Episode 21

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Audrey Horne
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Episode 21

Postby Audrey Horne » Wed Mar 11, 2015 11:46 am

call sheet

peaks 2014.JPG
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God, I love this music. Isn't it too dreamy?
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LostInTheMovies
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Twin Peaks Out of Order #30: Episode 21

Postby LostInTheMovies » Mon Oct 05, 2015 10:33 pm

I am re-watching Twin Peaks out of chronological order, from my least favorite episode to my favorite episode, probably to be concluded with Fire Walk With Me. Partly this is just a fun, different way for me to watch a show that I've viewed a total of 5 times (with some individual episodes being watched at least twice that amount). The series obviously has its ups and downs, but this way it will only get better as I go along. I already have the overall plot pretty firmly in my head, so I don't need to worry about continuity. I will be writing down brief reactions - a capsule paragraph or so for each - over the next month (I hope to watch 1-2 episodes a day so I can finish in October; had I planned better, I could have done an episode a day starting on October 1 and ended with Fire Walk With Me on Halloween...oh well). Eventually, when Showtime re-airs the series I hope to do an extensive non-spoiler episode guide (as well as an accompanying spoiler post for each episode) compiling everything I've written and/or gathered on the show so far, plus some new observations. I've already spent a lot of time thinking about Twin Peaks as a whole, seeing how each pieces adds up to something bigger. This is one way for me to look at them from a new perspective.

So to start with, my least favorite episode...

It was down to this or the Diane Keaton-directed follow-up. Eventually I went with 21 because I always felt it was more boring than the flamboyant Keaton episode, and depending on my mood that's a worse offense. Starting with episode 21 turned out to be a wise move. I haven't watched any Twin Peaks episodes for nearly 4 months (since I got back into the show in March 2014, that's some kind of record). It was such a pleasure to be back in that world of hooting owls, hot coffee, and woodsy decor that I was mostly able to gloss over the tired writing and direction of the episode. Even with subpar material, it’s fun to hang out with the cast: Ed and Norma reconnecting in the cozy diner, Pete as perplexed by forgotten frankfurters as his resurrected brother-in-law, and Coop and Truman lovably luxuriating in the pleasure of one another's company, their relaxed camaraderie in as fine a form as it's ever been. I missed these characters, and time passed in their presence does not feel wasted. I've always been amazed by fans who don't like Fire Walk With Me yet are apologetic about season two, but watching the episode in isolation after a long break I think I can better understand their mentality. Even at its lamest, the show always feels at least nominally "Twin Peaks-y," and there is something comforting about its collection of characters, moods, and motifs. I was even able to notice enjoyable things about plots I don't care for: Hideout Wallie's, despite being the central nexus of season two's most useless storyline (James & Evelyn) is actually a pretty cool locale, and while Ben's Confederate flag-waving war games are pretty pointless the Civil War drumrolls on the soundtrack seem to fit the rustic Twin Peaks mood (probably helped by that roaring fireplace behind Ben). On the other hand, the Lana Milford and Little Nicky denouements are as cringeworthy as ever - sending the widow into the room with her (armed!) wannabe murderer is easily the most thoughtless thing Coop has ever done. Meanwhile, it's nice to see a spooky entrance for Windom Earle; by placing him in an old cabin in the woods, the show finds a way to make this out-of-towner seem vaguely at home in Twin Peaks. Sadly, it's mostly downhill from here. Mostly though, especially in the first half of the episode, I was focused on the ambiance rather than the action and honestly that is probably the best way to get through this episode. I enjoyed episode 21 more this time than I ever have before, though that's not a very high bar to set. One other thing: since I wasn't coming off 20 previous episodes mostly focused around her death, it was pretty jarring to see Laura Palmer pop up under the end credits. Along with the Log Lady intros (which I won't be including in this rewatch, largely because I watched them all on their own after Catherine Coulson passed away), those credits always remind me of the bigger picture, however far the show has strayed from its place of birth.

