EPISODE 8: “MAY THE GIANT BE WITH YOU”
Directed by David Lynch, Story by David Lynch & Mark Frost, teleplay by Mark Frost
Airdate September 30, 1990
Season two bows with this extended episode written by series creators Frost and Lynch and directed for the first time since episode 2 by Lynch. In-between seasons there was slight development in the form of THE SECRET DIARY OF LAURA PALMER, the book released in the summer of 1990 written by Jennifer Lynch, David’s daughter. The strongest takeaway from this document is that Laura’s bad girl persona is the result of fear, she’s escaping however she can the malignant presence of BOB.
The show picks up precisely where it left off with Coop lying on his hotel room floor, three bullets in his chest. That warm milk he ordered from room service finally arrives, delivered by an older and somewhat out-of-touch waiter (played by veteran western actor Hank Worden, THE SEARCHERS, RED RIVER). Coop asks him to call a doctor, but instead the waiter hangs up the room phone, which had a concerned Deputy Andy on the other end of the line. The waiter doesn’t seem to understand what Coop wants or obviously needs, and rather than trying to sort it out, he makes Coop sign for the milk. Then the waiter leaves, but not before telling Coop he’s heard about him and flashing him a thumbs up. He returns twice more in the same half minute to flash the thumbs up again before ultimately leaving for good. Coop isn’t left alone long, though, because a bald, bow-tied giant materializes over him. The giant has a message for Coop and it consists of three things, but before he tells them, he wants to know if these things come true, will Coop believe him? That depends on who he is, is the gist of Coop’s reply. The Giant says to think of him as a friend. Coop asks where he comes from, to which the Giant retorts the real question is – where has Coop gone? Then he reveals the three things: 1) there’s a man in a smiling bag, 2) the owls are not what they seem, and 3) without chemicals he points. The Giant then takes Coop’s ring and promises to return it when Coop finds these clues to be true. The Giant says “they” want to help him, and one last thing: Leo’s locked inside a hungry horse; there’s a clue at Leo’s house. The Giant dematerializes. Welcome back to Twin Peaks, everybody, and welcome back David Lynch.
At One Eyed Jacks Ben Horne is closing in on the new girl, not realizing she’s his daughter Audrey. In other quarters his brother Jerry is with Blackie, who’s hankering for some heroin, which he provides. Back in the boudoir Audrey’s running out of places to hide from her horny father. She dons a mask at the last second, but Ben only finds her perceived playfulness all the more alluring. He pleads his case as the brothel’s owner, but before he can discover her true identity, Jerry calls him away. But now Audrey knows her father was involved with Laura, sexually at least, and at worst, murderously.
Back in Coop’s hotel room, he’s still lying on the floor bleeding and unattended. He reveals while talking to Diane via his microcassette recorder that only one of the bullets wounded him, in his abdomen, the bureau-required vest stopped the other two from doing any greater harm. In the midst of this conversation he notices his ring is actually gone. He then cites a wishlist should he survive this ordeal: he wishes to treat people with more care and respect moving forward, he wishes to climb a tall but not too-tall hill and sit in the cool but not too-cool grass with the sun on his face, he wishes he’d cracked the Lindbergh kidnapping case, he wishes he could make love to a beautiful woman he has genuine affection for, and he wishes to visit Tibet and see it free. That’s a pretty beautiful list, man. And this is when Truman, Hawk, and Andy finally arrive.
Coop comes to in the hospital later and is asked about his assault. The gunman was masked, he says, so unidentifiable. Truman has Lucy bring the Agent (and the audience) up to date on everything that’s happened in town since last night (deep breath): Leo Johnson was shot but is alive if comatose, Jacques Renault was strangled to death, the mill burned to the ground, Shelly and Pete have been hospitalized for smoke inhalation, Catherine and Josie are both missing, and Nadine is in a coma of her own from her overdose suicide attempt. Coop can’t help but wonder how long he’s been out.
Shelly is in her hospital bed watching a newscaster (played by Frost) report from the scorched ruins of the mill. She’s in tears because she doesn’t yet know if Leo held true to his promise to murder Bobby.
Coop when being discharged sees orderlies wheeling away Jacques Renault in a body bag. He wonders if it’s smiling.
And even elsewhere in the hospital, Ronette Pulaski almost comes out of her coma. “Soon,” the scene seems to say…
Maddy and Sarah are having some coffee at home. Maddy shares with her aunt a dream she had about the living room rug. Leland interrupts with a song on his lips and shock of stark white hair on his head, changed overnight from its normally rich, walnut hue. He does not acknowledge this whatsoever. Sarah runs off to confront him but Maddy stays behind and sees the bloody stain from her dream appear on the real living room rug at her feet. She screams. This house is fucked up.
