The Top 10 NEW Characters in Twin Peaks: The Return 

While you’re still processing that ending, let’s have a look back at some of the new additions to the Twin Peaks lore. Obviously this list will include spoilers for all three seasons so don’t carry on if you’ve not yet seen the whole thing! 

When a new season of Twin Peaks was announced, I think a lot of us would admit that we were mainly just excited to see all of our favourite characters returning. Sadly some didn’t make it back for The Return , which I’ve covered here.  

This article will cover my picks for the Top 10 NEW Characters. David Lynch and Mark Frost have worked their magic again to bring us some more wonderful and strange characters, who would have fit right in, back in the original series. Well except maybe Chad. 

If you like this list, or if you think I’ve missed anyone or I’m totally wrong, leave me a comment below or find me on twitter

One last thing, my podcast did an interview with David Patrick Kelly, who played Jerry Horne in both the original and new series. He talks about the Return, the original series, working with David Lynch on Wild At Heart and even gives us an exclusive musical performance of the Twin Peaks theme. Apple users can find it here on iTunes. It’s available here for everybody else!

Let’s Rock! 

Chad 

Just kidding, fuck Chad. 

10. Freddie Sykes


After a small appearance in episode 2, Freddie, James’ British colleague appeared again in episode 14, delivering a long monologue describing how he was taken into a portal, encountered The Fireman and was gifted a green gardening glove, giving him the power of a piledriver. Played by newcomer and YouTube star Jake Wardle, Freddie was instantly embraced by the audience. The following episode, Freddie showed off the power of his enchanted glove and teed himself up for a role in the finale, as everyone headed towards the Twin Peaks sheriff station. Here, Freddie played an important role in the defeat of Mr C and BOB, fulfilling his destiny in the process. 

9. Bill Hastings 

The erstwhile Shaggy, Matthew Lillard gave the performance of his career as schoolteacher Bill Hastings. Dragged into the whole mess of Lodges and Demons and Tulpas, Bill is wrongly jailed for murdering his secret girlfriend, double crossed by wife, who herself ends up murdered by Mr C . Bill’s scene with Agent Tammy Preston in the interrogation room will surely go down as one of Peaks’ greatest ever scenes. I’ll certainly never think of Scuba Diving the same way.  Sadly, poor Bill got his head crushed by a sneaky Woodsman, which was a shame as the poor chap had been through enough! Lillard is due a career renaissance after his appearance here, showing his acting chops are more than worthy of a big time comeback. 

8. Tammy Preston

 

Beautiful and poised, Crysta Bell as Agent Tammy Preston is a great addition to the Blue Rose Task force. With Jeffries, Cooper and Desmond all AWOL, Gordon Cole needed some new blood. Tammy is the audience surrogate in a lot of her scenes and I her interactions with Gordon and Albert are sometimes hilarious and sometimes intense . A regular Lynch collaborator, Bell is usually a musician, so while her acting may not be the best, she truly is part of the Blue Rose team and proves her worth by the season’s end. 

7. The Mitchum Brothers 

 Jim Belushi and Robert Knepper’s Vegas casino bosses went from terrifying villains to offbeat comedy heroes throughout The Return. Cemented as firm fan favourites in the episode where they took Cooper/Dougie out to kill him in the desert, the Mitchum’s bring a quirky sense of  fun to the show,  largely missing in the early stages of season 3. Belushi in particular standing out with a startling performance, reminding us all of why he was such a star in the 80’s and early 90’s.  

6. Richard Horne 

I suppose Twin Peaks The Return needed a psychopathic, abusive young criminal. The original has Leo Johnson after all. Filling that role this time out is Richard Horne, son of Audrey and apparently Mr C. We’re never privy to the exact details. 

Played by Eamon Farren, Richard is introduced as he brutally assaults a female patron of the Roadhouse. Then in the following episodes he manages to kill a child, attempt to murder the witness, bribe a cop, assault his own grandmother for money and go on the run. 

Luckily for the citizens of the Washington state town, Richard gets his comeuppance at the hands of his (possible) father. I’d have liked a bit more time with Richard or just a bit more of his backstory. 

5. Frank Truman 

Replacing a beloved character is not an easy job, so Lynch and Frost decided to bring in a new Sheriff instead of recasting Michael Ontkean’s Harry Truman. Robert Forster plays Frank Truman, Harry’s brother, and brings a level of gravitas to the show. 

