Skip to Content

Twin Peaks, Ep. 2.04, “Laura’s Secret Diary”: Darkness looms

Twin Peaks, Ep. 2.04, “Laura’s Secret Diary”: Darkness looms

Screen Shot 2015-01-29 at 7

Twin Peaks, Season 2, Episode 4, “Laura’s Secret Diary”
Written by Jerry Stahl and Mark Frost & Harley Peyton & Robert Engels
Directed by Todd Holland
Originally aired October 20, 1990 on ABC

“Have you ever experienced absolute loss?”

Every time I write the above line, ending with “on ABC”, I am reminded of the fact that Twin Peaks aired on one of the main broadcast networks in 1990. Not only that, but that for a brief period of time, it was the most popular show on television (the pilot managed over 34 million viewers). This is often remarked upon, but it never gets less strange to write and recall. Around this point is where interest began to wane, however, with this episode drawing only 12 million.

This is interesting, because the show’s plots are still plausible (if occasionally sensationalized) rather than the ridiculousness that comes later on. In fact, this is the most somber episode of the second season thus far. We open with some loud and scary noises, pulling out from within some sort of dark tunnel. This certainly sets the tone for the episode, even once we realize it was only one of the holes in the ceiling that Leland is staring at. This is a heavy scene, as Harry and Cooper question Leland and he freely confesses to having killed Jacques. He breaks down, explaining he had thought that because they had arrested Jacques, he must have killed Laura, and almost seems to guilt Harry and Cooper into taking his side. And it’s hard to not feel for the guy at this point.

See also  Twin Peaks, Ep. 1.05, "The One-Armed Man" ties man and beast to the investigation

This mood is maintained for most of the episode, with less of the comic relief usually around to lighten the load. Donna’s dealings with Harold reach new creepy heights as he reads from Laura’s secret diary to her, deliberately reading a passage about Donna and how she doesn’t understand Laura, how she could never tell her about what she fantasizes big men doing to her. He seems to take some kind of pleasure not only in having read the diary front to back many times, but in sharing this part with Donna, seeing her reaction. Later, Donna meets with Maddy, hoping to leave the James drama aside to get her help in stealing the diary. Finally, a Donna plot with real momentum.

Screen Shot 2015-01-29 at 8

“Heaven is a large and interesting place.”

Cooper is not like the rest of us. We kind of knew this since he was so obsessed with the smell of Douglas-firs, but there are some significant interpersonal examples of his otherness in this episode. First, in his great conversation with Lucy about Andy and what’s bothering her: “Andy and I used to go out,” she begins. “That much I gathered,” Coop replies. So far so good. But once he asks her if she wants to get back together with Andy, things become more complicated. She doesn’t know. “Well, Lucy, can you tell me exactly what you do want?” And of course, she can’t. This is a foreign concept to Cooper, who is the kind of person that knows what he wants at all times – be it coffee, a love interest, a solution – and knows what then must be done. These things make sense to him, and he often doesn’t have to deal with the mess that comes in between for most of us. He genuinely expected Lucy to know exactly what she wants.

See also  Elementary, Ep. 2.24: "The Grand Experiment" is a dark, effective season finale

It is also obvious from the first mention of the Bookhouse Boys meeting that night that Harry is just going to show up himself. Cooper asks him to send his best man, without telling him what it’s about, and there’s no way Harry is going to let Cooper not include him on something that is clearly serious and perhaps even personal. Cooper, however, is oblivious. Even when Harry finally sits down beside him that night, he still wonders, “Is he here?” Finally it dawns on him. Harry’s his best friend, and still he’s surprised by this. His naïveté is endearing, never frustrating, a balance characters in most shows have far more trouble maintaining. Cooper is just not one of us, and that’s what makes him so magnetic. A stranger in an even stranger land.

Screen Shot 2015-01-29 at 7

“The law provides us structure to guide us through paralyzing and trying times. But it requires us a vision to its procedures and higher purposes. Before we assume our respective roles in this enduring drama just let me say that when these frail shadows we inhabit now have quit the stage we’ll meet and raise a glass again together in Valhalla.”

Keeping with the darkness of the episode, Dick Tremayne also attempts to pay for Lucy to get an abortion. The scene is played straight, with Dick coming off as his namesake would suggest, not even asking Lucy for her thoughts on just shoving the envelope of money in her hand. It’s a chilling moment, and it has always stuck with me during the rest of the season when we are meant to forget about it and enjoy his comic relief. Lucy’s reaction is perfect, however. “Take your money, put it back in your pocket or your wallet, turn right, step through both sets of doors, the second ones stick sometimes, go out to the parking lot, get into your car, turn the key – AND NEVER SPEAK TO ME AGAIN FOR AS LONG AS YOU LIVE.” If only she could maintain that stance.

See also  'Wuthering Heights' Movie Review - A refreshingly raw and breathtaking adaptation for a new generation

There’s not much to take heart in this episode beyond Cooper’s naïveté. Josie also returns, vaguely discussing with “Jonathan” what’s happening with their plans, and then unconvincingly acting dumb with Harry. She is bad at acting like she is completely innocent, but Harry is just as oblivious with her as Cooper is with him. He wants to believe her. And all it really takes to shut him up is her repeatedly telling him to take her and to tear her brand-new lingerie. Later on, speaking with “Jonathan”, she even says Harry means nothing to her. That, at least, feels like a lie.

Screen Shot 2015-01-29 at 7Pie crusts and coffee grounds

  • Log Lady intro: “Miscommunication sometimes leads to arguments and arguments sometimes lead to fights. Anger is usually present in arguments and fights. Anger is an emotion, usually classified as a negative emotion. Negative emotions can cause severe problems in our environment and to the health of our body. Happiness, usually classified as a positive emotion, can bring good health to our body and spread positive vibrations into our environment. Sometimes when we are ill we are not on our best behavior. By ill, I mean any of the following: physically ill, emotionally ill, mentally ill, and/or spiritually ill.”
  • We also have our first, silent introduction to Mr. Tojamura this episode. The lobby clerk at the Great Northern seems to think it’s the travel writer who is expected in town, M.T. Wentz, but there is clearly something else going on with this guy.
  • “To Laura – in our hearts and memories, locked.”
  • Jean Renault also visits Ben, showing him a video of Audrey being held captive and demanding he get Cooper to bring $125,000 to One-Eyed Jack’s in exchange for her release. Much more on this next week.
  • “Are you still seeing this…Dick?”
  • I love the transitional shots that the show always re-uses, my favorite being the one above of the trees ominously blowing in the wind (another used this episode is the traffic light, switching to red).
See also  'Dredd 3D' a bloody good time