Episode 23

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Jonah
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Episode 23

Postby Jonah » Wed Jan 28, 2015 2:05 pm

Didn't see a topic about this episode so thought I'd create one as just watched recently in a new rewatch of the Blu-Ray.

It's still very flawed but I actually like Episode 23, even if it is in the post-reveal batch of bad episodes (arguably 17-23 but opinions differ). Things pick up a lot in this episode. The bad bits are overall more bearable, due in part to knowing the slump is coming to an end if you've watched before, but even if you haven't, there's an overall feeling of more focus to the previously meandering plotlines. Even the woeful Nadine-with-amnesia-and-17-again story actually seems to serve a point now and it's nice to see the possibility that Ed/Norma might get a happy ending (even though we know they won't). The season 1 cliffhanger is finally addressed and all the Josie stuff finally seems to be wrapping up.

I've read reviews of this episode where some say that last scene smells of desperate measures to bring back the "old Twin Peaks" (throwing in weird elements). And while I guess it could be viewed like that (as too could the throwback to the pilot episode's iconic image with Josie in the mirror earlier in this episode), I think it's great to see Bob again and even the Little Man From Another Place. Once Bob shows up, you get a real sense that the slump is almost over and TP may be getting it's mojo back.

Also, despite the bad computer effects, I think Josie being trapped in the wooden knob is an appropriate - albeit very out there - turning point, given previous allusions in the show that spirits may get trapped in wood: the implication that the Log Lady's husband or some spirit is in her log; the reference Briggs makes to the wooden table in a previous episode - "Is my soul meant for this?"; and of course all the references to "Ghostwood" properties. I love the references to this in 27 but wish they had been expanded on more, and I wish we'd seen Josie in the red room as planned in 29!

Overall, 23: Not a great episode - but enjoyable and an important one because it starts the ascent back to form for the show in my opinion.
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Re: Episode 23

Postby LostInTheMovies » Wed Jan 28, 2015 5:01 pm

Yes, it's either the end of the bad or the beginning of the ...ok depending on how you look at it. Interesting that it introduces several late-season arcs (JJW, Good Ben & planting the seed for Annie) even as it wraps up some mid-season ones (namely Josie, although we also get our last whimpering closure on Evelyn without seeing her).

I fall into the "Bob/Little Man don't really work" camp. I remember thinking on my first viewing, wow they're really straining here. But I agree it's nice to see they are at least trying. And the Eckhard-Andrew scene in the elevator is pretty fun ("Look closer, Thomas. I'm aliiiiiiiiive!").

It's too bad this is Lesli Linka Glatter's last episode since it is her weakest.
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Re: Episode 23

Postby Jonah » Wed Jan 28, 2015 8:18 pm

I wonder whose idea it was to include those elements (Josie in mirror - similar shot as pilot/BOB/LMFAP). The writer or Lesli Linka Glatter's or perhaps even Lynch/Frost?

I can' t remember what I thought when I first saw the BOB/LMFAP bit. Knowing in hindsight that things improve from this point on may influence my reading of it as the makers going for a "let's get this shit back on track" feel as opposed to a "desperate/straining" measure. Either way, I always loved the Josie bit - it's very badly dated now with the special effects, but I was so creeped out as a kid when I first saw it all those years ago, lol! I can see why people might think it's a bit throwaway or weird for the sake of being weird, but I do think it's redeemed a lot in Episode 28, when it's heavily referenced in dialogue with Coop and Harry (with Windom listening in via the bonsai plant) and it becomes part of a narrative revealing that fear unlocks the Black Lodge! I thought that was cool that they worked it in.

One thing I really didn't like about this episode and direction, as much as I was okay in general with the Josie payoff, was revealing she was the one who shot Cooper at the end of Season 1. It just feels so...ugh. Not only does it lose impact by being mentioned/tied up so late on in the series (when I bet a lot of the audience had already forgotten about the cliffhanger - or almost!), it just doesn't feel organic to the story. I don't know, I just didn't buy it. "I shot you because you came here and I didn't want to go back" when she knew he came because Laura was killed. It just felt like a plot that was badly stuck on/didn't quite gel.
Last edited by Jonah on Thu May 11, 2017 6:28 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Episode 23

Postby LostInTheMovies » Thu Jan 29, 2015 4:40 pm

Jonah wrote:Yeah I agree it's weak, even though I like it. I wonder whose idea it was to include those elements (Josie in mirror - similar shot as pilot/BOB/LMFAP). The writer or Lesli Linka Glatter's or perhaps even Lynch/Frost?