We find out Frank had a son who died and is constantly berated by his wife, yet deals with everything with nothing less than class and patience. He feels like he has been part of the mythology all along, which is probably the highest compliment to a new character. 

Interestingly Forster was cast as Harry in the original show before having to drop out, and gives us a look at what could have been. 

4. Wally Brando

 

When Michael Cera was cast, a lot of fans correctly guessed he was playing the grown up son of Lucy and Andy (or Dick Tremayne). I don’t think anyone truly had any idea just what that would bring us. Wally Brando’s short, bizarre appearance was pure distilled Twin Peaks. An intensely emotional moment, where Bobby Briggs, who is now Sheriff’s Deputy sees Laura Palmer’s picture. The tears fill his eyes and Angelo Badalamenti’s glorious Love Theme plays. We then go to Michael Cera in leathers sat on a motorbike. Genius.  Robert Forster’s straight faced reaction to Wally was almost as funny as Wally himself.  

An obvious Marlon Brando tribute, Wally had returned to visit his godfather, Harry S Truman, who we never see but learn is sick. 

May the road rise up to meet your wheels, always Wally. 

3. Janey-E Jones 

Regularl Lynch collaborator Naomi Watts being in The Return was a given. Showing up as the wife of Dougie Jones, one of Cooper’s doppelgangers, Janey-E was at first shrill and annoying, but after showing her bad-ass side quickly became a highlight of every episode she was in. Watts’s performance being stellar every week. The eventual reveal of her being Diane’s half sister was a shocker but sort of totally made sense. Did the E in Janey-E stand for Evans?  

2. Diane Evans 

The new cast member I was most excited to see in The Return was Laura Dern. Another Lynch muse, Dern appeared alongside Kyle McLachlan in Blue Velvet, leading me to hope she would be integral to the plot. Her casting as the mysterious Diane (yes, that Diane from Coop’s tape recorder) was a stroke of genius. Diane’s biting attitude, constantly saying “Fuck You” to everyone and secretly communicating with Mr C, kept us on the edge of our seats wondering what her motivations were all season.

The revelation of Diane as a Tulpa was pretty shocking, even though we knew something wasn’t right. Of course the real Diane returning to Coop was inevitable and the last two episodes certainly didn’t disappoint in that regard. 

1. Woodsmen 

Few things have been more terrifying in Twin Peaks than these creatures. A worthy successor to the sheer horror of BOB, a version of the Woodsmen originally showed up in the background of a scene in Fire Walk With Me, but it was Episode 8 of The Return where they really shone. 

“This is the water and this is the well. Drink full and descend. The horse is the white of the eyes, and dark within.”

We had a first glimpse of a Woodsman in the jail cell next to Bill Hastings, but they’ve made their presence felt a few times since. Creatures of abstract terror, relentless and not to be reasoned with, the Woodsmen are a truly unique and Lynchian villain, surely never to be topped? 

GOTTA LIGHT?

Thanks for the reading. Don’t forget to leave a message below if you have comments or criticisms of my choices! 

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Top 10 Twin Peaks Characters NOT in The Return. 

We’ve all been losing our mind over Twin Peaks: The Return this summer. So, as Mark Frost and David Lynch’s oddessy into terror, hilarity and the surreal heads towards its conclusion, I’m taking a look at some of the best Twin Peaks characters who haven’t returned. 

This is, of course, a personal list, but if you think I’ve missed anyone or you disagree with my reasons, leave me a comment below or find me on twitter! BOB isn’t on the list as despite Frank Silva having died in 1995, his character and likeness have made it onto The Return, similar to Major Briggs, played by the late Don S Davis. 

Obviously this will include spoilers for the original two seasons and Fire Walk With Me

Also. Let’s get some business out of the way, my podcast recently had a Twin Peaks themed episode featuring an in-depth conversation with David Patrick Kelly, who plays Jerry Horne. David even played the Twin Peaks theme on the mandolin to open our interview. It’s truly breathtaking and something I am very proud of . If you use apple devices you can search iTunes for Supernerds UK or if you’re on Android just click here

Let’s Rock. 

