Between May through to September of 1990 audiences were left waiting, attentively, for the second season of Twin Peaks. Was Agent Cooper dead? Highly unlikely, but still we open the episode with our man’ Cooper lying on the floor with a gunshot wound to the stomach.
Fans who had recorded the episode onto video would’ve been able to rewind and watch the closing moments with analytically predicative eyes. So, as long as the tracking lines were relegated to either the top and bottom of the screen then chances were that they would have noticed (despite being shot three times) that only one bullet had caused an entry wound.
With the advent of the Deluxe Visual Datadisks (more commonly known as the DVD), viewers would have noticed that our favourite FBI Agent was wearing a bullet-proof vest under his tuxedo, and it may have well just saved his life. That is if he’s able to get some much needed medical treatment.
You may recall, he had ordered room service.
You may also recall that he was on the phone to Deputy Andy who is still on the line, calling out Cooper’s name.
While lying on the floor, blood staining his nice white linen shirt, the oldest, most decrepit Manuel arrives at Cooper’s hotel room with a glass of warm milk. Portrayed by veteran cowboy actor Hank Worden what, at the time was over 90 years old at the time of filming.
He doesn’t seem to realise that Cooper had been shot nor had anyone been alerted by the multiple gunshots. Instead, this old cowboy dressed as a waiter wanders over to Cooper and asks; “How’re you doing down there?”
Politely, Cooper asks him to put the milk on the table and call a doctor. The old man is obviously fraught with senility so he puts the glass of warm milk on the table, picks up the telephone receiver and obviously forgets what he was supposed to be doing. All the while Deputy Andy is calling out Cooper’s name.
He hangs the phone up and informs Cooper that he has done just that.
“Did you call a doctor?” Asks Cooper but the old man Hank’s hearing is shot.
He struggles to make out what Cooper is saying, “Huh?”
“Doctor…” Cooper reiterates.
“It’s… hung… up.”
“Thank you…” Replies Cooper.
At a snail’s pace, the old man takes a few short steps to the table and picks up the receipt book, “Does this include gratuity?” Asks Cooper as he’s about to sign for the room service.
“Oh yes, sir!” Beams the old man.
Cooper scrawls his signature.
“Thank you! Thank you, kindly!” Says the old man, he’s about leave but he feels compelled to let Cooper know that the milk will go cold.
He’s about to leave when he turns to the dying Cooper, “I’ve heard about you.” He smiles before giving Cooper a thumbs up.
Not only has the old man just thrown one of Cooper’s trademark hand gestures but he’s completely oblivious to Cooper’s potentially fatal circumstance. It makes for an incredibly funny and yet suspense-filled scene.
The old man slowly leaves, Cooper remains dying on the floor, then the old man returns and repeats; “I’ve heard about you.” And gives Cooper a thumbs up once more.
Exhaustively, Cooper slowly raises his forearm and reciprocates by giving the thumbs up to the old man.
The old man is elated. It’s like he’s just received a wave from his favourite celebrity and now he leaves Cooper to bleed to death.
If I was going to bother writing a Top 10 Best Moments in Twin Peaks, this scene would definitely be in the Top 3, along with the notorious dream sequence, that shitty scene where James is playing guitar and singing while Maddy and Donna are providing backing vocals… and most of the Top 10 would comprise of scenes that include Audrey or Leo.
Cooper is visited by Lurch from the Addams Family movie, though I actually recognised him from Star Trek The Next Generation because, hey, I’m writing a fucking review of Twin Peaks and I just can’t help myself when it comes to referencing Star Trek.
Anyway, he played this character;
Mr. Homn was a valet of Lwaxana Troi. Lwaxana Troi was also Counselor Troi’s mother and she was played by Star Trek creator’ Gene Roddenberry’s sometimes wife, I guess… you already knew that. Carel Struycken was your go-to actor for weirdass lanky mutha fuckas.
But you already knew that… anyway, Carel Struycken appears to Cooper and tells him; “I will tell you three things.”
