For the most part, these first two episodes of Twin Peaks were straightforward. Yes, the characters are eccentric, but for the most part this was a by-the-book small town murder mystery. “When are things going to get weird?!” in other words. On cue, the third episode of the show has two scenes that you wouldn’t find in any police drama at the time, or perhaps since. For who needs crime scene units, behavioral profiling or the dull tedium of “pounding the pavement” when you can just throw rocks at a bottle, or have a crazy dream where the victim and a little person talk to you in disjointed English?
Agent Cooper demonstrates the real extent of his methodology with the Twin Peaks Sheriff’s Department. Three years earlier, while considering the plight of Tibet, he had a dream that revealed to him the secret of mind/body co-ordination, which means that by throwing a rock at an empty bottle while being read a list of names, Cooper can get closer to cracking the case. The names that Cooper focused on were the Js in Laura Palmer’s life: James, Josie Packard, Dr. Jacoby, Johnny Horne, Norma Jennings, Shelly Johnson and her husband Leo Johnson. The rock missed the bottle for James, Josie, and Johnny, but the others…
Dr. Jacoby – The rock struck the bottle and knocked it over, but it did not break. Suspicious, and noteworthy according to Cooper’s “methodology”, but it hardly makes Jacoby prime suspect material. Under ordinary circumstances, being Laura’s therapist would probably mean he knows a lot more about what was going on with her than what’s been revealed so far, not to mention the fact that he’s got a pile of tapes that Luara recorded for him. Further revelations about Dr. Jacoby’s insights weren’t in the mix this episode though since Jacoby himself had the week off.
Norma – The rock landed suspiciously close to the bottle when Cooper mentioned Norma, so while she might not be involved, she might know something worth knowing. But what could that be? Well, Norma does know about the dangerous love triangle featuring three of the people in Laura’s life, Bobby Briggs, Shelly Johnson and her husband Leo…
Shelly – The rock for Shelly bounced off Deputy Andy’s head, which has to mean something right? Shelly last time found and hid a bloody shirt that belonged to Leo, all the while she’s having an affair with Bobby who’s buying drugs from her abusive husband. I don’t think there’s been a direct line drawn between Laura and Shelly in terms of their relationship, but that may be the secret that the ricochet off Andy’s head may be alluding to in Laura’s case.
Leo – Honestly, we didn’t need any further proof that Leo’s a creep, but if it’s being offered then that scene with Bobby and Mike in the woods was more than fairly compelling. Bobby and Mike are there to pick up the cocaine they’ve paid for, but Leo is there waiting for them and looking for the second payment of $10,000. It’s almost like he knew that Bobby wasn’t going to have the money because it was in Laura’s safety deposit box, doesn’t it? More than that, Leo mentions that he thinks Shelly’s been cheating on him, but why bring that up with two losers buying coke off you if you don’t already suspect one of them? It’s enough to make you think that the performance was about more than just the missing money. I stand by the opinion though that Leo is being set up as the most obvious suspect as Lara’s killer.
Cooper’s next deductive breakthrough comes later that night while dreaming, and for all those that remember the “crazy backwards talking” dream in The Simpsons’ “Who Killed Mr. Burns?” episode, you’ll finally get that reference. In a red room, Cooper (who looked older, or maybe that was just a trick of the light) met with “the Man from Another Place” and Laura Palmer, who the Man identified as his cousin. He also seemed to indicate that the woman in the vision wasn’t Laura Palmer, but she’s still “filled with secrets.” Obviously we know that Laura is filled with secrets, but is it possible that Laura has a doppelganger? Like maybe she was killed in a case of mistaken identity or something?
Adding some re-enforcement to that opinion is the revelation of the killer’s name, “Bob.” The one-armed man that Hawk saw in the hospital is the one that reveals the name, and he’s called Mike. I suppose it’s possible that he’s a different one-armed man, but how many one-armed men do you suppose are wandering around this small town, even if you consider that the sawmill is the biggest employer? Included with the utterance of Bob’s name is a flash of the same man Mrs. Palmer saw in her vision. Is this Bob? And if so, then what did he have against Laura and Ronette and why did he attack them? And what of the promise made, that Bob will kill again? Who will he kill?
The secret lies perhaps with One Eyed Jacks, a casino/brothel/hideaway just on the other side of the Canadian border. Ben Horne takes his recently returned home brother Jerry there after enjoying delightful brie and butter sandwiches on baguettes. A point of fascination is the new girl at One Eyed Jacks, a blonde girl that works at the perfume counter at the department store. Hey, didn’t Ronette work at the perfume counter? And if there wasn’t mysterious doings at One Eyed Jacks, they why would someone leave a note for Agent Cooper that said, “Jack with One Eye” at his hotel room. You know, the hotel owned by Ben Horne.
Speaking of the Hornes, who were hilariously featured in a full minute long shot of just them eating dinner at the beginning of the episode, it seems that Ben’s own blood is suspicious of his involvement in Laura’s murder. Audrey, who seems to have discovered some genuine grief about Laura, asks Donna if Laura ever mentioned Mr. Horne father to her. I thought Audrey was only interested in undermining her father’s business interests, so where does this sudden curiosity about a connection between her father and Laura come from? Maybe it has something to do with the whatever Audrey knows that lets her get away with her misdeeds. Notice how Ben doesn’t tell Jerry that it was Audrey’s trouble-making that cost them the deal with the Norwegians.
So long story short, the killer has a name and a face now, but bizarrely there’s no other indication what it all means, like a motive for example. It’s strange that we’ve cast the harsh light of suspicion on Leo Johnson, Ben Horne, and Dr. Jacoby, and yet the killer, if the dream is to be believed, is none of those people. But what is the secret that ties them together? Perhaps that’s what Laura/Not-Laura whispered to Agent Cooper in the dream. Either way, it’s not desperate enough that it can’t wait till morning in Cooper’s case, or the next Twin Peaks recap in ours.