10. Catherine Martell 

Piper Laurie’s Catherine Martell was the source of a lot of the soap opera storylines in the original series, shouting abuse at her long suffering husband Pete, conducting shady business deals and having illicit trysts with Benjamin Horne. Well. Until she died. Then there was the reveal that she was actually alive and posing as the secretive Japanese businessman Mr Tojamura. Because of course she was. 

Which leads me nicely to 

9. Pete Martell 

The late Jack Nance, who sadly passed away in 1996 in strange circumstances, fitting of a Twin Peaks storyline, played Pete Martell. Jack was a long time Lynch collaborator, appearing in most of his films, even being the iconic star of Eraserhead. Arguably the show’s everyman and its heart, Pete was the fisherman who found Laura Palmer’s body, in that legendary first scene. 
 “She’s dead, wrapped in plastic!” 

Nance’s offbeat persona gave Pete life and he was a delight to watch. Whether butting up against Catherine, trying to look after Josie Packard or accusing the Log Lady of stealing his car, he always raised a smile. 


8. Josie Packard. 

Sticking with characters associated with the Mill is the beautiful and mysterious (I feel I will need to thesaurus another word for mysterious soon) Josie. The wife of Andrew Martell, Catherine’s dead brother and the heir to his fortune. Romantically involved with town Sheriff Harry S Truman, Josie was often swept up in other people’s greed. She ended up as Catherine’s maid at one point, then was the subject of a business rivalry between the no longer dead Andrew and Thomas Eckhardt. Oh and she was the one who shot Coop in the season one finale. 

Her final fate is pretty terrifying.  Josie, about to be arrested, suddenly stiffens and dies. As Harry cradles her body, Coop sees BOB, appearing from nowhere, taunting him about Jose’s death. Then the Man From Another Place appears, dancing on the bed. Jose’s spirit seemingly ended up trapped in a draw knob, but more likely trapped in The Great Northern Hotel for eternity. 

7.  Donna Hayward 

A curious omission from the new season was Donna Hayward. Laura Palmer’s best friend and James Hurley’s true love, Donna was a key part of the original show. Her father is the town doctor and her involvement with James and Maddy is at the forefront of the season one mystery. Played by Lara Flynn Boyle in the original series, Donna was smoldering intensity buried beneath a small town girl next door. Boyle refused to return for Fire Walk With Me, the role recast with Moira Kelly. I’m not sure whether this show of disloyalty prompted Lynch and Frost to leave the character out this time round or with no real focus on Laura, they simply just didn’t find room for Donna. 


6. Annie Blackburn
 

Heather Graham’s Annie wasn’t in our beloved Pacific northwest portal to insanity for very long, but she made a big impact. Cooper quickly fell for the lovely Annie, who was as wholesome and optimistic as him. Unfortunately the diabolical Windom Earle decided to insert himself into their relationship and exact his twisted revenge by taking her into the Black Lodge. Despite a time-disjointed Annie appearing to Laura in Fire Walk With Me, I think she’s firmly dead and not returning.
“HOW’S ANNIE!?!” 


5. Windom Earle
 

When we’re told Dale Cooper’s former partner has escaped from prison early on in Season two, I don’t think many people would have expected where that would lead us to. Initially appearing as a disguise wearing,  hammy villain, Windom kidnaps Leo Johnson, freshly woken from his comatose state. Clearly relishing his performance, Kenneth Welsh is the villain we didn’t know we  needed, adding urgency and pace to the second season. Windom,  we realise has been driven insane, both with his desire for revenge on Coop and his obsession with the Black Lodge. Meeting a truly awful end at the hands of BOB, I’m fairly certain Windom isn’t coming back, but who knows?! 


4.  Leo Johnson

A terrifying figure in Season one due to his abuse of his wife Shelly and his possible involvement in Laura’s death, Eric Da Re as Leo should have been a huge part of season 2 and beyond. Unfortunately for him, he ends up comatose in a wheelchair wearing a party hat. Later, freshly woken and acting as Windom Earle’s pawn, Leo was last seen in a precarious situation, trapped in a cabin, having to hold a rope with his teeth to stop spiders dropping on his face. Sadly, he’s probably still there. 


3. Dick Tremayne. 

I get that this may not be a great choice for a lot of people, but I truly don’t care. Ian Buchanan as heelish menswear salesman Dick Tremayne was a slimy, awful character and that’s why I loved him. Lucy’s one time love interest and possible father to her unborn child, Tremayne gets a fair amount of screen time in season two and thoroughly chews the scenery. 

