Episode 1

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David Locke
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Re: Episode 1

Postby David Locke » Thu Oct 15, 2015 7:42 pm

I would probably also place this episode relatively low (at least in comparison to the first 16 episodes). I know the pilot with Lynch's direction (and the WA locations) is a tough act to follow, but I still always get this slightly disappointed feeling when I get to this episode after it -- sort of like, okay, that was a revelation and this is just good TV. I find Dunham's direction here a bit stiff, and flourishes like the opening lengthy pan of Cooper seem more prosaic than poetic. Maybe this is only so clear because it comes right after the Pilot, I don't know.

Actually, the first time I attempted to watch the series, at age 18 with rather limited taste in film/TV, I gave up after this episode despite finding the Pilot intriguing because, again, I just found it rather flat and TV-ish, not the groundbreaking arthouse surrealism I was expecting. All that said, it's a very fine episode, with lots of classic moments; I suppose I just don't find it as interesting as a lot of the best ep's, and thus would agree with LITM's ranking it below the perhaps more flawed yet delightful Episode 25 (which isn't only great for feeling like such a welcome refreshment after the no-man's-land of mid-S2 -- it is a really good and really enjoyable episode in its own right, one of the series's most purely "fun" hours).
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Re: Episode 1

Postby Audrey Horne » Thu Oct 15, 2015 8:16 pm

To me, I just love it. Is it my favorite episode, or subjectively the best? ...nah. But it is an important one in that it establishes what the show could be in the day in, day out tv landscape. This along with episode five, six and thirteen, are the perfect example of the show excelling when Lynch isn't at the helm. I think after the pilot and getting the pickup from the network, Frost and Lynch retooled their characters a bit, and here is their first outing, and they all excel.

If I had to pick one scene to be stuck on a desert island with for eternity, (I know, not a well thought out example), it would be Cooper's breakfast order with Trudy followed by Freshly Squeezed Audrey's entrance.
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LostInTheMovies
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Re: Episode 1

Postby LostInTheMovies » Thu Oct 15, 2015 9:53 pm

David: Yeah, that's it exactly for me.

Audrey: We see more eye-to-eye on 5, 6 and 13!
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N. Needleman
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Re: Episode 1

Postby N. Needleman » Wed Oct 21, 2015 2:43 pm

Episode 1 actually consistently fascinates me in these last few months, especially with my most recent rewatches (until the revival announcement I hadn't gone through the whole show in a number of years). As I think Audrey has said, it's where you can see the show shaping up into understanding what it will be as an ongoing series as opposed to a stunning pilot feature. The changes and shifts in focus and characters from pilot to series are really exciting to watch, because it's a process you still see with so many pilots that then go to series even today, and that's always interesting to see. But it's especially pronounced with TP, which was well ahead of the curve of other TV, and thus has that much more of a dramatic change.

I'm not adding much the rest of you haven't already said - Audrey snaps into focus as an actual character, as do others like Catherine, Jacoby, Nadine, Norma, Ed, Shelly. And as mentioned, Cooper is a much warmer and more Lynch-surrogate character, but it's not just him. The entire show is warmer, friendlier, more inviting, less immediately haunting (though the horror is definitely there under the cozy surface), and I think scenes like those at the Great Northern are a huge part of what kept the audience coming back and made the show a phenomenon. Which is why I think Lynch was right handing it off to Dunham, knowing him and knowing what he could and would do with it. It took the show from a dreamlike mystery and meditation on communal grief and secrets to an ongoing novel that had both danger and darkness but also a very warm, cozy, goodhearted side, too.

It's easy to take Season 1 for granted, and I did for many years because Season 2, with all its ups and downs, has always been my favorite - it's darker and stranger and takes even crazier chances, with an often-incredible first third, and the last five-six episodes are IMO also pretty damn good (minus Billy Zane), if very different than what came before. But I've always been a fan of flawed masterpieces and messy genius, so I am biased. Looking at the show and being older now, it's consistently impressive to me how Season 1, by contrast, remains a very finely-oiled machine. There is almost nothing wasted, and everything is perfectly tuned and hums along. They may not have known they would take over America when they were filming it, but regardless, they were basically writing the book for the future of serialized television. It is so assured and so focused and it brings back to me exactly why everyone absolutely adored it when I was little at that moment in time.

