John Bruni reviews TWIN PEAKS: season 2, episodes 20-21

Twin PeaksEpisode 27: “The Path to the Black Lodge”
Originally broadcast April 18, 1991
Written by Mark Frost & Harley Peyton
Directed by Stephen Gyllenhaal

Episode 28: “Miss Twin Peaks”
Originally broadcast June 10, 1991
Written by Harley Peyton & Robert Engels
Directed by Tim Hunter

My rating: ★★★
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Windom Earle: What do you fear most in the world?
Maj. Briggs: The possibility that love is not enough.

Lucy announces that she’s going to choose between Andy and Dick tomorrow, at the Miss Twin Peaks beauty pageant.

Dr. Hayward confronts Ben, practically begging him to leave his wife alone and let the past be the past. When the doctor goes, Jack shows up, saying that a friend of his has been murdered, and he’s needed in Brazil. He must leave Twin Peaks. He leaves a note for Audrey with Ben.

Maj. Briggs tells Cooper and Harry that he discovered that Windom Earle was an important player in Project Bluebook. He was there when the Air Force stopped looking at the stars and started looking at the woods in Twin Peaks. It turns out that Windom has known about the Black Lodge ever since 1965, and he’s been hungry to find it ever since. In a moment of horror, Cooper realizes that his partner’s presence in town has never been about revenge. That’s just a red herring (a fish Cooper never cared for). No, he’s really been looking for the Black Lodge. Windom overhears this through the bug in the bonsai and slaps his chessboard to the side. The time for games is over.

This is a great scene because it shows how Windom Earle has always been a part of the Twin Peaks mythology, it’s just that we didn’t know it until now. It solidifies his presence on the show. There’s just one problem: if he’s been so hungry for the Black Lodge, then what the fuck has he been doing since 1965? Why did he even bother with the FBI? Why wasn’t he in Twin Peaks the whole time?

Leo steals the remote control for his shock collar.

Shelly and Bobby are back together.

Audrey, Shelly and Donna are warned by Cooper about Windom Earle. He tells them to take all sorts of precautions. You know, the usual. Check in with the police twice a day, don’t go anywhere alone, etc.

Windom reveals to Leo that he’s planned to kill Shelly all along. This angers Leo, but there must still be something missing in his mind. He uncharacteristically attempts to do something noble: stopping Windom from hurting Shelly. However, he decides to do so by using the remote shocker on Windom, not realizing that it only works because of the collar. In an absurdly comic moment, Leo shocks the everloving shit out of himself . . . twice.

Throughout town, some people are experiencing involuntary hand tremors.

Maj. Briggs encounters Windom Earle in the woods, and Windom is wearing his most ridiculous disguise yet: a horse costume. Yet it works. It confuses the major long enough for Windom to trank and kidnap him.

Audrey drives out to the airport and tries to stop Jack from leaving. He has to go, and she begs him to take her virginity, which he gladly does before he flies off for Brazil.

Windom Earle straps Maj. Briggs to the wall for some target practice with the crossbow. He interrogates the major, wanting to know everything about the Black Lodge. Maj. Briggs refuses, so Windom decides to try some truth serum.

Andrew figures out Catherine’s mystery box, only to find yet another box within, this one a block of metal.

Annie decides to take part in the pageant. Cooper sees the giant in a vision trying to warn him against letting her do this.

Windom Earle discovers at long last that the hieroglyph is a map to the Black Lodge. He overlays it with a map of Twin Peaks, and he finally knows where it is.

We see the portal to the Black Lodge, where Bob comes through and waits.

Leo tries to escape, but he can’t. However, he manages to free Maj. Briggs. He begs the major to save Shelly.

Windom Earle comes back and is pissed to discover what Leo has done, but that doesn’t matter. He shows Leo his true face, pale with grim, black teeth. It’s a genuinely frightening moment in the series. Very clearly, he is no longer himself. He’s been batshit crazy ever since we met him, but now he’s something else. Bob?

Ben starts reading religious books in an attempt to teach himself how to be good. Audrey reports to him that Catherine is using a local bank to funnel money to Ghostwood, but the bank doesn’t want anyone knowing about it.

Cooper suspects that Windom Earle has kidnapped the major. Furthermore, he thinks Josie died of fear, and the reason that Bob showed up was because he fed off fear. He also thinks Bob lives in the Black Lodge. This is an interesting attempt to explain the gratuitous weirdness from last time, but it doesn’t hold water. Bob can’t be there every time someone experiences fear. He’d end up draining half of the town by the end of the year.