His scenes with Andy were pure comedy gold, both of them competing to be the best potential father. At one point the two of them end up looking after an increasingly mischievous child named Nicky, who Dick eventually thinks may be the devil. 

Dick is a hilarious addition to the cast and fits in marvellously, antagonising some of our most  beloved characters. Probably best not to mention Pine Weasels though.


2. The Man From Another Place 

“! kcor s’teL” 

Michael J Anderson’s backwards talking Black Lodge inhabitant is arguably the most iconic Twin Peaks character ever, possibly only topped by a plate of Cherry Pie. 

His appearances were few and far between, but every time he’s on-screen, he’s electric and you just can’t take your eyes off him. His red suit and reversed  dancing were simply unlike anything ever seen before.  Sadly, after Anderson wasnt offered enough money for his liking to return, he decided to slander Lynch with some truly bizarre and libellous claims and was replaced onscreen by a talking, monstrous tree.  


1. Sheriff Harry S Truman 

The town Sheriff, leader of the Bookhouse Boys and Cooper’s new best friend, Sheriff Truman is one of the only characters in the whole of Twin Peaks not to be bizarre or surrreal. A straight laced officer of the law who only has everyone’s best intentions at heart. Michael Ontkean had second billing on the credits too, reflecting his importance to the show. 

Truman’s stoic nature and sly humour endeared him to the audience just as much as it did Cooper. His reaction to Coop disappearing into the trees and the Black Lodge at the end of season 2 finally gave him a “What the hell?” realisation of just how crazy this town really is. 

Michael Ontkean has now retired from acting and lives in Hawaii, clearly preferring the sun and tropical island to the rainy Pacific Northwest. His part was not recast, instead Robert Forster plays Sheriff Frank Truman, Harry’s brother. A welcome addition but not a replacement.

 

So that’s the list! As I said at the start, leave a comment or tweet me if I missed anyone you would have added. 

Thanks for reading! If you enjoyed this list please check out my articles on the original series, the feature film Fire Walk With Me and my reviews of Episodes 1&2 and 3&4 of the Twin Peaks: The Return. 

Twin Peaks: The Return (3 and 4) (2017)

Episodes 3 and 4 dropped online immediately after the premiere of Season 3 aired on television , so how does Twin Peaks fare after that spectacular return? Does the quality remain or do we see a slump? Spoilers abound, so beware. 

Filmed as one 18 hour piece by David Lynch and edited down into episodes afterwards, this series feels much more of a singular work than TV usually does. Lynch’s endgame is already known to him and he’s getting us there at his own,very deliberate pace. 

The second pair of episodes started off surreal and nigh on incomprehensible, with Dale Cooper trapped in non-existence, in an otherworldly Sci Fi sequence that will surely haunt my dreams for a while. Unseen, presumably monstrous creatures are heard banging on doors and the tension is cranked as we await Coop’s return to the world. Yet, as The Arm said, the doppelganger must go back to the Black Lodge for Coop to be freed. We find out that the doppelganger has created a double of his own, Dougie Jones, to take his place in the Black Lodge. It’s slightly silly but Kyle McLachlan knocks all three characters out of the park. He’s clearly having a whale of a time here, his performance(s) all brilliant. 

I feel the main arc of Season 3 will be Coop vs Evil Coop, but, I may be wrong , this is Twin Peaks after all. Evil Coop (I’m sure he has a better name but this is fun) has to be the big bad right? Unless Someone else is yet to arrive. Original Coop’s amnesiac stumble around the casino made me chuckle and his traditional American family set up with Naomi Watts felt like the wacky Peaks of old in a way. It’s good to see Watts here, the cast in general is incredible. 

Episode 3 and 4 were more of a return to the traditional Twin Peaks feel, with Episode 4 in particular having some incredible sequences. Finding out that former bad boy Bobby Briggs has become a Sheriff’s Deputy was a nice surprise, seeing him react to Laura Palmer’s photograph and burst into tears as Laura’s theme from the original series played was perfect, beautiful television. A callback filled with genuine emotion. This was followed by the introduction of a new character, someone iconic and odd, who would have fit so well in the original show. 