And this being Twin Peaks, you know that they’ll be weird;
1) “There’s a man in a smiling bag.” – Yeah, that’s going to be Jacques Renault’s hanging body bag in the hospital. It looks like it’s smiling… it goes without saying that David Lynch directed this episode.
2) “The owls are not what they seem.”
3) “Without chemicals… he points.”
He then asks Cooper for his ring and states that he will return it to him when finds these things to be true.
He also tells Cooper that there is a clue in Leo’s house and that “You will require medical attention.”
Yeah, no shit!
Unfortunately, by the time Cooper’s hallucination / dream / actual-fucking-visit from a bona fide spirit ends, we cut to the familiar sight of One Eyed Jacks neon sign… oh c’mon! How does Cooper get out of this mess?!
Anyway, once our little establishing shot ends, we watch as Ben Horne arrives inside the room where his own daughter is in a rather unenviable position. I’m pretty sure a popular franchise from the early 90’s wouldn’t allow incest… yeah… I’m… er… totally certain of it!
Audrey attempts to hide behind the curtains of her four-poster bed much to Ben’s amusement. Poor guy doesn’t even know that the “new girl” is his own daughter.
We cut, yet again and this time we’re in a different part of this Canadian casino-cum-brothel. Jerry Horne is showing Blackie who’s boss by insulting her and then nullifying any rebuttal with heroin. Jerry leaves the room with Blackie in the process of shooting up some of that tasty, tasty scag.
We return, not to Cooper but Audrey as she’s telling her father to leave… Ben obviously doesn’t recognise the voice of his own daughter but this game of playing hard to get is getting him hard so he puffs on his big, phallic cigar and pretends to leave.
Audrey is wise to his deception and just as he pulls the curtains aside to reveal her, she’s already hiding her face with a mask… and just before it gets really awkward Jerry knocks on the door.
Looks like their dodgy deal has hit a snag and so Ben leaves but not before propositioning his own daughter again.
Audrey lowers her mask to reveal a face strewn with disgust and contempt.
We return to the Great Northern Hotel and Cooper still hasn’t died yet. But then again, I totally understand how long it takes for a person to die from a bullet to the gut. I’ve seen Three Kings and Reservoir Dogs… how funny was that scene where Harvey Keitel is driving Tim Roth to the warehouse and Tim’s like; “I MCUN’T MERLEAVE ZHE TOTT MEH!” and Harvey’s like; “You’re gonna be okay-e-ay!”
I’m in stitches, every time I watch that scene.
I think everyone knows that getting shot in the stomach takes ages to kill you, it’s like, the best place to be shot because you’ve got enough time to watch the entire Lord of the Rings trilogy before you even need to phone a taxi to take you to the hospital… on the other side of the fucking country!
Wait a minute, why was Lord of the Rings, specifically “the Rings” part in plural? There was only one ring, right? Anyway, Cooper gave his ring to the giant and giants were in Lord of Rings! So… there’s a link.
Now! Watch! As I make a reference to Star Wars(!)… this episode is called; “May The Giant Be With You”… like “May The Force Be With You”.
I swear, I’m going to totally “drop the mic” when I finish this “review” and by “mic” I mean, “laptop”… right out of the window.
Did you know that co-creator’ Mark Frost makes a cameo in this episode? He plays a news reporter on TV. And there’s this weird subplot about bad hospital food. Half this feature-length episode takes place in the hospital. Leo was shot. Nadine is in a coma, Dr. Jacoby is recovering from a heart attack. Shelly and Pete are also in the hospital due to smoke inhalation. Bobby goes to visit Shelly at one point, so he’s there as well. Norma goes to check up on Shelly and while she’s there she also spots Big Ed keeping vigil over comatose’ Nadine. Jacques Renault is dead in a body bag. Oh and that Ronette Pulaski girl from the pilot episode is in there as well… remember her? The studio didn’t have faith in the audience’s ability to retain information so there’s a fancy fade / edit-thing (technical term).
We see her for the first time in a while.
I’m forgetting something?
Who am I forgetting?
That’s right, there’s something on the floor of Cooper’s hotel room… not just Audrey’s note that Cooper hasn’t seen yet, Cooper is on the floor of his hotel room. He’s taken a shot to the stomach and now he’s talking to Diane, though he hopes he set his voice recorder onto voice activation mode.
