The head float in the Directorial Excess Parade rides into town very, very early this week. In the first Lynch-directed endeavor since the halcyon days of Episode 9, we join the action in progress inside the Sheriff's Station, where Hawk, COLE, Cooper, The One-Armed Man, and Andy stand in silence in front of Lucy's empty desk, all enjoying large cups of coffee (they drink coffee on this show?) brimming with cream, sugar, and more than the heaping teaspoonful of Overarching Thematic Relevance. Man, how'd they fit all that stuff in those tiny little mugs, anyway? Truman enters the room with his own cup of coffee (they drink coffee on this show?) and announces to the assemblage, "Everything's set. They're waiting for us at the Great Northern." The One-Armed Man stares directly into his mug (they drink…oh, never mind) and intones verbatim his closing filibuster from last week's episode, which helped Cooper identify the location of BOB: "A large house made of wood, surrounded by trees. The house is filled with many rooms, each alike, but occupied by different souls, night after night." But without the benefit of a dark and stormy blowing-trees kind of night or a moody Badalamenti chord of any kind, the moment passes entirely without drama as the rest of the crowd stares him up and down as if asked to pick the creepiest guy on the planet out of this modified police line-up. Whatever. I still think it's Harry Goaz, but that's just me. Cooper skips the implied and bemused "Aaaaaaanyway" this situation so richly deserves, turning instead to Truman and asking if the guests will be in the lobby. Truman assures him "full cooperation" before turning the topic matter to other devolving subplots: "Hawk, you got that warrant for Harold Smith's apartment?" Hawk says that he does, and will be on his way to check out the house after he -- wait for it -- finishes his coffee. Which they drink. On this show. Got it.
COLE turns the topic to the matter of the ABC Primetime Infomercial for the collected written works of one Jennifer Lynch, bellowing, "Pages found near the bloody towel down the train tracks from the crime site were from a diary." Cooper adds that "Donna Hayward spoke of Harold Smith having a secret diary of Laura Palmer's. Could be important." Yes, important indeed. If by "important," you mean "written by his daughter." In an episode directed by, well, her father. The suspicious glare now shifts to COLE, who avoids staring back with a mondo-guilty "I say cross-media synergy, you say opportunistic nepotism. Let's call the whole thing off" kind of look until Cooper changes the subject and the hilarity-sanctioned volume of his voice, asking COLE of his imminent departure for "Bend, Oregon." COLE shrieks, "I'm over to Bend, Oregeon. Official business. Real hush-hush." See, and he yells the words "hush-hush." Irony. Because he can't hear, people. While they're trying to track down the secret diary, they'd better get their best Bookhouse Boy on the case of those missing sacks with the dollar signs on them to find out where all of their carefully mined comedy gold has mysteriously disappeared to. And so COLE begins his trip down the receiving line, shaking hands and offering "good luck" to them all before hightailing it back behind the camera, wresting control of the equipment from whatever productions assistant's temp would otherwise have directed this week's episode. So let's just say I'll forgive him the numerous obvious excesses we are about to endure during this week's episode, for at least they will be Lynch-originated rather than Lynch-derivative. Let's just say I'm gladder that way. Much, much Glatter.
Over in the lobby of the large house made of wood surrounded by trees and filled with many rooms each alike but occupied by different souls night after night, a close-up of the The One-Armed Man's face shows him repeatedly shaking his head and muttering, "No, no, no." We pan back to show him sitting in a chair next to Doc Hayward as the guests of the hotel are paraded in front of him, but no one seems to possess the amount of demon possession required for Mr. Without Chemicals to point. Pan back further to note that the guests of the hotel are being escorted, cotillion-style, by men and women in what appear to be US Naval outfits, across the lobby to stand before Gerard, while other uniformed folk litter the surrounding area bouncing tennis balls back and forth to each other off of the hardwood floor. The sound closely resembles that of popcorn popping, but even this unceasing noise is soon to be drowned out by the even louder perverse and systematic thwack-ing sound of the gratuitous artistic masturbation that pervades this entire sequence. Cut to Ben Horne walking purposefully down a hallway somewhere in the hotel, puffing furiously at his cigar, and just as he enters the lobby, the One-Armed Man pitches himself off of the chair and all manner of havoc erupts. Ben stands over the convulsing man asking, "What the hell is going on here?" Andy tries to restore the peace and Ben's spirit fingers stand at attention as the drama escalates. But Lynch's primary target during the fade-out of this scene is on the military folks walking zombie-like around the lobby bouncing, bouncing, bouncing. Seriously, was he trying to get this show canceled? I mean, it's no skin off this recapper's back. I already know how many episodes I'm contracted for before I move on to some other noble MBTV project like the final three episodes of Freaks and Geeks (just kidding) or the entire run of Picket Fences (see, now I've moved from kidding to flat-out mocking), but if you ask me, adding "moodily bouncing balls" to this show's already clunky thematic résumé wasn't getting it any closer to an elusive Season Three. I'm just sayin'.