Episode 14

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Episode 14

Postby LostInTheMovies » Wed Nov 12, 2014 6:22 am

Feel free to use this thread for general discussion of episode 14.

Below is the original message, which focused more on the difference between script & shoot.

EDIT: My mistake (see fourth message down for details) - the murder sequence IS in the teleplay (with Ben Horne the culprit) but it is featured much earlier than in the actual episode so I missed it when I just read the end of the script.

I was just looking at the ep. 14 script online and discovered, to my surprise, that there are no scenes at the Palmer house at the conclusion. I would assume this was purely for security purposes but it makes me wonder too: have Lynch and Frost ever gone on record (well, Frost more likely than Lynch), in Wrapped in Plastic or elsewhere to discuss how the idea of Maddy being murdered was conceived? And who came up with the image of the white horse, etc etc?
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Re: Episode 14 as scripted (no murder sequence)

Postby harmolodic » Wed Nov 12, 2014 6:56 am

To my knowledge no one has ever explained anything about the murder sequence--how it was conceived, the genesis of the white horse, or, to my mind, the most amazing thing of all, the weird spotlight effect--beyond the well-known story of the sequence being filmed three times, with Leland, Ben, and BOB. I was an original member of several of the earliest online TP communities (including the awesome Mike Dunn DLDB, which was going strong from around 1996 to at least 2008, and actually still exists). It's always remained a mystery. Which makes me think it is locked in Lynch's head and he's not talking.

Speaking of the white spotlight--there's also a scene where James is saying something to Donna about how when you're in love "there's like a bright light shining right on you" or words to that effect. I've always thought that it directly references the spotlight effect during Maddy's murder, and the spotlight on the horse.

Of course the spotlight echoes the round flashlight illuminations in woods scenes in TP and FWWM and also the general circle symbology in a lot of Lynch's work.
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Re: Episode 14 as scripted (no murder sequence)

Postby LostInTheMovies » Wed Nov 12, 2014 11:19 am

harmolodic wrote:To my knowledge no one has ever explained anything about the murder sequence--how it was conceived, the genesis of the white horse, or, to my mind, the most amazing thing of all, the weird spotlight effect--beyond the well-known story of the sequence being filmed three times, with Leland, Ben, and BOB. I was an original member of several of the earliest online TP communities (including the awesome Mike Dunn DLDB, which was going strong from around 1996 to at least 2008, and actually still exists). It's always remained a mystery. Which makes me think it is locked in Lynch's head and he's not talking.

Speaking of the white spotlight--there's also a scene where James is saying something to Donna about how when you're in love "there's like a bright light shining right on you" or words to that effect. I've always thought that it directly references the spotlight effect during Maddy's murder, and the spotlight on the horse.

Of course the spotlight echoes the round flashlight illuminations in woods scenes in TP and FWWM and also the general circle symbology in a lot of Lynch's work.


Interesting. If I could magically get answers to three questions, they would be:

1. Whose idea was it for Coop to get the wrong man?

2. Whose idea was it to have the killer (and/or the fact that there's been another murder) revealed to us independently of Cooper?

3. Whose idea was it to essentially re-enact the murder with Maddy?

My gut (which has certainly been wrong before) suggests 1) Frost, 2) really not sure but leaning Lynch, 3) definitely Lynch. Reasons:

1) It seems like throughout the show, Frost was usually behind exposing Cooper's flaws while Lynch preferred to have him somewhat idealized. The bait & switch is also a very clever narrative tactic and seems more in keeping with Frost's storytelling sense than Lynch's (Lynch is evasive, but is he really "tricky")?

2) Total, total speculation on my part. The script can't be taken as evidence since its intent is obviously to maintain secrecy around the sequence; besides by the time this episode was written I'm sure 15 & 16 - which hinge around knowing Leland is the killer - were already close to being finalized. But I wonder if Frost wouldn't have preferred to keep the audience in the dark until Cooper himself knows, since that makes for better narrative suspense. Whereas Lynch may have been more intent on punishing the audience for their desire to know since this was something he resented. On the other hand, I could see this being Frost's idea since it underscores Cooper's failure. But its importance seems more thematic, almost meta, than narrative. I could definitely see this going either way or even being one of those spontaneous meetings of the mind where they were both on the same page. The fact that the script has Cooper announcing there's been another murder, though, suggests that perhaps Frost didn't intend for us to be THAT far ahead of him (and also shows there must have been some last-minute revisions to ep. 15). Unless it was part of the bait-and-switch; a substitute line never intended to be executed but making readers think the murder wouldn't be shown.

