Friday, November 16, 2012

TWIN PEAKS: DAYS 1-8

Over the next few months, I will share new episode titles and summaries for David Lynch and Mark Frost's TV series Twin Peaks (1990-91) and its prequel film Fire Walk with Me (1992). Since I never encountered an episode guide with sufficiently descriptive yet brief titles and synopses that really do the series justice, I created some myself. I invite the producers of the inevitable Blu-Ray release of Twin Peaks to include any or all of these titles and summaries in their box set free of charge, if they feel so inclined. At least these articles might provide the producers with a good launching platform when creating their own guide.
Take note, my titles for the episodes differ from those used commonly elsewhere. As explained at LynchNet's episode guideTwin Peaks was originally broadcast without any episode titles at all. The titles commonly used today are actually translations of titles created by an unknown third party in Germany when the series was first broadcast there. Although they are serviceable titles, they are not official nor are they very descriptive of the episode's content in most cases. So if you insist on titling the episodes from here on out, then I respectfully offer my suggestions below. And to clarify which episode is which when harmonizing my list with other episode guides, I include each episode's commonly used German-originated alias, too.
The motivation behind these titles and summaries is to orient viewers quickly with what happens in each episode so that a particular episode will be easier to find. I tried to capture some of the flavor of Twin Peaks but without spoiling the significant twists of the story. Although, if first-time viewers hope to avoid any spoilers at all, then they they should avoid reading summaries for any episodes they have not yet seen. And to demonstrate the unique narrative structure of Twin Peaks, I present the date in story time that each episode takes place within context of the central Laura Palmer murder investigation.

DAY 1: FEBRUARY 24, 1989
#0 LAURA PALMER: PART 1 a.k.a. "Northwest Passage" Synopsis: A small town in the Pacific Northwest is rocked by the brutal murder of homecoming queen Laura Palmer (Sheryl Lee). The only witness, Ronette Pulaski (Phoebe Augustine), is catatonic and discovered across the state border. The FBI assigns the brilliant yet eccentric Special Agent Dale Cooper (Kyle MacLachlan) to take command of the case.
Cooper discovers a link between Laura's murder and another teenage murder victim named Teresa Banks. To capture the killer, Cooper teams with Sheriff Harry S. Truman (Michael Ontkean) to explore the mysteries surrounding Laura's death and, in the process, begin uncovering the many secrets of the quirky townspeople who loved her.
#0 LAURA PALMER: PART 2 a.k.a. "Northwest Passage" Synopsis: Deputies find half of a heart-shaped pendant necklace ritualistically placed atop a mound of dirt at the scene of Laura's murder, prompting a manhunt for the man with the other half. Laura's best friend Donna Hayward (Lara Flynn Boyle) sneaks out of her house after curfew to warn Laura's secret boyfriend, biker James Hurley (James Marshall) that the police mistakenly suspect him.
Donna convinces James to bury his half of the necklace out in the woods to deflect suspicion from him. In the wake of Laura's murder, the young teens find themselves struggling with their repressed romantic feelings for one another. Agent Cooper and Sheriff Truman finally catch up with them and place James under arrest for questioning in Laura's murder. Sarah Palmer (Grace Zabriskie) is troubled by a vision of a gloved hand later digging up and stealing James's half of her daughter Laura's necklace.

DAY 2: FEBRUARY 25, 1989
#1 SECRET BOYFRIEND a.k.a. "Traces to Nowhere" Synopsis: James testifies to the police that he was seeing Laura secretly and unsuccessfully tried to help Laura quit her cocaine addiction. Meanwhile, Donna visits Laura's mother Sarah Palmer, who is agitated by a disturbing vision of BOB (Frank Silva) at the foot of her daughter's bed. James Hurley is released from police custody and is conflicted about expressing his feelings for Donna so soon after Laura's death.
Meanwhile, Laura's and Donna's former boyfriends, local high school football players Bobby Briggs (Dana Ashbrook) and Mike Nelson (Gary Hershberger), plan revenge against James for stealing their girlfriends. Meanwhile, Bobby continues a secret affair with married waitress Shelly Johnson (M├Ądchen Amick), who grows more and more suspicious of her husband Leo Johnson (Eric Da Re) after finding a blood-soaked shirt in his dirty clothes.

DAY 3: : FEBRUARY 26, 1989
#2 RED ROOM a.k.a."Zen, or the Skill to Catch a Killer" Synopsis: Pillar of the community, Ben Horne (Richard Beymer) and his brother Jerry (David Patrick Kelly) visit their casino/brothel across the Canadian border: One-Eyed Jacks. Trucker Leo Johnson has been dealing drugs on the sly to high schoolers Mike and Bobby, but the two football players fall short on a payment after their drug money is seized by the police from Laura's safety deposit box. Josie Packard (Joan Chen) and Norma Jennings (Peggy Lipton) help Agent Cooper establish a timeline of Laura's last day alive.
Meanwhile, Cooper employs an unorthodox inductive reasoning technique that he learned in a dream about the plight of the Tibetan people. Leland Palmer (Ray Wise) suffers a nervous breakdown and dances compulsively with a photo of his murdered daughter Laura, cutting himself on the picture's broken frame. Cooper dreams of Laura Palmer visiting him in a strange red room 25 years in the future, revealing to him the identity of her killer.

