Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Recap of Episode 14

Somebody help me!

Season 2 Episode 14

Written by: Mark Frost

Directed by: David Lynch

Original Air Date: November 10th, 1990

"He lives in a large house made of wood..."

At the Sheriff's station, Hawk, Gordon, Dale, Andy and Sheriff Truman stand with one armed Mike as he recounts his poem about where Bob lives in a spooky voice. They all listen, but then quickly resume enjoying donuts and coffee when he commences. After Sheriff Truman asks if Hawk has a warrant for Harold Smith's place yet and Dale mentions that pages from a diary were found at the train car. Gordon jumps in and loudly explains about the diary pages. Dale also remembers what Donna Hayward said about Harold having Laura's secret diary. Then Gordon says his goodbyes, shakes everyone's hand and heads back to headquarters.

Later at The Great Northern hotel, one armed Mike wearily reviews potential candidates in the lobby to see if one of them is Bob. He continually says no to everyone put in front of him and seems to get more agitated with every new person he has to say no to. Dale and Harry stand by as Andy presents people to Mike one by one, including Tojamara and a random group of sailors bouncing balls. Meanwhile we see that Ben is storming through the hallway smoking a cigar and charging in Mike's direction. As he approaches the scene in the lobby, Mike collapses just as Ben enters the room and demands to know what's going on. 

"J'ai une âme solitaire"

Hawk knocks on Harold Smith's door and then enters when he doesn't get a response. The place is in shambles. Hawk takes a look around and then sees Harold's legs as he hangs from a noose in his green house. After Harry, Dale and a bunch of other officer's arrive to investigate and they find a note that Harold left saying, "J'ai une âme solitaire." Dale recognizes the french and says it means "I am a lonely soul." Then Hawk notices a ripped up diary in the middle of the floor. Dale, Harry and Hawk read the inside cover and see, "This is the Diary of Laura Palmer." Dale is pleased and spouts, "pay dirt"

"What a Wonderful World."

At the Palmer's house, their record player plays the song What a Wonderful World. We get a pan of all the Palmer's family photos, mostly of Laura, as Maddy gets coffee and sits between Sarah and Leland on the couch. She begins to tell them that she's planning on driving back home tomorrow. Leland and Sarah both look disappointed, especially Sarah, but Leland is quick to show understanding. He says that he and Sarah support her choice to return to Missoula. Maddy promises to come gallivanting back often. Leland says they love her very much and Sarah notes what a help having Maddy around has been.

"New Shoes!"

Shelly sits with Bobby and Leo at Shelly's kitchen table as they go over bills. She realizes that she's only going to have only $47 dollars left over for the month after she pays all the bills. She tells Bobby he needs to take care of her and wants him to return a necklace he gave her. Bobby thinks Leo must have money stashed somewhere, because he knows Leo was into "a lot of stuff". Right then Leo starts groaning and spits out his oatmeal. Shelly starts screaming that Leo's alive, but after checking him out Bobby says it's probably just a burp or gas. Then Leo chirps, "new shoes" so Bobby asks if Leo has any new shoes around. Shelly says no, but Leo had her take in a pair of boots for repair last week. Bobby thinks its important and orders Shelly to go get the receipt. Then he returns to Leo and tells him if there is a payoff he'll buy him all the new shoes he wants. Leo just drools oatmeal and then spits out, "new shoes" again. Bobby looks at him with disgust.

"I loved her!"

In Ben's office, Audrey tells Ben that she knows all about One Eyed Jacks, Blackie, Ronette and Laura. Ben tries to be dismissive, but then Audrey reminds him that she was Prudence, the girl who wore a little white mask. Ben is immediately uncomfortable, but agrees to tell Audrey what she wants to know. Ben tells her that he's owned One Eyed Jacks for five years. Audrey wants to know if Ben knew and encouraged Laura to work there. Ben insists that he didn't and Emory Battis sent Laura to Jacks without him knowing. Audrey asks if Ben slept with Laura. He humbly says yes as he looks at a picture of Laura on his desk. Audrey looks upset but remains calm. Then she asks if Ben killed Laura. He sighs and whispers, "I loved her." 

