Lost in the Movies (formerly The Dancing Image): TWIN PEAKS First Time Viewer Companion: S2E15 "Slaves and Masters"

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

TWIN PEAKS First Time Viewer Companion: S2E15 "Slaves and Masters"


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.

This has some of the same problems as last week's episode as well as some different ones (and arguably, some virtues). Call them the twin valleys of Twin Peaks. Although it's worth noting that many viewers and critics of the time saw it as an upsurge in quality, with guest director Diane Keaton bringing some pizzazz to a show that had been dragging for a while.

I sort of see their point, depending what mood I'm in. Sometimes I'm relieved to watch her bold compositions and stylized set pieces, a bit too arch maybe, but it's something cool to look at as the story plods along. Other times I find it too stale and strained - you can tell she's an actor from the way she allows the performers to play around (sometimes too much so - this is where Windom really goes off the rails) and you can tell she's a photographer from the interesting images she conjures. But somehow in this case theater + still photography doesn't quite = cinema. There's some other ingredient missing and much of the time it feel like I'm looking at a rather airless diorama/art installation.

As with many other episodes this rewatch, I erred toward enjoying it more than usual...at least in the case of the direction. The overall narrative is as tiresome as ever, though I'm not sure if this individual teleplay is to blame or if it's simply the accumulation/exhaustion of so many storylines that were weak to begin with, and now must finally be reckoned with (at least a couple of them were disposed of last time). Their denouements don't redeem them; if anything they make it all that much more a waste of time.

The Ed-Norma scene is very nice, easily the best in the episode. In fact it might be the best of all their scenes together (I'm talking about just the two of them though the Nadine part is handled about as well as it can be and provides some memorable images.) Well, best Ed-Norma scene in the show anyway. Won't say more than that for now. ;)


Next: "The Condemned Woman" • Previous: "Double Play"


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


More for first-time viewers (SPOILER-FREE)
(but be careful of image/link recommendations at the end of Tumblr posts)


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