TP Countdown Day 24:  The Last Evening

Do you like cliffhangers? I sure do hope so, because we have cliffhangers a-plenty tonight.

I forget that, even with the murder mystery at its heart, or the general weirdness of the show and it’s character, or the occasional dabble into pitch blackness, that Twin Peaks was also, essentially, a night time soap opera. We’re reminded of it occasionally, like when An Invitation To Love shows up on one of the character’s television sets and we remember that it’s trying to make fun of shows like Peaks. Or when we dabble in some of the cheesier love stories – Truman and Josie, for example. Or Catherine and Ben – nothing says soap opera like a couple of married people having an affair and hatching some kind of nefarious plot.

And then of course soap operas are pretty well known for those cliff hangers. Way back in 1980 viewers of Dallas found themselves obsessed with the question of who shot the evil oilman J.R. Ewing.

Well, Twin Peaks doesn’t fall too far from that tree. By the end of this episode, we’re asking, “Who shot Agent Cooper?” And for people watching week by week, they’d have to wait months for the answer to that question. Thankfully I get to start a new season tomorrow. Also, I already know it was.

But that’s only the last of tonight’s cliffhangers. Let’s get to the rest of the madness!

Things get rolling quickly. As Donna and James dig about in Jacoby’s apartment (and eventually find his secret coconut with Laura’s necklace and final tape recording), Jacoby finds Maddie-as-Laura near the gazebo. But before he can confront her and find out the truth, he’s attacked by a masked assailant who beats him about the body with what looks like a rock. Jacoby has a heart attack and the assailant disappears.

Next on the cliffhangers, we have the murder of Jacques Renault. Wait, how did he get murdered!? I thought he was in Canada!

Well, you’re right, he was! But Cooper managed to gain Jacques’ trust by pretending to be friends with Leo. He offered Jacques $10,000 to do a job for him, just meet him back in the U.S. – oh, surprise, now that you’re back in the U.S., I guess we’ll just arrest you. HAHA.

Oh, and let me just say, that close up on Jacques’ mouth as he tells the story of how the poker chip got busted, is one of the grossest things that’s ever been on television. “Bite de bullet baybee…” – shudder.

As they arrest Jacques, he gets free, gets his hand on a deputy’s gun, and pulls it on Sheriff Truman. Truman is mere seconds away from death, when suddenly a shot rings out – BANG – and Jacques is felled by a bullet. Who’s the hero? DEPUTY ANDY BRENNAN – FUCK YEAH.

This is not a cliff hanger. I mention it only because it’s awesome, and because Andy had been someone firearms challenged in the past.

BUT, speaking of Andy, who has been on the outs with Lucy lately, this story of his heroics gets him back in her good books just long enough to find out she’s pregnant! Which Andy takes pretty badly, it turns. Uh oh!

Jacques, meanwhile, is taken to the hospital, where he’s smothered by Leland Palmer who heard that they had arrested a suspect in his daughter’s killing.

Thankfully Cooper was able to question him before he was killed. Coop doesn’t think that Jacques killed Laura, so that leaves them looking for Leo. Leo, on the other hand, is looking for Bobby, and after trying to kill his romantic rival with an axe, he gets shot square in the chest (well, maybe not square, it was a bit off to the side, and kind of high, from what I could tell) by Hank Jennings, under order of Ben Horne. Going into business with Mr. Horne seems potentially dangerous.

Before he got shot, Leo was off to torch up the mill, but not before picking up Shelly and bringing her along to die in the blaze. He ties her up before pouring gasoline all over the place and setting up some kind of basic timer bomb thing to set the fuel alight. Just when things looked particularly bleak for Shelly, who should arrive but Catherine! Yay! But then the fire starts! Boo! And Catherine’s all like, “Should I save this poor girl?” and she has to think about it for awhile, but then she finally decides to. She chops through the ropes holding Shelly tight to the wooden beam, and as the flaming building begins to collapse around them, they try to make their escape. Do they make it? We don’t know because this is another cliff hanger!

But the fire cliffhangers don’t end there. Pete Martell comes to the mill, now in flames, but with his wife’s car outside, and Catherine nowhere to be found, he runs bravely into the blazing building with nothing but his hard hat, safety goggles, and a fire extinguisher. Their marriage might not be perfect, but she’s still his wife, goddammit. Good luck in there, Pete. You’re a good man.

And yet in all this madness, I almost forgot about Nadine! Nadine, poor Nadine, who, heartbroken, presumably, at her inability to patent her silent drape runners decides to take her own life. Dressed in an elegant gown, kneeling on a soft picnic blanket, she pours a glass of water, empties two sets of pills in a bowl, and leaves her final note on a silver tray. It’s a surprisingly beautiful staging for a suicide, and all the more emotional for it.

At this point, when it went off the air in 1989, Twin Peaks was still a sensation. People still wondered who had killed Laura Palmer, and now they had all these other questions to worry about as well. What was going to happen to the lives of all these fine folks who they’d spent these hours learning and caring about? Who would live? Who would die? What was up with the owls? Is this really where pies go when they die? And how the hell did that fish get in the percolator?

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