Welcome, Peakers, to this week’s chapter of Twin Peaks: Revisited! We are now at the penultimate episode of the first season, where various plot points begin to converge and characters begin to show their true colors. If you are just now coming on board the Twin Peaks Revisited train, you can find all the previous Twin Peaks: Revisited columns right here and catch up.
In case you’re worried about spoilers, I won’t share any major ones in these recaps for any future episodes, so those of you new to Twin Peaks who are following along, don’t worry about me suddenly dropping the killer’s name in here or something. And if you’re new to the show and still wondering which character is which with this giant ensemble cast, what the actor’s name is, etc., as always I refer you to this link and this one, which have the old CD soundtrack scans that contain the entire season one cast and who plays them.
Episode 7: “Realization Time” – Aired May 17th, 1990
This episode picks up right where the previous one ended, with Cooper discovering a naked Audrey Horne under the sheets of his bed. Despite obviously being tempted (who can blame him?), Dale Cooper is ever the gentleman. “You’re a high school girl. I’m an agent of the FBI. This is wrong, we both know that.” Cooper realizes that what Audrey needs, more than anything, is a friend. “Now I’m gonna go downstairs and get a malt and some fries, and you’re gonna get dressed, you’re going to tell me all your troubles.” How can Audrey not fall for a guy like this??
The next morning at the Sheriff’s station, Deputy Andy is wondering why Lucy is giving him so much attitude. He doesn’t really get an answer, just more snark, but then Lucy’s doctor calls her, and it’s pretty obvious she just got the baby bomb dropped on her. In the conference room, Truman and Doc Hayward are trying to get Waldo, Jacques’ myna bird from his cabin, to start talking. Myna birds are mimickers, and since it was there at the cabin the night that Laura and Ronette were there, it might have something to say. Cooper leaves his tape recorder, which is voice activated, in case Waldo decides to start yappin.’ Coop knows they have to question Jacques at One Eyed Jack’s, but being that it’s on the Canadian side of the border, they have no legal jurisdiction as the police or as the FBI. This is a job for the Bookhouse Boys.
At the Johnson home, a crying and desperate Shelly calls Bobby. She hasn’t slept a wink after shooting her abusive husband the night before, who “ran screaming like an animal” into the woods. Ok Shelly, you KNOW your husband is still alive, so why are you staying at his house still? Call the cops and get police protection, or at the very least go stay at Norma’s! Shelly makes nothing but terrible decisions, starting with dropping out of high school and marrying Leo. Anyway, Shelly calls Bobby for help, and Leo, who is staking out his house with a wounded arm from his truck parked in the woods, presumably waiting for Shelly to come out, sees Bobby Briggs approach his house. Now he knows for sure that Bobby is the one Shelly is cheating on him with, and he has his rifle ready to blow Bobby away….when he suddenly hears Lucy taking to Waldo the bird via his police scanner. Leo knows that Waldo could start speaking any minute and give evidence to lock him away from good, so he decided to wait to kill Bobby and Shelly, and go kill an innocent little birdie instead.
Over at Donna’s house, Maddy brings them the audio tape that she discovers in Laura’s bedroom. It’s Laura’s confessions she puts into the recorder as part of he therapy with Dr. Jacoby. Laura starts talking about having “big bad dreams” as well as “naked dreams… the kind you like,” shamelessly flirting/manipulating Dr. Jacoby. They find an empty tape case labeled February 23rd… the night Laura died. Obviously, Jacoby never gave the tape she made for him back to her, leading Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys to assume it means that Jacoby must have killed her. But James has a plan to get that tape. Donna and Maddy should know better than to listen to any of James’ plans, because he’s clearly not the brightest bulb in the socket.
Audrey is now working the perfume counter at her father’s department store as planned. When her skeezy boss Emory Battis steps out, she sneaks into his office and starts going through his desk, where she finds a little black book with the numbers of various female employees past and present, including Ronette Pulaski. When she hears Battis coming back into his office with a fellow co-worker named Jenny, she goes and hides in his office closet…where she promptly starts smoking a cigarette while she eavesdrops. On its face, it’s totally ridiculous, because there’s a good chance that Battis would smell the cigarette smoke coming from the closet and Audrey would be totally busted. But that’s why Audrey is a badass, she doesn’t even care. I mean what could he do to her? It’s her father’s department store, after all. She knows she’s got this Battis creeper by the balls.