3) As I've mentioned before, Frost also had a history of exploring domestic abuse in early episodes of Hill Street Blues. But while the psychological & physical aftereffects were shown, it was usually from the perspective of the detectives (another reason I suspect Lynch for #2). The significance of the murder in #14 is that, in addition to the sheer brutality of the violence on display, it jerks us completely out of our standard narrative position. Until now, except for little hints (like, say, Shelly's beating) Twin Peaks has generally placed us on the side of investigators rather than victims. But this sequence thrusts us right into Maddy's uncomfortable shoes; that or identify with Leland, a character we liked who is suddenly inflicting the most terrible pain on another character we liked. The complete disorientation of this experience feels more like Lynch to me - akin to something hinted at in Blue Velvet, although it's worth noting that he'd never gone quite this far before. He too usually mediated our view of violence; with Jeffrey in BV and, initially at least, Treves in Elephant Man.

I'm re-reading Reflections soon so I'll keep an eye out for any clues in Frost's interview. But knowing as much as we do about what happened with the other big setpiece in the show - the Black Lodge in ep. 29 - it's kind of amazing we don't know more about the genesis of this one.

I'm also curious how much of a role Lynch did/didn't play in the concepts behind ep. 16 (obviously he didn't have a role in the details), but that's a whole separate post!
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Re: Episode 14 as scripted (no murder sequence)

Postby LostInTheMovies » Fri Nov 14, 2014 10:55 pm

Well, I wrote this too soon. I read the end of the script, from Ben's arrest/the Log Lady entrace onwards but in fact the murder sequence IS in the script...and so is the white horse (which I guess means it was Frost's idea, since Lynch doesn't receive story credit on this episode?). However, the dummy script, at least the one LynchNet reprinted, has Ben killing Maddy instead of Leland.

Does anyone know the actual scripting situation for this episode - i.e. how many different scripts were circulated and if certain people only got the "fake" script? It seems like if they wanted to conceal the killer's identity, they would have had to share both scripts equally otherwise it would have been obvious when they shot the Leland sequence that it was the real one.

Has anyone seen a copy of the Leland-kills-Maddy version? And if so, what were the differences from the episode as shot?
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Re: Episode 14

Postby MoondogJR » Sun Nov 16, 2014 4:07 am

I have searched all over the internet for TP-scripts and for this episode I have only found the script with the Ben-kills-Maddy scene. the script never made any sense to me because indeed, in the next scene Ben is getting arrested in his office so he never could have been on the place of the crime... :roll:
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Re: Episode 14

Postby Audrey Horne » Sun Nov 16, 2014 8:51 am

The Ben back to back scene could also be explained to it not being a script, but script pages. Meaning the actors wouldn't get full scripts but only their scene pages. I know there is some confusion as to what the actors received. Some have said they only received their scenes and had no idea what else was going on until the episode aired. And yet some actors had full scripts in their collections, perhaps it changed after the LP story.

But I have a feeling this script is so confusing because they were really broken up and delivered to the performers and production in pieces so no one would know what it going on.

The next episode it is Ed driving and almost striking Cooper with the golf clubs.
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Re: Episode 14

Postby LostInTheMovies » Sun Nov 16, 2014 10:51 am

Audrey Horne wrote:The next episode it is Ed driving and almost striking Cooper with the golf clubs.


Wow, never knew this. In fact this starts to answer my question of, "Why the hell did multiple killers-for-14 matter, if everybody knew by 15, 16 17?" Answer being, maybe: they didn't know by 15, 16, 17.

