Welcome once again to another installment of Twin Peaks: Revisited! This week, we’re recapping and reviewing episode six of the show’s first season, “Cooper’s Dreams.” Despite the title, Agent Cooper doesn’t have another crazy dream in this episode, but more clues from his dream in the show’s third episode begin turning up this week in earnest. If you haven’t read our recaps for the previous three episodes, you can find all the previous Twin Peaks: Revisited columns right here.
As always, I won’t share any major spoilers in these recaps for any future episodes, so those of you new to Twin Peaks who are following along, worry not. And if you’re new to the show and still wondering which character is which with this huge 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 6: “Cooper’s Dreams” – Aired May 10th, 1990
The episode opens late at night in Cooper’s bedroom at the Great Northern Hotel… or rather, early in the morning. As the sound of drunken partying and singing goes on in the rooms around his, Coop wakes up and talks to his secretary back home, via his mini tape recorder, super annoyed- “Diane, it’s 4:28 AM — I was wondering if you could overnight express a pair of those ear pillow silicon ear plugs from my last trip to New York.”
At breakfast the next morning, Coop learns the constant noise is a business junket from Iceland that just arrived. Audrey comes in and gets her morning flirt on with her “special agent”, but Coop admits he’s “tired and a little on edge” due to lack of sleep. Audrey starts telling him how she got a job, and that maybe now she can help him with his case, but Coop cuts her off before she can finish telling him where she’s working. “How old are you?” he asks. (I think Coop needed to ask this question like, what? Three episodes ago?) Luckily for Cooper, Audrey is 18. “We’ll see you later Audrey,” he says, and you can just see Audrey’s heart grow three sizes larger in that moment.
Jerry Horne arrives from Iceland with the party entourage, and goes into his brother’s office telling him how crazy the Icelanders are for the Ghostwood Estates project. The Hornes need new investors after the Norwegians pulled out (in the pilot episode). However, the Icelanders don’t know that Ben Horne doesn’t quite yet own the land the project is going to be built on, and that the Packard Saw Mill is still there.
Jerry, sporting his best Morrissey hairdo, is also now in love with an Icelandic woman named Heba. “She gave a leg of lamb,” he says. Clearly, the way to the Horne brothers’ hearts is through their stomachs. Ben tells Jerry how he plans a big party for the Icelanders to sell the people on the town on the idea of the Ghostwood Estates. At this point, a distraught and disheveled Leland Palmer walks in, looking like hell in a hand basket, asking if he can be of any use (Leland, as you might recall from the pilot, is Ben’s attorney). Of course, he can’t hold it together for more than three minutes before collapsing on the floor in a puddle of tears over his murdered daughter.
At Jacques Renault’s apartment, Cooper finds an issue of Fleshworld magazine–the same porn mag that was in Laura’s safety deposit box in episode one. In the issue, he discovers letters written to the girls in the magazine. Turns out Fleshworld isn’t just a dirty magazine, it’s also a conduit for horny men to meet the girls whose pictures are inside. Essentially, Jacques is a pimp, and Ronette and Laura were his prostitutes, with the magazine serving as a clearing house. Things were way more complex in the world before Craigslist and Tinder.
Over at Leo Johnson’s house, Shelly cooks breakfast for Bobby. He instructs her to tell the police that she heard Leo and Jacques arguing about Laura the night she died, hoping to even further tie Leo to her murder. When Deputy Andy comes by, Shelly spills this whole story, hopefully setting things up to be one step closer to Leo getting arrested.
At Big Ed’s Gas Farm, Norma comes to tell Ed the bad news–her husband Hank got parole. He’s coming back home. At the same time, Ed can’t bring himself to break up with his wife Nadine, who is beaming with happiness, convinced she’ll be making millions off her silent drape runner invention. Norma decided it’s best for everyone if they call it quits for now, no matter how much they love each other. Norma and Ed’s story is maybe the most normal in all of Twin Peaks; it’s really just about two ordinary people in love who can’t be together due to the circumstances life has put them in. However, both Peggy Lipton and Everett McGill play these two with a kind of resigned sadness, never more so than in this scene. I should also add that Peggy Lipton, 43 years old at the time of Twin Peaks‘ first season, was stunningly gorgeous, and could more than hold her own with the young women on the series.
