Welcome to Twin Peaks:/\/\ First-Watch Recap: Season 1: Ep. 1.5 “The One-Armed Man” (Original airdate Thursday, May 3, 1990) — a review

Welcome to my First-Watch of the original 30 episodes of the 1990-91 television series Twin Peaks. Below are the bulletpointed notes I jotted down while watching the episode “The One-Armed Man.”

  • On this date in history, Bell Biv DeVoe’s “Poison” was #1 on the R&B charts. I recently heard it on one of those television singing shows. The Masked American Voice, maybe.
  • The day after this episode aired, Angie Bowie made the stunning announcement that her ex-husband David Bowie slept with Mick Jagger. Which stunned absolutely nobody who’d seen their “Dancing in the Street” music video a few years before.
  • In our story’s timeline, this episode takes place on Tuesday, February 28.
  • At the Palmer House, SARAH PALMER is describing the creepy guy with the long, gray hair to DEPUTY ANDY BRENNAN, who is sketching his portrait.
  • SHERIFF HARRY S. TRUMAN is on the scene.
  • DONNA HAYWARD sits next to Sarah on the couch. I can think of only one reason Donna’s even in this scene; I’ll get to that in the moment.
  • MADELEINE FERGUSON—Cousin Maddy, who looks like LAURA PALMER, only with brown hair and glasses—is serving tea.
  • LELAND PALMER shuffles into the scene, wearing pajamas and a robe. Leland asks his wife if she’s told them about the necklace. You see, Sarah has had two visions. One about the long-haired creepy guy. And one about seeing a gloved hand remove the half-heart necklace from under a rock.
  • This fact shocks Donna. She knows about the necklace, you see, because she and JAMES HURLEY are the ones who buried it under the rock at the video picnic spot.
  • That’s what I was hinting at earlier. Sure, you’ll probably tell me she’s there, during an official police visit, to console the family of her dead friend. I think she was written into this scene just to find out about Sarah’s vision of the necklace.
  • The last we saw of the necklace, DR. LAWRENCE JACOBY was keeping it inside a fake coconut. At least, I think it was the same necklace.
  • Cut to: the Sheriff’s Station. Station receptionist/dispatcher/Girl Friday LUCY MORAN, who never gets a day off, it seems (no one in this town does), is engrossed in our show-within-a-show Invitation to Love when our stalwart lawmen return to the station. Sheriff Harry asks her what’s going on and she recounts the plot of the soap opera to her boss, which seems nearly as convoluted as that of Twin Peaks itself. No, Harry meant what’s going on here at the station. Oh, that. Lucy tells the sheriff that AGENT DALE COOPER is in the conference room with Dr. Lawrence Jacoby.
  • As Harry leaves, Deputy Andy asks Lucy why he couldn’t spend the night with her last night. She ignores the question, asking him, very business-like, if he’ll be having coffee. Our two young lovers seem to be having a spat.
  • Over in the conference room, Dr. Jacoby is performing a sleight-of-hand trick involving two golf balls for Agent Cooper. The map of Tibet from the last episode is visible behind his head. When asked about Laura, Dr. Jacoby invokes doctor-patient confidentiality. I’m not sure if that still applies after the death of the patient, or during a federal investigation at all, but I’m not here to fact-check this series.
  • While Dr. Jacoby can’t confirm Laura’s cocaine use or sexual problems, he’s comfortable discussing Hawaii and the medicinal properties of ginger. He does, however, offer the opinion that all of society’s problems are of a sexual nature. Must be a Freudian. He also offers up that he’d been seeing her as a patient for six months, and she had secrets even he couldn’t access, though his personal investigation would continue for the remainder of his life.
  • Sheriff Harry comes in (must have been a long walk from Lucy’s station). He asks the doctor if Laura ever talked about BOBBY BRIGGS or MIKE NELSON. Jacoby says they are only boys; Laura was a woman.
  • Laura Palmer was supposed to be 17 years old when she was murdered. In the eyes of the law, she was still a minor. Whether or not she was biologically a woman, I’ll not even discuss, because that’s just creepy, as is the fact that the age-of-consent in Washington state is 16 years old.
  • In any case, I would have punched Dr. Jacoby in the mouth for saying that.
  • Sheriff Harry shows greater restraint than he did with AGENT ALBERT ROSENFIELD, probably because he still has more information he wants to get our of the nutty tropical-obsessed shrink.
  • Cooper reveals that Laura had sex with three men the night she was killed, and then asks Dr. Jacoby if he was one of them. He says no. But, the night after Laura died, Dr. Jacoby says he followed a man who Laura had told him about. A man who drives a little red Corvette [editor’s note – insert Prince reference here]. Jacoby followed the man to Old Sawmill Road and then lost him. That’s all he can tell them.
  • Lucy pages Cooper on the intercom, telling him there’s a GORDON COLE on the line for him. Cooper dismisses Jacoby and asks if he’ll be around. Dr. Jacoby says he’s making a pilgrimage to Pebble Beach at the end of the month. Which month? Today is February 28, right? I don’t think 1989 was a leap year.
