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Twin Peaks, Ep. 2.05, “The Orchid’s Curse”: Suffocating in secrets

Twin Peaks, Ep. 2.05, “The Orchid’s Curse”: Suffocating in secrets

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Twin Peaks, Season 2, Episode 5, “The Orchid’s Curse”
Written by Barry Pullman
Directed by Graeme Clifford
Originally aired October 27, 1990 on ABC

“Are you looking for secrets? Is that what this is all about?”

As ever, the citizens of Twin Peaks are obsessed with the secrets of Laura Palmer. “Do you want to know the ultimate secret?” Harold asks at the end of “The Orchid’s Curse”. “Laura did. The secret of knowing who killed you.” This is a hint at who Laura’s true killer is, but this scene also reveals just what kind of power Laura held over this strange town. Donna needs to know what’s in her secret diary—not necessarily because it could help with the murder investigation, but because she feels as if she didn’t truly know her friend. The more she learns about Laura, the more secrets that emerge. Did she know her at all?

Harold, for his part, is certainly a troubled young man, lonely and seemingly hoarding as many secrets as he can. He retrieves Laura’s diary and reveals a compartment full of similar notebooks, full of stories from who knows whom. One can imagine some kind of less-than-savory operation, judging by his wildly inappropriate reaction to Donna’s unsettling story. She tells him about a night when her and Laura, at age 13 or 14, went to meet up with a trio of 20-year-old guys, whereafter they went skinny dipping together and made out with them. While she remembers when one of them kissed her, she goes out of focus for a moment as the camera comes to terms with what she’s saying (the shot seen above). Harold’s reaction? “That was beautiful, Donna.”

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It’s a secret, a scandalous one, and he is in the business of secrets. But then, isn’t everyone in this town? Lucy has kept a big secret from Andy: she isn’t visiting her cousin, she’s gone to an abortion clinic. This comes after his huge joy at finding out that his sperm count is no longer low (“I’m a whole damn town!”), but this secret horribly rocks his world. Cooper and Harry try to keep their rescue mission a secret from Hawk, only to have him show up later to save them (“Good thing you guys can’t keep a secret.”). These secrets only end up hurting, or the opposite, once they are undermined. Twin Peaks is a town of secrets, and no one knew that better than Laura.

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“Your Honor, no one can know what it’s like to lose a daughter the way Leland did. That’s all.”

This is an episode of dualities in plot and in theme. Two cases are heard in court. The judge decides, based largely on what he hears from Harry (“They want the right man brought to justice.”), to release Leland on his own recognizance and that Leo is not competent to stand trial and is to be sent home. Both decisions are made with the stability of Twin Peaks presumably in mind, and it’s hard to know how to feel about either one. As the judge said in “Laura’s Secret Diary”, “We have hard jobs.”

Two missions built up over the last few episodes also come to fruition, with Donna and Maddy planning to steal that secret diary and Harry and Cooper planning to rescue Audrey from Jean Renault at One-Eyed Jack’s. Donna and Maddy don’t have much of a plan, but the tension in these scenes is palpable, even if as Harold, Lenny Van Dohlen finally goes totally hammy. Donna snags the diary and brings it outside only to have Harold collapse from the exposure to the outside world, and we take direct notice when he makes sure to grab the diary and cling to it. This guy knows what he’s doing, and that makes him dangerous. When the operation goes off and he freaks out, cutting his face with a gardening rake, it becomes clear that they may have bitten off more than they can chew.

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The rescue mission, on the other hand, is more successful, but suffers a bit from lack of imagination. In fact, their infiltration feels as if it comes from a different kind of show altogether, a lesser procedural, as Harry and Cooper make their way through the banal halls of One-Eyed Jack’s. The sequence is predictable, from Jean murdering Blackie to Cooper flipping Audrey over his shoulder like the damsel in distress she is. It all works because of what we know about Cooper, Harry, and Audrey, but the unfortunate seams of the second season are beginning to reveal themselves.

It comes as a bit of a shock when Cooper tells the judge that he’s been in Twin Peaks for only 12 days at this point. That makes logical sense considering this is the thirteenth episode in the series, but it certainly feels as though he has been in town much longer. He has created relationships with some that feel too strong for that length of time and an incredible amount of plot has flown by. It’s impossible to imagine Cooper anywhere else though, and one gets the sense that he’s starting to feel the same way. Even with everything that’s happening, Twin Peaks feels like a part of Dale Cooper, and vice versa. In a way, that’s what manifests itself whenever he speaks with Harry, or with Audrey, or with Andy. “There’s things you can’t get in books,” Donna tells Harold early on. “There are things you can’t get anywhere,” he responds. “But we dream they can be found in other people.” That seems to be what Cooper has found in Twin Peaks. “Maybe our dreams are real.”

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Pie crusts and coffee grounds

  • Log Lady intro: “Sometimes nature plays tricks on us and we imagine we are something other than what we truly are. Is this a key to life in general? Or the case of the two-headed schizophrenic? Both heads thought the other was following itself. Finally, when one head wasn’t looking, the other shot the other right between the eyes, and, of course, killed himself.”
  • Who killed Laura Palmer?: Based on Harold’s comment about Laura knowing the secret of who killed her, something tells me there’s more to it than just BOB.
  • I love all the severe, unbridled anger on Cooper’s face in the shot above at the man stopping him from getting Audrey to safety.
  • I’m not even going to touch the Super Nadine storyline this week.
  • It’s a huge credit to Richard Beymer that Ben Horne can consistently do horrible, terrible things and yet I still love the character and find myself forgetting about them when he’s not actively engaging in them.
  • “You gotta hit it hard. A machine is like a woman, we always say at the machine shop.”
  • “Diane, I am now upside down.”
  • Andy, I feel you. This is pretty much what my desk looks like.