started. He emerges from the stall calm and calling for BOB, saying he knows the man is near and to beware, for now Gerard is after him. This transformation is reminiscent of at least two other Lynchian plot points: the abandoned film scenario ONE SALIVA BUBBLE that Lynch and TWIN PEAKS co-creator Mark Frost were working before the series that was supposed to be an “identity-switching comedy,” and the transformation that takes place halfway through LOST HIGHWAY; in both instances, one man enters the scene, another man leaves.
At The Great Northern, the Asian man seen earlier is still lurking and observing as Coop is asking Ben if he’s heard anything further from Audrey. Ben hasn’t. Coop has, though. She called him last night and though she didn’t say where she was, she referred to his tux, which he was wearing in this very hotel the night he got shot. He was also wearing it at One Eyed Jacks that same night but somehow seems to miss this connection, which is certainly odd for Coop, and one of his only investigative blindspots in the entire series. Ben, however, isn’t too concerned because he says Audrey is willful and goes missing on occasion. Coop reminds Ben that missing girls in Twin Peaks are kind of a problem at the moment. Ben can’t help but wonder if the Special Agent’s interest is more than professional, which of course it is. Ben tries to warn him off, tells him men often fall under Audrey’s spell; Coop should try and steer clear. The Asian Man, who has seen and overheard all this, follows Coop when the conversation ends.
As for Audrey, she’s coming out of her dope haze in her room at One Eyed Jacks. A new man and woman are at her bedside. By his accent, the man is French Canadian. He gives her candy because post-heroin she needs the sugar. He says his name is Jean, then dopes her up again. He next appears as Battis and Blackie are watching Coop on a security tape. Battis recognizes Coop as the FBI agent assigned to the Palmer murder. That’s when Jean – Jean Renault, brother to Jacques and Bernard as Blackie identifies him (and played by Michael Parks, KILL BILL, RED STATE) – decides he wants Cooper for himself because of the Agent’s hand in the loss of both his brothers. He’ll act the go-between for Blackie in obtaining Audrey’s ransom so Horne won’t know who’s really responsible. In exchange, Battis just has to bring Coop to Jean. Battis, jellyfish that he is, agrees and goes to get the ransom tape he and Blackie made earlier. There’s an insinuation that Jacques and Blackie used to be a thing, but now he’s with his new lady, Nancy, who happens to be Blackie’s younger, better-looking sister, which means there’s some pretty bad blood between the three of them, but not bad enough they can’t do business. Once Battis is gone, Jean adds the stipulation that Audrey can’t be returned alive, she knows too much. No one has a problem with this.
Fun note here: as I mentioned, Jean, unlike Jacques or Bernard, speaks with a decidedly French-Canadian accent. According to actor Michael Parks, who played Jean, as quoted in Brad Dukes’ book REFLECTIONS: An Oral History of TWIN PEAKS, he was asked to do a regular Canadian accent, but being an innovator, he thought the French Canadian had more “flavor” to it, so went with that. When he was told by episode director Lesli Linka Glatter that the other Renaults hadn’t used French accents, he said, “That’s their fucking problem.” Easy to see why Parks was cast in the role, dude is the same hardcore, stone-cold, devil-may-care badass as the man he portrays. The issue was taken directly to Lynch for resolution. Lynch told Parks he could do whatever he wanted.
Back to it: Truman gets a call from Pete saying Josie will be home tomorrow. She’s wanted for questioning in the mill fire, so the Sheriff goes to Coop for a favor: he wants to see Josie first, alone. Coop agrees. Deputy Hawk confirms there’s a property at Pearl Lakes that matches the locale and description given to them by Leland as this Robertson’s place. The house is boarded up and abandoned, but the Deputy has people looking into the history of its ownership. Truman asks Hawk if he’s seen Gerard, the one-armed man, as he still isn’t back from the bathroom. Coop reminds Truman that Gerard appeared in his dream/vision as an acquaintance of BOB, then they rush out to find him. The bathroom is empty, but the syringe with which Gerard attempted to inject himself is lying full on the floor. Coop remembers the Giant’s third clue: “Without chemicals, he points.”
Nadine is still in her coma but has to be restrained because according to Doc Hayward she’s pumping a shit-ton of adrenaline through her system and already ripped through a set of leather cuffs. He suggests Ed sit with her, sing to her, try to soothe her troubled and damaged mind. Ed takes her hand and starts in on a few bars of “On Top of Old Smoky.” It works, but only to a degree. She nearly breaks his hand then snaps the chains of her restraints and rises in bed clapping and cheering, like cheerleader-cheering. That’s because she for some reason thinks she’s an 18 year old high school senior. The only thing that has survived this mental schism is her love for Ed.