  • Harry tells Cooper that LEO JOHNSON drives a red Corvette (as well as a truck). He also mentions that they’ve put out an APB for JACQUES RENAULT as well.
  • Cooper takes the call from Gordon Cole, who is his supervisor. The voice of Cole is David Lynch himself, which I guess makes him everyone’s supervisor.
  • Cole tells Cooper that the twine on Laura’s upper arms was common household variety—Finley’s Fine Twine—but the twine on the wrists was not a match. No ID yet on the second twine. The marks on the dead girl’s shoulders were bird bites. And, Albert was faxing a reconstruction of the plastic fragment found in her stomach.
  • Cole also wants to talk about Agent Rosenfield’s clash with Sheriff Harry. Apparently, Albert wants Harry’s badge because of their fight. Cooper stands up for Harry.
  • Andy brings in his sketch of the creepy, long-haired man from Sarah Palmer’s vision. Cooper confirms that it is the man—BOB—that he dreamed about, only the eyes should be closer together. That’s why he didn’t join the men at the Palmer’s house that morning. He’s a strong psychic “sender” and didn’t want to influence the sketch.
  • DEPUTY HAWK calls and says he’s located the ONE-ARMED MAN at the Timber Falls Motel. Guess where Twin Peaks’ Finest are headed next?
  • At the Timber Falls Motel, we join CATHERINE MARTELL and BENJAMIN HORNE engaged in some postcoital conversation. I’m calling this a new location, even though I suspect it’s supposed to be the same place we saw Catherine and Ben last time we saw them together.
  • Catherine wishes she could have seen JOSIE PACKARD‘s face when she opened up the safe for Sheriff Harry. Josie thought she was going to show Harry that Catherine was keeping two different sets of books for the sawmill. Instead, there was only one set in the safe. Catherine had already moved the second set to her other secret hiding place, under a secret compartment in her office desk drawer. Probably the second place anyone would look. The lovebirds also discuss their plans to torch the sawmill again, in case we’ve fogotten what evil schemes this cutrate Boris and Natasha have hatched.
  • In the parking lot of the Timber Falls Motel, Josie herself sits with a camera. I assume she is looking to get proof that Catherine and Ben are working together.
  • Deputy Hawk meets the sheriff in the lot when they pull up. He says the man they want is in Room 101, booked under the last name Gerard.
  • I don’t have to explain that Gerard was the last name of the lieutenant in The Fugitive who was tracking down Dr. Richard Kimble for the murder actually committed by a one-armed man, do I? No? Okay, then I won’t.
  • Harry, Andy and Cooper knock on the door to motel room number 101. Andy—who has become the Barney Fife of this series—drops his gun and it misfires.
  • Which, of course, alerts Ben and Catherine, who are in another room. Ben peeks out a curtain.
  • Harry kicks in the motel room door. There’s a one-armed man in the room wearing nothing but a bath towel.
  • Ben and Catherine don’t seem too concerned, though. Ben says he’s going to go give “Little Elvis” a bath.
  • Ben is actually holding a small Elvis figurine as he says this. I’m willing to bet that David Lynch and Mark Frost knew that the real Elvis referred to his penis as “Little Elvis.” I don’t believe in coincidences.
  • As Ben goes to take his shower, he drops a poker chip on the floor. Catherine picks it up. It says “One Eyed Jacks” on it.
  • The one-armed man’s name is PHILIP GERARD (yes, that was the name of the Fugitive cop, too). He doesn’t recognize the man in the police sketch, but thinks he looks like somebody. He says the only guy he knows named “Bob” is his best friend, the veterinarian BOB LYDECKER, who is currently in a coma at the hospital. That’s why Deputy Hawk saw Gerard at the hospital, you see. He was visiting his comatose friend, who was assaulted outside a bar in Lowtown a couple of nights ago.
  • It turns out that Gerard’s middle name is “Michael,” which I bet isn’t uncommon. Deputy Hawk confirms that Mr. Gerard has no priors or outstanding warrants. Gerard says he lost his arm in a car accident when he was a travelling pharmaceuticals salesman. Now he sells shoes.
  • Cooper asks Gerard if the arm he lost had a tattoo on it. Gerard confirms that it did. It said “Mom.” Then the one-armed man begins to cry.
  • When they return to the car, Deputy Hawk tells Sheriff Harry that Josie had been staking out the motel when he arrived.
  • Cut to: Twin Peaks High School. Donna Hayward and AUDREY HORNE meet in the girls restroom. Donna is putting on lipstick. Bad girl Audrey smokes a cigarette. Audrey shares her daydream of a tall, dark and handsome stranger falling madly in love with her and taking her away from Twin Peaks to a life of mystery and international intrigue. Donna correctly deduces that she’s talking about Agent Cooper.
  • But, Audrey also has what seems to be a good idea to Donna: joining forces to help solve Laura’s murder.
