Twin Peaks
Episode Nine

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1 USERS: B+
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Major Problems

It's breakfast time at the Great Northern again, and we join an increasingly refreshed Cooper chatting away merrily, despite Albert's dour presence, while enjoying a hearty breakfast of eggs, toast, bacon, and the usual heaping bowl of Kellogg's Cinnamon Toast Quirkitude, part of your complete Twin Peaks breakfast and supplying the USDA recommended dosage of Lynch-directed fun times ahoy. He is smack-dab in the middle of a word (the experience of the first-run viewer may have differed slightly, including less "smack-dabbery" and more "first syllable," as it is clear once more that my mom was deep in the process of deciding whether or not to allow my brother and me to go see Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles alone -- 'cause remember, it's 1990 -- and neglected her divine mandate to press "play" at nine o'clock) which comes smack-dab (see above parenthetical for more on this fascinating topic) in the middle of a speech about his knowledge concerning an ancient group of kings who ruled during a fertile period called "The Happy Generation." Taking a sip of his coffee, Albert takes to his usual chore of usurping my every last recapping duty with his testy-as-a-slots-poor-recapper snark, "Agent Cooper, I am thrilled to pieces that the dharma came to King Ho Ho Ho, I really am, but right now I'm trying hard to focus on the more immediate problems of our century right here in Twin Peaks." So Cooper swerves the convo back to business, informing Albert that "Ronette Pulaski has woken from her coma." All the while, incidentally, an extravagantly out-of-context barbershop quartet, a total visual and aural non-sequitur imagined by a self-proclaimed idiosyncratic director still eager to be sure and toss his trademark bizarre aesthetic into every scene he touches, stands at a nearby table humming a Badalamenti-composed ditty doubtlessly entitled "David Lynch Directed Episode Nine (And He Wanted You to Know)."

Anyway, Ronette's official medical condition has been officially upgraded to "non-dead," but she still lacks the ability to speak, so Cooper briefly outlines his plan to show Ronette sketches of Leo and BOB, eliciting Albert's inquiry, "Has anyone seen BOB on Earth in the last few weeks?" Negative, you misguided realist bastard, you. So Albert turns back to the tangibles, indicating a manila folder that hold Jacques Renault's autopsy findings. "Stomach contents revealed, let's see: Beer cans, a Maryland license plate, half a bicycle tire, a goat, and a small wooden puppet. Goes by the name of Pinocchio." Cooper smiles and recognizes the joke, and Albert shoots back, "I like to think of myself as one of the Happy Generations." And allow me to drop the subjective viewer pretense for a moment here and admiringly observe: "Bwah ha ha ha ha!" Seriously, I sincerely hope that my legion of fans out there keeps a list of favorite quotes from the run of the series. And I hope that's on it. Hilarity. Anyway, Albert continues on that Jacques was suffocated, and all the tools to do so, from the pillow to the tape used to secure Jacques' wrists to the bed, were borrowed from the hospital supply closet. Albert proposes that if Jacques had any secrets, "he'll be taking them underground." Albert also believes Leo is responsible for the mill's untimely blaze. Pausing for a protracted moment of dramatic effect meant to indicate that people who dispense sarcasm and cynicism as part of their everyday work routine subsequently cannot express genuine emotion (whatever. Apparently the writer of this episode has never been in town for the jubilant cry of "GROUP HUG!" that rings through the MBTV corporate office in Dayton daily at 2 pm sharp), Albert asks how Cooper is feeling. Cooper thanks him for his interest, and Albert warns him not to "get sentimental," which is exactly what Sars advised at 2 pm last Thursday when my eyes moistened during Group Hug when I worried aloud that my forums weren't moving enough traffic. For my insubordination, I was sent to the little room with no windows and ventilation to "think about what [I'd] done" while being smacked repeatedly in the behind with the "Official MBTV Paddywhacker 2000 (tm)." Because there is no talking during Group Hug. And there is no hugging, either. Oh, wait. Did I write that out loud?

