Worst ongoing plotline in the second season of Twin Peaks (SPOILERS)

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Hrm, I guess I should have listed the continuing war between Catherine Martel and Ben Horne, but I suppose that's sort of covered under the umbrellas of some of the others.

My ranking of these -

ACTUALLY WAS INTO THIS AND IT MADE THE SHOW STILL WORTH IT

Cooper and Truman work to solve the murder of Laura Palmer
Audrey gets mixed up in the business of One-Eyed Jack's and needs rescuing
Donna befriends a shut-in named Harold Smith, with terrible consequences
Donna becomes convinced that there is a connection between her family and Ben Horne
Cooper, with the help of Dennis/Denise, tries to clear his name after a frame-up
Windom and Annie, with Cooper in pursuit, locate and enter the Black Lodge
Josie is re-embroiled in the Martel saga as Andrew Packard and Thomas Eckhardt reappear
Gordon discovers that he can hear Shelly's voice PERFECTLY
Harry tries to come to terms with the fallout of the Josie saga
The Martels and Andrew try to unravel the secret of Eckhardt's puzzle box
Ed and Norma attempt to pursue their long-forestalled love
Cooper and Truman, with Pete's chess finesse, try to outwit Windom Earle
Ben Horne becomes obsessed with the Civil War, and tries to turn over a new leaf

...although I'd add that the Donna father thing suffered from it being really obvious where it was all going, while Donna pouted around being apparently too dense to put together the really, really obvious clues. And Gordon and Shelly is a throwaway, but a genuinely amusing one so I don't mind it being in there at all. Josie I accept only because it's crucial to Harry's plotline, about which I gave a shit.

STARTED OUT OKAY BUT DIDN'T GO ANYWHERE AND/OR GOT OLD FAST

The mayor's fiancee exerts a dumbfounding force on all men, for some reason
Bobby and Shelly's relationship is strained as they take care of a semi-comatose Leo
Windom Earle, using Leo as his pawn, engages in kidnapping and murder in the woods
The upcoming Miss Twin Peaks contest is on everybody's minds this was fine once it got us to the climax obviously, but all of Windom's clue-dropping and disguise-playing really didn't actually go anywhere.

LIKE NAILS ON A CHALKBOARD EVERY SECOND THAT THIS WAS GOING ON

Audrey gets involved in staging a fundraiser for the Pine Weasel, and falls for Billy Zane
Nadine, suffering from amnesia, returns to high school with superhuman strength
James leaves town and becomes mixed up in the torrid affair of Evelyn, Malcolm and Jeffrey
Andy and Dick compete for Lucy's approval as prospective fathers through babysitting, etc.
Cooper meets Norma's ex-nun sister Annie and falls in love

Teenage Nadine was maybe okay for the first, like, two scenes. In a way, I think the Billy Zane and Annie plots are the most damaging - I never liked James in the first place, and Andy and Lucy were comic relief from the get-go, but to hitch two of the most interesting characters to these really...really...really unexciting romantic pairs actually made you like the protagonists less, according to the "what does he see in her?" principle. It made Cooper seem way less cool, and Annie's total blandness worked against the idea that somehow getting drawn in by this woman was throwing him off his game and causing him to make mistakes. This is what's wrecking Coop's concentration? With Audrey you at least go, well, she's a teenager (even if you see her at school, like, twice), teenagers fall for good looking bland people. But it still sucked.

Doctor Casino, Sunday, 4 March 2012 06:20 (2 years ago) Permalink

The *only* storyline I absolutely hated was the fucking tedious James story. All of the others were at least okay, and I must confess that I love the Civil War thing.

totally OTM came here to voice this exact sentiment

Spent those sections half-heartedly punching the couch in frustration

an elk hunt (Ówen P.), Sunday, 4 March 2012 06:57 (2 years ago) Permalink

Dick: “Andy I believe that Little Nicky, incredible as it may seem, may in fact be the devil.”

ho don't kno I'm bout that skrillex (Pillbox), Sunday, 4 March 2012 16:25 (2 years ago) Permalink

Nadine, suffering from amnesia, returns to high school with superhuman strength

Eric H., Sunday, 4 March 2012 17:02 (2 years ago) Permalink

The three I really hated were Nadine back in high school, James' love triangle, and the Civil War stuff. I know many people like the latter--the appeal completely escapes me. I love everything having to do with Windom Earle. I guess I'll register the only Civil War vote.

clemenza, Sunday, 4 March 2012 17:26 (2 years ago) Permalink

Isn't the first season pretty short, like 10 eps or something? And the second is more the standard 22 or whatever? I watched season one for the first time recently since the original air date and actually had some trouble with it, but most disturbing was how many memories of the show I had that were from the second season, and not the first.

