Lost in the Movies (formerly The Dancing Image): TWIN PEAKS First Time Viewer Companion: S2E10 "Dispute Between Brothers"

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

TWIN PEAKS First Time Viewer Companion: S2E10 "Dispute Between Brothers"


These short Twin Peaks episode responses are spoiler-free for upcoming episodes, presented here for first-time viewers who want to read a veteran viewer's perspective on each entry while remaining in the dark about what's to come. They were first published as comments on a Reddit rewatch in 2016.

So yeah - this is the episode where everything really goes screwy. Seeds are planted as early as the first non-Lynch episodes of season 2, when the non-Laura subplots begin to, er, "blossom". The last couple episodes also double down on some weak strands, while fumbling some important plot elements. But I don't think it's till we reach Leland's wake scene that the wheels really fall off the cart. It isn't just that lame stuff like the Milford brothers feud emerges to the forefront...it's that this happens at Leland's wake, literally rising from the ashes of the darkest, most important element of the story. Everyone is yukking it up and having a grand old time - a perplexing development skewered brilliantly in the image captions for this blog post. I honestly wonder if the actors knew who they were supposed to be mourning (the scene WAS shot before the killer was revealed to the public).

Now, that said...

I probably enjoyed the episode more on this viewing than any previous. And I was actually really eager to watch it. Usually I wait until the day before or the day of a Reddit thread to view a particular episode, but in this case I jumped in as soon as the previous thread had gone up. What gives?

• The "going off the rails" aspect is precisely what's so fascinating about this episode. That's why, except for maybe the previous one, it's probably the episode I've discussed the most. I am amazed at the ways the show went wrong, and enjoy trying to figure out why and how these things happen.

• On the other hand, there's also some fresh charm to this and upcoming episodes for me, a lingering sense of relative unfamiliarity. I've seen the whole series at least a half-dozen times by now, but I skipped over the second half on my first rewatch. So it was five years before I saw this particular episode a second time. I've also probably watched it and others like it fewer times as standalones than the earlier episodes. Hence a curiosity factor remains that has been lost for stronger entries. I even noticed some things I'd missed or forgotten, like Shelly's plea for Bobby to take her out (I actually quite like that scene).

• When you divorce it from the big picture missteps, this episode has its charms. The actors enjoy their scenes together, there's an at-times goofy energy to the proceedings (however misguided), and the episode is eager to show us things we haven't seen before - for better or worse. As I've often noted, moving through the series slowly allows me to appreciate it more as an atmospheric piece/entertaining ensemble than when I binge.

• The show would not be able to come back next year if not for the deeply-flawed second half of the series. In fact this episode is the first time in eighteen episodes (!) that we get any hint of the show's core mythology, in this case the White Lodge. It's easy to forget that some of these terms are never mentioned once during the entire duration of the Laura mystery. With Cooper's suspension, and the revelation of his backstory, the show is also fully committing to him as a warts-and-all protagonist, not simply a guide into mystery. This too is necessary for the upcoming Showtime series, in which Coop's drama is expected to take center-stage. Stumbling though they may be, Coop's first steps as this type of character are interesting to observe.

I'm curious how first-time viewers took it. Some seem to really enjoy and appreciate this episode. I did not when I first saw it: I was horrified, especially by the moment when the brothers fight. It's one of the reactions I remember most from that first trip through Twin Peaks.


Next: "Masked Ball" • Previous: "Arbitrary Law"


Want more? Here's my other coverage of the episode:


More for first-time viewers (*mostly* SPOILER-FREE)
(but be careful of video recommendations at the end of YouTube videos and image/link recommendations at the end of Tumblr posts)

Both pieces contain minor spoilers about characters, including who won't appear again for many episodes and who will show up in later (since they're featured in clips from upcoming episodes); no upcoming plot details are revealed

+ My "Journey Through Twin Peaks" chapter on this episode, from 2014:



The comments section below may contain spoilers.

No comments: