Welcome once again Twin Peaks fans to this week’s chapter of Twin Peaks: Revisited! It feels like we just started this recap series, but here we are, already at the final episode of season one. How the time flies when you’re having fun. Quite a bit has gone down in a mere eight episodes. I remind all new followers of these recaps that you can find all the previous Twin Peaks: Revisited columns right here and catch up.
As always, I also remind you readers out there who are concerned about being spoiled not to worry, no major spoilers will be in any of these recaps, even if the show is 25 years old. 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 8: “The Last Evening” – Aired May 23rd, 1990
The episode opens with an image you wouldn’t expect to see on Twin Peaks: palm trees against an orange sunset. But it’s just some tacky wallpaper in Dr. Jacoby’s office, who has a major fetish for all things Hawaiian. Donna and James have snuck into Jacoby’s office looking for any clues tying Jacoby to Laura’s murder. Inside of a coconut (of all places), they find the tape Laura recorded for him the night she died…along with the other half of Laura’s necklace. As for Jacoby, he’s hiding in the bushes at Easter Park, knowing that’s where “Laura” shot the video that was sent to him, in an effort to get him away from his office. Once he sees Maddy in her Laura wig, he seems genuinely shocked, and at that moment he’s attacked from behind by someone in a mask. Jacoby has a heart attack and is left for dead, gasping for help as he sees James, Donna and “Laura” drive away.
Over at One Eyed Jacks, Cooper is playing blackjack with Jacques Renault, and hands him the broken poker chip they found in Jacques’ cabin, the one with the letter “J” missing, the missing piece of which they later found in Laura’s stomach. He tells Jacques that he’s a friend of Leo’s, and he’s there to talk business with him. Audrey is at Jack’s as well, getting a once-over from the brothel’s Madame Blackie before her first night on the job, and she catches a glimpse of Cooper on the security cam footage Blackie has in her office. Blackie lets Audrey know that the owner is coming tonight, and she’s expected to make an impression.
Coop spins Jacques a story about how he’s really been the “bank” behind Leo’s drug operation all this time, and that Leo deliberately left Jacques out of it. But now he’s looking for a new partner. He convinces Jacques to meet him at a power plant across the border, and gives him $10,000 to seal the deal. Before he leaves, he asks what the story was behind the broken poker chip. Jacques describes a sordid scene in his cabin, where Laura was tied up and Jacques let Waldo the myna bird free, where he was pecking at her shoulders. Laura screamed for the bird to be put back in its cage, and then Leo puts a poker chip in her mouth and says, “Bite the bullet, baby”, and Laura swallows the broken half of the chip. That’s one mystery solved, but does that really prove that either Jacques or Leo killed Laura?
Meanwhile, Shelly is at home, getting ready to wash her hair in her sink, when Leo shows up and kidnaps her. “You MADE me do this Shelly!” he screams. Okay, I just really don’t understand Shelly here. You have psychotic husband out on the loose that you shot, and you’re still staying at his house? Go to Norma’s, or to a motel, anywhere but stay at home.
Meanwhile, Sheriff Truman and Andy are at the power plant waiting for Jacques to show up, and Harry asks Andy if things have changed with Lucy. “As they say in the law enforcement game, it’s a cold trail,” he replies. At this point Jacques shows up, and Truman and all the other deputies we’ve never seen before surround him. “You’re under arrest for the attempted murder of Ronette Pulaski, and the murder of Laura Palmer” says Truman. At this moment, Jacques manages to grab one of Deputy Never-Seen-Before’s guns while he’s being arrested and attempts to shoot Harry, when a single shot fires out, and we see that Andy shot Jacques in the shoulder, saving Truman’s life.
Donna, James, and Maddy listen to the tape they stole from Jacoby’s office. Laura starts rambling on about how “James is sweet…but he’s so dumb.” She tells Jacoby about a dangerous man she knows, who’s tried to kill her twice, but “as you know, I sure got off on it.” She won’t say his name, but she does hint that this man has a red corvette. James is now convinced that Jacoby didn’t kill Laura; rather, he was trying to help her. Even so, Donna isn’t entirely convinced just yet.
