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Posted: Wed Dec 17, 2014 10:16 am
Posted: Tue Feb 10, 2015 3:38 pm
I really enjoy watching this episode; everything is still so fresh and it's fascinating to see the writers and actors adapt what by all rights should have been one-off experimental "pilot" into something ongoing. Watching this episode is like catching a whiff of when we first fell in love with Twin Peaks ourselves. That said, it's also probably the weakest season 1 episode (I used to feel that way about ep. 3 but it's grown on me).
It coasts quite a bit on the pilot without truly busting upon any new doors, the way the next episode will. And as mentioned in the ep. 18 thread, Duwayne Dunham just isn't great with atmosphere. There are some striking shots - like the one-armed man entering the blue room - but, other than that sizzling long take of Audrey dancing and maybe that first pan across Cooper's room, nothing much interesting in the way of camerawork. This is definitely the least stylish episode of season 1 (by comparison, Rathborne's and especially Deschanel's episodes has a very lush lighting/colors, Hunter is far more adventurous with lens and composition, and Glatter and Frost craft striking scene transitions/openings). Most of these scenes are just characters talking, without much going on visually.
That said, what the episode has going for it is precisely that: character. Many of the people just barely established in pilot really get fleshed out in this installment. We barely glimpse Leo - I think he had one 90-second scene - in the pilot whereas he emerges as the major villain in episode 1, and Audrey also transforms from a purely vixenish sex kitten (with almost no dialogue) to a more deeply developed individual (her relationship with her father and romance with Cooper emerge only in this episode). This is true across the cast but those are the two most notable examples. Of course this episode also has more quotable dialogue than any other. I do find myself wondering how much Lynch really contributed to the script, even though he's equally credited with Frost. It feels much more like a Frost episode, as does the next one (whose most Lynchian qualities - the dream sequence, Audrey in the diner - were improvised and not in the script).
The transition from the pilot to this episode fascinates me for a number of reasons but they can all essentially boiled down to the idea that Twin Peaks is now officially becoming a TV series with one foot in the strange, moody world of the pilot, the other in the demands of ongoing serialized storytelling. This is honestly one of the things that keeps me coming back to Twin Peaks over and over again, that both excites and, at times (especially in the second season), frustrates me: that Twin Peaks is divided in this way. I love stuff that's hard to pin down and that Twin Peaks can be at once a genuine nineties soap opera, an absorbing mystery yarn, an eccentric postmodern pastiche, a surreal experiment in mood and atmosphere, AND a truly deep and thematically profound work of art makes it more fascinating to me than if it was just any one of those things.
Episode 1 is where we see the humor emerge in a much more casual, engaging way than the pilot (where it is more aloof/tricky, we always kind of catch ourselves while we're laughing). Cooper seems more relaxed and personable, cementing his status as our beloved hero. And we also start to get the sense that maybe everyone in town isn't totally suspicious: we're beginning to trust certain characters (although not TOO much, there's still a thrilling intangibility/possibility to the whodunit).
- It doesn't seem like they've figured out how to incorporate Laura as an actual screen presence. James' flashback feels jarring in the full context of the show, which usually emphasizes intangible memories of Laura, just out of reach, rather than easily recalling her. (If I'm not mistaken, this is the ONLY flashback in the entire series, unless you count Cooper's dream re-emerging in ep. 3 & 16 - and it's certainly the only time we go back to witness something we didn't see the first time around.) And of course the gauzy, goofy quality of the flashback feels somewhat dissonant though many have interpreted this as James' own dopey take on "reality." It's kind of jolting to realize that Sheryl Lee actually played pre-murder Laura this long before Fire Walk With Me. If nothing else, I'm glad this scene exists just because it makes such a fascinating juxtaposition.
- On that same note, the whole "Help me" (Laura's slo-mo voice over the video flashback) thing feels unusually on-the-nose and further evidence that Lynch/Frost (and Dunham himself) really wanted to keep Laura "alive" in some sense but hadn't figured out how yet. I wonder when they came up with Maddy. Her appearance in ep. 3 does seem somewhat last-minute. Plus, the story goes that Lynch called Sheryl Lee in Seattle and said come on down, and she said I'm dead, and he said we'll figure something out. It seems like maybe they had committed to her before Maddy was fully developed? Dunno.
