Welcome to Twin Peaks:/\/\ First-Watch Recap: Season 2: Ep. 2.4 “Laura’s Secret Diary” (Original airdate Saturday, October 20, 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 “Laura’s Secret Diary.”

  • On this day in history, Cincinnati beats the A’s 2-1 to sweep Oakland and win the World Series. The next day, José Conseco’s wife Esther calls Oakland A’s manager Tony La Russa a “punk” for not starting her husband in the series.
  • James Ingram, who passed away last year at age 66, has a #1 hit with “I Don’t Have the Heart.”
  • Tom Savini’s Night of the Living Dead is cheek-to-jowl in the movie theaters with Tom Selleck’s Quigley Down Under and the steamy James Spader/Susan Sarandon White Palace.
  • Three days prior, on Wednesday, October 17, Billie Joe Armstrong drops out of school to pursue a career in music. My Granddaddy’s first name was Billie, which was also spelled this way, a spelling that is usually reserved for females. So, don’t make fun of Billie Joe. He’s done okay for a dropout.
  • It occurs to me that I was living in North Carolina during the time this show aired. It was a dark time in my life that was going to get darker over the next few years. This show might have been perfect for me then . . .
  • In-story date: Monday, March 6.
  • At the Sheriff’s Station, SHERIFF HARRY S. TRUMAN is interrogating LELAND PALMER about JACQUES RENAULT‘s death on Friday, March 3. Leland admits to killing Jacques, because he thought Jacques killed LAURA PALMER, his daughter. DR. WILL HAYWARD and AGENT DALE COOPER are in the room also.
  • Afterward, DEPUTY ANDY BRENNAN asks Dr. Hayward about his sperm count report. Andy wants to take the test again. Dr. Hayward gives Deputy Andy a cup for his specimen and says he’ll wait in the car for it. Andy runs into LUCY MORAN on his way to the restroom. She sees his copy of Flesh World magazine and seems to be angry with Andy because of it.
  • Sheriff Harry and Agent Cooper are sitting in the lobby. The sheriff says their judge will arrive that afternoon. JUDGE CLINTON STERNWOOD (Royal Dano) travels the circuit in a Winnebago. This is in a town of 51,230, which doesn’t have a courthouse or a judge.
  • Agent Cooper says they’ll have LEO JOHNSON‘s competency hearing at the same time they have Leland’s bail hearing. DARYL LODWICK (Ritch Brinkley), the state’s prosecutor, will be coming also.
  • Sheriff Harry says DEPUTY HAWK called and said the county says no one named Robertson ever lived next to the Palmers. He has the current address of the last occupants and they’re checking with them this afternoon.
  • Deputy Andy drops his specimen cup and it rolls under a chair in the lobby. As he’s retrieving the specimen, Agent Cooper notices Andy’s new boots and asks where he got them. The deputy says he bought them from PHILIP GERARD, the one-armed man, the day before.
  • Agent Cooper says these boots were the same brand as the boots found under the porch floor boards at Leo Johnson’s house. Cooper tells Deputy Hawk that they have to locate the one-armed man.
  • Over at the Great Northern Hotel, an employee stops BENJAMIN HORNE to tell him that famed travel writer M.T. WENTZ is coming to Twin Peaks. Getting a good review from Wentz is important. Ben tells the employee to watch the registration closely.
  • JEAN RENAULT is in Ben Horne’s office. Not a social visit. He shows Ben a video of his daughter, AUDREY HORNE, bound and gagged.
  • Jean Renault says he is only a messenger. Jean wants to be Ben’s partner in One Eyed Jacks. He also wants Ben to have Agent Cooper be the one to bring the ransom money. As Jean leaves, he tells Ben he expects a call from him by tomorrow at noon.
  • Meanwhile, at the Double R Diner, HANK JENNINGS tells DONNA HAYWARD that she’s looking pretty today. What’s the special occasion? Donna says she has a date with someone she met on her Meals on Wheels route.
  • After Donna leaves, NORMA JENNINGS tells her husband that she’s heard about travel writer M.T. Wentz coming to Twin Peaks. Hank seems excited by the news. He takes money from the till and says he’s going to get candles, flowers and tablecloths to trick the diner out. Hank tells Norma that she should call BIG ED HURLEY as well, so that he can steer potential customers their direction.
  • At Harold Smith’s House, HAROLD SMITH and Donna Hayward have their “date.” They drink a toast to Laura. Harold even reads from Laura’s secret diary aloud. Donna thinks they should give the diary to the sheriff as evidence, but Harold says “no.” It belongs to him because Laura gave it to him. Harold is kind of a creepy dude.
  • Meanwhile, at the Great Northern Hotel, we get a Ben Horne/Agent Cooper scene. Ben talks about the FBI agent’s “special relationship” with his daughter. The kidnappers want $125,000 for Audrey Horne’s release tomorrow, and Agent Cooper will need to carry the ransom money.
  • At the Blue Pine Lodge, JOSIE PACKARD returns to Twin Peaks. She hugs PETE MARTELL. Pete tells his sister-in-law that CATHERINE MARTELL died in the sawmill fire. He’s planning a service, although his wife’s body has not yet been found.
  • Over the border, at One Eyed Jacks, everyone’s favorite retail manager, EMORY BATTIS, drags Audrey Horne into the office with Jean Renault. Emory tells Audrey that everything’s going to be fine. Then, Jean shoots and kills Emory. Goodbye, Mr. Battis. Audrey cries while Jean hugs and consoles her.
  • Back at the Sheriff’s Station, Deputy Andy tells Lucy Moran that they need to talk. She yells at him about preferring the company of his “magazine.” Agent Cooper enters the room and sends Deputy Andy out for air. He talks to Lucy, instead. He tells her it’s time to get whatever’s bothering her out in the open.
