EPISODE 13: “DEMONS”
Written by Harley Peyton & Robert Engels, Directed by Lesli Linka Glatter
Airdate November 3rd, 1990
This episode picks up right where the last one left off, with Donna and Maddy cornered by Harold Smith, his freshly-self-wounded face, and his rusty garden tool. He declares Donna a liar like the rest of them, calls her “unclean” and says she’s “contaminated” him, then he charges at the girls. That’s when James, who wisely followed Maddy from the diner after running into her last episode, rushes in and saves them. Donna goes for the diary but Harold snatches it back as they flee. She and James have a lovely-dovey make-up snuggle outside, to Maddy’s scorned chagrin. Inside, Harold howls like BOB.
Coop, Truman and Hawk get Audrey safely to the Bookhouse, where Coop is able to deduce from her vital signs that she’s been given heroin. Up until now she’s been delusional, but comes out of it at Coop’s touch. They have a moment of intense chemistry. It’s a real pity the Cooper/Audrey romance wasn’t allowed to flourish. The viewers wanted it, the writers wanted it, Lynch and Frost wanted it, but as most tellings have it, Kyle MacLachlan put the kibosh on the deal. Officially, it’s said that he objected to the age difference between the characters and thought a man like Cooper would find such a romance inappropriate. Unofficially, rumor has it that Lara Flynn Boyle, who was romantically involved with MacLachlan at the time, was very much opposed to the characters hooking up, perhaps out of jealousy over Audrey’s storylines trumping Donna’s. Whatever the reason, the planned romance never came to be, and the ripples of this would affect more than just the arcs of Cooper and Audrey, but in fact all of the entire second season. More on that a few episodes down the line…
James and Donna send Maddy home. Donna is wearing James’ jacket, so everything between them seems healed. They seal it with some good, old-fashioned teenage necking.
Truman’s in his office going through mugshots looking for the man he saw kill Blackie at One Eyed Jacks. He finds him quick enough, shows Coop the shot, and explains the man is Jean Renault, Jacques and Bernard’s older brother and an all-around bad dude. Truman mentions that before all the shooting started, he saw Jean and Blackie looking at video footage of Coop from the other time he’d been in the casino, which tips off Coop that he wasn’t just a money-delivering middleman in this scheme, he was an intended victim, and Audrey was his bait. As much as Coop can get pissed, he gets pissed. He went outside his professional code to help Audrey, he says, then makes a quick but interesting allusion to another instance in which his personal feelings caused another for whom he cared harm. More on that later for sure. In this moment, Truman talks him back from the ledge. Their bromance is getting serious, there is no hierarchy between them at this point in the narrative, they are pledged as equals towards the same end, and increasingly that end isn’t just the solution of Laura Palmer’s murder, but also the safekeeping of all of Twin Peaks.
Back at The Great Northern later that night, Coop runs into Ben Horne and returns to him the ransom money. He tells Ben where Audrey was being held, but Ben feigns ignorance of One Eyed Jacks. Coop of course sees through this and tells Ben Blackie’s been killed, and by who. More ignorance. So Coop tells Ben about the near-fatal amount heroin his former business-partners gave his daughter. This conjures the first genuine emotion Ben has shown during Audrey’s abduction. He hugs Cooper, and his gratitude seems true, if everything else about the scenario is a lie.
Leo’s been released from the hospital and has come home. Tom Brockman (Ian Abercrombie) the insurance man delivers him, along with the paperwork and a giant check for Shelley and Bobby. Only it’s not so giant. It’s only $700, not the 5K they were expecting. Brockman attributes this difference to taxes, fees, the usual bureaucratic rundown. This situation has just become a much, much bigger job for the two lovers. Leo groans from inside his vegetative state, but not too deep inside, it sounds like.
Donna is at the Sheriff’s station telling Truman about Harold Smith and Laura’ secret diary. Truman doesn’t quite believe her, he thinks she and James are just up to hijinks. Why? Because the secret diary of a brutally-murdered teenage girl is typical fodder for teenage amusement? Ever seen THE BLOB, Harry? Cops thought those kids were fooling with them, too. Just sayin’. In Truman’s defense, though, Dr. Jacoby’s heart attack and the circumstances under which it was induced don’t help Donna’s credibility. She’s insistent though, and eventually he relents and says he’ll have it looked into. They’re interrupted by the one and only David Lynch himself in his first on-screen appearance as Gordon Cole, FBI Regional Bureau Chief. Until now, his character has only been heard over the phone. He’s revealed to have severe hearing impairment, complete with ancient-looking aids, and thus shouts everything he speaks and rarely registers responses correctly. It’s pretty hilarious, and the best acting Lynch has ever done. Cole steals every scene he’s in, and even in serious situations the humor of his performance can’t be ignored. He and Truman have a semi-private conversation: he’s there because Coop got shot and Albert wasn’t too sold on the idea of returning to town, so Cole has the results of the other agent’s lab analysis. The fibers found outside Coop’s room the night of his assault match a Vicuna coat. Also, the drug in the one-armed man’s syringe is unlike anything Albert has ever seen, some strange combination of stranger chemicals. And the papers found near the bloody towel down the tracks from the train car/crime scene, they were from a diary. Just then Hawk walks in with the one-armed man himself, Phillip Gerard, in custody. They have some questions for him and adjourn to Truman’s office, forgetting Donna is just around the corner and has heard everything.
