Twin Peaks Revisited: 2.10
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…
Leyland is buried, Bobby attempts to blackmail Ben fail, Nadine returns to school, Norma's mother's intentions are revealed and Catherine reveals herself to Harry. Cooper prepares to leave Twin Peaks but is suspended for his actions rescuing Audrey. And while Jean ups his game of revenge, Major Briggs vanishes into the night...
There's an awful lot going on in this episode, as Twin Peaks attempts to realign its game plan after the death of Leyland Palmer and the solving of Laura Palmer's murder. Unfortunately there is a real sense that the show doesn't quite know where to go next and the most noticeable issue is absence of the balance between mystery and the Lynchian soap opera moments that have run through the series to date. Without a central case, there's a lot about Nadine wanting to become a cheerleader and Norma arguing with her mother but Cooper getting fired isn't enough to hook the audience in long term.
There is a sense of transition though, of characters maturing as the show jumps forward for the first time to three days after Leyland's death. Audrey is now working at the hotel, a much stronger woman after her ordeal and her farewell scene to Cooper is nicely played while progressing the mystery behind Windom Earle. Cooper shuts down any thoughts of romance and with good reason; the woman he loved was someone he was supposed to protect. Instead, she died in his arms, he was injured and his partner went insane. The chemistry is subtly acknowledged between them, even if it can't progress any further.
Catherine finally reveals herself to the world after spending the last few episodes in dodgy Japanese businessman makeup. Bobby meanwhile attempts to blackmail Ben Horne into a position and fails miserably while Shelley continues to suffer through the ordeal of her own making. Leo's wheelchair moving is the latest in a long line of funny moments as Shelley (and Bobby) react in terror to the possibility that he might just wake up from his vegetative state. Norma continues to suffer with the terrible mother and food critic M.T. Wentz storylines. The fact that her mother is M.T. Wentz and writes a very disparaging review of her diner certainly puts Vivian in the long list of terrible TV parents, but it's not exactly riveting stuff, particularly after the dramatic events of recent episodes.
Meanwhile two unfunny storylines continue to take up far too much screentime in the absence of the core mystery. Nadine thinks she is a sixteen year old schoolgirl, goes back to school and tries out for cheerleading with [sarcasm insert] hilarious results. And I'm tired now of Lucy's baby father drama. Dick is irritating and it is making Andy less adorable the longer it continues.
There is also very much a closing off the first chapter in the show. Not only is almost every recurring character at Leyland's wake, Sarah Palmer also serves as the character to close off the Laura Palmer storyline. I've always found Grace Zabriskie's performance rather extreme, wailing and staring wide eyed in horror in almost every scene. But it kind of makes sense in the end; living in the house where Bob was present, possessing her husband to murderous ways and torturing her daughter, it's understandable the psychological effect it would have on her, as Sarah's visions and comatose nature during Maddy's murder a few feet away from her proved.
But this version of Sarah was more subdued than usual and I realised that Zabriskie really can act when she isn't shrieking at every opportune moment. Her opening scene with Cooper, preparing to bury the final member of her immediate family might have been a morbid moment but it was also her best scene to date. And I liked her conversation with Donna's mother Eileen, bonding over the happier moments their two daughters one shared. The one thing the resolution of the central case is does is allow the inhabitants of Twin Peaks to act more natural, without the heightened events of the murderer on the loose. And seeing all these characters interacting at the wake is a nice moment that we might not witnessed had Laura Palmer's murder not been solved.
After a number of bittersweet goodbyes, including a bromantic hug with Truman and a sweet farewell to Audrey, Cooper finds himself staying in Twin Peaks due to the timely arrival of another agent Roger Hardy from FBI internal affairs and his Canadian mountie counterpart. Cooper acknowledged his actions in rescuing Audrey from One Eyed Jacks had perhaps been a step too far a few episodes back and those actions come back to bite him now. Charged with crossing the border without authority and implicated in the stolen cocaine, the missing Jean Renault and the deaths of three people (including brothel madame Blackie), Cooper is stripped off his badge and gun as the show attempts to take him in a new direction.
It seems a little contrived at first but this new story comes together nicely at the end as the mountie is revealed to be in league with Jean Renault, who has also coerced Hank and Norma's shady new father in law Ernie into his schemes. Michael Parks has played a great villain so far and while his nefarious actions are not on the level of Catherine and Ben's scheming or the murderous Bob, his role in bringing Cooper down does provide the show with a new direction...at least in the short term.
Bob and the supernatural elements aren't completely forgotten though. Cooper and Brigg's night fishing trip leads to the first mention of the mysterious White Lodge and when the owl appears (possibly the spirit of Bob) and a white light appears, Briggs vanishes without a trace, providing an intriguing new cliffhanger. And with the sudden reappearance of Josie at Truman's cabin, the final couple of scenes pulls the episode back from being a let down.
Dale Cooper: “Major, I'm going to take a moment here. I feel the call of nature. There's nothing quite like urinating out in the open air..”
Future episode observations – spoilers afoot…
The final showdown with Jean Renault is set up nicely here as the drug smuggling operation over the Canadian border starts to come to a head. Josie's sudden appearance will lead to the return of her her 'dead' husband Andrew Packard.
Major Briggs' the mention of the White Lodge sets up the good opposite of the Black Lodge Cooper will travel to in the season finale. Cooper mentions the woman he loved dying as he tried to protect her; events will replay again, this time with Annie, Windom Earle and the Black Lodge.