Twin Peaks Revisited: 2.21
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…
As Dale Cooper races against time to discover Windom Earle's plans and stop him reaching the Black Lodge, the Miss Twin Peaks competition takes place, with tragic consequences for Annie as she is crowned the winner...
The penultimate episode of Twin Peaks is not the strongest episode in the series but it absolutely delivers on its purpose; counting down the clock until the moment Earle takes the queen as Miss Twin Peaks is announced. It's a series of chess moves, to pun Windom Earle and Dale Cooper's twisted game, getting everyone where they need to for the finale. But at the same time, very little actually happens.
There is a lot to enjoy, including for the first time in the show's history, a heroic turn from Leo Johnson as he frees Major Briggs in a desperate attempt to save his estranged wife Shelley from Windom Earle. But it is an act that costs him and we last see him tethered to a nasty looking contraption, biting on to a piece of string that is the only thing saving him from a cage of deadly looking spiders above. It still feels odd to feel sorry for Leo, a man who murdered and beat people with impunity - hitting Shelley with the soap in the sock is still clear in the audience's minds - but there is an element of pity for the mentally incapacitated Leo we see now.
And it isn't just Leo that is going to suffer at Earle's hands. As Cooper tells Harry all about the vision at Josie's death and his belief that it was her fear that brought Bob out of the Black Lodge, Earle listens with glee. Earle calls fear his favourite emotional state and it is easy to imagine how terrible an alliance between him and Bob will be. As he talks about gathering his beloved queens and embarking on his twisted honeymoon, the fate of Audrey, Donna, Shelley and the winner of Miss Twin Peaks grows more perilous.
And it is with tragic irony that so many innocents are pushed into becoming Earle's next victim; Norma calls the contest a good day for healing while Ben continues to advocate that Audrey enter. That darkness adds an edge to the silly proceedings; the contestants practising a dance routine under the lecherous eyes of the choreographer, Lana seducing judge Dick Trumane in an act shockingly goaded on by her husband mayor Milford and the ridiculous umbrella twirling dance routine...it's all a little trite though. Lucy's tap dance routine takes up far too much screen time and Lana's extorinist jazz exocitca is rather over the top, while Audrey's passionate, political speech about the environment is cut short. Annie's quoting of the Sioux tribe in her speech is rather endearing though. On one side if feels frustrating not to have more focus on the darker events at play; but on the other, Twin Peaks has always balanced supernatural and drama with melodrama and silliness. This episode certainly flits between the two fairly well.
The kookiness also continues with the Nadine and Lucy's baby storylines. While she has been rather irritating at times, I've grown rather fond of Wendy Robie's eye patch-wearing teenager in an adult body as of late; Robie certainly has the ability to make Nadine amusing and endearing. Not only is she taking part in Miss Twin Peaks, she is also proposing marriage; it was a hilarious turn of events when she reacted to Norma and Ed's engagement announcement by declaring her and Mike were getting married too. He's certainly enjoying the superhuman sexcapades but Mike was clearly out of his depth here. And thank god that Lucy picked Andy as the father of her unborn child, while Dick is irritating to the very end, giving Lucy and Andy his heartiest congratulations and slinking off with a cheesy smile. Couldn't Earle have just bumped him off before the end of the episode?
As for the mysterious puzzle box, this storyline is starting to feel a little tired. This episode Pete and Andrew uncover a key inside the silver block. I did find it amusing though that Andrew and Catherine clearly didn't trust each other with it. And Donna finally confronted Ben Horne about her birth certificate, though I find it baffling that she was genuinely shocked that Ben was her real father. Again it is interesting that in all this ridiculous drama, it was Audrey who came out as the most mature character; her speech proving just how far she has come.
All these moments interweave nicely with the bigger plot. For Cooper, it is a race against time to beat Earle from getting to the Black Lodge; he remains tantalising close, solving the mystery of Jupiter and Saturn linking to reveal the doorway but still fails to realise that his nemesis is targeting Miss Twin Peaks until the last minute. And you can see the cogs turning in Andy's head as he realises what the audiences already knows; the markings from the Owl Cave are a map leading to the Black and White lodges. Of course he is frustratingly ignored until the very end and at that point Cooper might be too late.
Annie Blackburn was doomed the moment she set foot in Twin Peaks and locked eyes with Dale Cooper. Their growing relationship is consummated shortly before she is crowned Miss Twin Peaks and captured by Earle. Heather Graham has made Annie such a sweet, relatable character in such a short space of time that the idea of her being dragged into hell is shocking.
That final scene in the build up to the announcement is wonderfully tense. Earle lurks in the background disguised as the Log Lady herself (and pulling it off) and Kyle MacLachlan captures Cooper's panicked expression perfectly as Annie is crowned, even before the lights go out and chaos ensues. It a thrilling final scene as strobe lighting flicks between the darkness and people run screaming. The fact that Cooper can see Earle but is too far to save the woman he loves is beautifully tragic.
The penultimate episode certainly has its fun, building up the tension as Windom Earle prepares to strike. The kookiness that Twin Peaks embraces is still prominent and while some of the competition moments go on far too long they are made better by the audience's knowledge of the fate the crowned Miss Twin Peaks faces. Given my previous knowledge of the series, I'm not sure if it is too obvious that Annie will fall victim to Earle but that only makes the love story of Dale Cooper and Annie Blackburn all the more tragic.
Just one more episode to go...
Lucy Moran: "What exactly are we celebrating all bending over like this?."
Future episode observations "spoilers afoot"
There's just one more episode left in the show's original run so there's very little left to foreshadow.