  • Audrey spells out the facts she knows about Laura. 1.) Laura was seeing James Hurley; 2.) Laura liked cocaine, a lot; and, 3.) Laura was seeing Dr. Jacoby.
  • The two girls agree to keep their investigation a secret. Audrey plans to begin her investigation at the perfume counter at Horne’s Department Store.
  • Cut to: Prison. NORMA JENNINGS is at the prison for the parole hearing of her husband, HANK JENNINGS (Chris Mulkey). At the hearing, Hank blames fate for the accident that landed him in prison. Norma says that she will give him a job at the Double R Diner when he gets out and that they will live together, naturally, since he’s her husband.
  • Looks like one of the show’s love triangles just got more complicated.
  • Also, with a name like Hank Jennings, Norma’s husband should embark upon a career in country music.
  • Our intrepid lawmen park at a One Stop convenience store located next to Bob Lydecker’s veterinarian office. Cooper mentions his dream, in which Mike and Bob lived above a convenience store. Cooper sends Deputy Andy into the convenience store to buy some twine. He returns with a spool of Finley’s Fine Twine, of course, the brand name of one of the twines used to tie up Laura Palmer.
  • When they show her the dream-sketch, the vet’s receptionist says that isn’t Dr. Lydecker.
  • Cooper believes that the bird responsible for the bites on Laura’s shoulders was a patient at Lydecker’s office. He orders the sheriff’s department to confiscate all of the office’s files.
  • Over at the Johnson House, Bobby Briggs and SHELLY JOHNSON are sitting on a kitchen chair together, making out. Bobby is still obsessing about getting revenge on James Hurley. Bobby asks where Leo Johnson is, as if this was the first time he considered that Shelly actually has a husband. Shelly tells him not to worry. Leo’s off with his creepy friend Jacques.
  • Bobby tells Shelly—and, vicariously, us—that Leo and Jacques have been running cocaine from across the border and selling it at school. It’s even possible they were giving drugs to Laura. Shelly shows Bobby Leo’s bloody shirt. Bobby takes the shirt, saying it could be the answer to their prayers. Shelly also shows off her shiny handgun. She wants Bobby to teach her how to use it.
  • The lawmen return to the Sheriff’s Station with all of the files from the vet’s office. Harry asks Lucy to begin going through all of the files and pull out everyone who owned a bird.
  • Deputy Andy apologizes to Cooper for accidentally firing his gun. Harry tells Andy to get some ammo and meet them downstairs at the pistol range.
  • Andy tries to talk to Lucy about the incident, but she brushes him off.
  • Cooper asks Sheriff Harry how long Lucy has been upset with Andy. Just showing off his superior observational skills again, although it didn’t really take Sherlockian abilities this time. Cooper asks Andy, and of course he doesn’t know why she’s mad at him. I suddenly empathize with Andy.
  • Cooper says: “In the Grand Design, women were drawn from a different set of blueprints.” Which is difficult to deny.
  • Hawk and Andy practice on the pistol range. Hawk aces his test. Cooper tells Andy he needs practice. Lots of it. One hour, three days a week.
  • Sheriff Harry asks Agent Cooper if he’s ever been married. Cooper says no, but he knew someone once who helped him understand commitment, the responsibilities and the risks, who taught him the pain of a broken heart.
  • Harry and Cooper both take their shots at the firing range, while Deputy Hawk says, “One woman can make you fly like an eagle. Another can give you the strength of a lion, but only one in the cycle of life can fill your heart with wonder and the wisdom that you have known a singular joy.”
  • In my experience, this is the way men talk when they’re bonding.
  • Deputy Hawk says he wrote that for a girlfriend. Diane Shapiro, Ph.D., Brandeis.
  • This seems to be an oddly specific name shoutout for someone who’s not going to be an ongoing character. This is an odd series, however.
  • The sheriff aces his shooting test. Hawk sees only four holes in Cooper’s target. Cooper explains that he put two each through the eyes and one in each nostril.
  • In case you’re keeping track of Agent Cooper’s superhuman abilities, these now include: superior observational skills, moderate-to-strong psychic powers, and above-average marksmanship.
  • Lucy announces that the vet files are organized alphabetically by the name of the pet. That seems like an inefficient system. What was Dr. Bob Lydecker thinking?
  • Cut to: Double R Diner. This is a Shelly-and-Norma scene. They are discussing their men problems. Both women are having affairs. Norma says her plan are currently up in the air. She’s not even sure she’s going to divorce her husband. Shelly says she had definite plans for Leo, but doesn’t elaborate. Norma offers to treat Shelly to a spa day tomorrow. Which would be Wednesday. Maybe the diner is closed on Wednesdays.
  • Hey, look who walks into the diner. It’s JAMES HURLEY. He’s been mentioned, but I think this is his first on-screen appearance in this episode. What’s his purpose in this scene? Apparently, he came in to use the phone.
