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Posted: Sat Feb 07, 2015 3:10 pm
I've often said this is one of the most underrated episodes - I feel like it generally gets shoved in with episode 11 as part of a "lull" in season two before the mystery comes to a climax. But in its quiet, subtle way it's one of the second season episodes that most gets the mood of Twin Peaks, all the more surprising when you consider it was written and directed by people totally new to this world - Graeme Clifford, in his only TP outing, and Barry Pullman in his first go (he'd later write episode 18, generally considered one of the worst of the whole series, as it introduces both Little Nicky & Evelyn/James - but maybe that's unfair since it also introduces the details of the Lodge mythology for the first time, including the only mention of the Dweller on the Threshold).
It does exhibit some of the drawbacks of season two: the Pinkle scene feels a bit too goofy to me (though some like it) and the Nadine scene is one of her worst (that stupid refrigerator door "effect"), at least until she goes back to high school. Sometimes the episode has a listless quality to it, especially compared to the one that follows. Nonetheless, the meandering subplots are generally relegated to a few scenes and the episode has a stronger narrative backbone than the previous ones: first, the Leo/Leland courthouse stuff and than the simultaneous raids on Harold's and One Eyed Jack's.
The courtroom scenes are interesting to me as a kind of misdirect. Everything - the Judge's homespun wisdom, the ambiably down-home community-oriented vibe at the Road House, the prosecutor's blustery manner, Truman's vouching for Leland's character (including the not particularly relevant detail that his family goes way back), Sarah's and Maddy's relief (how poignant on the latter count) when Leland is released - suggests that we should root for Leland to get off the hook. But little details suggest otherwise: Cooper's discomfort primarily, but also that humorous sketch that Andy draws of the back of Leland's head. Are we REALLY seeing Leland in this scene - or any other? I have no idea if that detail was intended to be foreboding (if conceived by Pullman, probably not - since he wouldn't have known where this storyline was heading). But it works quite well that way.
The Jack's raid is fun although I found my mind wandering this time around. The Donna-Harold scenes are my favorites in this episode and what put it a notch above the rest, in my opinion. This is Lara Flynn Boyle's best acting of the series and Donna has never been as compelling as a character. Most importantly, as the show allows itself to get distracted from a central core, these scenes remind us of the importance of this dark, mysterious, sad pulse beneath the town's surface.
I feel like the Laura mystery operates like the flame on a stove burner. Sometimes it's barely active, at others it's roaring, eventually it is extinguished (for a time). Most often it is simmering just enough to have a subtle, almost invisible effect but in certain moments the knob is turned just enough for us to become slightly more aware of its heat. Harold showing Donna the orchids, and then kissing her, is one of those moments (helped by Badalamenti's wonderful "Harold's Theme" which is easily one of my favorite pieces of music from the show and evokes its mood instantly for me in a way nothing else from season two does).
The Laura mystery isn't just about Laura, at least not on the show, it's about a mood, a feeling, a sense of sweet, sad melancholy yearning underpinning everything. This scene really gets at that wonderfully.
Of course the last moment of the show breaks that mood somewhat with the over-the-top canted angles and the ridiculous face-scratching stunt; it's bad enough that the red marks don't seem to arise from Harold's cheek and that if we look closely we can see the fake blood already on the claws of the trowel - the fact that Harold bumps his face with it beforehand, clearly not cutting anything but leaving a spot nonetheless, only makes it worse.
On the other hand, Harold running out of his greenhouse as Donna screams, "Maddy!" with concern is another foreboding hint of what's to come. Sheryl Lee's quite good in this episode as well (it seems like she was getting a hang on the "new" Maddy in the last few episodes before her death; the changes in ep. 8 almost make her feel like a different character from the more initially confident, adult-seeming Maddy of season 1 with her very different appearance & it can take a while to get our bearings). I like how she comes off as kind of pathetic, almost goober-ish with Donna (her confused, almost whiny "I thought you liked this guy?" next to Donna's cool, confident, ambivalent "I do" - although Donna is the younger character you wouldn't know it from this scene) but also more assertive/independent with James in the diner scene, which everyone loves to see.
Re: Episode 12
Posted: Sat Feb 07, 2015 10:49 pm
I could watch the Cooper rescuing Audrey scene on a loop for the rest of my life and be fine.
I'm racking my brain for any other moment in the series that has a crowd cheering moment of satisfaction. Maybe Truman punching Albert in the fourth episode. But the soap nature of this show gives us gradual pay offs of triumph, or just anticipation to get us to the next episode. Cooper cutting the rope and slinging Audrey over his shoulder was the first and maybe only memory of me jumping up and down in happiness.
*lost, you love your Laura Palmer, I loves my Audrey/Cooper.
