Twin Peaks
Episode Twenty-Three

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Djb: C+ | Grade It Now!
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"Windom's Angels" just doesn't have the same ring to it

The lucky seventh grade president of his middle school's audio-visual squad clearly tapped to direct this episode -- equipped only with a network budget of several hundred thousand dollars and a copy of the Twin Peaks new director primer's guide, The Path to the Hack Lodge -- has cleverly decided to open this episode with -- no, really -- a really slow panning shot across a chess board. It's a clear directorial homage to the previous episode and the one before that and the one before that and, if memory serves correctly (which it very well may not, seeing as my current pace of churning out new Twin Peaks recaps coincides with the approximate frequency of a stray dodo wandering through my apartment), the episode before that. Whoever has been circulating the apocryphal memo that lingering shots of shameless Parker Brothers product-placement is somehow "grand" or "regal" should be immediately reassigned to the production staff of the Civil War Commemorative Chess Set infomercial and never be allowed on the Lynch/Frost lot ever, ever again. Pan of chess. Pan of chess. Pan of chess. Pan of chess. Pan of chess. Full frontal nudity! Just kidding. More pan of chess. Couldn't it at least be a life or death game of Twister?

As we finally reach the other end of the board and come upon the white mask Cooper found in his bed last week, the tape-recorded message of "An Ill" Windom "Blows" Earl kicks up, all sinister, "Now Dale, listen carefully. It's your move. Please. Put your heart into it, will you?" He rambles on about Cooper's tentativeness in making his next move, "as if your mind were occupied with issues other than those on the board before you, and such preoccupation not only weakens one's resolve, but one's foresight as well, a deadly failing in any match, you must agree, but in this particular contest quite disastrous, as we play for grave stakes the likes of which you have no doubt surmised." Yeesh. Shut up, Long-Winded Earl. I didn't mean to quote that entire filibuster, but it just kept going and going and going. I swear, the man's sentence structure and syntax are more muddled that…well, than mine, even. I know. Go figure. There's a new sheriff in town.

Our Pawn Shop Pan of Inanimate Junk (chess board, mask, tape recorder, this plot thread) finally a thing of TV history, we pan up to discover Dale "Milton" Cooper and Harry "Bradley" Truman, sitting in Harry's office on opposite sides of the chess board. Earl urges Cooper via the tape recorder, "Print your move in tomorrow's paper, or I shall make it for you," and Diane clicks off. Harry takes a meaningful swig of Vaguest-Thematic-Link-To-The-Show's-Glory-Days Brand Coffee and drawls, "Cooper, I'm not letting you out of my sight." Cooper responds that if Windom wanted him dead he'd already be dead, and Harry nods a little insultingly at this perceived common knowledge ("I guess you really are dumber than him") before hopping to action at Cooper's suggestion to "get Pete on the horn." Truman intercoms out to Lucy to track down the deadline for posting a personal in the paper and also tells her to get Pete out to the police station. Lucy shoots back, "Paper and Pete. Got it. I'll do it alphabetically." Hee. I'm sorry, was that a little effortless quirkiness we just got from Lucy? Who called in the first season karma? But things don't stay blissfully unmaudlin for long, as The Somber Strings Of Wifely Deadness kick up anew and Truman stares down at the "Tragedy Tomorrow, Tragedy Tonight" mask on the table and notes, "She was beautiful." Er, Truman? That's just a mask. That's not her. Looks like someone needs a stronger cup of Vaguest-Thematic-Link-To-The-Show's-Glory-Days Brand Coffee, perhaps. Vaguest-Thematic-Link-To-The-Show's-Glory-Days Brand Coffee. It's the best part of waking up.

