Episode 13

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Episode 13

Postby LostInTheMovies » Tue Feb 10, 2015 1:54 pm

I've often called this my favorite non-Lynch episode. In truth, it's tricky. It's like a microcosm of early season 2, containing both the strengths and flaws of this part of the show. On the one hand, its high points are arguably higher than anything in season 1, as the show gets stranger and more intense and we get to know the characters even better. In this particular episode, Mike's transformation is the obvious highlight (it's probably my favorite non-Lynch scene, period) but there are many other great moments: everything with Audrey in the Book House (I remembered her creepy encounter with her father, but had forgotten the really great scene with Cooper immediately following the opening credits), Maddy's talk with James by the lake (which should by all rights be corny nonsense, and maybe it is - at least James' soliloquy - but I've always just loved this scene: the color, the sunlight, the fact that the paperback romance/soap opera quality is basically embraced wholeheartedly and made sweetly sincere), all the stuff with Leland whose mania is slowly gaining a sinister edge. And of course we get our first visit from Gordon Cole, which is just a sheer delight. I love Lara Flynn Boyle trying not to laugh when David Lynch first pops in.

On the other hand, as with the rest of early season 2, its low points are lower than season 1's. An episode like #6 is virtually perfect, with no weak scenes. The same cannot be said here: the Shelly/Bobby/Leo story and Super Nadine's antics simply aren't as interesting as even the least compelling storyline in the first season. Nonetheless, this episode handles all of these subplots better than #10, 11 or 12, and it's only in comparison to the flawless s1 episodes that it suffers. Nadine's scene is mercifully short and more playful than ridiculous, the party scene with Leo has a certain charming energy to it, and even the Josie stuff was more absorbing than I remembered. Most of all, Glatter is adept at engaging the actors and keeping the show moving at an entertaining clip. This may actually be her least visually stylish episode, with fewer overt camera/editing flourishes than #5 or #10 but it is always colorful and interesting and the fondness for mediums services the performances well. I particularly like the opening - while I think ep. 12 is very underrated, it's ending falls flat to me. Here the Harold antics are slightly ridiculous and exaggerated but there's a certain elegance and moodiness to it that was lacking when he was scratching his face in a canted angle.

Ultimately, whether this is my favorite non-Lynch episode depends on what mood I'm in (though it's very enjoyable in any mood). If I'm looking for a gripping, polished entertainment that flows smoothly from start to finish, I'll probably lean more towards something like ep. 6. If I'm looking for individual moments that give me what I'm most looking for from the show (be it a supernatural aura, a soapy sense of emotional investment, a dark psychological undertow, or absurdist hilarity) I will probably go more for this. Although both episode 6 and 13 are building toward climaxes, there's a difference: episode 6 is what you get when the mystery could go on forever, episode 13 is what you get when you know it's about to come to a powerful conclusion. In that sense it's more like the late second/early third act of a movie than a tightly-packed entry in an ongoing serial.

Additional thoughts:

- Audrey/Ben is really astute set-up for ep. 14. On the one hand, it's a good red herring as it brings Ben back into the fold of prime suspects after he's sort of been off on his own adventures for a while - knowing that ultimately he was behind his daughter's suffering in some sense gives him a "ominous figure pulling all the strings" vibe. But this is also good psychological preparation for the REAL reveal: the vaguely-sensed dirty secret between father & daughter, Ben's possible ignorance of what he's actually responsible for (as with Leland), and Audrey's fearful inability to actually tell Cooper what's going on (Fenn just NAILS her wincing, working-up-her-courage expression when Ben says it's time to go and she's turned away from Cooper in bed). I think this is one of the reasons - along with stuff like Leland's shady behavior in Ben's office - that when the true killer is revealed next time we have a sense of "Oh, that's right - I didn't see it coming yet I knew it all along."

- Maddy & James by the lake is definitely Sheryl Lee's finest moment on the show (next to the murder, I suppose, though that's very apples/oranges). You get a great sense of the character's maturity but also her vulnerability (which isn't immediately apparent from the script - the ambiguity is in the performance). Acting aside, it's also very good writing. It's the best sense we've ever had of her individual character, gives us a feeling for why she changed so drastically between ep. 7 & 8, and connects up nicely with the larger community's ambivalent relationship to Laura and her memory. Of course she does seem to contradict her statement in ep. 3 that she didn't really know Laura well. Maybe the connection was always more psychic than anything else, something she wouldn't have felt comfortable admitting to her acquaintances at their first meeting.