"I could just kiss you to death!"

Shelly tearfully tells Norma at the Double R that she's probably going to have to quit her job to take care of Leo for a little while. Shelly says she loves Norma, she loves working there and doesn't want to let Norma down. Norma is understanding and tells Shelly she's not going to let her down and she can come back when she's ready. Shelly is relieved and doesn't know what to say. Then Norma gives her a good hug. After Nadine and Big Ed come into the diner. Nadine is giddy and asks how long Norma has worked there. Norma answers 20 years, but Ed quickly jumps in and makes it seem like Norma was just making a joke. Then he says Norma's only worked there about six weeks and gives Norma a knowing look. Norma is confused, but plays along. Nadine remarks that her parents are in Europe and she's staying with Eddie. Then Nadine asks for a chocolate shake and asks Shelly if she's in their in class at school. Shelly looks perplexed and responds, "I don't think so." Shelly then goes to get Nadine's shake and coffee for Ed.

Nadine tells Norma that she hopes she doesn't mind about her staying with Ed since Ed told her that he broke up with Norma. Nadine gushes to the point of embarrassing Ed about how "sweet" she is on him. Shelly brings Nadine her shake, but right as Nadine is saying how happy she is, she breaks the glass and cuts her hand. Norma thinks there must have been a chip in the glass and hurries to help. Nadine just looks at the blood on her hand and once again tells Ed how happy she is. She tells him she could kiss him to death and then plants a big kiss on Ed, who appears to be incredibly befuddled. 

"Hank did this?"

Bobby brings Mike to see Leo when Shelly is at work. Mike looks weary of Leo and asks, "Hank did this?" Bobby says yes, Hank shot Leo right through the window. Then Bobby shows Leo the boots he picked up from repair and says to Leo that he knows there is something up with the shoes. Mike says he's heard about people nailing stuff in their boot. Bobby blows off the idea at first so Mike orders Bobby to get a hammer. Bobby does so and goes to work on the boot. He pulls off the soul and they find a mini cassette inside. Bobby looks at it with a smile.

"A friend of her father's"

In the Sheriff's station conference room, Dale talks to Diane at 2:47 pm. He tries to put together the pages of Laura's secret diary and notes several disturbing entries about Bob. Dale says he was a threatening presence since Laura's adolescence and that there are numerous references to sexual abuse. Dale also says that Laura describes Bob as a friend of her father's and that she makes a comment that one day she's going to tell the world about Ben Horne. Then Audrey interrupts and tells Dale she spoke with Ben and found out he was sleeping with Laura. Dale looks intrigued after what he just read in the diary. Audrey also says Ben owns One Eyed Jacks. Harry walks in and listens as Dale tells Audrey not to worry. Audrey leaves and after Dale recounts the Giant's third clue, "without chemicals he points." Dale remembers that Mike passed out right as Ben came into the room earlier. Then Dale tells Harry they need a warrant for Ben's arrest. 

"Something is happening, isn't it Margaret?"

In Ben's office, he tells Tojamura that he has good news and is happy to welcome him into the Ghost Wood fold. However Harry, Dale, Andy and Hawk come into Ben's office and tell Ben he's wanted for questioning in the murder of Laura Palmer. Ben is in disbelief. He tries to run away, but Andy and Hawk grab him. Ben yells, "No!" repeatedly and struggles as Andy puts handcuffs on him. Ben seethes at Harry and Cooper saying, "You can't do this to me!" Dale answers, "It's already done," and they all walk out while Tojamura and his assistant watch in concern. Ben is brought to the police station where Harry tells Hawk and Andy to bring Ben down to the holding cell. Then the log lady shows up and tells Dale and Harry that,"we don't know what will happen or when, but there are owls in the Roadhouse." Dale seems to have some kind of understanding and states, "Something is happening, isn't it Margaret?" The Log Lady gets wide eyed and whispers, "Yes!"

"Dummy, its me!"

