Twin Peaks, Season 2, Episode 6, “Demons”
Written by Harley Peyton & Robert Engels
Directed by Lesli Linka Glatter
Originally aired November 3, 1990 on ABC
“Do you understand the parasite? It attaches itself to a lifeform and feeds. BOB requires a human host. He feeds on fear, and the pleasures. They are his children.”
So much of the time, the care we have for other people brings us pain. Allowing yourself to have love for someone else puts you in a state of vulnerability, a scary place where it becomes far easier to wound. Sometimes, it’s from outside sources, but it can also come from within. The problem is that we can’t help ourselves. There is nothing more powerful than the love and care we have for others, even if we know pain will come. But especially if we don’t.
The people of Twin Peaks are perhaps more cursed in this regard than most. In the melodrama and high stakes of this strange world, love hurts more often than not. They do what they feel they must do, for one reason or another, but the world punishes them for what they can’t stop. They get too involved, too invested, until it comes crashing down around them, and they wonder whether it was inevitable.
“This isn’t the first time my actions have brought suffering to someone I care about in the name of doing what I had to do,” Cooper says in this episode, aptly summarizing this very point. His past is unclear, only offered through small and vague hints, like this one that suggest a darkness following him as he walks deeper and deeper into the mysteries of Twin Peaks and its inhabitants. Later on, when Gordon Cole (played by David Lynch) visits, he tells Cooper, “It’s Albert’s opinion that you might be getting in a little over your head again. This worries me, Coop.” Cole clearly cares about Cooper and his well-being, and Albert may not be far off with his assessment of how invested Cooper is becoming in Twin Peaks. The viewers aren’t sure what happened back in Pittsburgh, but it certainly seems as if Cooper is getting very close to this case and its various components. “Pittsburgh was a completely different story,” he tells Cole, awfully defensive. Is he just in denial of where this story is headed?
“Then I saw the face of God, and was purified.”
By contrast, Ben Horne shows what he truly cares about and begins to see his power be shaken. He wants to believe that he runs this town, but people in Twin Peaks can surprise you. Ben and Cooper meet up at the Great Northern, and Coop returns the briefcase of money and informs Ben that Audrey is safe. Ben plainly cares very much about the returned money, and far more superficially about Audrey’s safety. Perhaps it’s because he knew she was always only a pawn for Jean Renault to get what he wanted, but the fact remains that she was close to death, and he reacts as though he can hardly believe he’s expected to care. Lesli Linka Glatter’s direction (easily Twin Peaks’ best director besides Lynch) illustrates this effectively by engulfing Ben in shadow here, with Cooper radiating beside him in comparison (as seen above).
Audrey is also well aware that Cooper cares more about her and her safety than her own father does. The scene of Ben visiting her while she rests and recovers is a masterwork in what is left unsaid in their game of words. “I was so worried about you,” Ben tells her. “Were you?” she snipes back at him, fully aware of his involvement with One-Eyed Jack’s, with Laura Palmer. “I saw so much,” she tells him with purpose. Their dynamic has changed irrevocably, as she must contend with this horrifying knowledge while holding this new power of information over him. Discovering that your father is an awful man who cares little about you cannot be easy to face, but Audrey has the strength and wherewithal to use it to her advantage.
Ben also has his power challenged by Josie, who appears to be a reluctant part of a machine bigger than her. She stands her own against Ben, however, demanding her money ($5 million!) to the point where they reach a stalemate, staring into each other’s eyes and chuckling at their evenly-matched skill at playing this game. “Josie,” he calls after her, “well played.” Josie is in over her head, making the best of her situation, but this sends a message that those in Twin Peaks who lack any compassion at all may not be rewarded for much longer.
“He is BOB. He wears a smile. Everybody run.”
The scene opens with a shot under the table, then we rise and see the one-armed man at the other end, and we move closer, following down the length of the table toward him and toward the truth. His head jerks back, and something comes over him. “My name is Mike. I am an inhabiting spirit.” He speaks in riddles, and in rhyme. “Through the darkness of future past / The magician longs to see / One chance out between two worlds / Fire walk with me”. Then Mike reveals where BOB is, where Laura Palmer’s killer is waiting to be revealed: The Great Northern.
Laura was in over her head. She knew that pain was going to come, as we all do, on some level. Did she get defensive? Was she in denial? Did she lie to herself, convince herself that the spiral would end differently? She was a girl with a lot of love to give, but all that came from it was punishment. Was her fate inevitable? Next week, some answers, none of them comforting.
Pie crusts and coffee grounds
- Log Lady intro: Sometimes we want to hide from ourselves – we do not want to be us – it is too difficult to be us. It is at these times that we turn to drugs or alcohol or behavior to help us forget that we are ourselves. This of course is only a temporary solution to a problem which is going to keep returning, and sometimes these temporary solutions are worse for us than the original problem. Yes, it is a dilemma. Is there an answer? Of course there is: as a wise person said with a smile: ‘The answer is within the question.’
- James is truly on fire this episode: “If you really love someone, it’s like this bright light is shining on you all the time, you’re right in it, and it’s great!” “I wanna try to make the way my heart feels last forever.” “It’s like if we could put our hearts together and just keep them that way forever, we’d be safe no matter what.” At least that shot above, before he shows up and Maddy tells him she’s leaving, is absolutely gorgeous.
- I’m still not going to touch Super Nadine this week.
- Josie, too, makes it clear that she truly cares for Harry, as her “cousin” correctly guesses, which puts them both in peril. He’ll kill Harry unless she leaves with him that night. Love hurts.
- “That’s a real mouthful but I can’t hear myself, anyway.”
- “Cooper, you remind me today of a small Mexican chihuahua.”
- “This is your life, Leo. You deserve it.”