- Even as the episode is setting up the big reveal, it's also working overtime to plant seeds for arcs later in the season: Truman IDs Jean Renault, Cooper alludes to his dark past ("Harry, this isn't the first time..."), Cole talks about both Cooper's shooter and Windom Earle (even introducing a chess move!), and Josie's Hong Kong tormenters are fleshed out. Oddly enough, these tangents feel pretty well-integrated into the overall sense of anticipation and plot momentum. Episode 13 is one of the few season 2 episodes in which the disparate threads seem to belong together/cohere, in mood if not in direct narrative links (whereas in episodes 15 and 16 they already feel like annoying distractions from the conclusion of the Laura Palmer investigation).

- There are definitely ways that the One Armed Man's speech at the end seems to contradict Fire Walk With Me, and they've been discussed in other threads. But there are also interesting alignments with FWWM. For one, Mike describes Bob as a "parasite." This is actually closer to the film's conception of Bob than episode 16's, in which Bob seems to really be controlling Leland rather than feeding off what's already there.

- For another, Mike's thing with the arm is more ambiguous than I remembered. He mentions that he severed his arm "but remained close to this vessel." Why "but" - which suggests that upon severing the arm he could or even should have left Phillip behind? Why "remained close" rather than fully remained? And the whole "arm" thing doesn't really make sense if we take Mike as saying he cut off his own (Mike's) arm. Mike himself has no arm, but Phillip certainly does, and it's quite clearly missing. The arm that Mike is talking about cutting off has to be Phillip's (I know we usually refer to him by last name but somehow first feels more natural, maybe because it parallels Leland/Bob vs. Palmer/Bob). This contributes to my sense that when Phillip's arm was severed, his connection to Mike became more tenuous and perhaps even that the "Mike" we are seeing in ep. 13 is a slightly unstable/unaware mixture of Mike & Phillip. It's just a hunch, really, but it feels more "right" to me than anything else. Maybe we'll see in 2016 if Al Strobel comes out of retirement.

- Worth noting that, as per the discussion in the garmonbozia thread, this is the episode where Mike says that Bob feeds on "fear and the pleasures" (I don't think he repeats this line again, although maybe it recurs in ep. 16). The debate has been whether Bob feeds on this RATHER than on pain and sorrow. I think he does. Another interesting question, though: WHOSE fear, and WHOSE pleasures, does Bob have access to? The parasite metaphor implies that the spirit is feeding off the host. And Leland's fearful denial/repression, and the pleasure he gains from his abusive, controlling behavior would certainly provide Bob ample food. On the other hand, Bob also seems to be getting this sustenance from the victims of his host. Think his behavior in the following episode, when he is clearly savoring Maddy's terror. He certainly feeds off Laura's fear, and cultivates a twisted sense of "pleasure" in her but is this because she is his host's victim or a potential host herself? I'm not really sure: it seems like his feeding is not limited to one person, at any rate.

- This pertains more to the next episode, but relates to the last point so I'll briefly mention it here. Someone on another thread mentioned that maybe when Mike "points" at Bob in ep. 14 he actually IS identifying Bob - in other words, Ben has a bit of Bob in him too. Leland is probably more fully inhabited by Bob than anyone else in the community, but we know that Bob can torment Laura even outside of Leland and later episodes of the series imply that he is more generally infecting/affecting the entire community. I have to confess I like this idea though I know others would feel it ruins the power of the Leland-Bob link (and I'm not sure what implications it would have for the spirit Mike).

Ok, enough is enough - we already have threads for these other topics haha. But episode 13 is great.
Last edited by LostInTheMovies on Tue Feb 10, 2015 4:07 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Episode 13

Postby Audrey Horne » Tue Feb 10, 2015 2:21 pm

Don't have enough time to properly delve into this episode right now... but yes, yes, yes it is my favorite second season episode (with the Lynch stuff taken off the table).