Ben is taken by Coop to see Audrey at the Bookhouse. It’s the first time she’s seen him since – unbeknownst to him – she discovered everything about the connection between him, One Eyed Jacks, the perfume counter, and Laura. Oh yeah, it’s also the first time she’s seen him since he unknowingly tried to bang her. She doesn’t wait long to hint at this knowledge. But Ben is smart enough to calm her in front of the Fed. Audrey tries to get Coop alone to take her home, but Ben intercedes there, too, and Coop allows it.
Nadine is still convinced she’s a teenager, and is stoked her parents have been gone so long, leaving she and Ed the whole house to themselves. Ed’s still indulging her delusions as per Doc Hayward’s orders. She’s also still freakishly strong. And apparently a little randy. As Ed’s about to find out off-screen, that’s not a great combo.
Josie and her associate Jonathan are apparently associates-with-benefits, or so it seems as we find them dressing after implied fornication. He’s gloating, she’s disgusted. As a post-coital gift he gives her a one-way ticket to Hong Kong on a flight that leaves that night. She tries to stall for a couple more days, which Jonathan sees straight through as an attachment to Truman; despite the fact that she intentionally played the Sheriff for a fool, her feelings for him are real. Jonathan twists these feelings to his advantage and says either she leaves tonight as instructed, or he kills Truman. Midnight’s the deadline.
Maddy and James have a lakeside conversation in which he apologizes for the emotional run-around he’s put her through. She knows she was always just an echo of Laura to him, though, and that’s cool, she kinda liked it. She’s cool with him and Donna, too, and says it’s time for her to leave town and go home to Missoula. They say their goodbyes.
Next we see her, Josie’s at The Great Northern meeting with Ben. She’s got the contract with Pete’s signature for the mill land, and she wants her money. But it’s not that easy, Ben says, as he’s waiting on payments from Iceland. Josie doesn’t care, she wants her money NOW. Ben senses her desperation and plays his hand: a dossier on her that holds the truth of her husband Andrew’s “accidental” death. His ownership of this information means she should play ball his way. Josie counters by revealing that any harm to befall her would cause the cops to discover a safety deposit box containing enough evidence to send Ben up the river until he’s old and gray. Mutually-assured destruction is a helluva game to play, but play it they do. He signs over to her the $5 million check he got from Tojamura. This concludes their business.
Bobby and Shelly are celebrating Leo’s homecoming with a three-person party, complete with streamers, party hats, kazoos, and full-on getting it on in front of Leo. It’s all fun and games until Leo moves; just a little bit, but enough to kill the amorous mood. Though Leo does end up facedown in a sheet cake, and that’s pretty funny.
At the Sheriff’s station, Cole and Cooper reunite. Cooper is told that today he reminds Cole of a small Mexican Chihuahua (pronounced chee-wow-wow) with no further no explanation given, though apparently it is a compliment. They retire to Truman’s office to have a “private” conversation. It seems Albert told Cole that he thinks Coop’s in over his head on this one. Cole mentions Coop getting shot in Pittsburgh. This is obviously a spot of shame for Coop, who explains that Pittsburgh was a different situation, and he’s A-okay out here. Cole takes him at his word and the matter is dismissed. But that’s not all Cole has come to talk about. Truman is invited in for this next part. It’s an anonymous letter that was sent to home base addressed to Cooper. Cole comments it looks familiar and Cooper sighs, says it is. He opens it. It’s a card with only a chess move typed on it, Pawn to Knight’s 4. This is an opening move from Windom Earle, Coop knows. Cole says they’re going to have to watch Coop’s back from now on. Earle, you’ll remember, is Coop’s former partner and was previously mentioned in episode 9 as having escaped from an institution. His plotline – destined to be the second major one behind Laura Palmer’s murder investigation – officially starts now.
Ben has decided it’s time to bring Leland back into his professional fold, disregarding that the man is on bail for murder. He explains to Leland the interest in Ghostwood Estates from the Japanese party represented by Tojamura, despite the fact that he’s already taken payment from the Icelanders. This means that before all the I’s can be dotted and the T’s can be crossed, they need to buy time. Leland has multiple solutions to this, he’s on point and sharp as a tack, except for a single, small incident where he plucks fur from a stuffed white fox in the office. The look on his face makes him seem like he’s hypnotized. Overall, though, Ben is pleased with Leland’s efforts, and counts the meeting a success.