Pete hears a noise while he's getting a snack in the kitchen at the Packard's. He dismisses it and continues. He grabs his plate of cookies and a glass of milk and then goes marching into the living room. He bumps right into Tojamura who grabs Pete into an unexpected kiss. Pete drops his milk and cookies, pulls away and says, "Look here buster..." but Tojamura interrupts saying there was something about him since the first time they met. Then Tojamura drops the accent and we hear Catherine's voice. Pete doesn't catch on right away so she takes off her glasses and spouts, "Dummy, it's me!" Pete finally gets it asking, "Catherine?" He notes that she's looks terrible. Then he weeps and laughs with joy as he grabs her into a hug. 

"It is happening again!"

At the Roadhouse, the band (Julee Cruise) performs Rock Back Inside My Heart. At a booth nearby, Donna and James talk about Harold. Donna realizes that his whole world was in his house and she says that she violated that. James says everyone is hurt inside and she was only trying to find out about Laura. Donna gets teary eyed and says Harold didn't deserve to die. James then tells Donna that Maddy is going home tomorrow. Meanwhile Cooper, Harry and Margaret walk inside and sit at a table. All three of them have a beer while Margaret furiously eats nuts. Everyone listens to the music. Donna lip syncs to James along with Julee's voice. Later the music changes to The World Spins, a more somber song. Dale then sees the Giant appear on stage while everything else fades into the background. The Giant tells him, "It is happening again!"

"What is that smell?"

At the Palmer's house, we see a record skipping in the living room. The camera pans a freshly vacuumed carpet as the fan looms over the staircase. Then we see Sarah struggling down the steps and calling for Leland. Sarah crawls into the living room and sees a white horse appear before her and then disappear again. Then Sarah passes out. The camera then cuts to Leland fixing his tie in the mirror in the hallway. In the mirror we see Bob's reflection staring back at Leland. Then a smiling Bob is transposed over Leland's face. Leland turns and looks at the staircase while putting on rubber gloves. Maddy calls from upstairs for Aunt Sarah and Uncle Leland asking what is that smell. She yells that it smells like something is burning and comes running down the steps. 

When Maddy reaches the bottom she sees Sarah laying on the floor and then sees Bob/Leland glaring at her. Maddy screams and tries to run back up the stairs, but Leland goes after her and pulls her into the living room. He punches her and Maddy runs into the center of the room. Bob traps her in the living room and baits her go past him. She screams, "somebody help me!" and looks terrified as to where to run. She tries to get past him, but Bob grabs her and pushes her onto the couch. Leland begins to repeatedly punch her face until she stops screaming. Then he picks her up and starts crying for Laura as he holds Maddy and slowly dances with her. Poor Maddy is bloodied and coughing excessively. As they dance, we see Bob kiss her and growl like an animal. Then we see Leland crying for Laura. Finally Bob takes full control and Leland yells, "Leland says you're going back to Missoula, Montana!" as he slams Maddy's face into a picture of a buffalo on the wall, thus killing her. Maddy's dead body falls back on the floor and Leland slips the letter, O, under her fingernail. 

"I'm so sorry!"

Back at the Roadhouse, Dale stares at the Giant as he fades away and the band returns. The elderly waiter from the Great Northern then approaches Dale, pats him on the shoulder and says, "I'm so sorry," before walking away. Margaret looks at Dale and they seem to know something is very wrong. Bobby sits at the bar looking sad as the haunting music plays. Donna bursts into tears so James goes to hold her. As the song comes to an end, Dale looks upward with an intense expression and a red curtain transposes over his face. 

End of show!

This is probably my favorite episode of the series and also probably the hardest episode, thus far, for me to recap. How does one do justice to arguably one of the best episodes, if not the best episode, at least in this Twin Peaks fan's opinion, to ever air on television? I've always appreciated the horror genre, but to me there are only a few moments in the series that I would consider true horror. Maddy's death scene tops the list by far. How this aired on ABC in 1990 I'll never know, but I will never forget the first time I saw it and even all these years later, it still scares me. Everyone is different, but when I think of what I love about Twin Peaks or where I think it shines the brightest, even within the darkness, it's always episode 14.