Audrey then goes to her orientation meeting at her father’s department store with an overly phony middle aged man named Emory Battis. Per her father’s suggestion, Battis wants to place Audrey in the wrapping department, but Audrey is having none of that. She knows that the perfume counter, where both Laura Palmer and Ronette Pulaski both worked, which has some kind of connection to One Eyed Jack’s. “Emory, here’s what we’re gonna do,” Audrey says, grabbing Battis by the necktie. “You’re going to tell my father that I’m busy as a bee wrapping boxes with the drones, and then you’re going to put me to work at the perfume counter. Because if you don’t, I’m going to rip my dress in half, scream at the top of my lungs, and tell me father that you made a pass at me. Does that help to clear things up for you?” Needless to say, Audrey gets her way.
Donna and James meet up near the lake, where James decides to confess his family secrets to Donna. Turns out his father isn’t dead like he originally told her, just a deadbeat dad, and his mom is a drunk who goes out of town for weeks and shacks up with men in cheap hotel rooms. He doesn’t want to keep any secrets from Donna, as he says “the secrets people keep destroy any chance they have of happiness.” None of these facts shake Donna, in fact she seems more into him than before. Donna totally seems like one of those girls who goes for guys with obvious baggage in an effort to “fix” them. Despite all that, this is a rare non-annoying scene between these two characters.
Back at Jacques’ apartment, Cooper discovers a photo of a log cabin with red drapes in Jacques’ cabinet. In an issue of Fleshworld, they discover a picture of a scantily clad girl, and although her face is cut off in the picture, the red drapes behind her remind Coop of the red drapes not only in the picture he found of Jacques’ cabin, but the red drapes in the room from his dream. He knows this girl must be Laura. That’s all the evidence Coop needs to make a hiking trip to find the cabin in question.
Donna and James then meet Laura’s cousin Maddy at the Double R. They’ve sworn on Laura’s memory to help find her killer, but they need Maddy’s help to do it. Laura used to have secret hiding places in her bedroom, and they need to see if Maddy can find one, and see if there were any clues there. Maddy agrees to help in any way she can, and says, “I didn’t know Laura very well…but I feel like I do.” This is an echo of Cooper’s dream, where the Little Man introduces Laura as “his cousin.” Dream Laura said, “I feel like I know her,” just as Maddy said about the real Laura. Maddy also orders a Cherry Coke and never touches it, which reminds me how on TV shows people order food at restaurants which they then never touch, and it’s always totally weird to me.
Norma and Shelly then walk in, having had a girls’ “day of beauty” bonding trip, where they both got beehive sixties hairdos and are now ready to join the B-52’s, it seems. Hank is there (he’s just been released), and is ready to start washing dishes for his new boss, aka his wife. “Can I finish my coffee first?” He asks with a big smarmy grin on his face. I hate Hank almost instantly.
Major Briggs and his wife have taken Bobby to see Dr. Jacoby for family counseling. Bobby, being the petulant brat that he is, starts deflecting any questions that Jacoby asks him. “Have you ever killed anybody?” He asks Jacoby, implying that he has (in the pilot episode, James mentions to Donna that Laura told him Bobby had killed someone). Jacoby insists on some one-on-one time with Bobby, but truthfully he couldn’t care less about him. He’s using Bobby to find out info about Laura.
“Tell me Bobby, what happened the first time you and Laura made love?” Bobby is instantly taken aback by this question. “Did you cry? And then did Laura laugh at you?” Of course, Jacoby knows this probably because Laura told him in confidence, but he’s using his new leverage to get info out of Bobby. Bobby confesses that he wasn’t sad when Laura died. “She wanted to die,” he says. She tried to make the world a better place, but every time she tried, something came up insider her and “pulled her back down into hell.” He breaks down, showing vulnerability for the first time on the series, and admits that Laura made him sell drugs so she could always have some. Jacoby asks him, “Did you feel like Laura was harboring some awful secret…something so bad she wanted to die because of it?” Bobby sobs in agreement. “Laura wanted to corrupt people, because that’s how she felt about herself.”