Wally Brando

Michael Cera‘s casting seemed an odd one, most of us surely guessing (correctly) he would play Andy (or Dick Tremayne) and Lucy’s baby, now fully grown . None of us saw Wally Brando coming. Cera is channelling Marlon Brando in The Wild One, complete with motorcycle and leather jacket. In this less goofy series, Wally is a welcome addition, genuinely hilarious, earnestly flanked by his dim witted parents, while the new Sheriff Truman (Robert Forster) politely listens to his bizarre ramble. It was a glorious, vintage Twin Peaks moment, filled with the fun and spirit that made us fall in love with this weird show in the first place. 

David Lynch himself returned as FBI boss Gordon Cole, accompanied by Miguel Ferrer‘s crotchety zen master and forensics expert, Albert Rosenfield as well as the stunning presence of longtime Lynch collaborator, Chrysta Bell as FBI agent Tamara Preston. Informed of (Evil) Coop’s incarceration, but not knowing he’s actually (Evil) Coop they head to see him in a South Dakota prison, but not before meeting Denise Bryson, now high up in the bureau, still played by David Duchovny.  Denise implies Cole just surrounds himself with attractive women. Surely Lynch making a joke about his own habit of casting stunning women in each of his projects! This new “Blue Rose” case calls back to Fire Walk With Me and ends episode 4 on a cliffhanger. 

Both episodes finished with a musical performance in The Bang Bang Bar, gives the show a nice wind down over the credits, not wasting a single second of its air time.

I’m fully invested in Season 3 and still with 14 hours left, I’m already feeling anxiety about it ending too soon! 
My interview with Twin Peaks star David Patrick Kelly is up now on the Supernerds UK Podcast, available on iTunes, podomatic and Supernerdsuk.com now! You can also read my review of the first two episodes here.

Twin Peaks: The Return (2017)

The first two episodes of Showtime’s revival of the Lynch/Frost surrealist drama have aired and it’s given us a lot to mull over.  While I do talk some spoilers, I’ve left a lot out, as some things need to be seen for themselves. 

Simultaneously being something totally new and also, essentially the most Twin Peaks thing ever, Lynch and Frost have returned from the Black Lodge rejuvenated and ready to go.  The first two episodes answer some twenty-five year old questions but ask a whole lot more. 

At its core, Twin Peaks has always been the story of Laura Palmer and The Return is no exception, with the first episode opening with Laura’s promise of seeing Special Agent Dale Cooper again in twenty-five years. This new series has a murder mystery of its own, with a high-school principal, played by Shaggy himself, Matthew Lillard being arrested for a truly horrific double murder, is he under the control of BOB or one of the other denizens of the Black Lodge

Speaking of which, Agent Cooper’s evil doppelganger from the finale of season 2 is still on the loose and rampaging around our world, desperate to stay out of the Black Lodge. It’s never explicitly stated that he’s BOB, but a long haired Kyle McLachlan definitely gives off that vibe, channeling the spookiness of the late Frank Silva.  Although I know Silva passed away in 1995, I constantly expected him to appear, baring his teeth and climbing over a couch. The real Dale Cooper is still inside the Red Room, with MIKE,  looking for an escape. It’s hard to take, especially as Coop is one of the nicest, most earnest heroes TV has ever seen. His scenes here are sad but an essential continuation. We can’t go from “How’s Annie?” back to coffee and pie. Not so soon, maybe not ever. 

This new Peaks is free of network censorship and fully embraces the gore, swearing and nudity it wasn’t allowed first time round. It’s a lot more like Fire Walk With Me or even Lost Highway than the original series. But that’s fine, it suits the progression and it works. Nothing, even the creatures or whatever they are, seems forced or over the top.  

While Twin Peaks has always been a little scary, I would definitely say this new version is pretty much horror. While shows like True Detective have aped the Peaks style, here Lynch blows everyone away with his slow burning terror. Lingering shots, pulsating music, purposefully dragging scenes out, Lynch rachets the tension and drags us along with him. The discovery of the corpse(s) in the apartment building slowly pull you to the edge of your seat. The storyline in New York with the glass box is flat out terrifying, feeling like some of the J-horror that has been inspired by Lynch. Some people might find this slow approach tedious or the creatures silly, but chances are they’d have found backwards talking and a Log Lady daft too. 

