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Twin Peaks: The One-Armed Man

“In the heat of investigative pursuit, the shortest distance between two points is not necessarily a straight line.”

And that, my friends, is the mission statement of this show. The first few episodes established the major players and major plots, the intersection of the supernatural with the mundane, and the major themes of mysteries within mysteries and the dark places that are both inside of us and all around us. Now, it’s all development of those major points. Watched all in a rush—which might be the only way to watch this first season—these episodes are incredible.

Separated out for reviewing purposes, though, it becomes clear this episode is closely linked with what came before and what is to come that it doesn’t quite have a narrative coherence of its own. There’s a general theme of mystery tropes, from locating the one-armed man to Josie’s amateur PI work, and Norma’s (and Shelly’s) noir-tinged man troubles.

Agent Cooper and Sarah Palmer both saw Bob in their dreams/hallucinations. However, Bob’s one-armed friend Mike (aka Mr. Gerard) doesn’t seem to know anything about any Bob other than the unseen veterinarian, who is in a coma. Mike’s missing arm did have a tattoo, but it read “Mom” rather than “Fire Walk With Me.” In other words, Mike is either a dead end or a deep abyss of possibility. (So to speak.) Mike, the comatose veterinarian and his bird-clients, and the twine must add up to something. We just don’t know what yet.

We also don’t know how Mike and Bob connect to Leo Johnson and Jacques Renault. In fact, we don’t even know if Jacques and Leo are connected as far as the murder is concerned—Bobby planted the bloody shirt he got from Shelly in Jacques’s apartment. We do know that Jacques, Bernard, and Leo are connected with Ben Horne in the Canadian drug trade.

Dr. Jacoby claims that Laura had secrets around which she built a “fortress,” which recalls the emphasis on spaces and boundaries in the previous episode. The wacky doc wasn’t able to pierce her defenses, though. Dr. J is such an odd character—and I don’t mean the 3D glasses and Hawaii obsession. He’s such a voyeur, but he also seems to have genuinely cared for Laura. Just like Bobby said, though, he didn’t do anything about it.

Meanwhile, Audrey and Donna are forming their own wacky buddy-cop movie as they search out secrets about Laura’s life. Audrey is putting a lot together, too, from One-Eyed Jack’s to Dr. Jacoby. She’s talked her way into working for her father, and seems to want to both earn her father’s approval and discover the mystery of Laura and the perfume counter.

Also meanwhile, Norma’s husband Hank is played by Dexter’s dad! Hank is a sleazy guy, and I’d want him to stay in prison if it weren’t for Norma’s great noir-style forbearance. Peggy Lipton is so beautiful.

And thirdly meanwhile, James has met Laura’s identical cousin Maddie.

Bits and Pieces:

• Dr. Jacoby: “Agent Cooper, the problems of our entire society are of a sexual nature.”

• Dr. Jacoby: “Tibet? My abiding interests lie to the east as well. But only as far as Hawai’i.” Yes, Hawai’i, in the east. If you go the long way ‘round.

• Cooper: “I’m a strong sender.”

• Audrey: “I’ve been doing some research. In real life, there is no algebra.”

• Audrey: “You ever heard of One-Eyed Jack’s?”
Donna: “Isn’t that the western with Marlon Brando?”

• Cooper: I had someone who helped me understand commitment, the responsibilities and the risks, who taught me the pain of a broken heart.”

• Cooper: “Gentlemen, when two separate events occur simultaneous pertaining to the same object of inquiry, we must always pay strict attention.”

• Someone keeps an otter as a pet? I’d love to have a pet otter.

• Have I mentioned yet how much I love Sherilyn Fenn’s eyebrows?

• Gordon Cole is played by David Lynch.

• The Martell house has a poor stuffed ram head, and the ram’s little feet are holding the rifle that took him down. That’s just cruel.

Clues, Questions, and Answers:

• The marks on Laura’s shoulder are bird bites, likely from Jacques Renault’s myna bird.

• Josie Packard is spying on Catherine Martell and Ben Horne. Catherine Martell suspects a connection between Ben Horne and One-Eyed Jack’s. Ben continues to want to bring northern Europeans to invest in the Ghostwood development project, and has paid Leo to burn down the mill.

• Dr. Jacoby saw Leo Johnson’s red Ferrari on the night Laura died.

• Why does Ben Horne have a picture of Laura on his desk?

• Laura had a portion of a poker chip from One-Eyed Jack’s in her stomach.

• An owl in the woods was watching over Donna and James as they hunted for Laura’s necklace.

• The Fishing Association is adding a mixed-doubles division to the annual ‘do. On second thought, that might not be a clue.

• Hank seems to have something on Josie.

This episode takes the long way ‘round. As we wander between the two points of question to answer, we get little bits of mystery, plot, and character development. We also get to see various people coming together: the lawmen continue to bond, Donna and Audrey start investigating, even Norma takes her husband’s side. This episode assumes we’re interested and doesn’t attempt to create a mini-arc out of nothing. That’s admirable. And did I mention there was a llama?

Three out of four llamas.

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


  1. Some nit picking. My husband said Hank, Norma's husband is Jorah from Game of Thrones. You said he is Dexter's dad. But I think you are both incorrect. Hank is played by Chris Mulkey. He has a long, long list of small character parts. Dexter's dad was James Remar, also a character actor. Jonah is of course Iain Glenn. And Leo's red car is a Corvette, not a Ferrari. I had an Admiral Blue one just like it. Ferraris are much more expensive:)

  2. Docnaz, I just googled the heck out of Chris Mulkey and James Remar, and I think I have only just now realized they are two different people.

    Or are they? I mean, really. They're basically the same, aren't they?

  3. You are so right, Josie. They are the same.

  4. And is it Zen synchronicity that my husband's comment would lead us to the doppelgängers?


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