Josh in Chicago, Sunday, 4 March 2012 17:34 (2 years ago) Permalink

So, maybe this belongs in more a general-purpose TP thread, but I just watched the pilot for what I think must be the first time (when I watched the show my roommate didn't have that DVD and just gave me a recap). It's actually really striking how different it is from where the show ended up...I feel like a lot of things changed gradually, just in terms of tone and focus, so that by the time it got to this round-robin goofball show of high school Nadine, Civil War Ben, and Andy/Dick/Lucy antics, you didn't exactly notice where it had all changed. But man - the pilot is damned spooky, brilliantly loose-ended (in the sense of there being no really strong effort to set up plausible murder suspects), almost unrelentingly downbeat, and incredibly human. The opening scenes with people reacting to this horrible crime are really, really affecting...you can see why people would have wanted more of this show! (Audrey notwithstanding, who seems totally unsympathetic and annoying in this iteration.)

I wonder if the ongoing project of exposing all these people as having their own dark secrets and skeletons in the closet actually robs the show of its emotional impact in this way, even more so than making half of them into clowns. Of course the "dark secrets" thing is kind of thematically crucial so it's a no-win. But man, that pilot was great. Long, but really nails the eerie emptiness of being out in the woods in the dark.

Doctor Casino, Sunday, 4 March 2012 17:35 (2 years ago) Permalink

Yeah, season one is only eight episodes - ends with Cooper getting shot by a mystery assailant in his hotel room.

Doctor Casino, Sunday, 4 March 2012 17:35 (2 years ago) Permalink

The pilot is very different in tone--closer to something like River's Edge, but better. Grim and serious. I think of the principal breaking down during his announcement of Laura's death, or (as I remember it, unless I'm thinking of Elephant) the shot of student running past the classroom screaming. I can't remember if the tone changed suddenly, or if it was more of a gradual thing.

clemenza, Sunday, 4 March 2012 17:47 (2 years ago) Permalink

Yeah, student screaming is totally in it. Everybody just seems totally shaken and shattered. Even things like Truman being really short with Andy about him crying, sort of feels out of character based on later developments - or just, Harry's on edge and trying to keep it together himself.

Doctor Casino, Sunday, 4 March 2012 17:50 (2 years ago) Permalink

otm dr. c

I was introduced to and immediately absorbed by the show when i was thirteen or so, right around the same time I had my first real experience w/ the death of a friend. A kid I was friends with died in a car crash & the degree to which that wrenched MY community from within i guess i found some parallel with in the TP pilot & the subsequent reverberation of grief, dread & uncertainty throughout the first & early second season.

ho don't kno I'm bout that skrillex (Pillbox), Sunday, 4 March 2012 18:21 (2 years ago) Permalink

Pretty sure they didn't set up the killer from day one, but rewatching that pilot when you know who it is, your mind picks up on so many hints. For instance, Leland apparently knows his daughter is dead before hearing it from the police.

Emperor Cos Dashit (Adam Bruneau), Sunday, 4 March 2012 22:47 (2 years ago) Permalink

Yeah, it's subtle, because it also reads just fine as "he just got this phone call from his wife and can just kind of sense the dread in the air and what Harry's probably about to tell him." I was also really interested in his reaction shots at the morgue when he sees Laura's body.

Doctor Casino, Sunday, 4 March 2012 23:45 (2 years ago) Permalink

Bob is in the pilot, and Bob killed Laura so

Θ ̨Θƪ (sic), Sunday, 4 March 2012 23:45 (2 years ago) Permalink

Also right when he's on the phone with his wife, and she asks if he was with her. The instant he says "No" a police car drives into view, pretty much right into his head the way the scene is framed. He says "Maybe she was with Bobby". Bob. Bobbby. Eh?

Maybe reading too much into this.

Emperor Cos Dashit (Adam Bruneau), Monday, 5 March 2012 00:00 (2 years ago) Permalink

I'm just realizing that, despite having seen everything through about the middle of season 2 more times than I can count, I might've only ever seen the last stretch of the season once. On the VHS boxset, before any of TP was available on DVD. I probably should rectify that. That said, I do remember being the most underwhelmed by the James storyline.

