2.5: The Orchid’s Curse
Another Harold Smith-centric mock title, and another merely okay instalment. Aussie director Graeme Clifford throws in some crazy Dutch angles for the last scene, but this is generally functional rather than arresting.
Agent Cooper: I dreamt I was chewing a large, tasteless gumdrop, and I awoke to realise I was aggressively munching on one of my ear pillow silicon earplugs. Hence the tastelessness.
We kick off with a familiar Coop opening scene. He has been having peculiar dreams and feels the need, in closing, to keep a closer eye on after-dinner coffee consumption.
This is the second and final appearance of the Judge Sternwood, who obliges to let Leland out on bail until the trial (if only he hadn’t, Maddy might have lived). The expression on Sarah Palmer’s face is unclear, as to whether she is relieved or not…
Judge Sternwood: I’ll advise you to keep your eye on the woods. The woods are wondrous here, but strange.
The judge delivers a line Hank was probably referring to when he suggested the previous week that Sternwood and Coop had a lot in common. Coop doesn’t seem keen on the Black Yukon Sucker Punch the judge has bought him, but he does pay heed to his words concerning the woods. Which he probably knew by now anyway.
Again, the murder investigation takes something of a back seat. Hawk isn’t tracking stuff very effectively, unable to find Gerard, and in desperate need of the toilet after an interview with two retired female schoolteachers involving three pints of camomile tea, “Which reminds me, if you’ll excuse me for a moment”.
So it is fortunate affairs are livened up by the storming of One Eyed Jacks, in which Coop, dressed in uber-cool stealth polo neck, delivers a womb punch to Blackie’s knife-wielding sister Nancy (Galyn Gorg), slings Audrey over his shoulder, and is about to leave with Harry when they are stopped by a heavy. Who gets a knife in the back from friendly neighbourhood Hawk (“Good thing you guys can’t keep a secret’).
The sequence is also notable for the exit of Blackie, stabbed by Jean as they kiss in a bit of particularly kinky/vampiric bit of nastiness (for him; he licks the blood from the side of her mouth). Jean, escaping, stops Hank (sent along by Ben to recover Audrey and, if possible, the ransom), who is posing with his stolen D.A. ID.
The scene as a whole is a much-needed shot in the arm for a rather listless episode. It concludes with Harold bloody Smith pulling a gardening fork and bloodily scratching it down his cheek in the manner of an antiseptic Freddy Kreuger. He screams, “Are you looking for secrets? Is that what this is all about?” to the, for some obscure reason, terrified Maddy and Donna. Why would they be scared of such a wet blanket, who has already suffered a debilitating attack of agoraphobia when Donna tried to make off with his diary? Tedious stuff.
Which also describes Andy’s scrotal scrutiny (“Not just three men on the fishing trip, there’s the whole damn town... I’m a whole damn town!”), although Harry’s helpful instruction that his court sketching might go better if he didn’t draw the back of Leland’s head is amusing.
There’s more of Nadine pulling doors off their hinges, and Catherine turning Japanese (I don’t think so).
Elsewhere Bobby and Shelly plan their future with Leo, looking more suspect by the minute as Mr Pinkle (David L Lander) delivers a rather suspect lifting chair. First Bobby, and then Pinkle, takes a wild ride in it. Pinkle observes that sometimes you’ve got to hit it hard to get it to work (“a machine is like a woman, as they say in the machine shop”), so he’s a nice guy.
We’re in the uncertain space between the season opening and the big reveal. Momentum has just about been sustained, but the series is really feeling the unnecessary subplots and limp diversions.