We’re heading towards the finish line of Twin Peaks, as we have only a handful of episodes left. Luckily, these last few episodes are pretty fun, so unlike some recent ones, these remind you of why you loved this show in the first place. in In today’s episode, David Lynch finally returns to the series, although not behind the camera, but in front of it, as Special Agent Gordon Cole. Although he’s not writing or directing, he brings so much of his personality to this episode it can’t help but feel Lynchian.
This episode was written by Harley Peyton & Robert Engels, and directed by Duwayne Dunham, who directed episode two of the series. The title “On The Wings Of Love” was not given by the series creators, but years later by German TV, and they stuck, so no, neither Lynch nor Frost decided to name their episode after a cheesy “soft rock” hit from the early 1980’s.
As usual, all the previous Twin Peaks: Revisited columns can be found right here , so it’s not too late to catch up. And this is, also as always, a spoiler-free recap for anything that takes place after the particular episode we’re recapping.
Episode 26: “On The Wings Of Love” – Aired April 4th, 1991
The episode opens right where the previous one left off, with Harry Truman passed out in bed at the Bookhouse after a night of drinking and yelling at people over Josie’s death. Eckhardt’s assistant, the woman simply called Jones, has crawled into bed with Harry and starts kissing him and caressing him, and Harry hallucinates that it’s Josie. Then Jones suddenly pulls out a wire and tries to strangle Harry with it. This finally knocks him out of his drunken stupor, and he beats the crap out of Jones, knocking her out, then realizing he’s beat up a strange beautiful woman who tried to kill him, and he has no idea why.
At the Great Northern, Audrey delivers room service personally to John Justice Wheeler’s room, and all I can notice is that he has some incredibly high-waisted pants on. The two flirt, and he tells her that “if she’s gonna bring a hammer, she better bring some nails.” Audrey wonders just what the hell that means, and he tells her that if she’s going to come into his room and flirt like that “she better be ready to finish what she started.” I don’t know, sounds kind of creepy to me, but Audrey seems amused and not grossed out, probably because he’s so pretty.
At the Sheriff’s station, Truman, having survived the assassination attempt from Jones, wonders out loud to Cooper why Thomas Eckhardt would want him dead. Cooper answers “sexual jealousy.” Actually, Jones should win employee of the year, because she was willing to carry out the murder of Truman for her boss, even though he’s dead and wouldn’t know better. Too bad Eckhardt is dead, so no one will be around to appreciate her hard work.
Meanwhile, despite surviving a murder attempt, Harry has the worst hangover of all time, and Cooper decided to give him his hangover cure: “You take a glass of nearly frozen, unstrained tomato juice, then you plop a couple of oysters in there, you drink it down. Breathe deeply. Next, you take a mound, and I mean a mound, of sweetbreads. Saute them with some chestnuts and some Canadian bacon. Finally, biscuits. Big biscuits, smothered in gravy. Now, here’s where it gets tricky, you’re gonna need some anchovies…” Before Coop can finish, Harry has to excuse himself to go hurl in the bathroom. “Works every time.” Coop says.
Doc Hayward is in Harry’s office, admiring a miniature bonsai tree, that was supposedly delivered from Josie. He tells Harry and Cooper that Windom Earle was at his house, and had given Donna the chess piece. Just then, Cooper’s boss Gordon Cole returns with a file on Windom Earle. It turns out he was on haloperidol, the same drug that the One-Armed Man was on, and that Earle was also part of Project Blue Book, the Air Force’s investigation into UFO’s that ended in 1969. Apparently, the FBI loaned Earle out to the Air Force in 1965 for two years, but that his time there was kept top secret.
Harry reminds Coop about Major Briggs, who is also investigating unexplained phenomena with the Air Force. “There are some curious linkages here, Gordon.” To which Cole replies “the word linkage makes me think of sausage. Never cared much for the links, but preferred the patties. But breakfast is a real good idea.” But before they all go to breakfast, Gordon Cole has one last official job to perform, and he finally reinstates Dale Cooper into the FBI. No more flannel for you sir, time to get back into the black suit and tie.