Is Season 1 (and Episode 1, etc.) much more focused on procedural elements, or earthbound crime and intrigue? Sure, but the mix of the fantastical and the earthbound, the nitty-gritty or cozy with the bizarre and avant-garde was always what attracted people to the show. Season 2 is still my favorite, and is more overtly supernatural, Lynchian, etc. But I don't think there's any way to deny how structurally flawless Season 1 generally is, and I don't think Season 2 could ever have done a fraction of the crazy things it does if Season 1 (and episodes like this one) hadn't existed to give it a springboard to dive into the abyss from. We talk a lot about the Season 2 premiere, which I still remember watching live, and the critics hated a lot of it, but as a kid it was only natural to me that things were getting spooky. Looking at it today, you can only appreciate episodes like this one more, because it's two halves of one whole - and FWWM couldn't exist without this, either. Season 1 (and the first half of S2) so mythologize Laura that you almost feel like you know her too, but sometimes your arms bend back. And I'm sure that's why Lynch wanted to do FWWM, too.

Anyway: IMO, this episode is the Rosetta stone for how the whole series came to power forward. I think the rest of S1 is also quite good, but this is where you can see them laying track after taking stock. But I also don't think this episode is any kind of compromise from the pilot. There's nothing wrong with cozier, warmer and friendlier when the core of strangeness and haunting sadness and fear remains, which it does for the whole season. And now I'm just repeating both myself and all of you, so never mind.

Oh, one more thing: What I will say is that I agree they misplaced Audrey the following season and it was a fundamental mistake, even if I love FWWM and much of the back end of Season 2. While I don't think the story necessarily needed (or needs, in the future) that ongoing subplot with Cooper and Audrey, you look at it in this episode and the rest of S1 and you see exactly where they dropped the ball later. I think in a perfect world, the new show can honor both what TP evolved into Season 2 and FWWM (Laura/Lynch-centric) and what they lost in the process (Audrey and Cooper).
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LostInTheMovies
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Re: Episode 1

Postby LostInTheMovies » Wed Oct 21, 2015 4:22 pm

GREAT post, Needleman.

It's funny, when I think about the times where I've really enjoyed episode 1 and the times where it's felt more underwhelming, it seems to always be based on whether I've just watched the pilot.

Both of my entries on this thread were written after isolated viewings - the first when I was just watching random episodes this past winter, and the second as part of my current out-of-order rewatch.

Plus the first time I ever saw episode 1, it was the first piece of Twin Peaks I was watching (since the pilot was hard to get at the time) and I wasn't that impressed.

On the other hand, whenever I have watched it immediately after the pilot I am always delighted by those qualities you mention. The analytical side of me is fascinated by the way this takes "possibly one-off TV movie" and rejiggers it into "weekly TV series." Particularly the sets replacing the locations. As much as I like Washington's moody exteriors, there's something really invigorating about the loving production design that took place on the Van Nuys soundstages. It's almost more mythic in a way than the real locations, more larger-than-life. And on a more visceral level, it's really fun to spend more time with the characters we've just gotten to glimpse in the pilot.

In other words, I think the episode does its job perfectly as part of a cog in a bigger machine. It doesn't work like episode 2, as a standalone experience in its own right, but that's not what it was supposed to be. While I'd argue that the rest of season 1 is a better balance between ongoing story and standalone moments, part of the reason it can be is because of the groundwork of this episode.
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Re: Episode 1

Postby N. Needleman » Wed Oct 21, 2015 4:33 pm

I have always loved the color tone on many of the studio sets, which I know Lynch was at least partly responsible for seeing to for broadcast. But it started with the recreation by the set designers. I also much prefer the colors and warmth of the studio Double R vs. the pilot, but I am content with the version we've seen created for the new series, even if those red tiles are gone. ;)