This makes me even more suspicious about Leland's wake in 17. Considering that Ray Wise was not in the scene (unless they shot/cut scenes with him there) I'm guessing the actors knew or at least suspected whose wake they were at, but I wouldn't be at all surprised if they didn't know why/how he had died. They certainly aren't written or directed to act as if they did.
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Re: Episode 14

Postby LostInTheMovies » Sun Nov 16, 2014 2:55 pm

Another interesting thing about this episode's script: the OAM goes to Harold's house with them and there's a long scene as he tries to ascertain if Bob was there. Obviously not even shot by Lynch.
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Re: Episode 14

Postby MoondogJR » Mon Nov 17, 2014 1:34 am

LostInTheMovies wrote:Another interesting thing about this episode's script: the OAM goes to Harold's house with them and there's a long scene as he tries to ascertain if Bob was there. Obviously not even shot by Lynch.


I think that could have been a great scene!
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Re: Episode 14

Postby SickNotes » Sat Nov 22, 2014 10:31 am

I know you guys have been discussing heavy into the script and what matches up and doesn't with the scenes that were actually filmed.

However, since this is a general discussion of the episode, I thought it wouldn't be out of bounds to mention something here.

I can remember being fairly disappointed in Dale Cooper when I was younger for not being able to catch the killer before he killed again. That is to say, disappointed in the situation. I think it came as a shock to the audience in general that Agent Cooper "let" another killing happen? If that makes any sense. In other serial killer dramas like Silence of the Lambs, the killer holds a victim to be redeemed and we understand that SHE is at stake. I think allowing Agent Cooper to "fail" in this episode was a really smart choice on the writer's part. It definitely makes things more dramatic. Especially because there is a lot of comedy going on. On repeat viewing, I think I have forgotten this element in the drama. It is a fairly important reveal. At this point, we understand the immediacy of the events that have been going on outside of the other story lines. For instance, it is at this point, that most people might ask themselves, What have we been doing all this time? Then realizing that it really has only been a short time for the Law Enforcement involved. The disparity between what the audience is experiencing and the timeline in the series is brought into focus, I think. I just remembered on first viewing that the emotional impact was greater for me knowing that A) another victim had been killed and B) Agent Cooper had failed to prevent this.
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Re: Episode 14

Postby LostInTheMovies » Sat Nov 22, 2014 11:12 am

SickNotes wrote:I know you guys have been discussing heavy into the script and what matches up and doesn't with the scenes that were actually filmed.

However, since this is a general discussion of the episode, I thought it wouldn't be out of bounds to mention something here.

I can remember being fairly disappointed in Dale Cooper when I was younger for not being able to catch the killer before he killed again. That is to say, disappointed in the situation. I think it came as a shock to the audience in general that Agent Cooper "let" another killing happen? If that makes any sense. In other serial killer dramas like Silence of the Lambs, the killer holds a victim to be redeemed and we understand that SHE is at stake. I think allowing Agent Cooper to "fail" in this episode was a really smart choice on the writer's part. It definitely makes things more dramatic. Especially because there is a lot of comedy going on. On repeat viewing, I think I have forgotten this element in the drama. It is a fairly important reveal. At this point, we understand the immediacy of the events that have been going on outside of the other story lines. For instance, it is at this point, that most people might ask themselves, What have we been doing all this time? Then realizing that it really has only been a short time for the Law Enforcement involved. The disparity between what the audience is experiencing and the timeline in the series is brought into focus, I think. I just remembered on first viewing that the emotional impact was greater for me knowing that A) another victim had been killed and B) Agent Cooper had failed to prevent this.


I've been thinking about this a lot lately. I think you're right and I would love to hear other people's thoughts on this. Episode 14 doesn't just reveal the killer, it has him kill again and it makes sure Cooper fails in his mission at least temporarily. We know Lynch wasn't a fan of the reveal but I wonder what role he played in the other two factors. As I've been noting lately, Frost seems to be more the one who liked Cooper to have a human/fallible side which works really well here. It's great because going into the episode most viewers probably have a sense of "well, I can't wait to find out, but on the other hand it's inevitably going to be a letdown because the mystery is over." And then the episode does so much interesting stuff dramatically that I think it's pretty hard to feel that when it's over. Instead of "well, now so many possible avenues have closed down" it's "holy shit, far more interesting avenues have just opened up." Quite a brilliant stroke on Lynch/Frost's part although unfortunately it takes quite a while for Twin Peaks to deliver on that promise. On the other hand, the episode also works as an ending (albeit a very pessimistic, tragic one). And an ending which, once again, doesn't feel perfunctory but rather explodes everything we thought we knew beforehand - about what sort of a show we're watching as much as about the story itself.
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Re: Episode 14

Postby Audrey Horne » Sat Nov 22, 2014 1:10 pm

I just remember those few weeks leading up to the reveal to be thrilling. It had been over half a year of whodunit, and I had copious notes written down. It was time. My friends and I were all anxious to wrap this one up, and then ponder what the next big thing was going to be. Where was it going to go, and that was a very exciting prospect.