As it turns out, though, the bonsai tree wasn’t delivered by Josie Packard, but by Windom Earle himself, who had it bugged, so he’s been listening to everything they’ve been saying in Truman’s office. At his cabin (which can’t be that far in the woods, how has no one found it yet?) he asks Leo to pick three cards from a deck of playing cards. Each is a queen card, with the face of one of the main young girls from the series, Donna, Audrey, and Shelly, glued onto the card. Then he pulls a King of Spades card with Cooper’s face on it. (it’s kind of hilarious that each picture on the card is an obvious publicity photo from Season One. Ok, maybe it’s just obvious to me.) He then pulls out a flyer for the upcoming Miss Twin Peaks pageant, and tells Leo that whoever wins will be the Queen of Hearts, and along with the King, will die. But not before he makes Cooper watch.
At the Great Northern, Donna has followed her mother Eileen there, and sees that she’s meeting with Benjamin Horne. She goes to the front desk, where she runs into her ex, Mike, who is checking out of the hotel with Nadine, both clearly refreshed from their tawdry night of passion. Donna couldn’t care less that her ex-boyfriend is dating an older, married woman, and has more pressing concerns on her mind. She talks to Audrey at the front desk, and asks if she would know of any reason why her mother would be visiting her father. Audrey said she doesn’t know, but that if they’re in his office together, she has a way to spy on them.
In Horne’s office, Eileen Hayward is telling Ben she’s returning old letters to him, she doesn’t want them any longer, and he doesn’t accept that. He says he only wants to do good, but she thinks he’s only going to rip open old wounds. He says that he’s been wrong all these years and is now trying to make up for it. “You should have been the best thing that ever happened to me.” He attempts to kiss her, but she brushes him off. At that moment, Audrey and Donna are peeking into his office through the hole in the wall, that Audrey can access through the service hatch (a nice callback to Season One.) As they’re spying, Eileen tells Ben he musn’t come over again, and that “he must stay away from her.” Who the “her” in question isn’t said, but if you’ve been watching soaps long enough, it’s not hard to put two and two together.
At the Double R, Gordon says he’s in the mood for a “steak so rare you can sell it at Tiffany’s” and then he sees Shelly, and says she’s such a beauty that she reminds him of a statue “the babe without the arms. Milo something. She’s the kind of girl that made you wish you spoke a little French.” Of course, because he’s Gordon, he’s yelling all this at the top of his lungs. He decides to go to the counter to flirt with Shelly, and orders up a cup of coffee from her, and said that upon seeing her beauty his stomach felt like there was a team of bumblebees in it. Shelly says she can hear him just fine, he doesn’t need to shout, when suddenly Gordon realizes that he can hear her perfectly, even without his massive hearing aids. Gordon thinks it’s some kind of miracle, to which the Log Lady, sitting at the counter, asks “what’s wrong with miracles? This cherry pie is a miracle.” Gordon then orders “massive, massive quantities of pie, and a glass of water, sweetheart, my socks are on fire.”
Back at the booth, Coop has combined the two tattoos of the Log Lady and Major Briggs’ into one image on a napkin. As Harry comes to the table, he asks him to look outside, excitedly. “I think I see a chickadee on a Dodge Dart.” Harry thinks it’s a finch, but then Annie comes by to serve them coffee, and sides with Cooper “nope, that’s a chickadee on a Dodge Dart.” Cooper asks how she’s doing, back in regular society and out of the convent. She says she feels weird and disoriented, but that’s she’s OK. “You must think I’m really strange.” Cooper says he doesn’t, and that he has a joke for her. “two penguins were walking across an iceberg. One penguin turned to the second penguin and said you look like you’re wearing a tuxedo. The second penguin said ‘maybe I am.” It’s a super lame Dad joke, but Annie laughs at it, and it’s love about to happen. Annie notices the design on the napkin, and says that he must have been to Owl Cave. Harry looks at the design, and says it’s exactly like the one at Owl Cave. “Harry…we need to go this Owl Cave.”
Donna gets a postcard from James from San Francisco. Hopefully he stays there. She confronts her Dad about her mother and Benjamin, and he gets defensive and says that she’s probably helping Ben out with some local charities. He gets even more defensive when Donna probes further. Just then, a delivery man delivers a dozen roses to her mother, no card. Real smooth Ben. Doc Hayward is left speechless.
At the library, Audrey is researching civil disobedience, when a Windom Earle comes in with yet another disguise, this time as an old college professor, complete with glasses and a pipe. He bumps into Audrey, and mentions that he’s actually a professor of poetry. She asks him if she knows a particular poem, which is of course the one he sent in pieces to her, Donna and Shelly. He asks Audrey to read it, and once she finishes, he says “Shelley.” This freaks Audrey out a bit, because she knows Shelly Johnson got a piece of the same poem. But then Earle says that the poem is the work of 19th Century poet Percy Shelley. Audrey has good instincts though, and is still freaked out by him.
