Twin Peaks Revisited: 2.12
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…
Bobby starts to work for Ben , while Audrey helps Cooper find evidence of the people framing him. Bryson coerces Ernie to betray Renault. James gets caught in Evelyn's web, Nadine continues her seduction of Mike, Andy and Dick discover that little Nicky is evil and Briggs returns...
There's no denying the fact that at this point in the season, Twin Peaks has lost its magic. I considered episode eleven the worst entry to date, but episode twelve is worst and there is now the expectation that thirteen might be worse again. It's not completely terrible, but the bigger storylines are now utterly suffocated by all the melodrama. The previous episode pulled things back with the reveal that Andrew Packard is alive and Windom Earle's message to Cooper, but the former is completely ignored this time and the latter has a two second reference as Cooper notes his chess move response in the local paper.
I'm not sure which storyline is more terrible; Nadine's, James's or the latest in the Little Nicky drama? At least we get very little of 'school girl' Nadine's seduction of Mike, who wrestles him to the ground in gym class, causing him to go running to ex girlfriend Donna for help (it's the second episode we've seen Donna back in school, suggesting that things have returned to normal, even if classmates James, Audrey and Bobby are nowhere to be seen).
The James storyline is worse; proving to be a completely unsuspecting moron, he finds himself ensnared in the web of Evelyn Marsh and her drunken brother Malcolm, who sprinkles in mentions of his sister's continuous abuse at the hands of the husband Jeffrey. After the inevitable kiss between James and Evelyn, Jeffrey returns and as the storm rages that night, James hears her screams as she argues with him. Jeffrey mentioning that he has sworn to kill his brother in law one day feels a little hammy. And that's the problem with this storyline; not only is it not remotely connected to anything else happening in Twin Peaks, but it is also so over the top and obvious there is nothing to surprise the audience. Are we supposed to feel tension when we know Evelyn and Malcolm are planning to use James to kill Jeffrey and steal his fortune?
But the Little Nicky storyline is plain excruciating, particularly as it grants more screen time Ian Buchanan's god awful Dick Tremayne. Even for Twin Peaks, this story of the orphaned little brat is random. I don't know why we are supposed to invest in him as a character. Not only is the kid a terrible actor but the mystery behind his parent's death is just silly. While admittedly it would be worth seeing Nicky kill Dick Trumane, his absence from the show would remove such atrocious scenes as the thought bubble appearing above Andy's head showing Nicky in a devil's outfit. I'm a big fan of Twin Peaks's surrealism but this all feels like a bad parody of itself.
Another random sub plot if the feud between Dougie and Dwane Milford. The groom is found dead in his hotel bed, his attempts to perform the Karma Sutra with his young new wife leading to a fatal heart attack. As odd as the story is, I did find Mayor Dwane's demands that Lana Milford be arrested for witchcraft and death by sex rather amusing. Less so the scene where Lucy wanders the empty sheriff's department and finds Truman, Hawk, Andy, Dick and even Doc Hayward entranced by Lana in the office. Unless of course Twin Peaks is suggesting she is a witch?
Despite his developing madness, Ben Horne shows that he is not completely beaten, recruiting Bobby to spy on Hank. And after hanging around with nothing to do since her rescue from One Eyed Jacks, it's nice to see Audrey using her devious ways to steal the photos Bobby has taken and share them with Cooper. The photo of Hank, Ernie, Jean and the corrupt Mountie is just the break Cooper needs, recruiting Agent Bryson to help him be breaking Ernie and forcing him to betray his new allies.
David Duchovny's transvestite agent continues to steal the show. Audrey's reaction to first meeting him is priceless, mistakenly believing she has a romantic rival by kissing Cooper. The scene where he / she corners Ernie in the RR Diner, threatening him while adjusting his lipstick was very funny indeed. I'm glad Duchovny will be for the revival as he has made a great addition to the recurring cast. I'm also looking forward to seeing how Bryson steps in as an undercover drugs buyer to trap Jean in the next episode. It's been quite a while since I last watched Twin Peaks and my memories of the series post Leyland's death are a little hazy.
The one great thing about Twin Peaks, even with some rubbish storylines, is its ability to keep several plates spinning at one plotwise. Even with all the above, we still get a chance to visit Catherine and Pete reconnecting again. Pete quoting poets and limericks are delightful and we see just how cruel Catherine is now that Josie has been reduced to her maid. Ed and Norma start to reconnect, unknowingly watched by Hank and Cooper starts his search for a Twin Peaks property to buy, choosing the terribly named Dead Dog Farm as a permanent residence. Though given the drugs discovered at the place, it could be connected to the wider plot with Jean Renault.
The mystery of Brigg's disappearance is the only real progression of the most interesting story arc, the supernatural mysteries that lurk in the woods around Twin Peaks. A meeting with another military officer suggests that the deep space message that Briggs revealed to Cooper at the start of the season actually came from the woods and not deep space. His question about the presence of owls during the night Briggs vanished also suggests that the military have some awareness at least of the white lodge and the possessing spirits like Bob and Mike. The suggestion that his disappearance goes beyond national security feels rather extreme but intriguing nonetheless. And Brigg's return at the episode's end, dressed in an old pilot's uniform adds greater mystery.
While there was enough of the greater mysteries to bring the last episode back from disaster, the same cannot be said for this installment. The mystery behind Briggs and the White Lodge is intriguing and David Duchovny continues to delight as Agent Bryson, but Twin Peaks feels like it has gone so far off the rails, it is not the same show we were watching just three episodes back. Sadly, it's easy to see why it was cancelled...
After Bryson has just seen Audrey kiss Cooper...
Bryson: “Now can we talk about something more important? Exactly how old is that 'girl'?.”
Cooper: “Denise, I would assume you are no longer interested in girls!.”
Bryson: “Coop, I may be wearing a dress - but I still put my panties on one leg at a time if you know what I mean!.”
Future episode observations – spoilers afoot…
The chess moves between Dale Cooper and Windom Earle will play a big part in the last run of episodes while the mystery of the lodges will intertwine come the finale. Jean Renault's revenge plan against Cooper will also come to a head at Dead Dog farm in the next episode, thanks to the help of Bryson. Unfortunately, the James and Evelyn storyline is only going to get more convoluted...