Twin Peaks
Episode Twenty-One

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Djb: C+ | Grade It Now!
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James Marshall is a really bad actor

Fade in on darkness and unmistakable drama as Badalamenti's High Drama Flute Of I-Already-Played-These-Three-Notes-Last-Week-Not-To-Mention-The-Nineteen-Consecutive-Weeks-Before-That picks up where we left off last week, inside the police station with the dead hobo and the continuity-challenged chess game set up as before. I think. Hey, lighting supervisor? It's called an "on switch." I read about it in Premiere. If I wanted to watch Twin Peaks with this little clarity, I would have gone ahead and gouged my eyes out with a particularly jagged crust of cherry pie somewhere around the first iteration of the words "push the plug." All of which is kind of strange, considering the fact that it should be a lot lighter in there, what with the neon sign and blinking arrow pointing directly at Dead Chess Hobo and reading, "Spot The Pawn-In-The-Game Metaphor." A close-up shot on a swatch of bloody gauze pans back to The Checked Mate (don't mind me, floundering in the corner looking for an appropriate nickname that isn't, well, that one…you just go ahead, I'll catch up with you later), and a hand reaches into the frame and rips said gauze off. Doc Hayward utters his usual "I'm not a doctor, and soon I won't play a whole lot of anything on TV" variation of "Good Lord," as Cooper extracts what appears to be the pawn (geddit? Do ya? Do ya? Do ya?) from between Slobby Fischer's teeth and places it in a plastic bag marked "evidence." Cooper hands the bag to Andy, telling him, "I want this dusted for prints." Harry "Xiu Xiu: Girl Sent Down…On Me" Truman walks in and informs the assemblage, "No one saw a thing. The blackout and the fire drew everyone out of the building." Say, there's a blackout about? Truman asks how long Hey Rook Me Over has been dead, and the good doctor admits that he won't know without a formal autopsy. Cooper gets that process underway: "Doc, if you'll lift up the victim's shirt, I believe you'll find a stab wound one inch beneath the sternum, penetrating upwards, severing the aorta." Doc lifts up Chess-ter Cheetah's shirt, which reads, "I searched for Bobby Fischer and all I got was this stupid highly stylized Abdominal Contusion," beneath which is a stab wound one inch beneath the sternum, penetrating upwards, severing the aorta. Or so I am led to believe by the furtive, how-could-Cooper-know-about-the-stab-wound-one-inch-beneath-the-sternum-penetrating-upwards-severing-the-aorta stares currently ricocheting off the walls of the very, very, very dark room. Truman: "You've seen this before?" Snerk. Great line. I half-expect the camera to zoom all crazily in on Cooper, who would hold the flashlight below his chin and recount a dark-and-stormy-night tale about a man walking alone in the woods who came across a lunatic with hooks for hands and eyes that glinted as bright as the sliver horsemen of the Civil War Memorial Chess Set, and that the first man was found dead in the trunk of his car, and the story goes in the old woods that he was…"Bored to death…by chess!" Which is what I'm being right now. See the intrigue? And you thought chess was the sport of high school dorks and Russian defectors with essentially identical names no self-respecting chess-hating American has ever been able to pronounce correctly or, in truth, has really tried that hard. Well, now you know differently.

Flashlights scouring the floor, Cooper and Truman come across a tiny scrap of something (first season thematic cohesion, perhaps? No, I guess that was all lost in the fire. Stupid insurance companies) which Cooper picks up and asks, "Douglas Fir, Harry?" Which is cool, because it's totally a shout-out to their first conversation in the pilot. Harry corrects him that he has stumbled upon "Lodge Poll Pine." Cooper shrugs it off in that "when they blow moodily, they all look the damn same at this point" kind of way (oh, sorry, that's actually me doing that), and is happy for the interruption when Hawk enters the room and fills in some more gaps, on the matter of footprints: "Two sets. Same boots, one coming, one leaving. Heavier impressions on the way down." Cooper surmises: "Carrying the body." Creepy. Truman surveys the scene and poses the second most filler question in this episode's short history (a narrow runner-up to the "You've seen this before" query of a few moments back), "Are you sure Windom Earle is behind this?" Let's see. Chess set. Telltale wound. Cooper's turf. An actual, um, personals column entry in the newspaper with the word "Earle" in it accompanied by the chess move allegedly on the said chess set before them. Oh yeah, this thing's got "random attack" written all over it. What do you need, Truman, a nationally printed advertisement? Because it seems to me you even got that. But Cooper feels there's the time to greatly expound, and I have no choice but to believe he's absolutely correct: "A short time ago, a vagrant, our victim, was befriended and offered a lift. He was driven to a location beyond the ridge; his car will still be there." Blah he was stabbed once, blee he tried to get away but collapsed soon after, blarg, "Windom Earle engineered the explosion that caused the power outage. He created the diversionary fire that drew everyone out of the station, and brought the body in through this window." Indicates window. Hello, window. Cooper continues on while the rest of the show's cast members scurry around the Senate floor trying to collect enough votes to override the Presidential veto, because we're back in congressional filibuster mode here, people: "Harry, we're not gonna find any fingerprints in here. No mistakes. No slip-ups. Everything has its own rationale, precision, intelligence. Windom Earle is a genius. And he's taken his first pawn in a very sick game." Thank you, explicit "pawn" reference. That neon arrow was really fueling a migraine onset. The chess table lies forebodingly on the table. Meanwhile, the three remaining members of ABBA sit in their dark, ambiguous corner of Scandinavia, perched atop huge piles of money and watching Episode 21 on a large-screen, gold-plated television, thinking that the only way the dramatic ante of this thematic material could be upped any further is if the whole darn thing were set to synth music and performed live on the never-ostentatious Broadway stage.

Over at the very dark Great Northern, a fire burns and candles illuminate Rustic Northwest Quaintness Conference Room, Part Pi, and we pan over to Audrey "Now With 50% Less Family" Horne sitting in consult with Bobby "So Over Him I'm Airborne" Briggs and, again, preaching to the diverted: "If there's one thing I learned from my father before he flipped his wig, it's that a business relationship is like a sacred pact, equaled only by the closest of personal relationships, where nothing is held back." Bobby offers a noncommittal "right," though it's clear to Audrey that Bobby's attention would be compromised completely if faced with the option of listening to her versus, say, his reflexive wont to follow the path of a shiny object waved in front of his eyes. So she changes tacks, ever so slightly, "Do you wanna get rich, Bobby?" I briefly take it a bit too weirdly personally that Bobby sits up and regards Audrey with a level of intensity he never reached when he looked at me, even back when we were together. And, I thought, pretty happy. Bobby leans in and responds: "Immediately." Realizing that she needs a visual aid to keep his attention but cognizant of the fact that all of the really good, colorful toys are still being used to occupy her brother's attention (and doing a pretty passable job therein, seeing as he hasn't passed through the frame once since, correct me if I'm wrong here, Laura's funeral), Audrey grabs an ice cube out of a nearby glass (though with the amount of pretentiously-directed, mood-setting candles currently burning in that room, I'm frankly a

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