Lost in the Movies (formerly The Dancing Image): TWIN PEAKS First Time Viewer Companion: S2E17 "Wounds and Scars"

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

TWIN PEAKS First Time Viewer Companion: S2E17 "Wounds and Scars"


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.

There's quite a lot to say about this episode - I wish I'd kept notes. This has always been the comeback episode for me and this rewatch just reinforced that impression. With Josie gone and every one of the mid-season subplots finally, emphatically over (except, I guess, the chess game and Coop-in-flannel if that counts as a plot), there's such a lightness and ease to everything. I always describe it as a "springtime in Twin Peaks" feel.

Perhaps most importantly, James Foley's direction is just marvelous. Lesli Linka Glatter is great but the previous episode was by far her weakest, so I would actually say Foley's work may be the strongest we've seen since Lynch directed the reveal (or at least since Caleb Deschanel directed the follow-up with Leland and the golf bag; my feelings about Tim Hunter's "Leland dies" episode are much more mixed). The script by Barry Pullman, who wrote the Donna-tricks-Harold and Lana's-wedding episodes, is pretty solid too, albeit choppy in tone and mood (Foley smooths a lot of awkward transitions with nice audio overlaps). Really, though, it's the direction that is the standout here. Nothing flashy like in Diane Keaton's entry, but lots of understated, masterfully controlled long takes and camera movements which really contribute to the episode's "room to breath" feel.

The Windom-Leo scene is a great example of how Foley succeeds where others fell flat. When we see that cabin with the flute music playing I'm already groaning, but then we cut inside and Windom isn't playing the flute - it's just on overlay. Instead he's holding his nose, and the following, typically flowery speech is delivered in a bizarre, off-key, rambling fashion. It's the first time Windom has seemed less like a grand-standing comic-book "mad" scientist with the "mad" very much in quotation marks, and more like he's actually deranged (this is how he seems in all his best appearances). There's a bitterness and spite to his inflection that we haven't heard before. Hovering in the background of the shot (and it's all one single shot, which really helps the effect), Leo's expression is less dopey/pathetic than usual; instead he is quietly terrified. It's excellent work all around (I like Windom's visit to Donna too, in which he convincingly plays a character instead of winking at the camera in disguise).

I've been wondering how I'd take the late season this time around. I enjoyed the mid-season (or at least the early mid-season) more than usual, but that was partly because everything was so patently inconsequential, and therefore kinda inoffensive. But now we're reaching stuff that needs to matter - Annie's arrival, Windom infiltrating the town, mystical symbolism coming together - and surprisingly, I feel as enthusiastic as ever about all of it. As we move into the final stage of this rewatch, I am less impatient to race to the finale (though I'm certainly looking forward to it) than I am eager to savor the journey over the next few entries.

One last note, on Harry. His emoting is unintentionally hilarious but also appreciated. One of Twin Peaks' gravest missteps was its inability to explore the grief/shock/guilt of the town after Leland was revealed as the killer. Such emotions were a mainstay of the series from the pilot, so it's nice to see them given their due for one episode at least, however silly Ontkean's line readings.




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


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

My essay accompanying my ranking of this episode (#22), from 2015


For those who've already seen the full series & film
(SPOILERS IN THE FOLLOWING LINKS)

My dugpa comment on this episode, from 2015 (only spoils the next episode; skip the paragraph labelled "25" to avoid)

The comments section below may contain spoilers.

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