Twin Peaks: Zen, or the Skill to Catch a Killer   Rewatch 
August 5, 2014 10:26 AM - Season 1, Episode 3 - Subscribe

Agent Dale cooper employs unconventional investigative methods with a bucket of rocks and the letter "J". Ben and Jerry take a trip to a Jack with one eye. Albert makes an abrasive introduction. Intrigue builds at the Packard Mill. Cooper has a dream including some of the most iconic scenes in the series, creating a cryptic puzzle which will lead to the identity of Laura's killer.

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

Spoilers: spoilers are to be expected since this is a rewatch, however it may be best to avoid openly discussing the central mystery of the show. For people new to the series, spoilers aren't really a huge deal since this is a character based show, and it's hard to spoil the storylines (apart from that one thing).

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

Previous Episode Threads: S1 Pilot, S1 Traces to Nowhere

Bonus Stuff: Twin Peaks has been influential across multiple media, but perhaps most notably in the video game Deadly Premonition (formerly Rainy Woods). The game also follows the murder of a girl in a small town, with an idiosyncratic special agent, and a mysterious otherworldly dimension. Deadly Premonition has been talked about before on the Blue. Some possible spoilers for Twin Peaks.
posted by codacorolla (20 comments total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
Scott Campbell, of Great Showdowns and Double-Fine fame, did a print based on the bucket of rocks scene. Here's a blog post covering the process.
posted by He Is Only The Imposter at 11:30 AM on August 5, 2014 [3 favorites]

That's pretty awesome, He Is. I like the little dwarf watching from the tree branches.

The scene with Jerry bringing in the French sandwiches is one of my favorites in the entire series. Although that particular sandwich seems easy enough to make (also comprised of 40% carbs and 160% fat), I've never attempted it because I'm sure my efforts wouldn't match up the ecstasies and remembered sexual dalliances of the Horne brothers.
posted by codacorolla at 11:37 AM on August 5, 2014 [4 favorites]

Richard Beymer had a wonderful interview talking about the shooting of the sandwich scene. It's on one of the early Twin Peaks DVD releases I think. I'll check around to see if I can find an online version.

You know, I could listen to Al Strobel read a phone book. He could probably make it sound like Poe.

There's something I find interesting about Mike's speech in Cooper's dream, which I only realized after watching the international/stand-alone pilot again.

"We lived among the people. I think you say, convenience store. We lived above it. I mean it like it is, like it sounds."

In the stand-alone pilot, Mike and Bob are both real people- a reformed serial killer and an active one, respectively. Living above the convenience store can be interpreted quite literally- they had a room above a convenience store.

In the series Mike and Bob are spirits inhabiting two hosts. I wonder if living above the convenience store in this case could refer to the time they spent disembodied, looking for hosts. If I remember correctly, there is an extremely short scene in Fire Walk With Me that takes place there.

Silent Hill is another game that owes a great deal to Twin Peaks (and Eraserhead, to be honest). While the games eventually declined in quality with each sequel, the first titles are exemplary horror games. There's a particular scene in this episode that Silent Hill 2 copies almost wholesale: Mike and Bobby are walking through the woods, and we see the beam of their flashlight hitting the trees while ominous mood music plays (that's one of my favorite shots in the series. It creeps me out every time). The first Silent Hill game has a subplot that can be bypassed entirely involving a doctor and a drug ring that could have taken place in Twin Peaks.

The Velvet Room in the Persona series seems to be influenced by Twin Peaks. I don't have a lot of insight in the Shin Megami Tensei universe, so I can't say for certain.

One last thought for now- one of two mysteries that I never could figure out happens in this episode: Who is with Leo in the woods? Is it Jacques Renault?
posted by Dr-Baa at 12:25 PM on August 5, 2014 [1 favorite]

Although that particular sandwich seems easy enough to make

It is. And it's the best damned sandwich I ever ate.

. I wonder if living above the convenience store in this case could refer to the time they spent disembodied, looking for hosts. If I remember correctly, there is an extremely short scene in Fire Walk With Me that takes place there.

In the movie, it's literally a room above a convenience store where the weirdest fucking things in the world do the weirdest fucking things imaginable.

Who is with Leo in the woods? Is it Jacques Renault?