  • He calls Donna, who is at the Hayward House now. School must be out. She invites James to a potluck dinner her family is hosting, but James says he doesn’t think he’d be great company at the moment. Donna tells him that they need to talk. She found out some things from Audrey that she needs to tell him. James says he’s going to get something to eat and will be over.
  • Maddy Ferguson has come up to the diner counter. She and James talk for a moment. She asks James if he thinks she looks like Laura, and he says “yes.” She says they didn’t know each other well.
  • Norma gets off a phone call and tells Shelly that her husband has been granted his parole.
  • Over at the Great Northern Hotel, Ben Horne talks on the phone while he rides an exercise bike. He’s talking to the Norwegian investors, or maybe to his brother JERRY HORNE, which is what he does when he’s not committing adultery or plotting to burn down Packard Sawmill.
  • Audrey comes in to talk to her father. She talks to him about making amends for letting him down, but she’s angling to get a job at Horne’s Department Store so she can continue her investigation into Laura’s death. She’s a manipulative little minx.
  • “Let me be your daughter again,” she says to her dad, and then they hug. As they hug, Audrey looks at a photo of herself with Laura on an endtable.
  • The phone rings. Ben dismisses Audrey, then tells the person on the phone to meet him by the river in a half-hour, and to be discreet.
  • At the Sheriff’s Station, Gordon Cole calls Cooper again. The marks on Laura’s shoulders were from a parrot or a myna bird. Agent Rosenfield’s reconstruction of the plastic fragment from Laura’s stomach shows that it was a poker chip with the letter “J” on it. In case you’re unable to make the association on your own, Sheriff Harry says, “One Eyed Jacks.”
  • Deputy Andy finds a vet file for “Waldo,” a myna bird owned by Jacques Renault.
  • Cut to: Jacques Renault’s Apartment. Bobby is inside the apartment when Cooper, Harry and Hawk arrive. He’s planting Leo Johnson’s bloody shirt at the scene. He leaves via a window. The lawmen bust in again, and Deputy Hawk chases after Bobby but loses him in the woods.
  • The bloody shirt has Leo Johson’s initials sewn into the collar. You don’t have to be Agent Cooper to make that connection.
  • I do have a minor quibble with this scene. Bobby couldn’t have known that the police were on their way to Renault’s apartment. If he had just left the bloody shirt there, Renault could have returned home and found it before the police could. You might argue that Bobby planned, all along, to call the police once he left the apartment, but that would have seemed fishy even to Deputy Andy. Or, you could choose to whistle past this the way I’m going to.
  • By the way, I didn’t see a myna bird either, did I?
  • By the river, Ben Horne and Leo Johnson meet up. Ben chews Leo out for coming in the red Corvette, which doesn’t fit his definition of “discreet.” Leo, once again trying, unconvincingly, to sound like a tough guy, tells Ben to get someone else if he doesn’t like it.
  • No, Ben responds, dropping another clue on us, Hank said that Leo was gifted, so he’s sticking with him. Probably means Hank Jennings, don’t you think?
  • In the spirit of being discreet, Leo also brought the wrapped, dead body of BERNARD RENAULT with him to this meeting. You remember Bernard. He was tied up to a chair at The Bookhouse the last time we saw him. Leo brags that he broke up the Renault brothers before Bernard could rat them out.
  • All of which convinces Ben Horne that Leo’s the sort of man he wants to conduct nefarious business with. He hires him to torch Packard Sawmill in three nights, and gives him half the money up front.
  • At the Picnic Spot, James and Donna take a stroll through the woods. Donna tells James about Sarah Palmer’s vision of the necklace being removed from its hiding spot. They go to the spot, remove the rock, and find out that the vision was true. Donna mentions that Laura had visions just like her mother. She tells James that they were the only two who loved Laura, and it’s up to them to find her murderer, for the sake of their relationship.
  • At the Blue Pine Lodge, Josie answers a phone call from Sheriff Harry. She tells him that she needs to talk to him. He asks her if she was at the Timber Falls Motel, then she says she has to go. Wait. Didn’t she just tell him she needed to talk to him?
  • Josie’s brother-in-law PETE MARTELL comes in and says the work day at the mill is over. She offers to make him a sandwich, and Pete invites Josie to join him in a mixed-doubles fishing competition. You can’t escape a conversation with Pete without talking about fishing.
  • As she’s talking to Pete, Josie opens a letter that contains a picture of a domino with double threes. The telephone rings and it’s Hank Jennings. He’s sucking on a domino identical to the one in the picture, and he tells Josie that he’ll catch her later.
  • Josie seems upset. And here, the episode ends.

