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Twin Peaks Rewatch 18: Dispute Between Brothers

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Twin Peaks Rewatch 18:

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Dispute Between Brothers

In the wake of Laura's murder wrapping up, lore starts to build up and things get a little dumb, but there are still plenty of bright spots in our weekly rewatch of the complete run of Twin Peaks. Join us for the 18th episode, "Dispute Between Brothers."

Catching up? Listen to the Rewatch archive.

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My full thoughts on this episode can be  found in the ep. 16 thread (because I expected to be "off-the-grid" which isn't going to happen until tomorrow...I think). But briefly, this is, um...quite an episode. And the wake scene is...something else. Take that as you will. Ok, I'll be less cryptic: this feels like one hell of a jump-the-shark episode to me (stick with it, though, newbies, believe it or not the best is yet to come though rough seas lie ahead).

 

Nonetheless, I've noticed that a lot of first-time viewers actually quite enjoy the relaxed pace and wacky humor of this episode (even if they feel the decline later in season two) - this has been particularly notable on introcasts I've listened to. This whole patch of episodes becomes easier to handle, I think, when you have a community to discuss/make fun of it with.

 

Anyway, if you're looking to dig into analysis of what you just watched, here is Part 2 of my video series (I left the link for Pt. 1 in the ep. 9 thread, but of course it can also be found through this link). It goes up to the wake scene in this episode. Keep in mind, if you watch further entries, that I use the disc's episode numbers (so this episode would be episode 17 by my count).

 

I have designed the videos so that they can be watched by first-time viewers, nonetheless very minor spoiler warnings may be in order. First off, if you haven't seen Vertigo (1958) & Laura (1944) and don't want to know about plot twists in them, avoid watching chapters 6 & 8. As far as Twin Peaks goes, chapter 11 discusses how the show handles the Palmers from now on which I don't consider particularly spoiler-y but may be worth mentioning for those who want to fly completely blind in season 2. And chapter 9 opens with a montage including context-free clips from Fire Walk With Me and The Missing Pieces. I think it's pretty spoiler-free, but if you're really skittish about seeing/knowing anything ahead of time I'd say wait and watch these when you're done with the series and film.

 

Journey Through Twin Peaks, Part 2 - The Center Cannot Hold explores the process behind Laura Palmer's creation, her and Maddy's links to the classic films Vertigo & Laura, the abandoned Marilyn Monroe screenplay by Lynch & Frost, the Secret Diary by Jennifer Lynch, the events of episodes 9 - 17, and also how details of Twin Peaks & the previous work of both Lynch & Frost leads up to the killer's reveal. People seem to be enjoying these videos so hopefully Rewatch forum folks do too.

 

Here is the line-up/description for Part 2: http://thedancingimage.blogspot.com/2014/10/journey-through-twin-peaks-part-2.html

 

And this is the first video of Part 2 if you want to jump directly in. It's called "Who is Laura Palmer?":

 

The videos can be watched in order or out of order as you see fit, and are divided into relatively short chapters for convenient viewing.

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Ah yes, the weirdest funeral scene ever. I have to believe that the town (aside from Sarah Palmer and maybe Ben Horne) don't know the truth about Leland, because otherwise...what the hell? They're just hanging out and chatting??

 

That aside, there were some good character moments this episode. Sarah Palmer gets a nice scene and a little character development, and I think the scene between Cooper and Truman is very sweet. I like that he wears the lure on his lapel for a few scenes afterwards.

 

Oh, and Audrey and Cooper have a heart-to-heart where we learn some of Cooper's backstory.

I really wish they just stuck with this version- it makes less sense the more detail gets added, but I guess we'll get to that later.

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actually

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it's about ethics in journalism

 

At he beginning of this episode I was exited that Dr Jacoby was back, but that went away pretty quickly when I realized that he's probably back to be part of the Nadine thread. Also, even though the Nadine amnesia/super strength thing was insane from minute one, I feel like this is the episode where it really starts going off the rails.

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Episode 18: it's about ethics in restaurant journalism.

Really dug the Cooper and Truman moments. It's interesting how they've changed Truman from being a goofy bumbling local cop who means well, to a stalwart, self-confident lawman (who, apparently, knows his stuff when it comes to providing testimony). I loved that he offered them coffee on their way out - both hospitable and dismissive.

I wasn't going to mention the White Lodge, but to me, this is where the show gets weird. Not that it wasn't before, but it seems like a departure in tone and theme. The last scene with the blinding light is reminiscent of alien abduction scenes. Haven't seen the show before so I'll just keep my fingers crossed that that's not the case. Regardless, I'm grateful that I don't live in a town where harbinger owls are native.

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Was Truman ever bumbling? He's seemed pretty competent from the beginning, just a little out of his depth when it comes the Laura Palmer case. 