- If the girl in the window behind Ronette's parents was supposed to be Ronette, then it looks like they re-cast her as well as her dad (and Johnny Horne, if we want to jump families). Which I guess makes more sense than flying an actress down from Seattle for background extra work. This hammers home the idea that they thought they were done with her character. I knew that our glimpse of Phoebe Augustine in ep. 8 was our first in a while, but I never realized that she had ONLY appeared in the pilot up to that point! It really emphasizes how important it was for Lynch to continually touch base with the pilot; it seems like he always gets a lot of flack for being "random" but not enough credit for keeping his eye on that ball in a way that others did not. It's also interesting to me because I consider Ronette to be an immensely important element in Laura's - and ultimately Twin Peaks' - narrative arc.
- Leland is really, really low-key in this episode. I've sometimes wondered if Lynch/Frost didn't solidify the idea of him being the killer until after the dancing-with-Laura's-portrait scene in ep. 2 (maybe even after it was shot, although this would mean they actually didn't know until season 1 had been completed, since Lynch shot ep. 2 out-of-sequence near the end of production). He really does seem like the conventional/sturdy husband figure here, the anchor for his hysterical wife, and not even in a sly bait-and-switch sort of way. Then again, notice how Leland rushes in IMMEDIATELY after Sarah has seen Bob...
- I've been speculating about how the rest of season 1 was charted out when this episode was written (I know that Frost has said the story arc was really tight going into production, but I wonder to what extent everything was outlined before the actual scriptwork began, especially since Lynch's timeframe was limited by Wild at Heart). But it's definitely clear that they are setting the groundwork for Cooper's dream already, what with the appearance of BOTH the one-armed man and Bob. How fascinating that even at this early stage, Mike is established a person in the real world while Bob only appears in visions. Which definitely suggests they had the whole Leland/Bob-killer thing already established in their minds.
- I wonder if/when it the Cooper/Josie romance was nixed. In this episode Cooper does not seem to be into her the way he was in the pilot (at least I didn't catch it) plus he's already flirting with Audrey. I know it was supposedly because MacLachlan and Chen didn't have chemistry but when/how was that determined?
- Many have noted that Laura's tape at the end is different from ep. 7 (in performance, if not actual dialogue). I like this version better - the other feels too campy. Not only is her delivery more convincing than the later one, we get to cut off before those godawful lines near the end of the tape: "You'd be history, man!" and "really lights my F-I-R-E..." I like that this episode pushes Leo so hard as a suspect, and then twists to consider Jacoby right at the end.
Re: Episode 1 Recap
Posted: Tue Feb 10, 2015 7:20 pm
I love this episode. While the pilot is filmed by a master, and compiled like a painter applies paint, the second episode has the confidence of a team of smart writers, directors, creators kicking off a show that they have mapped out for a seven episode stint. Here they are making a very polished television show.
The differences that you note most likely stem from the fact of time. Time between shooting a pilot that they never fully thought would be picked up, and getting a seven episode deal from the network.
Most likely it stemmed from getting the green light and Lynch and Frost mapping out the new plot points for this soap opera world. And with the advantage of now knowing their actors and their strength and what they're chemistry is with one another. As opposed to theorizing it all before on paper. They can now mold and shape the characters from the actors' strengths.
Note the difference in Cooper himself. In the pilot he has a slightly harder edge. His quirks are still there, but there is now a more playful whimsy to him that is enhanced and works even better.
Audrey and Shelly (formerly Shelley) are great examples of the time differences. Both actresses basically auditioning for the only ingenue role of Donna, Lynch and co. liked them and wanted them in the pilot, creating parts for them on the fly. Now with the advantage of time, Lynch and Frost could reevaluate their initial germ of an idea and now go full throttle with their box of toys. In the pilot, Lynch basically painted and experimented and in the end was able to establish the world. Now they could go to town (literally).
The opening sequence from Cooper hanging upside down dictating to Diane about the Kennedy's and Marilyn Monroe, to the wonderfully written Audrey breakfast scene, ending with Truman's gulp of the full donut might be the best sequence of events in the entire series. What a world!
So many fantastic moments here, where we are reintroduced to these characters with the security that the show in now confidentially being produced.
Beymer and Laurie are such pros and their chemistry is first rate. Such fun!
And we get the Briggs home life scene. The three of them orbiting in their own world. The cigarette in the meatloaf is priceless.
Fenn and Beymer also have great chemistry, and Audrey can go round for round with Ben.
