Twin Peaks
Episode Twenty

Episode Report Card
Djb: C | Grade It Now!

Eureka! Man alive. Great day in the morning. Gee, Djb, why all the generic-proclamations-of-joy-befitting-a-grizzled-1890s-prospector, right here in the prologue to this recap, eh? Here's why: Sars bought me the entire Twin Peaks series on VHS for my life-alteringly cool Christmas present (or, as Amazon has since decided, considering their rather haphazard delivery schedule, my "life-alteringly cool Purim present"). Hence, I'll be using these tapes exclusively to recap the rest of the series. I know. I'm really, really sorry, mom. Your taping skills so many years ago were not in vain. You were a very, very good mom. As long as your relevance lasted. So, um, I guess that means that Sars is my new mommy now. Right? Well then, yippee-ki-yay! I done struck gold! Hee-haw! Ahem. Sorry.

Fade in on a panning shot across a really starry night sky in the much-visited land of Stock Footage Of Excessively Starry Night Skies, a doubtless retroactive shout-out to the fact that the first, like, sixty episodes of Roswell began the exact same way (not to mention the dozens of other shows in the history of the televisual medium that center around space and the prospect of life beyond our own planet…Hence, I'm almost surprised when the words "The Truth Is Shout-Out There" don't appear on the screen before I get on with my recapping day, which should begin in earnest in the unlikely event I should ever get around to closing these here parentheses). A voice whispers "Cooper," and the Class Trip To The Planetarium music (which, on this show, is defined as "every note ever heard on the soundtrack not including Julee Cruise…and sometimes that which includes Julee Cruise) kicks into high gear. Out of this I've-seen-more-realistic-renderings-of-the-night-sky-with-a-few-white-pegs-on-my-Lite-Bright-set background, a yellow symbol depicting three interlocking triangles comes spinning toward the camera. Spinning through space, spinning, spinning, spinning. Ooooh. I'm in a trance. Hypnotized. Your wish is my command, Mr. Lynch. I will find On the Air to be hilarious. I will deem my small-claims lawsuit for the $7.50 I am still owed for Lost Highway to be "frivolous" and finally drop it. I will also…huh? No, I'm fine. I'm back. Well, that was scary.

Spinning, spinning, spinning. When the CGI triangle thingee finally spins out of space and into the camera and bursts apart, General Zod and his marauding band of Superman-hating intergalactic travelers are finally released into the world to wreak havoc on an unsuspecting "Houston," which…oh, wait. That's actually not what happens at all. Actually, the shot becomes all engulfed in flames, flames which slowly clear to reveal behind them Garland "Major Pain…Ha Ha, Duh" Briggs sitting on an ivy-covered throne, surrounded by really green trees and bushes and not really green dry-ice smoke. He sits perfectly still, and a voice-over indicates, "I remember stepping from the flames, a vague shape in the dark, then nothing. Till I found myself standing by the cold remains of our campfire two days later." Another voice-over we recognize as Doc Hayward's garbles on with that far-away you're-having-a-dreeeeeeeam reverb I haven't seen used unironically since the Golden Girls faded from the three-chaired kitchen table and into their last flashback episode ("Get the cheescake, Rose, for I remember a time that Ma ate all those raw vegetables at the nursing home picnic and began uncontrollably…") before the style was co-opted and killed by the fine folks at Wayne's World, "Major, there are some new techniques that might help us break through your amnesia." Briggs retorts in his convoluted MajorSpeak that his memories are "immune from regression," and that he knows the memory of his disappearance lives somewhere in his mind, but the knowledge remains "beyond [his] reach." Garbled Cooper drops in to ask if Briggs remembers anything else. "Very little," Briggs recounts, "Save for one disturbing image of…a giant owl." Cut to a brief montage of super-faux-artsy proportions, containing an owl flying through a blinding white light, a shot of a man's neck tattooed in red with the compliments-of-the-OPEC-product-placement-department triangular symbol, and a camera flashbulb, and just like that we're inside the interrogation room of the police station, which contains a seated Briggs and an alternately pacing and standing Doc Hayward, Cooper, and Truman. The good doctor shows the assemblage a Polaroid of the area behind Briggs's ear and notes, "Three triangular scars behind the right ear, in perfect proportion." See that? Mom always said you're supposed to wash behind there. One can only hope that the Major was wearing clean underwear when he was abducted and hadn't eaten within a half-hour of said abduction, as mom also frequently advised. And no, this time by "mom," I do not mean "Sars." For once.

