Review Tonight! "Twin Peaks" S02E11 “Masked Ball”

Did you have a ball watching? Was it a ball-breaker? Don't mask your feelings. Give an honest grade.

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Bob Peters 61

Member: Rank 2
There is great disorder under Heaven and the situation is excellent.

Gold digger or not, the bride is one seductive young lady. Even more so than Audrey.

Well, this episode has narrative steering in odd directions as if to set up later actions:
James getting into some sort of ill-advisable situation with the rich lady.
Hank getting big and bold with Ben.
Josie willingly seeking out a situation which could only be abusive of her with Catherine.
The wedding of the rich to the beautiful.
The chess game going on between Coop and Windham Earle.

All there filling up the ep. with a break from Bobby, Shelly and Leo. Gotta stay tuned to see what's next. So I'll give it 7 shadow-puppet moose.

And the crazy credit was David Duchovney who appeared as his X-Files character on The Lone Gunmen.
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Member: Rank 3
I have no idea why this was called “Masked Ball.” There was no masquerade ball, like alone a costume party of any sort. There was a wedding of the old mayor and a really young bride, but people just wore tuxedos and wedding gowns, not fancy ball masks.

Perhaps they should have just entitled this “Eight Shades of Weird” because that’s what it was. For starters, I saw David Duchovny’s name in the guest cast. I thought, “Oh, neat, a chance to see what he looked like prior to THE X-FILES. Instead, he shows up wearing a dress. I thought at first he was supposed to have had a sex change operation, but it turned out he just like wearing women’s clothes – and being called Denise Bryson instead of Dennis Bryson.

Meanwhile, Lucy was absent again – the explanation being she was helping out with the wedding. The temp they hired sounded almost exactly like her, making you wonder if Kimmy just got sick and had to be written out at the last moment. The baby story continued in that Dick is trying to display his parenting skills by being a Big Brother (or whatever they called it here) to a kid named Little Nicky. Dick came by hoping to take Lucy and Nicky to Norma’s for a malted, but when Lucy wasn’t there, Dick didn’t want to bother. So Andy stepped in to take them both out. Turned out Little Nicky was a younger version of the LITTLE NICKY character in the Adam Sandler movie of the same name. He would knock whipped cream onto Dick’s suit and spin Andy’s stool around so that he went flying off when he tried to sit on it. He would then apologize, even though it was clearly intentional. Weird kid.

Major Brigg’s wife doesn’t seem too concerned that he vanished. She says he disappears all the time working on Project Stargate and all. (Okay, Mad-Pac, now you’ve got me doing it, and I only ever saw a couple of episodes.) It also turns out that besides a White Lodge there’s a contrasting Black Lodge where you meet a shadow version of yourself and if you confront it with imperfect courage, it will annihilate your soul. Sounds to me like a harbinger of what someone will encounter this later in the season.

Josie attempted to explain what happened to her, and it just left me more confused. She mentioned someone who was “My father…my mentor…my lover.” I hope she meant father metaphorically there. She is also being chased by a Tom Eckhart who wants to possess her. Meanwhile, I guess she then told Catherine about her complicity in trying to trick her regarding the mill, so Catherine forced her to be her maid. Meanwhile, remember how Josie seemed to be blackmailed by Hank for being responsible for getting her husband Andrew murdered. Well, apparently, he’s still alive and in on a plan with his sister Catherine to get Eckhart. Yeah, I’m completely lost. I know people keep coming back from the dead on GOTHAM, but at least there’s a twisted logic to that show.

James rode off on his motorcycle and was approached by a rich girl in a bar who drove her husband’s Bentley into a ditch. He helps her fix it up and she offers to let him stay in her house for a few days while her husband is away. Anyone who doesn’t see what’s coming here, please apply for a seat in the next class of Clichéd Plots 101.

Cooper defends his actions at One-Eyed Jacks by telling FBI Agent Hardy that he has full confidence that he did the right things and that if they charge him with anything, he’ll defend himself in court. Hardy inexplicably calls him “spineless” for doing that. Meanwhile, Hardy does go to Norma’s and tells her that her pies are as great as he heard and then, in a wink and a nod to THE MOD SQUAD, says…..wait for it……..actually, I’m still waiting for it.

Nadine’s super strength earns her a shot at being on the wrestling team. The old mayor’s new bride flirts with Cooper while dancing with her new husband, while Andy dances with Denise unaware that he’s really Dennis. Dennis believes the cocaine residue found in Cooper’s car was planted, but still has to find a way to prove it. And Ben Horne complains to Hank about his bad week of losing the mill and grounds, and being arrested. He doesn’t even mention being blackmailed by Bobby last week whom he just threw out without caring. (I guess he figures if he ignores that problem, it will go away. And on this show, maybe it will.) Then Hank lets him know that Jean Renault has taken over One-Eyed Jacks and that he himself no longer works for Ben. Ben just should have stayed in bed that day.

Okay, lot’s of weird stuff but not a lot of excitement. I’ll give this 5 Gray Lodges, which Hawk explained is “a kind of neutral version between the Black and White Lodges – sort of like Switzerland.” Okay, he didn’t really say that; I’m just being weird now.

Best dialogue:
Cooper: “Diane, when I’ve got a moment, remind me to tell you about agent Bryson.”

