Twin Peaks Revisited: 2.20
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…
Audrey, Donna and Shelley are warned about Windom Earle and while Donna uncovers secrets about her mother, Audrey says goodbye to John. Cooper and Annie grow close, Catherine and Andrew uncover more secrets about the puzzle box and Earle kidnaps Briggs as he attempts to discover the location of the Black Lodge.
This late season entry is essentially the set up for the two-part finale and it captures much of the magic of the first one and a bit seasons. It begins with Andy weeping over the discovery of the body in the pawn (while Cooper and Truman question a young Willie Garson as a Heavy Metal Roadie) in the same manner as his shock at the discovery of Laura Palmer's body in the pilot episode. And the episode ends with Angelo Badalamenti's atmospheric score, a vision of the Giant to warn Cooper, empty rooms and corridors, wind blowing through the trees and the chilling image of Bob emerging through a ring of salt in the woods as the entrance to the Black Lodge is revealed.
The real clues are in Windom Earle's connection to the supernatural elements of Twin Peaks and the kidnapping and torture of poor Major Briggs. As the officer shows Cooper the black and white video of Earle during his Project Blue Book days, the episode plays its hand on its biggest subterfuge. Earle's arrival in Twin Peaks was not fuelled by revenge against Cooper but his quest for power and the Black Lodge. Once the brightest and best on Project Blue Book, he became obsessed and over zealous about spirits in woods around Twin Peaks. His talk of dark sorcerers, utilising their power and the Black Lodge itself suggest this is what turned him into the deranged, evil man we now know.
And while he continues to torture (poor?) Leo after he momentarily realsies Earle plans to kill Shelley and retaliates, his capture of Briggs in the woods is both farcical and typical of this madman. Riding up in a pantomime horse, he shoots him with a tranquiliser gun and straps him to a giant dart board where he interrogates him about the markings in the Owl Cave with the threat of the crossbow. And when that fails, he injects poor Briggs with a drug to get the truth, who unwittingly reveals that there's a time when Jupiter and Saturn meet and they will receive you. It's only a short time before Earle realises that the markings, overlaid on a map of Twin Peaks, lead directly to the lodge itself, putting him one step ahead of Cooper once more.
And there is a great sense of menace in the build up to that final scene. First a random diner eating cherry pie finds her hand shaking, but when Cooper and later Pete follow suit, the signs of something terrible are laid. And there are chills indeed when those hand trembles are revealed to be directly related to the reemergence of Bob at the end. There is a sense of unease over the whole episode in fact; the long shot pulling away from Cooper and Annie as they chat in the diner and the extreme close up of the broken coffee mug, the liquid dripping off the edge, have a sense of artistic flair usually only seen when David Lynch himself directs.
Everything is between is engaging fare, if not terribly exciting; Donna uncovers photos of her mother, father and Ben, and the discover of her birth certificate with the father's name absent almost confirms her mother's affair. Catherine brings in her brother Andrew to study the box, who deciphers the symbols to uncover a silver block inside. What does it mean? It's not on the level of the Black Lodge but it makes for a fascinating sub plot that Twin Peaks used to do so well but fell short of in its second season.
The upcoming Miss Twin Peaks contest hangs over the episode towing the line between humour and dread. Lucy is the next possible victim of Earle, having decided to sign up and her scene with Andy as they debate what saving the world might mean is pretty adorable. Without the irritating Dick Trumane in the picture, it reminds me of the old days between these two characters. Bobby finally realises he has been a complete schmuck, winning Shelley back, even though I still think she should have left with Gordon Cole.
I'm still not quite sure what to make of the John Justice Wheeler and Audrey Horne romance. There's undeniably chemistry there but it all feels a little forced considering they've known each other for less than a week - though Twin Peaks has been known to develop its characters over the space of days in what would usually have taken weeks or months. It was lovely to see her catch him after they kept missing each other, stopping his plane from taking off to spend one last afternoon together. John taking her virginity is the last step towards Audrey becoming an adult; of all the characters she feels one of the most developed in the series, a far cry from the mischievous brat of the pilot episode.
And then we have that final warning, the Giant appearing as Annie and Cooper dance and she tells him she is going to enter Miss Twin Peaks. It's an ominous sign, reminiscent of the scene in episode seven as the Giant appears to Cooper just before Maddy is murdered. That whole final scene, with the empty rooms feels very reminiscent of that earlier episode and feels as if Twin Peaks has recaptured its classic status just before the end. It's not a perfect episode, but as the red curtains and music from Cooper's dream appears in the circle in the woods, the gateway to the Black Lodge, you know something terrible is coming and even with my knowledge of how the season ends, I can't wait to get there again...
Trying to console Audrey with the suggestion of trout fishing...
Pete Martell: “Audrey, there are many cures for a broken heart. But nothing quite like a trout's leap in the moonlight..”
Future episode observations – spoilers afoot…
Possibly a bit of clever foreshadowing here, but are the three people who experience trembling hands potential next victims to be possessed by Bob? Cooper of course does in the shocking moments of the final episode.