It’s Tuesday! You know what that means??
Time for the coexisting feelings of dread and meaninglessness that permeate any old day of the week!
But besides that, it’s season one, episode three of Twin Peaks! It’s gonna get weird. If you didn’t understand up to this point why this show is associated with supernatural things and why there seems to be a lot of discussion of symbols and meanings of jumbled-sounding, cryptic phrases, your first dose of that stuff is right here.
Episode 3: Zen, or the Skill to Catch a Killer
We open to the Horne family, Papa Benjamin, Sonny Johnny, Girlchild Audrey, and Ma Sylvia; having a quiet dinner. Very quiet. For a long time. Just clacking forks. The remainder of the opening credits plays over top of them, there’s so little happening.
Out of nowhere, Uncle Jerry bombs in, with bags of shit and a bowtie! Well, not out of nowhere. Out of Paris. He indicates this by presenting Benjamin with the most Parisian of items, a baguette with brie and butter. They eat those sandwiches right there while the rest of the family sits there. Sylvia seems pretty mad Jerry is there, but Benjamin is eating that sandwich with such gusto, he doesn’t notice. Alternatively, he notices but can’t be bothered to care. It’s probably that.
Outside the dining room but still with sandwiches, Benjamin catches Jerry up on Twin Peaks happenings, like the murder of Leland’s daughter Laura and the Norwegians leaving. Jerry’s first query is, “Did they sign?” But Jerry’s not a total monster! No, he is bummed too about a local teen’s untimely demise. But what will raise spirits? The pair scoot on over to One-Eyed Jack’s, a waterside place full of elaborately lacy lingerie and gambling and probably illegal goings-on. Upon their entry, a parade of anxious and/or bored ladies in a wide array of aforementioned elaborate lingerie appear. Seems a little much in my opinion, but no one invited me. Benjamin and Jerry flip a coin to see who goes first with the new girl, who looks super nervous but guides Benjamin back.
Over at the Hayward home, we have a less sexual, more emotional time. After the meet-the-parents dinner, James and Donna are on the couch together, and once parents are off to bed, they get really close together and talk about being conflicted about romancing when he is/was Laura’s BF and she is/was her BFF. Ultimately, they decide this romancing was probably going to be a thing even if Laura hadn’t died. They kiss and have some feelings right there on the couch.
All in this same night, Deputy Hawk calls Agent Cooper about Ronette, who is still in no shape to talk but recently quit the perfume counter where she worked. Whoa now, back a few minutes ago Benjamin Horne said the new girl at One-Eyed Jack’s was fresh from the perfume counter and you thought it was a dumb personal detail to mention but now you’re the dumb one, aren’t you? Put aside your self-loathing for later; we have more episode to discuss.
Anyway, on this same phone call, Hawk mentions the vanishing one-armed man to Agent Cooper. Just as Agent Cooper ends the call, there’s a knock on his door. He opens the door to a card on the floor, totally blank except for a message inside: “Jack with One Eye.” Agent Cooper sniffs this and smiles. I assume that means Audrey left it. Or at least he hopes Audrey left it. But she is in high school and you’re a grown man and I can’t be into this, sorry. Maybe the card just smells like coffee or trees or something else he likes.
Even deeper into this neverending night of character check-ins, Asshole Twins Bobby and Mike park a car by the woods. Mike has a switchblade, Bobby has a flashlight, and they are looking to find a special tree. Inside the tree is a football, and inside the football is some cocaine, and behind a different tree is menacing Leo Johnson, even more menacing at night with a gun. He approaches them, menacingly.
They talk… Bobby and Mike owe Leo $10,000, but the money is in Laura’s safety deposit box and probably not going to get to any of them. It’s worth noting that all three of them know that Laura was leading a pretty… spicy life. It’s also worth noting that Leo knows Shelly is stepping out on him, but Bobby is pretty sure he doesn’t know it’s with him. Leo lets Mike and Bobby leave with the coke. Mike feels so shaken, he lets Bobby know he is done with this tomfoolery. But is he? We’ll see!
Next scene, the hot, bright orb is again in the sky, shining light onto a darkened landscape! A greasy Ed comes into his and Nadine’s house, where he trips over her drape runner project in the floor, knocking around books and cotton balls and socks and getting oily mess on stuff. Nadine is nearby exercising and she is livid. He says sorry in a long-suffering kind of way. Unsurprisingly, Nadine is still extra angry. Everyone leaves this interaction unhappy.
Elsewhere, Bobby shows up unannounced at Shelly Johnson’s place for a couple minutes. He sees the bruises from Leo. Looks like he didn’t know Leo did this kind of thing, especially not regularly. He vows to kill Leo if he beats her up again, but Shelly reminds him that Leo will kill both of them if he finds out they are doing sex. Let’s leave that drama to simmer.
