Seriable’s Mark Jones reviews Twin Peaks Episode 11 — “Laura’s Secret Diary”
There’s a storm percolating like a cup of coffee in Episode 11 of Twin Peaks. Both metaphorically and physically, as Leland admits to murdering Jacques Renault, Josie returns home from her mysterious trip, and Cooper prepares to rescue Audrey from One Eyed Jacks. Unlike the previous episode in which a lot happened, there are relatively few big developments this time, though there’s a growing sense of unease and even Cooper has little reason to smile.
The episode starts with nightmarish screams, as the camera moves down what at first appears to be a dark tunnel. It’s soon revealed that it is just a highly magnified hole in a ceiling tile. The effect is disturbing and as the camera descends to Leland’s crazed expression we get an idea of what must be going inside his head. Ray Wise does fantastic a job, as always, as the Jekyll and Hyde that is Leland, and in this episode he’s more Hyde than Jekyll, calmly receiving the punishment he’s due. He may admit to murder but it’s hard to not sympathise with him as he gives his reasons for murdering Jacques Renault with a tear rolling down his cheek.
Leland isn’t the only one who’s showing the effects of the events in town as Kyle MacLachlan‘s performance has started to become increasingly sombre by this point in series two. In this episode the normally enthusiastic detective looks worried throughout, lightening up towards the end when he realises he’s got Harry’s help on Audrey’s rescue mission. The disappearance of Ben’s daughter must be weighing on his mind but there was a significant shift in his demeanour when Albert told him about Windom Earle. Though that storyline has yet to come to fruition, the fact that anything is bothering Cooper adds to the feeling that things aren’t getting any better in Twin Peaks
He has good reason to be worried about Audrey over at One Eyed Jack’s, as Jean Renault shoots Emory Battis, her boss from Horne’s department store, in cold blood. He also puts his plan into motion to lure Cooper to him by getting Ben to ask the detective to deliver Audrey’s Ransom. Cooper smells a rat, though, and that’s when he goes to Harry for help. Any scenes with Jean Renault are always welcome and it’s a shame he didn’t appear more in the series as Michael Parks‘ performance always adds some gravity to the proceedings. Cooper still manages to crack a smile or two, however, and is visibly relieved when he meets Harry in the roadhouse bar before setting off to save Audrey
The funniest moment in this episode is Andy dropping his freshly collect sperm sample under one of the chairs in the sheriff’s office. There’s a slightly cringe-worthy moment where it sounds like the small jar breaks but he safely collects it and puts in a brown paper bag, although not before Cooper spots that he’s wearing a pair of Circle brand work boots. He was sold the boots by the one-armed man suggesting that the clue at Leo’s house may not have been the cocaine but rather the boots, an important development but one of the less exciting reveals of a clue
There are some other mildly amusing moments in the episode like Dick’s arrival with an envelope of money for Lucy to help pay for an abortion, and her naturally upset reaction, but for the most part the comedy is kept to a minimum. A dark subject to be made light of perhaps, but this is Twin Peaks and it’s Dick’s complete misreading of the situation that makes this funny. It’s clear from the start that he’s not right for Lucy, though it’s fun to see him struggle to please her.
Also on a less serious note there’s the subplot running through Episode 11 of the food critic who is supposedly headed to Twin Peaks. This leads to several people getting confused while anticipating his arrival and also introduces us to some new faces in Twin Peaks, including the gluttonous Toad, the cheerful desk clerk at the Great Northern and, more importantly, the mysterious Mr Tojamura. Who M.T. Wentz is isn’t revealed but Hank discovers one customer with the potential to be the food critic is actually the District Attorney, Daryl Lodwick, and proceeds to steal his wallet. Later on Lodwick will be delayed for Leland’s hearing causing it to be postponed.
After all the drama between her and James, Donna seeks out Maddy to help her retrieve Laura’s Diary from Harold Smith. There’s clearly tension between the two, and rather than doing her emotional teen bit, Donna’s in one of the darker swings of her persona. After the love triangle-heavy previous episode its good to see Donna more focused on her quest to discover Laura’s secrets.
Josie‘s return to Twin Peaks sees her hook up her with Harry on her couch, creepily watched over by her “cousin” the mysterious Asian man from outside of the living room window. He’s appeared several times over the last few episodes and his motives have never been clear, but it’s revealed that he’s working with Andrew Packard’s former business partner Thomas Eckhart and wants to take Josie back to Hong Kong. It’s hard to believe Josie when she carelessly dismisses her feelings for Hank, and while it might not be greatest storyline it does remind us that the Ghostwood plot still hasn’t been resolved, with just Pete’s signature standing in the way of Josie and the sale of the mill and its land.
The mysterious man is introduced as Josie’s cousin Jonathan, though its clear from his behaviour in the past episode that he’s not in Twin Peaks purely to visit family. One person he does visit is Hank Jennings and the episode ends with a great punch up between the pair of them, with the storm in full swing and the power out in the diner. He beats Hank to the ground and leaves him with a warning, threateningly smashing his flashlight on the ground bringing the episode to a fairly abrupt close.
There’s a great sense of foreboding in this episode and of things getting darker, though it becomes noticeable from this point on that the old Cooper is starting to disappear a little bit, which robs the show of a small amount of its magic.
8/10 Seriable Stars