So, what did we learn this time around?

Well, we learned that David Bowie and Mick Jagger were probably lovers. No, wait . . . that wasn’t in the episode.

There was a bit more going on in this episode than the last one. We caught up to the One-Armed Man, who is a travelling shoe salesman named Philip Gerard, and found out his best friend is a comatose veterinarian named Bob Lydecker. By going through the veterinarian’s records, we also discovered that Jacques Renault owns a myna bird that may have been responsible for the bite marks on Laura’s shoulders. We also discovered that the plastic fragment in Laura’s stomach was probably a poker chip from One Eyed Jacks, which means Agent Cooper and the gang will probably go there soon.

What else?

Hank Jennings has been paroled, and he is somehow involved with Ben Horne and Leo Johnson, and, apparently, with Josie Packard. He’s coming home, so that’s sure to shake some things up. I have no idea what the significance of a double-three domino may be. Mystery box.

Bobby Briggs planted Leo’s bloody shirt at Jacques Renault’s apartment, which the police have found. That’ll probably have consequences as well.

After Donna Hayward and Audrey Horne’s restroom alliance, a parallel amateur investigation into Laura’s death is also now in progress.

Any forward motion is progress. After a one-week slump, my interest in the show has been reinvigorated. Another 4-out-of-5 star outing.

You think they’ll wrap up this investigation before Dr. Jacoby makes his pilgrimage to Pebble Beach?

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