Looking back, yeah this is not one of the best made episodes, but as a viewer it was one of the most exciting. Cooper got Audrey back, and she could get back into the fold of things, and also the news that the murder resolution was coming. This was basically the kick off for the most thrilling time to be a fan of the show.
Maddy was the most problematic character for me. I felt they never really knew what to do with her beyond the gimmick and mystery of her possibly being Laura in disguise. And they already had Donna and Audrey with much more intriguing material to sink their teeth into. But here Lee and the writing seems to be finding their footing with the character... And definitely in the next episode with her heart to heart with James by the lake. I definitely remember at the time, what can they do with this character. Oh, she's leaving... Guess they don't know what to do with her either. I wonder when Lynch and Frost decided to have her be the victim, because it solidified her as a character and only reinforced the early brilliant twinning themes of the show.
Re: Episode 12
Posted: Sat Feb 07, 2015 11:18 pm
Audrey Horne wrote:Cooper got Audrey back, and she could get back into the fold of things, and also the news that the murder resolution was coming. This was basically the kick off for the most thrilling time to be a fan of the show.
Well, coulda been...but then Audrey never really gets to go anywhere after this! Essentially, ep. 9 is her swan song.
Recently I've been wondering if MacLachlan wasn't correct to call off the Cooper-Audrey romance. It's nice to think this could've been the redeeming arc for mid-season 2 but considering how poorly they handled everything else I find it hard to believe they would have handled this correctly. To me the clincher would be if MacLachlan requested they end ANY interaction between the two characters. If that's what he asked, it more or less proves that LFB jealousy was behind it all. But if he merely said, hey, he shouldn't consummate it, and the writers out of spite/frustration swore off any further relationship/friendship between the two than my sympathies are with him. After all, it WOULD have been kind of out of character for Cooper to go to bed with Audrey. But for him to continue to flirt with and care for her would've been perfect, and still been able to facilitate a climax circulating around her character (even though I'm generally ok with Annie, that would have been better). Oh well, 20/20...
Maddy was the most problematic character for me. ... I wonder when Lynch and Frost decided to have her be the victim, because it solidified her as a character and only reinforced the early brilliant twinning themes of the show.
I don't think it could've been a concept in s1 since ostensibly they were going to continue the Laura mystery forever. I have this hunch, totally unsubstantiated, that it was something of a bargaining chip when it was decided to reveal the killer. Like Lynch said, ok, if we must, but we're gonna do it my way and Sheryl Lee is gonna get murdered again... At the same time, though, the idea that Cooper fails to catch the killer feels very Frostian. I've said it a million times, I'll say it again: I would LOVE to be a fly-on-the-wall during the process whereby Lynch and Frost decide/agree/barter their way to working out if/how the killer will be revealed. It feels like such a crucial moment of Twin Peaks in so many ways and I can't quite figure out how it happened.
Re: Episode 12
Posted: Sat Feb 07, 2015 11:42 pm
Yes, I'm only talking about the mind set of watching the episodes when they aired, and the excitement and the possibility they had with this world. And for me, the second season of episode 12 through 14 was the most thrilling time to be a fan. I won't talk about the frustration I felt later.
Re: Episode 12
Posted: Sun Feb 08, 2015 12:03 am
Lost, I don't think it was ever because Kyle received a script where Cooper goes to bed with Audrey. I still don't think that's what Frost meant when he says a "consummation" between the two. The changes were happening in the fall of 1990. I don't want to put words in anyone's mouth, but the show was hot. The Rolling Stone issue came out, the news that Fenn was getting the Playboy cover, got an Emmy nomination and soon a Golden Globe nod. The snl skit reinforced the Cooper, Audrey pairing. Two prominent magazines put the duo on the cover. The advertising for the second season used them to promote the show. ET ran a whole piece on the a Women of Twin Peaks that was basically 70% Fenn. She was getting fashion magazine spreads and covers. And got the coveted Summer Pleasures cover for New York. While that sounds good, I think it was a major component leading to the decision.
Re: Episode 12
Posted: Sun Feb 08, 2015 12:09 am
Another thought: among the many reasons it's a pity that Lynch didn't direct more season 2 episodes, perhaps he would have found a way for Audrey to get back on track, even if just for that one episode. In episode 29, he has her acting feisty and even referencing her crush on Cooper for the first time in ages. In episode 2, comparing the screenplay's rather tepid church scene (which he ostensibly co-wrote) to the scene he actually shot in the diner (which, aside from the Red Room, may be the strongest scene in that episode, arguably even more than the Tibet rock-throw) you can see again how he's able to just completely capitalize on Audrey's potential.
I once read that he said Audrey and Laura were the only characters he actually liked in Twin Peaks. I don't believe that for a second (for one thing, what about Shelly?!?) but it does have a certain ring to it in the sense that he was clearly drawn to those characters as expressions of his sensibility - and that Sherilyn Fenn and Sheryl Lee were certainly his primary female muses on the series.