As he laments about stuff, his regrets, how “being shot is not as bad as [he] always thought it might be.” He then goes on to say; “As long as you can keep the fear from your mind. But I guess you can say that about almost anything in life. It’s not so bad as long as you can keep the fear from your mind.”
He looks to his left hand and “Oh my god. The ring is gone.”
“At a time like this, curiously, you begin to think of the things you regret or the things you might miss. I would like in general to treat people with much more care and respect. I would like to climb a tall hill – Not too tall. Sit in the cool grass – Not too cool. And feel the sun on my face. I wished I could have cracked the Lindburg kidnapping case. I would very much like to make love to a beautiful woman who I had genuine affection for. And of course, it goes without saying, that I would like to visit Tibet. I wish they could get their country back and the Dalai Lama could return. Oh I would like that very much. All in all, a very interesting experience.”
I love the shoe-horning-in of either David Lynch’ or Mark Frost’s political opinion on China’s occupation of Tibet. You could easily argue that China’s invasion ended feudal and theocratic rule but most of this sentence has been taken from another article that I, honestly, couldn’t be bothered to finish reading.
Yeah sure, let the Dalai Lama return to his country… #FreeTibet… and all that jazz… anyway back to Twin Peaks.
Let’s talk about the four-month broadcasting gap. Back when audiences were thrown a pretty hefty cliffhanger, Twin Peaks had become an exceptionally popular show. More than that, it became a monumental pop cultural phenomenon.
What does a studio do when a show is popular?
Well, for some reason they moved away from the Thursday night slot, ensuring the often mentioned; “water cooler discussion” where people would chat about the episode with their work colleagues on a Friday.
This helped to generate hype because fuck! Only CERN had access to the World Wide Web in 1990!
People had to make do with TV Guide or a review in a pft… newspaper.
So ABC, in their infinite wisdom decided to move Twin Peaks to a Saturday Night slot, this is a death sentence for shows. It reminded me of when AMC cut the budget in half for the second season of The Walking Dead. That show was immensely popular and they wanted to double the number of episodes at half the cost so that’s why the second season is famously known as the “farm season”. It’s set on a boring fucking farm and hardly anything actually happens.
In 1990, ABC had intellectual property that was skyrocketing and they decided to sabotage their own product. Because, who knows? Maybe they’re idiots or something?
Well, actually this isn’t entirely true. ABC didn’t actually own Twin Peaks and they didn’t have any creative control of it (thank fuck!). I’ve read enough articles on this subject matter to know that the move to a Saturday slot was intentional. The executives had always hated the show for not failing when they thought it would and they would rather lose potential revenue than admit that they were wrong. So they loaded that ship up with plague rats and drilled holes in the bilge, just so that ship would sink… petty.
But all clouds have a sliver of linen and if Twin Peaks had gone on to run for ten or more seasons, maybe it’s significance within pop culture would have diluted and you wouldn’t be reading this shit on your phone while taking a crap when you’re supposed to be working.
You’ll never guess who ended up in hospital?
Yep, Agent Cooper ends up in hospital… along with the rest of the cast of Twin Peaks.
Over two thousand words and I’ve barely covered the first twenty minutes of an episode that is an hour and a half long!
By the time you finish reading this “review”, you could’ve watched the damn episode!
Cooper awakes to find Sheriff Truman, Dr. Hayward, and Lucy. The good Sheriff asks Lucy to brief Agent Cooper; “Leo Johnson was shot. Jacques Renault was strangled. The mill burned. Shelly and Pete got smoke inhalation. Catherine and Josie are missing. Nadine is in a coma from taking sleeping pills.”
I’m not sure why she felt the need to inform Cooper about Nadine but it’s fun none the less.
By the way, Jacques Renault was not strangled – he was suffocated.
Anyone who knows a thing or two about auto-asphyxiation erotica would agree with me.
Jacques succumbed to being smothered with a pillow, Leland Palmer didn’t strangle him at all!
