Twin Peaks Revisited: 1.08
TV revivals are a big thing. In 2016, The X Files returned to our screens after a 14-year absence and here at The Digital Fix, we revisited key episodes across its ten seasons and two movies. But there is one revival that is surely bigger than that; Twin Peaks will be returning for an unprecedented third season, directed by David Lynch and set twenty-five years after season two’s shocking ending. It is a revival that has everyone excited and anxious in equal measure. With a phenomenal cast, including nearly every original actor there is hope that Twin Peaks’ new season can recapture the magic of the first year and a half. So, like The X Files, we’ve decided to revisit each episode in the build up to the show’s return. We’ll treat each revisit fresh and try to keep major conjecture to future episodes separate. So whether you’re seeking to revisit an old classic or ready to find out what all the fuss is about, let’s return to the world of Twin Peaks…
Cooper sets a trap for Jacques Renault, who is murdered by Leyland while Jacoby is attacked as he watches Maddy. Bobby frames James, Hank and Josie's schemes are revealed and Leo is shot, while Shelley, Catherine and Pete's fates hang in the air as the Packard Mill burns to the ground. And Cooper is shot by an unknown assailant...
There’s an awful lot going on in the season one finale as the various investigations, schemes, plots and affairs reach boiling point. On re-watch, the one thing that has surprised me is how little the supernatural makes a presence in season one. There was the trip to the Log Lady a couple of episodes ago, a fleeting glance of Bob and the mysterious dream in the Black Lodge with the backwards talking Man From Another Place. A lot of what Twin Peaks is remembered for will not actually make a more prominent role until season two. Even a memorable character like Ray Wise’s Leyland Palmer is a virtual background character at this stage.
But while the mystery of who killed Laura Palmer is largely unresolved at this stage (though Cooper suspects Leo Johnson), there are a number story arcs to the first season that has nothing to do Laura’s murder but come to a thrilling conclusion here. Leo Johnson finally exacts his revenge on poor, abused wife Shelley after she shot him, tying her up in the mill next to the ticking clock that will burn the place to the ground when it hits a certain hour. Hank meanwhile steps up his game, threatening poor Josie and shooting Leo in the chest just before he can get his next bout of revenge on Bobby. The scene between Hank and Josie is interesting, the suggestion that he took the fall for manslaughter possibly to cover up the fact that he murdered Josie’s husband Andrew for her. It’s been a long time since I’ve seen season two, so I am going into this plot a little cold. Hanks’s actions suggest that he is becoming a major played in Twin Peaks. Kudos to the excellent framing of the antlers behind Hank’s head as he threatens Josie…as if there was ever any doubt he was a villain…
Cooper finally plays his hand, pretending to be Leo’s financer at One Eyed Jacks as he corners Jacques Renault and learns a great deal more about what happened to Laura. It turns out Jacques wasn’t the real threat, but Leo, and there might be a third player in the whole affair. It isn’t enough to dissuade Cooper from looking beyond Leo as a suspect, but it is the start of a change in the plot that will play out over the first half of season two. As for Jacques, her falls right into Cooper’s trap, revealing himself as the bad guy he really is, lashing out as he is cornered by the police. The ever adorable Andy finally gets to be the hero, shooting and incapacitating Jacques, much to the admiration of Sheriff Truman and the adoration of Lucy. Their tangled love affair continues to play out behind the scenes, Lucy revealing something terrible that puts their relationship into a tailspin once more. As for Jacques, he exits the show at the surprising hands of Leyland Palmer, who suffocates him in his hospital bed, believing him to be his daughter’s killer.
There is also a wonderful scene between Catherine and Pete as she goes to him for help after realising that Ben and Josie are conspiring against her. “Our marriage is a living train wreck, but there used to be something caring between us.” she tells him and it is a heart-warming scene as they work together, both Piper Laurie and Jack Nance selling the scene. Catherine’s fate hangs in the balance at the season’s end as she discovers Shelly tied up in the mill after receiving a mysterious summons for the ever-scheming Hank. I loved her telling Shelly to be quiet, letting her think while the fire sparked up around them. She was cold and ruthless to the end. Pete rushing into the fire at the end was another great heroic moment.
And then we have the reveal that Jacoby is not quite the villain at all; Donna and James discover Laura’s tape in his office which reveal more of her sordid past and learn that he was just trying to help her in his own sleazy way. Jacoby meanwhile finds himself brutally attacked as he watches Maddy pretending to be Laura – her real killer? – and hospitalised with a heart attack.
As for James, he finds himself back behind bars after Bobby frames him as the high school drug mule working for Jacques and Leo. But the really twisted moment of the episode is when Ben Horne goes to inspect the new girl prudence at One Eyed Jacks…not realising it is his daughter Audrey on her own secret investigation. it's an uncomfortable cliffhanger, as Audrey hides behind the white mask as her father leans lecherously towards her. Thankfully it never goes further than that.
The episode ends with Cooper shot by an unknown assailant in his hotel room. With Catherine, Shelly and possibly Pete deceased in the mill fire, Audrey over her head, Leyland a murderer, Leo shot, Jacques dead and James arrested, the stakes are higher ever as season one comes to an end. Even poor Nadine suffers, taking a drug overdose after her plans for her marriage – and her silent drapes – fall apart around her. Mark Frost and David Lynch have managed to keep many plates spinning over the pilot and subsequent seven episodes and as both writer and director of this episode, Frost excels.
It is a great season finale, delivering multiple cliff-hangers and yet still being further than ever to the heart of the show – the mystery of who killed Laura Palmer. Season two would not be as tight as the first, something I’ll examine further as I continue my ‘Twin Peaks Revisited’, but there are plenty more surprises still to come…
Jacques: “ It was that crazy bird…It had a thing for Laura, saying her name all the time, like he's in love or something. So we're all partying. The girls are getting high, everybody's crazy….”
Cooper: (To Jacques) “ You, Laura and Ronnette?”
Jacques: “ Leo lets Waldo out of the cage The birdie lands on her shoulder. Laura's all tied up. Oh, she liked that. The birdy starts pecking on her shoulder, like love pecks.
Know what I mean? So Leo he's doing a number on her, and she's screaming about that damn bird. So Leo takes out a chip, puts it in her mouth and says, "Bite the bullet, baby. "Bite the bullet.”
Future episode observations – spoilers afoot…
Where to begin? Hank’s suggestion that Josie had her husband Andrew will lead to her eventual downfall in season two. Catherine’s fate is not what it quite seems – her ‘death’ in the fire will all be part of a plan to undermine Ben Horne when she eventually returns from the dead.
And Leyland Palmer might seem a broken man here, killing what he believes to be Laura’s killer but the truth is far more insidious. He has killed before and he will kill again. As for Maddy pretending to be Laura…she’ll find she mirrors her cousin in more ways in one as the shocking events of season two unfold…