Seriable’s Mark Jones reviews Twin Peaks Episode 15 — “Drive With A Dead Girl”
Starting with an establishing shot of the Palmer’s house where Maddy’s screams can be heard the scene changes to the day time and we go inside the house to see what’s going on the morning after the possessed Leland murdered his niece. Episode 15 is a bit lighter on the grisliness than the previous instalment but the image of Maddy (we only see her bloody hand and some of her hair) stuffed into a gym bag with Leland’s golf clubs is a grim one that sticks in the mind.
Despite the sad fact that Leland is now an evil puppet rather than just the genial uncle who danced and sung at odd times it’s always fun to watch those moments when Bob creeps through in his maniacal grin. The best moments in this episode come thanks to Leland, including the great one where Cooper is just a short distance away from Maddy’s body in Leland’s car when the detective is asked if he wants to see his new golf clubs which are in the same bag as her corpse.
Prior to this scene Leland was driving erratically which caused him to be pulled over by Harry and Cooper. Interestingly, as they’re approaching his car Cooper is whistling the same tune, ‘The Surrey with the Fringe on Top’, that Leland is singing giving further evidence that he’s in tune with the strange forces at work.
While Leland is dumping Maddy’s corpse, Ben is stewing in a jail cell where things go from bad to worse for him. A lot of time in this episode is spent focussed on Ben who has employed his brother Jerry as his lawyer. Though the stuff with Leland is fun it feels a little bit like his capture is being postponed in order to allow for Ben to blackmailed by Katherine while he’s under arrest for the murder of Laura Palmer. Some of the scenes between him and his brother are quite enjoyable while others just seem odd like the flashback to their childhood. Jerry’s memory is triggered by the bunk beds in Ben’s cell and he reminds him of the bunk they shared as a child.
There’s a flashback to their childhood where a girl they knew dances for them with a flashlight while they watch from their bunk. It’s not entirely unfunny, as the young Ben and Jerry are quite amusing, but it just seems a little too silly for Twin Peaks, or at least for Ben and Jerry, and is an example of the kind of comedy that will become too frequent later on. That being said, Jerry’s always entertaining and it’s fun to see his reaction to the one armed man when he’s brought in to detect whether Bob is possessing Ben when he has the great line “clearly this man’s stairs do not reach the attic”.
During a visit to the police station to tell Harry that he was worried about Josie, where they discover their details about her cousin/assistant don’t tally, Pete pays Ben a visit. Drawing a tape recorder out of his bag he plays him a message recorded by Katherine offering to be an alibi for the night of Laura’s death in exchange for the Ghostwood land. There have been so many twists and turns in this subplot at this point that it’s hard to fathom who exactly owns what but at this point it seems like Ben is the only one who’s going to end up worse off.
In less important developments, Lucy returns from her break giving Andy a shock, and another excuse to talk about his “sperms”, when she turns up carrying a baby. He initially thinks its hers and in true Andy style faints. His news doesn’t make things any easier between them though and sets up the battle between him and Dick Tremayne over who’s most suited to raise the baby.
Meanwhile, another couple is put under pressure in the Sheriff’s office and for once in their relationship Cooper and Harry disagree, and it’s over pressing charges on Ben. Harry feels that the evidence is there to convict him, yet Cooper still trusts his intuition as well as the one armed man and knows the culprit is elsewhere. Harry’s desire to act fast and get Ben convicted doesn’t feel natural after all the time he’s given Cooper and his unusual methods before coming across as one of those times where it’s obvious the writers were forced to go in an unplanned direction. It’s also clear preparations are being made for later plots and we’re introduced to a new villain, or at least ex-villain, Ernie Niles. Niles is a friend of Hank’s and has married Norma’s mother, the pair turn up in Twin Peaks on their honeymoon. He comes across as a likeable rogue and will have a more important part to play later on.
Audrey pays Cooper another visit towards the end of the episode and it seems like she’s done a lot of growing up during her ordeal at One Eyed Jacks. After asking about her father she awkwardly informs Cooper, or at least intimates to him, that she never had intercourse while at the brothel, but before they can finish their conversation the phone rings and Cooper is off. It’s clear in this scene she’s still holding a candle for Cooper — and her talk about her just wanting her father’s love suggests that part of her attraction to the detective is as a father figure.
Perhaps it just pales a little in comparison to the previous episode but Episode 15 definitely doesn’t fall amongst the best of Twin Peaks. There are hints at the ridiculous humour which is to come when it becomes obvious revealing Laura’s Murderer wasn’t the best idea and in general just wasn’t as exciting as previous instalments. On the plus side there are some great lines including Cooper’s message to Diane about the one armed man;
“Diane, 10.03am, Great Northern Hotel. Sheriff Truman and I have just been with the one armed man, or what’s left of him. In another time, another culture he may have been a seer, a Shaman priest, in our world he’s a shoe salesman and lives among the shadows.”
By the end of the episode Maddy’s body is discovered on the banks of the river, wrapped in plastic as Laura was, and it feels like Twin Peaks has travelled around in a circle which might have worked better if it was nearer to the end of the season rather than halfway through one.