Twin Peaks Rewatch Project - Season 2, Episode 8 & Episode 9
Having left us at the end of “Episode 14” with the sublimely unsettling image of Dale Cooper realizing he had failed to stop another murder, Twin Peaks resumes by placing us outside the Palmer house. Maddy’s muffled screams can faintly be heard inside as night fades into dawn, answering the horrible question we had been left with—no, no one came to save her. It’s morning now, and Leland is putting an obscene amount of golf balls around the living room. In this profanely quiet aftermath of a murder, we get a moment to realize that what we’ve seen as the eccentricities of a grieving father have in fact been the deranged habits of a murderous ghost all along.
Donna and James arrive to say goodbye to Maddy, and find a friendly Leland explaining that they just missed her. Here we get a dynamic new to Twin Peaks, a Hitchcockian sense of being more aware than the characters of how much danger they’re in. Tucking Maddy’s lifeless hand into his golf bag, Leland leaves the house, but not before looking in the mirror and seeing Bob stare vacantly back.
Still in jail for Laura’s murder, Ben discusses his case with Jerry, who intends to act as his brother’s attorney. Stymied by the “roasting” of Ben’s alibi in the apparent death of Catherine, they retreat into a flashback of their babysitter dancing for them with a flashlight when they were kids. It’s a charmingly Lynchian visual that nevertheless feels out of place as the only flashback in all of Twin Peaks.
Lucy's back from vacation, and she's brought her tactless sister Gwen (and Gwen's newborn baby) with her. Upon meeting Hawk, Gwen gushes that he "must hate us white people after all we've done to you." Hawk replies, "Some of my best friends are white people," with the most massive eyeroll in television, because Hawk is the best. Meanwhile, at the Great Northern, Cooper and Truman inform a dancing Leland of Ben's arrest. Leland appears shaken, but when left alone, he begins chuckling maniacally to himself.
Later, Cooper confronts Jerry Horne with the long list of states in which he's been charged with practicing law without a license (a spinoff I would watch), leading Jerry to recommend his brother get a better attorney. At the Johnson house, Bobby plays a microcassette he found in Leo's boot after correctly guessing that "new shoes" meant something important, and hears a recording of Ben and Leo's conversation about the mill arson. Realizing that Leo had intended to blackmail Ben, Bobby decides he's going to take this opportunity to do just that.
Norma's extremely rude mother, Vivian, arrives at the Double R with her boorish new fiancee, Ernie, and invites Hank and a reluctant Norma to join them for dinner. Back at the Great Northern, Phillip Gerard wakes up twitching and knocks out the guard assigned to watch him with a brief apology before fleeing out the window. Dale informs Harry of this turn of events, interrupting a reverie between Harry and Pete about how much they miss Josie, who has left with Jonathan/Mr. Lee. They realize she lied to both of them about the identity of this mysterious stranger, but must sideline this revelation to pursue Gerard. Pete appears to Ben in his cell with a recorded message from Catherine, who offers an alibi for Laura’s murder in exchange for the deed to Ghostwood. Pete giggles with delight at his wife’s description of her night of passion with another man, while Ben trashes his cell in a rage.
Leland drives past the country club, swerving recklessly and singing “Surrey with the Fringe on Top” to himself. In Truman’s squad car, Cooper (who, intriguingly, is whistling the very same song) is alarmed by Leland’s driving, and they pull him over. An apologetic Leland offers to show Cooper his clubs, but Truman receives word that Gerard has been found. Cooper narrowly avoids what would have likely been an attack at the hands of Leland, who then looks in his rearview mirror and sees Bob. Back at the station, Gerard/Mike sniffs out Ben and declares that Bob is not in him. Cooper tells Truman he does not believe Ben is guilty, but Truman pulls rank and insists the evidence against Ben takes precedence over Cooper’s intuition. Cooper apologizes and returns to the hotel. At dinner, Ernie and Hank discuss their time together in prison, something Vivian (whom he met at a Republican fundraiser, because of course he did) is unaware of. Ernie insists he’s clean now, but Hank wants to discuss business later. Back at the Great Northern, Audrey has a heart-to-heart with Cooper about her father’s guilt, which is interrupted by a call about the body of Maddy, which has been discovered on the shore, wrapped in plastic.