Truman visits Josie and finds Jonathan taking her packed bags outside. She tells him she’s leaving but she won’t say why, only that she sold the mill and she’s going home. He tries desperately to convince her of his love, but it isn’t enough, or maybe it’s too much. Either way, she goes.
Ben and Tojamura are having dinner at The Great Northern. Tojamura is anxious; he’s already paid Ben, after all, but no paperwork is forthcoming. Ben spins his bullshit, but Tojamura doesn’t fall for it. Leland livens the tense scene by taking the microphone there in the lounge and belting out “Getting to Know You.” Ben tries to coax him off stage but it turns into a forced duet. Meanwhile Pete tries to strike up a conversation with Tojamura at the bar but finds Tojamura isn’t a conversationalist.
At the station, Coop, Cole, Truman and Hawk are in with Gerard, who’s begging for his medicine, he can feel “the change” coming. As learned from Albert’s analysis, Gerard’s “medicine” has traces of various drugs dispensed to persons with multiple personality disorders. They’re just about to administer him the drugs when the change happens. Gerard seizes, gags, but comes out of his fit calmer, and different. Coop asks him who he is. He says MIKE, an inhabiting spirit who’s using Gerard as a host. MIKE admits coming to Coop in a dream and talking to him about BOB, who he calls his familiar, which in this context most-closely resembles the definition of a demon obeying or attending a witch, warlock, or other practitioner of the dark arts that is often assumed to take the form of an animal (remember the owl superimposed over BOB’s face in Cooper’s dream?). MIKE can’t or won’t say where BOB comes from. When Coop asks what BOB wants, MIKE says BOB is eager for fun, and to him fun is killing: “He wears a smile, and everybody run.” He says BOB is a parasite feeding on fear and pleasure, and thus he needs a human host. He reminds Coop that he and BOB were once partners and then MIKE and Coop recite together the same poem: Through the darkness of future past/The magician longs to see/One chance* out between two worlds/fire walk with me. MIKE says he was saved from his own evil ways at the cost of Gerard’s arm. MIKE says he still stays close to Gerard and enters him whenever he needs to for a single purpose: to stop BOB. He says the face they have on the poster is BOB’s true face and only the gifted, or the damned, can see it. Coop asks if BOB is near now. “For nearly 40 years.” Yikes. Where? MIKE describes a great house made of wood with many different rooms but all alike, and inhabited by many different souls each night. We end on a shot of The Great Northern cloaked in red light.
First up, that asterisk. The line in the poem “One chance out between two worlds,” is cause for some discrepancy because depending on who you ask or where you look, the word “chance” might be “chants.” According to an interview with WRAPPED IN PLASTIC magazine, Al Strobel, who plays one-armed Gerard, says the poem was originally shown to him by Lynch as handwritten, and the word was “chants,” as though the way out from this place between two worlds is some form of incantation, the words to which would be: “Fire walk with me.” In his book THE ESSENTIAL WRAPPED IN PLASTIC, WIP co-publisher John Thorne postulates that this means once you’re in, the only way out of whatever quandary the poem suggests is to make a deal with the devil. Or a demon. Or a familiar. However, the word has also appeared as “chance” in scripts and other documents, and is in fact the presumed correct word. But following the idea that the poem’s last line and most memorable refrain is some form of releasing spell, “chance” doesn’t really set it up as well as “chants” does. I myself prefer “chants” and all its wonderfully dark implications, which is why at the beginning of this collection I quoted the poem using it instead of “chance.”
This episode offers another stellar bit of directing from Lesli Linka Glatter who, for my money at least, is the second best director the series had behind Lynch. She maintains the atmosphere and the aesthetic tone of the series most consistently, and her own personal stamp on the material deviates the least from that aesthetic while still broadening it at the same time. It really says something, I think, that Lynch trusted her to direct an episode in which he acted.
Harley Peyton and Robert Engels wrote the script, and as we’ve come to expect, it’s a deft balance of intrigue and taut characterization. Despite covering a lot of different ground and interacting with several smaller subplots as well as the Laura storyline, the episode is well-paced and crackles with kineticism and instills a feeling almost like gravity pulling us towards some kind of climax.
At the same time, this is the episode where all the theories went out the window and it was made crystal clear that any solution we were going to be given to Laura Palmer’s murder wasn’t going to be straight. The mystical elements that had been at the fringe all along now move into the center of everything. BOB and MIKE are the demons of the title, one reformed, one still lurking inside someone, where he’d been for 40 years, meaning BOB could be any of the show’s adults. We’re closer to the truth, all right, but we’re a hell of a lot further from an answer.
Next week – Lynch returns to direct the Frost script of EPISODE FOURTEEN: “LONELY SOULS,” otherwise known as the single-finest episode of the series, and possibly the decade.
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