Written by Mark Frost and directed by David Lynch, this episode clearly marks the quality that can be achieved when these two men work together. It makes the anticipation for Season 3 even more exciting. There is so much to contemplate in terms of mythology within this episode, but also there is a depiction of loss that is felt in the rawest of ways. The way Lynch creates the atmosphere in Maddy's death scene, which is frightening and sickening, and then takes you to the sad overtone at The Roadhouse, where Dale's impending doom, Bobby's humility and Donna's sorrow all combine along with the music to create a feeling of bereavement, is masterful and I believe purposeful. The viewer is supposed to feel this affliction right along with the characters.

As for some thoughts on the mythology, I think Sarah sees the white horse as a symbolic reference to death and drugs. If a literal meaning is needed, that would be my opinion. In some cultures a white horse is a reference to death and a white horse is also a slang term for drug use. In Sarah's case, she'd been drugged by Leland for years and Maddy was about to die, so I think that fits. Although that's just my opinion. I also feel like Dale's failure to stop Maddy's death is significant as to why he ends up (spoiler alert) trapped in the Black Lodge. It seems to be part of a series of missteps that lead him to his unfortunate fate. 

As for the death of Maddy Ferguson, the scene of Maddy's murder is a tough one to watch. Not to seem like a sicko, but in some ways I like it. Not because she gets brutally killed, but because it's scary and I also think it offers a blunt view of the Leland/Bob connection. I hate watching her be punched and killed, but I like the fear it creates. I appreciate the effort it takes to accomplish that in television and film, especially in today's world when it sometimes seems like we've seen it all. There was careful thought put into the two scenes at the Palmer's house in this episode. When we first see them, it's morning, the light is bright, the music is soothing. We see pictures of Laura and even though Maddy is saying goodbye, Leland and Sarah are loving toward her. 

The next time we see the Palmer's the atmosphere to completely different. The record is skipping, Sarah is drugged, Leland is crazed and poor Maddy is doomed. In Twin Peaks, it seems for every light moment there is an equal dark one. Twin Peaks was clearly ahead of its time and Maddy's death wasn't for shock value. It was to show the viewer exactly how awful murder really is. I also think it makes it impossible to detach Leland from Bob as a separate entity, which is important to embrace, even though it's a stark and unsettling reality. All of these amazing moments of impact are why I think this is my favorite episode of the whole series.

Check out this clip from the 'Journey Through Twin Peaks' video series by Joel Bocko. I think it really summarizes the feeling one gets at the end this of episode very well. 


  1. @FittenTrim here, the #TwinPeaksTruther: IMO the BEST episode of the entire series. I'd argue that it proves Lynch should be left to directing and definitely not have complete control. If Lynch had his way, this episode wouldn't have existed. The audience would never know who killed Laura. And in November of 1990, that thought was ridiculous. As audience members, we knew it was Leland: We'd had an entire summer, Laura's diary and weeks of season 2 to figure it out. The audience/ratings had eroded down to the core fans. And even hardcore fans were 'over' the Laura mystery. The TP problem was always that the writers hadn't plotted out good stories for immediately after the solution of Leland/BOB. NOTE: Despite being in an office at the Twin Peaks offices/sets throughout most of the taping of the Second Season, Lynch wasn't a part of story breakdowns, planning. His own choice.

    1. Hi FittenTrim, thanks for the comment. I agree that it's good we learned who killed Laura Palmer. However it came to pass, this is no doubt one of the greatest episodes in television history. I guess looking back, it all happened how it happened. I'll take the good and the bad, because it's all part of a larger context. To me, the story of Twin Peaks, how it evolved and how it managed to get new life for the next season, is so amazing. :)

  2. I love that Lynch doesn't move the camera or cut to other shots until he's left the stage to put on his director's hat. And that scene where the camera moves about constantly when Maddy chats with Leland and Sarah, as if it tries to get a clear view of the three of them (to no avail, as there's always something in the way) ... creepy and foreboding. The theater light and slow motion when we see Bob taunting Maddy and a regular tempo and lighting when we see Leland - that's the kind of movie magic only Lynch can deliver. Great, great stuff. And FittenTrim, neither Lynch nor Frost wanted to reveal who killed Laura, but ABC insisted.

    1. Hi Nancy -

      Thanks for your comment. I agree, Lynch's directing style is like no other. It's no wonder why we're all still thinking about it all these years later. :)