Welcome to Twin Peaks:/\/\ First-Watch Recap: Season 2: Ep. 2.14 “Double Play” (Original airdate Saturday, February 2, 1991) — 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 “Double Play.”

  • On this day in history, the #1 song in the US is “The First Time,” by Surface. If you’re anything like me, you’ll listen to this song on YouTube and say, “Oh, yeah. I remember this one now.” It will be #1 for only a week. Don’t hate. How many #1s do you and I have?
  • Of course, because Surface is at #1, “Gonna Make You Sweat (Everybody Dance Now),” by C + C Music Factory peaks at #2. I didn’t have to remind myself what this song sounds like.
  • Across the pond in the UK, the #1 song was “3 AM Eternal,” by The KLF. More electronic dance music, but I like it more than “The First Time.”
  • The day before this episode aired—Friday, February 1, 1991—Silence of the Lambs and My Own Private Idaho were released in the theaters. I had some jokes lined up, but decided they would not be well-received and may possibly be misunderstood. Both are great films. I’ll just leave it at that.
  • The day after this episode—Sunday, February 3, 1991—Nancy Kulp, the actress who played Jane Hathaway on The Beverly Hillbillies, passed away. She and Buddy Ebsen, who played Jed Clampett, didn’t get along well off-screen. He called her “too liberal” in a radio ad campaign when she ran for the US House of Representatives in Pennsylvania’s 9th Congressional District in 1984. “Too liberal” was probably conservative code for “homosexual.” Although Kulp married briefly in the 1950s, many believe that she was a lesbian, although her confirmation of this was, at best, cryptic.
  • In the Doonesbury comic strip on this date, Mike questions why Marcia would buy a fur coat when she’s barely getting by. Passersby call Marcia a murderer, an animal killer, and a sadist. Marcia tells Mike it’s for status.
  • Sheriff’s Station |||— We’re back in SHERIFF HARRY S. TRUMAN‘s office, where a dead man with a chess piece in his mouth sits in the sheriff’s chair. DR. WILL HAYWARD removes the piece from the victim’s mouth while AGENT DALE COOPER bags it as evidence.
  • Cooper predicts that there will be a stab wound on the victim one inch beneath his sternum, penetrating the aorta. Sheriff Harry is there as well—it’s his office.
  • DEPUTY HAWK says there are two sets of footprints, from the same boots, coming and going. The person who left the footprints was heavier on the way down. “Carrying the body,” Cooper says.
  • The sheriff asks Cooper if he really believes that WINDOM EARLE, his former FBI partner, did this. Cooper gives a long, dramatic answer that means “Yes.”
  • Cooper adds that they won’t find any fingerprints. Windom Earle is a genius, and he’s taken his first pawn in a very sick game.
  • Great Northern Hotel |||— This is an AUDREY HORNE and BOBBY BRIGGS scene. Audrey says that before her father, BENJAMIN HORNE, flipped his lid, he considered a business arrangement to be a sacred pact. Audrey asks Bobby if he wants to get rich. Of course he does. Audrey says she may be able to help him get there.
  • Audrey uses an ice cube as a metaphor for her father. She says they first have to get her father from Limboland before he melts away. Audrey says that, from now on, she is the one Bobby needs to suck up to.
  • Johnson House |||—The house, that permanent DIY project, is dark. SHELLY JOHNSON says, “Leo?” The former vegetable LEO JOHNSON throws a glass jar of something at his unfaithful wife. Shelly is locked inside the house and can’t escape.
  • We cut to an exterior shot of an owl, which hoots. Owls are so unoriginal, but they’re not what they seem.
  • Shelly runs for the back door, but is tripped up by Leo’s wheelchair. A silhouetted figure says, “Bad girl.” Shelly grabs a kitchen knife and cuts a hole in the Visqueen covering one of the house’s many unfinished walls. She calls for help as Leo throws her to the floor.
  • Bobby Briggs arrives as Leo is approaching Shelly with an ax in his hands. Bobby hears Shelly’s screams, rushes inside and tries to disarm Leo. Bobby is pinned to the wall by the ax handle. Shelly gets the kitchen knife again and stabs Leo in the leg. She saves her lover, but Leo escapes into the night.