In yonder wooded area, Agent Cooper and the sheriff department employees set up an experiment with a chalkboard and a tape measure and a glass bottle on a stump. It looks really fun to begin with, and when Agent Cooper explains about Tibet and dreams and… spirit energy, I guess, it looks like fun tinged with confusion. Everyone is willing to learn. Essentially, names of people connected to Laura will be read off the chalkboard as Coop throws a rock at the bottle. With each name, the relationship to Laura is stated and a brief clip is shown, so this is a great time to match names with faces if you’re struggling. Takeaways from this: One-Eyed Jack’s is a casino up across the Canadian border of which everyone is aware, and on Leo Johnson’s name, Coop’s thrown rock shatters the glass bottle.
In a different part of town, more specifically the Double R Diner, Donna and her parents are enjoying some post-church lunch in a corner booth. Audrey Horne slinks in, queues up something mysterious and sexy on the jukebox, and gets a cup of black coffee. She and Donna eye each other in what I interpret as a very sexually charged way until Donna goes over to the counter.
They talk a little about Laura, like how she and Audrey weren’t BFFs but she appreciates how Laura helped Johnny. I really feel like Donna and Audrey are about to bang, but then Audrey starts talking about Agent Cooper. Audrey asks if Laura ever talked about her father. Donna is confused by this question, but Audrey being provocative or vague or just weird is not exactly rare. Donna never really gets an answer as to what Audrey is getting at, and eventually Audrey drifts away to sway/dance in the middle of the diner. Watching from the counter, Donna still seems sexually interested.
Was this scene supposed to seem like this? Some of you who aren’t queers and/or have friends and/or understand teens should explain this scene to me.
After playing in the woods, the gang heads back to the Sheriff’s department. FBI guy Albert Rosenfield and his team arrive. Albert is rude to Lucy at the front desk immediately. In the conference room, Cooper warns Truman Rosenfield is kind of a rude dude before meeting him. They walk out into the lobby… and Rosenfield immediately (verbally) shits on Truman’s department. After Rosenfield makes several verbal jabs,Truman pulls him aside for a brief moment to tell him to shut the fuck up or he’s gonna get punched. It is done in a classy yet forceful way. Rosenfield seems not pleased, but he doesn’t freak out or tell Truman to go fuck himself. Rosenfield and Co. depart for the hospital.
Was anyone worried about Nadine’s drape runners? I know I was! Ed comes home to Nadine’s bountiful adoration and affection, because his greasy hands and clothes touching her drape runners when he tripped on them actually made them better. Nadine’s plan is to market these totally silent babies. She hugs him close, but Ed absolutely does not want to be part of any of this.
In a giant log cabin, the Martells perform what I assume is their nightly ritual: swapping hateful remarks at each other before bed. Catherine tries to casually ask Pete what Coop and Tru wanted to talk to Josie about earlier. Pete is not very cooperative. While Catherine’s not looking, Josie suddenly, silently appears at the bedroom door and Pete surreptitiously slips her a key to something. Catherine doesn’t see this interaction, but she gets fed up with Pete and yells at him to go to his room. Of course they sleep separately. Josie uses the key to open a secret safe behind a bookcase! Look at you, Nancy Drew! She finds two different ledgers for the sawmill.
In the Palmers’ house, Leland puts a record on and has a meltdown. He screams until Sarah comes downstairs. Now it is her turn to talk him down from being hysterical. They break Laura’s picture frame while struggling. Leland cuts his hand on the glass and smears blood on the picture, sobbing while Sarah cries out in frustration. It is messy and sad.
We’re winding down the episode, so now is the time for weird stuff. At the Great Northern, Cooper snuggles into bed, looking perfect and pleased. He dreams… He is in a room with red curtains all on the walls and a black and white chevron floor, which we will refer to from here on out as the Red Room because that is what it is called, though I don’t remember if anyone in the show actually says that. In the Red Room in this dream right now, Cooper is old, grey and wrinkled. A small man in a red coat trembles violently in a corner.
Someone does a cryptic voiceover, including the phrase “Fire Walk with Me.” The voiceover says a lot of stuff, things about the devil and the magician, and Mike and Bob. The speaker is Mike. We see him speaking somewhere else, not where Cooper is. We see Bob too, and he’s the old fella Sarah saw peering at her in the living room in the last episode. Bob is not in the same room as Cooper or Mike and he says he will kill again. It is creepy.
In the Red Room is also Laura. The small man speaks in a weird way about weird things. The man says the woman there is not Laura Palmer, but his cousin. She speaks in the same weird way as the small man. There is some dancing from the small man. Not-Laura approaches Coop, kisses him, and whispers something in his ear.
Cooper awakens and calls Truman immediately, though it is the middle of the night. He says he knows who killed Laura Palmer, but it can wait until morning over breakfast.
Prior to this point, you were probably thinking this show was pretty straightforward and you didn’t know what the deal was with people acting like this was some esoteric crazy thing that needs guidebooks and tons of supplementary materials. Well, welcome to the weird shit. I don’t remember what any of that shit meant or means. Either the show explains almost none of it, or I have poor retention skills. Honestly it could be either one. If explanations appear in the actual show, we will find out here in this recap at the same time! Tune in next week to potentially uncover secrets and the power of ~dream energy fusion donut mysticism~.
You can find the rest of our Twin Peaks Recaps here!