Next up: Episode 22 (http://www.dugpa.com/forum/viewtopic.php?p=41945#p41945)
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David Locke
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Re: Episode 21

Postby David Locke » Sun Jun 12, 2016 6:27 pm

It's interesting how Episode 20, 21 and 22 seem to reintroduce a more baroque or noticeable visual style into the show after the rather blandly-shot Episodes 17-19. If nothing else, Uli Edel directs this one with a good eye. The main problem here is that, no matter how hard Edel tries, he's still saddled with some of the weakest material of the series (with Doc Hayward's speech about Little Nicky being the absolute nadir, the most unintentionally hilarious scene in TP in my opinion). There's far too much of General Horne, and the good moments are few and far between -- Coop talking about Caroline, Major Briggs at the station, the opening with Leo, the ending introduction of Windom Earle (one of the character's best scenes precisely because he's still mysterious). Otherwise, this episode only has the appearance of bringing us out of the S2 slump; while it kicks things up in terms of tension and energy and life, there's still little good to be said about the Lana plotline, for instance, and unfortunately stuff like this only shows that the series is still stuck in its post-Leland quicksand.
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FredTruax
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Re: Episode 21

Postby FredTruax » Sat Sep 24, 2016 7:04 pm

It's funny the way different people see different things, especially in this run of episodes (which i never understood the derision they get from fans- I used to love the show in its entirety, I had to learn to complain about mid-season2). In his book "Essential Wrapped in Plastic" Thorne explains that 21 is his least favorite episode and specifically the worst (read: most bland) directed. He calls it dismal and does so by contrasting it with the subsequent episode, the Dianne Keaton vehicle. Thorne convinced me to reexamine Keaton's episode keeping in mind that it did not have a great script yet she manages to provide the frame with "stylistic touches". Thorne complains that 21 is mere "pedestrian television" while Keaton's is one of "the best directed episodes of the series". Thorne is not the authority and your points are valid; it's just odd how 2 people can see drastically different things.
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Mr. Reindeer
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Re: Episode 21

Postby Mr. Reindeer » Tue Dec 06, 2016 5:44 am

Does anyone besides me find the casting of Kyle MacLachlan's brother as dead drifter Eric Powell really distracting? The first time I watched the series, I immediately noticed that the corpse looked EXACTLY like Cooper, and assumed it was a relative of his, or -- at least -- a guy specifically chosen by Earle due to the resemblance, in order to intimidate Cooper/creep him out. It was so strange to me that no one onscreen made reference to it.

I guess they simply decided to give Craig MacLachlan (who acted as production assistant on TP and Lynch's other '90s TV endeavors) a throwaway onscreen cameo, but this was a REALLY disorienting place to do it. Especially knowing from MLMT that Coop has a brother he lost track of, it sorta gives the scene a whole other weird subtext for me.
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Snailhead
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Re: Episode 21

Postby Snailhead » Sat Dec 31, 2016 3:35 pm

Mr. Reindeer wrote:Does anyone besides me find the casting of Kyle MacLachlan's brother as dead drifter Eric Powell really distracting? The first time I watched the series, I immediately noticed that the corpse looked EXACTLY like Cooper, and assumed it was a relative of his, or -- at least -- a guy specifically chosen by Earle due to the resemblance, in order to intimidate Cooper/creep him out. It was so strange to me that no one onscreen made reference to it.

I guess they simply decided to give Craig MacLachlan (who acted as production assistant on TP and Lynch's other '90s TV endeavors) a throwaway onscreen cameo, but this was a REALLY disorienting place to do it. Especially knowing from MLMT that Coop has a brother he lost track of, it sorta gives the scene a whole other weird subtext for me.


