Twin Peaks Rewatch Project - Season 2, Episode 17 to Episode 22
The final stretch of episodes in the second season of Twin Peaks represents the show’s last attempts to come together for a mystery that is as compelling as Laura Palmer’s. It never really reaches those heights, but the final episodes — more specifically the season finale — pack quite a punch and definitely leave the most die-hard Twin Peaks fans (me) wanting more.
Previously, we saw the death of Josie Packard, who passed away right after murdering Thomas Eckhardt. Her lover, Sheriff Truman, is now grieving her death, locking himself away, drinking nonstop. Dale Cooper takes charge of the Sheriff’s station in Truman’s absence and tries to piece together the mysteries currently revolving around the town of Twin Peaks. Cooper’s nemesis Windom Earle is still on the loose, sending chess piece moves to Cooper. Earle has Leo Johnson under his thumb, controlling him with a shock collar, and the two of them capture a rock musician, Rusty (Ted Raimi in a cool cameo), who was passing through town and they place him in a giant pawn piece. Cooper finds Rusty’s dead body in a gazebo — another twisted move by Earle which adds another layer of the absurd, perpetrated by a villain that may not be at Bob levels of evil, but who’s certainly a match for Cooper.
Also, Earle continues to target the trio of girls he set his sights on in the previous episode — Donna, Audrey, and Shelly. In disguise, he visits each one. Sure, the makeup for each one of his alter egos doesn’t hold up 27 years later, but the fact that this evil figure is able to get so close to the innocent townsfolk of Twin Peaks is indeed unsettling. Earle also observes Cooper’s new found relationship with Annie (Heather Graham), Norma’s younger sister and ex-nun who begins waitressing at the Double-R Diner. Annie has a troubled past, as shown by the scars on her wrists implying she tried to commit suicide. Cooper says they have a lot in common, admitting that he went to a dark place after falling in love with Earle’s wife, a love affair that ended with her death and Cooper's stabbing. Oh, and in the midst of all this is the lead up to the Miss Twin Peaks pageant contest. Each prominent young woman in town enters the pageant, including Earle’s trio, Annie, Lucy, and, oh, Nadine, who continues to suffer from the amnesia that has her acting like a high schooler.
Sure, the original plan of Cooper and Audrey coming together would’ve worked better thematically, maybe. But the age difference and behind-the-scenes kerfuffle caused the producers to shift away from that relationship to giving these two characters their own new individual romances. While Cooper has Annie on his mind, Audrey has Jack Wheeler (Billy Zane), an associate of Ben’s. Audrey has a few dates with Jack, and they immediately connect, but Jack has to leave when he learns that his business partner has been murdered. Audrey, with the help of Pete Martell and his truck, reach the airstrip before Jack’s jet takes off. In a passionate confession, Audrey says she’s a virgin and she would like nothing more than for Jack to make love with her in his private jet. Right after their passionate moment, Jack leaves and Audrey worries she may never see him again. Yeah, talk about an exit.
Cooper, meanwhile, fulfills a promise to he made to himself at the beginning of the season, while he was lying in his room close to death after being shot — “I would very much like to make love to a beautiful woman who I had genuine affection for.” Cooper and Annie share an intimate moment after she visits him in his hotel room. A conversation about tree conservation and the Miss Twin Peaks pageant quickly ends as they kiss and undress. As he starts to entrench himself in this relationship, he gets a warning from The Giant who waves his hands and mouths, “No!” to Cooper as he kisses Annie on the dance floor of the Roadhouse. With all the warnings and clues he has taken into account in the past, it’s telling that Cooper decides to disregard The Giant’s message. Only in the occasion of love does Cooper lose track of the danger that’s ahead.
Ben Horne continues down the road of redemption, with charity events trying to save forests and the almost-extinct Pine Weasel, all in a counter move to Catherine Martell’s Ghostwood project. But his attempts to cleanse his soul from the sins of his involvement at One Eyed Jack’s and Laura Palmer’s fate ultimately fails. Ben is in love with Donna’s mother, Eileen, whom he had a love affair with many, many years ago. Ben visits Eileen and confesses his love and keeps alluding to a secret that Donna wants revealed. In their final moments of the second season, Ben goes to the Hayward home and admits that he is Donna’s biological father. Doc Hayward orders him to leave, but things escalate when Ben’s wife, Eileen, shows up. The good doctor, in a fit of rage, punches Ben, which causes him to slam his head against the fireplace. With a face covered in blood, Ben lays knocked on in the Hayward’s living room.
Thomas Eckhardt's assistant, Jones, pays a visit to Catherine and gives her a gift, an impenetrable puzzle box. Catherine, Andrew Packard, and Pete manage to solve enough of its clues to open it, with the help of sheer brute force and a few bullets from Andrew’s revolver. Inside is a key to a safety deposit box, which Andrew and Pete take to the bank. That same day, Audrey decides to chain herself to the bank vault door, in protest of the bank’s shady dealings in the Ghostwood project. She picked the wrong day to practice civil disobedience as Andrew and Pete open the safety deposit box. Eckhardt gets the last laugh as the box holds a bomb that blows the bank to bits leaving the fates of everyone inside up in the air.
Briggs, with the help of Margaret, The Log Lady, finds a symbol on his neck, one that appeared after his recent disappearance. Margaret shares another symbol that appeared on her while in the woods. Cooper doodles these two symbol together and Annie identifies it as a symbol found at Twin Peaks' Owl Cave. Unbeknownst to Truman and Cooper, Earle plants a microphone in a bonsai tree in the Sheriff’s office and manages to be one step ahead. After Cooper and the boys find the Owl Cave and a mysterious puzzle inside, Earle goes in and solves it, revealing an ancient petrograph that Cooper ponders over.