Ben and Jerry are preparing to tie up the last 24 hours’ loose ends. They need to know where Catherine is and if she’s primed to take the fall for orchestrating the mill fire, and then they need a medical update on Leo’s condition and a reason from Hank why that condition isn’t “deceased.” Then Leland sings his way into the scene. Ben and Jerry are shocked but decide to just go with it. Leland announces he‘s all better now and ready to return to work.
Investigating the crime scene at Leo’s house, Coop and Truman determine that the shot came from outside. Coop pieces the scene together, down to the struggle inside with another male. They don’t think Shelly is involved. Hawk found a copy of Flesh World and a gas-stinking duster, but no cocaine. Agent Albert Rosenfeld returns and Andy in his desperate attempt to alert the others steps on a loose porch board that strikes him square in the head and makes him walk around like a Raptor for a few moments. Albert predictably mocks the Deputy, but the loose board reveals hidden boots and a whole lot of cocaine under the porch.
Donna and Maddy meet up at the diner. They play with eyewear while discussing James and how he spent the night in jail. They don’t know if that’s because of their prank on Jacoby, so pledge to stay silent until more is known. Norma stops by with a note for Donna delivered yesterday. It reads LOOK INTO THE MEALS ON WHEELS, and nothing more, no sender info, nothing. In a corner booth the Log Lady chews her pitch gum with obvious dissatisfaction.
Albert has returned to Twin Peaks to check out Coop’s injuries as per Gordon Cole’s orders. Andy comes in with an answer to the last thing the Giant told Coop: he called Hungry Horse, a town in Montana where Leo was locked up on February 9th, 1988, which is the same night Teresa Banks was murdered. Teresa, you’ll remember, is the hooker who turned up dead in a fashion similar to Laura Palmer, down to the typed letter embedded under her dead fingernail. These murders were thought connected, but with Leo definitively in the clear for the one, doubt is now cast over his culpability for the other.
Phillip Gerard the one-armed man appears at the Sheriff’s station looking for Truman, there to sell him some boots. Truman is busy at the moment, listening with James to the tape “found” at Jacoby’s. Truman knows the cocaine in James’ gas tank was planted, and James remains focused on the “mystery man” Laura mentions on the tape, the man with the red corvette. Truman knows this is Leo, but James disagrees, he thinks it’s someone else, not Leo at all, and not Jacques either. She said on the tape that the dude really lights her fire, which reminds James of the poem she told him back when they started secretly dating and she was all hopped up on booze and drugs. It’s the “Fire Walk With Me” poem he’s referring to, which he says she concluded by asking if him he wanted to play with fire, if he wanted to play with BOB? James thinks this BOB fella is the mystery man. Coop enters the room and immediately asks James for the other half of Laura’s heart necklace. James hands it over and tells them where he found it – in Jacoby’s coconut with the cassette – then is escorted back to his cell.
Shortly thereafter Donna arrives at the station wearing Laura’s sexy sunglasses and affecting Laura’s sexy attitude. She’s come to see James. She wants to know what he told the authorities about the Jacoby situation, and what they’re thinking moving forward. James, however, wants to know how Maddy’s doing. Donna jealously takes note and kisses him forcefully and desperately. It’s totally weird, and Donna is definitely in the middle of a SINGLE WHITE FEMALE moment.
Cooper tasks Lucy and Andy with searching back issues of Flesh World for pictures of Teresa Banks. He’s curious if there’s a parallel between her and the ads of Laura and Ronette placed by Leo and Jacques. Given Lucy and Andy’s cooled romantic status, looking through pornography makes for one uncomfortable situation.
At the hospital, Coop and Truman pay Dr. Jacoby a visit. He’s still recovering from his assault and subsequent heart attack. They want to know how he came into possession of Laura’s necklace. He reminds them of his original statement in which he admitted to following a man in a red corvette the night Laura died, losing him out on the logging road. That’s where he found Donna and James burying the necklace. He took it merely as a keepsake of his troubled and beloved patient. He reiterates that Laura was living a double life, but the last time he saw her she’d found a kind of peace. He wonders now if that peace was the resolve to die, to let herself be killed. Coop has one more thing he wants to know: Jacoby was in the hospital’s intensive care ward with Jacques Renault when the latter man was killed; did he see anything? He didn’t, they had him drugged, but he did remember an odor from that time, the smell of oil, like scorched engine oil.