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You're right. Bumbling was a poor word choice, that's more Andy. I meant to say clueless, or, like you said, out of his depth. He's definitely been more of a sidekick and happily accommodating all of Cooper's eccentricities. It's nice to see him given a bit more gumption, even if he isn't necessarily much better equipped to deal with all of the goings-on. A bit strange, though, that with all of the oddness in the town and how unsurprised everyone seemed by supernatural turns, he'd be initially so opposed to a supernatural explanation and has a crisis of faith, of sorts.

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When I saw the preview for this episode when It aired originally, as a 13 year old, I was shocked that the show was going to continue. I had always thought it was a two part mini series. But I was ....wrong.

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An exchange between Cooper and Maj. Briggs that was scripted but then cut from this episode:

 

***

 

13. EXT. CAMPSITE - NIGHT

Surrounded by towering Douglas Firs, Cooper and Major Briggs sit by their campfire - putting MARSHMALLOWS on sticks. FISHING GEAR dries against a tree. The remains of their dinner, TROUT BONES and HEADS, lay on tin plates.
 

COOPER
Major this is a fascinating concept. The other side of
love is not hate - but fear?

MAJOR BRIGGS
Absolutely. And fear is the absence of love.

COOPER
For yourself as well.

MAJOR BRIGGS
All perceptions or conditions must begin with the self.

 

They put their marshmallows over the fire.
 

COOPER
So when I let fear into my life, I'm not loving myself.

MAJOR BRIGGS
You are in direct contradiction to a state of loving
acceptance; incapable of it. Direct denial.

COOPER
Major Briggs, if I may ask a personal question ... do you
love yourself?

MAJOR BRIGGS
Very much.

 

Cooper's fascinated. He rotates his marshmallow in the fire.
 

COOPER
Then it stands to reason that Leland Palmer didn't.

MAJOR BRIGGS
One could draw that conclusion.

 

(http://www.glastonberrygrove.net/texts/)

 

***

 

Later Cooper's line to Briggs is a bit different; instead of saying Bob could be out there, "looking for another victim to inhabit" (which reinforces the idea that the host is purely a victim) he is supposed to say "searching for prey" (which could mean looking for another host or looking for a victim through his host). Briggs also has a scripted - but not delivered - line in response, saying "to think about it that way, to fear it, imparts power to evil."

 

This is interesting to me because it suggests that the scene was revised to make Bob more explicitly an external ghoul, and to avoid reference to the just-ended mystery. It's an unfortunate loss not only because it casts Leland/Bob in a more ambiguous light, but also because it explicates a theme - fear as the opposite of love - relevant not just to season two, but Fire Walk With Me as well.

 

Hawk's speech in the following episode is also surprisingly crucial to the big picture of Twin Peaks. It plays a bit like a throwaway and is often forgotten but I think it really gets to the heart of the show's themes, in a way that some of the more "dramatic" mythological presentations do not. The "dweller" concept in particular is key to many things that have unfolded on the show already.

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So many new sets!  Or at least new angles.  We haven't seen those angles of the...Hayward house(?), the outside of Ben Horne's office, Truman's bedroom, or any of those high school settings.

 

Was any of Catherine's story true?  She showed no fear in front of Shelly at the end of season 1, so her statement to Truman about being scared doesn't seem right.

 

There were also way too many scenes in which people talked about how great Agent Cooper is.

 

Major Food Critic Spoilers:

post-8337-0-31116200-1424060863_thumb.jpg

 

Is this good Cooper dialogue or bad Cooper dialogue?

post-8337-0-30296500-1424060874_thumb.jpg

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Catherine didn't show any fear in front of the lawyer, either, but we saw how shaken she was after he left. She seemed totally cool under pressure in front of Shelly, but internally she could easily have been as terrified as she related to Truman. I'm inclined to believe she's telling the truth, if not necessarily the whole truth.

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Ugh ugh ugh. And throw a woof in there too. This episode's first 15 minutes really felt like "Kooky soap opera tv show." It didn't feel like Twin Peaks, just a TP flavoured show. The heart of the show is gone replaced with just the facile appearance of it instead.

 

...that is definitely too harsh though because there's some genuinely good bits in the episode later. I refuse to get out over the extent to which they're pushing away the Bob drama though. It's terribly disheartening. I know good stuff will come later but I'm pretty unenthused right now.

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Briggs also has a scripted - but not delivered - line in response, saying "to think about it that way, to fear it, imparts power to evil."

That's really interesting. Everything in your post is fascinating, but that part stands out.

That also illuminates a lot of the Black Lodge stuff in the finale. Onscreen I think it's ambiguous why Cooper fails, or even if he fails at all or is just subject to the inevitable outcome, but that line makes it much more likely that he did fail in showing fear.

 

I did not call the food critic reveal the first time around, probably because I couldn't care less about the food critic subplot. I don't hate it, I nothing it, to bastardize a Scrubs quote.

