Twin Peaks: Lonely Souls

“Laura!”

There are numerous discoveries in this episode, from Bobby finding the tape in Leo’s shoes to Cooper and Harry finding Laura’s Secret Diary. (The “Secret” part seems to be embedded in the name.) Even Mr. Tojamura’s real identity is finally revealed to be—Katherine! Not the restaurant critic after all, eh? Oh, and we find out who killed Laura Palmer.

It takes us a while to get there, thought, as the first 25 minutes of this episode seem like more of the same: crazy Nadine, Audrey and her father working through their issues, Shelly’s money troubles, Pete and Katherine reuniting.

Although the last few scenes are what we’ve been waiting for all this time, I think my favorite part of this episode is Sarah Palmer crawling down the stairs, gasping “Leland.” Everything seems so mundane before that, and the establishing shot focuses on such irrelevant household items: a freshly-vacuumed carpet, a ceiling fan, a turntable that makes a particular clicky noise. And then, suddenly, utter physical and psychic despair. The evilest of evils takes place in a house just like any other, with all the weird creaks and objects of the homes we live in.

The giant told Cooper that “it is happening again.” And he’s not wrong: Bob, hidden inside Leland, takes the time to tie his tie and put on latex gloves while his wife is lying prone on the floor. And then Leland/Bob kills Maddie while screaming “Laura.”

Leland’s dance with Maddie is horrifying: he realizes what he has done, but wishes he hadn’t done it, but continues to inflict physical (and sexual) abuse on her. The shots of Bob are as close to rape as network TV can get, but the shots of Leland show a cleaner violence: holding her against her will but not kissing her. It’s no coincidence that Leland is wearing gloves, but Bob is not; Bob doesn’t have the civilized veneer of pretending he doesn’t want to cause pain.

Maddie says she missed having a life of her own—and with that sentiment, she probably came closer to Laura than she ever had before. Laura’s life was out of her control, both due to her own choices and to the situations she was forced to deal with, unprepared. Her life was without definition, because she was impenetrable even to herself. Maddie seemed to have a more stable sense of herself, but Twin Peaks and Leland/Bob worked their evil mojo on her just like they did on Laura.

There’s the potential for good hidden in all of that evil, though. Or maybe “good” is overstating it. There is something un-bad at work: the giant clued Cooper in, and the look on his face was one of deep awareness. In fact, the entire roadhouse seemed to be affected by Maddie’s death, even though they had no idea why: Donna was crying, Bobby nearly was. The evil that infects Twin Peaks isn’t the evil of “un homme solitaire.” It’s an evil everyone can sense, even if they never talk about, and which many people want to resist.

Clues, Questions, and Answers:

• Harold’s note said “J’ai un homme solitaire,” which is what Creepy Grandson said a few episodes ago.

• We found out why Ben Horne keeps a picture of Laura on his desk. Why he thought that helped his relationship secret is, however, a mystery for another day.

• Log Lady said, “There are owls in the roadhouse.” And that can’t be good.

• Maddie smelled something burning right before Bob “came forward” within Leland.

• Leland/Bob put a letter under Maddie’s fingernails.

Bits and Pieces:

• Nadine: “Are you in our class at school?”
Shelly: “I…don’t think so.”

• Nadine: “I am so happy, I could just kiss you to death.”

• As you can tell from the quote section, I had a lot of fun with the scene between Nadine, Ed, and Norma in the diner. Crazy Nadine is still annoying, but the bloody chocolate shake was a beautiful Lynchian moment.

• The sailors with the bouncy balls are either profound symbols of something, or complete nonsense.

• Donna hid her cigarette under the table when the lawmen walked into the roadhouse. I did exactly that same thing through most of high school.

Four out of four new shoes. After the next episode, Twin Peaks hits a rough patch as it struggles to find new drama in a town whose biggest secret has been revealed. Some of my reviews of those bad episodes will be short, but if you’re watching this show for the first time, please know that the last couple episodes—and especially the series finale—are worth the effort.

Josie Kafka is a full-time cat servant and part-time rogue demon hunter. (What's a rogue demon?)

14 comments:

Colby said...

When will the next review be? I really enjoy reading these reviews and usually begin reading immediately after watching an episode. I very much look forward to the next one.

Josie Kafka said...

Hi Colby,

I'm so sorry! Real life keeps getting in the way. And whenever I say to myself, "I could do a Twin Peaks review this week," I realize I need to re-watch everything again before jumping in cold. And so it gets put on the back burner.

Summer? I'll say that I'll try for summer?

Colby said...

Alright. Thank you for the information. I will be checking back around the Summertime. Best of luck to you, Josie.

Anonymous said...

Eagerly awaiting the resumption of this blog. Please continue!

Richard said...

I'm up to episode 13 of series 2 and have been wondering if I can be bothered watching any more. So many plot threads with nothing being resolved (save for who killed Laura). Can I bear to go on (or waste any more time, I've got Game of Thrones to watch you know!)