Albert offers Cooper a round-up on the "Who Shot Cooper" investigation, informing him that interviews with "the usual bumper crop of rural know-nothings and drunken fly fishermen" have thus far revealed a whole lotta nothing. The Elderly Room Service Waiter remembers nothing about the evening in question -- probably not even the fact that it occurred -- which poses no real surprise to Albert, considering the fact that "Señor Drool Cup has, shall we say, a mind that wanders." See? "Señor Drool Cup." Now that's a nickname worthy of MBTV. Cooper shows Albert the finger with the missing ring again, then thanks him for sticking around Twin Peaks for the investigation. But, Albert segues, "dedication to duty wasn't the only thing that brought me back here." So there's something else. Hey, uh, what's that shark doing on the high diving board? Somebody better get him down via the ladder which brought him up, lest he decide to -- uh-oh, looks like he's inching closer to the edge! Somebody stops him before he decides to -- "Windom Earl." Splash. Actually, as many of y'all know, I rather enjoyed some of the W.E. stuff, but his arrival does signal a certain shift in direction as the show began feeling out story arcs meant to be as significant and scoping as the Laura Palmer arc it was in the process of leaving behind. Oooooh! I'm a Twin Peaks critical master! Thanks again for the book, Strega. Anyway, Cooper hears the creepy minor chord that drowns out the barbershop fun times, indicating that it is now time for him to furrow his brow and become extremely concerned. He observes, "He's retired." Yeah, Albert volleys, "To a nice comfy chair with wrist restraints at the local Laughing Academy." So what about him? And who is he? Let's see if we can backstory our way out of this in one sentence. Albert: "Your former partner flew the coop, Coop." Heh. Cooper worriedly observes, "That's not good," a sentiment with which much of the steadily declining audience will soon come to agree. And, to heighten the dramatic tension even further, we pan away from the law-enforcing two and across the Great Northern's dining room. The camera comes to rest on the Asian man with the pony tail who called the Martell home in the season premiere looking for an absent Josie, a man whose name I would bet contains neither the name "Windom" nor Earl." And I am, by nature, not a betting man. Well, nickel slots. But only when everyone else is doing it. He shoots endless sinister glances in Cooper's general direction. Fear and sadness are everywhere. A little comfort is all I need. My kingdom for 2 pm! Come, group hug! COME!

Donna "When Calories Attack!" Hayward walks down a path into an unfamiliar front yard of a house we've never seen, holding what appears to be a tray of food that Donna looks angrily down at while doubtlessly musing "but skinny tastes better, but skinny tastes better, but skinny tastes better" all the while. She knocks on the door of said house, repeatedly demanding, "Hello? Mrs. Tremond? Meals on Wheels." Inside, an old woman in a bed (one with a history of playing the role "vulnerable infirmed gramma," having last been seen as the object of Adam Sandler's strangely Freudian love in the simultaneously underrated and overrated Happy Gilmore) and a young boy wearing a tuxedo and sitting across the room in a plush chair thing of some kind (played by David Lynch's son) sit stolid for a moment, until the old lady demands that Donna enter. She does, and approaches Grandma Gilmore's bed, and as Donna lifts the cover from the tray of food, the old woman starts hacking up internal organs which I'm sure she doesn't even need, seeing as how they haven't operated correctly or at all since the Grant administration. Donna looks away with a glare of what Lara Flynn would like us to believe is an expression of pretending not to express disgust, a none-too-subtle indication that both Donna and the actress who plays her are about as interested in being around the process of food coming up as they are in being around the food going down. From his chair, the tuxedoed L'il Lynch calls for Donna's attention, informing her that "sometimes things can happen just like this." He snaps his fingers. Because it's not TV. It's art! Grandma Gilmore looks at the food in horror and utters, "Creamed corn. Do you see creamed corn on that plate?" Donna, unsure of any manifestations of this so-called "food" thing everyone keeps talking about beyond her daily dose of Dexatrim and a strategically placed feather, looks quizzically at Grandma Gilmore and hazards a brave and correct, "Yes?" Grandma Gilmore informs Donna that she requested no creamed corn. Cue another shot of the plate. There is no creamed corn. Shot of L'il Lynch, who is now holding the creamed corn in his cupped palms. Why? So people would talk about it ten years later is why. Grandma Gilmore tells Donna that L'il Lynch is studying magic. Yeah, well, his father had better start studying the classified ads if he expects the network audience of everyone in mainstream America to stick around after this display. Donna informs Grandma Gilmore that she "is taking over Laura Palmer's place on the Meals on Wheels." Grandma Gilmore helpfully recaps that Laura Palmer is, in fact, "dead." Do shut-ins have their own television network or what? Shot of Grandma Gilmore. Shot of L'il Lynch. Glacial pause in dialogue. Donna stands to leave, and Grandma Gilmore tells Donna to talk to "Mr. Smith, next door. He was Laura's friend." He "does not leave his house." Wow. Do all the

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