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

A close-up of a chess board with two pawns facing each other right in the middle (I guess this is the kind of chess game that starts with "Checkmate" and works its way systematically backwards until all of the pieces are in their starting position, but whatever) pans back to display Cooper in Truman's office, staring at the game. Truman asks after the significance of the chess game in all this, and Cooper has the answer at the ready, "Because Windom Earle and I played a game every day for three years." Oh, yawn. I wouldn't want to do something I enjoyed every day for three years, much less stare at those silly little pieces and continually ask my increasingly infuriated partner, "Wait, the horse guy is the one who makes the little L thing, right?" Cooper continues that Earle thought all of life could be explained in chess. Well, the whole second season of Twin Peaks can be, and here goes: it's boring. Cooper confirms that it's now his turn to win, and has published his response in The Twin Peaks Gazette and can now only wait. Truman tells Cooper that he's really going to need some more information than he currently has, and -- sound the alarm, it's a backstory alert -- Cooper responds, "Harry, I brought some baggage to town I haven't told you about." And here's some of it: Windom Earle was Cooper's partner. Four years ago, they were to protect a material witness in a federal crime. "Carolyn." She and Cooper fell in love, and because he let his guard down while allegedly protecting her, whoever the bad guys were did their bad guy thing and attacked them, wounding him and killing her dead (the aforementioned abdominal gash). The killer was never found. Windom Earle went cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs and had been institutionalized until his recent escape. Truman wonders why Earle would take a little federal negligence so dern seriously, and, well, Cooper knows the answer to that, too: "Caroline was Windom Earle's wife." Which would be a hell of a lot more dramatic if her name didn't just change from "Carolyn" to "Caroline" in less than twenty cumulative seconds of screen time. Oh, also? Yeah, um, Cooper thinks Earle might have been the one who killed her. Who? Caroline. Lyn. Whatever. Strained metaphors now being sent to an adjunct medical tent somewhere across the ABC lot over to the set of Major Dad, Cooper piles 'em higher and deeper: "Windom Earle's mind is like a diamond. It's cold. And hard. And brilliant." Cooper thinks Earle feigned the insanity that got him put in the white jacket with the locks on the back, but "at some point, he lost the ability to distinguish between what's right and wrong." Like a diamond. Oh, sorry. I guess that one's actually a simile.

Back at the bar "Wallie's," in which Slater Fetus first encountered Evelyn in the long, dark night of Strega's soul, Evelyn is once again seated at the bar. Out of nowhere walks Donna "Methuselover" Hayward, who orders a coffee (no extra potatoes today, thanks) and tells the bartender, "I'm looking for a biker named James." Evelyn slides over. "James Hurley?" Yah, that's the James. Evelyn lies that he did some work for her but now he's gone, "to Mexico, I think." Evelyn tells Donna to take off and go home, claiming "it would be better." Oh, that's so true. Dissolve back to James leaning against a poll in silhouette (Uli digs that effect, oh yes he does), as the Badalamenti hit parade continues as "Just You" fades up on the soundtrack. Did they, like, release a compilation album the week this episode aired or what?

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Twin Peaks

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