This is how all of the second season should have been when Lynch wasn't directing. The tone and pacing are great. The script is on point.

This is Chen's best episode in my opinion. The Ben/Josie scene is tremendous fun. One of my favorites.

And if you didn't already suspect that Toj is Catherine in disguise, the Great Northern "King and I" scene should clinch it.

Beymer hugging Cooper, and Maclachlan's pained expression is perfect.

And agree this is Lee's finest moment up to now. It seems like the first time that Maddy isn't an accessory, and shines as her own person. It's a wonderful sweet scene. And I remember thinking at the time, "Aw, what a nice send off for the character."

Cooper, Ben and Audrey's brief scene is so damn good for showing us the potential for the rest of the season. Each one had their own agenda, each one is playing at the top of their game, and each one is a smartly written character. It's not only a shame that Audrey/Cooper were to be jettisoned, but also Cooper and Ben. Why did this show keep cleaning up all the story conflicts!

Great episode.
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Re: Episode 13

Postby LostInTheMovies » Tue Feb 10, 2015 3:53 pm

Audrey Horne wrote:Cooper, Ben and Audrey's brief scene is so damn good for showing us the potential for the rest of the season. Each one had their own agenda, each one is playing at the top of their game, and each one is a smartly written character. It's not only a shame that Audrey/Cooper were to be jettisoned, but also Cooper and Ben.


You know, I honestly never thought of that before but that's a great point. In fact, at times I've wondered where the Cooper/Audrey story arc would go (at least pre-Windom Earle), other than capitalizing on their chemistry, but that's so obvious: as Cooper romances Audrey he also discovers more about her father. She could even have mixed loyalties at certain points. Of course, for that to happen, that probably would have needed to handle Ben's arrest and Audrey's confession differently in ep. 14. It always bothers me that Audrey tells Cooper about Ben owning One Eyed Jack's but nothing comes of it (even after he's cleared of Laura's murder, which was obviously priority #1). Yeah, I know, Canadian jurisdiction etc etc but c'mon...would local and federal law enforcement really not put ANY heat on a local tycoon who also happens to pimp his underage employees?!

Why did this show keep cleaning up all the story conflicts!


Great question. You'd think, of the million problems that could afflict Twin Peaks in season two, the last possibility would have been a lack of conflict. What a waste...
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Re: Episode 13

Postby Audrey Horne » Tue Feb 10, 2015 5:07 pm

And don't forget Audrey had the info that Ben and Catherine were burning down the mill. Not to go off on another subject, but the show killed off all the conflicts, and neutered all the "villains." And this runs deeper than the nixing of Aud/Coop. I mean, spitballing ideas... Leland didn't have to be killed off right away. What if Ben has to go to trial. And Audrey has even more conflict with knowledge of the mill. What if Leland lasts longer into the season, maybe defending Ben... Keep the tension going, and overlap it with the slow introduction of a Windom. Always overlay your stories in a soap so while one is winding down, another is in full play.

*years ago a few of us played around with this in the Let's Talk Changes, Second Season thread. And it was so much fun. Reimagining and plotting the rest of the series past episode fifteen if things were a little tighter while still keeping to the creators intentions.
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Re: Episode 13

Postby LostInTheMovies » Tue Feb 10, 2015 5:59 pm

Audrey Horne wrote:What if Leland lasts longer into the season, maybe defending Ben...


I would be down with all of the above except this - one of the things that drives me NUTS about ep. 16 is the conceit that Leland is going to act as Ben's attorney! I know Bob's supposed to be running the show, but why would nobody else around him bat an eye? To me, the only way this would work is if Leland acted like he believed (or maybe, due to repressed memory, really did believe) that the real killer was still out there somewhere and Ben was innocent. In other words, he wasn't defending Ben because Ben was his client but because - ostensibly - he wanted his daughter's true killer brought to justice. So less of the "oh, ho hum, OF COURSE Ben would be defending his client" attitude that seems to prevail in ep. 16 (and even 15, where Jerry only mentions that Leland is facing a murder rap as the reason he can't defend his daughter's killer) and more of a shocked reaction from everyone around like "Leland, what are you doing, are you sure you want to do this?" as he passionately argues that Ben didn't do it, couldn't have done it.