E26. Who was in the woods with Leo (episode 2)?

This is another detail that will probably never be resolved
conclusively, but given his drug running connection with
Leo, a good bet is that it was Jacques.

Scott Campbell, of Great Showdowns and Double-Fine fame, did a print based on the bucket of rocks scene.

One of my favorite Twin Peaks tattoos just says "Damn fine coffee ... and hot!" from the same scene.
posted by maxsparber at 12:35 PM on August 5, 2014 [1 favorite]

I always love watching the pure exposition scenes in shows, mostly because they're so obvious and hilarious. The bucket of rocks scene (what I call in my head Applied Mystical Exposition Kinesiology) manages to do this beautifully. Oh, have you forgotten any of these characters since the pilot episode? Here, let me give you a complete rundown of all of the people Laura knew, but let me do it in a way that prepares you for how weird this series really is. Beautiful.

Also, on the sandwich front: I was unemployed and broke for a really long time a couple years ago, and for about 2 years I didn't do or buy anything more than the absolute bare essentials. When I finally got a job again, I did two things with my very first paycheck: I bought a new pair of shoes and I went to Trader Joe's. I bought a demi baguette, a tub of Kerrygold, and a wedge of brie. I went home and ate a butter+brie sandwich and it was the first time in 2 years I had bought myself anything so nutritiously useless and extravagant and I cried. So I totally get where Jerry and Ben are coming from on this, 100%.
posted by phunniemee at 1:47 PM on August 5, 2014 [7 favorites]

There's also a distinct Twin Peaks/Lynchian vibe to the games of Goichi Suda, AKA "Suda 51", especially Killer7 (which features multiple BOB/MIKE-esque possessing spirits, along with weird Black Lodge-like environments.) and Flower, Sun & Rain (in which you play an eccentric special agent who solves mysteries with the help of a briefcase computer he calls "Catherine").

From what I understand, Twin Peaks actually had a significant fandom in Japan, so it's not surprising that it would turn up as an influence in Japanese media.
posted by Strange Interlude at 2:03 PM on August 5, 2014 [3 favorites]

To tag on to what phunniemee said, the sandwich scene is another one of those great "we need to do exposition stuff, but let's actually put some effort and style into it" scene.

From a very brief encounter, which is both strange and entertaining, we see that Ben and Jerry are close, that they have rapacious appetites, that Jerry travels quite a bit for 'business', that Ben isn't very close to his family, and that the rapacious appetites extend beyond just food. That sets us up for the One Eyed Jack scene that happens towards the end of the ep.
posted by codacorolla at 3:39 PM on August 5, 2014

It was only by watching "The Warriors" and season one of "Twin Peaks" so close together that I realized David Patrick Kelly is the common factor. Thanks, Metafilter!

That brie sandwich scene is great! The wife screams "Benjamin!" and that tells you everything you need to know about this family. Beymer is wonderful! This show had top to bottom brilliant casting, particularly with the older actors. My personal favorite is Albert, which may or may not have to do with a crush on Miguel Ferrer.
posted by computech_apolloniajames at 6:19 PM on August 5, 2014

Ben and Jerry. I love that opening scene. Audrey and her mother obviously can't stand Jerry, and Ben obviously just adores him.

I remember how uncomfortable the "new girl" at One Eyed Jacks seemed to be. She doesn't know what to do with her hands as Ben Horne walks up to her, she keeps playing with the curtain like a little kid fidgeting. Creeped me right out the first time I saw it, creeped me right out again.

My favorite character has always been Harry S. Truman. Not sure why - perhaps because he seemed like one of the few people in Twin Peaks that didn't have anything to hide? He and Josie were sneaking around, but that didn't really need to be a secret. I loved watching him tell off Albert - or try to, anyway.
posted by Elly Vortex at 6:26 PM on August 5, 2014 [1 favorite]

RE the Japan connection: "Fire Walk With Me" was a flop in the US but made its money back by, for whatever reason, being a huge hit in Japan.
posted by vogon_poet at 7:51 PM on August 5, 2014 [1 favorite]

Continuing the Japanese obsession with the series - there were a series of Twin Peaks-themed Lynch-directed commercials for a brand of canned coffee made in Japan.
posted by crossoverman at 8:01 PM on August 5, 2014

I rewatched this immediately before bed last night (and was disappointed to have absolutely zero memorable dreams thereafter) and I have to say that this might be one of my favorite TV episodes of anything, ever. That first scene* with Ben & Jerry is just marvelous, for all the reasons that everyone is saying above, and it just keeps rolling from there. The whole episode is just so assured in its offbeatness, and it is amazing; I have a theory that Lynch and Frost intentionally tamped down some of the strangeness in the pilot just to get it past the ABC suits, and waited until the third episode to let it all hang out.

