Here is where the writers realized all of this should probably be building to something. Windom Earle explains the legend to us again: there is a White Lodge, where everyone is happy and good, and a Black Lodge, which could go either way but is generally understood as bad. The way the Major told it, you have to go to the Black Lodge before you can go to the White Lodge, and to get out of the Black Lodge alive, you cannot have fear. Windom Earle has a different perspective, because he has no interest in getting to the White Lodge. He wants power from the Black Lodge. No idea what he intends to do with it. He just wants power, for power’s sake. Okay. Not the best motivation, but acceptable.
Twin Peaks has a Miss Twin Peaks contest. So did my Barbies when I was a kid. Of course, Barbies are inanimate objects, so when I pitted them against each other and declared which one was the winner who got to wear the pretty dress, none of the others had hurt feelings. It seems the great motivation for the town to have this contest is boredom. Donna enters so she can threaten to use the scholarship money to study overseas. I spent a semester overseas. It was awesome. It must be totally different now with iPhones and digital cameras. I wish I could go back and have the modern experience. Lucy decides to enter because she could use the money for her baby, although it’s scholarship money so unless this pageant is even more podunk than it seems, it doesn’t really work that way. Shelly is pushed to enter by Bobby, who’s decided he cares about her again because she’s pretty, and since pretty people have easier lives, she should get herself declared the prettiest of all. This is actually his motivation. Ben thinks the topic for the speeches should be “how to save our forests” because this would help his campaign to screw over Catherine via having her land declared a protected wildlife refuge. See, Bobby, that’s how you do motivation. This speech thing is supposed to make us think it’s not just about standing dolls next to each other and judging them, but the way Pete rubs his hands together when he discusses it makes it clear it’s really all about the ogling.
Agent Cooper has a new love interest in Heather Graham, who is Norma’s sister fresh from the convent. She has a bit of a mysterious past (teen pregnancy, sounds like), but the way she and Cooper are written together is very sweet. Romantic comedies have a tendency to base the plot on the idea that very attractive people belong together, and that’s it. This is a nice example of characters with complementary quirks. There is one point where she says she came to Twin Peaks to face her fears, because “Fears don’t go away if you don’t face them,” and Agent Cooper says, “They just get stronger.” I would disagree with that. I find my anxiety level goes way down when I haven’t seen a spider in a while. And then Agent Cooper and Annie (that’s Heather Graham) make out for a while so Windom Earle can see them. When they start making out again at the Roadhouse, Lurch appears to try to warn Agent Cooper off. This does not stop Cooper and Annie from going at it like fresh-from-the-convent bunnies.
Agent Cooper has spent a lot of time convincing everyone that now that Windom Earle has set up this chess game, he’ll play by strict rules so they only have to worry about playing the game now. When they find the giant paper mache chess piece with the dead roadie in it, Agent Cooper realizes all bets are off and he’s been wrong this whole time. They could have hit that harder. It’s kind of a huge character moment. Deputy Droopy cries some more over another dead body. I guess the Sheriff really was prescient back in the pilot when he asked if Andy was going to cry every time.
There’s a hilarious, nonverbal guy hanging around the Sheriff’s station in a leather jacket. Everyone calls him “Cappy” and lauds him on his good work. The actor who plays him is named Ron Kirk. Considering my experience working on shows, I’m betting he’s the standin for either Kyle McLachlan or Michael Ontkean. He has similar hair to Michael Ontkean, but that doesn’t necessarily mean anything. Ty Burrell, you may have noticed, is tall. On Out of Practice, his standin had special shoes made with soles that were about 7″. BTW, Dr. Jacoby is Amber Tamblyn‘s dad. And Donna’s mom is Zooey and Emily Deschanel’s mom. It really is a small town.
Major Briggs decides to go for a walk in the woods, since that never results in him being kidnapped and– oh, yep, by Windom Earle in a horse costume this time. 0 for 2. Windom shoots arrows at him for a bit before giving him one of those magical truth serums that only works on TV. Unfortunately for Windom, the Major only remains both truthful and lucid for a little bit before he starts speaking in tongues. Poor brain-damaged Leo is the one to finally free him. Leo has approximately the comprehension of a not-gifted dog at this point, but since at his best he could take on a hamster in a battle of wits, this is really an improvement. Then Windom leaves Leo to die via a spider-filled Rube Goldberg device. On the one hand, Leo has survived being shot twice, and spiders are notoriously unreliable assassins (EXCEPT IN MY NIGHTMARES). On the other hand, Windom has an actual track record of successfully killing people, unlike Leo’s previous assailants.
The Miss Twin Peaks pageant goes exactly according to plan, except Donna freaks out and runs off after confronting Ben and Windom Earle is there dressed as the Log Lady, conveniently armed with a hunk of wood. Also, Lucy announces that she wants Deputy Droopy to be the official father of her baby, regardless of biological paternity, just before the judges deliberate even though Dick the dick is one of the judges. And Annie wins, despite the fact that, as the mayor points out, she’s lived in town for all of fifteen minutes. And then there’s a strobe light and sound effects and something falls on Nadine’s head to reset her amnesia and Annie gets kidnapped, of course.
Audrey has her first real, grown-up relationship. He even reciprocates! We think! When her Prince Charming has to run off to save the rainforests, she decides that instead of trying to be Miss Twin Peaks like her gross dad wants, she’ll chain herself to the bank vault for attention. This puts her in the position of being right there when Andrew (remember him? Josie’s not-dead husband?) finds a safety deposit box key that Josie’s former pimp left to Catherine and he insists on opening the box to find a bomb. I guess we were going to find out what happened to all of them in season 3.
Speaking of, Ben follows Donna home to keep insisting he’s her father while she heartbreakingly clings to her dad and repeats, “you’re my daddy.” This is enough to set the good doctor off, and he throws Ben into the fireplace mantle, causing a little blood on his forehead. But this is Twin Peaks. Even if he survives (likely) he could still be talked into dying!
Windom takes Annie to
the cheapest location they could find a circle of trees and gets her to scream in fear, which then puts her into a trance so they can get into the Black Lodge. Cooper is able to follow them via green screen and spotlight technology and finds himself in a set consisting of two rooms and a hallway, all divided by red curtains. It’s very dreamlike and features the backwards-talking and dream characters and goes on for a very long time, considering none of it, by itself, means anything. Lurch and the night clerk from the hotel are revealed to be the same, which is not a surprise, but then the Little Man calls him “Bob,” which is. Laura and Maddie are both in the Black Lodge, which is sad because I think the White Lodge is the goal for dead people, at least. Then there’s screaming and chasing and blood, and finally Windom tells Cooper if he gives his soul, Annie will live. Cooper says he will, but then Bob jumps in like, “my territory, bitch, you just got here,” and there’s more chasing. Agent Cooper is released back into the world, but he’s been possessed by Bob.
So this was the setup for season 3. They’d figure out Cooper was possessed and they’d need to get to the White Lodge to save him (and probably half the town – certainly the trade of his soul for Annie’s life isn’t looking so smart now that a soulless Cooper might kill Annie). Knowing where they were going was a good thing, but not enough to save the show. After solving the mystery of who killed Laura, the show flailed for a while. They did find a direction, but it was too late. Now all that’s left is fan fiction.