Ghost Oral (Deric W. Haircare), Monday, 5 March 2012 00:47 (2 years ago) Permalink

I think the realisation that a crossbow is far more terrifying than a gun drags Windom across into classic for me.

Also I really should rewatch all of this.

Andrew Farrell, Monday, 5 March 2012 01:38 (2 years ago) Permalink

FYI - it's all streaming on Netflix, if people are into that kind of thing.

Doctor Casino, Monday, 5 March 2012 01:50 (2 years ago) Permalink

Nadine high school

President Keyes, Monday, 5 March 2012 02:19 (2 years ago) Permalink

Yeah that's a pretty big shark jump plotline, jarring in that it doesn't just go against tone or characters but general physics. Maybe if she was later revealed as being possessed by a White Lodge spirit or something it would make more sense.

Gotta say though, it is super nice to see Big Ed and Norma end up together, however briefly.

Emperor Cos Dashit (Adam Bruneau), Monday, 5 March 2012 02:24 (2 years ago) Permalink

1) As someone has suggested, I think TWIN PEAKS would have worked better had subsequent season(s) been short, like 10–11 episodes rather than 22 or whatever. But the current situation where the creators of high-profile shows like MAD MEN can negotiate very short seasons wasn't in place in 1991 (in fact it's really THE SOPRANOS that permits these short seasons, and that wasn't until well after TWIN PEAKS was just a memory).

2) I don't everything David Lynch touches turns to gold or anything, but 75% of what went wrong with this series can be traced to Lynch's lack of involvement. Nearly every episode he directed is a noticeable jump in quality, and even the non-Lynch episodes in season 1 (when at least he was involved in laying out the overall plotlines) are superior to most of season 2. As soon as Lynch jumps back in for the final episode, the series gets a crazy jolt as if the last few--dire--episodes didn't even happen (literally in some cases: Lynch abandons or ret-cons several of the season 2 plotlines in 45 minutes).

3) I can't remember who has said what about this, but I'm pretty sure they knew the dad was the killer from before the production of the pilot. They played a good hand it not letting the audience know, but there is too much pointing to this in retrospect (not just in the show but in the books that came out in the interregnum between the two seasons) for it not to be true. Obviously Lynch really settled on the "themes" he could draw out of this resolution only with the film (TP:FWWM).

flesh, the devil, and a wolf (wolf) (amateurist), Monday, 5 March 2012 02:55 (2 years ago) Permalink

BTW I wonder how much of the incest/abuse theme Lynch had in mind from the beginning and how much was imagined for TP:FWWM.

In other words, was he forced to submerge that theme heavily in the series and then gave it full play for the (very R-rated) movie? Or did he not really settle on it until the series was over or nearly over?

Obviously in retrospect this theme helps to bind together much of the show, but it also renders parts of the show somewhat thematically incoherent IIRC.

flesh, the devil, and a wolf (wolf) (amateurist), Monday, 5 March 2012 02:57 (2 years ago) Permalink

I mean obviously he wasn't selling the show to networks as "This show about incest and parental abuse as the root of all sadness and evil"! But did he plan on this and just keep his cards close to the vest -- or did he only realize this as a central theme gradually?

Anyway.

flesh, the devil, and a wolf (wolf) (amateurist), Monday, 5 March 2012 02:58 (2 years ago) Permalink

Which of the season 2 plotlines gets the abandon/retcon treatment, in your eyes? Not disputing it at all - just haven't watched this in a while and was kind of not paying attention to when one episode ended and the next began.

Doctor Casino, Monday, 5 March 2012 03:27 (2 years ago) Permalink

James Hurley by a mile. Some of the others were v stupid but at least fun. Nothing involving Gordon Cole should even be on this list. He is going to write an EPIC POEM about this pie!

pandemic, Monday, 5 March 2012 11:10 (2 years ago) Permalink

Given that Twin Peaks was meant to be as much a pisstake of yr average 80s soap opera as it was a murder mystery or anything else, a lot of these still make sense within the context of the show. That says, the James storyline still blows.

Homosexual Satan Wasp (Matt DC), Monday, 5 March 2012 12:38 (2 years ago) Permalink

The Andy/Dick/Lucy plotline is quite sweet really.

