Twin Peaks Revisited: 2.08
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…
Aa a Bob-possessed Leyland disposes of Maddy's body, Ben Horne is officially arrested for Laura Palmer's murder, Norma's mother visits and Cooper and Truman clash over the FBI agent's spiritual investigation...
After the dramatic events of the last episode, this one opens promisingly, with the Palmer House lit up like something out of The Amityville Horror as Maddy's screams ring into the night and the ominous music captures the sense of terror that has unfolded. Unfortunately it doesn't maintain the pace; while Ray Wise delivers his best episode yet as the deranged Leyland Palmer, the rest of the episode drags the audience back into mundane and irritating storylines that break up the momentum of Maddy Ferguson's murder.
Lucy returns and the baby drama continues with Andy, this time with her visiting sister Gwen in the mix. Now I love the Andy / Lucy relationship dearly, but this storyline is dragging on and taking up too much screen time. Gwen is a mildly offensive addition, but it is Andy that comes across as stupid. He's not the brightest spark but does he really believe that the baby Lucy is carrying in her arms - just weeks after becoming pregnant - is theirs? There's adorable and then there's this stupid plot, which jars with the darker undertones at play. Perhaps I just didn't buy into the kooky humour the episode was trying to convey.
But at least there was humour. The same cannot be said for the Norma's storyline. Peggy Lipton is a great member of the cast, delivering warmth and wit in equal measure, but she is being saddled with some awful storylines now that her affair with Ed is over. Not only does the random plot of the mysterious food critic rear its head again, but this time we have her mother Vivian coming to visit, complete with Ernie, her shady new husband and con man. I think the idea is that her mother has just the same clueless taste in men; after all Hank is quick to pick up Ernie's game. But nothing about this story line is entertaining, despite solid performances from all involved.
Fortunately the rest of the episode is much stronger. The often-irritating Jerry steps in to represent his brother Ben, proving to be as pathetic a human being as always and I loved Cooper shooting him down in the interrogation room; not only does Cooper demonstrate he is all knowing by referring to Jerry coming last in his class, failing the bar three times and being disbarred too, but when Jerry claims there is a miscarriage of justice, passages from Laura's diary are quickly used to shut him. Even more hilarious, Jerry's attempts to push Cooper and Truman go horribly wrong when the sheriff officially arrests Ben for Laura's murder. But one of the best scenes of the episode has to be Pete's gleeful visit to Ben in jail where he plays Catherine's tape recording, demanding the entire Ghostwood Estate in her name in exchange for the alibi that will clear his name. If you thought Pete couldn't get any more lovable, Jack Nance delights in this scene where he finally gets the upper hand over Richard Beymer' big bad Ben Horne.
Of course, at this point the audience knows that Ben is not the killer. The transformation in Leyland Palmer this episode is riveting as Ray Wise delivers a deliciously evil performance; there is an air of danger as Donna and James come to say goodbye to Maddy and Leyland tells them she is gone, the grinning reflection of Bob in the mirror unseen by anyone. Things get even more twisted as he carries Maddy's bloody body, wrapped in plastic just like Laura, in his golf bag around town. The scene where he is stopped by Cooper and Truman after driving erratically and offers to show Cooper his new golf clubs, by pulling one out of the same bag, is Twin Peaks' black humour at its very best.
His derangement goes further when Cooper tells Leyland Ben has been arrested and Leyland plays the act, concocting a tale about overhearing Ben on a suspicious call the night his daughter died and playing the grief-stricken man we saw back in season one before silently laughing with maniacal glee as soon as everyone's backs are turned. Leyland certainly seems aware of his actions at this point; whether Bob is taking control or whether he always did puts his trauma and loss in season one into a totally new perspective. It also raises terrible questions too. Over the course of the series Cooper an the audience have learned that Laura had sex with someone else who was likely her killer and suffered abuse at the hands of Bob for years. It perverts and sickens the loving relationship we though she had with her father, making this killer all the more evil for it.
It is also suggested that Cooper has noticed the sudden change in Leyland, even if he hasn't connected the dots yet. He tells Diane he is close and refuses to believe Ben is guilty despite the evidence stacked against him. It was interesting to see the bromance between him and Truman take a stumble; the sheriff has gone along with all aspects of Cooper's investigation but possessing spirits, Tibetan stone throwing, giants and prophetic dreams have all become too much. It makes Truman a more well-rounded character. That respect is still there but his sense of reality is what makes him a good sheriff and while he was one of the first people to mention a 'darkness in the woods' to Cooper back in season one, his reality is not shaped by it. As a straight man to Kyle MacLachlan's straight man, Michael Ontkean delivers one of the most engaging, grounded performances in the entire show and I hope his replacement in the role for the revival is half as good.
I also wanted to comment on the final scene between Audrey and Cooper. Angelo Badalamenti's score is wonderfully emotive as these two characters reconnect after the trauma she endured at One Eyed Jacks. The chemistry is still there between these characters, perhaps more son now that Audrey has matured. I can see why Kyle MacLachlan didn't want his character to develop a romantic angle with Sherilyn Fenn's Audrey but it feels that in scenes like this one, something could have realistically happened. There's too much of a parental side to Cooper still, particularly when he gets the dreaded phone call about another body and orders Audrey to lock herself in her room, but I wonder what would have happened if Twin Peaks hadn't been cancelled after season two.
The episode ends with a great cliffhanger, bringing the show full circle back to the pilot episode as Maddy's body is found wrapped in plastic at the water's edge. It truly is happening again and there is a feeling that Twin Peaks is at the cusp of a huge turning point, though one that perhaps - with fourteen more episodes to go - cannot maintain the momentum of recent events.
Jerry Horne: “I demand you either release my client or arrest him!”
Sheriff Truman: “Okay. Ben Horne, I arrest you for the murder of Laura Palmer.”
Benjamin Horne: “Great going, Jer.”
Future episode observations – spoilers afoot…
Very little; now that Leyland has been revealed as the killer, possessed by Bob, it is only a matter of time before he is caught. Bobby finding the tape of Leo and Ben and Catherine's blackmail of him reignites the plotting and scheming of season one. While Harry Truman and Pete's discussion about Josie's cousin / assistant will lead to the final tragic steps in her story soon..