Lost in the Movies: TWIN PEAKS First Time Viewer Companion: S1E5 "The One-Armed Man"

TWIN PEAKS First Time Viewer Companion: S1E5 "The One-Armed Man"

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 is referred to as "Episode 4" in some places, including the DVD/blu-ray, but is "S1E5" on Netflix.)

I've always really liked this episode - it's easily the most underrated of the season. I can kind of see why; there isn't a big sequence like the dream or funeral, and it has a quiet vibe to it. Yet in fact if you look closely, this is where things really start to buzz. The stories are getting more and more interesting as the momentum accelerates and different characters begin to cross paths for the first time (James & Maddy, Ben & Leo, Josie & Hank). We're getting the sense that maybe everyone in town is part of the same puzzle with Laura as the central piece.

I also like the new locations we visit in this episode, some of which (won't say which) we don't even see again. Yet they create the sense of Twin Peaks as a real community with many little corners to explore. And as the characters become more complex, we feel that we can endlessly explore them too. They aren't just the eccentric archetypes we might have initially suspected (in both sense of the word). The Audrey-Ben scene is particularly good for this. Their scene together a few episodes earlier did a good job establishing the template for their relationship but here they are both more multidimensional. And the placement of Laura's picture on the table (and her mystery as a motivation for Audrey - both openly and surreptitiously) reminds us that her mystery exists not only to lead us to her secrets but to help illustrate all the other townspeople as well.

I'm curious, for those watching for the first time, how do you feel the show has changed (or do you) in just five episodes? Did you foresee it heading in this direction - tonally, narratively, otherwise - since the pilot or are you surprised at where it is right now? Has your perception of any of the characters or situations changed? Who (and what storyline) are you most/least invested in right now? And if you had to guess, where do you think the story and characters might be in another five episodes?

Next: "Cooper's Dreams" • Previous: "Rest in Pain"

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)

My dugpa comment on this episode, from 2015 (the replies in the subsequent thread do contain SPOILERS, so just stick to the linked comment itself)

The comments section below may contain spoilers.

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