Welcome to the fourth installment of Twin Peaks: Revisited! This week, we’re recapping and reviewing episode four, “Rest In Pain,” which centers around the funeral of Laura Palmer. If you haven’t read our recaps for the previous three episodes, you can find them here, here and here. It’s not too late to catch up.
As always, if you’re a new viewer who is watching the series for the very first time and following along, worry not–there won’t be any spoilers of any significance for future episodes here. And if you’re new to the show and still wondering which character is which with this giant 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 4: “Rest In Pain” – Aired April 26th, 1990
The episode begins early in the morning, as Audrey Horne eagerly awaits Agent Cooper at breakfast, looking to get her morning flirt on. He asks her to writer her name down on a piece of paper, and then takes out the note that was left under his door the night before that said, “Jack with One Eye.” Audrey admits she put it there “for Laura.” Despite not being friends with her, “I understood her better than the rest,” she says. When Coop presses for more info on One Eyed Jacks, Audrey tells him what she knows: “It’s a place up north. Men go there. Women…you know, work there.” But did Laura? Audrey’s not sure, but Cooper is at least intrigued by the possibility. He learns that Laura and surviving victim Ronette Pulaski both worked at the perfume counter at Horne’s department store. Could they have worked together at One Eyed Jacks as well?
Sheriff Truman and Lucy then walk in, eager to hear what Coop has to say, as the last conversation that Truman and Coop had was in the middle of the night when Cooper called him and told him that he knew who killed Laura Palmer. While Truman is on the edge of his seat awaiting the answer, Cooper simply proceeds to go into detail about his red room/dancing dwarf/Killer BOB infested dream, and how Laura Palmer appeared in it and whispered the secret of who killed her in his ear. But now, of course, he doesn’t remember what she said. His dream is a code waiting to be broken. “Our job is simple: Break the code, solve the crime.” (A little phrase that Lucy diligently writes in her notebook.)
Cooper and Sheriff Truman are then called into the morgue to deal with a situation, as our not-so-friendly forensics genius Albert Rosenfield wants more time with Laura Palmer’s body, despite the funeral being that afternoon. “You can have a funeral any old time-you dig a whole, you plant a coffin.” With social skills like that, it’s no surprise that Sheriff Truman has had enough of Albert by this point, and clocks him good in the jaw for his behavior. (Albert lands right on top of Laura’s corpse.) Cooper, who we almost never see lose his cool, gets pissed off and orders Albert to release Laura’s body to her family.
We cut to the Palmer house, as Leland is taking some kind of sedative, and preparing for his daughter’s funeral, and watching the daytime soap opera Invitation to Love. Last week we saw the intro, but this week we get a glimpse of the actual show, which is a parody of the usual cheesy daytime soaps of the time. The show stars “Selena Swift as twins Emerald and Jade” poking fun of the often used identical twin played by one actor trope used by most soap operas. Right as he’s watching it, in walks Sheryl Lee, the same actress who played Laura Palmer, now with brown hair and glasses, introducing herself as Madeleine Ferguson, Laura’s cousin. It’s Lynch and Frost’s way of saying, “You can’t make fun of us for using this trope, because we’re making fun of ourselves for doing it first.”
At the Double R, Norma is meeting with her husband Hank’s parole officer, who’s letting her know there’s a good chance that Hank might be getting out of prison soon, which Norma doesn’t seem too happy about considering she’s been carrying on with Big Ed. He says, “You’re quite a girl, Norma. How do you keep all the Romeo’s from knocking at your door?” Norma responds with, “I usually tell them I have a homicidally jealous husband who’s doing three-to-five for manslaughter, but he expects to be a productive member of society real soon.” Oh, snap.
Cooper and Truman then go to question trucker Leo Johnson, who Coop now suspects heavily due to the rocks and bottles exercise the day before. Leo doesn’t do anything to help his case, being a surly asshole and lying about his arrest record. But for now, the police don’t have anything on him. At this point it Cooper seems way more excited about the baby ducks on the lake nearby. I can’t blame him, because baby ducks are really cute.
We then go to the Briggs household, where Bobby is oddly admiring a rather large crucifix on the wall. Major Briggs tries to give him his usual wise and fatherly advice, and finishes by telling him “Bobby, don’t be afraid.” Bobby then flips out and lets him know he’s not afraid of any damn funeral. In fact he can hardly wait for it, because then he shouts that he’s gonna “TURN IT UPSIDE DOWN!!!” Oh Bobby, you never disappoint in how much of a total d-bag you are.
The recently punched in the face Albert presents his autopsy results for Coop and Truman. Toxicology results are positive for cocaine. “News flash, the little lady had a habit,” he says, dripping with sarcasm. Albert also says the two different kinds of twine were used to bind Laura and Ronette, mentioning that Laura was tied up twice that night, and at one point her arms were pulled back. “Sometimes my arms bend back,” Coop remembers Laura saying to him in his dream. Laura has distinctive bites and marks on her shoulders, probably from a bird. And most interestingly, a small object with the letter J on it was found in her stomach. Albert then tries to get Cooper to file a report on Sheriff Truman for punching him, but Coop isn’t having any of it. “With your behavior towards these good people you’re lucky I don’t file a report on you that buries you so deep in a building in Washington you never see the sun.” Albert has that coming, but it’s still weird seeing Coop be mean to anyone.
Ed and Nadine are about to leave for Laura’s funeral, and Nadine, now happy that she has her silent drape runners up and running thanks to Ed’s inadvertent help, is clinging to Ed as hard as she pushed him away in the previous episodes. She hears a motorcycle pull up, and Ed informs her that their nephew James is home. “James who?” she says, which you know has to be a deliberate moment from the writers, who realize that in three whole episodes these two relatives haven’t had a single scene together. James, ever the pouty face, says he just can’t go to Laura’s funeral, and runs off. (He came home just to pout and leave? Ugh, James sucks so much. Laura had terrible taste in men.)
