Thoughts on The One-Armed Man:
• Moreso than Rest In Pain, The One-Armed Man feels like an episode without a ton of incident. It’s what some folks call a “moving the pieces around” episode. It’s solid, but it’s not that eventful and therefore not worth as much verbiage. Plus, it’s almost the holiday weekend. Much as I enjoy writing these, it’s hard not to be distracted by thoughts of eminent beach.
• Once again we return to the framed photo of Homecoming Queen Laura, reestablishing her image as we continue to explore the reality behind the lacquered smile. Here, though, we pan from her image directly to the image of Bob – the inexplicably-frightening dream figure that we’ve glimpsed three times now: Once in the pilot, barely there in the mirror, once in the first episode, as part of Sarah Palmer’s vision, and once in Cooper’s dream. When describing Bob to Truman, Mrs. Palmer says that he “looked like an animal” (again with the animalistic/savage imagery), and seems fixated on his face (“His face…My god, his face.”). We also learn that the glimpses we saw of a hand removing Laura’s locket from the woods (a hand that we now know belongs to the loopy Dr. Jacoby) were a part of Mrs. Palmer’s vision as well.
• It’s confirmed for us here that Deputy Andy and Lucy have some kind of intimate relationship, but it’s also implied that this relationship is strained right now. Cooper again identifies the connection between them, as he did with Truman and Josie. One of Cooper’s strongest talents is his ability to spot connections – between people, between events, between ideas – and this ability is basically the definition of intuition.
Cooper: “Were her problems of a sexual nature?”
Dr. Jacoby: “Agent Cooper, the problems of our entire society are of a sexual nature.”
• Jacoby’s glasses – one red lens, one blue lens – are a great touch. I love that they introduce him in the Sherriff’s station doing parlor magic tricks for an unimpressed Cooper. The interview that follows between them confirms that Laura was having serious problems, and further darkens our overall impression of her life prior to her death. Cooper and Jacoby’s banter emphasizes for us again the carnal primacy of much of this town’s sin. Sexuality underlies everything in this “idyllic” place, from One Eyed Jack’s to Jacoby’s previous tie-violation.
• Jacoby also makes explicit the connection between Tibet and “Ha-vai-yi,” two “paradises” that these men use as their respective True North. As creepy as Jacoby is, there’s a sense of genuine regret to his interactions with Cooper, first at the end of the last episode and then again here, where his admission of “abject failure” feels real.
Cooper: “Good morning, Gordon. How we doin’?”
• Gordon Cole, Cooper’s boss, gets his introduction in this episode over the phone lines. Cole is played by Lynch himself, and he’s one of my favorite supporting characters, shoring up the impression of the FBI as a group of off-kilter superheroes of a sort. Bob is further discussed, and we learn here that Cooper is a “strong sender,” self-diagnosed as able to influence people’s emotions/thoughts.
Great “Invitation to Love” line: “Let’s get one thing straight I didn’t spend the evening busting up the Amazons by dodging blow darts.”
Hawk: “Harry, he’s here at the motel. Room 101, last name is Gerard.”
• Mike, the one-armed shoe salesman, enters the plot. He seems to know nothing of what Cooper is talking about (though he could always be lying), but he’s undoubtedly the man from Coop’s dream, complete with a missing arm and a former tattoo. And isn’t it interesting that the tattoo said “BOB”? Given that the Bob it supposedly refers to is a harmless vet, and not the Bob of our collective nightmares, and given the way Mike relates Bob’s current, comatose state and his breakdown when saying his friends’ name, can we perhaps assume that they were lovers? Mike’s seemingly-legitimate confusion and his lack of apparent connection to the events surrounding Laura Palmer’s death add an extra layer of dreamlike confusion and unease to all of this.
• Lynch’s homage to The Fugitive becomes explicit here as we learn the salesman’s name: Philip Michael Gerard. Take the Michael out and you’re left with Philip Gerard – the name of the police Lieutenant who chased Dr. Richard Kimball throughout the run of The Fugitive.
Ben Horne: “I’m going to give little Elvis … a bath.”
• Uhhhhh….Did we just get confirmation of Ben Horne’s nickname for his junk? There’s something hilarious about there actually being a “Little Elvis” doll there, suggesting in the alternative that Ben Horne is actually going to sit in the tub and give a doll a bath. The Old Mill plot picks up some steam in this episode. One of the things I’m enjoying about the show: people, as a rule, talk to each other. When Josie suspects Piper Laurie of cooking the books and conspiring with Horne to kill her, she tells Truman. Another show might have her keep it all a secret for the sake of drawing out tension, but it feels more organic approached this way.
Great Audry Line: “I’ve been doing some research. In real life there is no algebra.”
• I like the detail of the way the walls in the school have been painted – they look like stylized electrocardiogram readings. It’s as though the school’s walls are measuring the heartbeat of the town. Which is neat. And also, probably, completely off base. There’s a nice chemistry between Audrey and Donna. They’re clearly not friends, and there’s a Brick-like noirishness to their partnership.
• One Eyed Jacks – a western with Marlon Brando? Apparently!
• The Veterinarian’s sign reads: “Aid to the beast incarnate.” …That’s a pretty sinister sign.
• With those ridiculous glasses off, Madeleine looks like a mirror reversal of her cousin (and should, since Sheryl Lee plays both roles) and again highlights for us the notions of duality and twinning that play such an important, interesting part in the show.
Donna: “Laura used to say that her mother was kinda of spooky. She used to see things. She’d have these dreams, Laura did too.”
• The episode ends with Donna and James back in the woods, discussing the supernatural aspects of this show with hushed sincerity. And as they talk about Mrs. Palmer’s visions we get a glimpse of an owl perched high above them, looking down on their secrets. We glimpse the both of them from the owls point of view, another instance of voyeurism that combines itself with literally animal/savage imagery. Remember that owls are traditionally associated with Saturn, that the Blackfoot tribe believed them to be the ghosts of dead medicine men, and consider this phrase – a forward-looking signpost for you on the journey going forward, much like the Little Man’s “clues”:
The owls are not what they seem.
Enjoy the holiday weekend, everyone! Thanks for reading. As always I invite you to bring up stuff I’ve missed in the comments section. Your thoughts are always read, and always appreciated.
This week’s Twin Peaks Ephemera
Each week I’ll link to a bit of pop culture ephemera that was created around the time of Twin Peaks’ airing, or that was created due to the show’s influence/inspiration, or is otherwise related to the show. This week brings:
And here are just a few songs inspired by the show:
• Swallow the Sun, “Ghost of Laura Palmer”
• Moby, “Go,” featuring a sample of Laura Palmer’s Theme
• Camper Van Beethoven, “That Gum You Like Is Back In Style”
Catch up on Lost & Found!
• Lost & Found: An Introduction, A Proposition, A Preponderance of Purpled Prose
• Lost & Found: And The Winner Is…
• Lost & Found: Twin Peaks (S1, Pilot)
• Lost & found: Twin Peaks (Eps. 1 & 2)