Thursday, June 18, 2015

Summer of Twin Peaks: Episode 1-Traces to Nowhere

Directed by Duwayne Dunham and written by David Lynch and Mark Frost, the second episode of Twin Peaks entitled Traces to Nowhere continues Special Agent Cooper and Sheriff Truman’s investigation into Laura Palmer’s murder. Upon questioning suspect and Palmer’s secret boyfriend James Hurley, more suspicions arises in the course of the episode as more questions into Palmer’s final days and the events that probably led to her death. Notably as characters who had bit parts in the pilot suddenly become more prominent as it also raised questions about who could the killer be.

It’s an episode where it reveals more of the dark aspects of the small town of Twin Peaks where it doesn’t relate to some of things that goes on behind the scenes. It also plays into individuals who all have something to hide or have something that could relate to Laura Palmer’s death. Among the things that is happening involves this feud between Josie Packard and Catherine Martell over the control of the logging factory mill where Martell is in cahoots with Benjamin Horne into buying the land as it is revealed that Packard really wants to run it. One character that was seen briefly in the pilot but has a bigger role in this episode is Leo Johnson (Eric Da Rae) who is a truck driver that had returned home as he is very abusive to his young wife Shelley while it is revealed that he is part of a shady deal that Bobby and Mike are in as the two owe Leo money.

While the episode does continue to focus on the mystery of Laura’s murder as it features a very eerie moment where Donna Hayward visit the Palmers where Susan Palmer gets a glimpse of a mysterious man (Frank Silva) as it plays into the series of nightmares she is having. The air of suspense as well as the growing mystery that includes an ending involving Laura’s psychiatrist Laurence Jacoby (Russ Tamblyn) who would listen to a tape where some of its contents wouldn’t be revealed. Adding to the mystery is a scene where James’ uncle Ed would tell Cooper and Truman something he heard of as it relates to the bar fight he had been in as it plays into an underworld that Leo Johnson, Bobby, and Mike might be involved in that also plays into what Laura might’ve encountered.

The episode would also feature elements of quirks as it relates to Cooper’s love of coffee as well as Audrey Horne’s two scenes where she tried to flirt with Cooper and later dance to some music that she is listening to as she’s being confronted by her father. Duwayne Dunham’s direction definitely adds that mixture of humor and drama with elements of cheesy soap opera aesthetics that relates to a flashback sequence between Laura and James which is intentional to play into the sense of quirkiness of the show. The darker moments would include one of the most terrifying scenes where Shelley returns home as she is about to beaten by Leo over a shirt she had hidden as it plays into an air of suspense with Dunham’s camera being key into the sense of terror.

Much of the episode’s look does remain the same with an exception of one very chilling scene where a one-armed man walks into the morgue followed by a sheriff as it would feature this very eerie look in blue filters as it is among one of the highlights of the episode as is the music of Angelo Badalamenti which is played on location and also through post-production tricks with its mix of jazz and eerie ambient music. The banter between Kyle McLachlan and Michael Ontkean in their roles as Cooper and Truman becomes more lively and humorous with MacLachlan being the funny one and Ontkean being the straight man. Other central performances from Sherilyn Fenn as Audrey Horne, Lara Flynn Boyle as Donna Hayward, James Marshall as James Hurley, and Dana Ashbrook as Bobby Briggs do stand out.

Most notably Ashbrook as his character is finally shown what his home life is like with his parents as his father Major Garland Briggs (Don S. Davis) chastises him for being rebellious. The episode’s real standout is Eric Da Rae as the mysterious Leo Johnson as he is a force of terror that makes him a man that is very likely to be involved with Laura’s death.

Traces to Nowhere is a phenomenal follow-up to the pilot episode of Twin Peaks which allows the audience to get to know more of its characters as well as the mixture of quirkiness and terror of the town and its locals. Even as it manages to border the line between something that is offbeat but also something that is sinister thanks in part to Duwayne Dunham’s direction as it helps maintain the momentum of its ominous pilot.

Twin Peaks: Season 1: Pilot - Episode 2 - Episode 3 - Episode 4 - Episode 5 - Episode 6 - Episode 7

Season 2: Episode 8 - Episode 9 - Episode 10 - Episode 11 - Episode 12 - Episode 13 - Episode 14 - Episode 15 - (Episode 16) - (Episode 17) - (Episode 18) - (Episode 19) - (Episode 20) - (Episode 21) - (Episode 22) - (Episode 23) - (Episode 24) - (Episode 25) - (Episode 26) - (Episode 27) - (Episode 28) - (Episode 29)

Season 3: (Coming Soon)

Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me - (The Missing Pieces)

© thevoid99 2015


Chris said...

Offbeat yet sinister is an excellent description of the show. I envy you seeing Twin Peaks for the first time. Who killed Laura Palmer is one of the great tv mysteries of our time.

thevoid99 said...

@Chris-I just saw Episode 2 as I'm about to post it. This is a fun show.

Courtney Small said...

I really need to give this show a chance...might start diving in next month. I saw the Fire Walk With Me movie years ago but, without the proper context, I was completely baffled it.

thevoid99 said...

@Courtney-Fire Walk With Me is something I'm going to re-watch after I do the series as I might watch another episode tomorrow and hopefully finish the first season this month. I'm liking what I've seen so far.