Catherine E Coulson, the Log Lady, sadly died in 2015 just after filming her scenes, and her appearance here shows how ill she was. With chemotherapy hair loss and a tube in her nose, she looked so frail , my eyes filled with tears seeing her that way, but she delivers her dialogue so perfectly and so real, it’s an incredible performance to leave us with. This double episode was dedicated the memory of both her and Frank Silva, which was a nice touch. Knowing that we’ve lost several cast members since filming adds an extra layer of emotions to our viewing experience too, especially to a show with themes of death and finality such as this one. 

We do get a return of some of the original cast, with Ben and Jerry Horne, Richard Beymer and David Patrick Kelly still as hilarious as ever! Andy, Lucy and Hawk in the Sheriff Department had me aching for Sheriff Truman but I know Michael Ontkean is now retired and living in Hawaii. Near the end it was wonderful to see a scene into the bar, with The Chromatics replacing Julee Cruse, but it felt like the old days. Seeing James and Shelly as well as some new characters. Jacques Reno back from the dead and tending bar in the background was odd, unless he’s got an identical cousin. Hey, it’s happened before!

Darker, scarier and just as mysterious, Twin Peaks: The Return has raised the bar for TV yet again. David Lynch and Mark Frost are still light years ahead of everyone else. 

The current epsiode of the Supernerds UK Podcast is a Twin Peaks special and features my interview with Jerry Horne himself, David Patrick Kelly! 

Available on ITunes, supernerdsuk.com and all places podcasts are found! Or click here to listen now!
Find my thoughts on Episodes 3 and 4 here 

Lost Highway (1997)

We’ve met before, haven’t we?”

Until this year, my only real experience of the work of David Lynch was Twin Peaks. For one reason or another, probably my fragile mental state, or my fear of the real, I just never felt ready to give it a go. 

Lost Highway is not what you’d call an easy watch. Dark, sexy, surreal and purposefully obtuse, this noir tinged trip poses some difficult questions and doesn’t necessarily give you the answers. Written by Lynch and Barry Gifford, this is a film to lose your self in, if you fully buy what Lynch is selling, you’re in for a hell of a ride.

Bill Pullman stars as jazz saxophonist Fred, seemingly losing touch with his sanity and becoming suspicious of his wife Renee, played by a mesmerising Patricia Arquette. Fred and Renee begin receiving video tapes of their apartment and themselves, Fred meets The Mystery Man (Robert Blake) at a party and things descend into utter chaos. 

I don’t really want to delve any further into the story, as I feel that it would take away a lot of the enjoyment. This is a film to be experienced, enveloped in. The progression of Pullman’s Fred, from losing his grip on his life into a literal loss of self is breathtaking. Where as other filmmakers would use subtext or symbolism, Lynch has the guts to just go there. His bravery and bold choices here do chime back to Fire Walk With Me in its unrelenting nature. 

The back half of the movie, is almost a totally different tone and ushers in a new cast, amazing, quirky characters played Robert Loggia, Gary Busey and Balthazar Getty all show up, with Patricia Arquette playing a different character. Like I said earlier, if you’ve bought into Lost Highway at the beginning, this sea-change just feels completely natural. We also get the last film appearances from comedy legend Richard Pryor and Lynch favourite Jack Nance, both giving great performances in their small roles. 
This latter part of the film also comes across as clearly being hugely inspirational for Nicolas Winding Refn‘s 2011 pulpy noir, Drive.

The music in Lost Highway is brooding, imposing and very fitting. The score tracks by regular collaborator Angelo Badalamenti fit like a glove, while the mid 90’s industrial rock songs from Marilyn Manson, Nine Inch Nails and Rammstein bring a weight and groove to some visual heaviness. David Bowie’s “I’m Deranged” accompanies both opening and closing credits, bringing yet another level of symmetry to this rorschach test of a motion picture. 

Reading up on the making of the movie, Lynch mentions being inspired by the OJ Simpson murder case. Bizarrely, the Mystery Man himself, Robert Blake, was arrested for murdering his wife around the release of Lost Highway and this remains his last film role. 

I unreservedly enjoyed Lost Highway. I can sort of understand why a 1997 audience didn’t connect with it, being darker and heavier than most would expect. A horror tinged noir, darkly funny and fully immersive, go and lose yourself for two hours.
We’ve met before, haven’t we?”


Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me (1992)

You’d probably expect a follow up movie, to an abruptly cancelled television show to be a sequel. Especially one that ended on a huge cliffhanger. Twin Peaks Fire Walk With Me, opens with TV static,followed by the same television being smashed by an axe. 