An extra layer of irony could be if on some level, Leland did know he did it, and so all his passionate attempts to get Ben off the hook were a roundabout, subconscious way to expose himself. And even better would be if Leland's passion to exonerate Ben led him to dig up dirt on One Eyed Jack's and Ben's shady dealings and relationship with Laura, all of which would force him to confront his own whoring, and abuse, and corruption... This could have been a more organic way to do "Leland comes to terms with his inner 'Bob'" than the rather abrupt and overtly supernatural way it's handled in ep. 16.

Hmm, maybe I do like this idea after all...
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Re: Episode 13

Postby Audrey Horne » Tue Feb 10, 2015 6:11 pm

When we did it, it didn't last long and everyone else thought Leland was losing it. I believe he loses it quite a bit when he learns Ben was sleeping with his daughter. I believe later we had Maddy's body found, and Leland attacks Sarah, but runs away into the woods. He does die later in a similar manner, yet only a handful of people attend his funeral.
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Re: Episode 13

Postby LostInTheMovies » Tue Feb 10, 2015 6:36 pm

This discussion is leading me to realize something that had never really occurred to me before. Episode 14 fundamentally changes what the show is about: it no longer feels like it's Cooper's story, it feels like it's...Leland's. Episode 15 recognizes this to a certain extent, although it isn't quite sure what to do what that knowledge. But imagine if the show had kept going, and focused on Leland slowly coming to grips with what's really going on. It could've played with themes that Lynch dealt with later in Lost Highway (and maybe Mulholland Drive too) and been utterly fascinating.

Obviously the other storylines would continue, and Cooper would remain the central good guy but there would be a subtle shift of gravity. There could even be an interesting dynamic at work between him and Leland, since up to the climactic moment they don't really share screentime (their few meetings are brief and awkward). Maybe they actually draw closer together for some reason. Watching Leland's horrified awareness creep up on him, Cooper could start to deal with his own dark side. There are tons of possibilities.

I always felt like if the show could have stayed strong after Maddy's death, it would have to do so without Leland. But this avenue would be really, really interesting and could have given the show a whole new dimension. We still could have explored all the later Bob/Lodge stuff but with Leland still in the mix, its roots in the Laura mystery would remain stronger.
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Twin Peaks Out of Order #8: Episode 13

Postby LostInTheMovies » Wed Oct 21, 2015 9:17 pm

Re-watching Twin Peaks from my least favorite to favorite episode...

Previously: Episode 5 (http://www.dugpa.com/forum/viewtopic.php?p=43968#p43968)

