Twin Peaks S01 E02: Zen, or the Skill to Catch a Killer


Andy Burns mentioned this episode in his book, Wrapped in Plastic: Twin Peaks. Did I mention how much I enjoyed reading the book? I did! I thought I was prepared for the bohemian characters in this series, but I was wrong. In episode 2 of “Twin Peaks,” Cooper uses a rather bizarre method for his investigation and has one hell of a dream. Grab your coffee and follow me.

The Hornes

I personally think that most families are dysfunctional entities. I’m a child of such an entity, and right off the bat, I recognized the disconnection in Ben Horne’s family while watching how they behaved during dinner. There is no happy chatter about the day’s events. No interaction with the two children or his wife. Ben’s son, Johnny, is in his own little world. Who acquired the Native American headpiece for Johnny? Was it mom? I don’t see Ben caring enough to buy it. Sure, Ben eats with his family, but the look on his face spells B-O-R-E-D-O-M.


In fact, Ben doesn’t perk up until his brother Jerry returns from Paris with sandwiches. The two men are so ecstatic over eating the sandwiches their behavior is close to orgasmic. Ben is downright arrogant as he bids his family goodbye before leaving the room. I have a feeling that Ben is an emotional abuser and even though he leaves no physical marks, that distain that he shows towards his family is just as painful. Ben tells Jerry the deal is off with the Norwegians and about Laura’s death.

Jerry (David Patrick Kelly) is upset until Ben tells him that there is a new girl at the One Eyed Jacks. Blackie (Victoria Catlin) has some special entertainment planned for the brothers. Ben is an alley cat, but his sleeping with the girls that work for him, reveal a more dangerous side to this man. I don’t think the girls at One-Eyed Jacks have a choice when Ben points his finger their way. He’s the boss. He’s a pig and he gets what he wants, when he wants it. Ben is taking advantage of under-aged girls which makes him a sociopath in my book.


While Donna and James make out in her parent’s living room, we get to meet Twin Peaks’ version of the mafia. Yep, I’m talking the wiseguys! Bobby and Mike are scared stiff. They owe money to Leo. Where is the money? It’s in Laura’s safe deposit box. Leo doesn’t care. He wants his money and he wants it now. Leo is a mean sucker, but he’s no Don Corleone. There is someone over Leo, but who is really running the drug business is still undecided. I have a feeling we’ll find out soon. Leo tells Bobby that he thinks his wife is cheating on him. Like I said, Leo is no Don and that will be his downfall. When Bobby sees the bruises on Shelly, he promises her that he will kill Leo. Someone please kill Leo.

Wacky Couples’ Corner

You find yourself feeling sorry for Ed. As sensible as he is, Nadine is just the opposite. She is a nut job who obsesses over curtains; quiet curtains. Thankfully for the town of Twin Peaks, Ed accidentally helps Nadine when he drips grease on her cotton balls. Don’t ask! Nadine is crazy, but she knows that her husband is fooling around with Norma (Peggy Lipton). Norma has her own problems and a husband that’s in jail.

Unhappy couples are a big part of Twin Peaks. Pete is married to the sarcastic Catherine who is having an affair with Ben. Pete may or may not know this. Pete Martell played mischievously by Jack Nance, is like a Rubik’s cube. You can’t make out what his game is. Does he know that his catty wife Catherine is sleeping with Ben? Does he care? He always comes out with comical remarks whenever his wife is bitching at him. I love the characters on this show. They are a unique bunch, I’ll say that.


Let’s not forget the parents of Laura Palmer. Leland is a strange duck and so is his wife, Sarah. They seem incapable of helping each other grieve. You watch them go through the motion of being a couple, but during this tragedy, they’re not connecting. They act more like strangers. Leland’s dancing with the photo of his daughter seems a bit weird even for him. Sarah’s reaction, more so. I’m new to the show; 25 years behind everyone else, but maybe this is helpful in understanding the dynamics of what I’m seeing or not seeing in this family. Did Leland ever love Sarah and, if he did, when did he stop?


Audrey enters the diner where Donna and her family are eating. Donna and her talk about Agent Cooper and Ben Horne. Audrey knows things about her father, but she doesn’t know how to talk about it. The fact that Audrey asks Donna if Laura ever talked about Ben, is such an important clue. Audrey says that her dad used to sing to Laura. How does she know this? Did she witness her father and Laura together?

I love the Audrey character. The writers throw us off on how smart she is by playing her like a sex kitten, a troubled teen, but Audrey’s character has been the most interesting of Laura’s friends so far. Children are smart. Daughters are more so, especially, when it comes to their fathers. I wonder if adults would be so cruel to each other if they realized how much it damages their children.


Cooper learns two facts from Hawke: Ronette worked at the perfume counter in Ben Horne’s store and, a one-armed man was snooping around the Intensive Care Unit. The man got away before Hawk could question him. Cooper finds a note at his door; a clue.


Holy Criminal Justice! This type of investigation would never happen on “Law and Order.” Cooper, Hawk, Harry, Andy and Lucy are out in the woods and, there is plenty of damn good coffee and donuts. Cooper gives a history lesson on the country of Tibet. His dreams about Tibet will help him solve this crime. How? They need to concentrate on the letter “J”.

As Harry calls out names that begin with “J” Cooper throws a stone at a bottle, if he misses the bottle, the people are innocent. If the bottle is struck but not broken, this is noted. But when Leo Johnson is mentioned, Cooper strikes and breaks a bottle. They have their suspect. I had to replay this scene over and over because it was hilarious. It was so freaking funny that I kept expecting Abbott and Costello to make an entrance.



Agent Albert Rosenfield (Miguel Ferrer) arrives at the police department. I’ve been waiting to introduce this character to you. I love him. He’s cocky and demanding, and he reminds me of Sgt. Joe Friday (Jack Webb) from “Dragnet.” Although Cooper raves about Albert, Harry is not at all impressed with the obnoxious agent. Albert is no dummy. He’s an expert on forensics, but his people skills are lacking and that’s what makes him so funny.

Cooper’s Dream

I thought I had freaky dreams, but Cooper’s dream of the red room is LSD weird. Not that I would know anything about LSD, but I’m a child of the 60’s and I had friends who tried it. Between Mike (Al Strobel) the one-arm man telling Cooper that there are two worlds and, Bob (Frank Silva) claiming that he will kill again, you know this is more vision than dream. But, the weirdest part of all was The Man from Another Place (Michael J. Anderson). That dude gives his clues by speaking backwards.


A young girl is there. Cooper asks if she’s Laura Palmer. Her reply is also a clue, “I feel like I know her, but sometimes my arms bend back.” What the hell? Laura whispers something in Cooper’s ear. He knows who killed Laura Palmer. The vision ends when The Man from Another Places starts dancing to the cool easy jazz music of Angelo Badalamenti. The music in this series is kind of cool, hippy cool, sitting in the back of a Volkswagen van, smoking weed kind of cool. Just for the record, I did smoke weed, but I didn’t inhale. Honest. Would I lie?


I think Cooper is so good at his job because as a Federal Agent, he’s developed a sort of psychic ability from working cases. You could disagree and say that it’s part of profiling, but his fascination with Tibet and their beliefs may have opened his mind to accepting the impossible; to seeing what other’s miss. The dream was a premonition of things that were and, will be. There is something about the town itself. Twin Peaks is a strange place with strange people who have good taste in music.

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