(This article contains spoilers for Twin Peaks the TV series.)

The lesson to learn from this, if you didn’t already know, is don’t expect the norm from David Lynch. This is a very different animal to the television series. 

Fire Walk With Me is a prequel to the cult classic, Twin Peaks, showing the last 7 days in the life of Laura Palmer, the girl who’s death is the catalyst for the series. Sheryl Lee reprises her role as Laura along with almost the entire original cast. Ray Wise returns as Leland Palmer, Kyle McLachlan pretty much cameos as Dale Cooper and Lynch himself pops back up as loveable, hearing impaired FBI boss Gordon Cole. Lara Flynn Boyle most notably didn’t return as Donna and was replaced by Moira Kelly

Flopping on initial release and getting critically berated, FWWM in my opinion, is a dark hearted masterpiece. Having very little of the playful humour of the series,  this movie plays like a twisted mirror version of what we loved about Peaks. Opening with a 30 or so minute prologue starring Chris Isaak and Kiefer Sutherland as two FBI agents investigating a murder we’d heard of in the show, but never seen. They face hostile local cops and have a bad experience with coffee in the town diner. Almost the exact opposite of Dale Cooper’s arrival, setting the tone for how the story will play out. 

It’s unsettling to see Laura Palmer alive, knowing the fate awaiting her at the end this film, but Sheryl Lee’s performance is nothing short of brilliant. You really feel Laura is coming apart mentally and see her anguish. She knows Bob is coming for her and when she realises who he is, it’s heartbreaking.  Watching FWWM, I got to feeling Lynch was saying something deeper about her sexual abuse and her drug addiction all along in Peaks, but I obviously didn’t pick up on it, forever changing how I watch the show from now on. 

The show’s reveal of Leland Palmer as the killer and molester of his daughter at the beginning of season 2 was oddly placed due to network pressure, and left an emptiness in the middle of that season before Windom Earle shows up and led our characters to the Black Lodge and the madness within. FWWM acts as the dark mirror version of the show and being a feature film, it had the freedom to push boundaries that were unavailable to Lynch on television.

I had a lot of different feelings while watching FWWM, mainly due to the fact it was so different to Twin Peaks. The campy comedy was gone, everything felt more real and more grimy. Laura’s trip to the club with Jacques Reno being the highlight (lowlight?) of showing how her life was unravelling around her. Going back to what I said earlier about Lynch saying more about her sexual abuse and drug addiction, I really began to feel like this was all Laura’s way of coping with what her Dad was doing all those years. Sure, he claims he didn’t know BOB was possessing him, but there are definitely a few clues dropped that he was in control. 

It does change your opinion on Leland and the TV show as a whole. Going further, are BOB, MIKE and the Black Lodge just a metaphor for abuse and evil? I don’t think it’s as simple as that, but it’s hard for me not to think about it everytime I see BOB now.

The Black Lodge itself and it’s inhabitants are more fleshed out during FWWM. The reveal that the backwards talking The Man From Another Place is the chopped off arm of MIKE was interesting, adding a new element to his previous appearances. His scene sat across the table from BOB showed them at odds over the battle for Laura. I particularly loved when during David Bowie’s sudden appearance, we got to see more of the Lodge’s monstrous and twisted demons, some of whom are apparently returning for the new series. This short scene was hugely disturbing, letting us know there was much more than we realised, as well as bringing back the Grandmother and Grandson that talked to Donna Hayward in season 2. 

With Fire Walk With Me acting as both a prequel and a sequel, Lynch got to both explore Laura’s past while leaving her future wide open. Odd that a dead character would have their fate left hanging in the balance, but I don’t think Laura is staying dead. Sheryl Lee being in the new series gives me hope we will see more of Laura than expected and that maybe because the Black Lodge is outside of Space and Time, a return for her and the real Coop will be bolder than a lot of people expect. 

Through the darkness of future’s past,
The magician longs to see.
One chants out between two worlds…
“Fire… walk with me.”

Twin Peaks (1990)

I have two abiding memories of being five years old. One, is my fifth birthday party, where, it being 1990,  I was given Batman gifts, the 1989 movie still being very relevant. The other memory is something different.  