  • Sheriff’s Station |||—The victim’s body is removed. The sheriff brings coffee to Agent Cooper and tells him that he was right: there’s no evidence. Harry asks Cooper if he’s heard from DENISE BRYSON. Cooper says that he has been cleared of all charges, but the suspension still stands for now. Cooper is waiting to hear from his boss, GORDON COLE. Harry tells Cooper that he is still his deputy, and that he can have this case, if he wants it. Yes, of course Cooper wants it.
  • Hawk comes in and says he found an abandoned car on a logging road, just as Cooper predicted. Also, HANK JENNINGS didn’t make the buy at Dead Dog Farm because he’s in the hospital. He claims that he was hit by a bus. The sheriff and Cooper chuckle over this. I guess they know he was actually hit by the superpowered NADINE HURLEY. Hawks says he handcuffed Hank to his hospital bed and booked him for parole violations.
  • Goodbye, Hank. Looks like you’ve just been written out of the show.
  • Hawk also tells the men that he heard from Shelly Johnson, who says Leo came to last night and attacked her, then ran off into the woods. “Holy smokes,” Cooper says.
  • In the station lobby, DEPUTY ANDY BRENNAN has trouble removing his surgical gloves. He slingshots one of his gloves towards receptionist LUCY MORAN. The glove sticks to her Plexiglas barrier.
  • Deputy Andy tells Lucy that they need to talk about LITTLE NICKY, because he and DICK TREMAYNE are beginning to believe that the child murdered his own parents. Lucy says, “But he’s nine years old.” Andy says he was only six at the time of the crime. Lucy says that if Andy and Dick believe this nonsense, then neither are capable of being a father to a chimp. She says she’s going to get to the bottom of this right away.
  • This subplot is nothing but misdirection. Feel free to fast-forward.
  • Marsh House |||—You may want to fast-forward even further, though. This subplot also feels unnecessary.
  • JEFFREY MARSH (John Apicella) introduces himself to JAMES HURLEY, who is in his garage working on a car. Jeffrey says he’s heard good things about James’ work from his wife, EVELYN MARSH. Evelyn enters the scene, and she and her husband talk about keeping James around.
  • Jeffrey takes the car out for a spin. We hear the screech of tires and the sound of a fatal crash.
  • Double R Diner |||—BIG ED HURLEY and Dr. Will Hayward sit in one of the diner’s booths. Big Ed tells the doc that his super-powered amnesiac wife, Nadine, wants to start dating boys. You will recall that Nadine currently thinks she’s a high school student again.
  • When the doctor asks if Nadine is sexually active, Big Ed says, “Active? Doc, I wake up every morning feeling like I’ve been hit by a timber truck.”
  • Dr. Hayward tells Big Ed to be patient and tell Nadine to be home by 9 pm on school nights.
  • NORMA JENNINGS approaches the booth. She’s given Big Ed extra potatoes.
  • Dr. Hayward talks about his daughter, DONNA HAYWARD, taking the van this morning to look for James Hurley. Ed tells the doc that James is trying to clear his head, and Donna was taking some money to him.
  • Norma comes back over and tells them that her husband, former and future convict HANK JENNINGS is in the hospital. He says a tree fell on him. Big Ed says the tree was Nadine. Norma says that Hank was arrested for violating his parole and may return to prison. If that happens, the two of them can finally be together.
  • Yet another side plot that’s going nowhere.
  • Marsh House |||—Evelyn Marsh comes to James Hurley’s room, where he is packing to leave. The two kiss. James says it’s wrong. Evelyn says love isn’t wrong, James. Please don’t leave me. James says he’s gotta check his bike.
  • Sheriff’s Station |||—In Sheriff Harry’s office, Agent Cooper studies the chessboard. Cooper says he played with Windom Earle every day for years, never beating him. Windom Earle thinks all of life can be reduced to moves on a chessboard.
  • Sheriff Harry tells Cooper that he’s going to need more information here.
  • Cooper tells Harry that Earle was his first FBI partner. He says everything he knows about the law and the FBI, he owes to Earle. Four years ago, they drew the assignment protecting the material witness in a federal crime. This witness was CAROLINE. She and Cooper fell in love. Cooper failed in his duty. He lost consciousness during an attack. When he came to, Caroline was in his arms. She was dead.
