Twin Peaks 1.2-1.3

1.2 Traces to Nowhere

“Laura died two days ago, I lost you years ago.”

I love the messages Cooper records for Dianne (supposedly someone back at the agency) throughout the show. In some ways, it’s simply narration, but it adds a sense of personality to his characters. Cooper is a bit smug and somewhat of a know-it-all, and seems to take pride in that, but not in an arrogant way. There’s a matter-of-factness to him, like he’s doing it not to show off, but just because it’s who he is. He takes pride in who he is without having a massive ego and there’s something endearing about that.

As more of the secrets around Laura get revealed, we begin to discover how she was involved with so many people in the town, not always in the best way. Still, her death is moving to many, such as Dr. Jacoby (Russ Tamblyn) who was apparently seeing her for some of her psychological issues. While unearthing all of these secrets usurps stereotypes of wholesomeness and goodness of small town America, Laura’s death is a reminder of how much one death can reverberate through a small community.

This episode also looks at how children relate to their fathers. Major Briggs’s (Don S. Davis) view of the world is shaped through the discipline and control from his military background and it’s easy to see how Bobby would dive into all sorts of bad things as a form of rebellion. Ben Horne (Richard Beymer) is used to getting his way and being able to talk someone into doing what he wants, but Audrey is impervious, she rebels because she knows he can’t touch her.

Will Hayward (Warren Frost), on the other hand, seems much more supportive of Donna, even when she might be in the wrong, and she of all the kids in town seems to have the best relationship with her father. It’ll be interesting to see if the show returns to this idea to see if Laura’s many evil acts were somehow a response to her father, Leland Palmer (Ray Wise).

1.3 Zen, or the Skill to Catch a Killer

“Meet me for breakfast, 7 am, the hotel lobby. I know who killed Laura Palmer. No, it can wait till morning”

This town sure has a lot of money. How is there enough wealth going around? We discover near the border there’s a casino that fronts a brothel called One-Eyed Jack’s and it’s ornate and richly decorated. We also learn that drug-running is a big part of the town and Bobby needs to scrape up 10 grand for Leo. There’s a lot of money floating around in this town and I’m curious where it’s all coming from. The logging industry certainly isn’t that wealthy, right?

As the show delves deeper into the town’s secrets, it becomes clear how almost every character in the show is caught up in some sort of deceptive affair or business relationship. Private affections and allegiances often run counter to public connections. In some ways, this could be seen as a comment that all people have secret thoughts, desires and lives that are never observed in public life.

While Cooper doesn’t seem to have any secrets, he does have some interesting ideas. He comes up with a convoluted plan he says he had in a dream related to the techniques of a Tibetan monk. It’s absurd, but treated by everyone involved in the proceedings with complete sincerity. It does lead them to investigate Leo Johnson and we do know that he has a bloody shirt from some incident.

The episode ratchets up the craziness. While the show isn’t always overtly supernatural, there’s a sense of metaphysical awareness that goes beyond the everyday. Last episode Mrs. Palmer sensed the fate of the locket, this episode Mr. Palmer dances with a photo of Laura with a sad, obsessive fervency. Cooper has an interesting dream with a dancing midget who speaks with a voice so distorted his words are subtitled. This distortion of sound and perception adhere to the dreamlike quality of the scene as well as suggest that there is something off about our perception of reality.

© 2014 James Blake Ewing