Fish in the percolator!
Shelly and the bar of soap!
And this is where I loved the power of Laura. Laura exists through different people's perceptions of her.
James memory of her is fuzzy and warm and she is sickeningly sweet. That is his perception of her. She can never be defined because she is different to each and every person in the town. (which to me is why the character's power was lost in Fire Walk With Me because she became defined through first person point of view.)
If the pilot hooks the viewer, this one is important in reinforcing that we are in very capable hands!
Re: Episode 1 Recap
Posted: Wed Feb 11, 2015 9:33 am
Audrey Horne wrote:And this is where I loved the power of Laura. Laura exists through different people's perceptions of her.
I think the best example of this is how each investigation into her death differs based on whoever is conducting it. For example, Cooper's hunt leads him into TP's criminal and spiritual underworlds, reflecting both his role in law enforcement and his calling as a mystic. The insecure but outgoing Audrey, meanwhile, is totally absorbed in Laura's social connections - particularly those which relate to Audrey's own father. She's fascinated by the idea of Laura as this woman of the world and jealous of her bond with Ben. James, Donna, and Maddy, on the other hand are drawn into Laura's inner world, her psychological troubles, leading them first to Jacoby and then (almost inadvertently) to Harold. Knowing her as a troubled adolescent, and reflecting their own uncertain place in the world and self-doubts, this is what draws them in.
Even the characters whose relationship with her story is more short-lived/touch-and-go use her as a kind of mirror. Obviously this is true of Jacoby whose own admitted disengagement and pain are what draws him to Laura (his cemetery confession to Cooper is pretty telling), while Bobby's emphasis on her romance with James is a kind of fun-house mirror of his own infidelity (and a reflection of his own insecurities about his relationship with her), and Leland's obsession with snuffing out Jacques is of course a displacement of his own repressed guilt about the abuse and murder of his own daughter. Sarah sees Bob as a way of reflecting her own suspicions about "what is going on in the house." Etc etc.
It's a pity the second season drops a lot of these threads, along with the idea that the more disconnected figures - Hank, Catherine, Josie, etc - might also be connected to Laura's death somehow through TP's criminal network (certainly this is suggested when it comes to Leo). Even the most tangentially-connected storylines, such as Ed's & Norma's romance work as amplifications of the sadness of Laura's life and death (something the Missing Pieces plays on wonderfully). Lynch was really right when he said that this mystery was the sun around which everything else revolves. And yes, depending on where & when you stand, the sun can seem completely different, but it's always there keeping all else going.
She can never be defined because she is different to each and every person in the town. (which to me is why the character's power was lost in Fire Walk With Me because she became defined through first person point of view.)
Aside from the question of whether it's a good or bad thing, the fact that Lynch defines her in FWWM is a very revealing glimpse into his fundamental worldview. Despite his many statements about everyone drawing their own conclusions, keeping mysteries going forever, etc, at bottom Lynch believes in a "unified field" that connects all the multiple worlds, fragmented identities, and alternate timelines he presents in his work. He's not going to tell you the answer (unless he's forced) but he believes there is one, even if he himself doesn't know it yet. In this particular case, that means that for him there is a real Laura who links all the disparate reflections of her.
Re: Episode 1
Posted: Sun Jun 14, 2015 3:41 am
Does anybody know who played Bob (not BOB) in the pilot? He's a hotel employee at the Great Northern und comes to Julies' desk when she is teaching (or rather: teached by) Audrey.
"Julie, the Norwegians are signing the contracts at four o'clock. When Mr. Horne returns, make sure that they do not hear about Laura Palmer's death. That will blow the whole deal, got it."
Re: Episode 1
Posted: Wed Oct 14, 2015 5:39 pm
Debating which episode to watch next in my out-of-order least-to-most favorite rewatch. I'm about halfway through and it's gonna be either episode 1, 16, or 25. All totally different from one another, with very different sets of flaws and strengths. Hm.
Re: Episode 1
Posted: Wed Oct 14, 2015 6:19 pm
Episode 1 blows both out of the water. Cooper's opening, the breakfast session, and the "Harry, I really have to urinate" alone puts it in my top ten. Soap in my sock! Bulgarian convent! Nose pinch! Snappy writing. "Starting to feel like Dr. Watson." Fish in the percolator! Laura in James' flashback in an overly treacly yet creepy moment, and her phantom used effectively when Jacoby listens to her.
