Review S02E15 “Slaves And Masters”


Member: Rank 5
Aired Thursday 9:00 PM Feb 09, 1991 on ABC

Agent Cooper finds out who shot him and gets help with his deadly chess game against Windom Earle.


Kyle MacLachlan ...Special Agent Dale Cooper
Michael Ontkean ...Sheriff Harry S. Truman
Mädchen Amick ...Shelly Johnson
Dana Ashbrook ...Bobby Briggs
Richard Beymer ...Benjamin Horne
Lara Flynn Boyle ...Donna Hayward
Sherilyn Fenn ...Audrey Horne
Warren Frost ...Dr. Will Hayward
Peggy Lipton ...Norma Jennings
James Marshall ...James Hurley
Everett McGill ...Big Ed Hurley
Jack Nance ...Pete Martell
Kimmy Robertson ...Lucy Moran
Joan Chen ...Jocelyn Packard
Piper Laurie ...Catherine Martell
Eric DaRe ...Leo Johnson
Kenneth Welsh ...Windom Earle
Russ Tamblyn ...Dr. Lawrence Jacoby
David Patrick Kelly ...Jerry Horne
Miguel Ferrer ...FBI Agent Albert Rosenfield
Wendy Robie ...Nadine Hurley
Annette McCarthy ...Evelyn Marsh
Nicholas Love ...Malcolm Sloan
David Warner ...Thomas Eckhardt
Brenda Strong ...Jones
Robert Bauer ...Johnny
Matt Battaglia ...Cop
Gérald L'Ecuyer ...Bartender


Mark Frost ... (created by) &
David Lynch ... (created by)

Harley Peyton ... (written by) &
Robert Engels ... (written by)


Diane Keaton



Member: Rank 3
For starters, we find that the James and the rich widow story isn’t over. She changed her mind since last week and is throwing James under the bus. This leads to a lot of melodrama – first James and Donna trying to slip by the police as she tries to contact Ed for help. It never occurs to either of them to contact Cooper or Truman to try to get ahead of this. James even goes back to the widow demanding to know why she set him up. She gives him a full confession. I waited in vain for his to lift his jacket slightly and say, “You got all that, Coop?” Instead, the idiot tries to kiss her and then is conked on the head by her boyfriend Malcolm. Fortunately, Donna rushes in to help and when Malcolm tries to get Eve to shoot James, she ends up killing her boyfriend instead. There is a certain poetry to all that, as she prepares to give the police the story Malcolm had cooked up for her about crazy Jimmy, who murdered her husband, tried to kill her and she shot him dead. Only now, it will be “crazy Mel” who did all that. Now, the story seems truly over.

But the better story ending comes regarding Ben’s crazy behavior of fighting and re-writing the Civil War. Brother Jerry is content to let him stay crazy, but Audrey outwits him since his will specifies she will be in charge if he’s incapacitated. So they stage a surrender of Grant to Lee at Appomattox, complete with Audrey dressed up like Scarlett, a statue of a horse, and Dr. Jacoby playing Grant. When I saw the children’s band standing there, I thought it was one of those David Lynch irrelevant characters in the background moments, but nope – they were posing as the fife and drum corp. After the surrender, Ben collapses and returns to sanity – with a nod to THE WIZARD OF OZ – “I had this dream, and you were in it…and you, and you.” Overall, a lively, fun-filled wrap-up to that implausible tale – the highlight of the episode.

But other stuff was going on. Windom Earle is now using Leo as his lackey, complete with a shock collar. I could say it’s awful convenient that he happened to have one of those lying around, but then again he could well have planned it for one of his future “chess match” victims. Speaking of victims, he had pictures of three women, one of whom would be the Queen in the game – Donna, Shelley or Audrey. I thought I saw him tear the picture into three strips and place the middle one in an envelope, meaning it would be Shelley. But then the same picture floated down to the floor untouched, so I’m not sure just what I did see.

In addition, it turns out Pete has a hidden talent – he’s a chess master. So Coop turns to him to try to play his chess game with Windom Earle making it a stalemate with as few lost pieces as possible, since a lost piece means a lost life. Good to have Pete given something to do since Catherine is off on her own story without him.

