Twin Peaks Revisited: 2.01
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…
After being shot, Dale receives the visit from a Giant who holds clues to Laura's murder. Audrey fins herself in over head head at One Eyed Jacks, Donna tries to be more like Laura and Ronnette Pulaksi finally wakes from her coma as the audience finds out what really happened to Laura Palmer the night she died...
Season two picks up immediately after the season one cliff-hanger and there is a lot to get through. Cooper has been shot by a mysterious assailant, Jacques has been strangled to death by Leyland, Pete and Shelley have survived the fire at the mill but Catherine and Josie are missing. Leo has been also been shot and poor Nadine is in a coma.
With David Lynch back at the helm as the director, the weirdness and supernatural elements of Twin Peaks really come to the fore. There is a lot of course correction in this episode too as prime suspects Jacques Renault and Leo Johnson are ruled out and Cooper first clues in on the mysterious Bob. The first half of season two would really see the mystery of who killed Laura Palmer escalate to the dramatic reveal, but that is not quite apparent here.
What is noticeable is that in storytelling. Leo is out of the picture and so is Catherine Martell, presumed dead; both big players in season one. Josie has also vanished. Meanwhile characters like Leyland Palmer start to take centre stage, his hair turned white and his manic depression restored after killing Jacques, the prime suspect in his daughter’s murder.
The opening scene quickly establishes the more ‘out there’ elements the show would go down; Cooper lies shot on his hotel room floor as the hapless, senile old man comes to serve him his warm milk. There is something frustratingly loveable about this moment, as he reaches down to get Cooper to sign for the order, puts the phone back on the receiver (ignoring a desperate Andy calling for Cooper down the line) and gives him the thumbs up as he leaves. He is utterly clueless to the fact that there is a man bleeding out on the floor but it’s all part of Lynch’s oddball charm and sets the scene for the vision of the giant (Carel Struycken) to put him on the path to revealing the real killer. The ‘smiling bag’, the first time the immortal phrase’ the owls are not what they seem’ is spoken and ‘without chemicals, he points’. Like the dream early in season one, this sets the scene for the episodes to come.
Of course, the always awesome Agent Cooper is soon back on his feet, investigating the various happenings in Twin Peaks, while the brilliant FBI Agent Albert Rosenfield (the late, great Miguel Ferrer) is back to investigate Cooper’s shooting and generally a be a pain in everyone’s ass. The scene where Cooper sits with Big Ed outside the comatose Nadine’s hospital room and is told the tragic story of how he shot his wife in the eye in the honeymoon is made so much more funny by Rosenfield silently crying with laughter in the corner, unable to contain himself from the ridiculous story he is being told. Of course, everyone has learned from their experiences with Rosenfield before, Cooper shutting Albert down when he starts to demean the local sheriff’s department and the loveable Andy yelling at him to shut his face, much to the admiration of his boss Harry Truman.
It certainly all feels a bit more extreme, like Twin Peaks is fully embracing its oddball nature even more as it enters its second season and for the most part it really works. The scene where Major Briggs (another lost great, Don Davis) tells his son Bobby of the vision of the wonderful life Bobby will lead is surprisingly heartfelt, while the manic nature of Leyland’s recovering, humming away, wide-eyed with his shockingly white hair make him seem an even more tragic figure. There is something intrinsically broken about him, despite his assertions that he’s back. And the random side story of the repulsive looking hospital food (at one point a doctor yells at a nurse to talk to the kitchen) is superbly over the top.
But some things don’t quite work. Donna’s newfound inner bitch, strutting around wearing Laura’s sunglasses, smoking cigarettes and trying to seduce James through the bars of his jail cell make her an instantly unlikeable figure and a sharp contrast from the mostly innocent school girl we saw back in the pilot.
And there already is a sexy, confident younger woman in Audrey, whose plan has quickly backfired. The scene where her father Ben tries to come on to her at One Eyed Jacks as she hides herself behind the mask is wonderfully tense and disturbing and you can’t help but feel for her as she lies trapped in her room, praying to Cooper to save her while her note to him lies discarded under his bed, lost after the shooting.
And there’s more, David Lynch packing a huge amount into the feature length season two opener. Ben and Gerry Horne continue to scheme with the villainous Hank Jennings (Chris Mulkey), who has shot Leo in the chest and cemented himself as the new big player in town. Doctor Jacoby’s schemes have been discovered by the authorities, even though he is no longer a suspect. Donna receives a clue to seek out Laura’s ‘meals on wheels’ route. A mysterious man from Hong Kong has come looking for Josie. Maddy has a vision of blood on the carpet of the Palmer’s house. And Ronnette Pulaski finally wakes up from her coma.
For the first time we see what happened to Laura Palmer as Ronnette relieves those memories and it is more disturbing than anything the show has done before. Bob brutally murders a screaming Laura, Frank Silva an utterly terrifying figure as he howls with delight. It is a chilling end to a strong season opener and now it is no longer about who killed Laura Palmer; instead the question is ‘who is Bob and how does Cooper catch him?’
Sheriff Truman: “Lucy, you better bring Agent Cooper up to date.”
Lucy: “ Leo Johnson was shot. Jacques Renault was strangled. The mill burned. Shelly and Pete got smoke inhalation. Catherine and Josie are missing. Nadine is in a coma from taking sleeping pills..”
Cooper: “ How long have l been out? ”
Dr. Will Hayward: “ lt's 7:45 in the morning ”
Future episode observations – spoilers afoot…
The three clues left by the giant are key to the upcoming episodes. The smiling bag is soon to be revealed as the empty body bag that once housed Jacques Renault, while the owls are not what they seem will soon be revealed by Major Briggs. The last phrase, ‘without chemicals, he points’, ties directly to another spirit Mike, who will eventually lead Cooper to the evil Bob.
Leyland's manic nature is seen again when he kills Maddy, while the Giant will return when Laura's cousin meets her tragic fate. The man looking for Josie is tied to her criminal past and Ronnette will be key to the investigation in the next episode...