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By  · Published on October 11th, 2016

Written by Barry Pullman, Directed by Graeme Clifford
Airdate October 27th, 1990

Morning breaks in Coop’s room at The Great Northern. He dreamt he was eating a gumdrop and woke chewing an ear plug. He records a message to Diane asking her to send some replacements. Now, to stray from the narrative a moment, there’s a fan theory that perhaps Diane isn’t real, perhaps she’s merely a creation of Coop’s wounded psyche – wounded for reasons I won’t spoil – and this is the scene that lends the most credence to this theory. By the next day, narratively, Cooper will be thanking Diane for the ear plugs. How he mailed the tape, it travelled across the country, reached her desk, was transcribed and complied with in time for the same day’s post that then got the ear plugs back across the country to a remote corner of Washington State all within 24 hours is borderline impossible, and would seem to suggest Coop got them for himself, per the reminder he left for “Diane.” Whether this is true, a fabrication, or an intentional confoundment slipped in by writers is yet to be proven, but with rumors that Diane could be played by Laura Dern in season 3, seems we could get a definitive answer soon. But I digress. Coop does his calisthenics, starting with a headstand, which causes him to locate the envelope Audrey slipped under his door the night he was shot, the envelope he lost in the ensuing chaos, the envelope that is the thing the Giant told him he forgot, and the answer to where she’s being held against her will: One Eyed Jacks.


At the Sheriff’s station, Hawk returns with word that two old ladies live in the house next to the Palmers at Pearl Lakes, and neither one of them is named Robertson. Lucy’s on her way out of town to visit family; there’s a temp on the way. Coop shares his newfound information about Audrey with Truman; this gives them an advantage.

Insurance rep Tim Pinkle (David Lander, best-known as “Squiggy” from LAVERNE & SHIRLEY) is showing Shelly and Bobby the equipment they’ll use to move Leo around, as he’s pretty much an immobile, unresponsive vegetable. His competency exam is set for later in the day, and if all goes well, he’ll be on his way home with a big fat check soon to follow. As usual, Shelly and Bobby celebrate their windfall with some copious making out.

Court is in session at The Road House with Judge Sternwood presiding. First up is Leland, who has plead not guilty to murdering Jacques Renault by reason of temporary insanity. This is his bail hearing. The Judge reverses his earlier decision and releases Leland on his own recognizance.

Meanwhile, Donna delivers Harold his daily meal. She also delivers him a deal, more tantalizing even than Norma’s meat loaf and mashed potatoes: she’ll share with him her life story – becoming another chapter of his “living novel”/shut-in spank bank – in exchange for him allowing her to read Laura’s secret diary, which the dead girl entrusted to him for safekeeping. He counters with a compromise: he’ll read the diary to her, here, it cannot leave. Figuring half a deal is better than no deal, Donna agrees. Harold then reveals a hidden compartment in a bookshelf where he keeps his living novel notebooks, as well as Laura’s diary. Donna gives him her scant biography, then plays at seduction. When that doesn’t really work, she instead just snatches the diary out of Harold’s hands and steps outside with it, halfheartedly attempting to pull the agoraphobe out of his element. It almost works, but then it really doesn’t and Harold collapses, fetal and shivering, only present enough to reclaim the diary.

Make a point to remember how Harold’s right hand trembles just before he collapses, and how he looks up and off into the distance, away from Donna. It’ll be a while, and it won’t involve Harold again, but this becomes a thing.


Back in court, it’s time for Leo’s competency exam. After hearing the arguments for and against putting Leo on trial, Judge Sternwood takes a brief recess to confer with Truman and Coop at the bar over a round of something called Black Yukon Sucker Punches (2 ounces bourbon, 1 ounce coffee-infused sweet vermouth, 1 teaspoon crème de cacao, topped with blue curacao whipped cream; Cheers) which are made by his clerk, Syd, who is also an expert mixologist, it would seem. Sternwood wants to know if Leo is the murderer of Laura Palmer. Coop doesn’t think so, so Sternwood decides that Leo is not competent to stand trial, and will be sent home to Shelly as soon as medically possible. Truman informs Shelly of this. She acts pleased, but she isn’t; the money might not be worth it. Judge Sternwood meanwhile cryptically advises Coop to keep an eye on the woods.

Ed brings Nadine home from the hospital. She still thinks she’s an 18-year-old high school senior, doesn’t recognize James, her nephew by marriage, and wants to know where her parents are. James is described to her as a schoolmate and the parents are said to be out of town. Doc Hayward told Ed there was nothing he could do to help his wife but indulge her delusions, so he’s going with it. Nadine’s super strength continues to manifest; this time she pulls the refrigerator door off its hinges.

Ben Horne has a meeting with Mr. Tojamura, the Japanese man everyone suspects of being travel writer M.T. Wentz in disguise. Tojamura says he represents an Asian investment group who would like to make a superior offer than the Icelanders on the Ghostwood Estates development plan. He has all the necessary documents, including commitment letters from Tokyo banks and a check for a cool five million, so on their end, everything’s ready to go. Ben can’t help but entertain the notion. They part and Hank enters through the office’s back entrance, but is interrupted by Coop arriving for Audrey’s ransom call. The call comes, the drop is set for midnight in Canada at an abandoned amusement park behind a bar called the Columbian, specifically at a horse with no head on the merry-go-round. Pretty creepy setting. The call ends and Ben hands over the 125K to Coop. Coop says nothing of what he knows about Audrey’s whereabouts. He leaves, and Ben dispatches Hank to make sure both the money and Cooper are delivered to Jean Renault, while Audrey is brought home.