Down the hall, Bobby pays Shelly a visit. Both are happy to see the other still alive. Shelly explains what Leo did to her, to the mill, and how he knows about them, how he’s vowed to kill Bobby. Bobby’s still not worried, and to prove it, they make out and say their first “I love you”s. This relationship is quite touching for all its illicit origins, and their love is second only to Norma and Ed’s in its genuineness.
Speaking of Ed, Coop runs into him at the hospital. Nadine’s still comatose. Ed recounts their love story: he graduated high school involved with Norma, everyone thought they’d get married but Norma got cold feet and ran off with Hank, which left Ed devastated and primed to fall into Nadine’s willing arms. When it turned out Norma’s romp with Hank was anything but frisky, Ed tried to get his marriage annulled, but while on their honeymoon he accidentally shot out Nadine’s eye while hunting, so felt obligated to stick with her. Hawk brings James by to console his uncle. Coop sees a body bag hung up to dry and can’t help but notice it looks like it’s smiling. That’s two things he was told by the Giant that he’s since found to be true (with the Hungry Horse/Leo info). Something about this clicks and Coop announces he’s ready to lay this all out, “all this” being the murder of Laura Palmer.
After his visit with Shelly, Bobby runs into his dad at the diner. They actually have a normal conversation until Bobby dares to ask what the Major does for work. This of course is classified, but the Major does share a vision he had just the night before: he was on the veranda of a vast estate with a light emanating from inside it. He knew the place, had been born and raised there and was returning after a long absence. Wandering the house he noted additional rooms that blended coherently with the original design he remembered. A knock on the front door came and it was his son, Bobby, happy and harmonious. They embraced warmly. It was a transcendent moment that ended when the Major woke feeling optimistic and confident in Bobby’s future. Given that’s it’s happening between the most opposing characters on the show, who just happen to be father and son, this moment is truly touching, and makes for a nice emotional pairing with the soft side of Bobby we just saw with Shelly. The Briggs’ cap this with well wishes and a firm handshake. Then Bobby sees Hank, causing him to remember it was he who shot Leo.
In front of a vast and varied buffet of doughnuts, Coop verbally sketches for Truman, Hawk, Andy, Albert and Lucy the night Laura Palmer died: the girl had two appointments that night, the first with “J,” or James, who she was nervous about seeing because she was going to end their relationship. Before she left her house for this rendezvous, she got a call from Leo to set up her second appointment of the night with him, Jacques Renault, and Ronette Pulaski for a go-round of hard drugs and gross sex. After Laura broke James’ heart and jumped off his motorcycle at a stoplight, she ran into the woods to meet with the others. The foursome walked past the Log Lady’s cabin to Jacques’ where they partied down. Laura was bound by her arms and Waldo the mynah bird pecked her neck and shoulders. At some point Leo and Jacques fought, resulting in Jacques passing out outside, and when he woke everybody else was gone. The way Coop sees it, Leo left the cabin alone, leaving Ronette and Laura still inside. He thinks this because of the third man that the Log Lady mentioned walking past later that night, and because of the other set of footprints Hawk found outside Jacques’ cabin. Whoever this person is, he took the girls to the train car, tied them up, knocked out Ronette and then started in on Laura, his rage so focused on her that he didn’t notice Ronette wake up and escape. Once Laura was dead, the killer then built the mound of dirt, put the half-a-heart necklace on it, put the letter R under Laura’s left index finger and scrawled in blood “Fire Walk With Me” on a scrap of paper. Interesting forensics note here: the blood used to write these words doesn’t match Laura’s, Ronette’s, Jacques’, or Leo’s, which most likely means it belongs to the killer. The type is AB negative, and matches blood on a towel that was found down the tracks from the train car, where there were also several more scraps of torn paper. That, Coop concludes, is how it all went down. The only question that remains is: who’s this third man? How Wellesian.
Truman delivers Pete home from the hospital. Josie is still missing after the mill fire, but there’s a letter waiting that might hold the answer. Sure enough it’s from Josie, saying she had to leave town on a business emergency and is in Seattle. This is regular behavior, Pete says, she goes quite often for business and shopping, so that’s one case closed. Truman begrudgingly has to mention that they still haven’t found Catherine, and tells Pete he should prepare for the worst. Pete takes this news a helluva lot harder than Catherine would were the situation reversed. An Asian man calls the house from The Great Northern looking for Josie. She of course isn’t there and he doesn’t give any further details, merely hangs up then immediately calls Hong Kong.
