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TWIN PEAKS Revisited: Episode 11- “The Man Behind Glass”

In this week’s Twin Peaks: Revisited, we recap the third episode of the show’s second season, written by Robert Engels and directed by Lesli Linka Glattter. I remind all new followers of these recaps that you can find all the previous Twin Peaks: Revisited columns right here and catch up. And this is, as always, a spoiler-free recap.

Episode 10: “The Man Behind Glass” – Aired October 13th, 1990

The episode opens at Calhoun Memorial Hospital, where Ronette Pulaski is convulsing violently, as the orderlies are trying to restrain her. She’s had some kind of dye put into her I.V. Agent Cooper, Sheriff Truman and Albert Rosenfield enter the room. Cooper takes a sample from her fingernail — it is the letter B from a piece of newsprint, similar to the letter R under Laura’s finger and T under the nail of Teresa Banks. The letters were never made public, so Cooper knows that whoever did this to Ronette was the killer. Coop finally tells Harry and Albert that he’d been visited by a Giant two nights before, and that he gave him three clues, one of which has already come true. “Any relation to the dwarf?” asks Albert.

Donna visits Harold Smith. He is a fairly good looking guy, maybe about thirty. He nervously offers Donna “some lemonade, or maybe saltines and apple butter, or maybe she’d like to wash her hands?” (Yeah none of that comes off as awkward or creepy in the slightest.) Harold has many flowers in his living room, because before his agoraphobia, he was a horticulturist. Harold says he sent the letter to Donna for her to investigate Meals on Wheels, and says because he’s a shut, in and because he can’t ever go outside, he’d like her to place a flower on Laura’s grave for him. He describes himself as “a mystery in Laura’s life.” As he walks out to his greenhouse towards the back of the house, Donna notices a slip of paper protruding outside a bookshelf, and as she tries to pull that slip of paper out, Harold interrupts her with a hybrid orchid, the one who wants her to place on Laura’s grave. Donna takes the orchid and tells Harold that she’ll be back. “I’ll be here” says Harold. True, he ain’t going anywhere.


At the station house, Cooper stands in front of the blackboard with the letters found under each of the girls’ fingernails written on it, and the names of the people who have seen the long haired man: Maddy, Mrs. Palmer, Cooper, and Ronette. In the center is a picture of BOB. He says the lines between the names are a psychic link that will lead them straight to him. Harry asks about the giant, and Albert dismisses it with his usual sarcasm. Albert reports that the cocaine found in James’ gas tank matched the cocaine found in Jacques’ car and Leo’s house. In short, Leo framed James. (well, really it was Bobby, but Leo will do.) The letter B found under Ronette’s finger was cut from an edition of Fleshworld. He sent a picture of BOB to law enforcement agencies “from NASA to the DEA, but this cat is in nobody’s database”, and then gleefully tells Cooper he was shot with a Walther PPK: James Bond’s gun.

On his way out, Albert insults Harry once again, and Harry then grabs Albert’s collar and says that the last time he punched Albert, he felt sorry about it, but the next time will be a real pleasure. Albert then tells Truman that while he “admits to a certain cynicism, the fact is I’m a naysayer and hatchet man in the fight against violence, and I pride myself on taking a punch and I’ll gladly take another one because I consider myself to be in the company of Gandhi and King-my concerns are global. I reject revenge and retaliation absolutely-the foundation of such a method is love. I love you Sheriff Truman.” A stunned Harry lets Albert walk away. “Albert’s path is a strange and difficult one” he tells Truman.

In the station’s waiting room, Cooper tells James he can go home, but that he doesn’t want to see him here again. In other words, please stop doing stupid crap that will get you arrested, James. In the meantime, Lucy is trying to find words with the letters B, T, and R in them, when a dandy-like British gentlemen comes in to take Lucy out her lunch date: Richard Tremayne, men’s designer fashions at Horne’s Department Store.

