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Twin Peaks: Slaves and Masters

“Our sheriff’s got a serious problem with his girlfriend.”

My recollection of this episode was quite simple: that it was, hands down, the worst and most irrelevant Twin Peaks in existence. Prior to rewatching it, I even considered not reviewing this episode, or just pasting a big Warning! sign instead of a traditional review. But, actually, this episode—aside from a few parts—is not that bad.

If nothing else, it ties up some loose ends, like the question of who shot Coop in the first-season finale: Josie. It brings the James-noir story to a welcome end. It even restores Ben Horne’s sanity. Although the zaniness of the Civil War reenactments is grating, they’re almost worth it to know we’ll never have to live through that again.

And it has Albert, who makes all things better.

But I think director Diane Keaton is actually saying something about the idea at the heart of Twin Peaks: violence against women and the objectification of women. In the bar, Donna is basically up for grabs. Any man who sees her tries to get into her personal space, even though she is obvious occupied with other tasks. James’s femme fatale looks at pictures of women in elegant advertisements before paying the piper for her sins. The camera frequently lingers over Josie, but only in parts, like her manicured hands, her red lips. These are classic male-gaze shots:

There is also the theme of chess, as we see in what I’m coming to think of as the post-credits credits (screencapped above), a few transitions, and this fun shot:

Now that Windom Earle is in Twin Peaks, he is both more horrifying and less horrifying than before. The scenes with Leo are very over the top, portraying Earle as a Pan-like god with his flute, calling the animalistic, Frankenstein’s monster Leo. A few scenes had the potential for suspense, but Keaton doesn’t quite have the horror-movie skills to make it happen. This shot, for instance, is really only disturbing if you think about. The visceral thrills aren’t there. (But notice how Caroline’s death-mask also fits into the male-gaze idea.):

Clues, Questions, and Answers:

• Whenever Earle takes a piece from the chess board, he also kills someone. A deadly game!

• Luckily, Pete is an expert chess player, and happy to help.

• Earle seemed excited by the idea of an owl postcard. Is he a person that Bob might enter?

• Interesting that Earle chooses to address Cooper through a hand-held tape recorder, just as Cooper talks to Diane.

Other Things that are Still Happening:

• Not much that I haven’t mentioned, really. Shelly and Bobby are now a public couple, as are Norma and Ed. This section might disappear in the next review.

• The Eckhardt plot continues.

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

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