Twin Peaks Ep. 5: “The One-Armed Man”

I don’t like this episode. It’s like everyone suddenly decided that murder in a small town is Serious Bizness. I’m warning you now there will be some language involved, although I think I’d still qualify for PG-13. Laura’s mom is sitting with a sketch artist to draw the man from her vision. Is this a thing? I don’t think this is a thing. Laura’s dad is mocking, which makes sense except that when he goads her into telling the police about the vision of Laura’s necklace, there are at least two people in the room that know there actually was a necklace and there might be something to what she’s saying.

The Sheriff asks Lucy what’s up, so she recaps the silly soap opera she’s been watching in a nice bit of meta-commentary and then acts very cold to Deputy Andy (hereafter known as Deputy Droopy) and he doesn’t know why. Probably the injury from Agent Cooper throwing rocks at his head.

Dr. Jacoby is “entertaining” Agent Cooper by palming ping-pong balls. He’s wearing glasses with one red lens and one blue, so he’s seeing everything in 3D. He doesn’t want to violate doctor-patient confidentiality, but years of “Law and Order” have told me confidentiality doesn’t survive death. Or, at least, it gets murky. Dr. Jacoby starts going off about how wonderful the Hawaiians are at being all-natural and general bullshit “otherness.” (This is like when you insist that Native Americans have magical powers or Latinos just emanate sex or if women ran the world there would be no war. It fails to take into account that all people are different from each other but in roughly the same ways, and it’s really friggin’ offensive. Also, we’re going to see a lot of it this episode.) Agent Cooper alternates his questions between Laura’s sexuality and her cocaine use in a really confusing way. Dr. Jacoby blows off Laura’s boyfriends as “they were boys. She was a woman!” which is usually the clue that an adult man is sleeping with an underage girl. Dr. Jacoby does say he saw someone in a red corvette, which Agent Cooper pegs as probably belonging to Dumb Leo. Agent Cooper gets a speakerphone call from his boss, who says Agent Patronizing says the scratches on Laura’s shoulder were bird bites and mostly everything else we already knew. Then the boss says Agent Patronizing still has that complaint going against the Sheriff, but Agent Cooper makes a big show of saying he’ll fight it before hanging up on his boss. Deputy Droopy brings in the sketch from Laura’s mom, and Agent Cooper identifies it as the same man from his dream and says he purposefully wasn’t there when the sketch was made because he’s a “strong sender” and might have influenced her. Because it’s not just as easy to look at the sketch later and say, “yes, just like that.” Agent Cooper seems to be buying his own bullshit to a new degree today. Before he can get much further, Deputy Hawk calls to tell them the one-armed man is in a hotel. Agent Cooper asks how long it will take to get there and Agent Droopy and the Sheriff give wildly different answers (Agent Droopy: “Depends how you go.”) but I’m thinking the Sheriff is the more likely candidate for accurately knowing exactly how far away hotels are from where he is at any given moment.

Already at the hotel is Josie, staking out Catherine and Ben’s room. She takes pictures of the outside of their room even though you can’t see anything. Catherine tells Ben about her top-secret hiding place, because that’s always a good idea (seriously, there are some secrets you should just die with) and then goes on about setting fire to the mill. Ben spells out that they’re going to frame Josie for the crime. There is no subtext in their relationship.

Agent Cooper, the Sheriff, and Deputy Droopy approach the room and Deputy Droopy drops his gun, causing it to fire. Guns had safeties in 1990, right? They barge in on the room of the one-armed man, and are shocked when they tell him to keep his hands where they can see them and there’s only one.

Ben tells Catherine he’s going to “give little Elvis a bath,” and waves around a small Elvis figurine. Here’s the subtext! I’m guessing this is to get around Standards & Practices. “No, it’s not a euphemism for dick. He’s actually got a little Elvis!” In all his waving around, he causes a poker chip from the brothel to fall out of his pocket and Catherine finds it. Honey, if going to a brothel is the worst way he’s cheating on you, his mistress, you’re getting off easy.

