Audrey flirts with Agent Cooper. Dr Hayward says Laura had sex with three men in the last 12 hours of her life, and confirms that Ronette was attacked by the same person. Shelley finds a bloody shirt in Leo’s laundry and hides it. When he discovers it’s missing, he beats her. Bobby and Mike discuss the money from Laura’s safety deposit box; they’re supposed to give it to Leo. Nadine is obsessed with silent drape runners. Ben and Catherine are planning something sinister with the mill. Sarah has a vision of a long-haired man crouching at the foot of Laura’s bed. As Dr Jacoby listens to a tape of Laura, who was his patient, we see it is him who stole the other half of the necklace.
After that stellar pilot, anything would have felt like a let-down (not a huge one, as you can tell by the grade). Of course, this episode has the disadvantage of not being directed by David Lynch. It’s standard for tv shows to use several directors and many writers. The problem with this particular show is that Lynch’s style is very personal, and as a result, a lot harder to mesh with than that of other tv directors. Since Lynch apparently couldn’t direct this episode, he asked someone he’d worked with before to do it: the man who edited Blue Velvet (and would go on to edit Wild at Heart, not to mention the 2017 TP episodes), Duwayne Dunham.
Dunham actually did a fine job here. If something is missing, I’d say it’s a strong visual style. But he acquits himself well in other departments. I thought he got excellent performances out of James Marshall and Lara Flynn Boyle, who are very convincingly in love (I’m thinking especially of James’ goofy smile while sitting at the dinner table with Donna). Mädchen Amick and Warren Frost also do well. It occurred to me on this rewatch that Frost gives one of the most realistic performances on the show.
Lynch and Mark Frost wrote the episode, and their voice comes through. Audrey’s wacked “seductive” dialogue with Cooper is certainly a highlight. (Cooper’s attraction to her, though, is kinda creepy.) From the start, this episode has a markedly lighter tone than the pilot, starting with Cooper hanging upside down. I’m guessing Lynch/Frost decided once they got picked up for a season that turning down the darkness a bit would make for easier episodic storytelling.
But it’s not all sunshine and lollipops. In fact it’s a moving episode, what with James tearing up while being interviewed by Cooper; Donna having a heart-to-heart with her mom about James; Shelley getting beat up; and Sarah and Donna having a contest of who can say “I miss her so much” the most times. Sarah wins by saying it so many times that she thinks she’s conjured Laura – another heart-rending moment. There’s also Dr. Hayward’s heavy-hearted report on Laura’s autopsy. Right after he asks, “Who would do a thing like that?”, the show basically answers by cutting to a shot of Leo’s truck. It wouldn’t be the last time the show would point a finger at him.
Just like the pilot, this episode wallops you at the end, this time by revealing it was Jacoby who stole the half-heart necklace. The chagrined look on his face gives the final shot some extra heft.
I remember thinking the first time I watched the show that they were hinting a little too hard that Leo or Dr. Jacoby might be the culprit for me to believe it.
- At one point, Hawk follows the one-armed man around the hospital. I never understood why he did that. What was suspicious about him?
- The corny low point of the episode comes when we see some slowed-down footage of Laura in that picnic video as she says “help me” in voiceover.
- “There was a fish… in the percolator!”
- “One day, my log will have something to say about this.”
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