Bob Peters 61

Member: Rank 2
adine’s super strength earns her a shot at being on the wrestling team. The old mayor’s new bride flirts with Cooper while dancing with her new husband, while Andy dances with Denise unaware that he’s really Dennis.
The funniest part of that is that Denise was leading.


Member: Rank 5

Season 2

Episode 11: “Masked Ball”

I’ve had a busy couple of weeks and I have to admit I’m not always in the mood for this show, but this episode was nice, even though nothing really consistent happened. For starters, we are welcomed by the image of a “futuristic” Apple laptop computer (I imagine that looked pretty advanced at the time, since computers like that one were rare on television as far as I can remember, as laptops didn’t have the ubiquitous presence they have in our lives today. And, by the way, I love those early LCD screens. That brings me good memories.

For one thing, it had a great deal of elaborate writing. Lots of memorable passages:

  • “What we fear in the dark and what lies beyond darkness.”
  • “A path is formed by laying one stone at a time.”
  • “You may be fearless in this world, but there are other worlds.”
  • “It is a place where the spirits that rule man and nature here reside.”
  • “Legend says that every spirit must pass through there on the way to perfection. There you will meet your own shadow self. My people call it The Dweller on the Threshold. If you confront the Black Lodge with imperfect courage, it will utterly annihilate your soul.”
  • “My knights will skirmish. Lanes of power and influence will open to my bishops and rooks. Pawns will naturally be forfeit. I’m even prepared to sacrifice my queen because I assure you, dear Dale, my goal will be attained at any cost. The king must die.”

So, based on that we can see the remainder of the story has a lot of supernatural elements that are likely to be added to the plot. I’m eager to see where that goes.

Also, some a few funny dialogue bits, such as,

"Catch anything?"
“I hope not.”

The guest stars were an added bonus. I like Robyn Lively, and I hope this is not the last time we see her, because she barely had lines. And the episode ends with the OCP CEO (Dan O'Herlihy), if you remember him from Robocop. It just wasn’t clear to me whether Andrew Packard is alive or in Catherine’s imagination. Maybe I’m overthinking and he’s alive. I just thought Josie’s husband was her age. And, of course, at last, but by no means least, we had the participation of David Duchovny.

We already knew Duchovny was in the episode, and I was eager to see him entering the scene, so I was watching the door scene when… I have to admit I had a good laugh. That was completely unexpected and took me off-guard. And since this is an old show, and in those times this situation could be used as a joke, I thought that was the case. But it turns out, it wasn’t.

Denis, or “Denise” demonstrated to be a sensitive and caring individual and as I got used to Duchovny’s particular looks, it was something I could get used to. In fact, a story that progressive was not that common in 1990. But in this case it worked very well.

What was eerie is that Duchovny reminded me of an actress I know from that time period, though maybe I'm recognizing the typical early 1990s hair style, and there were lots of blue-eyed brunettes with big hair in the 1980s and 1990s. But "Denise" did seem strangely familiar.

I have to admit I thought Duchovny actually didn’t look bad. Come to think of it, usually these actors who play leading roles have nice features, and, with convincing acting, they can incorporate the character and play a convincing person of the opposite gender. Or sex… I don’t know. In what would be considered a non-PC moment today, Deputy Hawk refers to Denise as “he”. Oh, no! Did Hawk just misgender Denise? Nowadays, a situation like that would get folks at Tumblr debating this for days.

In fact, I originally thought members and allies of this community would appreciate a positive portrayal of a trans character like that, but to my surprise, I found an article criticizing it.

Oh, boy how much do these people eat in this show! “Two three-berry pies and one super snow frost chocolate malted.” That really caught the attention of my sweet tooth.

There are other parallel plots besides that of Dale Cooper and his mystical path. For instance, James meets a very posh, elegant, beautiful, rich and very much married lady, and he ends as a guest in her house. That won’t cause him any trouble of course. I kept wondering when in real life a woman would dress up like that (as if she was going to a party or luxury restaurant) and go to empty bars in the middle of nowhere. Also, she spoke like a femme fatale from a Dashiell Hammett novel, which didn’t sound realistic at all.

The stories of Nadine, Norma, Hank and the Professor had better be commented on when something more substantial happens. Oh, yes, and we had Catherine turning Josie into her maid (for some reason Microsoft Word suggests I call her “house cleaner” instead) just to humiliate her, turning Josie into a kind of Cinderella. Typical soap opera stuff.

As for Major Garland, I knew some investigation would be a part of the episode, but I didn’t expect it to go anywhere and it didn’t.

I enjoyed the episode, and it made me interested in watching the next, probably tomorrow. “Masked Ball” (Why the hell was the episode caller that?) gets 8 men of no small spiritual advancement.
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Member: Rank 5
And the crazy credit was David Duchovney who appeared as his X-Files character on The Lone Gunmen.
Congratulations! You got it. Yes, we know Fox Mulder from "The X Files," but most people tend to forget the spinoff, which counts as another show. That's one of the shows I wouldn't mind taking a look next.


Member: Rank 5
Major Brigg’s wife doesn’t seem too concerned that he vanished. She says he disappears all the time working on Project Stargate and all. (Okay, Mad-Pac, now you’ve got me doing it, and I only ever saw a couple of episodes.)
Ha, ha! I think Don S. Davies is so closely associated with SG-1 that I can't think of him in any other role, especially when he's also playing a military again.