What was a shock and a very satisfying one was the surprise in which the episode unfolded. When they promised the killer would finally be revealed, the assumption would be Cooper would solve the crime. The mystery was subjective through Cooper's point of view. The journey was through him, so naturally when he finds out we find out.

I was excited like Christmas, and I suppose I wanted it so badly, and knew after it would be the wanting for it to continue. Having your cake and eating it too. What was so brilliant about this structure was it revealed the killer in the most horrifying manner. We're not resolved in X did it, but instead X did it and did it again and can he be caught?! And then the previews showed the still of the crime scene with Cooper's voice, "Audrey, I want you to go to your room and lock the door." You can imagine that was pretty thrilling and scary and you couldn't wait for the next episode.

So as an episode this was pretty darn good. It did everything it promised to do, and subverted our expectations. And it also showed us Laura being murdered again through Maddy. Traditionally, we would get the detective sitting down the usual suspects in the drawing room and we would get the flashbacks to the events and see Laura's murder this way. Instead we get an active reimagining. And that is brilliant. (And a reason I argue why FWWM is redundant and overkill, pun intended.)

At the same time it is problematic. The two follow up episodes change and we are two steps ahead of Cooper, and therefore yelling at our screens for him to wise up. And where Cooper could always surprise us (the rock throw is the perfect example, or the reflection of James' motorcycle on the videotape) that element is now lost. And Laura basically being a school teacher and giving Cooper the answer from the back of a text book is the biggest stumble of the series up to that point. If they could have Cooper surprise us again with more info it would bridge us knowing the killer before him with him knowing info we didn't.

But this episode is flawless.

*someone brought up Silence of the Lambs. I'm reminded of 1991 after seeing that film. The opening credit font is similar to Peaks and I remember thinking how the show was influencing the movies at the time. But I also remember the impression it left on me of the young FBI agent battling wits with the mad genius. So the Windom Earle stuff had a lot of competition and could not be matched.

**and another reason why FWWM seemed so lackluster to me is because 1992 was a game changer with new film makers. The shine was off Peaks. Miramax was producing films in which we were active... Reservoir Dogs and The Crying Game were the two big ones that made going to the movies fun again.
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Re: Episode 14

Postby FauxOwl » Sat Nov 22, 2014 6:52 pm

I wish my original memory of seeing this episode was stronger. I certainly remember it, I remember it being shocking... I was 15 and watched the show with my family including my father who was rather conservative when it comes to what he approved of on screen. He initially enjoyed the show (he was a fan of older Hitchcock style mysteries, and it had that vibe). I remember feeling an increasing discomfort with watching some of the more risque and violent aspects of the show with him, and he eventually stopped, calling it a "bad show". I'm pretty sure this was the episode which finally broke the straw with him.

I rather wish I had a stronger memory of my immediate visceral reaction to Maddy's murder. Every time I have revisited the episode in later years, the affect of it never wears off. Honestly it's hard for me to think of many scenes in cinema or television where the visceral impact of a scene does not wear off upon repeated viewings. I think the key, as it is with so much of Lynch's work, is the sound, especially the highly effective use of the record needle skipping, as well as the slowed down howling of Bob/Leland and Maddy's screams. Absolutely bone chilling.

I personally feel this is the best episode of the series, and that FWWM and this episode represent Lynch's finest works in the TP universe. I don't think this is an unpopular opinion among Twin Peaks fans. It's interesting then, that Lynch has expressed such misgivings about "the reveal"... since it's these very two works that are the most associated with the reveal. For one it's a testimony to Lynch's strength as an artist, as he can really produce amazing results with what for him are less than idealistic circumstances. But also, it indicates the gulf between an artist's intentions and how an audience can perceive their work. If Lynch had his idealistic conditions, this episode and FWWM may not even exist. You can certainly look at the aftermath of episode 14 as the unfortunate byproduct of a premature reveal, but I would never wish away the episode or FWWM in a million years.
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Re: Episode 14

