The famous film critic J. Kleyngeld named Twin Peaks ‘one of the 5 must see TV-shows before you die’. One of its many feats is predicting its return after 25 years. This highly anticipated moment happened last year (actually 26 years later, but let’s not nitpick). I finally saw the show on DVD and I’m very impressed. It captures the strange atmosphere of the original, while simultaneously creating something uniquely new.
The show was produced by Showtime who gave creators David Lynch and Mark Frost complete freedom, or so it seems. A wise decision. In 1991, we left the beloved main character Special Agent Dale Cooper (Kyle MacLachlan) behind in Twin Peaks after learning he was possessed by demon Bob. So what comes next? Twin Peaks was never about the plot, but about the unsettling and darkly humorous experience. But the main driver of the story is this: there are now two Coopers. Bad Coop and Good Coop. Only one gets to live…
What were the defining moments of the new show for me? Here are five that I thought were brilliant:
1. Departing the Black Lodge (Episode 3)
After spending 25, or 26 years in the Black Lodge – where time has no meaning anyway – Good Coop can leave using no normals means of travel. It is hard to describe everything he goes through, but the highlight is his arrival on a cosmic tin box where a mysterious woman tells him: “When you get there, you will already be there.” This weirdness was too much for Loesje, so I watched the rest of the 18 one hour episodes by myself.
2. GOD (episode 6)
One of the most hard-hitting scenes I ever saw on television; the shocking death of a boy who is brutally hit by the car of typical Lynch villain Richard Horne. Witness is Harry Dean Stanton who sees the boy’s soul ascent to the heavens after which he exclaims: “God”. Then he comforts the devastated mother. Blessed is he.
Reminds me, Stanton recently departed himself, like quite a few other actors from the original Twin Peaks crew: Catherine E. Coulson (Margaret Lanterman aka The Log Lady), Miguel Ferrer (FBI Agent Albert Rosenfield) and Frank Silva (Bob). And off course David Bowie, whose character Phillip Jeffries makes a return as water boiler of some sort. Let’s hope Lynch and MacLachlan live for at least another 120 years, so there can be a few more sequels.
3. Weirdness Galore (Episode 8)
There are probably uncountable modes of consciousness and Lynch captures many of them in the episode Gotta Light? which has to be the most unconventional episode ever produced for mainstream television. It is without a doubt my favorite episode of the season, and even one of the greatest thing Lynch ever did. There is incredible camerawork in this episode, like the long floating shot over the ocean. Then there is the dreamlike atmosphere, the eerie sound design by Lynch himself, and plenty of deep dark mystery to uncover for the fans. Outstanding.
4. Gun Control (Episode 16)
Not sure if this is satire on America’s gun control issues, but it surely seems that way. Even Eastern European accountants carry around the most advanced semi-automatic weapons in the USA. This leads to this hilarious suburban shootout in which Tim Roth’s and Jennifer Jason Leigh’s assassins both get blown to pulp. “People are under a lot of stress, Bradley”, comments Mitchum brother Rodney. One of the funniest and most outrageous scenes of violence in recent memory.
5. Coop’s Back! (Episode 16)
It is well known that Lynch can hook you in while letting essentially nothing happen for long time spans. He takes this to the next level here by leaving his main character practically a vegetable till episode 16! When our favorite doughnut eating detective finally returns, we know it’s been worth the wait instantly. Bravo!