The following episode opens with the defeated lawmen of Twin Peaks and the FBI convening in the wake of the latest murder. Albert encourages Cooper to engage in whatever mysticism it takes to stop the killer. Meanwhile, at the Double R, Donna and James have a conversation that strongly hints, in very teen soap opera terms, that they slept together the night before. On the way out, Donna overhears Andy muttering the French phrase from Harold’s suicide note and recognizes it as the words spoken by Pierre Tremond, inspiring her to find Agent Cooper.
At the Tremond home, a different, younger woman answers the door and explains to Donna and Cooper that she is Mrs. Tremond, but her mother has been dead for years and she has no children. However, she does have an envelope addressed to Donna that she found in her mailbox the day after Harold’s suicide. Inside, they find pages from Laura’s secret diary describing a dream that happens to be Dale’s Red Room dream from “Episode 2”, down to the last detail. Shaken, Cooper visits Gerard/Mike with the news that Bob has killed again, leading Mike to describe his past relationship with Bob as “a golden circle” of appetite and satisfaction. This triggers Cooper’s memory of giving his ring to the Giant, whom Mike encourages him to ask for help. Leaving the hotel, Cooper again sees the elderly waiter, who tells him, “That milk will cool down on you, but it’s getting warmer now.”
Donna visits the Palmer house to drop off the tape of the song she recorded with Maddy and James. Maddy’s mother calls to inform them that she never made it home, and Leland insists on dancing with Donna to take her mind off her worries. We see a screaming Bob where Leland stands as he puts on a record, but before he can close in on his next young victim, Truman arrives to take Leland in for questioning about another murder. Realizing what’s going on, a distraught Donna tracks down James, who rides off on his motorcycle in distress.
Cooper gathers Albert, Truman, Leland, Ben, Big Ed, Bobby, and Leo at the Roadhouse, just as Major Briggs arrives with the old waiter, who had asked him for a ride. The waiter offers Leland a stick of gum and informs him that “that gum you like is going to come back in style.” Cooper suddenly remembers the part of his dream he had forgotten, in which Laura whispered to him that her father killed her. The Giant appears in the place of the old man and returns the ring to Cooper, who informs the assembly that he will be bringing Ben into custody, and suggests Leland accompany them as Ben’s attorney.
At the station, Cooper pulls a bait-and-switch and shoves Leland into the cell that had been intended for Ben. Bob explodes in a rage and leaves Leland a howling madman. He confesses to his crimes and explains that Leland is “a babe in the woods,” but he will remember everything when Bob leaves his body. He also hints that he knows about “that time in Pittsburgh,” which visibly unnerves Cooper, who takes the others into the hall to explain the series of clues and intuitions that led him to Leland. Bob begins chanting the “Fire Walk With Me” poem before banging his head against the wall so hard that he is left hemorrhaging blood on the floor.
A cigarette being smoked by Dick Tremaine elsewhere in the building sets off the sprinkler system just as Cooper rushes in to comfort a dying Leland. As the water pours down like cleansing rain, Leland weeps with the memory of what he did to Laura and the knowledge that the spirits would have taken her, but she was strong enough to fight them. Dale encourages Leland to go into the light he sees, and Leland dies with the vision of a joyful Laura awaiting him on the other side.
Cooper, Truman, Albert, and Briggs convene in the woods and reflect on what’s just happened. None of them can be sure whether Bob, whom Albert suggests is simply “the evil that men do,” can truly be real, but they are unnerved by the thought that he might still be at large. An owl flies at the camera as the story of Laura Palmer’s death concludes, at least for now. This marks the end of an era for Twin Peaks, a thread that almost certainly could have gone longer. Kyle MacLachlan’s portrayal of Cooper’s desperation, coupled with some pitch-perfect scene-chewing by Ray Wise, Frank Silva, and Al Strobel as Bob and Mike, drive these episodes to a captivating conclusion. The plot threads may have wrapped up, but their implications will linger long after you’ve finished watching.