Analyzing what goes into a great episode tends to make things overly complicated. We may parse where an episode falls in the run of the show, what avenues it opens up, how it represents larger phenomena. We can pick apart the episode’s structure, determining if it works best as a standalone and how effectively it juggles many characters and stories. In truth, however, the most important ingredients for a great episode are simply great scenes. Every scene in episode 13 is good, a real rarity for season 2, and many scenes are great. One scene, the last, is simply outstanding - the greatest moment on the series that David Lynch didn't direct (although he's present for it in the character of Gordon Cole). Al Strobel's performance as Mike, the spirit who emerges within the shell of shoe salesman Phillip Gerard, gives me chills even as I write about it. I believe this may be the best piece of acting on the series; at any rate, it's my favorite. We have dealt with the supernatural side of the show only briefly in this rewatch: isolated patches during 23 and 27, more extensively in 15 and 16. To a great extent (save perhaps some suggestive gestures in 27) these otherworldly currents felt a little disappointing, lacking the acute sense of the uncanny which is usually Lynch's province. This time, Strobel and director Lesli Linka Glatter capture it completely with an ordinary man sitting in an ordinary room, talking to us calmly and precisely. Twin Peaks at its best is as mysterious as it is revealing and here there are no special effects, no flashy visual flourishes or lighting tricks, and the wonderfully spooky music remains subtle (I love that eerie wail as Mike "awakens") at least until the conclusive stinger. The scene’s strength is in the tight editing, the subtly executed camerawork (saving one intense close-up for the crucial moment), and especially Strobel's juicy gestures and vocal intonations. I don't want to imply this scene, masterful as it is, is all the episode has going for it. 13 is absolutely chock-full of wonderfully-executed moments, often more so than the somewhat lackluster storylines deserve (I'm thinking particularly of Josie's exit from town). Glatter works with the actors to sustain a sense of energy and visual interest, delivering the goods with medium two-shots loose enough for us to appreciate the atmospheric decor but tight enough to keep our focus on what really matters here: the characters and their relationships. Bobby's and Shelly's welcome-home party is particularly memorable thanks to the contagious fun that Dana Ashbrook and Madchen Amick are clearly having (Eric Da Re, meanwhile, hits his one note out of the park). The Ben-Cooper-Audrey triangle is powerfully uncomfortable with the princess rescued by her fairy-tale knight, only to be returned to the dragon's lair. And Maddy's goodbye to James, straight off the cover of a paperback romance, is winningly sweet. Sheryl Lee does a lovely job conveying Maddy's mixed emotions, as well as her wisdom in dealing with them (a maturity rare amongst Twin Peaks' confused youth). I wish there were more scenes like this with Maddy, a character who never quite got the development she deserved before now (her excellent diner scene with Leland was sadly cut from episode 9). The personal poignancy lends extra bite to Maddy's fate in the following episode, a death which is already shocking for what it tells us about Laura's own life, and also simply for the raw humanity of watching anyone suffer she like does. Such a sequence would be powerful even on its own, but coming on the heels of episodes like this, which dig into the characters and make us appreciate all of them in their nuances and broad gestures, it carries an almost overwhelming wallop. So let me take a step back from my no-nonsense look at individual scenes, to gaze at the big picture once again. Episode 13 is a reminder that Twin Peaks' best moments, among the triumphs of television (and cinema for that matter), rely not just on David Lynch's talents but also the careful work of other writers and directors who have sustained and deepened our interest over the course of preceding episodes.

Next: Episode 6 (http://www.dugpa.com/forum/viewtopic.php?p=44099#p44099)
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Re: Episode 13

Postby TwinPeaksFanatic » Tue Jul 19, 2016 5:32 pm

I love how it appears that Leland is just acting bizarre in the office scene with Ben, but in reality his taking of the fox hair is a shrewd set up by Bob, who is cleverly framing Ben right in front of his face. Also the scene with Mike at the end is quite good and add lots of fun to the mystery of Bob. I'm not convinced Mike is telling Dale the whole truth though, nor am I convinced he's truly on Dale's side.

I wrote a recap for this episode, which can be read here - http://twinpeaksfanatic.blogspot.com/20 ... de-13.html :D
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Re: Episode 13

Postby laughingpinecone » Wed Jul 20, 2016 1:42 am

TwinPeaksFanatic wrote: I'm not convinced Mike is telling Dale the whole truth though, nor am I convinced he's truly on Dale's side.

I'm not sure about the writing team at large but I remain convinced that at least David Lynch agrees with you...
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Re: Episode 13

Postby missoulamt » Sun Mar 12, 2017 1:37 pm

One thing I just noticed, right in the beginning, when Harold screams out his disappointment/despair of being betrayed by Donna, he tilts his head backwards in typical Bob fashion. Just a coincidence or not? Were Harold, Mrs Tremond etc all portal figures to that other world?
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Re: Episode 13

Postby Snailhead » Sun Mar 12, 2017 9:38 pm

missoulamt wrote:One thing I just noticed, right in the beginning, when Harold screams out his disappointment/despair of being betrayed by Donna, he tilts his head backwards in typical Bob fashion. Just a coincidence or not? Were Harold, Mrs Tremond etc all portal figures to that other world?


You know, I could never put my finger on it, but now that you mention it, that is a very interesting parallel.
In my opinion, Harold is definitely not any kind of lodge spirit, however perhaps spirits had a grip on his soul. Perhaps his violent outburst in reaction to Donna's betrayal was influenced by BOB in some way?
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Re: Episode 13

Postby missoulamt » Mon Mar 13, 2017 12:45 am

It just looks so physical, as if it's out of his control somehow. That made me think of the Bob parallell :) Could it be that Bob fed off of Harold's fear of the outside world, but that Laura had a better picture of who was taking advantage of her, while it was more of a mystery to Harold? Which in turn made him connect with Laura so much, part attraction, part knowing that they shared something in common and wanting to find out more about it? Hence, his interest in her diaries etc.

