Lost in the Movies: TWIN PEAKS First Time Viewer Companion: S2E11 "Masked Ball"

TWIN PEAKS First Time Viewer Companion: S2E11 "Masked Ball"

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.

For some first-time viewers, the previous episode is still fun and exciting, but this is the one where the show sinks like a stone. I have more mixed feelings than that. Sure, a whole lot of bad starts here. Little Nicky. Evelyn Marsh. Josie as a maid. Nadine's wrestling exploits. On the other hand, the worst moments of these particular subplots may be yet to come. The pacing really drags (I actually drifted off a few times during this screening but to be fair I was already tired). However, the content of the episode is lightweight enough for that not to matter so much. Without naming names, there are some later episodes (I'm thinking of one in particular) which are more important to the overall plot and thus far more frustrating in their dullness. Plus, despite the tedium, there are quite a few memorable, well-executed sequences. My favorite is probably the introduction of Denise, whom David Duchovney plays perfectly. I was also surprised (even though it struck me on the previous viewing too, to a lesser degree) how solid Josie's scene with Truman is. I mostly find her character disappointing, but this moment suggests exactly what Josie's storyline was always supposed to be: a web of intrigue and desperation, rooted far away but amplified by the mood of the woods. Their dialogue is helped by the atmospheric cabin location and especially the striking music (an even more ethereal variation on Harold's theme, my favorite motif). This was the last episode aired in 1990, before the show took a monthlong Christmas break, so you can see why the ratings were even lower when it came back. Still, for our more orderly procession, this a tolerable placeholder.

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

More for first-time viewers (*mostly* SPOILER-FREE although these pieces discuss character appearances and the relevance of some dialogue, without being plot-specific)
(but be careful of image/link recommendations at the end of Tumblr posts)

The comments section below may contain spoilers.

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