I was pleasantly surprised to find this episode wasn’t as bad as I was afraid it was going to be, and was, in fact, maybe even better than the last episode. So I guess things didn’t tank as quickly as I remembered and feared.
The biggest issue the show would face at this point in its history was trying to keep Agent Cooper around past the completion of his investigation into Laura Palmer’s death. Say what you might about Twin Peaks being an ensemble show, but by this point in the series Special Agent Dale Cooper had become the de facto lead of this show, and there was no way he was going to go anywhere. And while they could have taken their time getting to how they were going to keep him around (Cooper does state that he has a few weeks of vacation time saved up), they get right to the point – Coop is under investigation by Internal Affairs over his illegal crossing into Canada. He surrenders his gun and his badge to Special Agent Roger Hardy, who has arrived in town to lead the investigation into Cooper.
Speaking of Roger, I was struck by the fact that, so far, he was the first FBI agent to appear wearing a black trenchcoat. Previously, all agents (including Coop, Albert, and Gordon) arrived wearing a light beige or grey trenchcoat.
I noticed this, in very large part, because Roger was also the first African American agent to arrive in the town of Twin Peaks. So, yes, I wondered if they gave the black guy the black coat.
That seemed a little too on the nose, so I ended up deciding that maybe he had the black coat because he’s Cooper’s antagonist in this subplot. That makes at least as much sense, right? With far fewer racial implications?
Whew, dodged a bullet there.
Speaking of Coop, I’m weirdly interested in seeing how this vendetta that Jean Renault has against him plays out. Which is weird, because I don’t care much for Jean Renault, and I don’t care at all for Hank or his buddy The Professor who end up dragged into that mess this episode. But somehow that blood feud seems intriguing.
Speaking of that feud, it looks like the RCMP officer who accompanied Roger to Twin Peaks is in on things too, showing up at One Eyed Jacks with a plan to help frame Cooper by planting some drugs on him somewhere. Shades of Bobby framing James in season one.
Speaking of Bobby, remember when he was a drug dealer? Well, he doesn’t, because he’s desperate for money to help take care of Shelly and Leo, so he goes to try to blackmail Ben Horne. Unfortunately he can’t even get into the man’s office without Audrey’s help, and even then, Ben doesn’t seem at all interested in what Bobby’s there to sell him, having his security men throw him out. This leads to a kind of weird and out of place bit between Audrey and Bobby where they act like friends, despite not really ever having any scenes together before this.
Though in case anyone was wondering about Audrey’s ice cream preference, she takes a cone, because she likes to lick.
And speaking of weird moments featuring Audrey, what the heck was she doing sitting next to Sarah Palmer at Leland’s funeral? I mean, have they even ever had a scene together before? Audrey keeps popping up in the weirdest places this episode, like the writers suddenly remembered they had saved her from One Eyed Jacks so they needed to actually do something with her.
Though I think a lot of the back half of Season Two could be chalked up to “X’s plotline has been resolved, and we need to actually do something with them.”
The funeral does provide some nice moments, and some nice closure for the biggest storyline of the show, particularly in Sarah’s decision not to take the painkillers offered to her before the funeral begins. It also introduces (or reintroduces) the Milford brothers, who will end up in the midst of a pretty annoying subplot, but who are, themselves, pretty entertaining (a couple of elderly, feuding siblings).
As for everything else, there’s nothing here particularly interesting. Thankfully, at this point, there’s nothing here that’s blatantly bad quite yet, but I know we’re getting close.
EDIT: So I realized that I missed a fairly prominent plot point when I first posted this – the disappearance of Major Briggs.
This sequence is important not just because of the disappearance itself, which happens abruptly and mysteriously, and also features a very Lynchian bright, white light, but also because it is preceded by the first reference to the White Lodge. Briggs mentions the place to Agent Cooper just moments before his disappearance, and before he has a chance to elaborate on what the Lodge is.
Knowing just how big a role the White – and the Black – Lodge will play later this season, this seemed kind of a ridiculously important thing to have not mentioned.
Oh, yeah, and it also featured this memorable line from Coop: “Major, I’m going to take a moment here. I feel the call of nature. There’s nothing quite like urinating out in the open air.”