Coma , Twin Peaks Episode 9 (Air date October 6 1990)
For the record, I found Jame's musical scene cringeworthy in 1991 and that has not changed.
Which is an important point, as Twin Peaks is a very musical show. The sound track was not only distinctive but also very different from programs before or since. The OST album had a hit single (Falling), and often leaked into the show itself. (Audrey playing a tune on the Juke Box at the RR, Julie Cruise singing at the roadhouse etc) Whilst television shows had soundtracks, they tended to be lower key than Badalamentis and were just that; sound tracks used to indicate tension and drama points. They were very much background elements, Twin Peaks brought the TV series soundtrack into the foreground. This trend did happen a bit in the 90s, The X-files and Babylon 5 were very well known for their Original Soundtracks and used music much more actively than the usual two to three pieces of background sound. The X-Files even had a whole album , Songs in the Key of X, of music inspired by the series which pushed the TV (and movie) OST towards incorporating more and more Pop songs as opposed to original compositions. Which gets us to where we are now, a mix of the two with often annoyingly inserted Pop songs (I'm looking at you Westworld) taking centre stage.
Now I have promised myself to write something about Donna, but I don't think it's the best episode to do this in so we will do it via James. What James is supposed to be is pretty obvious from the Pilot, he's supposed to be James Dean. Unfortunately James Marshall doesn't really have Dean's charisma so he comes of as a bit of a moody sort of quiet guy. Even Laura sees right through him, and in that way he is perfectly cast, though he did cop some criticism at the time from critics. James is kind of a hapless figure, he is dragged about by his relationship with Laura and then Donna and it is unclear what he really wants other than a girlfriend and stability. I am very interested to see him back in the new Season, especially since the series kind of gave up on him from this point on...
As we saw last episode Ronette has woken up from her Coma and is interviewed by Cooper and Truman. Ronette all but rules out Leo as the Killer, but reacts badly to seeing BOB. I don't blame her, this episode and the previous go longs ways to make sure that you the viewer is aware that BOB is a scary mother fucker. Maddy's vision of BOB is simple and terrifying in how relentless it is. I mean look:
We also have two very important minor characters introduced. We first hear about Windom Earle, Cooper's ex partner who went crazy and inevitably wants to get revenge, a set up for the second half of the season. We also encounter Mrs Tremond and her Grandson, possibly two of the most debated characters in the whole Twin Peaks Mythos due to their appearance in Fire walk with me. Mrs Tremond dislikes Creamed Corn (Garmonbozia) and her Grandson is a magician (like MIKE)
Writing this, I actually really like this Episode and the great majority of the run up until the solution despite how cringy I find the musical scene. We are treated to some nice scary stuff in Maddy's vision, tense stuff with Audrey getting found out at One Eyed Jacks and mysterious stuff with Major Brigg's revelations to Cooper. I do love this scene with Major Briggs and I need to squeeze some thoughts on the Major into this series later on. Project Blue Book and Government investigation of the strange is such a rich topic for story telling and here is Twin Peaks two years before the X-files dipping its toe into those waters. In this case, it seems the Air Force has been monitoring transmissions (or maybe emissions?) from the woods around Twin Peaks using the same equipment they would use to study transmissions from celestial bodies. Are the mysterious beings in the woods aliens? Or simply able to do something that emulates this kind of transmission. Fire Walk with Me indicates the later, and this Lynch directed episode is very heavily linked with the movie.