Twin Peaks: Masked Ball   Rewatch 
October 21, 2014 5:26 PM - Season 2, Episode 11 - Subscribe

The FBI investigation into Cooper's questionable activities continues. The DEA sends a surprising new agent to Twin Peaks. Josie reveals the truth about her troubled past. Windom Earle makes his first move, and a long-missing player re-enters the scene.

Scheduling: new episodes posted every Tuesday and Thursday. Both re-watchers and new viewers are welcome.

(NOTE: After a brief hiatus, we're back! The rewatch schedule will take us through the next six weeks, to the end of November. Since the finale will land on Thanksgiving, we'll take a day off and come back on BLACK LODGE FRIDAY [Nov 28] to wrap everything up.)

Watching: available for streaming on Netflix, Amazon Prime, and for free on Hulu and CBS's site.

Previous Episode Threads:
Season One: Pilot, Traces to Nowhere, Zen, or the Skill to Catch a Killer, Rest in Pain, The One-armed Man, Cooper's Dreams, Realization Time, The Last Evening

Season Two: May the Giant Be With You, Coma, The Man Behind the Glass, Laura's Secret Diary, The Orchid's Curse, Demons, Lonely Souls, Drive With a Dead Girl, Arbitrary Law, Dispute Between Brothers

BONUS STUFF: By now, everyone's heard about Twin Peaks making a return to television in 2016. But that's not all: Last week co-creator Mark Frost announced an upcoming tie-in novel, The Secret Lives of Twin Peaks, which will give readers a glimpse into the fates of the series' best-loved (and hated) characters over the past 25 years. The book will come out late 2015, in advance of the series' revival on Showtime.
posted by Strange Interlude (4 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Thanks for taking up the thread, SI.

Dennis / Denise is an interesting character. At times she's played for laughs, but overall she's a pretty good character, especially for the second season. I enjoy the camaraderie that she and Coop have.

Otherwise, this Josie stuff (on rewatch) just isn't that interesting. We get a lot of boring new characters, and stuff just sorts of mills around and doesn't really go anywhere.
posted by codacorolla at 6:18 PM on October 21, 2014 [1 favorite]

I didn't time it, but I think the episode-opening motorcycle cruise takes up a full two or three minutes of airtime, which makes me wonder if this episode ended up running short for some reason or another.

Ah, the beginning of James' weird side trip into the alternate Penthouse Forum dimension that neighbors Twin Peaks. I forget exactly how many episodes this encompasses, but I seem to recall it takes at least another episode before it dawns on James that Evelyn juuust miiiight be coming on to him.

I recall this subplot being sort of predictable and tiresome on my past watches, but true to Peaks there actually is a bit of weird stuff happening on the edges: e.g. James punching up that crazy haunted-house blues on the jukebox (more evidence for my music theory from S01), and even the bizarre tone that all of Evelyn's dialogue seems to be written in. It's like the writers were experimenting with putting a parody of a '70s bodice-ripper heroine into the show, and it didn't quite come across in the final product. Maybe it's just bad writing, but for the sake of these threads I'm dedicating myself to meeting the show halfway.

I'm not altogether sure what Coop hoped to accomplish with his gonzo rant about things happening "beyond the edge of the board" and "seeing beyond fear", but it really seems like things are starting to get to him. I'll be interested to see if this might be where the cracks start forming in his heroic exterior, which in turn leads to his downfall at the very end.

I too am intrigued by Dennis/Denise, especially in light of the piecemeal advances in how transgender characters are presented on modern TV. Granted, Denise appears to be simply a transvestite, but the show seems to treat that as tantamount to full-on transgender status. In any case, David Duchovny somehow makes it all work. I wonder if there were any non-gender-conforming kids in 1990 who had some kind of breakthrough when he first appeared on screen.
posted by Strange Interlude at 8:05 PM on October 21, 2014 [1 favorite]

Denise appears to be simply a transvestite,

After watching her narrative multiple times, Denise really comes across as a transgendered person who swings both ways sexually. And although this is treated jokily occasionally, it never is by Coop, who is both immediately okay with it and also seems pleased by everything Denise has to tell him. It's also not played jokily by David Duchovny, who really does make a dynamite woman.

The Josie storyline is just garbage, and such a wasted opportunity. Josie is the first character we meet in Twin Peaks, and her lumbermill is one of the town's two primary industries along with the Great Northern, and they are engaged in a titanic struggle against each other. She's a woman with a troubled past and an incomplete education about America, and, because of a mysterious accident that caused her to take overt the mill, she's stuck in the middle of it all. It's the stuff of good drama, but is reduced to some lazy Orientalism, wildly uneven characterizations, and a tendency to just send Josie away when they're not sure what to do with her. She was primed to take over Twin Peaks, which is why, I think, we begin the series with her looking out at the the town, but instead she's just battered between competing forces and uncertain writers.

It's also a pity the mill is so short-shrifted in the show. Mill towns have a very specific culture, and the fact that Twin Peaks is a blue collar town based around a lumber industry should have added to its character more than simply by influencing the show's outrageous set design. But we're in a town where the small-town aristocracy of the Great Northern seems dominant -- Twin Peaks is full of dandies in plaid flannel, like Dick Tremayne, but we only see the workingman's side of it from the extras in the diner. It's as the the Great Northern has already won, and instead of being a mill town, the Ghostwood Country Club, which, like the Great Northern, seems like a Disney version of lumberjacking, created for tourists, had already been built and had infected the whole town.
posted by maxsparber at 8:29 AM on October 22, 2014 [3 favorites]

mr muffins and I laughed so hard at both of James' entrances on this ep. We both think it would be smashing if that was the entirety of his role for the rest of the show: when a bump is needed between scenes, cut to James' theme and a shot of him rolling up the road on his motorcycle for 15 seconds.
posted by trunk muffins at 9:31 AM on February 25, 2015

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