Welcome to Twin Peaks:/\/\ First-Watch Recap: Season 2: Ep. 2.15 “Slaves and Masters” (Original airdate Saturday, February 9, 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 “Slaves and Masters.”

  • On this day in history, the #1 song in the US is “Gonna Make You Sweat,” by C + C Music Factory. Also, Adam Sandler and Tim Meadows join the cast of Saturday Night Live this evening. Sandler would leave SNL in 1995, but Meadows would remain until the year 2000.
  • Earlier in the week, on Wednesday, February 6, Danny Thomas passed away.
  • The day after, on Sunday, February 10, future actress Emma Roberts is born. Her father is Eric Roberts, which—of course—makes her aunt Julia Roberts.
  • Coincidentally, Julia Roberts’s movie Sleeping with the Enemy was released on Friday, February 8, 1991, the day before this episode aired.
  • Just to keep you in the early-’90s frame of mind, The Simpsons began airing in Australia the day after the episode aired as well. Can I get a collective “D’oh!” from my fellow Homerites?
  • This episode was directed by Diane Keaton.
  • Yes, that Diane Keaton.
  • Both Keaton and David Warner—who guest-stars as THOMAS ECKHARDT—recall that David Lynch was very “hands off” with this episode. Keaton says that he told her to do whatever she wanted with it.
  • Maybe Lynch lost interest in the series after LAURA PALMER‘s murder was solved. I can relate.
  • The episode opens with a slow-motion pan of chess pieces.
  • >>>Marsh House —||| EVELYN MARSH is decked out in full widow regalia. MALCOLM SLOAN, who is Evelyn’s lover and not her brother, stands with the police officers. Evelyn and Malcolm give JAMES HURLEY‘s name to the cops, telling them that he was from Twin Peaks. Malcolm calls him a “drifter.” Evelyn tells the police that she met James at Wallies Hideout, which is the truth, in fact. The police say that they will check there, then, oddly, three cops walk away from the scene in lockstep.
  • In case you’re just joining us with the episode, Evelyn’s husband, JEFFREY MARSH, was murdered in an arranged car accident by Evelyn and Malcolm, who are attempting to pin the entire thing on James Hurley.
  • After the cops leave, Malcolm says it is now time to bid adieu to James Hurley. Evelyn tells him to give it a rest. Malcolm tells her to be careful, because he’s not sure he can handle having a nervous co-conspirator.
  • >>>At Wallies Hideout —||| Men in uniforms and hats are sitting at the long bar, smoking cigars. Oh, and James Hurley and DONNA HAYWARD are also there. James declares his innocence, of course. Donna wants to call James’s uncle BIG ED HURLEY, but James wants Donna to talk to Evelyn Marsh. Donna seems to sense that something happened between James and Evelyn. Donna calls Big Ed, and is standing there at the phone when a cop enters the bar.
  • >>>The Twin Peaks Sheriff’s Station —||| We’re in the conference room. BOBBY BRIGGS and SHELLY JOHNSON sit at the table across from a standing AGENT DALE COOPER and SHERIFF HARRY S. TRUMAN. A chessboard is located in the near foreground. The sheriff asks Bobby what he was doing at Shelly’s house.
  • Bobby suggests that the cops should be more concerned about “Leostein.” Which is, of course, a riff on “Frankenstein,” although any self-respecting nerd knows that Frankenstein was the name of the mad doctor, not the monster. Is Bobby calling Leo a mad scientist or a monster? Hmm.
  • Bobby ends up admitting that he and Shelly have been together as a couple since before Laura Palmer died.
  • Agent Cooper asks Bobby where he was the night the mill burned down.
  • Bobby says he went to Shelly’s house the night that happened and LEO JOHNSON—or, Leostein if you’re nasty—tried to bury an ax in him. Only, HANK JENNINGS shot him through the window.
  • If you think those are complicated plot threads, just hang on to your hat. And cigar.
  • Sheriff Harry tells Shelly that he’ll assign a couple of deputies to her house, twenty-four hours a day. How many deputies does Twin Peaks have? Have we seen more than two?
  • After Bobby and Shelly leave, ALBERT ROSENFIELD enters the conference room. Albert and Sheriff Harry hug, which seems to be an odd choice. Albert says that GORDON COLE sent him because he was worried about Cooper over this whole WINDOM EARLE thing.
  • Albert unfolds a map of the United States. He says that Windom Earle has been sending packages to major law enforcement agencies and police departments across the country. Earle has sent them one article of clothing each. Items that Windom Earle’s wife CAROLINE wore. Well, before Earle killed her, that is.