If the pilot sets up a potentially great show, this one shows we are in very good hands.
When you start getting to the good stuff, I don't know how you can rank them though. Maybe just talk about them.
Re: Episode 1
Posted: Wed Oct 14, 2015 6:38 pm
Not sure about 16 or 25. I'd probably rate 25 as higher as it's more fun, but in terms of story, even though it has its stumbles, I'd probably put 16 higher. Definitely hard to choose with those two - but agree with Audrey that Episode 1 is above both.
Re: Episode 1
Posted: Wed Oct 14, 2015 9:49 pm
Thanks for the advice! I will now proceed to go in the complete opposite direction lol...
Initially I decided to go 25-16-1 for the reasons you mention: 1 is just a tighter episode, without any of the baggage of the other two. But then I put in 25 and was really enjoying the opening shot and anticipating what was coming and thought, you know what? I think I like this one better. I do feel like 25 has Dunham's best direction of the series (on 1 it seems like he's still feeling his oats as a director whereas by 25 he seems a bit more comfortable loosening up his style - even though both begin with similar panning shots, ep. 1 feels very, very conventional for the most part).
So then I moved on to 16 but as the opening credits finished and Albert set Coop up for his investigation, I got that same feeling: no, I want to rank this higher. My problems with 16 are legion but I also find it a more fascinating episode than 1, warts and all.
It looks like I'm gonna rank 1 the lowest after all! I completely understand where both of you are coming from (I knew in particular that AH, who hates 16 and is at the very least not fond of 25 for the Audrey-Annie switch-up, would push hard for 1). But ultimately, using my subjective barometer (this is after all a favorites ranking, rather than a best) I like the strongest scenes of 16 & 25 more than the strongest scenes of 1, and 1 feels much more like a TV-marking-time episode than the others to me. It does subtle, necessary character work and offers some of the show's best dialogue but ultimately my gut pushes me in the other directions. The last few times I've watched 1, I have been somewhat underwhelmed; it just seems very script-heavy and most of the scenes lack both plot momentum and visual interest at least compared to the rest of season 1 (the pan across Coop's hotel room, the one-armed man walking into the blue room & Audrey's slow burn dance are exceptions although they are easily topped by dozens of moments in other episodes). Compared to its two competitors, I think 1 avoids their lows - some s2 fluff with JJW & co. in 25 and the anticlimactic mystery resolution and cop-out Bob characterization in 16 - but it also misses their highs: that indelible diner scene with David Lynch, and Leland's death scene in Coop's arms. Ultimately I have a tendency to privilege great moments over consistency so there it is.
At least that's how I feel right now. Maybe after watching I will wish I ranked it higher after all! Onward and upward...
P.S. This has been the hardest part of the list for me to figure out. The rest of it came pretty easily, especially the top stuff! I agree it's all so good but at the same time there's usually something in each episode that places it just higher than another one for me. The front half of this rewatch is gonna be a lot of fun and ultimately the fact that 1 doesn't quite make that cut speaks to just how good the rest of this stuff is.
Re: Episode 1
Posted: Thu Oct 15, 2015 5:46 am
Ha, I love ya, Lost. I am slightly worried that you might be rocking back and forth in a corner by the end of your rankings. For me, not that I could ever rank or choose between most of the season one, early season two episodes, I just instantly go back to when I watched them.
The second episode (okay, episode one) just instantly brings me back to the zeal I had falling in love with the show... And my constant rewinding of a videotape and writing notes in my Clue-like crib notes. It brings me back to the nation wide collective of being involved in the mystery. This one also has the confidence in shaping the Pilot's characters and actually improving them. If the Pilot is the one where I was fascinated with the mystery and it's characters, this one is where I fell in love with them.
16, while perhaps being better constructed and interesting in some scenes than the shoddy mid season two installments, might be at the bottom of my list of all episodes (even over ep 17!). Simply for never being to separate my letdown of Cooper solving the case.
I don't even know of this episode 25 of which you speak.
I'm pretty sure this show was only fifteen episodes. I do vaguely remember a similar show that had the same actors that I would watch with clenched fists and intermittent crying fits and rage though.
Re: Episode 1
Posted: Thu Oct 15, 2015 10:33 am
Haha yeah, I only keep myself sane by keeping it purely subjective. Otherwise I'd keep second-guessing the ranking...well, more than I already am lol.
