This post contains general spoilers for Twin Peaks. Ordinarily spoiling a 27 year old series would not be a consideration, but since the new season might be bringing some fresh eyes to the series I figure it might be a fair idea.
I wasn’t even 10 years old when Twin Peaks first aired here in the very early 1990’s. I vaguely remember very soapy commercials on Channel 10 about whatever dastardly thing was happening on the next episode. Unwieldy VHS collections of the first season in the local Target, with the characters names mis-spelled on the cover. My first actual glimpse of the show was falling asleep with the television one night and being awoken by (what I would later understand to be) the chaos of the Miss Twin Peaks contest. I turned the TV off and went to bed.
I didn’t come to the series properly until seeing Lost Highway. Nine Inch Nails was my favourite group as a teenager and Trent Reznor had produced the soundtrack. I saw the film and by this time - around 1998 - I had Internet access and found the IMDb and looked up what else this David Lynch person had made. Twin Peaks was on the list. By coincidence around this time Channel 10 was also repeating the series, albeit at 4am on Saturday mornings.
I hired the european pilot from the local Blockbuster (or was it still a Focus Video then?) and watched, armed with information from the Usenet group telling me what was different from the actual pilot. Between renting episodes and waking up very early on weekends, I somehow cobbled together a viewing of most of the series. One Christmas my father gave me a VHS longplay copy of the entire series (which I’ve since, to my great annoyance, lost) and I was finally able to watch the entire thing, start to finish. I wasn’t 18 at the time, so my older sister rented Fire Walk With Me from the one arthouse rental store in Adelaide, which is now long since replaced with an insurance broker.
My gushing appraisal of the series would no doubt be indistinguishable from most fans. The first 8 episodes are damn near perfection. Tense and mysterious right up to the moment Cooper catches a bullet. The second season settles in and takes more time exploring the characters of the town, before reaching a pretty amazing crescendo in the capture of Laura’s killer. Then the series falls off a cliff rather catastrophically, only managing to reach a hand up for safety at the very last moment, with an astounding finale.
The film is both darker and more focussed. More horror than off-beat drama. As has been said by many others, the object of the series becomes the subject of the film. Sheryl Lee is unbelievably good as the haunted and abused Laura. The film offers no answers to the series finale, instead compounding the initial tragedy of the series by showing us the unabstracted terror of Laura’s final seven days.
Twenty-five years later and streaming rights have made old series valuable again, so here we are with 18 brand new episodes of Twin Peaks, co-written by creators Lynch and Mark Frost, and directed by Lynch. Much of the original cast is returning. A lot of the new faces are returning Lynch collaborators. In October 2016 Mark Frost released The Secret History of Twin Peaks, an historical dossier covering the history of the town from the Lewis & Clarke expeditions right through to the conclusion of the series. The book contains some mysteriously conspicuous inconsistencies with the series that Frost has only cryptically addressed in his public appearances.
I’m hoping to write more about the new series as it continues, because what the Internet definitely needs more of right now is random white late-millenials telling people about Twin Peaks. I want the series to be good. I want it to be entertaining, and mysterious. I want it to defy explanation, as it did in 1990, and as Lynch’s work has continued to do since then. I want its ending to be as frustrating and unsatisfying as it was when Cooper jammed his face into the mirror.
I want a slice of heaven and some damn good coffee.
I like trees and I love wood. I like to cut wood. Tonight, we’re going to a place where the trees are primarily Douglas firs. Douglas firs are a beautiful tree and if we’re very quiet, we can hear the wind rustling the needles as we move through the forest, getting closer and closer.
And now, we’re here. Ladies and gentlemen, welcome back to the world of Twin Peaks.