While I’m on the subject, Leland has either been possessed by Bob or he’s turned Super Saiyan.
Yep, I’m totally throwing in a Dragonball Z reference.
Death kinda lost meaning in Dragonball… especially after the Frieza Saga, amiright?!
Regardless, Maddy is still staying at the Palmer household. I’m not entirely sure why but Sarah, Laura’s “mom” asked Maddy if she misses Beth, her own “mom”. Maddy is preoccupied with being fucking bat-shit crazy, I guess it runs in the family.
Anyway, the awesome Ray Wise appears and starts singing; “Oh mairzy doats and dozy doats and liddle lamzy divey. A kiddley divey too, wolden ewe.” Try singing that fast!
Both Maddy and Sarah are taken aback by Leland’s sudden hair colour change. Where he once had dark brown hair, he now has silver hair… it suits him, to be honest.
Something is seriously amiss with Leland Palmer!
In Ben’s office, he’s talking to Jerry about their snag. Ben desperately wants to know the location of Catherine. He also wants to know about Leo’s condition and he also wants an explanation from Hank as to why Leo “isn’t being measured for a plot in Ghostwood Memorial Park.”
Suddenly we hear; “Oh mairzy doats and dozy doats and liddle lamzy divey. A kiddley divey too…”
It’s Leland and he proclaims; “I’m baaaack! Back and ready!”
It’s moments like this that seem totally unscripted and improvised. From the moment the brothers Horne start dancing to Leland’s song, I can’t help but feel that the actors were given free reign to do whatever they wanted and if that is the case then that is awesome.
The next scene is set in and around Leo Johnson’s house. For a supposedly big-time drug dealer, he sure lives in utter squalor and he even likes to stash his cocaine under some wooden decking… for some reason that is never entirely made clear.
The always fun’ Agent Alfred Rosenfield makes a return and this time he’s here because Cooper was shot. Obviously, the Federal Bureau doesn’t appreciate it when one of their field agents is shot and so Alfred has returned.
There’s even a brilliant scene where he’s able to utilise abstract reasoning to deduce the height and even the favoured dexterity of the assailant.
Also, there’s a scene (in the hospital) where Big Ed is telling an empathic Agent Cooper about his history with Nadine. How he was once with Norma, but Norma ran off with Hank. Ed ended up marrying Nadine because he was royally messed up in the head. Then he accidentally shot Nadine’s eye out and while he’s talking about his fucking life story, Albert Rosenfield is there and taking the piss.
Seriously? I have no discipline when it comes to writing these so-called articles. I mean, this episode of Twin Peaks in feature-length and I’ve barely mentioned a majority of this episode. Instead, I made lazy references to other franchises.
Case in point; here’s a picture of the late Miguel Ferrer in Star Trek III: The Search for Spock… look, it’s Agent Rosenfield in Star Trek, everybody! Two Star Trek references in one article:
Let’s make it a hat-trick… look it’s Madchen Amick in a shit episode of The Next Generation:
We have a couple of scenes involving Donna and James, basically, Donna asked Maddy for Laura’s old sunglasses and it seems like Donna is kinda possessed by the ghost of Laura. She’s acting very strange indeed and I don’t believe this is ever really acknowledged in season two. Characters mention that Donna is acting strangely but it is never really an actual plot point. Regardless, she wants to see James while he’s in jail and she basically wants him to fuck her through the bars. He’s not having any of it because, well… he’s James. He’s a wet flannel of a character.
We don’t get any Leo in this episode, which is a damn shame. Instead, we get a scene involving Shelly and Bobby in the hospital. Bobby, for some reason, pretends to smoke a curtain pulley and then he ends up pretending that it’s a stethoscope. Now, whereas Donna and James are just the worst, Bobby and Shelly are just great. Their on-screen chemistry just works and I swear they were probably fucking offset. Their plot for the remainder of season two is fun, especially involving Leo but that’s an article for another day.
While they’re at the hospital, Agent Cooper and Sheriff Truman have a talk with Dr. Jacoby. He’s certainly become a lot less creepy since his debut appearance in the first episode. Anyway, he’s recovering from his heart attack and Cooper wants to know if he saw or heard anything when Jacques Renault was being murdered by Leland Palmer.