It was dark, it was late. I walked out onto the landing from my room. My mum’s bedroom door was open, the TV was on and there was music. I walked in and asked what she was watching. “Twin Peaks,  it’s very good. Someone has killed Laura Palmer”

 
Twin Peaks is returning to television in May 2017, brought back by Showtime and the original creators David Lynch and Mark Frost, with Lynch directing all 18 episodes. So now is probably the best time to go back and revisit the original show and it’s prequel movie, Fire Walk With Me. 

Twin Peaks has transcended Pop Culture and attained it’s own unique status as one of the most influential television shows in history. It’s no exaggeration to say this, literally hundreds of films and TV shows have borrowed that Lynch/Frost visual vocabulary for their own ends. 

Opening with the death of Laura Palmer, we are slowly drawn into surrealist web of drama, psychological horror and campy melodrama. Peaks becomes the very definition of Must See TV, simply by playing it’s strengths. The weirdness is compelling, obtuse, yet leaving us wanting more. 

In TV, when a series juggles multiple plots, sometimes it doesn’t quite work. Some scenes leave the audience waiting for the main plot to return. Lynch, Frost and their team never have this problem. 

The character work is sensational, from weepy Deputy Andy Brennan and Police Secretary Lucy’s slightly awkward love story to the sheer horror of Laura’s plight, not one arc is wasted. Even characters seemingly as minor as the town mayor get fun moments. 

Kyle McLachlan’s Special Agent Dale Cooper is, hands down, one of TV’s greatest ever lead characters. Endearing, funny, yet so quirky,  Cooper is the heart of this show. His chemistry with Sheriff Harry S Truman, played by Michael Ontkean, is brilliant, the two becoming fast friends and a wonderful duo to watch. What I think works most about Cooper, is that his straight laced FBI agent is plonked down straight into a surreal murder mystery in a town full of weirdo Lynchian characters and doesn’t bat an eyelid. He normalises everything and accepts everybody. 

At one point in season two, Cooper’s old DEA colleague, Dennis Bryson shows up, having begun transitioning gender, to Denise Bryson, played by David Duchovny. Coop, not only accepts this, but seems happy for Denise for embracing her gender identity. It’d be  progressive for 2017, for 1991 it was incredible. Denise is treated well and her whole arc is a highlight of the entire series. 

I think trying to distill what I love about the show down to one blog, sort of short changes why it’s so good. The world of Twin Peaks is so rich and full, it’s impossible to do all of the characters justice

The various intertwined stories are precisely why Peaks is so great. Everyone sort of knows everyone. Noone’s love life is simple, business deals conflict with personal lives. The realism and relatability of these characters really makes the surrealism jump out so much more. One minute you’re watching a love triangle between Shelly, Leo and Bobby and the next thing you know, you’re in the woods with creepy Owls, or being chased by BOB. 

In fact, let’s talk about the weirdness. People made fun of Twin Peaks at the time, but the surrealism makes sense. Everything is slightly offbeat, but the supernatural elements really pop. When Cooper shows the Twin Peaks sheriff’s department his investigative methods based on Tibetan theology, you’re aware this is an odd show.

 When Coop visits the Red Room with the zigzag floor of the Black Lodge in his dreams, everything changes. This is beyond weird. It’s scary. Yet, nothing is wasted. Everything is there for a reason. The Man From Another Place gives Agent Cooper the clues he needs to start looking for Laura’s killer. Peaks turns a corner here and if you’re into it, the ensuing ride is an emotional, funny, scary, good time. 

Angelo Badalamenti’s gorgeous score is as much a character as anyone else, haunting and so very visceral,  nothing else would feel right. His music charges the atmosphere so well, backing Audrey’s dancing and providing a jazzy, finger clicking score for The Man from Another Place to dance backwards. 

The show ended on a huge cliffhanger, never fully explained in 1992’s Fire Walk With Me, so I’m very intrigued to see where Lynch and Frost take us in May. With a huge cast, most of the original stars returning and new additions such as Naomi Watts, Michael Cera and Trent Reznor, it will be a TV event like no other. Our television landscape has finally caught up with Lynch and Frost’s masterpiece so it’s the right time for it to return. 

I’ve avoided spoilers in this blog, as I would never want to ruin Twin Peaks and it’s twists, turns or revelations for anyone. I will however go into more detail when I talk about Fire Walk With Me.