Continuity? Flaunted like the Twin Peals universe would collapse without it (well, it would. And will. Soon)? Maybe I've misjudged this episode thus far. Over at the Packard's, Pete is actually on the phone with Lucy, just as she should be, telling her to tell Harry that he'll be right over. But first, Pete has to serve breakfast, and he carries two plates to the table. He places one in front of Katherine and the other he hands to Andrew Packard, who commences in screaming with delight when he looks down at the plate. Because we too are angry and cynical viewers of the characters in this room and the actions they dare undertake, we adopt Katherine's P.O.V. and don't see the source of their hilarity until Andrew picks the plate up and shows it to her gleefully. Pete has taken the considerable time and effort necessary to transform the lavish breakfast into a human face, the two fried eggs acting as the eyes, a blackberry nose, a mouth of bacon, and ears of toast. Andrew thinks it's the funniest thing he's seen in the niche comedy genre known as "breakfast food facial hijinks" since he had to be carted out of a Denny's on a hospital stretcher, short of breath but still just able to pant merrily, "It's called Moons Over My Hammy! Now that's A-list material!" Katherine is superlatively angry, apparently of the belief that breakfast foods are not to be taunted, and rolls her eyes extravagantly. She's not gonna love it in an instant. She barks at Pete to go fetch her the salt and pepper, and flips on her Arbitrary Sardonic Response Generator JavaScript in telling Andrew that he and Pete "bring out the worst in each other," responding to Andrew's claim that Pete is "a prince of a man" with the hissing, "a court jester." Don't mess with Katherine. She's got a droll quip for every line, no matter how cliché and non sequitur. She's like the Magic 8-Ball of bad moods. The eeny-meeny of random sniping. Well, you get the picture. It just seems a shame to me that after such a successful stint as Driven Bitch back at the beginning of the show, her dialogue has descended into a string of bitchly one-liners like some pissed off Teddy Ruxpin with a Satan complex. I'm just sayin'. Pete excuses himself from the house (because, continuity!) and Katherine and Andrew get down to the evil scheming: "What's happening with Ghostwood?" Andrew vamps some really general corporate talk about "investors" and "meetings" while Joan Chen is running blithely around town celebrating the arrival of the Supercuts chain in the Pacific Northwest (her hair has gotten remarkably shorter and whoever took care of shearing duties gets no tip); she walks in the door carrying a bundle of sticks so she'll have something to drop when she lays on Andrew, who smiles broadly and reports, "I'm home! Didja miss me?" Josie drops the sticks and faints. Andrew laughs hysterically. The things one can do with eggs!

Back in Truman's office, Harry leafs through the latest copy of The Overly Literal Press (the paper that announced something about an "Asian Man Killed!!!" a few weeks ago), which this time too clearly elucidates, "No Clues to Killer" with the same photo of Jonathan above it. The other story on the page trumpets the hard news that "City Board Issue Nears Approval," which I guess means that the sidebar noting "Maddeningly Fake Newspaper Made On Commodore 64's Print Shop Companion Expected To Pass Without Comment" was moved to the front page where it so rightfully belongs. There's a knock on the door and Hawk accompanies Hank "Lam Chops" Jennings inside. Hank is on crutches, and he hobbles in to ask just what the big deal of his breaking parole is. Truman has a series of unambiguous responses, none of which I would have been able to conjure on my own volition. Go, Harry! Here are some now. "You crossed the border into Canada. You consorted with drug dealers at Dead Dog Farm. You tried to kill somebody." He did? He did II: Guilty Boogaloo? He did III: The Wrath of Yawn? I don't remember much of any of that. Harry plays lawman: "I'm charging you with the attempted murder of Leo Johnson." Hank doesn't seem so concerned, producing the alibi that he was at the diner the night of the non-murder, but Truman retorts that an eyewitness put him at the crime scene with a gun. Unflinching, Hank notes that Truman "seems serious about this," so he offers up a compromise by which he will give Truman "information leading to the arrest and conviction of Andrew Packard's murderer." Harry borrows Katherine's cliché generator, responding to Hank's plea for a deal with such scintillating dialogue as "No deals" and "You're through, Hank." But Hank's still got one more incompletely-thematically-developed six-spotted domino up his sleeve, as he threatens Harry that he should be more interested in gathering information on dead rich guy Andrew than not dead felon Leo, seeing as he possesses the information of "who pushed the button on Andrew," and that Harry "is sleeping with her." Is that a crime? Oh, wait. She's twelve. It is. Hawk kicks the crutches out from underneath Hank's, er, armpit, and he pitches forward onto Truman's desk. I'm going to go ahead and guess that this took place before police brutality became the polarizing political issue it is today. I don't think the good guys are allowed to do that anymore. Truman gruffly insists that Hawk "get 'em outta here," and also would like for Hawk to "GET 'EM OUTTA HERE!" The Overly Literal Press carries the story: "Truman to Hawk about Hank: Get 'em Outta Here."

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