I don't everything David Lynch touches turns to gold or anything, but 75% of what went wrong with this series can be traced to Lynch's lack of involvement. Nearly every episode he directed is a noticeable jump in quality, and even the non-Lynch episodes in season 1 (when at least he was involved in laying out the overall plotlines) are superior to most of season 2. As soon as Lynch jumps back in for the final episode, the series gets a crazy jolt as if the last few--dire--episodes didn't even happen (literally in some cases: Lynch abandons or ret-cons several of the season 2 plotlines in 45 minutes)

I think people tend to reach a bit with stuff like this. If Lynch was really that anti- a lot of what had been happening over those episodes, would he have turned up playing a recurring FBI agent in a plotline that doesn't really go anywhere?

Homosexual Satan Wasp (Matt DC), Monday, 5 March 2012 12:43 (2 years ago) Permalink

i don't think he was anti- anything. i just think his level of involvement in terms of planning out plotlines and so on was pretty damn low.

flesh, the devil, and a wolf (wolf) (amateurist), Tuesday, 6 March 2012 00:09 (2 years ago) Permalink

So, last night some friends and I were talking about Twin Peaks and I posed the thread question; when the Billy Zane plot came up, one of them told me that they'd heard that this began because Kyle MacLachlan and Lara Flynn Boyle were dating (?! did not know this!) and she objected to the chemistry between Cooper and Audrey. If true, this also leads me to wonder whether the Annie story was also ginned up for this reason: give Cooper the least sexually charged relationship of possibly any couple on the show.

Doctor Casino, Friday, 16 March 2012 17:08 (2 years ago) Permalink

love this thread. i'm more forgiving of S2 than most people i know), but even i can't deal with jaaaaaames.

40oz of tears (Jordan), Friday, 16 March 2012 17:37 (2 years ago) Permalink

another poll I have no time for bcz RESCREENING is impossible for now. I remember basically none of this after 20 years.

Literal Facepalms (Dr Morbius), Friday, 16 March 2012 17:44 (2 years ago) Permalink

have some of you watched the whole series 4x or something?

Literal Facepalms (Dr Morbius), Friday, 16 March 2012 17:46 (2 years ago) Permalink

2x (once on VHS, once on dvd)

40oz of tears (Jordan), Friday, 16 March 2012 17:53 (2 years ago) Permalink

Pretty sure this last one was the 3rd time for me.

Emperor Cos Dashit (Adam Bruneau), Friday, 16 March 2012 18:16 (2 years ago) Permalink

someone mentioned 'Josie Packard' to me recently and I couldn't even guess who she was

Literal Facepalms (Dr Morbius), Friday, 16 March 2012 18:19 (2 years ago) Permalink

have some of you watched the whole series 4x or something?

1st viewing = initial TV run
VHS viewings = had dubbed copies of the whole series, showed them to my then-g/f (now wife).
DVD viewings = got the Gold Box when it came out, have watched that in it's entirety at least twice, and a few episodes (pilot, last ep, etc) more than that

the sir edmund hillary of sitting through pauly shore films (Shakey Mo Collier), Friday, 16 March 2012 18:25 (2 years ago) Permalink

Used to have them from when I taped all the episodes off the telly, but no longer have a VCR. So maybe x4 times but not for years and years. I do occasionally watch the "..and it was on that vacation that I shot out Nadine's eye" just for Albert's reaction shot. Oh and "dolts, dunces, dullards and dumbbells .."

pandemic, Friday, 16 March 2012 18:26 (2 years ago) Permalink

Albert is so great.

pandemic, Friday, 16 March 2012 18:27 (2 years ago) Permalink

I love you Sheriff Truman

the sir edmund hillary of sitting through pauly shore films (Shakey Mo Collier), Friday, 16 March 2012 18:27 (2 years ago) Permalink

i watched the same worn-out VHS copies that everyone in this college town had been checking out for a decade, it was almost impossible to see what was going on in some of the season 2 ones.

40oz of tears (Jordan), Friday, 16 March 2012 18:28 (2 years ago) Permalink

(chillwave twin peaks)

40oz of tears (Jordan), Friday, 16 March 2012 18:29 (2 years ago) Permalink

k some of you should at least check out Peyton Place then

Literal Facepalms (Dr Morbius), Friday, 16 March 2012 18:38 (2 years ago) Permalink

I haven't, but then I think watching TP that much is borderline insane

Literal Facepalms (Dr Morbius), Friday, 16 March 2012 18:39 (2 years ago) Permalink

Thanks for your contribution!