  • Caroline’s wounds were identical to those on the human pawn left in Harry’s office. The killer was never found.
  • Cooper healed. Windom Earle went mad and was institutionalized until his recent escape.
  • The sheriff asks why Windom Earle is targeting Cooper.
  • Well, you see, Caroline was Earle’s wife.
  • Whafuh? Would the FBI assign an agent to guard his own wife? That seems unlikely.
  • Harry asks Cooper if Earle blames his old partner for his wife’s death.
  • Cooper says it’s much worse than that. Cooper thinks that Windom Earle killed his wife and was responsible for the crime she witnessed. Cooper thinks that Earle’s mind is like a diamond. Cold and hard and brilliant. Cooper believes he feigned the insanity that got him sent away, but at some point he lost the ability to tell between right and wrong.
  • “You don’t know what he’s capable of, Harry,” Agent Cooper says.
  • This was a huge information dump that encompasses the entire backstory of Cooper and Earle. This feels like the story we should be paying attention to. It’s our link to the White Lodge and inhabiting forces and dancing dwarves, giants, owls and senile hotel porters.
  • We cut to an exterior shot of trees in the fog.
  • Wallies Hideout |||—Donna Hayward is inside, by the jukebox. Evelyn Marsh is sitting at the bar. Country music plays in the background. Donna asks the bartender about a biker named James. Evelyn overhears and approaches Donna. The two have a stilted conversation about James, who Evelyn says was working for her. She says that James was talking about heading to an ocean. Mexico, she thinks. Evelyn asks Donna if she’s who James is running away from. She tells Donna to go home; James’ll be back. Then, she pays for Donna’s coffee.
  • Great Northern Hotel |||—Ben Horne is still fighting the Civil War while smoking a cigar. Audrey Horne brings JERRY HORNE into the office. Ben calls his brother “Jeb.” DR. JACOBY sits in the corner.
  • Dr. J tells Jerry that he thinks what Ben is doing is healthy. He’s leading the South to victory and by reversing the course of history he’s also reversing his own emotional setbacks. What he needs right now is their understanding and a Confederate victory. The psychiatrist begins singing “Dixie.”
  • Sheriff’s Station |||—MAJ. GARLAND BRIGGS staggers into the station. He tells Lucy Moran that he needs to see the sheriff, then collapses.
  • The major recovers after drinking some water. He sits in an office with Sheriff Harry and Agent Cooper.
  • Briggs tells them that he’s come to believe that the Air Force’s search for the White Lodge may not be ideologically pure. When he was abducted, he believes he was taken to the White Lodge, even though he cannot remember the experience. He intuits that there is much trouble ahead.
  • As he leaves, Maj. Briggs tells them that he’ll be “in the shadows” if they need him.
  • Deputy Andy enters and asks to show the others something. He leads the sheriff and Cooper to the conference room. Dr. Jacoby is there and says he’s spent the last twenty-four hours with LANA MILFORD (although we just saw him in a Great Northern Hotel scene—or, did we?). He wants to dispel any rumors about a curse or of Lana being responsible for a death. Lana, according to Dr. J, has a heightened sexual drive and a working knowledge of technique, anatomy and touch that few men have ever had the pleasure of experiencing or the skill to match.
  • Dr. J and Lana are leaving together to go bowling.
  • There is a scream from the hallway. MAYOR DWAYNE MILFORD is holding a shotgun on Lana and Dr. J. Cooper suggests that they let Lana and the mayor talk things over alone. Lana and the mayor go into the conference room. The mayor still has his gun.
  • I haven’t checked to verify this, but I doubt sending a gun-wielding man and his intended victim to a room to “talk things out” is standard operating procedure. Even in Twin Peaks.
  • When the rest of them enter the conference room, Lana is sitting in the mayor’s lap, covering his face with lipsticked kisses. The mayor says the he and Lana have decided to adopt a child. Lana says Dwayne is so much like Dougie, her recently late husband and Dwayne’s brother. The mayor and Lana leave together.
  • Where’s the gun?
  • I think the writers missed an opportunity to quickly tie off two unproductive story threads. The child that Lana and the mayor adopt could be Little Nicky. That would kill two turkeys with one shot.