Anonymous said...

Josie!! I just finished season 1 and I have used all your reviews as post show material. I really really enjoy your perspective and writing style on the reviews. I know you said you would continue last summer (2013) but hopefully you continue this summer (2014) :). I want to start season 2 but I'm afraid that I will get past episode 7 and won't have your reviews anymore lol!

Josie Kafka said...

Anon, I hope to complete them this summer.

What's taking me so long? Procrastinator's curse: I waited so long to start the reviews again that I realized I would have to rewatch all the episodes I'd already done...and I haven't been in the mood. Maybe I can make the mood happen, though.

Anonymous said...

Thanks Josie! I was recommended this show by a lot of people and I am absolutely obsessed with it. It does remind me of the storytelling of LOST with the scenery/vibe of Breaking Bad. I hear season 2 gets to be a bit dull but I am looking forward to watching it. Thanks for your quick reply! :)

-Theo

Bert said...

Great review, Josie. I agree that this was the last great episode for some time.

One nitpick, though: Harold's note read "J'ai une âme solitaire", which means "I have a lonely soul", slightly mistranslated (by Cooper, I think) as "I am a lonely soul" (almost the same, but not quite).
"J'ai un homme solitaire" means "I have a lonely man", which would make no sense.

Keith Kotay said...

A very difficult episode to watch--I felt that way in 1991 and I was not looking forward to watching it again in 2017. However, I'm going through the old series in parallel with the new one, since the episodes are available on Showtime for free at the moment...

I don't have much to say about the majority of the episode, since it is just continuing plot development. I think I was really surprised about Catherine Martell when I first saw this one, but not now of course. Still, an interesting twist even though we knew that she hadn't died in the fire...

I'm not sure about the latex gloves--why does Lynch have him put them on? Leland says later that he never remembered anything when BOB was ascendant, so does that mean he's totally unaware of BOB's activities? Or, is he a willing participant at the time, and then his memory is erased by BOB in order to preserve his sanity? Maybe that's the meaning of the gloves? Still, how likely is it that Leland/BOB would get away with this killing? Are the gloves really going to help?

I remember how I felt when Leland was looking in the mirror and we see BOB's reflection. That was a shock, and it still is. Naturally, the whole scene is distressing, especially when Maddie is hit multiple times. I suppose it is a fairly accurate depiction of the horrors that happen every day in this world, and perhaps there is some value in reminding people that these terrible things take place in what we like to call a "civilized" society. Perhaps that was Lynch's real point with the series: even in an idyllic Twin Peaks (or a shining city on a hill) there are monsters, and monstrous events are occurring all the time...

The Giant warns Cooper at the roadhouse, but why couldn't have warned him an hour earlier and prevented the murder? Was there any value in saying "It's happening again?" And why does the Log Lady lead Cooper to the roadhouse, just to be told something valueless by the Giant?

When this episode was over, I thought: "The series should have ended right here." That would have been the existential Twin Peaks--bad things happen, good people try to stop them, but they still happen, and even the gods cannot do anything to prevent them from happening. No resolution, like in real life. It might even have been better if MIKE never existed to tell us about 'inhabiting spirits' and BOB never appeared except in the final scene--which would have been a metaphor for the evil that exists within us all...

It was really strange that Ben had a picture of Laura on his desk, which Audrey must have seen many times. Wouldn't she have wondered why it was there? Unless he put it there after she died, but it still would be very odd...

Are 'owls' a code word for spirits? Are real owls actually spirits, at least around Twin Peaks? It makes sense for the Log Lady to say "There are spirits in the roadhouse"--even though they weren't of any use in this instance...

I agree that the sailors with the balls were bizarre, especially since we heard the balls long before we saw them. I'm not sure it means anything, though--just a Lynch moment. One thing I will say about Lynch, is that he is very sound-oriented. The record player lead-out sound, the bouncing balls sound, the electrical sounds, etc. I don't know anyone who uses audio leitmotifs as well as Lynch...

Why did MIKE lose it when Ben Horne entered the room? He was apparently fine for the other 100 people who weren't BOB. The problem is that this led Cooper to suspect Ben, and therefore (possibly) distract him from Leland. I hope this wasn't used as a cheap plot device, since there was no reason for it...

Keith Kotay said...

My apologies, I should have begun my previous comment by thanking Josie for her great Twin Peaks reviews! I really enjoy reading them...

Also, I don't know if such extended comments are welcome--if I went too far I'm sorry. I've just been thinking about TP a lot recently and I don't know anyone who's following the series, so I wanted to get my thoughts out there and I found your great website. In the future I'll keep my comments more concise if you prefer...

Josie Kafka said...

Keep the long comments coming, please!

Billie Doux said...

Let me second that. We love long, thoughtful comments. We also love short comments. Go for it.

Josie Kafka said...

And medium comments.

We can't forget those.