At the Double R, Annie comes across a Miss Twin Peaks flyer, and Shelly asks if she’s thinking of entering. She says she’s barely adjusted to life outside the convent, she can’t imagine doing a beauty contest. She then asks Shelly about Dale Cooper, and when Shelly asks if she’s interested in him, she says she’s not remotely interested in dating. Even Shelly doesn’t buy that line.
At the Great Northern, Johnny Horne (remember him?) is shooting buffalo targets and yelling Indian whoops outside, while Ben talks to Audrey about all the mistakes he’s made over the years, including Laura Palmer, and how he needs to make up for it all. “I know I haven’t been a very good father. Actually, when have I ever been anything but a sleazy, rapacious heel?” Audrey says “well, maybe when I was little.” He says he needs a right hand man, someone to be there for him like Bobby Kennedy was for John. Audrey seems touched, and says “Daddy, I’m your man.” He then tells her that she’s going to be on a plane to Seattle in an hour to do a power breakfast there with some environmental big wigs and represent him there. (so, like James, I guess she’s just skipping the rest of high school.) As Audrey leaves, John Wheeler comes in, and confesses to Ben that he’s falling in love with his daughter. Ben just laughs and seems happy at this news, despite the fact that his daughter is like 18 and John is like, 30 at least.
At Owl Cave, Coop, Harry, Hawk, and Andy come in with flashlights, and are suddenly accosted by an angry owl. (The owl’s screeches are mixed in with what sounds like BOB’s screams, if you listen closely.) They find the cave drawing, but Andy hits the cave wall with his pick ax when trying to get the owl away from them, and suddenly a portion of the cave painting comes out of the wall, leaving a stone leaver with a petroglyph that looks like an owl on it. Coop says “Gentlemen, coincidence and fate figure largely in our lives. I have no idea where this will lead us, but I have a definite feeling it will be a place both wonderful and strange.”
Annie goes to the Great Northern bar, where she runs into Dale Cooper, just back from spelunking. She tells Cooper that she’s constantly amazed at being in the world again, and she notices that he has noticed the scars on her wrists, and he asks if she wants to talk about it. “Not yet. See, I failed before. And I’m afraid it might happen again.”
At Owl Cave, Windom Earle has entered as soon as Cooper and the others leave, and he take it upon himself to invert the leaver with the owl symbol on it. The cave wall starts shaking violently as we cut to credits.
The scenes of Owl Cave were filmed at the Bronson Caves located in Griffith Park in Los Angeles. These same caves were also used as the original “Batcave” in the sixties Batman series. The Hollywood sign is just up the next hill! (thanks to InTwinPeaks.com)
A good portion of the regular cast isn’t in this episode. Peggy Lipton (Norma), Everett McGill (Big Ed), Jack Nance (Pete Martell), Catherine Martell (Piper Laurie), Don Davis (Major Briggs), Dana Ashbrook (Bobby Briggs), and Russ Tamblyn (Doctor Jacoby) are all no-shows. Interestingly, Joan Chen appears as Josie, even though she’d just left the show and been killed off.
This is easily one of the more delightful episodes of the latter, post-Laura Palmer half of the show. The scenes with Lynch’s hard-of-hearing Gordon Cole are all just the right kind of quirky that we love from the show, and Agent Cooper and Annie actually have a lot of chemistry together (even if it sucks that this whole storyline had to kill the Audrey/Cooper flirtation.) Audrey and John Wheeler are less interesting together, but luckily this episode gives Audrey more to do than moon over some dude, as we get a great scene between her and her father, and actually addresses the elephant in the room, that her dad used to have sex with one of her underage classmates.
The return to the supernatural elements of the series is also welcome, as we feel the show is finally tying the current plotlines into the ones we had when the show started. The fact that several of the regular cast members weren’t in this episode made the whole thing feel more relaxed, as scenes were allowed to play out and we didn’t need to worry about cutting into what every single person in town was doing. Sadly, the Donna trying to uncover the secrets of her mother and Ben Horne is a cliche soap opera plotline, but it doesn’t kill the episode. Overall, this episode is pure Twin Peaks, in a good way.
Episode Rating: 3.5 burritos out of 5