  • Albert takes a moment to complain about Agent Cooper’s civilian wardrobe before we’re ready to move to our next scene.
  • >>>A Cabin in the Woods —||| Windom Earle is wearing longjohns and playing a bamboo flute. Leo Johnson wakes up, and Earle proceeds to read off a list of charges against Leo. Leo tries to escape, and Earle takes him down with the flute, which makes for an excellent cudgel.
  • Earle puts a shock collar on Leo, then feeds him some gruel. Windom Earle has taken another pawn. End Act I.
  • >>>Hurley House —||| Big Ed Hurley and NORMA JENNINGS are in bed together, reminiscing. The consensus seems to be that they’ve wasted twenty years being apart. They begin to make plans for their future as a couple.
  • NADINE HURLEY comes into the bedroom, tearing the door off the hinges with her inexplicable superhuman strength. Nadine climbs into bed with Ed and Norma. She has a second-place wrestling trophy for doing an illegal airplane slam in the finals.
  • Nadine apologizes to Norma for beating up her husband, Hank.
  • As Nadine is leaving the bedroom, she tells her husband and his lover that she’s okay with them being together because she’s seeing MIKE NELSON, and it’s becoming really, really serious.
  • >>>Blue Pine Lodge —||| Agent Cooper and Sheriff Harry are talking to JOSIE PACKARD. The lawmen are trying to find out what Josie knows about the murder of JONATHAN KUMAGAI AKA Cousin Jonathan. He was shot three times in the back of the head. Of course, Josie says nothing to implicate herself. Well, essentially, she says nothing at all.
  • Sheriff Harry and Josie hold hands while Agent Cooper goes to get another cuppa.
  • PETE MARTELL arrives, and he’s carrying Josie’s drycleaning. He hands the drycleaning to Agent Cooper while he goes to answer the phone. Agent Cooper uses tweezers to take fiber samples from Josie’s coat.
  • Josie receives a phone call from Thomas Eckhardt. He wants the two of them to meet. He asks her if she’s heard what happened to Jonathan.
  • CATHERINE MARTELL listens on an extension, then welcomes Eckhardt back to Twin Peaks.
  • I just want to point out that I’ve referred to Thomas Eckhardt a couple of times already without making references to actor David Warner’s Star Trek: The Next Generation role as Cardassian interrogator Gul Madred (among others). I’ve also refrained from writing “There are four lights!” Not even once.
  • >>>Great Northern Hotel —||| BENJAMIN HORNE still thinks he’s Robert E. Lee. DR. LAWRENCE JACOBY is there (tropical shirt and fish tie), as are AUDREY HORNE and JERRY HORNE, and—for the first time in a while—JOHNNY HORNE, wearing his Native American headdress.
  • Jerry, who is Ben’s brother and Audrey’s uncle, tells Audrey that there may be some advantages to leaving Ben insane. There are domestic and international projects that he’d like to develop.
  • Audrey tells her uncle that, since she is of age, she becomes executor of her father’s estate in the event of his incapacitation. She warns her uncle to play her way or he’ll be selling baseboard heaters at the local Cash & Carry, which sounds like an oddly specific threat.
  • Audrey asks Dr. Jacoby to “bring back” her father to the real world.
  • Bobby Briggs enters the room, dressed in a Confederate uniform. Ben Horne calls Bobby over and demands that he play “Dixie.” Bobby begins playing a bugle, badly.
  • >>>Wallies Hideout —||| Evelyn Marsh is alone at the bar as Donna Hayward approaches her. Donna wants to know why she’s doing this to James Hurley.
  • “Why not?” Evelyn says. Donna says that James is a good person. Evelyn says that James was good at doing two things: the car and her.
  • Malcolm Sloan arrives to pick up Evelyn. He’s our black leather jacket guy since Hank Jennings has been sent back to prison. After exchanging pleasantries, Malcolm threatens to kill Donna if he ever sees her again.
  • As Evelyn and Malcolm leave, Act II comes to an end.
  • >>>Sheriff’s Station —||| Albert Rosenfield shows Agent Cooper slides of vicuna coat threads. The threads Cooper removed from Josie Packard’s coat matches those found outside his hotel room door. Rosenfield thinks that Josie is the one who shot Cooper. He’s still checking Josie’s gloves for gunpowder traces. Rosenfield adds that the Seattle authorities are still looking for a beautiful Asian woman in connection to the murder of Jonathan Kumagai. He has a sketch that looks a lot like Josie.