Poor Josie. Not only is she forced to be Catherine’s maid, but she hears Catherine and Thomas Eckhart talking about her being traded to him like she is some property to be bartered. She doesn’t even know that Albert suspects that she may be the killer of Johnny. (I loved the headline of his death – “Asian Man Killed”. Imagine a newspaper headline saying “White Man Killed.”) Coop got a major clue due to Twin Peaks having the worst dry cleaners on the planet. Coop looks through her freshly wrapped dry cleaning and pulls out several hairs with minimal effort. Why even bother to have them cleaned? Albert, by the way, comes off as a much nicer guy in this outing – forceful, but not condescending or rude.

Oh, and did I call it, or did I call it? I said earlier on that the spinning the wrestler around your head and slamming him to the floor was a stupid fake wrestler move. Sure enough, that “airplane spin” gets Nadine disqualified from winning the wrestling tournament and she has to settle for second place. She also walks in on Ed and Norma in bed together and seems clueless about what it means. But then she tells them that it’s okay with her. She’s more interested in Mike now, so they are welcome to enjoy each other’s company.

The chess game between Windom and Dale continues late into the show. Windom walks right past Cooper with a clever disguise to deliver something. Earlier Earle had sent five portions of a wedding outfit to five different cities as a warning to Coop. In the end, Dale finds a mask in his bed which activates a recording of Windom Earle. The final shot shows Cooper’s eyes looking through the empty eyes of the mask.

And, by the way, the episode wasn’t directed by David Lynch. It was done by Diane Keaton of all people. I’m still old enough to remember her as a 20-something doing a deodorant commercial and later appearing on an episode of MANNIX. Just a few years later, she’s a huge Oscar-winning star. Life is funny sometimes. And though we don’t get to see David’s directorial touch on this episode, we do get to hear Albert do a great impression of him as his Gordon Cole character.

So, yes, I liked this episode a whole lot, especially for the Civil War finale. I’ll give this 8 13th century Japanese Shakuhachi flutes, which can be used as cudgels when you have no weapons.

Best dialogue:

Donna: Why are you doing this to James?
Evelyn: Why not?
Donna: Because he’s a good person.
Evelyn: He was good with two things – the car and me.

Ben Horne (as General Lee): All wars are nothing but madness disguised as the patriotic ventures of politicians too old and too cowardly to participate in them.

Albert (to Cooper): Replacing the quiet elegance of the dark suit and tie with the casual indifference of these muted Earth tones; it’s a form of fashion suicide. But, call me crazy…on you it works.

Bob Peters 61

Member: Rank 2
In this episode we confirm that Audrey is, indeed, more formidable than her Uncle Jerry. Who ever had any doubt of that in the first place?

Interesting how Ben wakes up from his delusion once it's played to his desired conclusion. Doesn't even know why everyone is dressed in those costumes. The point I thought was interesting is that in everyone's celebration of his return to sanity, Bobby did so by honking on that bugle he can't play but had to try.

The conflict of James Vs. the evil seductress ended rather anti-climatically. About all I can say about that one.

And we're into the main intrigue of Coop Vs. Windham Earle. I can't believe I might actually end up with sympathy for Leo. Interesting move by Coop to enlist the aid of a secret chess master.

On the whole, this ep gets 7 one-eyed cougars.


Member: Rank 5
Well, it's not the first time I complain about Twin Peaks' fragmented nature, and probably won't be the last. Be as it may, I still find it hard to discuss each episode individually, and this time, having watched two episodes this week, I felt that approach has its benefits. After all, reviewing Twin Peaks on a episode-by-episode basis feels a lot like watching half an hour of a movie with a bunch of people doing different things, then making a review, next you watch another half-hour and make another review. It doesn't work for me.

The most important story line in both episodes is obviously that of Windom Earle. I found Cooper's explanation about why Windom has this personal vendetta against Cooper to be a bit confusing. Apparently, Dale got involved with Caroline, a woman he and Windom were supposed to protect, then she got killed, and Windom blames Dale for her death, except that he killed her in the first place... So why does he blame him? OK, maybe it's because Cooper had an affair with Caroline, but let's face it, this is a much weaker motive, especially since the husband has already had his revenge by killing her.