Jacoby smelt scorched engine oil… and this is certainly a cause for concern. The mysterious’ Bob stinks of burnt oil and according to the tape that James played to Sheriff Truman;
“I never put it together until I heard the tape.” Says James, “Where she says this guy can really light my fire… I remember this one night when we first started seeing each other, she was still doing drugs then. Well, we were in the woods and she started saying this scary poem over and over about fire. And then she said. ‘Would you like to play with fire little boy. Would you like to play with Bob? Would you like to play with Bob?’”
Truman is taken aback by this, “What did she mean by that?”
“I don’t know. Laura said a lot of nutty stuff. Half the time it just went right by you. This stuck though.”
We’re also not short of scenes in Norma’s Double R Diner. Actually, one of my favourite scenes appears in this episode. I like it and not for its absurdity but for its’ god damned “emotion”.
Bobby Briggs saunters into the diner with a cigarette in hand and it’s here that he finds his father’ Major Garland Briggs, the Major asks for his son to join him. There’s animosity between them but Major Briggs starts describing a dream he had; “ This was a vision. As clear as a mountain stream. The mind revealing itself to itself. In my vision, I was on a veranda of a … vast estate, a palazzo of some fantastic proportion. There seemed to emanate from it … a light from within this … gleaming, radiant marble. I’d known this place. I … I, in fact, had been born and raised there. This was my first return. A reunion with the … deepest wellsprings of my being. Wandering about I noticed happily that the house had been immaculately maintained. There’d been added a number of additional rooms but … in a way that blended so seamlessly with the original construction one would never detect any difference. Returning to the house’s grand foyer, came a knock on the door. My son was standing there. He was happy and carefree. Clearly living a life of … deep harmony and joy. We embraced. Warm and loving embrace, nothing withheld. We were, in this moment, one. My vision ended and I awoke with a … tremendous feeling of … optimism and confidence in … you and your future. That was my vision of you.”
And while the elder Briggs tells his son of his vision, Bobby can’t help but attain glazed-over eyes.
I can’t put my finger on why this scene resonates with me, it’s probably the superb script and the delivery by the late and great Donald Sinclair Davis, PhD.
His vernacular is endearing, welcoming and yet demanding. It’s a damn shame we lost this brilliant actor and yet I can’t help but feel a little bit sombre in the knowledge that in the past months we’ve lost both Miguel Ferrer and also Warren Frost. It’s also worth mentioning that this episode is dedicated to the memory of Kevin Young Jr. who died at the hands of his own babysitter. Exceptionally tragic when considering the circumstances.
Kevin Young Sr. was a production assistant on the show and he also appeared in many episodes of Twin Peaks as the fat guy in the diner with the trucker cap.
I don’t want to end this article on a low but it had to be said and my heart goes out to Mark Frost, he lost his father and it’s a damn shame Warren will not be able to see the continuation of Twin Peaks this coming May.
Hey, Audrey’s still at One Eyed Jacks, looks like Cooper HAS forgotten something. Even the Giant informs him of this! We also get a scene where Audrey, who is now held captive at One Eyed Jacks starts to pray for Agent Cooper.
“To be perfectly honest I think I’m in a little over my head.” She says as she hopes that Cooper comes to her rescue. And like all the great characters in Twin Peaks, she is deeply flawed. She honestly believes that she’s going to continue helping Agent Cooper in his investigations.
The last scene is possibly one of the most disturbing sequences to feature in Twin Peaks as coma-girl who shares the same surname as… Doctor Pulaski! Four fucking Star Trek references! Holy shit! I’m definitely going to have to drop this laptop out of my window!
Jesus, this is a long one. I suppose I could go on and mention that awkward dinner scene where Alicia Witt plays a song… yeah, Alicia Witt, she was in Dune… look;
And The Walking Dead;
Shit, I’m on a roll here. I’m going to give this episode… I don’t know, erm… 4 Star Trek references out of 3.
I promise my next one will be shorter and it’ll probably have fewer references (and quotes).