Seriable’s Mark Jones reviews Twin Peaks Episode 21 — “Double Play”
Picking up where Episode 20 left off with the discovery of Windom Earle‘s latest chess move, Episode 21 starts with Cooper dealing with the dead body that has been left pointing at the board and with a pawn in its mouth.
It’s the start of a busy day for the sheriff’s office and sees Cooper explain to Harry how the man (bearing his resemblance) was killed and exactly what happened in his past. There have been several hints along the way about some tragic event that he was involved in and in this instalment, which sees the first onscreen appearance of Windom Earle, it is explained that he fell in love with Earle’s wife which resulted in her being killed, by Earle himself. Afterwards, Cooper says that the evil ex-FBI agent feigned madness to be institutionalised but eventually became consumed by his lie. It’s a macabre story and every word Cooper utters about his ex-partner seems to hint at his equally scary and brilliant intellect, setting the stage perfectly for Earle’s arrival at the end of the episode.
Once again there’s a sense of loose ends being tied up as Hawk informs Harry that Hank Jennings is in hospital after trying to beat up Ed and has been arrested for parole violation, and Doctor Hayward confronts Andy and Dick about Little Nicky. While the news of Hank is only mentioned in passing, the Little Nicky storyline is laid to rest in a scene between the Doctor, Dick, Andy and Lucy where the doc explains how Nicky just had a hard life and that there’s nothing devilish about him at all. After his speech a fly is heard buzzing around the room which Lucy proceeds to swat. It seems a little odd at first but it could be seen as symbolic of killing one of the show’s worst subplots.
Meanwhile, other characters continue to follow an equally pointless path including Benjamin Horne and James Hurley. Each episode Ben’s madness seems to get incrementally worse and this time he’s completely immersed in his civil war persona. However, the scenes are all the better for the presence of Russ Tamblyn as Dr Jacoby who finally gets a decent amount of screen time for the first time since coming back from his Hawaiian vacation. Jerry also returns to help Ben though his presence is more limited and he doesn’t really have any funny lines, or many lines at all, which is a bit of a shame.
It’s not just in Ben’s office that Jacoby puts in an appearance but he pays Harry and Co a visit to settle a dispute between Lana Milford and her brother in-law Dwayne. This leads to more jokes about her sexual powers and she amusingly wins the heart of Dwayne and stops him from firing his shotgun at her.
As for James, it becomes clear that he’s been set up as the fall guy for the murder of Evelyn’s husband. Donna serendipitously turns up at Wallie’s bar as Evelyn happens to be there and starts to get some idea of what James has been up to. Later on she’ll be there to greet him as Evelyn tips him off about what has been going on. It’s more exciting than seeing James working on a vintage car or flirt with the desperate house wife but there’s still a sense of it being disconnected from everything else that has been going on back in town.
Following a similar formula to previous episodes, amid all the not-so interesting stuff, the Major pays a short visit to Harry and Cooper. He doesn’t say much apart from that he’s started to question the motives of the air force and that he believes he visited the White Lodge when he disappeared. After once more drip feeding us something to maintain interest in the White Lodge he’s off again and tells them that if they want to get in touch he’ll be “in the shadows”.
The main event, however, is the arrival of Windom Earle. We first see him through the eyes of Leo who has taken to the woods after being stabbed in the leg by Shelley. Now conscious but fairly zombie-like, he stumbles upon a mysterious cabin in the woods where Earle just happens to be staying. The discovery of the cabin is preceded by Leo noticing an owl in the woods — another reminder of their watchful presence. As he approaches, a creepy tune played on wind instrument is heard and when the door opens Earle is covered in shadow and is seen putting down some kind of hand carved flute, suggesting he’s the one who’s been playing it.
As well as being another example of the soundtrack bleeding into the world of Twin Peaks, it also seems like Earle was drawing Leo there like some kind of evil Pied Piper. It won’t be the last time we see the instrument and it’s interesting that him and Cooper both have a penchant for whittling whistles out of wood. Sitting down beside his chess board he introduces himself to Leo before the wind blows through a window and extinguishes his lantern. It’s fair to say his entrance doesn’t disappoint.
It’s not just Earle that’s new in town, and in a double dose of villainy Thomas Eckhardt checks in at the Great Northern Hotel hot on the heels of Josie. At times during these later episodes it feels like too many new faces were injected to stop people from tuning out, but in the case of Andrew Packard and Thomas Eckhardt it works as they’ve been mentioned so much throughout the series. Just like Earle, we don’t get to see much of Eckhardt in action but Andrew Packard is also featured as Katherine re-introduces him to a shocked Pete.
Although Twin Peaks isn’t yet out of the woods as far the problems caused by the revelation of Laura’s murderer are concerned, Episode 21 offers further evidence that it’s slowly returning to its old self.
7.5 /10 Seriable Stars