The one thing that's always struck me goofy is that weird latecomer tag-on for Big Ed's fight with Bobby and Mike from the pilot - "I was drugged!" It's a bit kludgy, but it works as their excuse for introducing the Renault drug sting angle later on. It also is clear how much they shift Bobby into being a less awful person in the series vs. the pilot, where he is all but demonic and abusive (as is Mike) at the Roadhouse and in the jail cells. As I think LiAnn said in the main folder, this, I think, is so informed by Dana Ashbrook and Lynch's growing fondness for his performance vs. the original conception of Bobby as someone who "doesn't smile so much". Yet I don't find it dissonant from pilot to series - I take Bobby in the pilot vs. how he changes and softens being a look at how Bobby is after what Laura made of him.
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Re: Episode 1

Postby LostInTheMovies » Wed Oct 21, 2015 4:42 pm

N. Needleman wrote:I have always loved the color tone on many of the studio sets, which I know Lynch was at least partly responsible for seeing to for broadcast. But it started with the recreation by the set designers. I also much prefer the colors and warmth of the studio Double R vs. the pilot, but I am content with the verson we've seen created for the new series, even if those red tiles are gone. ;)

The one thing that's always struck me goofy is that weird latecomer tag-on for Big Ed's fight with Bobby and Mike from the pilot - 'I was drugged!" It's a bit kludgy, but it works as their excuse for introducing the Renault drug sting angle later on. It also is clear how much they shift Bobby into being a less awful person in the series vs. the pilot, where he is all but demonic and abusive (as is Mike) at the Roadhouse and in the jail cells. As I think LiAnn said in the main folder, this, I think, is so informed by Dana Ashbrook and Lynch's growing fondness for his performance vs. the original conception of Bobby as someone who "doesn't smile so much". Yet I don't find it dissonant from pilot to series - I take Bobby in the pilot vs. how he changes and softens being a look at how Bobby is after what Laura made of him.


I think it's really compelling to think of ep. 1 as a kind of reverse-Deer Meadow from the pilot. Taking this eerily off-kilter, but still semi-realistic world (so many of the reviews at the time focused on how much more realistic the pilot was than most television) and twisting into a more pleasant, dreamy milieu. The characters and locations are roughly the same, but they all have a new spin to them.

If I was to pinpoint one thing that fascinates me most about Twin Peaks as a whole it's that ability to constantly reflect itself, to create alternate universe incarnations even within narrative continuity. The most obvious example of this is Fire Walk With Me vs. the series (or at least most people's perception of the series) but you can see it all over the show itself. It's like the "exquisite corpse" game (or a game of telephone) where an idea, word, or story gets passed along between different people - or even the same person at different stages - and evolves as it goes.
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Re: Episode 1

Postby N. Needleman » Wed Oct 21, 2015 5:03 pm

And yet, it's cozy but still remains gritty. They still spend most of the season talking about rape, about cocaine, about Laura having sex with at least three different men the night of her death, about underage girls prostituting themselves in mail-order magazines, about her maybe fucking her doctor. It's all there. It just coexists.
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Re: Episode 1

Postby Audrey Horne » Wed Oct 21, 2015 6:03 pm

And everyone is complex and layered, although you could make the case it is because it is a murder mystery and they are all suspects. But I feel the later episodes all the characters lose that and become safe Disneyfied versions of their former selves. Yes, the situations might be more surreal, but the execution is simplified. I love moments when Cooper utters, "he's too stupid to lie," or an unnverved "Shut up!" To Nancy.

Lost, I hope you don't think I'm just always poking holes and taking the counter stance, I love reading your analysis.
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Re: Episode 1

Postby LostInTheMovies » Wed Oct 21, 2015 6:14 pm

N. Needleman wrote:And yet, it's cozy but still remains gritty. They still spend most of the season talking about rape, about cocaine, about Laura having sex with at least three different men the night of her death, about underage girls prostituting themselves in mail-order magazines, about her maybe fucking her doctor. It's all there. It just coexists.


