Cooper chases Jacques across the border… Audrey plays without a net
Written: Mark Frost
Directed: Leslie Linka Glatter
Written: Harley Peyton
Directed: Caleb Deschanel
I have to question just how many times we can start an episode with Audrey catching Agent Cooper eating breakfast at the restaurant in her father’s hotel, the Great Northern. Logically, it makes sense, but on a writing level, it’s redundant. While the two up their flirtation game, there is a subtext of peers exchanging notes. Audrey’s continued investigation in the murder of Laura Palmer is rivaled only to that of Agent Cooper’s, with the femme fatale sometimes drawing a straighter line toward hard answers than he can.
While owning a natural sense of deduction, Audrey is playing at a larger game, an adult game. While spying on family affairs, she gains more insight on her father, but has to handle the truth of his infidelity with Catherine Martel. While Audrey does not know the full extent of two’s conspiracy, it is enough to send her between the sheets of Agent Cooper’s bed. Whatever game she had made of playing detective, it became too ‘real’ and she resorted for the security found in an approving male father figure. With her own father only ever objectifying women and treating them as chattel, the approval Audrey seeks from Cooper is sought through ply of her body.
While the scene does offer insight into the nuances of Audrey Horne that are further developed onward, it also serves as another test for Cooper along his path. The renouncement of the physical shell, of material reward is common in archetypal quests for a higher truth.
It’s not like Agent Cooper isn’t already short on sleep already. With reveling Icelanders celebrating on the floor of his hotel room, Cooper is on edge throughout the episode. Once the Norwegians fell out of the Ghostwood Estates deal, Ben Horne had his slightly less slimy brother, Jerry, snag another Nordic investment party. The siblings spend the episodes courting the Icelanders as Ben’s plot for the land and the Sawmill that rests upon said land expands.
On the surface, Ben appears to be plotting with Catherine to set fire to the mill and blame it on Josie. In actuality, he is plotting with Josie and has taken out a life insurance plot on Catherine; intending for her to die in the sawmill fire. Ben’s scheme grows ever more complicated when Catherine begins to catch on. For her part, when confronted with her growing trail of complicity, Josie plays dumb to her sucker boyfriend Sheriff Truman. Also, it is revealed in some vague sketchiness that Josie is plotting something with newly-released convict, Hank Jennings. This side-story has got a lot off on and off ramps is what I’m saying.
Hank wastes no time in paying Leo Johnson a visit. It appears the Tony Montana strong guy act Leo was playing at was another example of a kid playing at adult games when Hank punches him out in admonishment for running his backwoods drug empire poorly while he was away and threatens to kill him next time. Playing to type, Leo abuses Shelley for the encounter. This time, she uses the gun introduced in the last episode, but Leo escapes, only grazed. Shelley is in panic afterwards. In the cold light of morning she understands, Leo is a beast that you do not cross unless you can kill. She is overwrought against the world of adult consequences she now faces.
Her sidepiece, Bobby Briggs, is perhaps the most overtly broken child in the episode. The tough guy routine is knee-capped in the office of Lawrence Jacoby during a session of family counseling. What is at first played for laughs, cuts deep as Jacoby digs into Bobby with scalpel precision; guided by Laura’s secret confidences to the doctor about her social circles. Bobby sobs, revealing Laura wanted to die, that she felt broken and corrupt and that she sought to corrupt him in the same manner she was. It was only after her manipulation that he began selling drugs in school, lured into playing adult games while still being a kid in his heart.
During his confessions with Jacoby, Bobby mentions that Laura was locked into a struggle between a darkness and the Light. While a reductive premise, the quintessential struggle serving as the cancer that ate away at Laura, that eats away at the town is heavily foreshadowed here. Don’t feel too bad for Bobby though, he ends these episodes planting a ridiculous amount of cocaine in James’ motorcycle gas tank in an attempted frame job.
Speaking of kid games, James and Donna enlist Laura’s cousin, Maddy, into their Scooby Doo adventures. The premise of their side plot runs that they have to solve the murder because only they knew Laura and no one else can be trusted to solve the crime. Because…? It’s a plot hole they never address. James and Donna leap to both conclusion and action so randomly in this series their lives are no more than a series of miscalculated affairs.
Having found a series of private therapy tapes for her doctor with one missing the night of her death they then assume Dr. Jacoby must have killed Laura because of…? If that wasn’t a leap, the gang gets the idea to lure him out of his office so they can ransack it by dressing Maddy up as Laura and messing with a grieving man’s mind. Complete with phone calls, video tapes, wigs, the lengths they go to in order to enact this harebrained scheme is on level with the cast of It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia.
