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TWIN PEAKS Episode Guide: Season 2, Episode 2 — COMA

By  · Published on September 20th, 2016

Written by Harley Peyton, Directed by David Lynch
Airdate October 6th, 1990

This is another episode directed by Lynch, but the last until episode 14. We open with Coop and Albert breakfasting at The Great Northern as a jauntily-clad barbershop quartet sings behind them for no reason. I mentioned this was directed by Lynch, right? They are discussing Ronette Pulaski, who has awakened from her coma but is still in shock and not speaking. Coop plans to show her the sketches of Leo and BOB – the latter drawn from Sarah’s vision – to see if that jars anything. Albert has the results of the autopsy on Jacques Renault: the man wasn’t strangled, he was smothered; furthermore his wrists were bound with hospital tape. That’s all there is down that avenue, but Albert also has conclusive evidence that the mill was an arson job he thinks Leo set. They’ll need a statement from Shelly to verify this. Meanwhile, Albert’s men are still trying to figure out who shot Coop in the season one finale. These findings, however, could have been delivered over the phone and are not really why Albert returned to Twin Peaks. He speaks a name that sucks the color from Coop’s cheeks: Windom Earle. Agent Earle, that is, one Albert refers to both as Coop’s former partner and “retired.” Agent Earle had formerly been confined to a mental institution, but he’s gone now, escaped. This isn’t good. As Coop silently ponders the ramifications of this news, across the room an Asian man watches him discretely but quite intently.

It’s Donna’s first day taking over Laura’s Meals on Wheels route, a move that was prompted by an anonymous note telling her to look into the program. Her first client is elderly Mrs. Tremond and her tuxedoed grandson Pierre, who reminds Donna that sometimes things can happen just like this and snaps his fingers. It’s worth noting that Pierre looks like a little David Lynch, down to the hair, because here he is a little Lynch, Austin Jack Lynch, to be precise, one of David’s sons.

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Back in the current narrative, Mrs. Tremond doesn’t care for the creamed corn included in her meal, and as though this displeasure is an incantation, instantly it’s gone, transported across the room into her grandson’s hands. Donna is bewildered, but the curiosity is explained away as the boy practicing magic. Mrs. Tremond wants to know who Donna is, but at the mention of Laura’s name, the old woman shuts down evasively. All she’ll say is Donna might inquire of the agoraphobic Mr. Smith next door, he was Laura’s friend. Pierre speaks in French: “Je suis une ame solitaire” (“I am a lonely soul.”). This is all just weird enough to get Donna out of there, and when she tries Mr. Smith next door there’s no answer so she leaves him a note. Smith is absolutely home, though, and watches her go through the blinds.

Ronette is still in shock but is now responsive. After some trouble adjusting the heights of their chairs, Coop and Truman get down to the business of showing her a few sketches. Leo’s first: she indicates he is not the man who hurt her. Then she’s shown the BOB sketch, and him she knows. She starts seizing and trying to say something in her distress: “train car.” I think we all know what that means.

Meanwhile, Ben and Jerry Horne are in Ben’s office with both of Catherine’s mill ledgers, the real one that shows the mill’s decline into bankruptcy at Catherine’s hands, and the fake one that shows the mill turning a healthy and hearty profit. The brothers are trying to figure out which one to burn to best suit their plan, which is to buy the ruined mill land from their co-conspirator Josie and transform it into the Ghostwood Estates development. It proves too tough a decision to make in the moment, however, so instead they toast marshmallows.

BOB posters – Have You Seen This Man? – are going up all over Twin Peaks, he’s now officially the main suspect in Laura’s murder. At the diner the Log Lady has coffee with Major Briggs. Her log has something to tell him: deliver the message. As vague and brusque as this is, Briggs immediately understands.

Andy demands an audience with Lucy to explain his reaction when she told him she was pregnant, why he was so pissed: he’s sterile. And that doesn’t mean he can skip baths, it means he can’t have babies, so he wants to know how she’s having one? She doesn’t answer him.

Hank shows up at the station to sign in with Truman, a condition of his parole. He does so flippantly and leaves. Coop interprets from the iciness between them that Truman and Hank used to be friends. Truman says they grew up together and Hank used to be a Bookhouse Boy, one of the best. I know TWIN PEAKS’ fans are a little skittish on the idea of prequels, but man oh man what I wouldn’t give to see a STAND BY ME-esque series or film about Truman, Hank, Hawk, and Ed as adolescents. Call me, Mr. Frost. Speaking of the telephone, a call from Ben Horne interrupts this disappointing stroll down Truman’s memory lane: Audrey is missing, and maybe has been for two days.

Ben and Leland are meeting when Jerry shows up at The Great Northern with Catherine’s insurance policy, unsigned. It seems she had some concerns – rightfully so – about Josie being named her chief beneficiary. This is a minor problem to Ben; Catherine’s dead, that’s all that counts. They call their development investors to make sure everything’s copacetic, but the Icelanders are upset about the mill fire, which they aren’t supposed to know about but do know about because Leland called them and let them know about it. As Ben and Jerry smooth this over, Leland notices the wanted flyer for BOB and becomes quite transfixed by it. He knows this man, he says, this man lived next door to Leland’s grandfather’s summer place on nearby Pearl Lakes when Leland was a little boy. Leland is certain of this and leaves immediately to tell Truman. Jerry then asks the truest question of the entire series, the same question the audience has been asking itself for nine episodes: “Is this real, Ben, or some strange and twisted dream?”