  • Rosenfield says there were three bullet wounds in the back of Kumagai’s head, in a triangular pattern. They are matching them to the slugs fired into Cooper’s bulletproof vest.
  • Agent Cooper says he hopes it’s not Josie, for Sheriff Harry’s sake.
  • Agent Rosenfield says the sheriff has a serious problem with his girlfriend.
  • Sheriff Harry is throwing darts in his office as Agent Cooper enters. They both have some further exposition to drop on the viewer.
  • It turns out that the transient that Windom Earle killed had a name. ERIC POWELL. Mr. Powell was a former merchant marine. Cooper says that Powell was the maiden name of Windom Earle’s late wife Caroline.
  • Cooper says that every time Earle takes a piece from the chessboard, someone dies. Cooper adds that he’s never beaten Earle in a game.
  • Sheriff Harry tells us that they have one of the best chess experts right here in town. Why doesn’t that surprise me?
  • >>>Double R Diner —||| Pete Martell plays chess against TOAD, Agent Cooper, and DR. WILL HAYWARD at the same time. He defeats all three. Pete is our chess expert, apparently.
  • Cooper asks for Pete’s help in a mysterious chess game. He wants to play his opponent to a stalemate, losing no pieces in the process, if possible. He can’t reveal more than that. Pete agrees to help.
  • Shelly Johnson comes in and asks Norma Jennings for her old job back. Norma is happy to have her back immediately.
  • Sheriff Harry tells Norma that Hank Jennings is about ready to leave the hospital. Norma says that this time she doesn’t want him back. The sheriff says that Hank is being charged with the attempted murder of Leo Johnson. That, coupled with parole violations, means that Hank is going away for a long time.
  • >>>Blue Pine Lodge —||| Josie Packard opens the front door for Thomas Eckhardt. Catherine Martell invites Thomas inside. Witty banter ensues, in which Eckhardt suggests he killed Catherine’s brother ANDREW PACKARD over his love for Josie. Catherine wants to know what Eckhardt will give to her if she gives Josie over to him.
  • >>>Marsh House —||| Evelyn Marsh is smoking in a particularly femme fatale way. Everyone’s favorite himbo, James Hurley, comes in and demands to know why Evelyn betrayed him. Evelyn admits that she lured James to her home and kept him there while Malcolm Sloan arranged a nice little frame job. She did it for the money, of course. She says that James is good and honest, but she is not. They kiss once again, and then Malcolm hits James from behind with the barrel of a huge handgun. Malcolm plans to kill James and make it look like he broke in and attacked Evelyn.
  • >>>Great Northern Hotel —||| Dr. Jacoby, as Ulysses S. Grant, surrenders to Ben Horne’s Robert E. Lee. Audrey Horne, Jerry Horne and Bobby Briggs are all still there. Ben collapses after the surrender.
  • “Where am I?” He says he had the strangest dream and “you were there, and you . . . and you.” A brief Oz homage.
  • It seems that allowing the South to win the Civil War has somehow returned Benjamin Horne to his sense. I know a few unreconstructed Southerners who would probably react the same way.
  • >>>Windom Earle’s Cabin —||| Windom Earle is putting on a disguise while he forces Leo Johnson to write something.
  • >>>Marsh House —||| Donna Hayward enters the house, saying she has already called the cops. Donna begs for James’s life. Malcolm moves towards Evelyn Marsh after she decides not to shoot James. She shoots Malcolm instead.
  • >>>Great Northern Hotel —||| Agent Cooper pulls photos of Caroline Earle from his wallet. In disguise, Windom Earle delivers a letter for Audrey Horne at the front desk. Cooper heads to his room. There’s a creepy mask with glowing eyes in his bed.
  • This was Caroline’s death mask.
  • Windom Earle also left a message on Cooper’s microcassette recorder.
  • He says: “It’s your move.”

This episode was a little better than the previous one. But, I still can’t—in good conscience—rate it higher than 2.5 stars.

I’m optimistic by nature, I think. I’m waiting for this show to live up to its hype. After the murder of Laura Palmer was—”solved” doesn’t sound quite right, but the case was over, whatever you wanted to call it—the show seemed to continue its downward slide into meaningless plot threads and empty Mystery Boxes.

the dominoes aren’t what they seem

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