Twin Peaks Revisited: 2.06
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…
James rescues Donna and Maddy from Harold Smith, and Cooper learns the secrets of Bob from the possessing spirit Mike. Josie blackmails Ben and leaves Harry and Cooper's boss Gordon Cole is introduced...
There is a definite sense of transition in this episode, old storylines closing as new revelations unfold. The last episode's cliffhanger is resolved rather too quickly, as James gets Maddy and Donna free of the deranged Harold Smith, but at least it marks a turning point in these characters who have largely filled the teenage angst quota of the series; there's only so much doe-eyed romance and love triangles you can take before it gets boring.
Donna realises her mistakes, waking up to the seriousness of the situation and doing what she should have done in the first place; tell Sheriff Truman about the secret diary of Laura Palmer in his possession. Maddy too wakes up to the realisation that she rather enjoyed playing Laura during her time in Twin Peaks. Sheryl Lee delivers an emotive, holding back the tears performance as she says goodbye to James at the lake. Though James Marshall still manages to do the same one dead-eyed expression.
Talking of performances, Michael Ontkean's "I love you" to Josie as she prepares to leave is heartbreaking. Her story has taken an unusual twist as of late; far from the innocent widow we saw in season one, she is now being forced upon by her 'cousin' from Hong Kong and being blackmailed into leaving in exchange for Harry's life. But she does get one final great scene with Ben Horne as she demands her money in exchange for the contracts for the land upon which the destroyed mill once stood. Their mind games are a delight to watch, Ben threatening her with secrets about Josie and her dead husband Andrew Packard in his safe and her in return revealing that if anything happens to her, the police will receive details all about Ben's criminal activities, putting him away for three lifetimes.
In the end she leaves with the cheque for $5million, that the mysterious Japanese stranger Mr Tojamura gave Ben in the last episode. Tojamura at first seems like a complete cliche, though there is likely more here than what the audiences might suspect. I love the scene where he chats to Pete at the bar in the Great Northern, Pete's failed attempt to discuss musicals (Tojamura finds Fiddler On The Roof troubling and unreasonable) and offering him a large glass of milk is a delight.
It's a right level of kookiness, something which the storyline with Nadine regressing to a teenager is in danger of failing to achieve. It's amusing for now, but could quickly become tired. I have to admit, I'm loving the scenes with human vegetable Leo as Bobby and Shelley dance around him, stuffing his face with cake as they celebrate their fortune...except it quickly transpires that they aren't going to be as rich as they thought. It's hard to feel sorry for either of them; Bobby is an immature schoolboy still at heart and despite suffering at the hands of her abusive husband, Shelley comes across as a bit of a brat too. In many ways they are suited for each other.
There's also that romantic tension between Cooper and Audrey again as she awakes from her ordeal. Cooper is fully aware of the inappropriateness of it, questioning how far beyond the remit of his investigation he has gone. There's an interesting turning of the tables between Ben and Audrey though, as she tells him "I saw so much." Will she use that against her own father?
David Lynch makes a fantastic debut, following on the footsteps of Albert as Cooper's very deaf and very eccentric boss Gordon Cole. There's some intriguing backstory thrown in too, the mention of something happening to Cooper in Pitsberg and the reveal of the message 'P to K-4' from Cooper's former partner Windom Earle.
The eventual questioning of the One Eyed Man delivers the episode's most chilling scene as Cooper finally comes face to face with the supernatural presence Mike, a host inhabiting Philip Gerard. Al Strobel is phenomenal, transforming from the meek Gerrard, desperate to push down the possessing host with drugs to the mysterious Mike. The supernatural elements of Twin Peaks really come into the limelight as Cooper - and the audience - learns that the mysterious Bob was Mike's familiar, a terrifying creature that feeds on fear. It's a terrifying speech, making the mysterious killer that has so far only appeared in visions, a creature of pure horror. Mike, we learn, has found God and he wants to stop Bob...only Bob has been possessing someone else for forty years.. It's a brutal twist, revealing that any of the characters - good or bad - we have been watching since season one could be possessed by something totally evil. The final revelation that that possessed person is at that very moment at the Great Northern Hotel end the episode on a fantastic cliffhanger indeed.
Things are certainly hotting up and whether Mark Frost and David Lynch planned to reveal the killer this early or not, the build up to who has been possessed by Bob delivered another episode filled with momentum and plenty of chilling moments.
FBI Regional Bureau Chief Gordon Cole: "Cooper. You remind me today of a small Mexican Chihuahua."
Mike: (through a possessed Gerrard) "What does Bob want? He is Bob, eager for fun. He wears a smile, everybody run. Do you understand the parasite? It attaches itself to a life form and feeds. Bob requires a human host. He feeds on fear and the pleasures. They are his children. I am similar to Bob. We once were partners. Through the darkness of future past, through the darkness of future past, the magician longs to see. The magician longs to see. One chance out between two worlds Fire walk with me.
But then I saw the face of God and was purified. I took off the arm. But remained close to this vessel, inhabiting from time to time for one single purpose. To find Bob. To stop him. This is his true face. But few can see it. The gifted and the damned."
Future episode observations – spoilers afoot…
Leyland Palmer's tragic past is becoming clear. He spoke of Bob as a neighbour from his childhood, but it is clear that he has been possessed by Bob for forty years. After Donna and Maddy escape Harold, he will be found hanging in his greenhouse in the following episode, Donna's actions driving him to murder.
Maddy's scene with James at the Lake is her last one outside the Palmer house. She will never leave, becoming Leyland / Bob's latest murder victim on the following night. Leyland is at the Great Northern Hotel but is clearly gone in the subsequent episode. Audrey will use her knowledge to identify her father as Laura's potential killer; Ben is currently at the hotel and with the reference to him in the as of yet uncovered diary, he will become arrested before Laura's real killer is revealed.
The chess reference from Windom Earle will be an important part of the latter half of season two...