Windom Earle confesses to Leo that he killed his own wife, just as Cooper has suspected all along. He also knows now that fear is the key to the Black Lodge. It’s time to make his final move, so he leaves Leo trapped in the cabin with a spider cage hanging over his head. The only thing keeping it from opening up on him is the string in his teeth . . . but the burden keeps getting heavier. This is interesting because throughout the series, Leo has been one of the most easily hateable characters we’ve experienced. Yet in this moment, we can’t help but feel sorry for him. He deserves this, but with his one moment of nobility and his torture at the hands of Windom Earle, we can’t help but hope the spider cage doesn’t fall on him.

Cooper and Annie finally make love.

Big Ed tells Nadine that he’s going to marry Norma. This pisses Nadine off so much that she announces her plans to marry Mike . . . and she accidentally breaks Mike’s hand.

Hawk finds Maj. Briggs in the woods and takes him back to the office. Cooper and Harry talk to him, but he’s pretty far out of it. He thinks God did this to him, and he starts muttering gibberish. It’s pretty painful to see the major like this. He started out as one of the most stable, rational people in town. Even when we discover the strangeness of his job, he still manages to seem like a reasonable man. But now that he’s been broken, it’s just a killer of a scene. No one should see a man like that in such a state.

Andrew, aggravated, shoots open the final box. Inside, he finds a key.

Cooper figures out that when Jupiter and Saturn are in conjunction, the portal to the Black Lodge will open. Fear opens the door to the Black Lodge, and love opens the door to the White Lodge. And then he realizes that Windom Earle plans to enter the Black Lodge with whoever wins the beauty pageant . . . his queen. It’s a cheat on chess. Cooper was under the impression that you’re supposed to checkmate the king. Windom Earle’s focus has always been the queen.

Andy knocks over the bonsai tree, and they all see the bug within. They know that Windom Earle knows they’re on to him. It’s now a race against the clock.

Finally, the pageant begins. Yes, this is how far low we’ve come. We’re watching a beauty pageant instead of unraveling the final mystery of the show.

Windom Earle has a new disguise, and this one is his finest. He arrives at the pageant dressed as the Log Lady, and it’s a great deception. Anyone looking on him from afar could swear that he really was the Log Lady. Bobby sees him, and he knocks poor Bobby the fuck out.

Donna confronts Ben Horne, and it’s clear as day: he really is her father.

Lucy chooses Andy. Dick is incredibly happy to be free from this mess.

Annie wins the pageant, and the lights go out. A strobe goes on. Explosions! Smoke! A sandbag hits Nadine on the head. And Windom Earle sneaks in and captures Annie.

Cooper and Harry prepare to rescue her, and Andy tells them that he’s finally figured out the hieroglyph, that it’s actually a map. He knows where the Black Lodge is.

Now that’s how you build up to a series finale! All right, maybe not the pageant. There is so much time devoted to that stupid pageant, it’s unbelievable. It slows the plot down to a crawl. All we need to see is the end, when Windom Earle kidnaps Annie. The rest of the time, one can’t help but think about what other cool things could be happening in this moment. Sure, it’s nice to see the girls in skimpy outfits, dancing, but we could be following other characters.

Still, all the same, the episode concludes in that high octane moment, when your blood pulses hard, and you absolutely hate to see the credits begin. It’s good to see a lot of the subplots fall by the side as the show ramps up to its final moments. Tune in next time for the final episode of TWIN PEAKS, when Cooper and Windom Earle will face off in the Black Lodge with Annie’s soul as the stakes of their final game.

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About John Bruni

John Bruni is the author of DONG OF FRANKENSTEIN (New Kink), POOR BASTARDS AND RICH FUCKS and TALES OF QUESTIONABLE TASTE (StrangeHouse) and STRIP (Riot Forge). His short work has appeared in anthologies like A HACKED-UP HOLIDAY MASSACRE (Pill Hill), ZOMBIE! ZOMBIE! BRAIN BANG! (StrangeHouse) and the critically acclaimed VILE THINGS (Comet). He edited STRANGE SEX 3 for StrangeHouse, and he was the editor and publisher of TABARD INN: TALES OF QUESTIONABLE TASTE. Find out more at www.talesofquestionabletaste.com and www.talesofunspeakabletaste.blogspot.com.
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One Response to John Bruni reviews TWIN PEAKS: season 2, episodes 20-21

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