The whole chess motif is compelling,but this kind of thing works better when this is the main focus of the episode, with a B story line (and at best a very short C plot going on). But as we change from this potentially exciting situation and move to the antics of Nadine or Ben, the story loses all of its momentum. Not to mention everything so cool happening with Major Briggs (I'm getting used to naming him that finally) who just shows up in a story in full military garb and... does nothing, just reminds us this interesting part of the story will be told one day. My patience has limits!

And then there's the James + the rich lady situation. It's so full of clichés that we can hardly criticize the subplot because of that. It has long become obvious things were going to end this way. She is a duplicitous liar, and as the classic femme fatale villainess trope dictates, she does feel a pinch of love for him and at times even sounds sincere when she tells him that she does love him... a little... sort of... in her own distorted way... but in the end she can't help but follow her devious scorpion's nature. Yes, she is being coerced by her lover who wasn't her brother after all, but come on, is she really? That doesn't matter anyway. James should've been able to see that "effed up" situation a mile away and avoided it. There was nothing he could gain, especially considering he has a lovely girlfriend who loves him and wants him back, so what the heck does he think he's doing?

The Nadine story took an unexpected turn, albeit a convenient one. The way things were initially, Ed was with Nadine because he felt obliged to through guilt. Ed had feeling for Norma, but both were married. Now, all of a sudden, Hank is going back to jail and Nadine simply doesn't care about Ed and Norma to the point of finding them in bed and talking to them normally as if they were at the breakfast table. I feel the writers have forced the plot so Ed and Norma could be together as they figured that was what the viewers wanted. But what will Nadine do when she realizes she's no longer a teenager and her chances of ending with Mike are very slim, if they exist at all? Will she revert to her old self, or have the writers conveniently removed her as an obstacle?

The story around Josie is too complicated and requires a bit more energy than I'm willing to spend caring about it. We got the return of Andrew Packard and then one Thomas Eckhardt, another creepy figure, appears and promises to be yet another shady villain. And since he's played by David Warner, we can be sure he's up to no good. At least I have to admit the casting is very good, because both David Warner and Kenneth Welsh (Windom Earle) bring a lot of gravitas to the roles they play.

The entire Ben and his personal version of the Civil War is just too clownish for me. You see, Leland really seemed to be mentally disturbed and in a delusional state. Ben, on the other hand, seems more like he's putting up a performance. His madness came just out of the blue and as it came, it went. The only part I found funny was Dr. Jacoby giving a nonsense of a diagnosis saying that Ben reenacting the Civil War was a good way to solve his psychic problems and if he managed to go through the War shaping it to his own wishful thinking, then he would figure out a way to come out of his delusion, or something. Anyway, that doesn't make any sense and you don't have to be a doctor to understand that reinforcing a madman's fantasies only leads to more fantasies.

Oh, and I almost forgot the whole thing with the Lucy-Andy-Dick triangle. That part was already losing steam, and then throwing little Nicky in the mix just made things worse. All of a sudden And and Dick are investigative buddies, and that upsets Lucy. And Nicky is not so bad after all. Whatever...

And what about the Black Widow? At first, I thought they would follow the she's a husband killer angle. Then she was cursed. Then all men fell for her inexplicably, and the following episodes they were no longer hypnotized for some reason, and just found her hot (but not irresistible). And the solution was to have the Mayor fall for the same trap his brother had fallen for. It was a funny moment of levity, but I'm surprised all those law men were OK with that. If she was just an unlucky girl with heightened libido, but no ill intentions, then all the worries around her character and the death of her husband seem too much ado about nothing,. Anyway, I've always like the actress, Robyn Lively, and I find it amusing that nowadays feminists would go crazy with the portrayal of a female character like that.

As for my grades... The grade of episode 14 is based on what Thomas Eckhardt said that they will make their enemy come out like a rat for cheese. So, it gets 5 realistic rats that don't actually like cheese, and you might want to check it here where the myth started.

And episode 15 gets 6 winning chess moves by José Raúl Capablanca, who also happens to be one of my favorite chess players, if anything, because he had a very cool name.