DAY 4: FEBRUARY 27, 1989
#3 LAURA'S FUNERAL a.k.a. "Rest in Pain" Synopsis: Agent Cooper begins the process of decoding the details from his dream to help him determine the course of his murder investigation. Forensics expert Special Agent Albert Rosenfield (Miguel Ferrer) causes a stir when he refuses to relinquish Laura's body to her family for the funeral, demanding the necessity of performing further tests. After Albert's incessant rudeness and insults, Sheriff Truman uppercuts him. Cooper intervenes and orders Albert to stand down and release Laura back into her family's custody.
The town gathers and mourns for Laura, but the solemn occasion is disrupted by an altercation between her two former boyfriends James and Bobby, and then again by her bereft father who collapses on her casket in a fit of grief. Afterward, Cooper is approached by a local secret society named the Bookhouse Boys, who charge themselves with defending the town from a mysterious evil inhabiting the woods.

DAY 5: FEBRUARY 28, 1989
#4 SHOOTING PRACTICE a.k.a. "The One-Armed Man" Synopsis: Deputy Andy (Harry Goaz) sketches the face of BOB, who Laura's mother Sarah describes from her vivid and disturbing vision. The sketch matches the description of a man from Agent Cooper's dream. Laura's psychiatrist, Dr. Jacoby (Russ Tamblyn), claims doctor-patient confidentiality when questioned why Laura was seeing him. Josie Packard photographs a secret rendezvous between her sister-in-law/business nemesis Catherine Martell (Piper Laurie) and local real estate tycoon Ben Horne, who is attempting to buy the Packard Saw Mill for his future development: Ghostwood Estates.
Deputy Hawk (Michael Horse) tracks down another man from Cooper's dream, a one-armed shoe salesman Philip Gerard (Al Strobel). Deputy Andy nervously drops his sidearm, accidentally discharging it in public. Cooper decides a timeout is in order for shooting practice to help Andy and the rest to stay sharp. Meanwhile, Big Ed Hurley (Everett McGill) and his girlfriend Norma are troubled that her husband Hank Jennings (Chris Mulkey) will soon be released from prison on parole from manslaughter charges. Hank makes a disturbing phone call to Josie.

DAY 6: MARCH 01, 1989
#5 WHERE'S WALDO? a.k.a. "Cooper's Dreams" Synopsis: Agent Cooper's investigation uncovers more clues pointing to the possible involvement of Road House bartender Jacques Renault (Walter Olkewicz) in Laura's murder. Cooper continues to follows the clues from his investigation and dream to help him discover Jacques's cabin in the woods.
On the way to Jacques's cabin, Cooper's team stumbles on the Log Lady (Catherine Coulson) who shares important details her log recalls from the night Laura was killed. Later at Jacques's cabin, Cooper discovers another unusual witness of what took place that night, a myna bird named Waldo.

DAY 7: MARCH 02, 1989
#6 PERFUME COUNTER a.k.a. "Realization Time" Synopsis: The private investigation into Laura's murder by her classmate Audrey Horne (Sherilyn Fenn) begins to pay off as she gains the information she needs to infiltrate One-Eyed Jacks, where Laura had apparently worked as a prostitute. As Audrey sets out on her dangerous mission, she leaves a note for Agent Cooper to let him know where she is in case something goes wrong.
Leo Johnson seeks revenge for his wife Shelly's infidelity by targeting her lover Bobby Briggs, but his plans are put on hold when Leo discovers the police have Waldo in custody and may learn his identity and role at Jacques's cabin the night Laura was killed. Leo dispatches the bird through the Sheriff's station window, but not before Cooper's tape recorder captures evidence of Waldo incriminating Leo.

DAY 8: MARCH 03, 1989
#7 ONE-EYED JACKS a.k.a. "The Last Evening" Synopsis: Agent Cooper's investigation is stalled until he can question Jacques Renault, who is now hiding from police by working across the border as a casino dealer at One-Eyed Jacks. Cooper enlists the help of the Bookhouse Boys to sneak out of his jurisdiction undercover and set up a sting to lure Jacques Renault back to Twin Peaks where he is arrested and questioned. Audrey Horne mistakenly believes Cooper is aware of her plan to infiltrate One-Eyed Jacks when she sees Cooper dressed incognito over the casino's security cameras.
The town quickly goes to hell as Leo gets revenge on Shelly and Bobby, the Packard Saw Mill is burned down, James and Donna's ruse to lure Dr. Jacoby away from his office with the help of Laura's identical cousin Maddy Ferguson (Sheryl Lee) ends in disaster, Big Ed's jealous and crazy wife Nadine Hurley (Wendy Robie) attempts suicide, Jacques is killed by Laura's grief-stricken father Leland Palmer, Audrey is set up as a prostitute with the brothel's owner—her father Ben, and Cooper is shot by an unknown assailant.

PARTING THOUGHTS
"Fire is the devil, hiding like a coward in the smoke."–The Log Lady
I will retitle and summarize Twin Peaks Days 9-17 in next week's article. Twin Peaks is currently available in an excellent Definitive Gold Box DVD Gift Set in standard definition and is also available in 1080p/720p HD on iTunes and Netflix Instant Watching. Click on the Netflix ad below for a one month free trial of their streaming video service. I anticipate the series receiving a deluxe 1080p Blu-Ray release some day, but no announcements have been made as of this article's publication. Check our Facebook Page regularly to discover when a release date is announced.

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