Twin Peaks: Arbitrary Law   Rewatch 
September 23, 2014 8:30 AM - Season 2, Episode 9 - Subscribe

The mystery of Laura Palmer's death is finally solved.

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

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

Bonus Stuff: After that gripping performance by Ray Wise, kick back with a little trivia!
posted by codacorolla (11 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Man, what an opening shot, with the agents of law and order striding purposefully towards the camera.

This is a great episode. Maybe one of the last great episodes. Ray Wise's performance is amazing, and it's telling that even one of the terrible S2 b-plots (Dick Tremaine) is actually vital to the end scene of Leland confessing in the rain.

At the end the lawmen have a similar discussion to what we talked about last thread: how much of this was Leland culpable for. The treatment in this episode indicates that it wasn't much, but I think later evidence in FWWM points to more.
posted by codacorolla at 11:06 AM on September 23, 2014

Directed by Tim Hunter, who directed Tex and River's Edge, which means he and David Lynch can both credibly claim to have pulled incredibly creepy performances out of Dennis Hopper and Crispin Glover.

It's a fitting end to the storyline, and well-structured, even if it lacks the sort of meticulous weirdness of the Lynch written and directed episodes. This is clearly Frost material, as it ends with all the suspects gathered in a room, like in a classic detective novel -- it's the sort of stuff Frost really seemed to like writing.

Ray Wise is terrific, but I think his performance also absolved Leland of a lot of the guilt -- he's clearly playing Leland differently when possessed by Bob, and plays the end as though the fact that he was the murderer is new and horrifying to him. Lynch lets him do a lot less of this in the film -- the Leland of the film is frequently appalling even when he doesn't seem to be possessed, as we'll discuss when we get to it.

I feel badly for Ray Wise, though. He really was heartbroken when he found out Leland was the killer. But it comes through in the performance. He just radiates guilt and horror.
posted by maxsparber at 2:25 PM on September 23, 2014 [2 favorites]

More things that I'd totally forgotten (or perhaps had never noticed) about Twin Peaks, season 2:

The amazing disappearing Tremonds, and the connection to Harold's suicide note. Based on what we learn from FWWM about the various Lodge spirits, it seems reasonable to theorize that the old woman and boy had in fact been feeding on poor Harold's internal torment, and left only after their supply ran out, so to speak.

The reveal of the Giant's true identity was also a lot more obvious than I had remembered. Apparently, my last viewing was long ago enough that I thought I'd come up with that theory all by myself. Oh well.

I'd also forgotten the exact circumstances behind the sprinklers going off in the police station, and how adroitly it was set up by the workman fiddling with the sensitivity earlier in the episode. There's something oddly symmetrical about having one of the most important revelations of the series (Leland's confession) being triggered by a character in one of the least important subplots (Dick Tremayne).

I remember seeing this episode for the first time as a teenager, and wondering if the reason Leland-BOB freaked out at the sprinklers was because water was a purifying agent; in folklore, ghosts and evil spirits are unable to cross running water or lakes. It also works as a symbolic baptism for Leland, who is able to confess his sins and pass in apparent peace after BOB leaves his body.

Going back to the start of the episode, I'd like to take another moment to appreciate the greatness of Miguel Ferrer as Albert, who gets to deliver these immortal lines (italics mine):
Cooper. In observation, I don't know where this is headed. But the only one of us with the coordinates for this destination and its hardware is you. Go on whatever vision quest you require. Stand on the rim of a volcano, stand alone and do your dance. Just find this beast before he takes another bite.
posted by Strange Interlude at 4:31 PM on September 24, 2014 [2 favorites]

Hey everyone, sorry I missed yesterday's thread. I'm going to pick it up again next week, although to be honest we're reaching some of the low points of the series, and I feel like interest might be declining. The site isn't really set up to handle it, but I'd almost want to do two episodes per thread and maybe dial back the frequency a little bit. Anyone have any opinions on how the rest of the series should be handled?
posted by codacorolla at 8:21 AM on September 26, 2014

I wonder if we shouldn't post the movie soon? This season slogs on, seemingly forever, until it reaches its finale (which, admittedly, is an enjoyable final episode.)

In the meanwhile, everything we need to know going into the movie has been revealed, and I think there is a lot of meaty discussion to be had there.
posted by maxsparber at 1:16 PM on September 26, 2014

Yeah, I'm with you on that one. Ok. Let's wait a week and say that next Thursday is the date that FWWM's thread goes live. That caps out the really strong part of Twin Peaks, and we can decide from there if we want to continue with the S2 slog.
posted by codacorolla at 1:59 PM on September 26, 2014 [1 favorite]

I think the encroachment of the new fall season may be cutting into the overall level of involvement with the rewatch threads, but I also figure that since we're already 3/5 of the way through the series, we might as well finish it off. I'm totally down with going with the same two-a-week Tues/Thurs schedule all the way to the end, but it's ultimately up to the rest of the group.

In any case, FWWM sounds like marvelous Wednesday or Thursday night viewing for next week. If anything, the week off will give me a chance to catch up on Arrow before the season premiere.
posted by Strange Interlude at 3:43 PM on September 26, 2014 [1 favorite]

Well, it looks like Amazon removed FWWM even from pay streaming since I'd last checked. I think I'm going to put a hold on tomorrow's post, and we can pick things up next week. Sorry everyone!
posted by codacorolla at 7:19 PM on October 1, 2014

Yeah, I noticed that too. I know Amazon's trying to move Blu-Ray copies of "Missing Pieces", but one would assume if they (and every other streaming service) still have the entire series up, then FWWM would just be part of the package. I'm guessing since the series is via CBS and the movie is via Warner Bros (New Line), that probably complicates the streaming rights somewhat. In any case, good thing I still have my DVD copy!
posted by Strange Interlude at 8:40 PM on October 1, 2014

Well, we have to finish now, right? I'll go back to the regular season 2 schedule tomorrow.
posted by codacorolla at 10:18 AM on October 6, 2014 [1 favorite]

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