Doctor Casino, Friday, 16 March 2012 18:40 (2 years ago) Permalink

way to compare a soap opera you can't remember to the oldest American soap opera

posts very much in character etc

xp

the sir edmund hillary of sitting through pauly shore films (Shakey Mo Collier), Friday, 16 March 2012 18:40 (2 years ago) Permalink

I love you Shakey Mo

Literal Facepalms (Dr Morbius), Friday, 16 March 2012 18:42 (2 years ago) Permalink

are you repeating a joke you didn't get in the first place

the sir edmund hillary of sitting through pauly shore films (Shakey Mo Collier), Friday, 16 March 2012 18:46 (2 years ago) Permalink

I remember the Albert Rosenfeld scene, smartass, as he's one of the only characters who isn't a 2-dimensional archetype.

Literal Facepalms (Dr Morbius), Friday, 16 March 2012 18:48 (2 years ago) Permalink

what's it like to be able to hate things you can't remember

the sir edmund hillary of sitting through pauly shore films (Shakey Mo Collier), Friday, 16 March 2012 18:48 (2 years ago) Permalink

yes

humba (NZA), Monday, 26 March 2012 20:46 (2 years ago) Permalink

I remember I thought that was kind of a lame use of the dream giant in the show.

i don't believe in zimmerman (Hurting 2), Monday, 26 March 2012 20:51 (2 years ago) Permalink


awesome

Emperor Cos Dashit (Adam Bruneau), Monday, 26 March 2012 20:51 (2 years ago) Permalink

humba (NZA), Monday, 26 March 2012 23:33 (2 years ago) Permalink

even more than what happened to coop and annie, i ALWAYS wondered if audrey horne & pete martell died in the bank explosion

― humba (NZA), Monday, March 26, 2012 2:54 PM (3 hours ago) Bookmark Flag Post Permalink

of course they did

flesh, the devil, and a wolf (wolf) (amateurist), Monday, 26 March 2012 23:37 (2 years ago) Permalink

There was a fish in the detonator!

Doctor Casino, Tuesday, 27 March 2012 00:14 (2 years ago) Permalink

p.s. no wayyyy, they totally would have survived!

Doctor Casino, Tuesday, 27 March 2012 00:14 (2 years ago) Permalink

2 years pass...

I'm watching this show for the first time, on netflix instant viewing, and am now slogging through the dregs of the second season. Up until now I think I would have gone with Nadine as worst plot line. The James thing is awful but kind of irrelevant and sidelined, like it's happening on a different show. Nadine is something that makes no sense and is in the midst of everything. And the "comedy" of the scene where she was introduced to the wrestling team was pretty much excruciating, some of James' scenes seem almost funny in comparison.
But, I also really hate Josie as Catherine's maid and everything to do with her this season. I know a lot of people hate this character and performance anyway but I think they were sort of well suited in the earlier episodes, here it is horrible all around. Like the Nadine situation, it seems to compromise/contaminate other characters. More self contained plot lines, like the love triangle and the civil war, don't seem as bad in that they don't compromise previously established characters as much.
The Windom Earle thing would, so far, be better if it didn't involve Leo Johnson.

MrDasher, Wednesday, 9 April 2014 04:16 (5 months ago) Permalink

just want to highlight this post in case anyone that's interested in the odd turns that the 2nd season takes missed it upthread:

Also, amateurist, I think you may be on to something wrt the plot fugue playing a big role in the declining viewer interest, but I think Lynch more or less abandoning the show to work on Wild at Heart (and I think some other stuff...Industrial Symphony, maybe?) played the bigger role in its demise. The two causes were probably pretty intertwined, honestly.

from reading about this in the books Lynch on Lynch and the biography Beautiful Dark, this seems to be accurate.

Karl Malone, Wednesday, 9 April 2014 04:27 (5 months ago) Permalink

one pleasant paragraph in Beautiful Dark suggests that when David Lynch (as the FBI boss) tells Cooper to ditch the open collared plaid shirts and get back to the crisp white t-shirt and black suit combo, that's a not-so-subtle comment on the loss of direction of the show under the various directors and writers that took charge while he was off doing Wild at Heart

Karl Malone, Wednesday, 9 April 2014 04:36 (5 months ago) Permalink

It certainly feels like it was under the control of people who didn't understand what made the show and its characters work.
Josie and Nadine were both pretty limited as characters, for different reasons,but I think they worked quite well as one note characters with little screen time. In the second season they not only become grating and annoying with the larger roles but are taken in completely different directions to which they are totally unsuited.
Even with characters like Cooper and Harry, there are moments that ring false, like poor replications.

MrDasher, Wednesday, 9 April 2014 05:06 (5 months ago) Permalink


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