Episode 17

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David Locke
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Re: Episode 17

Postby David Locke » Fri Jul 14, 2017 7:53 pm

Cipher wrote:Flaming hot take: As I've arrived on what would commonly be referred to as the "season 2 slump" on my current rewatch, this episode felt like a breath of fresh air after the missteps of 16, my least favorite on this revisit so far.

The issues with the avoidance during the wake scene have been well-documented, and I certainly can't excuse them. Cooper's speech to Sarah Palmer, and in general the way the Leland storyline is wrapped up, echo the problems present in episode 16, especially with the shadow of Fire Walk With Me's unapologetic abuse narrative over them. Still, nothing episode 17 does is more off-putting than 16 to me in that regard, and once the off-kilter wake is over, a number of fun, if soap-ish, story lines are introduced.

The ramping up of the Lucy-Dick-Andy plot? Meaningless, but enjoyable.

Bobby's attempts to get in with a newly disheveled and disgraced Ben Horne? Promises growth, and intriguing in the moment. Leo's small movement in this episode promises terror to come.

Coop's suspension? Soapishly handled, especially with the melodramatic notice delivered by Roger just before the commercial break. But things are happening again.

Josie returning? Intriguing enough to propel the viewer into the next episode.

But perhaps most importantly, this is the episode that introduces the White Lodge mythology, and Briggs sells it with all the weight in the world, just before his disappearance. That disappearance, by the way, promises the return of the strange and uncanny in a major way. Even Catherine's "guardian angel" story promises more odd supernatural/spiritual presences emerging from the woods. That's a lovely scene I'd forgotten about, and I absolutely take it to be intended to dovetail with the emerging mythology of the White Lodge.

While the series' B-plots have certainly grown more whimsical (and it's a change from season one's tightly interwoven narratives that we even have identifiable B-plots now), a sense of genuine mystery has crept back into the series after the driving one flickered out so limply over episodes 15 and 16. And with the heightened humor, the promise of more uncanny elements and character-based terror to come signals the return of the tonal whiplash that's part of the series' identity since episode 1 (and which I believe the campy handling of 15 and 16 had somewhat diminished; jumping between humor and horror is one thing, but integrating camp into the resolution of a horrific story is another). I know which plotlines do and do not pay off at this point, but I remember being completely intrigued on first viewing, and am feeling that pull again now.

This may not be peak Peaks, but it's solidly entertaining and more in the mode of the series than I'd remembered. Next episode: Denise.

I see what you mean. The wake scene tends to overwhelm the rest of the episode for me, but there are a lot of things to like (if not love) here - the ending with Briggs's abduction is a high point for sure. I guess you could say that 17-20 form a relatively solid unit, focusing on the Briggs stuff and Renault/Dead Dog Farm. I'm especially fond of 18, which I think is easily the best of that 17-22 slump, with some real classy and understated direction from Dunham. 19 is silly, but interesting kind of because of that, and 20 is another solid more mythology-driven hour. All in all, for me it's not really until 21-22 that we get two genuinely very boring/weak episodes of Peaks. And then 23 turns things around beautifully - underrated, that one. There is a kind of low-key charm to this 17-20 stretch IMO, despite all the flaws; it's easier to put on randomly than the best episodes, which tend to be the heaviest, emotionally. So I don't mind them too much.
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Jonah
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Re: Episode 17

Postby Jonah » Sat Jul 22, 2017 9:35 am

I enjoyed this episode more on this latest rewatch.

The opening shot of the woods is beautiful and I think the scene with Sarah, Doc Hawyard, and Cooper is pretty strong.

I think it would have been better had they not used the "3 Days Later" title. In fact, I think the focus on time throughout the series - one episode a day - was always a mistake. I think it would have been better to make no references whatsoever to time throughout the series, or only cursory references, as it would have furthered the impression of Twin Peaks being a place perhaps outside of linear time. Also, the focus on time just never worked in my opinion, even down to the length of characters' hair, etc.

Anyway, yeah, this is the weakest episode yet - but I enjoyed a lot of it.

The wake scene is awful of course. On this rewatch, I got the idea that perhaps the characters think they're at Maddy's wake. Either that or Leland's natural death. They definitely don't act like they're at Leland's wake, though.

I enjoyed the scene with Cooper and Audrey in Room 315.

And I absolutely loved the scene between Catherine and Harry - what a great scene! Piper Laurie delivers here little monologue with great style and it was cool to get a callback to Pearl Lakes since Leland mentioned it a few episodes back - I wonder if this was a location that would have eventually shown up and been utilised had the series continued.

As for the rest....

Well, the whole Lucy/Andy/Dick stuff is the same as it's been for a few episodes now.

Hawk seems a little more over the top here - and will in subsequent episodes with Lana.

I really enjoyed all the stuff with Coop and the others in the Sheriff's Station and the investigation into Coop. Sure, this is Twin Peaks Lite and feels a bit like Northern Exposure or Due South, but I can roll with this. I wouldn't have minded a few episodes like this had the series gone on and not been cancelled.

Of this stuff, the best bits are Harry giving Coop the Bookhouse Boy patch and the scene where Cooper is saying goodbye to everyone. The bit where Coop says to Hawk "If I'm ever lost I hope you're the one to find me" may prove to be prescient in the new series.

The Shelly/Bobby/Leo stuff is okay. The Audrey/Leo stuff is a bit meh, but I can live with it.

The Nadine bit is awful of course.

The MT Wentz reveal is probably the best bit of the Norma and her mother storyline, though it could have been stronger - and I haven't really enjoyed this side plot, and find it very distracting in previous episodes, such as 15.

As for Hank and Ernie - ugh. I wish this wouldn't go on.

When Josie falls into Harry's arms, does she say "Cooper"? I thought it sounded like she did.

I like the final scene with Cooper and Major Briggs in the woods, even if it's a bit hokey.

And we get our first reference to the White Lodge here.

All in all, on this rewatch, I found a few scenes I enjoyed here - mainly the stuff into Cooper's investigation, the opening scene with Sarah, and much of the stuff in the Sheriff's Station. It's definitely a weak episode and the wake scene and the stuff with the mayor and his brother are pretty bad, but it's not as bad as I'd remembered. It's almost enjoyable. Of course, this is watching it now after several rewatches and at a point when we've all accepted this was the direction the show went in. I'm sure the first time it aired - and other times I've rewatched it - it was much more awful. This time around, I tried to enjoy the bits that I could.
Actually, now that some time has passed, I like "The full blossom of the evening".

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