Twin Peaks Rewatch Project - Season 1, Episode 4
The staff of the Talk Film Society takes you on a journey back to Twin Peaks, episode by episode. All leading up to the premiere of the new season in May.
Title: "Episode 4 aka The One Armed Man"
Original Air Date: May 3, 1990
Written by Robert Engels
Directed by Tim Hunter
This episode begins in the Palmer residence, as Laura's mother Sarah is describing the mysterious man she remembers seeing in her dreams to Sheriff Truman and Deputy Andy. Leland interrupts her statement in a sarcastic way, noting that its the second time she's had such visions. Sarah also speaks about seeing a gloved hand pick up the half golden heart necklace from the dirt that was seen in the show's pilot, which causes Donna (who is at the house for reasons which are not exactly clear) to wonder if it was the same one that she had buried with James.
Meanwhile at the police station, Lucy is watching 'Invitation to Love' as Truman and Andy return. Cooper is attemping to get more information out of Dr. Jacoby. Not wanting to violate his doctor-patient confidentiality agreement, Jacoby simply states: "Laura had secrets, and around those secrets she built a fortress that in my six months with her I was not able to penetrate. And for which I consider myself an abject failure". He does tell Cooper about following a man driving a red Corvette the night after Laura died down the old sawmill road - and the only person in town with that kind of car is Leo Johnson.
Cooper's superior Gordon Cole (voice of David Lynch himself) speaks to Cooper over the phone about Albert Rosenfield's investigation and confirms the bird bites on Laura's body from the forensic analysis. Cooper continues to defend Truman against Rosenfield after knocking him down in the morgue earlier. Andy brings in the finished sketch from earlier, to which Cooper remarks it's the same man that he saw in his dreams - Bob. And in another sudden development recalling a past figure, Hawk calls Cooper over the phone to alert him that the one-armed man from earlier was spotted outside the Timber Falls motel.
As the scene changes to the motel, a side-story comes into frame regarding Benjamin Horne and the affair he is carrying out with Catherine Martell. Josie Packard is just outside of the premises, photographing the two as she suspects they are conspiring against her. The two are in the next room over from the one that Cooper, Truman, and Andy bust into, where they find the one armed man and begin to question him. A travelling shoe salesman named Philip Gerard, he is shown the sketch of the man from Sarah's dream but claims to not know who he is. After enough questioning the man breaks down, making Cooper feel like something of a jerk. In the other room, as Benjamin is getting ready to shower, a poker chip from One Eyed Jacks falls out of his pocket, to Catherine's discovery.
We then cut to Audrey and Donna in the girl’s washroom at their high school, in which Audrey smokes and tells her classmate that she intends to do everything she can to help with solving Laura’s murder. Although at this point there’s no question about Audrey wanting to get as close to Cooper as possible, her affection here shows. Audrey has even produced three reasonable clues towards the investigation; the fact that Laura and Ronette Pulaski worked together at her father’s department store, that Dr. Jacoby had been ‘secretly’ treating her as a patient, and the hunch that Laura had been working at One Eyed Jacks as a prostitute. In a later scene, Audrey tries to sweet talk her father into letting her understand more about the family business - and makes it clear that she intends to follow in his footsteps.
Cooper and his team decide to chase after one of the clues from the autopsy by making a stop at the Animal Clinic, where they seize many files and folders from the department to track down exactly what kind of bird may have dug itself into Laura’s body.
Later, Bobby Briggs and Shelly are making out at her home while Leo is out Jacques - who we found out in the last episode is in cahoots via their drug dealing operation. Bobby asks if there’s any way to get Leo’s bloody shirt from his truck back, but Shelly tells him that she isn’t going to be afraid of Leo and his domestic violence anymore, as she shows him the gun she procured earlier and then places it around her body in a seductive fashion. It’s a curiously weird display to say the least.
At the firing range, after an earlier mishap that caused Andy’s firearm to go off accidentally, as Cooper believes that the deputy needs to be a better aim when the time for it comes. After a long night of going through the files at the clinic, Cooper’s boss Cole calls in again to say that the strange item which was found inside of Laura was a poker chip, and that the bites were from a myna bird. On this particular clue, Cooper decides to pull the team together and go into Jacques’ home - who is still out with Leo and likely over the border. Leo’s bloody shirt is found inside, planted there earlier by Bobby, and as a result, foregrounding Leo as a primary suspect in Laura’s murder and getting rid of him from Shelly’s life.
It turns out Leo is meeting Benjamin at this moment, who gives him a lot of money to burn down the Packard saw mill in a few days, so that after he becomes the owner via Josie’s murder, he can collect the insurance money. It is also revealed that Benjamin is the big kahuna behind the town’s drug problem, and in tieing off loose ends, leads Leo to murder Bernard while Jacques is in Canada.
Connecting back to the scene near the beginning, Donna and James go to the spot where they buried their half the heart necklace only to find it’s not there anymore. While James suggests that they try and talk with the police department rather than continue things independently, Donna won’t listen, believing that this is something that should be in the hands of those who cared about Laura.
In the episode’s final scene the true colors of Josie are shown, as she gets a call from Norma’s husband Hank who is about to released from jail. Suddenly the interwoven web of characters in Twin Peaks gains a new unexpected connection, making the mystery all the more enticing.
Unlike the previous episode, ‘The One Armed Man’ delves deeper into Laura’s murder and provides us with a whole range of plot developments and new clues to ponder over, with some surprising revelations to boot. For the most part its Twin Peaks at its more regular self, but with a sinister edge nonetheless.