Just a thought :)
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Re: Episode 13

Postby Gabriel » Fri Mar 24, 2017 8:11 am

Audrey Horne wrote:Why did this show keep cleaning up all the story conflicts!


This is the thing that bugs me watching back the whole series: storylines are rushed through.

Blackie, One-Eyed Jack's and Jean Renault in the present day would be season-long 'Big Bads,' as would be Eckhardt and Josie. Instead, the storylines are rushed through and characters eliminated at the drop of a hat. The show is generally pretty lethal to cast members and subplots. Having just watched episode 13, I felt yet another plotline, once Audrey is returned with no evidence of cravings for heroin, in spite of Blackie's attempts to turn her into a smackhead, start to dissolve.

It feels like they burn through things way too fast.
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Re: Episode 13

Postby Mr. Reindeer » Tue Apr 04, 2017 10:41 am

Yeah,I'd forgotten how great this one is. Part of it is down to the writers (presumably in the interest of building to the reveal) taking time off from most of the stupider subplots that had been simmering. However, I think a lot of it is due to LLG's tremendous directing. Aside from a mercifully brief visit to Hurleyland, this episode has a control of tone we haven't seen since Episode 9. (I thought of saying "consistency of tone," but TP at its best and DKL's works in general delight in defying consistency while using the inconsistency to produce a weird cohesive mood.) Even the corny scenes here work like gangbusters for me. As Lost noted, the James/Maddy scene works because Sheryl Lee is so sincere and honest -- incredible how quickly she grew as an actress.

There's an energy to the performances and staging here that we haven't consistently seen outside a DKL episode since season 1. Unlike the Pinkle scene from the prior episode, the Shelly/Leo/Bobby stuff here is delightful: Abercrombie hamming it up, and particularly the beautifully-staged "kazoo" scene which has such a wonderful crazy comic energy I can't help grinning. Same for the Ben/Josie "stalemate" scene, which has no right to be anything more than another in a long line of overwritten "Ben scheming in his office with someone" scenes, but instead LLG has tremendous fun putting the actors almost nose-to-nose. Chen reveals a playfully evil side of Josie we haven't seen before (and I can't recall if we ever see it again). I think what works so well about LLG's episodes, particularly this one, is that she is playful with the material while still taking it seriously.

This is also possibly the only time we get a glimpse of the more ruthless side to Leland's professional/public self. While FWWM and TMP show him as at turns a goofy and ominous presence behind closed doors, the few hints we get of his public persona generally seem to show him as a man of high character (Will respects him, Sternwood praises his morals even in the face of a murder indictment, and the Pilot hints that Ben keeps Leland in the dark on his shadier dealings). However, this episode shows a slightly more scheming side to Leland which sheds light on how he could work for a man like Ben (let's face it, Leland's close enough to Ben that he can't be entirely in the dark about Ben's dubious character, even if he doesn't directly know about anything illegal).

While his part in this one is small, this episode also has some of my all-time favorite Nance line readings (partly because I'm a sucker for Broadway musicals, I guess). His introduction into this scene is one of my favorite moments in all of TP. (Btw, I'm assuming that Pete's milk-drinking, both here and in Episode 5 -- both in situations where most people have alcohol -- is because of Nance being sober at that point? I've always imagined Pete was a recovering alcoholic as well, although Josie does mention in Episode 8 that she left ginger beer for him in the fridge). And, of course, there's a fun (and I assume intended) irony in the fact that Richard Beymer (who starred in the film version of an all-time great musical but didn't do his own singing) plays a character who doesn't know the words to a classic musical song and is very resitant to be pulled into singing.

I'm also realizing that I tend to particularly like the episodes that begin at night. That doesn't happen with great frequency because of the "one episode-one day" setup, but (like many of DKL's worlds), TP has a special feeling at night. I find I sink into that world quicker when I enter it in darkness.
Last edited by Mr. Reindeer on Wed Apr 05, 2017 10:22 am, edited 1 time in total.

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