TP Countdown Day 4: The Condemned Woman

The closer I get to the end of the original run of Twin Peaks, the more I’ve begun to realize that many of the storylines that are coming up now will have little, if anything, to do with the new season. For example, everything around Ghostwood Estates.

Now that Ben Horne has won the civil war, he’s back to normal. Well, back to Normal-ish. For some reason he’s become a born again environmentalist,  hell-bent on stopping Catherine Packard’s attempt to develop the Ghostwood land. His plan is to draw attention to the endangered Pine Weasel, who calls the Ghostwood forests his home.

Now, by the time we get to the new season, this resolution of this plotline will have been 25 or more years in the past, so outside of maybe a casual reference to it, I can’t see how it will play any role in what’s to come. It’s weird watching this show with that in mind, because it makes it extra hard to care about some of these subplots that were already of little interest.

At least Josie gets more or less resolved this episode, as she gets the chance to murder Thomas Eckhardt rather than go back to Hong Kong with him, and then keel over dead herself, rather suddenly and surprisingly, and then, even more surprisingly, appear to become trapped in the knob of a dresser drawer inside the Great Northern.

As all this is going on Coop gets a vision of BOB, who crawls up onto the hotel room’s bed and asks him, “What happened to Josie?” which is a pretty good question. A moment later, the little man from another place appears in BOB’s place, doing his usual dancing thing.

Did I mention this was the very first episode of Twin Peaks I ever watched? Watching the episode again reminded me of how, for the most of the runtime, I was convinced that this was going to be a pretty ordinary soap opera, with murders and backstabbing and all that kind of good stuff. And then those last few minutes hit and it blew my mind and even though I had no idea what was going on, I knew I had to come back.

Anyway, back to the show.

John “Jack” Justice Wheeler arrives, with what can only be described as a perfect superhero name. Sparks are already flying between him and Audrey, even though his first meeting with her involves him creepily talking about how cute she was when she 10 and playing Heidi, and how he has a picture of that little girl in his wallet. Uh, pedo alert much? Sorry, Jack, I’m sure you’re a good guy, but there are some serious red flags here.

Elsewhere, Norma finally gets tired of Hank, now in jail for parole violations, and Nadine breaks up with Ed, even though I was pretty sure they did that last episode, so now, FINALLY, Ed and Norma can be together. At least for a few episodes, because these characters are pretty much defined by their inability to be together. Which reminds me, there’s a shot in one of the new Twin Peaks trailers that shows a sad looking Big Ed, and I can’t help but wonder if that’s a sign that he still hasn’t been able to get hooked up with Norma. Seems likely.

Finally, Pete is suddenly shown to be a chess champion, so Coop enlists him to help with the Windom Earle game. Specifically, his goal is to create a stalemate game, losing as few pieces as possible.

I’m going to take a moment here to talk about Pete, who is one of the more challenging characters for me to wrap my head around. Now, in my head, Pete is a pretty good guy, but there have been moments in the show where he’s behaved like kind of a jerk, and I’m not sure if that’s because the writers are just having him behave out of character for story reasons, or if it’s because he’s actually intended to be a jerk but Jack Nance’s goofy performance makes him seem so much better than that.

Specifically, I’m thinking of the moment that he goes to see Ben Horne in jail with the recording of Catherine. Now, I can understand Pete wanting to help out his wife, who clearly loves for more than is loved back, but the way he cackles at the way that Ben’s been outwitted by Catherine just seems perversely out of character. That and the way he’s okay going along with Josie being treated as a maid seems weird when he had previously confessed to loving her. It all just makes for confusing character choices.

But like I said, he’s just so darn lovable. The Twin Peaks return will be poorer in his absence. RIP, Mr. Nance.


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