I can' t remember if when I first saw the BOB/LMFAP bit, what I thought. Knowing in hindsight that things improve from this point on may influence my reading of it as the makers going for a "let's get this shit back on track" feel as opposed to a "desperate/straining" measure. Either way, I always loved the Josie bit - it's very badly dated now with the special effects, but I was so creeped out as a kid when I first saw it all those years ago, lol! I can see why people might think it's a bit throwaway or weird for the sake of being weird, but I do think it's redeemed a lot in Episode 28, when it's heavily referenced in dialogue with Coop and Harry (with Windom listening in via the bonsai plant) and it becomes part of a narrative revealing that fear unlocks the Black Lodge! I thought that was cool that they worked it in.

One thing I really didn't like about this episode and direction, as much as I was okay in general with the Josie payoff, was revealing she was the one who shot Cooper at the end of Season 1. It just feels so...ugh. Not only does it lose impact by being mentioned/tied up so late on in the series (when I bet a lot of the audience had already forgotten about the cliffhanger - or almost!), it just doesn't feel organic to the story. I don't know, I just didn't buy it. "I shot you because you came here and I didn't want to go back" when she knew he came because Laura was killed. It just felt like a plot that was badly stuck on/didn't quite gel.


Yeah, I really think it was just a case of "Joan Chen wants to leave..." "Ummm, let's make her Cooper's killer and tie up that loose end too!" At least they were clearing the deck for the late season 2 rebound.

For whatever reasons, I've found 21-23 (especially 22 & 23) the hardest to slog through even though 23 at least is better than a lot of the other mid-season episodes. I think it's because the first few post-mystery episodes are so fascinating in a train-wreck kind of way. Whenever I try to wrap my head around the fact that Super Nadine is throwing that jock in the air three episodes after Maddy's murder and less than one episode after Leland's dramatic death...I just can't. It's like the terrible-ness has a novelty quality to it that keeps me absorbed. But by a few episodes later even that novelty has worn off and I'm just ready for Twin Peaks to pull itself out of its torpor.
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Re: Episode 23

Postby BOB1 » Fri Jan 30, 2015 2:02 am

LostInTheMovies wrote:Whenever I try to wrap my head around the fact that Super Nadine is throwing that jock in the air three episodes after Maddy's murder and less than one episode after Leland's dramatic death...I just can't.


oh my... so true! :cry:

But as for Ep.23 of course I disagree with some of what you've written - actually I don't find this one flawed at all. Well, not "not at all" because I do agree with the pointlessness of the Josie-shot-Cooper revelation, which Jonah very well pointed out:
Not only does it lose impact by being mentioned/tied up so late on in the series (when I bet a lot of the audience had already forgotten about the cliffhanger - or almost!), it just doesn't feel organic to the story. I don't know, I just didn't buy it.

I second every bit of that.
However, as for the episode itself, I like all the Josie scenes here as well as the tension around Cooper/Truman/Albert who are coming to the conclusion that it was Josie after all. What I'm saying is: the concept was poor but well performed.

Besides, I have no complaints at all about Ep.23. Of course, of all the BOB etc. moments, this one is obviously the worst. But then again, all the others are generally so good, that it's no shame to be worse ;)
I've read reviews of this episode where some say that last scene smells of desperate measures to bring back the "old Twin Peaks" (throwing in weird elements). And while I guess it could be viewed like that (as too could the throwback to the pilot episode's iconic image with Josie in the mirror earlier in this episode), I think it's great to see Bob again and even the Little Man From Another Place.

Well, myself I loved to see them again, too.
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Re: Episode 23

Postby OK,Bob » Fri Jan 30, 2015 4:36 pm

My 2 cents RE Josie shooting Cooper: I always thought it was clear that Cooper made Josie nervous from day one ("I've got Agent Cooper with me. We're here to see Mrs. Packard." "I'll...make a fresh pot of coffee.") Josie could get away with her shenanigans with Truman under her thumb, but the FBI is a different matter. Then in the first season finale Hank - I always assumed - is referring to Cooper when he puts the pressure on Josie, "But now there's this threat, this possible threat, that could be discovered. And in one stroke, five, 10, or even 15 more years of your life could be cut right out from underneath you." Later that day, Cooper is shot... in the interest of eliminating that threat and getting Hank off Josie's back.