Doc Hayward is updating Shelly on Leo’s condition: he’s still in a coma after being shot. The bullet was lodged by his spine and while they were able to remove it, they can’t tell yet whether Leo is paralyzed. He lost a lot of blood, which led to the coma and probable brain damage, but it’s tough to get a complete and accurate assessment of his condition just yet.

At the station, an anonymous call comes for the Sheriff, but Lucy won’t transfer it without the caller’s name, so instead she hangs up.

At One Eyed Jacks, Audrey is finally seeing a client. She arranges to take over the playtime of Emory Battis, Horne’s Department Store manager. Battis particular fetish involves toenail polish, restraints and a blindfold, a running vacuum, and a bucket of ice. God only knows. Once Audrey and Battis are alone, she removes his blindfold and reveals herself. She threatens to go to the cops unless he tells her everything he knows about Laura, Ronette, the department store’s perfume counter, and One Eyed Jacks. Literally in no position to do otherwise, he confesses Ben has him picking girls from the counter and sending them up here to work as “hospitality girls,” Laura and Ronette included. Laura only came once, she was using drugs so got kicked out and never came back. Audrey wants to know if her dad knew Laura was here. He knew, and he knew, the italicized one connoting the Biblical sense. She wants to know if Laura knew Ben was the owner of One Eyed Jacks. She did. That’s not going to help Audrey’s daddy issues one bit.

Bobby and Shelly are parked by the river listening to some tunes and plotting their future together. Leo’s looking at a lot of disability pay coming, a cool 5k a month, so long as he stays out of prison. As a near-vegetable, this is a possibility they can help along. Shelly doesn’t care, she’s glad Leo could be out of her life, but Bobby sees easy money. As long as Shelly doesn’t give a statement about Leo and the mill fire to the authorities – which as his wife she can’t be compelled to give – then they can’t arrest him, and he comes home with all that money. Shelly relents, and they seal their scheme with some hot making out.

In Coop’s room at The Great Northern, he still hasn’t found the envelope Audrey left for him the night he was shot which tells him where she is. He’s talking to Diane about the escape of Windom Earle and how troubling it is to him, as is the news Audrey is missing. These are both emotional bothers, we can tell, not professional ones. He’s interrupted by a knock at his door. It’s Major Briggs, there to deliver the message the log “spoke” of. While he can’t reveal to the Special Agent the exact nature of his line of work, he can divulge that among his many duties is the maintenance of deep space monitors aimed a galaxies far, far away. Routinely these monitors receive communications, which are almost always dismissed as space garbage but they have to scan them nevertheless to be sure. He shows Coop a spreadsheet of gibberish, descrambled radio waves that were received by the monitors right up until the moment Coop was shot. At that point the readout changed. Among the gibberish appeared a single sentence in English: “the owls are not what they seem.” Coop is fascinated, of course, because this is one of the things the Giant said to him last episode, but he can’t figure why Briggs knew to bring this to him. Because of the second message, Briggs points out, delivered later the next morning: “Cooper.” Over and over again.

James, Donna and Maddy cut a track in Donna’s living room called “Just You and I,” a haunting twist on 50’s doo-wop that was entirely improvised by Lynch, Angelo Badalamenti and James Marshall (“James”) on set while shooting. It’s creepy if well-meaning and involves a lot of longing stares between what is slowly becoming a love triangle, because it looks like James might be falling for Maddy, or at least the memory of Laura he sees in Maddy. Donna picks up on their burgeoning connection and flees melodramatically, forcing James to rush after and assure her of his devotion with copious smooches. Donna then gets a call from Harold Smith, who has found her note and wants to meet tomorrow to talk about Laura. While Maddy’s in the Hayward living room waiting for her friends to return, she slips into a vision of BOB coming to kill her. The ethereal calm of the scene’s beginning is violently shattered with another song at the end, that of Maddy’s unbridled screams.

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The end is a series of images from Coop’s subconscious: the Giant waving, Ronette seizing in her hospital bed, BOB blurred against a background of nothingness, “the owls are not what they seem,” repeated flashes of the Giant standing over him, of Coop sleeping then awake in a wash of white light, of a hiding BOB with his face turning into an owl, of Sarah coming down the stairs at the Palmer house, of a laughing BOB slowly coming into focus, then a real phone call wakes him. It’s Audrey. Instead of just doing the obvious and intelligent thing of telling him precisely where she is, tells him instead only that she saw him in his tuxedo, he looked like a movie star, and she’s been in trouble but she’s going to come home now. Unfortunately, that’s as far as she get because Blackie kills the call, having overheard everything she just said. Furthermore, Battis is with her and has spilled the beans on her true identity and reason for coming to One Eyed Jacks. The jig, as they say, is up.

Another episode under the direction of Lynch lends to the continuing re-establishment of the TWIN PEAKS’ aesthetic, and him at the helm of the season’s first two episodes meant the weird-quotient got turned way up, but this time it was not just technical but narrative: this is the episode that starts looking beyond Laura’s murder, this is where we get the first mention of Windom Earle, some specifics on Major Briggs’ mysterious job, and a whiff of the scheme Bobby & Shelly are cooking up involving Leo and his money. These are the storylines that give us our first glimpse of what TWIN PEAKS looks like after its central mystery is solved, and all indications are that there are as many secrets surrounding this town as there are trees. While at the same time, however, the strange appearance of the Tremonds, the mention of misleading owls, and the intro of Harold Smith – among other things – says that while we might know it was BOB who killed Laura, there are still myriad things about that night and this girl that have yet to come to light. Problem is, at this point we’re not sure we want to know what they are…

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