 

There were also way too many scenes in which people talked about how great Agent Cooper is.

Respectfully disagree, but probably because I am secretly Audrey while watching this show, getting all gooey and "You're perfect!"

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That's really interesting. Everything in your post is fascinating, but that part stands out.

 

It also makes it seem like, just maybe, they were trying to cast doubt upon Cooper's speech to Sarah Palmer at the beginning of the episode. Which I think they may have been trying to do anyway, but it gets lost in the shuffle (especially since the show itself seems to embrace the same brand of repression/denial with its zany wake scene).

 

The funny thing is, Cooper's take on Leland doesn't make any sense even on its own terms. On the one hand he says it wasn't Leland who did "those things," it was Bob, it was all Bob, etc etc. Then he goes on to say that Bob is now gone forever. Huh? If Bob is a completely seperate entity who controlled Leland like a puppet, why would Cooper then believe Bob is gone just because Leland is dead? I think the writers were trying to cast some doubt on Coop's wisdom but it gets bungled. I'm also not sure if we're supposed to doubt everything he says (including his vindication of Leland) or just the part about Bob being vanquished.

 

Here is an interesting quote from Tina Rathborne, who directed this episode (as well as Laura's funeral):

 

"My episode needed to have been an explosion - an unexpected rocket that was launched that would carry us through - and the FBI firing Cooper is definitely not that. It's more about him saying goodbye than it is recommencing from a story standpoint. It didn't feel powerful enough to regenerate the audience's feeling of 'where's the puzzle?' The emotion had gone out of it for me. When I did my episode I was not very compelled to see the series to the end.

 

Laura's funeral scene was really a huge, emoitonal well, whereas Leland's wake I felt was pretty incidental, emotionally. So to me the two of them aren't in the same realm. The death of Leland carries the same weight as Laura Palmer, yet her funeral was not played up for any humor. The old brothers fighting in the wake sticks out to me as strange, which was a precursor to a lot of over-the-top humor. It feels like one of the moments where Twin Peaks changes."

 

(Reflections: An Oral History of Twin Peaks, by Brad Dukes)

 

Sometimes, watching this stretch of the show (and reading how embarrassed the actors, writers, and directors were/are by their own material), it feels like everyone was on a train heading over a cliff and nobody knew how to put on the breaks. There seems to have been a terrible lack of communication/conviction about where the show should be headed. Consequently, I feel very frustrated with the creative decisions that were made but also a bit sorry for everyone involved.

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I was surprised to hear the e mailer's and hosts response to the "is it any easier to believe a father would rape and murder his own daughter" line. I've always taken that as a nod in the other direction. As in, its so blatantly off that its meant to point at the true horror of the crime in the world of the people watching the show. Bob is a fairy tail that we the watchers of the show need the same way that people felt they needed fairy tales about witches eating children. We can't face the horrors we live with so we cushion it with fantasy. I know it still sucks that the felt like they had to soft sell it, and they double downed on this episode with the funeral for a murder. I wish it was the funeral  episode that and no one showed up except cooper and a disgusted doc Hayward.I just want to reiterate that in 1991 most people watching TV were not able to talk about this stuff. Seriously just look at the other shows people were watching.

 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1990%E2%80%9391_United_States_network_television_schedule

 

This is the mystery show that came on at 8:00 before twin peaks

 

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Part of the reason why there are such horrors is exactly because humans have a tendency to paper over them with fantasy. It's some boogeyman stranger that's most likely to hurt your child, not someone you actually know. That shadow in the bushes will attack you, not your husband. Etc. Twin Peaks continues that obfuscation of reality by erasing any possibility that Leland played a hand in his own actions. It's a simplistic way to look at the world, and so provably false that I find it incredibly insulting. I can sympathize with why people are attracted to this kind of storytelling, even if I myself do not enjoy it, but Twin Peaks set itself up as a different kind of story and then completely veered off course in this episode, especially with that line.

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Seriously just look at the other shows people were watching.

 

Sister Steve had a rough life on the streets!  Father Dowling had a messed-up son!

 

I was expecting the worst when I clicked on that schedule but that actually wasn't a terrible time for television.

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For me the most interesting storyline now is Leo's, for all the reasons stated on the podcast. I find I'm genuinely curious what the hell is going on and what is going to happen with him. Shelly and Bobby's relationship and attitude towards him is so weird. (My interest does not extend to Bobby's antics though.) Apart from that mystery, I feel like I would have taken this episode as the last. I mostly liked Cooper's goodbyes and the other conclusive stuff, minus the set-up stuff.

 

Also, by the way, that blond guy working for Jean Renault is indeed the same Mountie trying to take down Cooper, and framing him for the missing cocaine.

 

I agreed with just about everything in the cast, except one thing, Norma's scene with her mom. While the story is typical soap opera stuff, I feel both actors sold it extremely well, especially Peggy Lipton.