  • Blue Pine Lodge |||—CATHERINE MARTELL shows PETE MARTELL that ANDREW PACKARD is still alive. Catherine says she had Andrew’s help in surviving the attempt on her life. THOMAS ECKHARDT was Andrew’s business partner, and Eckhardt tried to kill Andrew. JOSIE PACKARD worked for Eckhardt, so they are using her to lure Eckhardt to Twin Peaks.
  • Are you following all of this? Don’t make me tell you to read it again.
  • Is it just me, or is this another storyline that seems to be going nowhere at lightspeed? I don’t see how any of this is connected to the White Lodge and the odd things happening around Agent Dale Cooper.
  • I’ve decided that the Cooper story is the main plot. Everything else is side- or subplots. Ideally, I would want to see elements of the main plot reflected in all other secondary plots. The fact that this doesn’t happen in this series may mean that I am completely wrong and every plot is equally valid. This entire thing isn’t meant to be Agent Cooper’s story; it’s all about Nadine Hurley’s character arc, her superhero origin story. All that mystical mumbo jumbo is thrown in to appeal to future X-Files fans.
  • Great Northern Hotel |||—MISS JONES (Brenda Strong) checks in for two suites in the name of Thomas Eckhardt (David Warner). The flames of the fireplace reflect in Eckhardt’s glasses. He is being characterized as devilish, badder than all the other bad guys.
  • The last thing this show needed was more new characters. Don’t get me wrong. I’ve long admired the work of both Brenda Strong and David Warner. They deserved to get the jobs and the paychecks. But, this series already had the too-many-characters syndrome.
  • Sheriff’s Station |||—Will Hayward comes in the station with Dick Tremayne and Lucy Moran. He’s pushing Tremayne in front of him. The doc tells Deputy Andy to come into the room with them. They’re going to talk.
  • Sheriff Harry shows Cooper a fax from Seattle, which he says just came “over the wire.” The missive says that MR. LEE (AKA COUSIN JONATHAN) is dead. Josie Packard told the sheriff that she got away from him. The sheriff asks Cooper to find out if Josie had anything to do with his death.
  • In the conference room, Dr. Hayward lectures Deputy Andy and Dick Tremayne. He says that Lucy called him. The doc was able to cut through the orphanage red tape. He says Nicky’s mother was an immigrant chambermaid at the Great Northern Hotel who conceived after a back alley assault. The man responsible fled across the border. Dr. Hayward knew about this. Nicky’s mother died in childbirth and is buried in Twin Peaks’ version of Potter’s Field. His adoptive parents died in a car accident.
  • Deputy Andy and Dick Tremayne begin crying. Lucy Moran swats a fly.
  • Marsh House |||—Evelyn Marsh comes into James Hurley’s room, where he is still packing to leave. James is very slow. There’s some more weird acting in this scene. James sounds more like Bobby Briggs than himself. James says that him and her are wrong because she’s all married and stuff. Evelyn tells James that she loves him.
  • We all hear the sirens as the police approach the Marsh House.
  • Evelyn tells James that Jeffrey died in an accident. James then makes the very un-James-like leap in deduction that Evelyn killed her husband and set him up for the murder. Evelyn says it was all MALCOLM SLOAN‘s idea. Malcolm is not her brother.
  • Evelyn tells James to hurry and leave, and go find that young girl who loves him. James grabs his leather jacket and runs. Donna Hayward is waiting outside for him, and they run together.
  • Leo Johnson is walking somewhere in the woods. An owl screeches overhead. Leo finds a cabin in the woods. He hears flute music issuing from inside. A guy with a gun invites Leo to come inside. There is a conspicuous chessboard in the cabin.
  • The man asks his visitor’s name, and Leo says, “Leo.”
  • The man introduces himself as WINDOM EARLE (Kenneth Welsh).
  • End of episode.

Nothing really happens in this episode. I mean, nothing.

You’re in trouble when your most action-packed scene is a geriatric mayor attempting to murder his late brother’s widow, but falling in love with her instead.

Yeah. Trouble.

Another 2-Star performance in my book. The series still has eight episodes to achieve any kind of redemption, but my Magic 8-Ball says the outlook isn’t good.

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