Yes!! You know, your post just brought me back to about 7 or so years ago when I first watched Season 2. I remember being very confused as to why the corpse looked exactly like Cooper, and why none of the characters commented on this. I never knew it was Kyle's brother, thank you for clearing that up for m.e
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Aerozhul
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Re: Episode 21

Postby Aerozhul » Sat Mar 11, 2017 12:52 pm

There are several things in this episode that leave me scratching my head:

-The dead drifter's obvious resemblance to Coop (a lost opportunity to expose even more how twisted Earle is)
-The distracting clown face on the wall in the Johnson house. The thought of Leo hanging that decoration is really funny.
-The fact that James (or anyone) would find Evelyn even remotely attractive. If they wanted an older blonde femme fatale type, I find it hard to believe that they couldn't have found someone that had some sex appeal. No offense to the actress, but she was terribly miscast.
-Dr. Jacoby is seen holding court over Ben's civil war battle but just a few scenes later he's in the Sheriff's office proclaiming that he's spent the last 24 hours with Lana.
- Men falling all over Lana when there's women like Audrey, Shelly and Norma walking around. I mean, the actress is attractive, but not on that scale.
- Coop not taking away the Mayor's gun before putting him in a room with his intended victim. Whaaat?!!
- The Little Nicky wrap up scene with Andy and Dick blubbering like babies is so terribly unfunny and cringeworthy. How embarrassing for everyone involved.
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Re: Episode 21

Postby kitty666cats » Sat Mar 11, 2017 8:21 pm

Aerozhul wrote:There are several things in this episode that leave me scratching my head:

-The dead drifter's obvious resemblance to Coop (a lost opportunity to expose even more how twisted Earle is)
-The distracting clown face on the wall in the Johnson house. The thought of Leo hanging that decoration is really funny.
-The fact that James (or anyone) would find Evelyn even remotely attractive. If they wanted an older blonde femme fatale type, I find it hard to believe that they couldn't have found someone that had some sex appeal. No offense to the actress, but she was terribly miscast.
-Dr. Jacoby is seen holding court over Ben's civil war battle but just a few scenes later he's in the Sheriff's office proclaiming that he's spent the last 24 hours with Lana.
- Men falling all over Lana when there's women like Audrey, Shelly and Norma walking around. I mean, the actress is attractive, but not on that scale.
- Coop not taking away the Mayor's gun before putting him in a room with his intended victim. Whaaat?!!
- The Little Nicky wrap up scene with Andy and Dick blubbering like babies is so terribly unfunny and cringeworthy. How embarrassing for everyone involved.


YES! That clown face gets me every time, haha. Leo is a fascinating, terrible creature.
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Re: Episode 21

Postby Aerozhul » Sun Mar 12, 2017 8:05 am

kitty666cats wrote:
Aerozhul wrote:-The distracting clown face on the wall in the Johnson house. The thought of Leo hanging that decoration is really funny.
-.


YES! That clown face gets me every time, haha. Leo is a fascinating, terrible creature.


I've noticed on this rewatch just how horrible Leo's house really is. What a depressing, decrepit, rundown hole. Clearly he was still working on the house himself and then just never finished it. Some of which was probably intentional to make Shelly as miserable as possible.
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Re: Episode 21

Postby TwinPeaksFanatic » Fri Apr 07, 2017 3:41 pm

Overall I think this episode should be viewed as a transitional one. It kind of went by quick. It had some interesting moments, a few over the top moments, and concluded with a creepy introduction for Windom Earle, which I enjoyed. I wrote a recap for this episode here ---> http://twinpeaksfanatic.blogspot.com/20 ... de-21.html :D
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Mr. Reindeer
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Re: Episode 21

Postby Mr. Reindeer » Fri Apr 07, 2017 5:45 pm

Aerozhul wrote:
kitty666cats wrote:
Aerozhul wrote:-The distracting clown face on the wall in the Johnson house. The thought of Leo hanging that decoration is really funny.
-.


YES! That clown face gets me every time, haha. Leo is a fascinating, terrible creature.


I've noticed on this rewatch just how horrible Leo's house really is. What a depressing, decrepit, rundown hole. Clearly he was still working on the house himself and then just never finished it. Some of which was probably intentional to make Shelly as miserable as possible.


Speaking of Leo's decorating choices, does anyone know who the portrait by the door is? I'm talking about the cowboy with the impressive mustache. It sort of reminds me of Sam Elliott, and it maddens me because it's so prominently featured. I feel like I should know who it is.
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Saturn's child
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Re: Episode 21

Postby Saturn's child » Sat Apr 08, 2017 6:18 am

Mr. Reindeer wrote:Speaking of Leo's decorating choices, does anyone know who the portrait by the door is? I'm talking about the cowboy with the impressive mustache. It sort of reminds me of Sam Elliott, and it maddens me because it's so prominently featured. I feel like I should know who it is.