Ben and Jerry Horne are discussing their favorite subject – food – and find Hank waiting for them in Ben’s office. They want to know where Josie is. He gives them the same Seattle story as the letter, seemingly proving it true. Then they want to know what happened with Leo, why he isn’t dead? Hank says he’s as good as, he’s stuck in a coma with significant brain damage. Hank reveals here he doesn’t know Bobby was inside the house, he thinks Leo had the axe because he was chopping wood. Inside. Even Jerry thinks this is ridiculous, but somehow it’s accepted as truth because Leo is nuts. Ben wants to know about Catherine’s fate, and while Hank doesn’t know for sure what happened to her, he’s pretty certain she was inside the burning mill. This pleases Ben, as it means she and Leo should take the heat for this, pun intended.
Audrey’s still at One Eyed Jacks and reporting back to Blackie after meeting with the owner. Blackie tells her the owner was very disappointed with how that meeting went, of course not knowing she was his daughter. Audrey tries to talk around it, but Blackie isn’t having it and issues the girl an ultimatum: put out or get out.
Over the phone, Donna arranges with Norma to take over Laura’s Meals on Wheels route, based on the note she got. Then there’s a musical interlude by Alicia Witt (TWO WEEKS NOTICE, DUNE) as one of Donna’s younger sisters meant to entertain the family plus their dinner guests Maddy, Sarah and Leland, who’s dressed in a tux for no given reason. Donna’s other sister Harriett also contributes by reading a poem about Laura. Over dinner Doc asks about Leland’s stark white hair. He says it just changed, like he has now: he feels he’s finally turned a corner in his grief, and this makes him feel like singing. So he does. “Come On Get Happy” is the song he picks. This time, though, it isn’t so creepy, everyone seems buoyed, until he starts speeding up too much, loses the thread, and passes out. He comes to, but only physically; mentally, he’s not all there.
Coop’s in bed talking to Diane. He’s now blaming the Giant vision on the combination of his injury and sleep deprivation. He turns off the light. Simultaneously at One Eyed Jacks, Audrey is trying to reach her Special Agent telepathically to let him know she’s in trouble. She’s hoping by now he’s seen the note she slipped under his door last night telling him where she is and what she’s done, but of course, it got lost in the confusion of his shooting and is now hiding out of sight under the bed.
The Giant returns to Coop that night. Coop knows this time he isn’t dreaming. The Giant forgot to tell him something: don’t search for all the answers at once. He says one person saw the third man the night Laura died, and three have seen him since, but not his actual body. Only one of these, known to Coop, is ready to talk now. And one last thing: you forgot something. The Giant then creates a ball of light that goes into Coop’s throat, and the Giant is gone.
At the hospital, Ronette has truly terrifying visions of Laura being viciously murdered by BOB in the train car, and awakens.
All in all, then, season 2 opens with a big damn bang. Right from the first scene they’re tackling all the loose ends from the season 1 finale, and they take giant strides – pun intended – towards starting to wrap up the case of Laura’s murder. Lynch returns to direct and he and Frost collaborated on the script for the first time since episode 3, and as such this is a re-establishment of the narrative and visual aesthetics that make TWIN PEAKS TWIN PEAKS. They bring back the expected quirks – for example the local who hollers, “Hot damn that’s good pie!” in the first diner scene – and they throw a heap of the unexpected on us by turning a major corner in the central mystery. This was the first full season order the series received, meaning unlike season 1, there were 22 episodes to air this time around, three times as many as had already aired, and with 21 still to go, audiences were starting to realize that they were on the verge of a solution. The final sequence of the episode – which for my money is the most frightening TWIN PEAKS ever gets with the shrieking and screaming and killing and that terrible, terrible eye contact from Laura – made it a certified fact that BOB was Laura’s killer. That would be like THE X-FILES finding definitive proof of aliens a dozen episodes in to its 10-season run. The only questions left, it would seem, are who exactly is BOB, and where is he? That is, those would be the only questions left if in revealing them, Lynch hadn’t also asked a much larger question, one that would set the tone for the show past the “resolution” of Laura Palmer’s murder: sure, there’s an ending coming, but what the hell is it going to be?
The decision to wrap up the central mystery sooner than later came from the network, not Lynch and Frost, and this for many folks is the central executive decision that tanked the show. If the creators had been left to their own devices, who knows how or for how long they might have let the case play out. But that wasn’t what happened, as even with phenomena the bottom line trumps the narrative, and as a result we got this episode, which can be viewed, I think, as almost like the other side of the coin of the quiet and atmospheric pilot, or a negative version. There’s so much information crammed in here the characterization is mostly expository, in contrast to the pilot, where the info was scant and the characters took center stage. Wherever we’re being led at the end of the season 2 premiere, we know it’s nowhere expected, which is precisely what we were expecting.
Next week – EPISODE NINE: “COMA”
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