Battis starts asking Jenny the perfume counter girl if she enjoyed working at “the club” last weekend, and if she’d like to move up to the status of “hospitality girl.” He gives her a phone number for a woman called Black Rose. Afterwards, Audrey talks to Jenny and acts like she just recently got the same speech from Battis, but she did a really dumb thing and lost the phone number he gave her. Jenny gives her the number, and Audrey doesn’t waste any time and calls up this Black Rose person for an interview.
At the Double R, Truman and Cooper stop in so Harry can check in on the recently paroled Hank Jennings, who Truman seems to have a lot of animosity towards. Truman is there to remind him that he has to check in the with the Sheriff’s Department every week or face going back to jail. Before they leave, Shelly offers Truman and Coop some coffee (hey Shelly, how about telling Truman your crazy husband is out there and probably wants to kill you?). Harry says they have to run, but Coop stops him right there, telling him, “Harry, I’m going to let you in on a little secret. Every day, once a day, give yourself a present. Don’t plan it. Don’t wait for it. Just let it happen. It could be a new shirt at the men’s store, a catnap in your office chair, or two cups of good, hot black coffee.” This is sage advice that is truly worthy of a cat poster in an office cubicle.
Nadine is on her couch watching Invitation to Love and stuffing her face with chocolate bonbons, depressed because the patent attorney she want to see rejected her brilliant idea for silent drape runners. The invention that was going to make her and Ed rich beyond her wildest dreams was a bust, and she falls apart in Ed’s arms. Ed might not be in love with his wife, but from this scene you can tell he cares about her deeply, and maybe the only reason he’s never left her is that fact that he knows she’ll crumble to pieces without him, and he can’t bring himself to do it.
Meanwhile, Sheriff Truman stops by Josie’s, and lets her know that he’s aware she’s been stalking Ben Horne and Catherine Martell, since Hawk saw her a few days before taking pictures of the two of them entering a cheap motel together. Josie lays it on thick, saying how she thinks they’re planning to kill her, and how she overheard them talking about burning the saw mill, and that it was Harry who asked her for proof after all. Harry gets all protective of Josie, and it’s achingly clear that Mrs. Josie Packard has our good Sheriff completely bamboozled.
In the Great Northern lobby, Cooper looks like a million bucks in his tuxedo, ready to go to One Eyed Jacks with Ed (doing Bookhouse Boy duty). Truman pulls Coop aside and confesses to him that he’s been very scared for Josie. Coop, being the brilliant detective that he is, smells a rat when it comes to Josie, and basically asks him just what he really knows about her, who she is, who she was before she met him, etc. Truman seems taken aback by the questions, and says, “I know what I need to know, I love her, she’s in trouble.” Coop backs off, and agrees to help his friend. But you know Coop still trusts Josie about as far as he can throw her.
Over at the Packard home, Catherine Martell gets a late night visit from a representative from her insurance company, who reveals he needs her signature on a life insurance policy taken out in her name, with Josie Packard and Benjamin Horne as the beneficiaries. Suddenly it all comes together, and Catherine realizes that Josie and Ben are planning to take her out and collect the cash. She’s now been betrayed by her sister-in-law and her lover.
At the Sheriff’s station, Coop and Ed are preparing for their undercover trip across the border to One Eyed Jack’s and are getting wired up, when a shot rings out. We see that Waldo the myna has been killed, and his blood and feathers have fallen all over the donuts like a lovely glaze. Leo Johnson is the gunman of course, hoping to kill Waldo before he talks, but it’s too late. Coops tape recorder captured Waldo’s last words…which included Waldo mimicking Laura’s voice, saying things like, “You’re hurting me!” “Stop it!” and “Leo, no!”
Cooper and Ed arrive at One Eyed Jacks in disguise as “Fred and Barney,” two oral surgeons looking to gamble. They meet Blackie, who sets them up at the blackjack table. Ed isn’t very good at this undercover business. He looks more like a seventies porn star than an oral surgeon, and even accidentally lets slip that he owns a gas station to Blackie, after already telling her he’s a surgeon. “I’ve got a car out back with a serious root canal problem” says Blackie, realizing she’s just caught “Barney” in a lie, but Ed bounces back, saying, “I was hopin’ you’d need a little gum work, ’cause I’d sure like to take a look under your hood.” Nice save there, Ed, but you still look ridiculous in that wig. After a while at the gambling tables, Coop finally gets what he’s been waiting for, as Jacques Renault comes to his table and takes over as his Blackjack dealer.