Jacoby’s got his hospital room tricked out like a luau and is chilling with his Hawaiian wife when Coop and Truman arrive to hypnotize him, because of course they do. Coop leads the session. A little golf visualization and Jacoby is under a spell, (Truman too, almost). Cooper places Jacoby back in the ICU, in the room he shared with Jacques Renault. He reminds him of the burnt engine oil he reported smelling, but Jacoby goes back to the park where he saw Laura/Maddy, where he was assaulted and had his heart attack; he smelled the engine oil there, too. Coop tries to keep him focused on the ICU, asks him if anyone else came into the room that night. Jacoby remembers the sound of ripping tape waking him, seeing Jacques being smothered by a pillow, seeing him die and looking then to see the killer’s face… Who does he see? they implore. Jacoby says only, “I know him.”
At Laura’s grave, Donna delivers the orchid and tells her dead friend who it’s from. She then admits to the romance between her and James, but adds it isn’t working now because she thinks there’s something developing between him and Maddy, which would mean Donna ends up losing both Laura and James, her two best friends. She further admits to once wanting to be courageous like Laura, but look where that got the girl. She says Laura was selfish, always focused on her own problems, and those problems are still the only ones everybody’s trying to solve, even though she’s dead. Jeez, Don, jealous much?
As Donna is worrying about James’ feelings for Maddy, though, she’s really driving him into her arms, because at that very moment James is at the Palmers confiding in Maddy because he can’t find Donna. His mom came home, loaded. This leads to James and Maddy sharing a sweet kiss, which Donna arrives just in time to see. What timing she has this episode. She bolts and James runs after her. Leland appears to see what all the hubbub is, and finds an upset Maddy. She’s upset because people keep treating her like Laura, but she’s not, she’s completely different, and people keep expecting her to know something about the real Laura but she doesn’t, she hardly knew the girl at all, she just came to town for a funeral. Leland consoles her, but is interrupted by Coop and Truman, who have let themselves in. Seems Jacoby said a little more after we left the scene. They’re here to arrest Leland for the murder of Jacques Renault.
Donna runs right to Harold’s, for some reason imposing her emotional issues on a man she’s met once, for about ten minutes. Of course, Harold knows all about her, her issues, and her friends through Laura. He goes to get her something to drink. She goes to take a look at a pretty orchid but what she finds instead is a notebook with the following words handwritten on the first page…
Once again, this episode is directed by Lesli Linka Glatter, who last helmed episode five, “Cooper’s Dreams.” Among Glatter’s greater strengths, I think, is how she handles the playfulness of TWIN PEAKS from a technical perspective. There are lots of little cues and camera tricks that dispense TP’s particular form of dark whimsy. Twice we think a conversation is occurring between two characters only to discover well into the scene that a third person is in the room; a reveal like this is startling to the point of near-absurdity, and it’s a reminder that in TWIN PEAKS, out of frame never means insignificant.
Robert Engels returns to scripting duty, his first since episode 4, “The One-Armed Man,” and like that episode, this one too is narratively enigmatic and dispenses clues that are as mysterious as they are revelatory. When you watch his episodes, it’s easy to see why Engels was chosen to co-write FIRE WALK WITH ME with Lynch; he really seems to understand how to craft a plot that simultaneously satisfies and confounds. It’s a delicious if heady cocktail.
After the dark excitement of the season’s first two episodes under the direction of Lynch and the scripting of Frost, this first episode without the creators can feel a little lackluster, but that’s only because equal measure is being given to the life after the solution to Laura’s murder as to the solution itself. The harvest of season two is a long way off, and to ensure its bounty a score of seeds have been planted: Leland’s murder of Jacques, the ransom of Audrey, the mysterious Asian man, Josie’s involvement with the mill fire, Shelly and Bobby’s insurance scam, the Donna-James-Maddy love triangle now with a fourth leg in Harold, Lucy’s baby daddy drama, et cetera. The solution to the central mystery is within our grasp, there’s not lot of road left between us and it, so the side streets are getting some attention, drawing our focus away from the main drag to the city surrounding it.
Next week – EPISODE ELEVEN: “LAURA’S SECRET DIARY”
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