Leo then takes Shelly to the Packard Saw Mill, which Ben Horne paid him to burn down. He decides to kill two birds with one stone and kill his wife there as well, leaving Shelly gagged and tied up in the mill. Leo sets a timer attached to a mechanism that’ll go off in one hour’s time, setting the place ablaze. He tells Shelly, “You have one hour to think about what you’ve done to me. And by that time Bobby Briggs will be dead.”
Nadine Hurley, having taken her drape runner rejection pretty damn hard, is dressed in what looks like a tacky pink bridesmaid dress, and lays out a picnic blanket in her living room. She then fills a bowl with sleeping pills, and writes a suicide note for her husband on a piece of paper, which she folds into an envelope. This is maybe the fanciest suicide attempt ever filmed.
We cut to the inside of the Packard home, where Hank Jennings, now free from prison, is talking to Josie about collecting the $90,000 she owed him for killing her husband Andrew the year before. Thanks to some awkward exposition on Hank’s part, we find that he deliberately killed that vagrant and went to prison for vehicular manslaughter simply to avoid implication in Andrew’s death, which they staged as a boating accident. The promise was that he’d get $90,000 once released, a bargain which Josie honors. But Hanks says, “You want a lot for your money…and I want a lot for my time”. He gets extra creepy by cutting his finger with a knife and then cutting Josie’s, pressing them together in some sort of blood oath. (So unsafe!)
Catherine goes nuts at the mill looking for the missing ledger, which she forged. She knows this ledger can be used to implicate her in a variety of crimes. Betrayed by everyone in her life except her loyal husband Pete, whom she usually treats like total garbage, she begs him for his help. Pete acts like he’s been waiting for his moment his whole life, hugs his wife, and starts crying. Catherine rolls her eyes and puts up with it, because right now, betrayed by Ben Horne and her sister-in-law Josie, good ol’ Pete is all she’s got left.
At the Sheriff’s station, Deputy Hawk is showing off how Andy just saved Truman’s life, and our newly confident Deputy goes to try and make things right with his girl Lucy, who has been giving him attitude for like three episodes now. He walks up to her, grabs her and kisses her, and she seems very into this version of macho, take charge, “I shot a guy” Andy. And then she drops the bomb: “I’m pregnant.” Andy is instantly back to his usual dumbstruck self, and shambles away silently. Probably not the reaction Lucy was looking for. Meanwhile, Bobby calls the station, pretending to be Leo Johnson, and tells them to look into James Hurley because he’s an “easy rider.”
At the Hospital, Cooper and Truman question Jacques Renault, who is handcuffed to his hospital bed. He gives details of the wild night at his cabin with Leo, Laura, and Ronette; how he got in a fight with Leo; and who hit him over the head with a whiskey bottle. When he came to, both Leo and the girls were gone. “He’s too stupid to lie,” says Cooper, who is now convinced that Leo must have taken the girls to the train car where he proceeded to kill Laura.
Over at the Double R, Hank calls Catherine Martell, and tell her that the ledger she’s looking for is at the Packard Saw Mill, in drying shed #4, and if she wants it, she needs to meet him there. Catherine packs a gun and goes. After secretly carrying out his nefarious phone call, he goes back and plays the part of the dutiful husband to Norma, and to her credit, she doesn’t seem to be buying Hank’s act one bit. At the same time, Big Ed finally comes home, and finds Nadine unconscious on the floor from taking too many sleeping pills, and calls 911. It’s a great acting bit from Everett McGill, where you really believe he wants nothing more than to save his wife, despite the fact that he’s no longer in love with her, and having Nadine die would honestly make his life much easier. But Ed’s not that kind of guy.
At the Sheriff’s station, a panicked Leland arrives, having heard about Jacques Renault’s arrest. “Did you find the man, Harry? Is it the killer?” All Harry will say is that they have a suspect, but Leland overhears that the suspect is in the hospital, and formulates his plan. At the same time, James Hurley arrives at the station, with the intent of giving the police Laura’s cassette tape that they found in Jacoby’s office, where she talks about someone who has a red corvette. But Coop isn’t having any of James’ antics today. “I’ve been very patient with you James, but from now on, I’m gonna need a better set of answers,” he says, and reveals to James that had a stash of cocaine hidden in his bike. Bobby’s little revenge scheme worked, and James is arrested.
