David Lynch starred in five episodes of Twin Peaks and directed six. Would that he had ditched the acting gig altogether, swapping it for his appearances for megaphone duties. Gordon Cole is a likeable but one-joke character, a pratfall when set against the rapier wit of Albert, whom he ostensibly replaces. 2.6 is merely so-so, following the trend of the previous few episodes, but it does come together for the final scene in which, yes, Mike finally, and after much running on the spot, makes his presence felt.
Harold Smith: You lie, and then you betray, and then you laugh about it. You are unclean, contaminated.
Before that, however, we have to contend with yet more of Harold Smith. Fortunately for us all, this is his final appearance in the show. Harold will endure an off-screen suicide between this and 2.7. Yay us.
His meltdown in the opening scene is laughable, and it’s a testament to how useless Donna is that she singularly fails to claim the diary even when dozy James turns up to help.
Meanwhile, Maddy, in her penultimate living appearance, gets to go slightly meta as she says farewell to James. “For a while I got to be somebody different, but now I’m just me again”. Back to being Laura? Which means she must surely die.
Pete: Do you like musicals?
Mr Tojamura: No.
Pete: Not even Fiddler on the Roof?
Director Leslie Linka Glatter adds some winning humorous touches, even into some of the more pedestrian subplots. Particularly amusing is the exchange between Pete and his Asian husband; Fiddler on the Roof is the classic musical to like for those don’t like musicals.
There’s also a lovely moment where Leland comes back to work for Ben and is distracted by a stuffed fox staring into the back of his head, before firing off a series of red tape manoeuvres. Ben’s delight at this legal acumen is unbridled; he’s less pleased later when Leland launches into Getting to Know You in the bar. The fox bit not only works as a sight gag, it becomes a crucial clue later, as Leland puts some of its hair in his pocket.
There’s a cute exchange between Ben and Josie when both counter-threaten the other with the dirt they hold. The mention of the fascinating dossier he holds on her late husband’s boat that went boom is a reminder that David Warner will be making a welcome appearance in a few episodes time.
This is a good episode for Richard Beymer, who not only has attention rather crudely shifted towards him as a murder suspect (more on that in 2.7) but is reunited with his beloved daughter. The manner in which Ben oozes insincerity and hugs Coop, who would clearly rather be anywhere else, is marvellous. It’s then topped as he exits with the suitcase full of returned cash clutched lovingly to his bosom.
Harry: You’re the best lawman I’ve ever seen, but sometimes, you think too much.
Audrey is full of threatening intimations towards her father (“I saw SO much”) but won’t be back on proper form until next week. She sings the praises of Coop (“I prayed, I prayed that you would come”), who is filled with remorse for his actions (“I violated my professional code, and now Audrey is paying the price”). Fortunately, Harry is on hand to speak some good earthy rustic sense to him; Coop’s self-recriminations are rather overdone, and it’s a sign that even the captain can lose his touch if the boat isn’t kept moving.
Gordon Cole: Cooper, you remind me today of a small, Mexican Chihuahua.
Gordon Cole delivers a couple of good lines amid Lynch’s frantic mugging, his cryptic comparison of Coop to a dog (he never divulges why) and recognition of the arrival of Gerard (“There’s the one-armer now!”) is a more endearing stating of the bleeding obvious than his quickly-becoming-tiresome repetition of what the previous person said deafness. Of course, Cole also brings tidings of Windom Earle, poised to become the show’s next big bad (“P to K-4”).
Shelly: This is too creepy.
I continue to be impressed by Eric de Rae, since Leo as other than a brute rather passed me by previously. There’s something rather genius about his minimalist performance, playing the long game for laughs by just sitting there. Inevitably, Bobby’s scheme for insurance money turns sour when he and Shelly get a fraction of what’s expected. They still throw a coming home party, however, complete with Leo blowing a kazoo and toppling face first into his cake. Bobby has very much gotten over his flirtation with being a decent guy, making out with Shelly in front of Leo and too late claiming he “doesn’t want to exploit him or anything”.
Agent Cooper: Who are you?
Philip Gerard: My name is Mike.
Agent Cooper: What are you?
Philip Gerard: I am an inhabiting spirit.
The scenes with Mike don’t add much to what we already know, and knew since the European pilot, but they are atmospheric, and set the tone for the high drama of the next episode. Al Strobel is great, inhabiting the heightened language of Mike with eerie calm. There is enough avoidance to keep things mysterious; Bob was Mike’s familiar, but “That cannot be revealed” is the response when Coop asks where Bob came from. Some of the language too, has the tenor of a twisted nursery rhyme.
Agent Cooper: What does Bob want?
Philip Gerard: He is Bob, eager for fun. He wants a soul. Everybody run.
We learn that Bob is a parasite who requires a human host; he feeds on fear and the pleasures. They are his children. Particularly effective is Mike and Coop repeating the “Fire walk with me” verse in incantatory unison, and the revelation that Bob has been with them in Twin Peaks for nearly forty years. Mike then describes what can only be the Great Northern Hotel as his current location (where, of course, we have seen Leland singing in the lounge, even though the proprietor is Ben Horne).
2.6 represents a slight uptick on its predecessors, thanks to the concluding sequence, but the leap next week is marked. Glatter effectively imbues the final scene with an atmosphere of expectancy but it’s clear Lynch is at the helm as soon as 2.7 opens, marbling the screen with queasy dread.