I think the key moment for that in episode 1 is when Doc Hayward opens the porfolio with the picture of Laura and the ominous build-up part of the Laura Palmer theme (I think that's what it is) kicks in. Up till then, the episode has been entirely fun and comical - three scenes in a row of Cooper acting quirky, coffee/food references, and interacting with oddball characters. But that's the reminder that the dark side of the show will still be there (after all, this is the episode where we officially meet Bob).
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Re: Episode 1

Postby LostInTheMovies » Wed Oct 21, 2015 6:20 pm

Audrey Horne wrote:And everyone is complex and layered, although you could make the case it is because it is a murder mystery and they are all suspects. But I feel the later episodes all the characters lose that and become safe Disneyfied versions of their former selves. Yes, the situations might be more surreal, but the execution is simplified. I love moments when Cooper utters, "he's too stupid to lie," or an unnverved "Shut up!" To Nancy.

Lost, I hope you don't think I'm just always poking holes and taking the counter stance, I love reading your analysis.


Haha, no not at all I'm loving the feedback (plus I feel like we're at least about 50/50 in agreement on various episodes, if not more). That's what I love about dugpa, it's such a crazy Venn diagram of fans which probably has to do with the quality of the show I described above. I feel like everyone overlaps in certain ways and disagrees in others because the show has so many complex parts and ways of looking at things and there's always something else to learn or consider.
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Re: Episode 1

Postby hopesfall » Wed Oct 21, 2015 11:54 pm

N. Needleman wrote:I take Bobby in the pilot vs. how he changes and softens being a look at how Bobby is after what Laura made of him.


Me too. I make no bones about him being possibly my favourite character, and this is one of the main reasons. I relate to him a lot too, but that's another story. I find watching him transform quite fascinating. He comes across as an indignant little shitehawk in the pilot, and to a certain degree early in season one too. Even his outburst at the funeral, albeit a little sanctimonious in a way, shows that he cared more than we are led to believe. He starts to crack in his scene with Jacoby, and this allows the light to pour out of him and reveal not only how vulnerable he is, but how he does have a nice side to him after all.
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David Locke
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Re: Episode 1

Postby David Locke » Thu Mar 10, 2016 4:57 pm

You know what, I recant my previous post about this being one of the weaker episodes. I'd actually say this is one of the best non-Lynch hours. I still can see the more prosaic, "regular TV" quality I saw before, but I think the episode still succeeds wildly at simply continuing the threads left from the pilot, and it isn't nearly as dry or lacking in the surreal as, say, Frost's S1 finale or (especially) so much of the mid-S2 slump.

And I also think that it may be best appreciated WITHOUT seeing the pilot first, because then there isn't this big contrast, this expectation of something more Lynchian. That said, Dunham's direction is very solid throughout and we do get the stunning moment with BOB and some eeriness with the One-Armed Man and such. Plus lots of classic, classic scenes and lines. Gotta give credit where it's due, this is one damn fine episode.

Random thought: Is it just me, or is the scene with Coop and Harry at the RR with the Log Lady lit very differently from almost all other RR scenes? It seems a lot darker and more shadowy, with just hints of natural light coming in through the windows -- whereas usually the RR is lit with a warm, almost fluorescent, neon brightness. (Though in FWWM and the pilot it seems darker, partially because of the location change).

It's kind of weird but I think that experiencing the show on the Entire Mystery set has allowed me to appreciate it as a whole even more. I think I may have been a little harsh on S1 before just because it lacks the more overtly supernatural aspects I enjoy so much -- and though S2 is obviously inconsistent, I think it (kind of) makes up for that with the incredibly high quality of its best episodes. Hell, even the most mediocre hours of the S2 slump have a kind of hypnotic quality to them, if only because they have all the alluring surface trappings of TP, namely the setting, music and overall visual style. And I like how the EM set emphasizes how connected the entire show and film and missing pieces are, no matter how flawed some parts may be.
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Re: Episode 1

Postby LostInTheMovies » Tue Mar 15, 2016 4:46 pm

David - the lighting is odd in that scene. I think the reason why is that it's supposed to take place at night (something I only sussed out when doing a scene-by-scene breakdown for my video series) and maybe they hadn't quite figured out how to light the set for a "nighttime" look yet. Maybe? It was Duwayne Dunham's first stint as a director and I'm not sure how well-versed he was in lighting effects. Although probably Frank Byers would have been on top of that right away so who knows.
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Re: Episode 1

Postby laughingpinecone » Mon Jun 13, 2016 3:55 am

For your consideration:
Image
there are some gems in the scripts but this... this... is so pure.
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