I'm worried about how I'm going to maintain my Twin Peaks fix - and still get work done on other things I need to do - in the apparently now 2 years leading into the show! The next idea I have is even nuttier, putting together personal cuts of various characters' scenes so I can get a sense of how their arcs unfold independent of the other plots. That insight can then be a factor in the eventual mega-comprehensive episode guide I plan on writing when Showtime re-airs the series...
Re: Episode 1
Posted: Thu Oct 15, 2015 11:17 am
Okay, now I am worried about you.
Re: Episode 1
Posted: Thu Oct 15, 2015 2:10 pm
Just hope the series comes out in 2016 rather than 2017, or I'll end up like one of the folks in Room 237, insisting that episode 29 is actually David Lynch's subliminal confession of his secret involvement with the Challenger explosion conspiracy. All great works lead back to NASA, apparently.
Re: Episode 1
Posted: Thu Oct 15, 2015 4:35 pm
Oh boy, maybe for your sanity, you better hope it comes out by next week!
Still loving your write ups, I've just overdosed on writing about these episodes at this place over the years, it's hard for me to come up with new stuff!
What is shenangians?
Twin Peaks Out of Order #17: Episode 1
Posted: Thu Oct 15, 2015 6:41 pm
Re-watching Twin Peaks from my least favorite to favorite episode...
Previously: Episode 15 (http://www.dugpa.com/forum/viewtopic.php?p=43468#p43468
Woah, woah, wait a minute...why is this episode ranked so low?? It's one of only three episodes written by the core duo of Mark Frost and David Lynch. It contains some of the most quotable dialogue in the entire series ("This is, excuse me, a damn fine cup of coffee." "There's a fish in the percolator!" "My log saw something that night." "It's like I'm having the most beautiful dream and the most terrible nightmare all at once." and so on...). The holy trinity of coffee, pie, and donuts, which barely featured in the pilot, are fully established here. Many characters only glimpsed in the first installment are getting fleshed out, particularly Leo and Audrey (who meets Coop for the first time). We are so early in the series that no meandering detours or disappointing dead ends have been established yet; everything in town - and everybody
, even characters like James and Josie, whom we might later lose interest in - still seems mysterious and intriguing. This remains true rewatching the series, knowing what's to come; hell, it's even true watching the series out-of-order, having just recently experienced those later episodes. It's in the pacing, the way the characters interact, the freshness of the motifs and locales (this was the first bit of Twin Peaks shot on those iconic sets, doubling for the Washington locations). All in all, 1 is just a completely solid episode, chugging along on the power of what has been established for Twin Peaks while subtly adding new complications and angles. And yet here we are with the first regular episode of the series, a member of the golden first season, not even managing to crack the top half of my list. Partly that's the strength of everything to come. But it's also due to episode 1's limitations, which feels like a better word that "weaknesses." The episode does exactly what it needs to do, transitioning the potentially standalone two-hour TV event into an hourlong ongoing weekly series, investing us in the individual characters (some of whom, including Coop, felt a bit colder in the pilot) and feeding us enough morsels of plot to establish some season-long arcs while leaving plenty withheld for later revelations. But so many episodes do more than what they need to, and so episode 1 often strikes me as a little underwhelming. There are many great moments, but no scenes that fully transport me from beginning to end. This was the first episode of Twin Peaks I ever saw, before the pilot was widely available, and I had a mixed impression at the time. Much of it seemed very conventionally "TV"-ish and I wondered how deep David Lynch's involvement really went. Then came the scene at the Palmer house, and Bob popped up, and I was completely hooked (although the jump-scare doesn't do much for me anymore). What episode 1 really has going for it, what reminds me of its worth and gets me excited for upcoming entries, is that feeling of existing in a rich world of endless possibilities even if we aren’t doing much with them yet. The Laura mystery, which hovers over everything, still feels tantalizingly out-of-reach even as this episode brings us closer to her than the pilot via her first voice recording, a gauzy flashback and a weirdly overdubbed and distorted "Help meeeee..." Watching this, I can get a sense of how audiences at the time could be both fascinated and frustrated by the mystery, wondering with dread if it was going to tease them forever or if, someday in the distant future, they would finally get answers.
Next: Episode 16 (http://www.dugpa.com/forum/viewtopic.php?p=43721#p43721