Good news that Fenn will apparently be on board in 2016; I can't wait to see what Lynch does with her.
Re: Episode 12
Posted: Sun Feb 08, 2015 12:27 am
Yeah, I don't know where that Lynch comment came from either. I think it's just the internet's form of Telephone. Did you know Lynch hasn't made a movie since Inland Empire because he has been away filming Wild At Heart? It's true!
I don't know if he loves the Shelly character, but he definitely loves Madchen.
And yes, yes, yes. Nothing official yet. But she's in good hands with Lynch and Frost. Don't worry.
Back to episode 12. I love it.
Re: Episode 12
Posted: Sun Feb 08, 2015 12:40 am
Audrey Horne wrote:Did you know Lynch hasn't made a movie since Inland Empire because he has been away filming Wild At Heart? It's true!
LOL. The WAH-during-s2 thing KILLS me. It gets repeated so often, by people who should know so much better.
Yeah, I don't know where that Lynch comment came from either. I think it's just the internet's form of Telephone.
I actually intrigued myself with that half-remembered anecdote and went hunting. The post that makes this statement (a Reddit discussion on supposed misogyny in Lynch films) actually footnotes it, which should be helpful, but the footnote reads: "The Unofficial Viewer's Guide." I don't know what that means! If they mean "The Unofficial Visitor's Guide" by Mark Altman, I have read it and don't recall any such quote. So, yes, probably a version of telephone although it's weird they would try and offer an actual (but incorrect?) citation for it...
Anyway, I DM'd the person on reddit to see if they can provide more info. It's a statement I would find both surprising (not just Shelly but Cooper would, I think, be among the other characters Lynch truly cared about - and it seems like he genuinely loves every character in Twin Peaks) and certainly revealing. (It would also make it kind of odd that he didn't do more to avert her apparent fate in the series finale.)
Re: Episode 12
Posted: Wed Mar 11, 2015 11:06 am
Re: Episode 12
Posted: Wed Mar 11, 2015 4:38 pm
Lost, one thing these shooting scripts show us in relation to the abrupt change and back stage politics in the Audrey/Cooper plot is when they happened. Basically the whole Laura Palmer saga was done by the time the second season premiered. The drafts were being thought up for the next chapter. By the end of September leading up to the second season opener, Peaks was in full marketing force. And Fenn's popularity was in heavy rotation. Pics of Cooper and Audrey were being used for the marketing ads. The Rolling Stone cover came out, closely followed by the announcement that she would have a Playboy cover. It's hearsay, but this is probably when Kyle's rebuke happened, circa early October. There is a distinct change in the scripts with how Audrey is written starting with episode 20.
Re: Episode 12
Posted: Wed Mar 11, 2015 5:33 pm
Audrey Horne wrote:Lost, one thing these shooting scripts show us in relation to the abrupt change and back stage politics in the Audrey/Cooper plot is when they happened. Basically the whole Laura Palmer saga was done by the time the second season premiered. The drafts were being thought up for the next chapter. By the end of September leading up to the second season opener, Peaks was in full marketing force. And Fenn's popularity was in heavy rotation. Pics of Cooper and Audrey were being used for the marketing ads. The Rolling Stone cover came out, closely followed by the announcement that she would have a Playboy cover. It's hearsay, but this is probably when Kyle's rebuke happened, circa early October. There is a distinct change in the scripts with how Audrey is written starting with episode 20.
Wow, good point. It also makes me wonder about the decision to shift the show toward light-hearted wacky comedy. A lot of the negative press response around early October was emphasizing "the show has gotten too bizarre", "ugh, Killer Bob" etc. But then again - as you point out, the writing would have been done earlier for ep. 17/18, probably around early September. So maybe I'm off on that (admittedly somewhat uncharitable) notion about the writers' motives. Although if the Audrey story arc was being scuttled, maybe they would have been writing last-minute? Hmm.
I guess the most logical assumption is that they felt the audience (and themselves) needed a break after the intensity of the mystery wrap-up. Which also helps explain why Frost chose that of all moments to step back from the show (as does, maybe, the sense that Twin Peaks' star was declining and he needed to exploit this moment of popularity and move forward on other projects, before it disappeared - which is either cynical or realistic, depending on your perspective).
Re: Episode 12
Posted: Wed Mar 11, 2015 5:36 pm
Also, the timing of the production vs. the airdates makes me wonder if this lag isn't responsible for the cast/crew's general assumption that the show's popularity declined when the Laura mystery was solved. Perhaps it's a mis-alignment of memory: they recall shooting those weaker episodes at the same time the series backlash was occurring, and over time those two phenomena get linked?
Re: Episode 12
Posted: Wed Mar 11, 2015 8:25 pm
What I think this shows is how fast everything happened. So much was shaped and set in motion by the second season premiere in regards to the shifts, without realizing what the ramifications would be.
