Seriable’s Mark Jones reviews Twin Peaks Episode 28 — “Miss Twin”
No time is wasted in the final two episodes of Twin Peaks as things get off to a flying start with Leo releasing Major Briggs from their prison in Earle’s cabin.
Leo redeems himself in this opening scene by imploring the disorientated Major save Shelly, knowing the wrath he’ll face from Windom Earle when he returns. Leo was never the most likable character but this moment improves his karma slightly, and was probably the most satisfying conclusion that could be offered for the former drug dealer, who spent most of his time in the series as a vegetable followed by a stint as a slightly more active zombie.
The Major may have slipped through Earle’s grasp, but it’s of little consequence as Cooper’s ex-partner has gotten all the information he needs from him. Earle returns to the cabin after a spider catching trip, looking like he’s gone a little heavy on the clown make-up and eaten too much liquorice — but exactly why he looks that way isn’t really explained. The effect is initially disturbing but in subsequent scenes he appears to have returned to normal. His actions are disturbing as ever though, and as a punishment he ties a cage of large spiders to one of Leo’s teeth, whose ultimate fate will also remain a mystery. This scene sees the first, and certainly not last, questions posed by the final episodes that will never be answered.
In the spirit of making an exciting finale, things continue to develop at fair clip, including sudden realisations of things which probably should have been figured out several episodes ago. Mainly this involves Cooper working out the clues that the petroglyph contains, however Andy’s discovery that it’s a map feels more like a natural conclusion, as we were already being led to believe that he was close to figuring it out even if everyone at the Sheriff’s department doubted him. Although essential to bring the season to its climax, with the short amount of time it has left, Cooper’s sudden revelations do feel a little too sudden. To be fair, he does have a little help from the Major who’s mumblings tell Cooper that the keys to unlock the doors to the White and Black lodges are love and fear. But even so, it still feels like it happened a little too easy.
Depending on how sentimental you are this could either be seen as a good explanation or a cop-out, though thankfully these final minutes focus more on the fear side of things. The fact that it’s fed to us so quickly makes it hard to digest but ultimately boils down the show’s dark vs light dynamic to its core themes. It might also make the seemingly pointless romantic scenes seem a little less pointless, if love was going to play a major part in conquering the evil forces that threaten Twin Peaks, but this can’t be judged accurately in the absence of a satisfying conclusion. If you extrapolate the information we do have, it’s not hard to envisage it playing a big role that might have led to some kind of a precursor to the LOST finale’s Desmond choreographed love-in.
Cooper’s sense of knowing has always seemed to come suddenly and then disappear over the course of the second season, and these final episodes are no exception. It’s not a major problem and the pieces falling into place add a sense of momentum to the proceedings, but it would have been nice if Cooper’s ‘sixth sense’ had been a bit more consistent throughout the series. However, the logic is clear in Cooper’s initial deduction that fear killed Josie as well as the connection he makes between Bob and the Black Lodge. It also features a nice callback to one of Harry’s line’s from earlier in the series, “Harry I think it’s where he comes from, I think that the Black Lodge is what you have referred to in the past as “the evil in these woods””.
As in the climax of the first season where all the action was centred around the fire at the mill, this time the focal point of the action is the Miss Twin Peaks contest. After the comic relief of Mr Pinkle’s choreography and Dick’s encounter with Lana in the store room, there’s more fun to be had at the event itself as Lana leaves the male judges drooling and Mr Pinkle in his excitement clings to a non-amused Log Lady. Of course, the Log Lady’s evil doppelgänger (a completely un-supernatural one) is at the show in the form of Windom Earle, who adopts her dress sense and a wig to sneak around unnoticed. The Log Lady is one of Earle’s better disguises, managing to be extremely creepy yet amusing at the same time, something which is typical of a lot of his actions.
Having chosen his queen in the form of Annie Blackburn, the lights go out to be replaced by strobe lighting, explosions go off in the background and Earle escapes with his prize. The effect is genuinely frightening, especially on a first viewing when it’s unexpected, and is a taste of what’s to come in the final episode. Cooper looks around in terror, the audience is screaming and Annie is gone. It’s one of the most memorable and sensational moments of the show and, with the exception of some of the scenes in the finale, it never managed to be scarier.
Aside from this, the pageant is the setting for several other key moments in the show. We see Nadine get hit on the head with a sandbag which will restore her to her normal, if you can call it that, self ensuring that Season three would have had more Nadine/Ed/Norma drama going on behind whatever else it had in store. Prior to that, Donna approached Ben confirming what we already knew about him being her real father, another important development which could have had significant implications on the show’s future. Less importantly, but nonetheless tying up a storyline which has spanned the last 20 episodes, Lucy chooses Andy over Dick to be the father of her child, regardless of who is biologically the father.
As well as these moments, Audrey has her final scene with her father; we’re reminded how much things have changed in such a relatively short space of time. Gone is the slightly crazy Audrey who would suddenly break into a hypnotic dance in the middle of the diner or stick a pencil in a cup of coffee, and in her place is the level headed business woman who has won the approval of her father.
We still care for her but she’s not the Audrey we fell in love with, and has evolved into an uninteresting peripheral character who, in a perfect world, would have been the one voted Miss Twin Peaks (and not Annie Blackburn who hasn’t been in town much longer than the mayor’s estimate of fifteen minutes). What a difference a month a makes, and those thirty days also saw Ben transformed from a scheming tycoon, to a delusional hotel owner, to a vegetable chewing environmentalist.
Another relationship which gets to blossom before it ends in tragedy is Annie and Cooper. Looking for Cooper’s help with her Miss Twin Peaks speech, the dialogue between the couple soon turns to a metaphor for Annie’s troubled past and it’s not long before they’re on the bed, tearing each others clothes off — but that’s as much as we see. This would have been another moment which would have had more impact if Audrey had been the one in Cooper’s room, but ultimately Annie was a likable character and at least didn’t feel of as much as an outsider as John Justice Wheeler did, even if she was shoe-horned into the plot.
Ending with Andy finally getting to tell Cooper that the petroglyph is in fact a map to the Black Lodge, it concludes, along with the final episode, what is arguably one of the most exciting instalments of Twin Peaks. That’s not to say this episode isn’t without its flaws, but it does an admirable job of chopping off dead branches which prevented the second season from really blossoming. Episode 29 continues to eliminate the storylines which had run their course or weren’t working to leave the show potentially better off for it. To be continued..
9/10 Seriable Stars