Twin Peaks S02 E09: Arbitrary Law


Did you guess the answer to the trivia question from last week’s episode of “Twin Peaks“? How many times did Sheryl Lee play a dead body wrapped in plastic? The answer is three: in the pilot episode, our last episode, and the 1992 theatrical film Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me. On last week’s episode: Ben’s a jailbird; Lucy returns; Pete blackmails; Maddy is wrapped in plastic, and we meet the monster; one dance step at a time.



The sunny day and the pleasant sounds of birds chirping, only adds to the horror as Albert tells Harry and the others what he found under Maddy’s fingernail. Cooper tells Harry that he wants 24 hours to solve the crime. Albert tells Cooper to go for it, but Cooper doesn’t know where to start. Hawk tells Cooper that he’s on the right path, just follow it. I noticed that Albert isn’t cutting up the town in this episode, not after another child had been terminated.

norma's mother

Mother Issues

We’re distracted from the somber crime scene with a trip to the Double R where Vivian is acting like a caustic food critic. Poor Norma can never do anything right for her mom. Vivian’s critiquing of Norma’s cooking reminded me of my own mother on one of her visits from California, I was making dinner for the family and she kept insisting that I was making the gravy all wrong. Mind you, I’d been married and cooking for over thirty years. For you non-Italians, gravy is spaghetti sauce. Like Vivian and Norma, our conversations went something like this:

Mom: “That’s not the way to make gravy.”

Me: “What’s wrong with the way I’m making it?”

Mom: “You’re doing it wrong.”

A Working 020

Me: “But, everyone likes it this way.”

Mom: “What do they know?” My mother ate two servings that night while telling everyone her gravy was much better.


James gives Donna a promise ring while they’re at the diner. Do the kids still do that today? Andy’s repeating in French, “I am a lonely soul,” sends Donna to Cooper, but when they visit Mrs. Tremond, there is another woman in that home who claims that her mother died three years ago.


This woman doesn’t have children, but she does have a letter from Harold which contains pages from Laura’s diary. The pages describe the night that Cooper found himself inside the Red Room, but this time it’s from Laura’s memory of the dream. She describes talking to an older Cooper and whispering into his ear, the name of the killer. Cooper is starting to remember what she told him.

Okay, last week I said I was getting bored with the Gerard character. I might have spoken too soon. It seems that Mike, Gerard’s alter ego, might have some clues. Although, Gerard is in and out of consciousness, Mike tells Cooper that he and BOB had the perfect relationship; appetite, satisfaction and a golden circle. Is it Cooper’s ring? He gave the ring to the giant. Mike tells Cooper that the giant is real.

Poor Cooper! The clues don’t make sense and he’s more confused than ever, but luckily our crazy waiter gives him another clue. Harry, Albert and Cooper go through Ben’s office where the sorry looking, stuffed fox is on display. Ben’s blood results come back.

While Lucy, Andy and Dick talk about babies, Catherine, still dressed as Mr. Tajamura, visits Ben. I don’t think Catherine expected Ben to be so happy to see her, or that he was willing to sign everything over to her. Catherine outfoxed the fox.



Donna stops by Leland’s home to forward a tape to Maddy. When Donna then tells Leland that Cooper has the real secret diary, you could see the wheels turning inside his head, or should I say, BOB’s. Was it Laura’s sunglasses? Was it the mention of the diary? It doesn’t matter. We sit in shock as Leland makes his plans to kill again. After serving lemonade, Leland starts dancing with Donna. She’s uncomfortable, but he’s the adult and he wouldn’t hurt her. Would he? Did you scream out for Donna to run?


I could understand why David Lynch and Mark Frost thought it important to include so much comedy in what was really a horror series. The comedy smoothed over the jagged edges of the main story; incest. Leland had been raping his daughter for a very long time; it most likely begun when she reached puberty. Children look to parents for love and protection, but when a parent withholds or abuses their power, they are worse than any boogeyman in all the horror books in the world.


A daughter looks to a father as her knight in shining armor. He is the measuring stick by which she’ll pick a mate, but when that same father, that she idolizes, begins to degrade and abuse her; the results are catastrophic. I don’t care how much psychotherapy they later receive, the truth is that the child, be it female or male, will believe that they caused the abuse. Abusers know this and they feed off the victim’s insecurities and fear. Laura was stronger than her father. She fought off BOB’s attempt to possess her and when she thought that he would win her soul, she beat BOB by dying. Leland was possessed by BOB, that we know, but I’m saying that Leland was just as guilty as BOB, if not more so.


At first, I didn’t understand why Ben was taken to the roadhouse or why Cooper felt the need to have Leland, Bobby, Leo, Ed, Major Briggs and the crazy waiter there. But, Lynch wanted us to be witness to the big reveal. There were little nudges given to the viewers like: the waiter telling Leland that the gum he’s chewing will come back in style, or the giant appearing and giving the ring back to Cooper. Magic was happening in that place and, that magic helped Cooper remember what Laura whispered into his ear.

Ben returning to jail was all a ruse to trick Leland. It was the only way Harry and Cooper could safely confine the monster. After the cell door is opened, Leland, thinking he‘s acting as Ben’s attorney, is shoved inside and the door is locked. BOB goes ballistic. This is what possession looks like. With Leland in jail, BOB will need to find a new host because that is what demons do. They travel the world looking for souls to corrupt.


I was wondering what the fire sprinkler system and Dick’s meeting with Lucy and Andy had to do with the story, but Dick was blowing cigarette smoke towards the smoke alarm. Did he do this unconsciously or did something whisper into his ear? During the sprinkler downpour, Leland rams his head into the wall hard enough to crack his skull. Leland is dying and Cooper tells the now penitent father to go towards the light. Ray Wise was amazing in this episode, but we are left to ponder the whereabouts of BOB. Where is he? We’ll need to ask the owl.

Trivia Question: When did the cast learn of the killer’s identity?

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