Twin Peaks Revisited: 2.13
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…
Ed and Norma reunite, while Nadine saves him from Hank's wrath. Leo awakes, Evelyn continues her manipulation of James and the terrible little Nicky saga continues. Cooper, Truman and Bryson enact their plan to take down Jean Renault for good...
Welcome back Twin Peaks! After three episodes of going off the rails, with Nadine as a schoolgirl, James's seduction at the hands of Evelyn and the mystery of Little Nicky, this episode claws back a lot of what makes the show so great. While all those terrible moments are still scattered throughout the episode, it makes quite good use of out two of them while also drawing to a head of couple of long-running story arcs.
It's an episode that looks great too; the cinematography is breathtaking, making good use of the beautiful Washington state landscape, while director Todd Holland delivers some fantastically atmospheric moments at the episode's climax.
The opening sequence is stunning, Briggs in the woods surrounded by fire, the owl sweeping in as he tries to recollect his thoughts and dreams with what happened to him after his abduction. We certainly get more ideas as to what his purpose in the series is, telling Doctor Hayward, Sheriff Truman and Agent Cooper about his unofficial continuation of Project Blue Book - the search for extraterrestrial life - and with places like Twin Peaks, the search below. It is clear the military is hunting for the White Lodge; unfortunately the secrets stop there with the timely arrival of the military to take him away.
It is an episode with a lot of passionate moments; Truman's long kiss with Josie as he tries to take her away from her new life is intense. Catherine revealing she still wants Ben, who has gone completely off the reservation with his Civil War reenactments, is a surprise. Nadine kissing Mike in the diner is still a stupid plot line but she does redeem herself later. Of all the strained relationships on the show, seeing Ed and Norma reconnect is lovely; even the piano version of the Twin Peaks theme feels touching rather than saccharine. So the moment Hank confronts Ed and violently attacks him is horrible to watch. Fortunately the timely arrival of adrenalin-fuelled Nadine, beating the crap out of Hank and throwing him across the room is a joy to watch. I've cringed through most of her storylines but this is Nadine's best moment in all of Twin Peaks.
Talking of cringeworthy, the episode still finds time to devote itself to both the James and Evelyn and Little Nicky mystery plotlines. James opening up after the deaths of Laura and Maddy allows Evelyn to draw him even further into her manipulation. Their sexy embrace on the hood of the car, watched by her brother just adds to the ridiculous melodrama; her femme fatale ways and Jame's gullibility all feels like this story has been ripped out of a book of cliches. The only interesting moment was the twist that Evelyn is sleeping with Malcolm. The insestious revelation was disturbing, assuming of course that Malcolm is her brother.
The Little Nicky story doesn't have anything quite so interesting going for it. As well as Ian Buchanan plays the character, I have decided that Dick Tremayne is quite possibly the worst character in all of Twin Peaks. Great characters like Audrey, Donna and Pete got little to no screen time this episode, while we were forced to endure Dick is his ridiculous trenchcoat coerce Andy into sneaking into an adoption agency in search of Nicky's birth records. The whole 'Donnie's dead...tired' moment with the prospective parents with just painful to watch.
The one glimmer of light was that both storylines shared limited screentime this week. The real focus was on the final showdown between Dale Cooper and Jean Renault and it ended spectacularly at Dead Dog Farm, even if the original plan to bait Renault and the corrupt Mountie fell apart and Cooper found himself a hostage in exchange for Ernie and Denise Bryson's lives. David Duchovny has been the shining star in the recent run of weak episodes but he topped himself here. After reverting to Dennis for the operation (how odd it looked to see Duchovny dressed as a man!) he ended his stint on the show in style, approaching the farmhouse dressed as one of the RR Diner waitresses. Renault's "hey don't I know you?" was followed by Denise lifting up her dress, revealing the gun fastened in her suspender and allowing Cooper to grab the weapon and take the shot, ridding the world of Renault for good. It was such a fun moment that really elevated the episode.
Finally the honeymoon came crashing down between Bobby and Shelley as he left her to have his golden job opportunity working for Ben Horne. Shelley slapping Bobby across the face was well deserved. Again, great use of imagery with the red berries splattered across her face and trickling from Leo's mouth like blood. But of course, leaving her alone led to the first part of a chilling double cliffhanger as she awoke to find the record player stuck on a loop (it's an interesting motif in the show, used so well in Maddy's murder) and Leo standing in the corner, grinning under his clown-like make-up. The show has played the build up to his 'awakening' well and he looked truly demonic here.
While the Renault / One Eyed Jacks storyline came to a close, the Windom Earle plotline kicked up a gear as Cooper discovered the next message from his old partner in Truman's office; a murder victim pointing towards the next move on the chess board. Both cliffhangers, coupled with Bryson saving the day, and - surprisingly - Nadine saving Ed, made this episode the first decent entry since Leyland Palmer's death. And while the unfortunate James and Nicky storylines continue to drag on, the next move in the Windom Earle saga has made things interesting again...
Renault's final vengeful speech to Cooper, revealing just how much of an impact he has had on Twin Peaks...
Renault: “Before you came here, Twin Peaks was a simple place. My brothers dealt dope to the teenagers and the truck drivers. One-Eyed Jack's welcomed the businessmen and the tourists. Quiet people lived a quiet life. Then, a pretty girl dies, and you arrive, and everything changes. My brother Bernard, shot and left to die in the woods. A grieving father smothers my remaining brother with a pillow. Kidnapping. Death.
"Suddenly, the quiet people, they're quiet no more. Suddenly, the simple dream becomes the nightmare. So if you die, maybe you will be the last to die. Maybe you brought the nightmare with you. And maybe the nightmare will die with you..”
Future episode observations – spoilers afoot…
The chess game will take on greater significance in further episodes, while the awakened Leo will become a pawn in Windom Earle's game. The bigger revelations about the White Lodge will continue to have relevance in the final episodes ahead.