Agent Cooper and the Sheriff show the one-armed man the sketch from Laura’s mom and insist he knows this man because Agent Cooper had a vision of it, although they leave the last bit out. The one-armed man says he was visiting his best friend Bob in the hospital, but now he’s a shoe salesman. Agent Cooper gets very accusatory as he asks if the one-armed man had a tattoo on the arm he lost and what did it say? He drives the man to tears as he admits there was a tattoo but it said “Mom.” So basically the one-armed man is just a nice guy who misses his mom and Agent Cooper made him cry because of a dream he had.

Deputy Hawk pulls the Sheriff aside as they’re leaving to say that when he arrived, Josie was staking the place out. For some reason, he feels the need to point to an oil stain on the road when he says it. I’m pretty sure the Sheriff would just take your word for it, Deputy Hawk.

Audrey tells Donna her plan to figure out who killed Laura, which will earn her Agent Cooper’s heart forever. So far, Audrey has figured out that Laura was seeing Emo-Boy on the sly and was doing cocaine. She overheard Dr. Jacoby telling her brother that Laura was his patient (I guess that’s what we were supposed to get out of that scene before the funeral), which even Donna didn’t know. Audrey gets a little too into the idea that Laura might have been working at the brothel, but decides to start with the perfume counter Laura and Ronette worked at.

Norma is at the parole hearing for her husband. The little speech he gives on his own behalf should never get him released – it’s full of passive verbs and zero responsibility. (“My car drove too fast and somebody was killed.”) Norma says she would give him a job at the diner if he were released, and the decision will be made before 5pm.

They’re going to the one-armed man’s friend’s veterinary clinic, and even though he’s supposed to be in a coma, the place is full of patients. Agent Cooper shows the receptionist the suspect sketch but she says she’s never seen that guy before. Agent Cooper sends Deputy Droopy next door for twine, and when he returns with the same brand that was on Laura’s upper arms Agent Cooper decides that the killer was a client of the veterinary clinic and seizes all their files. Again, I don’t think it works that way. And seriously, being inducted into The Bookhouse Boys made him the unfunnest person ever to be around. He hasn’t even talked to his imaginary friend all episode!

Shelly and Bobby make out and she tells him she felt so bad for Bobby at Laura’s funeral and she just wanted to hold him. At his other girlfriend’s funeral. Classy. Shelly lets Bobby know Dumb Leo is hanging out with the French dude. Bobby has been thinking, and finally a light bulb goes off. He thinks Dumb Leo might have been giving Laura her cocaine. That one took… from well before she died, really, for him to figure out. She shows him Dumb Leo’s blood-covered shirt and he says “you don’t need to know, I’ll just take this” and she trusts him because no one in this group is applying for a job at a think tank. She shows him her gun, then starts undressing as she says she thought he could teach her how to use it. They both know guns aren’t sex toys, right? Because there are a million ways this could end badly and the only way it ends well is if she puts the damn gun away this minute. Bobby spits out his gum because he might have to walk two steps to her and there’s only so much he can do at once.

The vet had three boxes of files. The Sheriff asks Lucy to go through and find the bird owners, but she gives him a hard time about “how will I know?” Seriously, none of this is difficult. It’s not even in legalese. Deputy Droopy admits to Lucy that he dropped his gun, but beyond asking if he’s all right, she’s not interested.

Agent Cooper thinks they should all be confident with guns, and also since when is Lucy upset with Deputy Droopy? Then the men start with “there’s no logic here” and “women were drawn with a different set of blueprints” and fuck all y’all. The Deputies take a turn firing at targets, and Deputy Droopy starts jolting around like he’s on the Enterprise in battle. He needs practice. Among other things, he stares at the gun the whole time instead of the target. The Agent and the Sheriff take their turn while Deputy Hawk quotes some bad poetry at them and Agent Cooper says he tried falling in love once and it didn’t really end well. (Because nobody else has a story that tragic.) Then he claims he shot four bullets through two holes and everyone seems to believe him because he’s not really funny this episode. Lucy comes on the loudspeaker to read aloud some veterinary files to make the point that this is tedious work and seriously, it’s three boxes. If you stop fretting and just do it, Lucy, it will take fifteen minutes.