I can't think of the portrait off the top of my head, but I'll keep an eye out for it during my pre-s3 rewatch. A lot of the classic gunslingers (Wyatt Earp, Doc Holliday, etc) had mighty stashes, so there's a pretty broad field of possibilities!
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Mr. Reindeer
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Re: Episode 21

Postby Mr. Reindeer » Sat Apr 22, 2017 9:40 am

While we've discussed the Johnsons' interior decorating, I don't think anyone has actually talked about the scene in this episode yet in the thread. I think it's a pretty good little horror-movie scene, and one of the best things in an otherwise terrible episode. Edel improves the scene from the scripted version in several ways. First, the script shockingly doesn't take advantage of the plastic walls at all! It has Shelly and Bobby fumbling at windows and doors the whole time. Edel doesn't deserve that much credit for restaging it to take advantage of the set's most unique feature, since it's a complete no-brainer, but it does make the sequence way more effective. Also, Edel empowered Shelly a bit more: the script never has Shelly grabbing the knife (the only time she fights back is by throwing a toaster at Leo's chest; he responds with a mechnical Terminator-like, "Ow"). In the script, in a truly moronic resolution, Bobby saves the day with his lighter! The scene is much stronger for letting Shelly stab Leo and save Bobby.

Wish we could have spent more time in town during the blackout, maybe a whole episode. There was such a potential for mood there, only hinted at in the Audrey/Bobby scene (shades of DKL's Hotel Room!).

It's always been weird to me that this episode completely contradicts the Coop/Earle timeline in MLMT, yet Scott Frost wrote both this episode and the book in very close proximity.

Does anyone know what the deal is with the sports game dubbed over the scene in James's room? I don't even know what sport it is because the crowd is so deafeningly loud they drown out the announcer. It's such a weird, jarring choice. Whatever Edel was trying for, it doesn't work at all, but it undeniably gives the scene a different vibe from the rest of the scenes in that storyline!
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LostInTheMovies
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Re: Episode 21

Postby LostInTheMovies » Sat Apr 22, 2017 9:59 am

I love that idea of a full blackout episode, sort of like the thunderstorm episode that Todd Holland directed. People talk about Twin Peaks not really having the potential for a long-term story, that maybe it stretched out longer than it should have anyway. But I think there was plenty of room of experimentation and exploration, they just needed more breathing room to figure it out. A 22-episode season, with the creators distracting, the network applying pressure, and the (admittedly self-imposed) decision to keep bringing on more and more characters all created this kind of frenzy where everyone burnt out quickly while hanging on for dear life.

But a blackout episode - a Christmas episode (arriving around, oh, 2005 or so if the show had kept up one day at a time ;) ). All the usual sort of "let's apply this gimmick/frame to this episode" formulas of television could have been livened up by contact with the freshness of the Peaks conceit. This is a sort of Twin Peaks we'll never really get to see because it sounds like the new series isn't really going to be much like episodic television at all (and even the original leaned more heavily on serialization than the episodic). But it is interesting to consider, in an alternate universe.
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Re: Episode 21

Postby Audrey Horne » Sat Apr 22, 2017 10:18 am

Ah, a blackout episode would have been a great idea... Naturally with better content as well.

one thing that bugged me back in the day (when I was still hopeful about these upcoming episodes) was the Bobby location cheat. The previous episode ends with Shelly in danger... This one begins with Bobby at the Great Northern. As a viewer it establishes to me that Shelly is truly on her own with no one around, and help very far away. Dramatically it took me aback at the time that Bobby suddenly teleports to the Johnsons... At least set up that he is torn about staying or leaving so we have a beat the clock scenario. Shelly is therefore in the house with Leo for an hour before she makes a move of getting out?!
God, I love this music. Isn't it too dreamy?

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