Leland Palmer enters the station and talks to Cooper and Truman about the picture of BOB he saw. He says that he knows him, and that when he was a little boy, his grandfather had a summer home up at Pearl Lakes, and that BOB was his neighbor. He lived in a white house, and he thinks his name was Robertson. “R,B, T-Robert, that’s what the letters are trying to spell” Coop realizes. Cooper sends Hawk to the lake to investigate, but before he goes, Leland says that BOB used to flick matches at him, and ask him “Do you want to play with fire, little boy?” Cooper knows that’s the killer. “That’s our man.” he says.

Lucy and her date Richard, sit at the counter at the RR Diner. Richard talks about his method for memorizing customer orders, which has Lucy bored to tears. Lucy asks why Richard hasn’t called in six weeks after three months of dating, considering that the last time they saw each other they consumed two bottles of champagne and ended up on a display bed in Horne’s Home Furnishings. Dick apologizes, and promises to get Lucy a new gown “at his 20% employee discount” when Lucy jolts up and says “yeah, how about a maternity dress??”

James and Maddy are at the Double R, when James asks her about Donna’s smoking and other out of character behavior, like her visit with him in jail, and how she seemed to “Do it with him through the bars.” Maddy holds James’ hand, just as Donna enters. She tells them how nice and charming Harold Smith is, unlike “anyone she knows.” When James asks just what the heck that’s supposed to mean, and just like your average petulant teenager, she says “why don’t you two hold hands and figure it out.” As annoying as her behavior is, it is kind of nice to be reminded that they’re teenagers, even if they’re being acted by twenty somethings.

Over at One Eyed Jacks, Blackie and Emory Battis have Audrey bound and gagged. Emory records a video of her to use to hold Audrey for ransom. Emory and Blackie argue over whether their plan will work, and Battis thinks they should just kill her, since she knows her father owns the place and that he sent Laura up there. Blackie decided to pump Audrey full of heroin, just like “her daddy did to her.”

At the station house, Phillip Gerard the one-armed man (and travelling shoe salesman) shows Harry his selection of boots. Once he sees the picture of BOB he begins to go fuzzy, and asks to be excused so he can take his medication in the bathroom. While in the bathroom, he fumbles around and is unable to take his injection, when suddenly he convulses and seems to change personalities. His voice changed and given a strange timbre, he emerges from the stall and says “BOB….I know you’re near. I’m after you now.”

Shelly meets Harry and Cooper in the station, and when they ask for a statement about the night her husband tried to kill her in the mill fire. She refuses to say anything against Leo. “He’s my husband, and I love him.” Cooper knows this is a load of BS, and quickly lets a confused Shelly out the door. He knows this smells like an insurance money scam, but he also knows that it’s unlikely that Shelly dreamed up this whole thing herself, and that someone else is pulling the strings.

Cooper then meets up with Benjamin Horne in the lobby of the Great Northern, and proceeds to tells him about Audrey’s phone to him last night that was abruptly ended,and asks if there’s been trouble at home. Benjamin smugly tells Cooper that men fall for Audrey’s charms like ducks in a shooting gallery, and if he doesn’t want a loaded buckshot in his tail feathers, then he’d better park his jalopy outside someone else’s window.

We’re back at One Eyed Jacks now, as Audrey lies on her bed still high as kite from the heroin that was forcibly injected into her by Blackie. A mysterious man with a french accent pulls a veil across her face and gives her a caramel, saying “sugar’s what you need” as she begins to go into heroin withdrawl. He gives her another shot. In a nearby room, Blackie plays a surveillance tape of Cooper at the casino a few night before. Battis reconizes Cooper as FBI, and knows that they’re in way over their head now. The man who gave Audrey the shot walks in the room, and it turns out that he’s Jean Renault, brother of the recently murdered Jacques and Bernard. Standing with him is a woman named Nancy, who it turns out is Blackie’s sister. Jean says he will be the middle man for Audrey’s ransom, so Ben will never know that Blackie and Emory are behind it. In exchange, Emory and Blackie will bring him the man he considers to be responsible for his brother’s death: Agent Dale Cooper.