And, of course, "The coat was vicuña..."
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Re: Episode 23

Postby BOB1 » Sun Feb 01, 2015 3:43 am

:D

OK,Bob wrote:Then in the first season finale Hank - I always assumed - is referring to Cooper when he puts the pressure on Josie, "But now there's this threat, this possible threat, that could be discovered. And in one stroke, five, 10, or even 15 more years of your life could be cut right out from underneath you." Later that day, Cooper is shot... in the interest of eliminating that threat and getting Hank off Josie's back.

Good points.
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Re: Episode 23

Postby N. Needleman » Mon Feb 02, 2015 11:45 pm

I always thought Josie was that classic Lynchian archetype of the noir "woman in trouble" - caught up in lies upon lies, versions upon versions of herself. You see characters like her recur throughout his work. I think it was obvious he was especially fascinated by her both from that famous close-up in the pilot to the addition of the doorknob concept in this episode, which ties her into the mythology, to his attempt to bring her back for the finale and possibly beyond. (Is it true they expected Chen and James Marshall back in Season 3? You hear so many different things from different people, but especially Robert Engels.)

I've always liked Joan Chen and I think she has some very good moments in the show, and is underrated. Her scene with Ben with the contract in Episode 13(?) is wonderful, and I like that her voice and accent sometimes seem to modulate depending on who she's talking to or trying to fool. But it's moment to moment, and I think her story, while good on paper, is deeply flawed, languid and messy. I don't think anyone but Lynch and Frost necessarily knew how to make her character work and I think she got lost in the shuffle very quickly, starting with when Isabella Rossellini dropped out, and with her, a supposed planned Cooper/Josie love connection (until they discovered Sherilyn Fenn's chemistry with Kyle MacLachlan). I think they gave up pretty quickly. If she had been able to more actively scheme and wound people, Joan Chen might've been able to have more fun as opposed to pouting for Harry in scene after scene.

Despite that I think the character is an interesting enigma, and to me what interests me is everything we don't know, and the way she exits. It's this episode that makes her finally click, IMO - she's one of the last characters you'd expect to get drawn into the Black Lodge, but she does, because like Laura, Josie is a woman in trouble, and like a lot of things in Twin Peaks she is full of secrets and private terrors, and this makes her vulnerable. And watching the whole season again recently, it really registers like a shocking hammerblow when suddenly, bang, out of nowhere, BOB and the Man From Another Place are both back, after a long, long time away (we hadn't seen Little Mike since episode 2!) - to imprison Josie, of all people, in their strange netherworld. No one would expect it, but to me it just shows how every personal horror in the town is connected back to what's in those woods. It gives her tawdry, twisted criminal subplot, her struggle in the underworld a mythic undercurrent that makes it all that much more worthwhile to me. And then Josie goes from a living artifice - the persona she presents to others - to being part of another kind of artifice, hidden in the primal elements of the forest, where only the men who love her or fear her can see her face.

I don't expect to see the character ever again, but who knows with David Lynch? It would really trip me out if they finally gave Chen something really meaty to do, lurking in the shadows of the Great Northern or the Black Lodge.

(I also loved that scene in the elevator with Eckhardt and Andrew - "I'm aliiiiive!" Somehow Dan O'Herlihy leaning in and the way he delivered that line was very creepy to me.)
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Re: Episode 23

Postby BOB1 » Thu Feb 19, 2015 5:27 pm

As for Joan Chen I wanna add that while I'm not very convinced with ther performance of Josie in general (it's okay but not more imo), I do find her acting in her death episode brilliant. Especially her scene with Andrew, the way she's all shaky and things are getting far beyond any hope she could have had to control them... Perhaps some might say she's overdone it but for me this is very powerful acting stuff.
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Re: Episode 23

Postby StealThisCorn » Wed Mar 11, 2015 3:54 pm

Knowing that after this episode, Twin Peaks went off the air for a while and might not have come back (can you imagine Josie in the drawer pull as the LAST SCENE of the whole series?), I have always wondered whether or not the production team knew this might, indeed, be the last one. And if that motivated them to bring back some familiar images as Bob, the Little Man from Cooper's dream and, especially, that shot of Josie putting lipstick on in the mirror just like in the very first scene of the Pilot. Almost as if they wanted to end on a kind of cyclical note, which is a heavy theme in the show.