Over at One Eyed Jacks, the Icelanders sign the deal for Ghostwood Estates, and Ben can finally get his big development deal under way (once the mill burns, that is). Hank Jennings calls him, and informs him that all the pieces are in place–the call he made places Catherine at the mill at the time the mill is set to go up in flames, and now they just need to tie up one other loose end, their arsonist, Leo Johnson. Ben tells Hank to proceed, after which Ben suggests to Blackie that he celebrate his night of victory by getting a look at “the new girl.”
Bobby goes to Shelly’s to try to find her, but finds Leo instead, who is in full kill mode. “Shelly’s dead,” he says, as he tries to bury an ax in Bobby’s head… when a shot goes out through the window, and knocks Leo back on hiss ass. Bobby catches a glimpse through the window, and sees that Hank Jennings is the one who pulled the trigger. Leaving Leo to die, Bobby saunters out of the room. “Later, Leo.” Leo lays there dying, watching a similar scenario play out on Invitation to Love, the only show anyone ever watches in Twin Peaks.
Catherine arrives at the drying shed, pistol in hand, and finds Shelly Johnson tied up and gagged. Shelly ties to talk, but Catherine, in her usual droll way, says, “I can’t understand a word you’re saying, you have a thing in your mouth.” Catherine ungags her, and moments later, the fire ignites, and the two women are surrounded by flames as they try to escape.
The fire at the Packard Saw Mill is raging now, and Pete knows that Catherine went there. “She’s still my wife,” he says, and barges into the burning building looking for Catherine.
At the hospital, Leland Palmer sets off the fire alarm and everyone evacuates, leaving him alone to carry out his plan. He finds Jacques Renault sleeping in his bed, and after tying his wrists to the hospital bed, suffocates him with a pillow, having, in his mind, killed his daughter’s murderer.
At One Eyed Jack’s, Audrey Horne is getting ready for her her trial run, being dressed up by a hunchback for some reason, after which she hears the owner walk in to her room, and instantly recognizes his voice–it’s her father. This is not a situation any girl wants to be in, ever. Awkward doesn’t even begin to cover it.
Finally, after Jacques’ arrest, Cooper arrives back at the Great Northern, pleased to find that the Icelandic group had either checked out, or finally passed out. He’s convinced that Leo Johnson won’t be able to evade escape much longer, and feels confident that Leo is the killer. He orders room service, and finds a note left to him by Audrey addressed to “My Special Agent” telling him of her plan to infiltrate One Eyed Jack’s. Before he can read it, he hears a knock at his door, and he opens it only to get shot three times, point blank in the chest, and collapses on the floor.
“To Be Continued…”
This was the only episode directed by series co-creator Mark Frost. For some unknown reason, he never directed another episode again, despite writing six more episodes in season two.
The weird hunchbacked seamstress who dolled up Audrey at One Eyed Jack’s was played by frequent series director Lesli Linka Glatter. This wouldn’t be revealed until some 20+ years later by Glatter herself at USC’s Twin Peaks retrospective in 2013.
As a tactic to get the network to renew the series, Mark Frost threw as many cliffhangers as he could into that final season one episode, and the tactic worked; Twin Peaks was renewed by ABC the day the episode aired.
ABC advertised the episode with a clip showing Michael Ontkean’s Sheriff Truman saying, “You’re under arrest for the murder of Laura Palmer,” and many fans expected the episode to answer that question. When it didn’t, there was a certain amount of anger from the audience.
This is still one of the best cliffhanger finale episodes in TV history, with almost every major character left in some sort of dire predicament that would need to be resolved the following season (one of the other best cliffhangers ever, Star Trek: The Next Generation’s “The Best of Both Worlds”, where Captain Picard was turned into a Borg, aired just weeks later. It was a good summer for cliffhangers). Mark Frost proved to be a more than capable director, and it’s a shame he didn’t direct more episodes of the series.
This was the last episode of the show made in a vacuum of no expectations, as all the first season episodes were shot well before the series aired and became the pop culture phenomenon it ended up being. There’s a certain confidence in all the first season episodes for this reason, despite some of the series high points still to come. But that confidence shines the most in Frost’s season one finale.
Rating: 3.5 out of 5 burritos