Cooper enters Harry’s office with coffee and doughnuts, when Harry tells Coop that Josie finally called Pete, and she told him that she’ll be back the next day. Harry asks to see her first, alone. Although Coop knows that’s probably a bad idea, he goes ahead and allows it. Hawk reports that he’s found a boarded up white house by Pearl Lakes, and is trying to discover whose it is. Truman asks them if they’ve seen Gerard, the one-armed man, as he never came back from the bathroom. “The one-armed man was here?” Coop says, and then searches the bathroom and finds Gerard’s discarded needle and medicine on the ground. “Without chemicals, he points.” Coop realized the Giant’s last clue has come true.

Back at the hospital, an orderly cuffs Nadine to her bed. Dr. Hayward tells Big Ed that she ripped through two pairs of leather restraints the night before, and that her adrenaline levels are now insanely high. He tells Ed to talk or sing to her, maybe an old song she likes. As Ed sings “On Top Of Old Smokey”, Nadine grips his hands, sits up, and snaps the cuffs right off. She claps over and over again to a stunned Ed, and begins to chants a cheer. “are you here to pick me up Eddie? Doc Hayward says tonsillitis or no tonsillitis, I can make it to cheerleader try outs. You’re only 18 once.” Nadine has clearly gone from one kind of crazy to a whole new level of crazy.

Cooper and Harry enter Jacoby’s room at the hospital, which is now decorated top to bottom in Hawaiian fashion. His wife, a young Hawaiian woman, rubs Jacoby’s feet. Cooper helps to hypnotize Jacoby, and he walks the hypnotized Jacoby through Jacques’ murder. Jacoby remembers the smell of scorched engine oil at the park and at the hospital, and realizes that he knows the face of the murderer.

As an owl hovers above the graveyard at night, Donna brings Harold’s orchid to Laura’s grave. Donna tells Laura about her new relationship with James, and says that she probably knew how they felt about each other before they did. “How could you be so smart about stuff like that, and so stupid about so much else.” She says that she loves James, but it’s a mess. The more she talks to Laura, the angrier she gets, and says “we were always trying to solve your problems Laura, and you know what? We still are. You might be dead Laura, but your problems keep hanging around, it’s almost like they didn’t bury you deep enough!!” Ouch Donna, that’s pretty harsh words for your recently brutally raped and murdered friend. Way to make it all about you.

James visits Madeleine at the Palmer house to say that he can’t find Donna, and that his mother came home drunk. They almost kiss, then hold each other, and that’s right when Donna finds them, in true soap opera fashion.Donna storms off, and James runs out after her. Leland comforts Maddy, who is upset that people think she’s just like Laura, saying that despite their physical similarities, the two have nothing in common and are very different people. As Leland comforts his niece, Agent Cooper and Harry wait in the doorway.They arrest Leland for the murder of Jacques Renault.

In the middle of the night, Harold answers a knock at his door. A crying and hysterical Donna tells Harold that she is tired of being patient with James. Harold comforts her and leaves to get her a drink, and just as he does, Donna finds and opens a notebook: The front cover reads: “This is the diary of Laura Palmer.”

Episode Trivia

This episode is the first introduction of agoraphobic shut-in Harold Smith, played by Lenny Von Dohlen. Fans who had read the recently published Secret Diary of Laura Palmer has actually already been introduced to the character some weeks earlier.

Also introduced in this episode if Jean Renault, played by veteran character actor Michael Parks, who has since worked frequently with the likes of Quentin Tarantino and Kevin Smith.

This is the second episode directed by Lesli Linka Glatter, the first being Laura Palmer’s funeral in season one. She’d go on to direct three more episodes over the course of the second season.

When James describes to Maddy that his mom came home “all drunk” and they had a confrontation, that scene was actually filmed, and would have introduced the character of James’ mother (and presumably Big Ed’s sister) to the series. It got cut for unknown reasons, and the footage remains lost to this day, despite real efforts to find it for the Blu-ray release.

Final Verdict

This is a perfectly decent episode of the series, right in the heart of the show’s best storyline, but coming off two Lynch directed episodes it fees a bit more standard than most, and therefore maybe not as memorable. Not a lot of the story elements move forward in a significant way in this episode, with the Audrey storyline being the big exception, so for that reason I give this one a slightly lower grade than usual.

Rating: 3 out of 5 burritos

3 burritos

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