Seriable’s Mark Jones reviews the Twin Peaks Season 1 finale — “The Last Evening”
The conclusion to the first season of Twin Peaks sees things go up in flames at the mill, Leland take revenge upon his daughter’s murder and Cooper getting shot by a mysterious assailant. There’s plenty more going on in the sidelines, however, and nearly everyone we care about in Twin Peaks has some unresolved trauma come the end of the episode to keep viewers hooked.
Starting with Donna and James’s investigation of Jacoby‘s office it isn’t long before they find what they are looking for, Laura’s necklace and the tape she recorded for the Dr. on the night of her death. Their time in his office isn’t very long but it’s enough to reveal a few amusing details which give us more insight into Jacoby’s character. These include the fact that he has a collection of drink umbrellas tagged with the memorable occasions he witnessed while drinking the cocktails they came from as well as a switch on his wall for turning on Hawaiian music.
Their plan is successful but unfortunately so was Bobby‘s and when James turns up at the Sheriff’s office in an attempt to help Cooper he gets in trouble for the cocaine planted in his gas tank. Meanwhile, Jacoby also finds himself in danger as he his attacked when approaching Maddy, this triggers a heart attack which places him in hospital.
There are some really dark moments in the episode, which is one of the things that Twin Peaks does best, as Benjamin Horne goes to greet the “new girl” at One Eyed Jacks and Leland Palmer murders Jacques Renault in the hospital because he is suspected of killing Laura. While we don’t see the result of Ben and Audrey’s encounter it’s certainly a disturbing scenario that has been established and it won’t be the last time the idea of incest creeps up in Twin Peaks.
Jacques Renault’s murder is the culmination of Leland’s weird behaviour after Laura’s murder. Before he went crazy Leland seemed like quite a genial and well-meaning character but the ease with which he executes his plan, breaking the fire alarm in the hospital and suffocating Jacques with a pillow after strapping him to his bed with surgical tape, is chilling.
Before Renault is captured and then killed, Cooper interviews him at One Eyed Jacks where the croupier describes the sordid details about what happened the night Laura died. The close up on Cooper’s eyes as the tale is told and then on Jacques mouth really helps to communicate the detective’s disgust and makes what Jacques is saying seem even more grotesque.
There aren’t as many light moment as usual, but it works in the season finale and Episode 7 is a really tense piece of television. More importantly though, as well as giving us more questions that need to be answered, it offers a few revelations; we now know that Lucy is pregnant and that Josie paid Hank Jennings to murder her husband. Amidst all the dark moments there are a few scenes to put a smile on your face including Andy’s heroic shooting of Jacques Renault.
The execution of the plan to set fire to the mill offers some exciting moments, now with Shelley’s life also at risk as Leo has left her tied up in the drying shed. Catherine is lured to the mill by Hank Jennings only to find Shelley there. She appears impressively cool-headed and quickly schemes and works out what to do with Shelley as the flames rise around her. Despite her icy persona there’s a great scene between her and Pete earlier in the episode where she displays some real emotion, asking for his help in finding the missing ledger. Even when she’s being completely unreasonable there’s still a twinkle in Pete’s eye and he doesn’t hesitate to try to rescue her from the burning mill.
Leo will get his comeuppance and when he returns home he finds and intends to kill Bobby Briggs but is scuppered when he’s shot through the window by Hank Jennings. The episode of ‘Invitation to Love’, the TV show within a TV show that is seen throughout Season 1 of Twin Peaks, is possibly the most reflective of the current goings on at this point and eerily mirrors Leo’s assassination.
The weather is used to good effect and for the last few episodes the rain has added to a sense of a storm building. Wind in the trees and cloudy skies are characteristic of Twin Peaks, but at the climax of the episode it really feels as if the storm is starting to break.
It all comes to a conclusion in Dale Cooper’s hotel room. Things feel a little off as he answers the phone but doesn’t seem his normal chipper self, even though it becomes obvious that it’s Andy on the other end, and then he leaves him hanging to answer a knock at the door. We don’t see the face of who answered but we see a gun pointed at Cooper and three shots fired. On a first viewing the shooting of Dale Cooper is quite shocking, simply because of all the cliff hangers this is the only one that hasn’t been built up. We knew the mill was going to be burned down, we knew that Audrey’s plan had some serious flaws, but there was never a suggestion that Cooper might be in danger.
Episode 7 does a fine job of leaving us wanting more and viewers will have to watch Episode 8, the first of the second and final season of Twin Peaks, to find out whether Cooper is dead or alive.
Rating: 9/10 Seriable Stars