Donna and Maddy are at the diner where Donna’s giving Maddy the rundown on the layout of Harold’s apartment, including how to open the secret compartment where Laura’s diary is kept. The plan is for Donna to lure Harold out of the room, then signal Maddy to come in, get the book, and get out.

At One Eyed Jacks preparing for the meet with Cooper, Jean Renault is being outfitted with a spring-loaded blade that attaches to his wrist and hides under his coat sleeve. The plan is to kill Coop then kill Audrey and use the ransom money to buy out Ben.

Andy calls Doc Hayward’s office to get the results of his semen analysis. Oligospermia had been his diagnosis, or plainly put, “too few sperms.” His latest test confirms he had it, but now he doesn’t, he’s good as new, he’s fertile. And therefore, he’s excited.

Coop and Truman are going over a layout of their own, that of One Eyed Jacks. Hawk comes in and they hide their plans (it is an unsanctioned and in fact illegal operation, after all). He’s been tracking Gerard, the one-armed man, who has been staying in an area motel, but no one’s seen him in a day or so. In Gerard’s room, Hawk found more drugs like those found in the station bathroom, which Albert is currently analyzing. Truman dismisses Hawk and he and Coop continue to plan their rescue-raid. Andy calls Lucy at her family’s, or so he thinks, but the number she left rings an abortion clinic.

Maddy, on her way to do Donna’s dirty work, pops in the diner for a coffee to go. James is having dinner alone, He approaches and asks if she’s seen Donna that day. She lies, says no, acts generally standoffish, then leaves. James, dumb not stupid, follows her.

Outside Harold’s place, Maddy hides in the trees awaiting the signal. Inside, Donna continues sharing her story. She tells about a time when they were 13 that she and Laura put on tight skirts and went to The Road House to meet up with some older boys, “Josh, Rick, and Tim.” After a while everyone wanted to go party, and Laura led the way. They went out to the woods where dancing, drinking, skinny-dipping, and kissing all ensued, with Laura at the center of it, the star to Donna’s black hole. Donna got a kiss from one of the boys, Tim, but she never saw him again. She says it was the first time she ever fell in love. This story bears some resemblance to the sequence in FIRE WALK WITH ME when Laura and Donna went to the Bang Bang Bar, aside from the age of the girls. It could be that what Donna is telling Harold was the first of regular risque outings for the best friends, though given Donna’s character is seems doubtful it was that regular.

Coop and Truman cross the Canadian border under cover of darkness and successfully infiltrate One Eyed Jacks. An owl hoots at their entrance. They get into the underbelly of the place, where the “hospitality girls” entertain their Johns. They spy Jean and Blackie and see them preparing the needle of smack that is to be Audrey’s adieu. Harry stays put to keep an eye on them as Coop continues the search.

While they’re looking at orchids, Harold finally makes a move on Donna. They kiss. He then immediately excuses himself for a minute – not weird at all – and Donna takes advantage of his pervy absence to signal Maddy.

Coop stumbles upon and apprehends Nancy, Blackie’s sister and Jean’s lover, and has her lead him to where they’re keeping Audrey. He finds the girl in a drug-induced haze. Nancy tries to get the drop on him with a concealed knife, but he smoothly takes her down and throws Audrey over his shoulder.

Truman watches as Jean kills Blackie with his hidden blade, then Jean notices Truman and starts shooting. Before Truman can fire back, Jean disappears. Coop carrying Audrey links up with him and they make a run for it, but encounter a One Eyed Jacks’ henchman with a pistol. It looks like their collective goose is all but cooked when Hawk shows up and ends things with a well-thrown knife. He saw through their hidden plans and followed them up here just in case. They all make it out unscathed, but Hank sees them and calls it into Ben. As he does, he’s grabbed by Jean. In borrowing Hank’s ID to see who he is, Jean grabs the badge of Lodwick instead. As there’s no photo on the ID, Jean assumes Hank is the D.A.

Back at Harold’s, Donna’s directing Maddy to the diary while waiting for Harold to return. He does, unexpectedly. She tries distracting him with talk of orchids, but her erratic behavior betrays her, as does Maddy clumsily spilling the contents of the hidden compartment. Harold sees her take the diary, knows Donna has been playing him, and corners the two girls with a rusty garden tool. He’s upset. He says if the girls want secrets, if that’s all they’re after, he’s got the ultimate secret for them: the secret of knowing who killed you. Then he slowly rakes his own face with the tool. Creepy getting creepier.


A couple new names are running this episode, writer Barry Pullman and director Graeme Clifford. This was the first of four episodes Pullman wrote in the second season, and only his third job in the industry. After TWIN PEAKS he stuck to the realm of television, writing for shows like CRACKER and ROSWELL, and producing others such as SAVED and NEW AMSTERDAM. Clifford you might know as the director of Jessica Lange’s Oscar-nominated turn, FRANCES; if you’re an 80’s punk like me, you know him as the director of the bitchin’ Christian Slater skateboard thriller GLEAMING THE CUBE. This will be his only time at the helm of a TWIN PEAKS episode, but together with Pullman he creates a tense if largely uneventful episode. Audrey’s storyline is the only thing that gets resolved, while everything else only inches along. Outside of the secret diary and Judge Sternwood’s question about Leo as Laura’s murder, no mention of the central mystery in made this episode, instead the spotlight is shone on burgeoning plotlines like Nadine’s post-coma reversion, the mysterious Japanese offer on Ghostwood Estates, the pairing of Jean and Hank, the unfurling mystery of Harold Smith (who hasn’t that much further to unfurl, truthfully); all these would seem to indicate that a resolution of Laura’s murder can’t be too far off.

If you like what you’re reading, get it all in one place in my upcoming episode guide and essay collection, BETWEEN TWO WORLDS, releasing November 22nd, 2016, and available for pre-order at the link below.

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