Warning: This recap contains spoilers for the two-hour Twin Peaks season premiere
Since it debuted in 1990, Twin Peaks has been responsible for influencing countless media, from video games like the cheerfully bizarre Deadly Premonition to Archie Comics-based teen murder drama Riverdale. But the susurrus inside David Lynch’s brilliant mind whispered, “The story isn’t done”, and so the mysteries of Twin Peaks continue. Here’s eight things last night’s much-anticipated revival brought to mind.
Moving Beyond Twin Peaks
While David Lynch has occasionally brought us to locations beyond his dreamlike Washington town, most of what we experience in the premiere is set beyond its boundaries, proving that the influence of the Black Lodge (as well as, perhaps, outside influencers) has a much larger reach than that dark, woodland gate. A lot of questions are left open, particularly in the Las Vegas scene (although the thought of Lynch tackling Americana dreamland Vegas seems so obvious it’s shocking that it hasn’t happened yet.)
The Horror Of Monotony
Television has changed a lot since 1990; the rhythm and pacing of scenes and sentence structure in particular. But the new Twin Peaks is content to go at its own pace, building mood and tension not only through the series’ iconic imagery, but with a slow-burning tedium that finds horror in quiet repetition and visual vacuums. Take the repeated shots of the glass box, installed in a Manhattan building. We watch a young man go about the business of checking the various recording equipment in the room. While you aren’t told immediately what its purpose is, the mind fills in the blanks – prison or portal, its sterile presence in the shadowy, gritty-looking apartment presents an intense wrongness. Before the horror even enters our world, Lynch invites the mind to conceive its own in the empty spaces.
The Man From Another Place Has Changed
If you were looking forward to some more backwards dancing from Michael J. Anderson’s red-suited character, you’re out of luck because the avatar of MIKE’s left arm has evolved into an electric foetus tree. Yep. Attentive fans will remember that the last time he spoke to Coop, he said, “When you see me again, it won’t be me” although I’m willing to bet the recasting had a bit more to do with Anderson calling Lynch a ‘pedophile rapist murderer’. While I’m still holding out hope for a scene of the tree dancing to Angelo Badalamenti’s smooth jazz score, I’m honestly just happy I got to write the phrase ‘electric foetus tree’.
Cooper’s Doppleganger: Rum Customer, or Pure Scoundrel?
With Bob riding Coop like a parasite, it’s easy to imagine the monstrous things he’s been up to in 25 years. Right from his introduction, driving with a churning slowed-down soundtrack down the dark empty roads that Lynch captures so well, MacLachlan takes his second role in a far more malevolent direction. Everything about his dispassionate and brutal murder of his lover Darya is painful to watch. Holding her close in a motel bed, his soft voice and casual attitude lend the scene an almost intimate feeling. Afterwards, he walks to the room next door, instructing yet another lover to clean up Darya and remarking dispassionately how wet she feels. Cooper’s doppleganger’s a real jerk.
The Series’ Humour Is Still There
Despite the more brutal nature of the revived show, the odd moments of levity that the original series occasionally showcased are still present. From the return of Ben’s erstwhile brother Jerry as a legal weed dealer to the twisting internal logic of Marjorie Green’s key reveal, Lynch proves that he can still find laughter in even the darkest of moments.
The Log Lady
There are myriad iconic characters in Twin Peaks, but perhaps none more so than The Log Lady. While Catherine E. Coulson sadly passed away in 2015 due to cancer complications, Lynch was still able to capture a few scenes with her, as she calls Deputy Chief Hawk to dispense guidance from her log. These moments are some of the most beautiful and emotional throughout the entire two hours of the premiere, made all the more so by the fact of Coulson’s obvious frailty in each scene. When she tells Hawk that she can’t go with him because she’s “too weak”, it’s gut-wrenching.
Sarah Palmer Loves Nature Documentaries
Of all the characters left in limbo following the end of the original series, Sarah is perhaps the one I was most curious about all these years. At the end of the initial series run, Leland Palmer had killed himself over Laura’s death and left his wife in an empty house, haunted by memories and terror. Twenty-five years later and she seems to be trapped in a Lodge of her own. Watching her stare as a pride of lionesses kill and devour a water buffalo, the television beautifully reflected behind her in a trio of mirrors, we’re left with a sense of what a shell she has become, and how lost she is. Now that “it is happening again”, will she be able to find herself?