Shelly shows up to work in a mood and jumps straight into telling her boss how her husband hits her and it’s terrible. Norma sympathizes on the two-timing bit but has no advice for getting out of an abusive marriage. Instead, she thinks the two of them should get mani-pedis, and seriously, fuck all y’all.

Emo-Boy walks in and uses the pay phone to call Donna. She tries to get him to come over, but her family is being way too cute and well-adjusted, so he tries to back off. She tells him about Laura’s mom’s vision.That will get him to come over. Then Cousin Maddie walks in to pick up food and exposit at Emo-Boy for a while. She takes off her glasses immediately so we can see it’s the same actress who plays Laura, which freaks Emo-Boy out a bit. Norma gets the call that her husband made parole, which, maybe he bribed the parole board? Because that was not the speech of someone who should be let out of prison.

Ben is on an exercise bike and talking on the phone about getting more Norwegians since they lost the last ones (ding!). Audrey comes in and plays her father like a fiddle. “Are you ashamed of me? I want to work for the family business. I’ll start at the absolute bottom!” He calls her bluff and tells her to make some beds in guest rooms. She manages to pivot this into a gig at the department store (where Laura and Ronette worked) and you’d think this wouldn’t work until she pulls out “please let me be your daughter again.” Did they used to be close? There’s no indication of that. Ben gives up when he gets a phone call so she’ll leave.

They’re going through the vet’s files when they get a call the specific bird they’re looking for is a parrot or a myna bird, and just then Deputy Droopy finds the file for French Dude’s myna bird. Also, Agent Patronizing faxes over his approximation of what was in Laura’s stomach and the Sheriff figures it’s a poker chip from the brothel. Agent Cooper makes a big deal out of two clues happening at the same time, even though they came from the same source since he was calling anyway and it’s not really a coincidence at all. Anyway, they have to investigate this moment.

They go to the French Dude’s place and miss Bobby running away (Deputy Hawk tries to chase after him but is never really close enough to see who it is) but Agent Cooper finds Dumb Leo’s blood-covered shirt, which Bobby was planting there.

Dumb Leo is meeting with Ben, who mocks his choice of “discreet” car (the red corvette). Leo announces that French Dude is back in Canada forever, but his non-French brother is currently resting in pieces. He unironically calls the non-French brother “not too bright,” but it’s enough for Ben to give him the job of burning down the mill.

Donna and Emo-Boy check out Laura’s mom’s vision by looking for the other half of the necklace Emo-Boy buried. Donna says Laura called her mom “spooky.” Yeah, well, my mother is amazing, but when I was 17 I think I said some pretty snotty things about her, too. That’s how teenagers show love sometimes. Emo-Boy emos for a bit about how sad he is Laura’s dead and they should tell the police (first sensible thing he’s said all series!) but it’s Donna’s turn to be the bad influence. “No one cared about Laura except us. We have to figure out who killed her.” This is not the thought process of a stable person. Run, Emo-Boy! You might have found one worse off than you!

The Sheriff calls his girlfriend and asks about her being at the hotel, but she blows him off and hangs up. Pete asks Josie to do a fishing tournament with him, and it’s not clear if she realizes he’s asking her out but she accepts. “Will you partner up with me?” is the first clear thing he’s said, but that doesn’t mean she understood. Josie goes through the mail and finds a drawing of a domino, just before the phone rings. It’s Norma’s husband calling from jail to ask if she got the message and “catch you later.” He’s sucking on a domino, which doesn’t strike me as particularly soothing but then I’ve never committed vehicular manslaughter.


About Generation Coax

I am an aspiring TV writer, amateur photographer, and craft hobbyist.
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One Response to Twin Peaks Ep. 5: “The One-Armed Man”

  1. Pingback: Twin Peaks Recaps: The Recap | Generation Coax

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