Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to rock bottom. This is the worst episode of Twin Peaks, and for that, we have director Uli Edel and writer Scott Frost to thank.
Frost had obviously never heard of the cardinal rule of writing, “Show, don’t tell.” Here are the howlers Kyle MacLachlan is forced to deliver, to make sure we know Coop’s adversary is a force to be reckoned with (feel free to say, “Ugh.” after each one, as I did):
“Windom Earle has been in this room. I can still feel his presence.”
“Windom Earle is a genius.”
“Windom Earle’s mind is like a diamond. It’s cold and hard, and brilliant.”
“You don’t know what he’s capable of.”
And we really didn’t need any of that, because the scene that introduces Earle is quite good – atmospheric and mysterious. Even the writing isn’t bad in this scene, aside from the fact that Earle introduces himself using his full name. You know, in case the chess board didn’t make it clear enough who this was, and to make sure we don’t think he’s some other guy with that super-common name, “Windom”. Anyway, to have a brain-damaged Leo run into him is a productive idea, from a narrative perspective.
Edel doesn’t do so well with Leo’s earlier scene, in which he terrorizes Shelley. From a purely logical standpoint, when did Leo have the time to rig the doors so they can’t be opened from the inside or the outside? And why would he engage in cliché horror movie behaviour instead of just attacking Shelley? He should be in a state of pent-up fury by this point, after all. Furthermore, what is up with the generic thriller music used in this scene? Did they get Angelo to do that?
Other puzzling decisions include combining a shot of Evelyn with a lame car crash sound effect, then moving on to the next scene, leaving the viewer wondering if her husband’s car really crashed or she just imagined it. And why does the Major collapse as he enters the Sheriff’s office? That’s never addressed.
Much of the episode looks drab, and it fails to make one care about anything occurring on screen. On Twin Peaks at least, those are capital crimes.
- It’s nice that Ed and Norma can finally be together.
- Once again, Lana bedazzles everyone. I noticed MacLachlan doesn’t quite know how to act in that scene, and I don’t blame him.
- Jacoby’s outfit is amazing.
- In the scene where the mayor is threatening to shoot Lana, it was funny when he added, “And the hippie too”, meaning Jacoby.
- We are introduced to Mr. Eckhardt after hearing so much about him. His sunglasses reflect the flames he is looking at. I should feel something, yet I don’t.
- We get to see two corny owls in one episode.