Postby David Locke » Sat Nov 22, 2014 7:12 pm

I absolutely love them both, but I think I'd probably put the finale just a hair ahead of 14 as the greatest episode. Just because 14, despite how amazing it is, does have a more traditional Peaks structure where there's a bunch of subplots (Shelly/Bobby, Harold, Nadine, Ben and Audrey, etc.) that occupy the time before the monumental final act. Whereas in the finale, there are only really three subplots (things not related to the Lodge/Cooper's quest), and these three are all each put to rest in a single masterful scene. It's more economical, and gives more time of course to the amazing Black Lodge sequences, which are the high point of the series for me. But this is pretty small stuff, as 14 is basically a perfect episode and its final moments are some of the most moving ever composed for television or cinema.
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Re: Episode 14

Postby LostInTheMovies » Sat Nov 22, 2014 7:22 pm

FauxOwl wrote:I wish my original memory of seeing this episode was stronger. I certainly remember it, I remember it being shocking... I was 15 and watched the show with my family including my father who was rather conservative when it comes to what he approved of on screen. He initially enjoyed the show (he was a fan of older Hitchcock style mysteries, and it had that vibe). I remember feeling an increasing discomfort with watching some of the more risque and violent aspects of the show with him, and he eventually stopped, calling it a "bad show". I'm pretty sure this was the episode which finally broke the straw with him.


I remember eagerly anticipating this episode and feeling very uncomfortable afterwards. I was in an unusual situation - I knew Maddy was going to be murdered because I stumbled across a spoiler on YouTube that said "Bob kills Maddy." But I didn't know who the killer would be. The realization that it was Leland was certainly the most disturbing direction they could have taken the show in and I think I felt a bit like Ray Wise himself did - "no, don't let it be him!" I had a certain conception of Twin Peaks - as above all, fun entertainment - that would be hard to maintain if Leland was the killer. It really is designed to make the viewer feel guilty for enjoying the whodunit which is, of course, its masterstroke!

I rather wish I had a stronger memory of my immediate visceral reaction to Maddy's murder. Every time I have revisited the episode in later years, the affect of it never wears off. Honestly it's hard for me to think of many scenes in cinema or television where the visceral impact of a scene does not wear off upon repeated viewings. I think the key, as it is with so much of Lynch's work, is the sound, especially the highly effective use of the record needle skipping, as well as the slowed down howling of Bob/Leland and Maddy's screams. Absolutely bone chilling.


I certainly found the scene very uncomfortable the first couple times I saw it, but for whatever reason it was only this year - the first time I'd seen it in over 5 years - that it really got past my psychic defenses and upset me on a profoundly visceral level (it took FWWM to do that to me the first time I watched Twin Peaks). Now, I agree - it's one of my favorite scenes in Twin Peaks but also one I don't like watching. Small note, but one thing that bugs me is when tributes or documentaries (like Secrets From Another Place) include little clips from the scene and narrate over it. I think it should be handled with greater care to respect the power of the sequence: if it's going to be shown, show it in a way that facilitates rather than steamrolls the horror.

I personally feel this is the best episode of the series, and that FWWM and this episode represent Lynch's finest works in the TP universe. I don't think this is an unpopular opinion among Twin Peaks fans. It's interesting then, that Lynch has expressed such misgivings about "the reveal"... since it's these very two works that are the most associated with the reveal. For one it's a testimony to Lynch's strength as an artist, as he can really produce amazing results with what for him are less than idealistic circumstances. But also, it indicates the gulf between an artist's intentions and how an audience can perceive their work. If Lynch had his idealistic conditions, this episode and FWWM may not even exist. You can certainly look at the aftermath of episode 14 as the unfortunate byproduct of a premature reveal, but I would never wish away the episode or FWWM in a million years.


Great post and great point. I've been pondering this question a lot lately, especially now that Lynch is returning to Twin Peaks. I get that he didn't want to reveal the killer initially; what I don't get is why he maintains that it was a mistake. The message of an ongoing mystery would have been "Knowing what happened to Laura Palmer is not important" while the message of FWWM is "There is absolutely nothing more important than knowing what happened to Laura Palmer." These two concepts are entirely antithetical.

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