  • Lucy tells Agent Cooper that she and Deputy Andy used to date. She began to notice little things about him that bothered her. He never exercises. He never washes his car. He doesn’t own a sport coat. She got the idea, from a television show, that she needed some “me” time. So, she and Deputy Andy were on a break during the time that she met DICK TREMAYNE and began dating him. She says she’s not sure she wants to get back with Andy.
  • So, the subtext here (barely subtext when you’re being hit over the head with it) is that Lucy’s baby may not be Andy’s, something I think we already knew.
  • Agent Cooper tells Sheriff Harry that he needs one of the BOOKHOUSE BOYS, although it’s probably better if the sheriff doesn’t know why. Sheriff Harry sets up a meeting with Cooper at the Roadhouse, tonight at 9:30 PM.
  • At the Double R Diner, a large man in a cowboy hat comes in and orders a cheeseburger, Coke and fries. It’s possible that he’s the mysterious travel writer—M.T. Wentz—that everyone’s looking for. While the guy is in the restroom, Hank Jennings goes through his jacket.
  • Donna Hayward and MADDY FERGUSON meet at a booth. Maddy says that there’s nothing going on between her and JAMES HURLEY, which isn’t strictly true but close enough. Donna says that it doesn’t matter; she and James can see other people. Donna tells Maddy about Laura’s secret diary at Harold Smith’s house. Maddy says they need to tell James. Donna tells Maddy to tell James that she’s getting that diary with or without their help.
  • Hank Jennings looks at the unknown diner’s identification. Not M.T. Wentz. It’s Daryl Lodwick from the DA’s office.
  • Over at the Blue Pine Lodge, Josie Packard shows off her new clothes to Sheriff Harry. While the sheriff is still smitten with Josie, he’s also suspicious of her actions. He asks her if she was really in Seattle. Josie says she had to get away because she was scared of Ben and Catherine. The sheriff points out that now Catherine Martell is dead and there is the matter of the insurance money. Josie is heartbroken that Sheriff Harry could think these things about her.
  • Sheriff Harry crawfishes and the two start kissing. He still wants to know why she didn’t tell him she was leaving town. Josie answers by telling Harry to tear her dress, and then the two of them go horizontal. Josie knows how to shut a man up.
  • Lightning flashes, and in the light we see the mysterious ASIAN MAN watching them through the window.
  • At the Sheriff’s Station, it’s still storming. That’s continuity. Lucy Moran sips something from a mug as the lights flicker. An older man in a cowboy hat and a bolo tie enters the station. This turns out to be a circuit judge, Judge Sternwood. The Judge asks for a hug from Lucy. The #MeToo movement is years away.
  • Sheriff Harry returns from the Blue Pine Lodge. Judge Sternwood says Harry looks like he’s having girl troubles. Sheriff Harry introduces Agent Cooper to the judge.
  • Dick Tremayne comes in and tells Lucy Moran that he’s been a fool and a cad. He says he must do the right thing. He gives Lucy $650 to pay for an abortion. Lucy tells him to leave and to never speak to her again.
  • Deputy Andy comes in with Leland Palmer while Lucy cries in the sheriff’s office.
  • Judge Sternwood offers Leland his condolences over Laura’s murder. The judge says that, whatever happens, after death they will all meet in Valhalla.
  • Okay. Weird, but par for the course.
  • Leland intends to represent himself during the proceedings, which, according to aphorisms, means he has a fool for a client. Judge Sternwood asks where the prosecutor Lodwick is. Sheriff Harry says that he’s overdue. The judge decides to leave the question of bail to in the morning.
  • Sternwood’s law clerk, SID (Claire Stansfield), enters the room. She is introduced to Agent Cooper. Judge Sternwood says they are going over to the Great Northern Hotel, hook up the Winnebago, and then dine in the Timber Room.
  • Cooper liked Sid. After they leave, he asks if she’s the judge’s wife. “Law clerk,” Sheriff Harry responds.
  • Cooper asks Harry if everything’s set for tonight. “He’ll be there,” the sheriff says.
  • At the Great Northern Hotel, there are a lot of young women in sashes for the Lumber Queen semifinals. Benjamin Horne is harassing the contestants, naturally. Meanwhile, another MYSTERIOUS ASIAN MAN (not the same one peeping through the windows of the Blue Pine Lodge) conspicuously looks on. This one has a long mustache and sunglasses.
  • The desk clerk calls this new character MR. TOJAMURA (Fumio Yamaguchi). Mr. Tojamura pays cash and says he’s from Seattle. The desk clerk recommends the Double R Diner rather than the hotel’s own restaurant.
  • Back at the Blue Pine Lodge, speaking of Asian men, Josie Packard introduces Pete Martell to the peeping-Tom Asian Man. She says he is her COUSIN JONATHAN (Mak Takano).
  • Cousin Jonathan seems to be a business associate. He tells Josie her job is almost done here. He asks about the sale of the mill land. Josie says they are signing contracts soon. She still needs to get Pete’s signature as Catherine’s heir. She says it’ll be two days. Cousin Jonathan says they’re expected back in Hong Kong. MR. ECKHARDT wants to see Josie very much.
  • Josie says that there may be a problem with Hank Jennings. Cousin Jonathan says he’ll deal with Hank, but then asks Josie if the sheriff suspects anything.
  • It’s 9:30 PM and Sheriff Harry meets Agent Cooper at the Roadhouse. It turns out that he’s the Bookhouse Boy who’s meeting him. Agent Cooper offers to buy Sheriff Harry a beer.
  • At the Double R Diner, Hank Jennings answers a knocking at the entrance doors. No one is there. The lights suddenly go out, and then Cousin Jonathan is standing there, in the middle of the room. Hank tries to fight him, but the Asian man’s kung fu is more powerful. Cousin Jonathan holds Hank’s hand as the two become blood brothers and says that the next time, he will take Hank’s head off, and then he dramatically smashes Hank’s flashlight.

