Monday, April 17, 2017

"One can never answer questions at the wrong moment" (Twin Peaks Episode 7)

Twin Peaks, Episode 7. The Last Evening (Air date May 23 1990)

The funny thing about episodes 6 and 7 is that they continue directly on from one another, so much so I jumbled them together in my memory whilst writing the last chapter of this rewatch. (I should read my notes more often...thats the point of taking them) Effectively Episode 6 sets up the twin situations, James and Donna tricking Jacobi so they can search the apartment and Cooper undercover at One eyed Jacks.

So yes the actual conversation with Jacques that gives me the creeps occurs here, as does the scene of James and Donna retrieving the tape from Jacoby's apartment. Episode 7 takes the setups of the earlier episodes and rushes them towards a flurry of cliffhangers to cap off the first season. All these events occur in one night; Jacoby is attacked in the park and has a heart attack, Jacques is shot by Andy while resisting arrest, Jacques is then suffocated in Hospital by Leland Palmer. Leo ties Shelly up and sets the Mill fire, Catherine is lured to the Mill to meet the same fate as per Ben's plan. Leo is shot by Hank Jennings while trying to murder Bobby with an Axe. Nadine overdoses on pills after the failure of her drape runners and the obvious nature of Ed's desire for Norma. Pete runs into the Mill inferno to rescue Catherine. Ben goes to try out the "new girl" at One Eyed Jacks, unknown to him it is Audrey who in turn discovers her fathers ownership of the place, and finally Cooper is shot three times while answering the door to his room thus ending the season. What a night!

That is not to say everything is up in the air. Andy finishes his little character arc that dates back to the Pilot, when his friends are in danger he sharpens up and proves to be a ruthless defender of law and order. While Lucy and Andy are very much comedic relief, the world building of the show shows them as having firm places in a small town sheriff's office. Andy is clumsy and cries when bad things happen, but he is also the police sketch artist (and not a bad one) and comes through for Truman when the need is most urgent. Lucy is annoying as heck, but organised as heck as well. Both are exaggerated like many of the towns people are, but you can kinda see how they fit in and how they are both still part of the police department. They are good, light characters, who pull us away a little from some of the darkness and violence that lurks in the show.

I was quite lucky, due to the delay in airing the series in Australia we didn't have to wait for the conclusion to the cliff hanger. This is a very "who will live and who will die" kind of ending common in season ends for soaps, multiple characters are in dangerous predicaments and because of the size of the cast any (maybe besides Cooper) could be at the worse end of it! This is pretty masterful TV from Mark Frost, whom I havn't written enough about here to be honest. Frost wrote and directed this cliffhanger episode and all the beats play out perfectly to peak the audiences interest in the next season. The proof is in the ending, while Jacques or Leo or Shelly COULD die, we know Cooper won't. As the main character, the audience expects him to be more resilient to danger as what would a second series be without him. Frost knows this, so he gives Cooper the most unambiguous cliffhanger of them all. (Well maybe apart from Waldo the bird) Cooper is shot three times, at point blank range, while his guard is down. While in the back of your head you know he will survive, thats a pretty great  cliffhanger ending, as close to actual doubt to his survival as you can get. Cooper has been shot, and as to how that plays out we need to wait till the next season to find out...