But, later, when David Lynch returns to direct the last episode, that same very deliberate attempt is made and it's very eerie to me how Heidi comes back to work to say the same lines she said in the Pilot to Bobby and Shelly who say almost the same lines back ("again") and the last shot is Cooper looking into a mirror with blood on his face (instead of Josie looking with lipstick on hers).

Anybody know details on if there was a conscious decision to have those images be the last things seen to end the series on a strong mindfuck, no matter where the ending actually fell?
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Re: Episode 23

Postby Audrey Horne » Wed Mar 11, 2015 4:09 pm

I would say no that they weren't crafting that episode to be potentially the last if things didn't work out. I believe by the time the episode was being shot, there were still scripts in the works. Heather Graham had already been cast in early December. The Gulf War hadn't even happened yet.

Most likely they knew they had to hit high points in Sept, Nov, Feb and May for Sweeps months. And therefore would have planned for big events to happen in each of those planned episodes.

Probably they roughly mapped out Laura's killer reveal for Nov, the Josie and who shot Cooper for Feb, and then the big cliffhanger Windom plot for May.
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Re: Episode 23

Postby LostInTheMovies » Wed Mar 11, 2015 5:43 pm

Audrey Horne wrote:the Josie and who shot Cooper for Feb


I guess the big question for this would be, when did Joan Chen ask to leave the show? I wonder if there would have been some Cooper-Audrey cliffhanger/turning point for ep. 23 if all had gone according to plan...
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Re: Episode 23

Postby Audrey Horne » Wed Mar 11, 2015 8:41 pm

I don't know. They had the Thomas E plot already alive and shooting by the end of 1990, and was her demise mapped out for that? I would imagine so. I wonder if it was relatively early, not expecting the second season to ever get green lit. We have to remember that in a sense she was the biggest star on the show globally, and I'm sure was in demand. A tv show was probably not in her main interest.

I imagine she already told them in advance she wasn't available for the summer of 1990 and that is why she's not in the first three episodes, and then leaves after three more. And then comes back three more after that. She may have told them off the bat that she couldn't be there full time, and then realized she just couldn't juggle both.

For Coop/Audrey, people have played the game of telephone that she would have gone to the Lodge etc. but taking to Engels, and of course this was my top priority, he said they never got that far. All you have are bullet points for a season. I think all they had was Cooper/Audrey/Windom tied together for a last act. By the time it had been nixed, there wasn't a Black Lodge/white Lodge mapped out etc. I got a sense that they didn't really have any bullet points for any of the characters besides Audrey and Cooper, and were just winging it with all the other characters.
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Re: Episode 23

Postby LostInTheMovies » Wed Mar 11, 2015 11:48 pm

Audrey Horne wrote:By the time it had been nixed, there wasn't a Black Lodge/white Lodge mapped out etc..


It's kind of amazing how big a part of Twin Peaks lore the Lodge terminology has become when you consider that it never even appeared until after the Palmer mystery ended, remained really vague and undefined for most of season 2 and was only linked to the earlier mythology of the show by some last-minute quasi-retconning, before Lynch abandoned it almost completely in the film.

I didn't really pick up on this until I read some alt.tv.twin-peaks comments that pointed it out as if it was a no-brainer (one saying that after ep. 15 TP changed from the "Laura" story to the "Lodge" story, and another observing that the Lodge mythology had been left out of FWWM), and then it was like woah, yeah, that's true!

My in-world rationalization is that there really isn't such a thing as "the Black and White Lodge" per se, they are human concepts imposed on a much more complicated spirit world.
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Re: Episode 23

Postby Dalai Cooper » Mon Sep 21, 2015 2:49 pm

One can only assume that jack wheeler getting a boner over 10-year-old Audrey is the writers' subtle jab at being told to nix the cooper-Audrey relationship because a twentysomething being interested in an 18-year-old is just too outrageous

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