Truman tries the hard line, having asked this question so many times I can't believe there isn't a Twin Peaks drinking game centered entirely around it, "Exactly what does your work involve?" But guess what. It's classified. Drink! However, Briggs continues that he thinks sometimes there are secrets that outweigh the human need to conceal information. I wasn't aware that that was a basic human tenet, but I guess I'm more inclined to believe it; after all, the American government just told me it was true. So off we go with the not concealing: "Are you familiar with Project Blue Book?" Yeah, isn't that the name of those thin volumes of lined paper the proctor gives out to college students taking essay exams? It's a little more difficult than the standardized "Project Scantron Sheet," but at least the former has a ring to it. Cooper has a different idea, and it turns out he's right and I'm not. Such is life: "The Air Force investigation into the phenomena of unidentified flying objects." Briggs confirms that the project was discontinued by the government in 1969. Hee. "Sixty-nine." Oh, man. I am eleven years old. "But there are those of us who continue in an unofficial capacity, examining the heavens as before. And in the case of Twin Peaks, the Earth below." I…wha? He's still working on a government op that ended in 1969, and he continues wearing his uniform and taking home a paycheck from Uncle Sam? Looking for aliens? Aliens that live below the Earth? Below it? Ladies and gentlemen, your tax dollars, hard at work. Besides which, if we all got paid for performing our job the way it would have been done in 1969, I would be recapping this show on a computer as large as this entire room. Briggs only manages to choke out the sentence, "We are looking for a place called the White Lodge," before the door opens and reveals two men sporting strange military uniforms with really fey chapeaux that make them look less like intervening government agents and more like the groomsmen at Guy Ritchie's wedding. The men tell Briggs to come with them and Truman tries to stop them, but the Major realizes he must go and bids everyone else farewell. Once alone, the three remaining main characters (when was the last time you saw that many people we care about in the same room at the same time? A quality episode emerging?) stand close and regard the Polaroid of Briggs's tattooed neck. Close-up. A drop of water splashes onto the photograph, and Cooper looks up to note that it's from a leaky sprinkler head directly above them. SprinklerCam gives them quite the close-up, and the sound guys lean in with their mics for a raucous sound effect of the interior of the sprinkler system. Remember, future directors of the planet: pointless callbacks to the effortlessly quirky visual style of the show's glory days are still pointless. Say it together.

Speaking of which, donuts. On the table next to the phone. No one's eating them. But they're there. Because we get it. Cut to Truman's office, containing Denise "The XX-Files" Bryson and Ernie "So Peripheral I Got A Migraine Just Trying To Look Directly At Him" Niles. Denise files his nails and begs, "Make the call." Ernie goes for the phone and backs away several times, brushing away Girlie Mulder's hands, which keep coming down on his shoulders, I guess because "transvestite panic" was such a hot-button issue for comic and cultural exploration contemporary with the original airing of this show. Cooper enters and actually takes a donut, asking the two, "So, have we set the buy yet?" Girlie Mulder pronounces Niles "gun shy," which inspires Ernie to defend himself in that alternately Welsh/Geri-on-Facts-of-Life accent of his: "Gun shy? Ernie Niles is as bold as can be! Let me at him!" In a brave flourish which would probably be rendered all the more brave if I could remember

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Twin Peaks




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