It’s finally time for Laura Palmer’s funeral, and the entire town is gathered together. The reverend gives a loving sermon in her memory, to which Johnny Horne (Audrey’s mentally challenged brother) finishes off by yelling out “Amen!” This turns out to be Bobby’s cue to “turn it upside down” as he said he would earlier. “AMEN!!!!” he screams at the top of his lungs. “You damn hypocrites make me sick,” he says. “Everyone knew Laura was in trouble…but we didn’t do anything. All you good people. Wanna know who killed Laura? YOU did… we all did.” (Bobby is being a total asshole here, but he’s also not entirely wrong.)
This starts a fight between Bobby and James (who showed up after all) in the middle of the funeral, and before you know it, Leland Palmer jumps on top of the casket, screaming his daughter’s name and crying, which breaks the lowering mechanism, making the coffin go up and down with him on top of it. “Don’t ruin this too!” cries Sarah Palmer at the foot of the open grave, as her husband bobs up and down on their daughter’s coffin. It’s a prefect Twin Peaks moment, one that encapsulates so much of what makes this show work–it’s heartbreaking and hilarious all at the same time.
It’s night now at the Double R, and as Shelly reenacts the coffin fiasco for a laughing group of old men with a napkin holder (so mean!), Truman, Hawk and Big Ed meet with Cooper and let him in on a big secret they’ve been keeping from him. Truman tells Coop “Twin Peaks is different, a long way from the world- there’s a sort of evil out there…something very, very strange in these old woods. Call it what you will, a darkness, a presence. It takes many forms, But it’s been there for as long as anyone can remember. And we’ve always been here to fight it. The men before us, the ones before them…the ones after we’re gone.” Cooper realizes Truman and company have let him in on the fact that they are part of a secret society, which Truman reveals as “the Bookhouse Boys.”
The Bookhouse Boys take Agent Cooper to their secret HQ (appropriately called the Bookhouse) where they have a janitor from the Roadhouse, Bernard Renault, tied up to a chair. They know he’s been running drugs into Twin Peaks from across the Canadian border, and that he’s mixed up in some serious drug trafficking with his older brother Jacques, who works at the Roadhouse as well as the bartender. Bernard has secretly warned his brother Jacques to get the hell out of dodge and go back to Canada, so Jacques calls Leo Johnson to take him there. So now we know that Leo is mixed up with the Renault brothers in selling drugs in town, and therefore those three are the source from which Bobby Briggs and Laura Palmer got their cocaine. As Leo Johnson leaves to take Jacques on a “border run,” we see that his wife Shelly has secretly bought a gun. She’s not going to put up with the whole “Soap in a sock” business again. Good for her I say.
Coop is now being a creeper at the cemetery and just hanging out by the graves at night. (It’s never explained just what he’s doing there. Waiting for the killer to show up and pay his respects?) He sees Dr. Jacoby, wearing a badass pimp cape and pimp hat for some reason, leave some flowers on Laura’s grave. Jacoby confesses to Cooper that he doesn’t really care about the lives of any his patients, they’re all just a paycheck to him–except for Laura. She’s the one who made him care again, but he cared so much he couldn’t bring himself to come to the funeral that day. “I hope she understands…I hope she forgives me,” he says. This is the first time Jacoby comes off as genuine and not just creepy.
At the Packard home, Josie confesses to Truman that she thinks that Benjamin Horne and her sister-in-law Catherine are plotting to kill her so Catherine can inherit the saw mill and sell it to Ben Horne for some giant development deal. She tells him that she’s sure that they killed her late husband Andrew as well. Truman swears he won’t let anything ever happen to her, and we realize all Josie has to do is bat her eyes and he’ll buy anything she says.
We finish out the episode where we began it–in the dining room of the Great Northern. Leland Palmer, now totally out of his mind, is dancing by himself to some big band music surrounded by hotel guests. Cooper and Hawk are sharing a beer, when Cooper asks Hawk, “Do you believe in a soul?” “Several,” Hawk answers, and continues on about Blackfoot legends, of dream souls that wander, and find themselves in the distant land of the dead. “Is that where Laura is?” Coop asks. “Laura’s in the ground, Agent Cooper. That’s the only thing I’m sure of.”
-This is the first episode not written by Mark Frost and David Lynch, and is instead written by Harley Peyton, who would later writer many episodes and have a large role in steering the course of the series. The episode’s director, Tina Rathborne, directed David Lynch as an actor in a small movie called Zelly And Me. She’d go on to direct one more episode of the show, and then seemingly disappear from the business.
-Laura’s funeral is the first and last time we see the majority of the principal cast together in a scene during the whole series.
-the name of Laura’s identical cousin Madeleine is a nod to Alfred Hitchcock’s Vertigo, where Kim Novak’s character played Madeleine Ester and Judy Barton. Former Uncanny X-Men writer Chris Claremont also did a similar nod to Vertigo when he named Jean Grey’s identical double Madelyne as well, although the spelling was different.
Like most episodes in season one, it’s hard to find much to complain about here, and it’s amazing how much the writer and director for this episode were able to mimic the style of Lynch and Frost so perfectly. The funeral sequence is one of the most memorable in the whole series, and less compelling subplots, like the Donna and James romance, are barely referenced. While never reaching the surreal heights of the previous episode, it’s still a damn fine hour of television.
Rating: 3.5 out of 5 burritos