It turns out Earle not only wants to make Cooper suffer, he’s also obsessed with the mystery surrounding the Black Lodge. The presence of a White Lodge is also mentioned — the polar opposite of the evil force the Black Lodge holds. Earle has no desire to visit the White Lodge, he’s more eager to enter the Black Lodge and use it for his nefarious purposes. He captures Briggs in order the get the last necessary details to reach the Lodge. Leo helps in releasing Briggs, in a protest to Earle’s desire to harm Shelly. After finding Briggs gone, Earle places Leo in a trap that has a box of spiders dangling above his head. This is the last we’ll see of poor Leo.
Shelly and Bobby have better luck, coming closer together in Leo’s absence. Although, one small obstacle comes from an unexpected source. Agent Gordon Cole, the near-deaf FBI supervisor of Cooper played by David Lynch, returns to Twin Peaks and visits the Double R Diner. There, he meets Shelly who he hears clear as a bell. While he shouts at everyone else he meets, struggling to hear, there’s a calm in how he interacts with Shelly. It’s never really explained why he hears Shelly perfectly — could it be the amazing pies or is it because Twin Peaks affects people differently? Before he leaves, he shares a kiss with Shelly at the diner. Bobby walks in to witness this, and Cole goes in for another kiss, saying, “You are witnessing a three-quarter view of two adults sharing a tender moment!” Soon after, Shelly and Bobby make up and he asks her to marry him, not knowing Leo’s predicament.
Everything comes to a head at the Miss Twin Peaks pageant. There, Lucy choses Andy over Dick Tremayne as the father of her baby. After a sandbag to the head, Nadine reverts back to her old self, putting a wrench in the gears of Ed and Norma’s romance. The pageant ends with Annie as the winner, but she doesn’t celebrate for long as Earle makes his move. He turns on dizzying strobe lights and sets off explosions on stage. He captures Annie before Cooper can stop him. Right after the chaotic scene, Andy goes to Cooper and says that the petrograph from the cave is a map that leads directly to the Black Lodge.
Cooper does some last-minute detective work and with the help of Margaret and Ronette Pulaski he finds the linkage between the mysterious events in town and a pool of black oil in the woods. He knows that’s where he can find the entrance to the Black Lodge. Earle is once again one step ahead of Cooper and takes Annie into the Black Lodge. Truman drives Cooper to the Lodge's entrance. Knowing that he must do this alone, Cooper leaves Truman and embarks on a journey to find Earle and Annie. Truman is in awe as he sees Cooper vanish into the mystical world.
What follows are some of the best moments from Twin Peaks’ first two seasons. Luckily, David Lynch returns to direct the second season finale, which is packed to the brim with Black Lodge imagery. Cooper is welcomed by a haunting performance of “Sycamore Trees” by jazz singer Jimmy Scott. He then sits down in the Lodge’s waiting room with the dancing dwarf aka the Man from Another Place. The Man, in the Lodge’s traditional backwards speak, gives Cooper crypt messages like, “When you see me again, it won’t be me.” They are then joined by Laura Palmer who promises him she’ll see him again in 25 years — a promise that is (hopefully) fulfilled in the show’s third season.
The old waiter, who we’ve seen throughout the season, appears and gives Cooper a cup of coffee. The waiter turns into the Giant who says, “One and the same.” It would seem that, like Bob, forces from the Lodge have been inhabiting the bodies of the townsfolk in Twin Peaks. The coffee that Cooper is offered turns stone solid, then into liquid, and then into a thick oil-like substance in the cup. The drink Cooper is so enamored by becomes a dark, unknown substance in this world.
Cooper then tries to navigate his way through the red curtain-draped world, only to find himself back in the waiting room. After a warning from the spirit of Maddy, Cooper is faced with an evil doppelganger of Laura. Blood starts to pour from his stomach, taking him back to the moment he was stabbed by Earle. Doppelgangers continue to pop up as Annie and Caroline come to Cooper to haunt him. He finally encounters Earle, who tries to use the Lodge’s powers to take Cooper’s soul. But, Bob steps in and takes Earle’s soul instead, effectively stopping Earle’s plans. A laughing Bob is joined by a laughing, evil doppelganger of Cooper. As the real Cooper tries to escape, he runs into the spirit Leland. A chase begins between the evil Cooper and the real Cooper.
Truman, in the real world, finds Cooper alive along with a still-alive Annie. Later, we find Cooper in bed seemingly waking up, although he says to Doc Hayward and Truman, in a very stilted way, “I wasn’t sleeping.” He asks about Annie and Truman says she’s fine and recuperating at the hospital. And, in the season’s finale moments, Cooper goes to brush his teeth only to intentionally smash his head into the bathroom window. In the reflection, we see Bob, and he and Cooper together snicker as Cooper repeats, “How’s Annie? How’s Annie?”
And that’s how the season ends. Yeah, I know. Imagine seeing this on June 10, 1991 and then getting the news that the show has been canceled. No resolution. What happened to the Bob-possessed Cooper? What happened to the townsfolk of Twin Peaks? Well, 26 years later, we’ll (most likely) be getting answers to the questions that have been on viewers minds since the cliffhanger. The first two seasons of Twin Peaks have been a uniquely trippy ride, and with Lynch directing each episode of the new season and co-writing them with Mark Frost, it’s safe to say we’re in store for something special.