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Is the testimony of a myna bird really admissible in court? We’re not sure, but we bet that bird doesn’t have long in this Twin Peaks episode, “Realization Time.”

We’re re-watching the classic David Lynch series Twin Peaks before it returns to television on Showtime in 2016. Want to join us? The entire series is available on Netflix (or Amazon, if you’d prefer high-definition Blu-rays), and then catch up on our reviews. Now, on to this week’s review of “Realization Time.”

Last time on Twin Peaks, 30-something FBI special agent Dale Cooper discovered Audrey Horne naked in his bed at her father’s hotel, waiting for him. Since she is an 18-year-old high school student, and far outside of his *ahem* jurisdiction, Audrey’s bold move posed a problem and was left as a cliffhanger.

This episode starts out right where the last one left off, and Cooper conducts himself like the truly decent human being that he has proven to be so far. He convinces Audrey that she needs a friend more than anything else at that moment, and offers to get them some food so they can talk (and she can get dressed). Crisis (and temptation) averted.

The next morning at the police station starts with Deputy Andy timidly approaching the dispatch desk. Lucy has been distant, even though they have a romantic history, and a timely call from her doctor sheds some light on her behavior (that will be explored more later on). In the conference room, the cops have an eye-witness from the night of Laura’s murder named Waldo, who can talk, but won’t because he was found nearly starved to death by the police in the cabin last episode. Waldo is a myna bird, which can mimic human words very well and may provide a solid lead for the team. Cooper sets up a voice-activated tape recorder near Waldo’s cage to record any testimony he may have.

Shifting over to the Johnson household and we find Shelly freaking out. Why, you ask? She shot her abusive husband in the last episode (and neither she nor her boyfriend Bobby should ever be handling guns). The two of them have talked and plotted to take care of Leo for a few episodes already, but now: thanks to Shelly’s actions, all of the talking they have done so far has unfolded into a genuine chain of events, and she has graduated from cheater to killer (even though Leo is a wife-beater, and by far the least likable of the characters).

However, Leo is then depicted very much alive, with a gunshot wound in his arm. He is training his scoped rifle on his own house, waiting for Bobby to step into his sights when he hears Lucy talking about the myna bird on the police band, and Leo decides that he has other, more pressing business at the moment.

Meanwhile Donna, James, and Maddy are listening to cassettes of an audio diary that Laura had made for Dr. Jacobi. They plan their next move when they find that the last tape is missing.

The action then moves to Horne’s Department Store where Audrey is working (badly) behind the perfume counter as part of her own investigation into Laura’s murder. Laura had worked there with Ronette before being murdered, and Audrey believes there’s a connection. She hides in her manager’s closet while smoking a cigarette (and not being noticed somehow) to discover that her manager is recruiting girls from the perfume counter to work at One Eyed Jacks, so she decides to infiltrate One Eyed Jacks as the next stage of her investigation.

myna bird

Speaking of One Eyed Jacks, Cooper and the gang are planning on infiltrating the casino/brothel themselves so that they can track down Jacques Renault, who jumped the border last episode. They need to lure him back to the states somehow so that he can be arrested. Cooper wears a tux, Truman wears a kind of lumberjack church suit, and big Ed Hurley wears a getup that makes him look like an oil baron from Texas (complete with bolo tie, later to be enhanced by a curly wig and a fake mustache).

Just as the lawmen/Bookhouse boys are getting ready to go, they hear a gunshot from the conference room and burst in to find Waldo (the myna bird) dead. Leo Johnson used his rifle to silence the bird permanently, but the tape has recorded some pretty damning audio so far, saying, “Leo, don’t!” among other things…and the plot thickens quite a bit more.

Around that time, Catherine Martell discovers that she is the victim of double-cross when a perceptive insurance agent pays her a visit regarding the life insurance policy taken out on her by lover Ben Horne and rival/sister-in-law Josie Packard. The plan to burn down Packard Mill turns out to be even more twisted than she had thought, and Catherine believes they plan to kill her when the mill is set ablaze.

By the way, if Catherine Martell looks familiar to you in a “can’t-quite-put-my-finger-on-it” way, Piper Laurie also played the psychotic, hyper-religious mother of Carrie back in 1976. The difference between those two roles is simply astounding.

One Eyed Jacks is the destination for many characters in the second half of the episode. Cooper and the Bookhouse Boys are going there to lure Jacques Renault back into town, Audrey is going there to follow her lead from the department store about Laura, and Ben, her father, is going there to show it off to the investment group from Iceland.

This is the point in the season when many different storylines are coming close to paying off, either in success or disaster. The pace is almost frantic.

As the episode nears the end, Donna, James, and Maddy embark on their plan to lure Dr. Jacobi out of his house so that they can sneak in and find the last entry of Laura’s audio diary. Maddy calls Dr. Jacobi, pretending to be Laura. He is immediately suspicious, and so she “proves” who she is by telling him to look outside his door. There he finds a VHS waiting for him, and when he plays it, He sees a girl that looks just like Laura holding a copy of the current newspaper (but it was Maddy in a blonde wig). Maddy tells Dr. Jacobi to meet her at an intersection roughly ten minutes away from his place, and he leaves, but he knows something isn’t right. He sees a gazebo (which is close to his house) in the video, and goes to that spot instead. Their plan is the most red-flag waving, suspicious and obvious farce that they could have done, but it kind of works. Go figure.

In the last minute (which always has at least one twist or turn in this series) Maddy is being watched by someone who may be the killer, and Bobby Briggs moves in out of nowhere to settle his score with James Hurley by planting some cocaine in the gas tank of James’ bike. And on that note, the credits roll.

Bottom Line: This episode builds very well on the tension, intrigue, and dynamic storytelling introduced so far in the series.

Recommendation: At this point, the series just gets better and better with each episode.

[rating=4.5]

Kevin Mooseles knows (but won’t tell yet) who killed Laura Palmer. He enjoys a damn fine cup of coffee, and has been craving doughnuts every day since he started watching Twin Peaks.

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