Raymond Chandler once wrote that, when in doubt, bring in a man with a gun in his hand.

All the new characters we’re introduced to don’t necessarily have guns in their hands, but there are several of them. In this episode alone, we meet Judge Sternwood, Sid, Daryl Lodwick, Cousin Jonathan and Mr. Tojamura. The travel writer M.T. Wentz and the ominous-sounding Mr. Eckhardt from Hong Kong are both name-dropped.

Let’s examine the various story threads more closely to see if we can unravel the plot.

Who killed Laura Palmer? We still don’t know. Leland Palmer is currently awaiting trial for the death of Jacques Renault, who he thinks killed Laura. But, he didn’t.

Agent Cooper, and now Sheriff Harry, are occupied with the Audrey Horne kidnapping story thread. She’s being held at One Eyed Jacks, where it looks like Jean Renault is now in charge. Emory Battis is dead, also.

What’s Josie Packard’s deal? She’s returned from Seattle and is apparently being pressured to finish selling the mill land and to return to Hong Kong. She’s obviously playing the sheriff, and I doubt that Jonathan is her cousin.

Donna Hayward, meanwhile, seems to be the only one still investigating Laura’s murder. She has resolved to steal Laura’s secret diary from the creepy, agoraphobic orchid-grower Harold Smith. She’s now enlisted the aid of Maddy Ferguson, and, by association, James Hurley.

We also get our continued baby-daddy drama with Lucy Moran, Deputy Andy and the foolish cad Dick Tremayne. This is a distraction. Keep your eye on your card.

Nothing further on Ronette Pulaski, Nadine Hurley, Dr. Jacoby or Phillip Gerard the one-armed shoe salesman (except Deputy Andy bought a pair of boots from him the day before). Nothing new on Bob, either. It’s probably coming.

The series is throwing enough content at me to keep me confused and watching. I know I’m being suckered in by feints and gimmicks, but can’t help myself. Still marginally interesting. 3-out-of-5 stars from me.

The next episode is titled “The Orchid’s Curse.” Maybe the main action will revolve around Donna Hayward and Harold Smith.

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