Stuff I loved and other observations:
  • Bopper and Snake going through the woods with flashlights sorta reminded me of the opening to the Hardy Boys/Nancy Drew TV show. Considering the girl-detective turn that Audrey will take in a bit, it seems appropriate to have a couple of jerkass teenage crime-solving crime-doing guys to complete the set.
  • Speaking of Audrey, I think the diner conversation is the first time in the series that she and Donna get to talk to each other. I also think this might be the magical moment where 13-year-old me decided that girls are pretty cool after all.
  • And while we're on firsts, if I'm not mistaken, Nadine breaking the exercise machine is the first feat of super-strength she does in the series.
  • New MeFi sockpuppet name: "James Hurley, Secret Boyfriend"
  • Watching Leland's swing-music freakout, I began to wonder if Ray Wise and Grace Zabriskie were cast for their roles based in part on their amazing gurning abilities. They contort their faces into such perfect tragic masks of grief that I'm almost certain it must have come up in the auditions.
  • Albert freaking Rosenfield. Miguel Ferrer's appearances here and in Hot Shots! Part Deux made him an early addition to my teenage pantheon of Badass '90s Actors.
  • The Dream: Still completely insane after all these years. I remember watching this episode live at home with my family and not even knowing what in the hell it was we had just seen. I still don't know, and I LOVE THIS.
  • Coop's just-woke-up cowlick and perfectly-synced finger snaps following The Dream.
  • Speaking of The Dream, I'm suddenly really curious about the precise nature of the dream that Coop had about Tibet all those years ago. If it were possible to perform Inception-style dream extractions on fictional characters, I know who I'd hit up first.
*For some reason, I keep thinking that the Tibet/bottle scene happens much closer to the start of the episode than it does; maybe it's the unabashed recap-like nature of the whole thing that makes it seem that way, but I actually thought I'd clicked the wrong episode on Netflix at first.
posted by Strange Interlude at 4:34 PM on August 6, 2014 [3 favorites]

Miguel Ferrer (among a few other Lynch regulars) makes an appearance playing a similar character in On the Air a few years later. I've made a post about it before, but it's available in its entirety on Youtube if anyone cares to watch.

Coop's just-woke-up cowlick and perfectly-synced finger snaps following The Dream.

That is a truly great detail.
posted by codacorolla at 4:52 PM on August 6, 2014

And a recurring detail. In season two, he wakes with exactly the same cowlick.
posted by maxsparber at 5:02 PM on August 6, 2014

Miguel Ferrer will always have a place in my heart as the corporate suit who gets Robocop made. Ray Wise, however, is considerably more memorable as Leland Palmer than as Boddicker thug #4.
posted by Dr-Baa at 5:28 AM on August 7, 2014 [1 favorite]

It still makes me deliriously angry that I didn't get around to seeing Robocop (I was 9 when it came out) until I was in college, mostly for the sheer number of ridiculously cool character actors like Ferrer and Wise and Kurtwood Smith in key roles.
posted by Strange Interlude at 9:23 AM on August 7, 2014

Ha! I was the same age and for some reason my parents let me watch it. The toxic waste scene gave me nightmares for weeks.
posted by Dr-Baa at 9:32 AM on August 7, 2014

That sandwich... I just put "Brie" on my Costco list. I feel like I may have to bake my own bread to get the full effect.

If that's all I eat for an entire weekend, will I die?
posted by slenderloris at 5:32 PM on August 7, 2014

No you will not. I have empirical proof of this.
posted by phunniemee at 5:35 PM on August 7, 2014 [5 favorites]

Miguel Ferrer is George Clooney's cousin. I want to listen into their family conversations about their respective careers.
posted by crossoverman at 6:19 PM on August 7, 2014

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