Back at the Great Northern, Jerry Horne is still endlessly partying with the Icelanders. Ben is clearly getting exhausted by the constant drinking songs and Icelandic nonsense, but puts on his best game face. Ben asks his brother, just when the hell are these party boys going to sign the deal for Ghostwood? “They want more fun. Signing party at One Eyed Jacks,” Jerry tells him. At this point, Ben will do whatever it takes to get the Nordic party animals to fork over the money, so if takes a party at One Eyed Jacks, then that’s where they’ll go.
Maddy meets James and Donna at the park. Maddy has a blonde wig on, making her look exactly like Laura, which throws James off more than a little. You get the sense from Donna when James looks at Maddy that no matter what James might say, on some level he will always be in love with Laura. Donna’s probably not too thrilled about that.
We cut back to One Eyed Jacks, where Audrey is turning in her application to work as a “hospitality girl” to Blackie, the Madame. Of course, all her references and former jobs are a load of BS, and even the name she gives, Hester Prynne, is straight from The Scarlet Letter. Blackie calls her out on her lies, and says, “Give me one reason I shouldn’t air mail your bottom back to civilization?” Audrey improvises, and takes a cherry from Blackie’s drink, and in a few seconds ties the stem into a knot, and places it on a napkin. It’s the only application she ever really needed for a job like this. “Welcome to One Eyed Jacks, Hester.” says Blackie.
James, Donna and Maddy set their plan in motion, and call up Jacoby, who is in his office watching Invitation to Love (is this show just on a loop all day in Twin Peaks?). They tell him to check his front door, which has a videotape they just shot of Maddy/Laura holding up today’s newspapers to prove she’s the real deal. Jacoby is taken aback, but is smart enough to remain unconvinced that it’s Laura resurrected somehow. “Meet me at the light at Sparkwood and 21,” she tells him. But the kids were sloppy… Jacoby can see that they shot the tape near a gazebo, and there’s just one gazebo in Twin Peaks–at Easter Park. So instead of going to the location she tells him on the tape, where he would have sat around waiting for nothing while James and Donna break into his office, he heads off to see if this Laura is the real deal.
With the phone call made, James and Donna head off to Jacoby’s office. They Maddy behind, but hiding in the bushes watching them is Bobby (who, by the way, doesn’t seem fazed at all to see his ex girlfriend Laura back from the dead. Which is weird). He takes off and follows the couple when we see that there is a third person watching him too, breathing heavily. Could this be our killer? The fact that they’re not showing us his face suggests it is. Hiding out behind Jacoby’s office, James and Donna wait for him to leave and go meet “Laura” and then sneak into his office. But little do they know that they’re being followed too, by Bobby Briggs, who waits for the two of them to enter Jacoby’s, so he can then take an ounce of cocaine and hide it in James’ gas tank. The episode ends ominously, with Maddy in her Laura disguise, hanging out alone in the park, while an unknown heavy breather watches her. Is it Laura’s killer, wondering if he did something wrong the first time?
This episode was directed by Caleb Deschanel, who would go on to direct two more episodes of the series. He’s married to Mary Jo Deschanel, who plays Donna’s mother, but maybe his greatest contribution to pop culture is being the father of actresses Emily and Zooey Deschanel.
Actor Don Amendolia plays the sleazy department store employee who recruits girls from the perfume counter to One Eyed Jacks. He’s one of those character actors that has been in small parts in tons of movies, like Boogie Nights and Ed Wood, as well as several Broadway shows, and actually was the guy who gave acting lessons to the entire cast of Purple Rain, since almost none of them had ever acted before.
The “cherry stem” scene with Audrey is easily one of the show’s most iconic, and pretty risque for network TV in 1990, considering what it implies. Interestingly, Sherilyn Fenn couldn’t do the trick in real life, but actress Madchen Amick, who plays Shelly, can.
In the scene with the Icelanders in Ben Horne’s office, Ben and Jerry are eating ice cream, because they’re names are Ben and Jerry. I mean, they kind of had to.
Like almost all of the season one episodes, this one is also pretty flawlessly executed. I know I sound like a broken record here, but the first season of Twin Peaks really is one of the strongest first seasons of any show. (Don’t worry, I’ll get really mean and snarky about the episodes around the halfway point of season two.That’s a promise.) This episode has some of the show’s most iconic imagery, like the blood and feathers on the donuts, Audrey’s tied cherry stem, and Big Ed in a wig and fake mustache (ok, maybe not that last one). It’s up there with Laura’s funeral as one of the best non-Lynch directed episodes of season one.
Rating: 3.5 out of 5 burritos