On the other end of the spectrum, Norma Jennings and Big Ed attempt the reverse and seek out traces of their youths. The both seek to rekindle a love lost along the years of compromise. Despite his release from prison, Norma is prepared to divorce Hank for Big Ed until Ed backs out at the last moment. Tied down by his mentally afflicted wife, Nadine, Ed is racked with guilt and hurts a woman he loves in any direction he breaks. There is just too much real life world between them to get together.
Still liking Jacques for Laura’s murder, Cooper and the gang seek out the cabin Jacques brother mentioned when they previously interrogated him. To reach this next object of truth along his path, Cooper is first met with the Log Lady, a source of esoteric wisdom he once forsook when he was still a neophyte in his quest for enlightenment. Having had his strange dreams and having followed the advice therein, he is given another chance and invited into her cabin. The Log Lady plays the role of Oracle at her remote place of solemnity. She speaks in cryptic riddles, but offer illumination if introspective thought is given to the matter.
Having accepted her tea and cookies, her hearth and home, Cooper relents to a power that cannot be explained or seen and asks her log what it saw the night of Laura’s death. Many of the details, as translated via the Log Lady, corroborate with much of what Cooper intimated. While she does not implicitly crack the case, she offers spiritual reassurance to Cooper that he is on the right path, that listening to his intuition is the right course of action.
The group then finds Jacques’ cabin. Therein they come across a slew of clues including Jacques’ mynah bird, Waldo, that they had tracked back to the vet a few episodes earlier, a poker chip from One Eye Jack’s, and another issue of Flesh World with a photo of Leo Johnson’s Big Rig in it, further tying him to Jacques’ fate.
While the bird’s confession may not be admissible, they attempt to record its residual mimicry for any possible insight into the night at the cabin. While stalking Bobby as he meets with Shelley, a wounded Leo hears of the police’s plans for the talkative bird while eavesdropping on a police scanner. Knowing that the bird could reveal incriminating events of the night he and Jacques spent at his cabin, Leo assassinates the bird with a sniper rifle from across a parking lot in a rainstorm, through a window, while injured with an open bullet wound. He’s an insufferable jerk, but, damn, nice shot.
With Leo’s name caught on tape just before the bird’s death and Jacques’s cabin turning up more clues, Cooper decides to pay a visit to One Eye Jack’s, the source of the poker chip found at the cabin and the same place Jacques works. North of the border, Cooper has to work without the auspices of the American Federal Government and goes undercover to sniff out Jacques, possibly luring him back stateside for an arrest if he is indeed their man. Why Cooper decides to bring Big Ed in disguise with him is beyond me. I know he’s a Bookhouse Boy, but Ed is not very good at the whole covert action thing.
While Cooper and Big Ed work the blackjack tables looking for Jacques, Audrey’s investigations have found her in the same place. By following the lead from her father’s department store to the perfume counter where both Laura and Ronette worked, then to the sleezeball, Emory Battis, who transitions the perfume counter girls to “hospitality girls” working at One Eyed Jacks, she’s made it before the brothel’s manager, the Madame, Blackie. After a fraudulent prostitution resume fails to impress, Audrey infiltrates the stable by tying a cherry stem into knot by just using her tongue.
Audrey’s skills at playing in this adult world far exceed her ability to cope therein. Much like Bobby, Shelley, and Audrey, there will be consequences for her entry into a much larger and more dangerous world. Her journey of discovery is one of self-annihilation. She even gives herself a new name and back story to Blackie. She must strip away everything that made her Ben Horne’s pampered daughter and redefine herself and her role in the world. This is what she seeks to do by competing to be peers with Agent Cooper, to show that she can run alongside the outsider from that big, brave world she’s only heard about growing up. Cooper and Audrey are both working undercover and without a safety net at One Eyed Jacks as the search for answers into Laura’s murder gains significant traction as well as suspects.
“We never want to hurt anyone. We never just take what we want. There’s a part of me beginning to think this is how it is when you get to the end of your life and you don’t have anything to show for it.” -Norma
“A gala hosting some of Twin peaks best and brightest.” -Ben
“Are we holding it in a phone booth?” -Jerry
“Shut your eyes and you’ll burst into flames.” –Log Lady
“Fire is the devil hiding like a coward in the smoke.” –Log Lady
“It’s the secrets that people keep that destroy any chance at happiness. -James
Emory Battis (Don Amendolia): Total sleazebag; manager at Horne’s Department store, talent scout for One Eyed Jack’s
Blackie (Victoria Catlin): Madame of One Eyed Jack’s; a cautionary tale for Audrey
Waldo (Mynah bird): Witness to Jacques and Leo; assassinated