They basically had a whole number of episodes that equaled the first season in the can before the Sept 30th airing. And by the end of the year, most of the series had been completely save for the last seven or eight episodes (give or take).
You also have Lynch done with his filming and involvement as Cole before the premiere. So when the kickoff is happening on television on Sept 30th, that is right around the time Lynch is running off, Kyle nixes the Aud/Coop plot, Lee and Wise are gone, and the writers are scrambling in the 11th hour.
You then have to have script finalization for scouting locations and production and crew locked in, and the holidays are approaching. And a huge cast with a lot of them hot at the moment running off and doing interviews and traveling. I can see why there was a dearth in the quality, and one they wouldn't be able to gauge because they didn't have the (prominent) public opinion to go of.
I've still never gotten a straight answer from any of the cast I've talked to as to how and when they knew who killed Laura Palmer. I got a sense they were all working so fast and quickly and just tired.
Re: Episode 12
Posted: Wed Mar 11, 2015 11:50 pm
Audrey Horne wrote:I've still never gotten a straight answer from any of the cast I've talked to as to how and when they knew who killed Laura Palmer. I got a sense they were all working so fast and quickly and just tired.
I sometimes wonder if they knew whose wake they were at when filming ep. 17. Or if they did, if they knew just why he was dead.
That certainly would explain a lot...
Twin Peaks Out of Order #11: Episode 12
Posted: Mon Oct 19, 2015 7:01 pm
Re-watching Twin Peaks from my least favorite to favorite episode...
Previously: Episode 7 (http://www.dugpa.com/forum/viewtopic.php?p=43864#p43864
Admittedly, we have a stunt ranking here. Since I consider 12 very underrated, I elevated it above two first season classics - the funeral & the finale. That's a questionable, probably unwarranted move but allow me to advocate. Episode 12 attracts a fair share of detractors among both first-time and veteran viewers. Along with 10 and 11 it falls into a kind of no man's land, straddling the space between season two's bold Lynchian kickoff and the upcoming buzz surrounding the killer's reveal. These episodes aired just before sweeps month in 1990, providing the first evidence that season two's 22-episode order would impact the show's consistency in a way that the spring’s tight 8-episode run had avoided. Indeed, these in-between episodes lay the groundwork for the show's disappointing back half, even as the ongoing Laura Palmer investigation keeps them from sinking to the same level. If episode 12 is superior to 10 and 11 that's because it contains several strong narrative throughlines: Judge Sternwood holds court at the Road House, Donna and Maddy plot against Harold, and Cooper and Truman rescue Audrey from One Eyed Jack's. I am particularly intrigued by the Donna-Harold dynamic despite the goofy cliffhanger on which it closes (one of the episode's few big missteps). Harold is a really interesting character, and I think Donna is at her most relevant and compelling when interacting with him rather than James. These two confused, vulnerable characters use their wounded love for the larger-than-life Laura to hurt or threaten each other: a perfect microcosm of Laura's impact on the whole town. Their interactions feel like the heart of early season two so it’s a surprise to realize how short their arc actually is (a handful of scenes over three episodes, with this one doing most of the heavy lifting). Across the border, the One-Eyed Jack's raid performs a wonderful balance between Twin Peaks’ distinctively off-kilter ambiance and the more conventional demands of a TV action sequence. The court scenes, meanwhile, are fine; their main value appears in retrospect as we realize how easily the town lets Leland off the hook. Along with Bobby's more explicit speech at the funeral, Leland’s hearing may be the strongest - and most subtle - indictment of the town's complicity in his crimes. Aside from these three big set pieces, 12 falters, falling prey to season two’s distinctive mix of incongruous new characters (hello, Mr. Pinkle) and aimless situational comedy. But when it needs to deliver, it does. Episode 12's best moments rely on visual storytelling, a wordless sense of moody atmospheric wonder which was Lynch’s gift to the show, occasionally lost in the midst of (generally enjoyable) Frost-Peyton verbosity. Donna's unsettling monologue is memorable, but better yet is her quiet, awkward kiss with Harold in his greenhouse, an image pregnant with all kinds of ambiguity. This pairs nicely with the fairy-tale imagery of Cooper kneeling by Audrey's bordello bedside. Both sequences emphasize composition, decor, gesture, expression and strikingly moody musical tracks ("Harold's Theme" is probably my favorite theme from the entire series). Also impressive is the woozy Steadicam work in One-Eyed Jack's, recalling the floating sense of uncertainty in early season one (despite its more classical template) and anticipating a similar approach in Fire Walk With Me, including one shot which replaces the whorehouse's garish, bright wallpaper with a faded, peeling version of the same.
Next: Episode 4 (http://www.dugpa.com/forum/viewtopic.php?p=43961#p43961