Twin Peaks Rewatch Project - Season 2, Episode 1 to Episode 5
We're wrapping up the Twin Peaks Rewatch Project with a four-part look at the second season, all leading up to the premiere of the new season on May 21.
The second season opens up where we left off — Special Agent Dale Cooper has been shot and left for dead on the floor of his room at the Great Northern Hotel. In one of the series’ weirdest moments (that’s saying a lot), Cooper is visited by an elderly waiter who delivers him milk. The waiter doesn’t seem to be bothered by Cooper’s predicament, he’s more worried about the milk. Then, Cooper is visited by a tall man, the Giant, who gives Cooper three cryptic messages — “a man in a smiling bag…the owls are not what they seem…without chemicals, he points.” Finally, the Giant takes Cooper’s ring and says he’ll give it back when the three mysteries are solved.
A bit later, Cooper speaks to Diane through his tape recorder and summarizes his situation:
“All things considered, being shot is not as bad as I always thought it might be. As long as you can keep the fear from your mind. But I guess you can say that about almost anything in life. It’s not so bad as long as you can keep the fear from your mind.”
In these opening moments, Twin Peaks slows things down and resets the mystery. Cooper sums up one of the overarching themes of the show, that fight with fear, which is embodied by the Black Lodge and Bob. It's a fight continues through the season, leading up to the final moments of the finale. Sheriff Truman and Deputy Andy finally come to Cooper’s aid, and after getting patched up by Doc Hayward, Cooper is back on his feet. Later, he brings everyone together in the Sheriff’s Department’s conference room to go over each and every detail and piece of evidence in the Laura Palmer case. He narrows it all down to “the third man” first mentioned in the fifth episode of season one.
We then catch up with all the other citizens of Twin Peaks. The mill has burned down, Shelly survived the fire, Catherine is missing, James is in jail, Audrey is stuck at One Eyed Jack’s, Leo has been immobilized after being shot, and Leland Palmer — well, let’s talk about Leland. Having killed Jacques in the season one finale, Leland has seemingly broken free from his crippling depression, shifting into hyperactive erraticness. He’s singing and dancing, and much to the horror of his wife and Maddy, his hair goes from brown to white overnight.
"If the words sound queer and funny to your ear, a little bit jumbled and jivey, sing 'Mares eat oats and does eat oats and little lambs eat ivy.'" It turns out the singing and dancing Leland is just as haunting as the grieving Leland.
On the quest to find Bob, Cooper and Truman go to the now awake Ronette Pulaski and show her a sketch of the specter described by Sarah Palmer. She shrieks at the visage of Bob, leading the Sheriff's Department to plaster Bob's face on wanted signs saying “Have You Seen This Man?” Leland finds one of these flyers and says he has seen the man before as a boy. Bob, meanwhile, continues to Ronette, Maddy, Sarah Palmer, and Cooper. Mike, who was cleared of being connected to Bob last season, is revealed to know Bob full and well. With each appearance and mention, Bob becomes a more and more sinister. There's a mystery wrapped around Bob that'll soon be revealed, but not before more people suffer.
Dr. Jacoby, still in the hospital after he was attacked at the end of season one, through hypnotherapy identifies Leland as Jacques’ killer. While detained, Leland confesses, but the case doesn't like it'll stick. Truman and the townspeople of Twin Peaks are on Leland's side — he lost a daughter and the murder of Jacques feels justified. Ray Wise as Leland does amazing work in these early episodes of season two, balancing a multitude of emotions sometimes all in one scene. It's a frightening escalation that continues from here.
Meanwhile, Donna Hayward continues her own investigation into her friend's murder. She takes over Laura’s Meals on Wheels route and visits an elderly woman, Mrs. Tremond, and her grandson. The bizarre scene involving vanishing creamed corn won’t “pay off” until Fire Walk with Me, but it turns out to be an important encounter that leads Donna to Harold Smith, an agoraphobic who Laura had been speaking with before her death. It turns out that the timid Harold has been keeping a secret of his own, a diary written by Laura. Donna enlists Maddy to help her steal the diary, but they get cornered by an unhinged Harold. Luckily, a recently-freed from jail James saves the girls, but they leave the diary behind.
Wrapping up the largest story arc in episode five, Cooper manages to find the missing Audrey. Since the end of season one, Audrey has tried to leave One Eyed Jack's only to be stopped by Jean Renault, Jacques’ brother, played devilishly well by the late Michael Parks. Cooper finds a note from Audrey that slipped under his bed, it says she has “gone north.” That’s all Cooper needs to plan a raid on One Eyed Jack’s with Sheriff Truman. The two Bookhouse Boys save Audrey, with some much-needed assistance from Hawk. Jean gets away to scheme another day, and the One Eyed Jack’s plotline seems to be wrapped up, for now anyway.
In the first five episode of season two, Cooper and his crew get closer and closer to Bob, while the mystery of the Black Lodge widens. Cooper's dreams get more out-there while the people around him, including Truman, start to doubt his existential ways. But as the mystery of Laura's murder winds down, Cooper is gradually becoming the shining light and possible savior of Twin Peaks. The question is, how long will it last?