 

One thing I didn't understand: When Andy spies on Dick and Lucy's conversation, Hawk comes over and chastises(?) him. Then after Andy confronts them, Hawk says "Are you crazy?" I just can't figure out what Hawk is trying to say. What is his reaction here? He seems genuinely upset or disappointed or something, and I can't see why. Maybe part of it is because I have no idea what Hawk and Andy's relationship is since I don't think they've ever interacted before. Hawk doesn't seem like the type to show anything but support for Andy in that situation.

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I was surprised to hear the e mailer's and hosts response to the "is it any easier to believe a father would rape and murder his own daughter" line. I've always taken that as a nod in the other direction. As in, its so blatantly off that its meant to point at the true horror of the crime in the world of the people watching the show. Bob is a fairy tail that we the watchers of the show need the same way that people felt they needed fairy tales about witches eating children. We can't face the horrors we live with so we cushion it with fantasy. I know it still sucks that the felt like they had to soft sell it, and they double downed on this episode with the funeral for a murder. I wish it was the funeral  episode that and no one showed up except cooper and a disgusted doc Hayward.I just want to reiterate that in 1991 most people watching TV were not able to talk about this stuff. Seriously just look at the other shows people were watching.

 

This would stand up better if TP's authorial voice said was critical of the statement or if the real darkness was made clear to the audience, but really that line came at the end of an episode that did its best to make Bob a boogeyman and avoid confronting the dark meaning behind everything that happened.

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Part of the reason why there are such horrors is exactly because humans have a tendency to paper over them with fantasy. It's some boogeyman stranger that's most likely to hurt your child, not someone you actually know. That shadow in the bushes will attack you, not your husband. Etc. Twin Peaks continues that obfuscation of reality by erasing any possibility that Leland played a hand in his own actions. It's a simplistic way to look at the world, and so provably false that I find it incredibly insulting. I can sympathize with why people are attracted to this kind of storytelling, even if I myself do not enjoy it, but Twin Peaks set itself up as a different kind of story and then completely veered off course in this episode, especially with that line.

 

I totally agree with the substance of your post. Making Bob the lone actor of the crime is a weak way for the show to handle the plot. I suppose i am sort of saying that it's easy for us enlightened 2015ers to forget what kind of things people were watching in 1991, and so i am tiring to give it some credit for going as far as they did when they did. I'm not saying the shows on TV were bad, just that they were not even remotely subversive or challenging.

 

I can see how that line, within the context of the show seems like the icing on BoB Cake. What I am tiring to say is that I feel like it has the opposite effect because it is talking about a supernatural character. Coopers response to Harry's confusion about BOB isn't to make a statement, He doesn't say Leland was innocent or that good upstanding well dressed men don't do these things. He asks a question. "Is it any easier to believe that... " Is it easier for us to believe in a Crazy ghost man than it is to accept that the guy we like molests his daughter? Yes it is, and that is what is fucked up. I felt like this line was meant to subtly point that out. Maybe I'm just reading to much into it, but that is how I have always viewed that line.

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My favorite moment in this episode was how disheveled Ben Horne was when Bobby met up with him. That was just a great interaction, and it made me excited about an upcoming subplot with Ben Horne that is probably my favorite of all Twin Peaks subplots.

 

Otherwise another disappointing episode.

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Incidentally, that's a series wrap on

One-Eyed Jack's.

Doesn't even reappear in the film. Maybe in 2016? Certainly ending it w/ Ernie Niles is not exactly going out with a bang.

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Also, if were talking about justifiable investigations, forget about crossing the Canadian border...shouldn't they be investigating Cooper (and his supervisor!) for kidnapping a disabled person, imprisoning him without charging him, and denying him his antipsychotic medication for days on end?!?

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Presumably it's been covered up, and Gerard probably just wants to get on with his life rather than sue or complain to the FBI. Everyone who knows about it is willing to give Cooper a pass given the circumstances, I suppose. In a way Cooper dodged a bullet (hah) with Leland's death, since it would be mighty hard to explain the whole mess at trial. But yes it was incredibly ethically reprehensible and illegal, and I'd imagine against Bureau policy to boot (haha).

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Presumably it's been covered up, and Gerard probably just wants to get on with his life rather than sue or complain to the FBI. Everyone who knows about it is willing to give Cooper a pass given the circumstances, I suppose. In a way Cooper dodged a bullet (hah) with Leland's death, since it would be mighty hard to explain the whole mess at trial. But yes it was incredibly ethically reprehensible and illegal, and I'd imagine against Bureau policy to boot (haha).

Yeah, it's one of those thing you dot think about/take for granted until suddenly it registers and you're like, holy shit! Really, Coop treats Phillip like crap from their very first interaction (kicking in his motel room door, gun drawn, because...he had a dream?).

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