Twin Peaks
Episode Five

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How Swede It Is

Part one of a two-parter, this recap is. So don't you be expecting any of that trademark closure and resolution that has, until now, been so part and parcel of the final moments of your average Twin Peaks episode, with the moral lesson and the "One to Grow On" music and the well-I-think-we've-all-learned-a-little-something-today-Mister-Drummond blah-di-blah. 'Cause it ain't coming this time around. Just so you're, y'know, prepared.

Fade up on a shot of a clear Twin Peaks night sky completely filled by a full moon. The musical accompaniment is that of loud, stomping, ostensibly drunken men singing what I imagine to be the national anthem of some ambiguous and obscure Scandinavian country we'll just call "Foreignia" for the purposes of linear recapping. The shot swings us through a window and into a room at the Great Northern. A mysterious hand checks a wristwatch and reaches for a tape recorder sitting on the nightstand, picks it up, and speaks. Hey, it's Cooper! He's angry. And you thought [SPOILER of all SPOILERS for all time immemorial, forever and ever, amen] you'd have to wait twenty-nine episodes to see evil Cooper rear his evil head in the Great Northern and become evil evil evil. [End terribly irresponsible imbedded-in-recap SPOILER alert here.] Um, Cooper's in a bad mood. And so he rants to Diane, "It is 4:28 AM. I have just been woken up by the most god-awful racket which you can probably hear over the sound of my voice." He holds up the tape recorder so Diane can share in the pathos of it all. "Can you hear that?" I have no doubt she can. Cooper continues with some more woe-be-it-to-fates-of-the-business-traveler rhetoric about how "once a traveler leaves his home, he loses almost one hundred percent of his ability to control his environment." He asks her to send two pairs of ear plugs he used on his "last trip to New York. Naturally, I didn't bring them with me on this trip because I didn't feel it would be necessary. However..." And he holds up the tape recorder once more, as the off-camera Scandinavians bellow with nationalistic pride. My, how they seem to adore their far-away homeland of Foreignia, with its many frozen lakes and rivers and log rolling opportunities and universal health care, or whatever else nebulous Scandinavian countries are said to offer.

Next morning in the Great Northern's dining room, an unusually contentious Cooper bids the increasingly Alice's Restaurant-esque waitress a "get me some freakin' coffee, bitch" kind of good morning before taking his place at a nearby table. Over the bellowing of an even drunker rendition of a new song, which in translation reads "I'm Drunk, You're Awake, Let's Chop Us Down Some Trees," the waitress lets Cooper know that the rowdy crowd of chanteurs is "a business junket. From Iceland." And sure enough, the closed captioning finally kicks in with the too-little-too-late didacticism "Singing Icelandic Drinking Song." Thanks, closed captioning. Where were you when I insulted the entirety of the non-English speaking population of a little place I like to call the northern hemisphere by making up a reductive catch-all name like "Foreignia?" Were you, perhaps, actually transcribing dialogue as a public service to the deaf, I imagine? Yeah. I thought so. Anyway, wacky waitress tells Cooper that the wacky Icelanders (Icelandics? Islanders? Frozen Fun Pops?) arrived at three in the morning. Cooper volleys that "it will take them a day or two to reset their biological clocks." Wacky waitress closes out the conversation with the hard-boiled response, "Hope the herring holds out," and I realize that another one of the several billion finer points I so appreciate about this show is that it asks us to go along with it in making assumptions created by the insular universe of the show and sweeps us right along with them. Y'know, like the one where we nod politely at the inherent wackiness of people from Iceland, a topic I must admit I hadn't spend a whole lot of time considering previously. But I promise I will from now on. ["Yeah, really. Björk, dude. Get with the program." -- Sars]

The ruckus of all things Arctic Circle is soon to be drowned out by Snare Drum Shuffle, as Audrey saunters into the dining room and sits down at Cooper's table. He tells her that he's "tired and a little on-edge," so she cuts to the chase and gives him what she hopes he'll perceive as very, very good news: "I got a job. And I thought maybe now I could help you with your case." But before she can flesh out the topic any further, Cooper holds up a "cease and desist, little one" hand and tells her that he's late and has to get going. She offers to go with him, and there follows a glee-inducing exchange that to merely recap would be an injustice against God, man, and all things holy in the universe. Verbatim fun times ahead:

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Twin Peaks




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