Hiking towards the Jacques’ cabin, Coop, Truman, Hawk and Doc Hayward make a pit stop at another cabin first–Margaret Lanterman’s, better known as the Log Lady. “You’re two days late.” she says. “C’mon then, my log does not judge!” After feeding the police cookies and tea, it’s time for Cooper to finally ask the Log what it saw the night Laura died. Margaret cradles the Log and does the “translating”: The Log Lady says she heard two men and two girls walk near her cabin, and there was laughing….then one man alone followed behind them. She then describes terrible screams, on top of more screams, and then, “the owls were silent.” Coop surmises that the two men were Jacques and Leo, and the two girls Laura and Ronette. But who was the third man?
Coop and the gang find Jacques’ cabin. Inside there’s a record player, playing a haunting song over and over (actually Julee Cruise’s Into The Night, produced by David Lynch) and Waldo the myna bird in his cage, reminding Cooper of what the Little Man said his dream: “Where we’re from, the birds sings a pretty song, there’s always music in the air.” Clearly, this is the cabin Laura and Ronette were at before the murder. He also finds a poker chip from One Eyed Jacks with the letter J missing. The same J as found in Laura’s stomach? Sure seems like the most obvious answer.
At the Great Northern, Ben and Jerry Horne are hosting a big party for the Icelanders. Catherine draws Ben into another room, where she asks him what the deal is with the poker chip from the brothel she found the day before. He makes up some lame lie, and Catherine slaps him silly. Not once, but three times. After she’s got that out of her system, the two make out, and Catherine tells Ben she doesn’t want to wait anymore, and wants to burn the mill tonight. Ben tells her not so fast…he’s going to give Josie one last chance to sell to him. Failing that, he’s hired someone to burn the mill to the ground.
Someone at the party (Audrey?) puts on some big band music in the middle of Jerry Horne’s speech, and that’s Leland Palmer’s trigger, and he starts dancing by himself, alternating between dancing and sobbing by holding his hands to his temple (which the Icelanders mistake for a dance move). While the grieving dance party is going on, none other than Josie Packard is waiting in Ben’s office for him. Turns out that it’s not Catherine and Ben that are planning on double crossing Josie, but (plot twist!) actually Josie and Ben who are planning on ruining Catherine.
Maddy then remembers that when Laura was younger, she would hide cigarettes in her bed post. She discovers that in the same spot, Laura had a series of cassette tapes, each labelled. She calls Donna to let her know of her discovery. Leo then comes home, only to be ambushed by the recently released Hank Jennings. “I told you to mind the store, not open your own franchise Leo.” I guess before he went to the big house, Hank was the big drug dealer in town, and Leo took over his operations while he was away. Leo then comes inside his house, angry and abusive towards his wife, who finally has had enough and shoots him. I can’t say I feel bad for Leo one bit.
Cooper comes home to his room, only to find someone has broken into his room already.He pulls out his gun when he sees a body in the bed in the dark. “Reach over and turn on the light,” he says, gun in hand. We then see that it’s Audrey Horne, naked and under the sheets. “Please don’t make me leave,” she says, tears streaming down her face. Will Coop give in to temptation, or be a gentleman and resist Audrey’s invitation? You’ll have to wait till next week to find out.
This is the first episode written entirely by series co-creator Mark Frost. He had written the first three episodes with David Lynch, but this was his first solo outing.
Ben Horne makes a crack that the Icelanders are all on “nitrous oxide.” Nitrous oxide, of course, was the drug being dealt and used by Dennis Hopper’s character of Frank Booth in David Lynch’s Blue Velvet.
In this episode, we find out that the Log Lady’s husband died the night after their wedding. Could her husband be the one “talking” to her through her log?
Bobby Briggs makes allusions to having killed someone, which Laura told James he also did on the night she died, according to the pilot episode. This storyline is never explored again during the series, but it resolved in the big screen prequel Fire Walk With Me.
Like with all episodes in season one, this one is a near flawless outing. The episode’s director, Lesli Linka Glatter, brought more visual polish to this episode more than any non-Lynch director so far (She’d go on to direct several more episodes of the series, and continues to direct a lot of great television to this day, like Mad Men and Homeland.) This episode also doesn’t feel the need to cram in every single series cast member, much to the show’s betterment. Having series co-creator Mark Frost write this script for this one also helps matters.
Rating: 3.5 out of 5 burritos