Twin Peaks S0301-S0302 “Parts 1 & 2”
Airing in the UK on Sky Atlantic, Mondays at 2am and Tuesdays at 9pm
Writers: Mark Frost, David Lynch
Director: David Lynch
Essential Plot Points:
- We open with a flashback to the original series: FBI Special Agent Dale Cooper’s dream from the show’s second episode. In it, he saw himself sitting in a Red Room with Laura Palmer, who tells him: “I’ll see you again in 25 years.”
- And now it’s 25 years later…
- A rather older Coop is sitting with the Giant in the Red Room (inexplicably black and white this time), who warns him to remember “430” and “Richard and Linda”.
- In a forest, Doctor Lawrence Jacoby accepts a delivery of digging tools.
- A guy sits in a room, watching a box. A woman visits him with coffee, but isn’t allowed in.
- In Twin Peaks, Benjamin Horne introduces his brother, Jerry, to his new secretary at the Great Northern Hotel.
- Lucy Brennan, receptionist at the Sheriff’s station, rejects a visitor, telling him that one Sheriff Truman is off sick and one Sheriff Truman is fishing.
- Agent Cooper visits some dodgy people to round up two of them – Ray and Darya. From now on we’re going to call him Bad Coop as we later discover he’s not the real Dale Cooper.
- The guy watching the box smuggles in the woman who liked to bring him coffee. They start making out in front of the box.
- BAD IDEA. Some… thing breaks out of it and seems to eat their faces off.
- Buckhorn, South Dakota – a really daffy woman reports a smell in the apartment next to hers to the cops. They discover a corpse with a woman’s head and a man’s body.
- The Log Lady calls Deputy Sheriff Tommy Hill (aka Hawk) and tells him: “Something is missing and you have to find it. It has to do with Special Agent Dale Cooper.”
- The Buckhorn police arrest a guy named Bill for murder. He protests innocence but his fingerprints were found in her apartment and he says he dreamt about being there.
- Also, his wife is having an affair and she yells at him.
- Hawk mentions Agent Cooper to Lucy and her husband, Andy. We learn that Coop went missing decades ago.
- Bad Coop shoots Bill’s wife, who apparently committed the murders at his urging.
- In the Black Lodge, we meet the real Cooper again. He talks to Laura Palmer, who tells him, “Hello Agent Cooper. You can go out now.”
- Then something goes horribly wrong, she screams and disappears. Her father is in the next room and tells Coop to find her.
- Coop meets a talking tree – the dwarf who used to dance in his dreams. “Do you remember your doppelganger?” asks the tree. “He must come back in before you can go out.”
- Bad Coop is on a kill-spree, murdering his friends. He kills Darya after telling her, “Tomorrow I’m supposed to get pulled back into what they call the Black Lodge.” He says he has a plan to stop it.
- Coop is pulled out of the Black Lodge for a few moments, landing in the box, before being pulled away.
- We end the episodes with Shelly Johnson in the Bang Bang Bar watching a singer (in the original series this would have been Julee Cruise; here it’s Ruth Radelet with Chromatics). And, er, that’s it.
“Is it future or is it past?” asks the one-armed man not once but twice during this two-part debut, and bloody hell, there really are moments here where you find yourself temporally confused. There are flashbacks to the original series, lines fans have quoted for years being spouted afresh (“I feel like I know her, but sometimes my arms bend back”) and music, images and even sounds that come straight from the original series nearly 30 years ago. It’s as though time stood still, even though some faces have grown older.
All of which is great for us fans, but god help anybody trying to watch this show afresh, as at times this is almost hilariously obtuse. How would they know the new characters from the old? How would they figure out the good guys from bad (well, other than noticing the bad guys are killing people)? Would they understand the significance of the Red Room in the Black Lodge, or the fact that that the talking tree is really a dancing dwarf and the missing arm of the one-armed man? And even leaving aside all the weirdness and nostalgia – just how many characters are they being introduced to here?
Mark Frost and David Lynch’s script has, at least, explained that there are two Coopers: one good, one bad. We know one of them is a killer, and we also know that there’s a murderer on the loose and Bill might be him (though he can’t seem to remember – fans of the original will know this was one of Leland Palmer’s symptoms, too, after he killed both his daughter Laura and Maddy Ferguson). We understand that something weird is going on in that room with the box, and it’s to do with some kind of inter-dimensional portal. At the very least, this is a start.
And of course, while newbies might be reeling from… well, everything, there are still some pretty extraordinary setpieces to stick in their minds. The shadowy figure attacking the young lovers is just horrifying. Cooper’s weird fall from the Black Lodge into the box features effects-work that seems ludicrously dated by today’s standards (reminiscent of Lynch’s earlier works, such as Eraserhead), and yet they stand out as being even more bizarre simply because of this. The Black Lodge itself, popping up in the middle of what could just be an ordinary police-procedural, is just as bonkers as it was back in 1990. And just what the hell was the woman with the log going on about to the Deputy Sheriff? It’s all pretty damn electrifying, even if it’s infuriatingly complicated – and that goes for long-term viewers, too, given all the new mysteries introduced in these two hours.
There are some duff bits, however. The pacing is phenomenally slow – something that also featured in both the original show’s pilot and the series finale in 1991, of course, but attention spans have lessened considerably since then (and they weren’t that long in the 20th century, either). Lynch loves to bring out his quirky character moments, of course, but the forgetful neighbour not realising the key is on her wrist is frustratingly time-wasty when we’re still being introduced to this world. The same goes for the first scene with the guy watching the box: how many people picked up their phones and checked Twitter while that was going on? At least we were rewarded with a moment of true horror later on to make up for the boredom.
It’s also a shame that some characters didn’t seem to be worth a close-up (Jacoby, Ben and Jerry, for instance), which is a directing choice that doesn’t do them any favours when it comes to new viewers who don’t know who they are. Others seemed shoehorned in for no reason: Sarah Palmer, for instance.
But most of all… what the hell is with Bad Coop’s fake tan?
Every moment spent in the Black Lodge is just gold.
Matthew Lillard as Bill comprehending just how much trouble he’s in – that’s some seriously excellent acting.
The utterly random shot of a jet-black figure in the cell next to Bill, who just… disappears. WTF?
Hawk walking through the woods and stumbling upon Glastonbury Grove, aka the entrance to the Black Lodge, brings out the tingles if you remember it happening in the original series. And the music is identical, too!
Tighter editing would’ve really helped a lot of this, not just in the scenes mentioned above, but in the seemingly endless scene with Coop and Darya on the bed.
BOB’s name is traditionally capitalised, but it isn’t in the subtitles when the tree mentions him.
All these years but poor Hawk is still only a deputy? Although we may end up saying this about many of the characters on the show, given how they all seem to be in the same jobs…
Bad Coop typing total gibberish into the computer and it still doing everything he wants it to do – evil spirits are clearly professional hackers.
While we knew Carel Struycken as the Giant in the original series, in the end credits here he’s called “???????”.
The episodes are dedicated to the memory of Catherine Coulson and Frank Silva, who played the Log Lady and BOB respectively. Coulson died just after filming in September 2015, while Silva died in 1995.
Best Quote: Ben, randomly: “Is that mother’s hat?”
The Log Lady: “This is a message from my log.”
Reviewed by Jayne Nelson