If you’ve never seen it, and have been following our Twin Peaks Retrospective then I urge you to take the time to discover one of the most perfect dramas spun from the minds of David Lynch and Mark Frost.
Time has not dulled its glorious shine, and while the internet was barely a blip on the public’s radar twenty years ago, there are a dedicated band of followers who will debate, discuss, indulge themselves and begin every sentence with the word ‘Diane’.
My introduction to Twin Peaks came when a very good friend of mine hauled his VHS collection out and played me the first episode and I was hooked – as the first act of the pilot episode faded to black I knew within the first twenty six minutes that I had to see it all, and the power to captivate still holds. So, if we’ve inspired you to catch the series I do hope you enjoy it.
That very good friend of mine is an even bigger Lynch fan than I am, and I asked him to write his feelings as he looked back on twenty years of Twin Peaks, here’s what he wrote.
Graham Hicks, take it away…
Two words that utterly transfixed and yet destroyed my soul at the end of what felt like too short a journey, twenty years ago. For anyone who knows the importance of those words I’m sure you feel the same. Twin Peaks was a marvellous piece of television; brave, intelligent, funny, warm-hearted, the list of hyperbole could go on and on and it sits as one of those defining points in my media life.
Whilst I must admit that I didn’t actually see the show from its very inception I can still remember the trailers advertising its arrival. I was drawn in by the tragi-comedy of the clip of Laura Palmer’s father slowly juddering up and down on top of her coffin due to the misfiring machine that should be lowering her to her final resting place but yet, as always in these situations, the tidal wave of media praise made me slightly wary of actually tuning in.
I didn’t actually start watching ‘live’ until the premiere of season 2. So my first proper introduction to the world of Twin Peaks was via a static 15 minutes of Agent Dale Cooper laying prostrate on the floor being visited by possible weird visions and a wonderfully drawn out sequence with a doddery old bell boy. From that moment on I was hooked. It felt like the most breathtaking and ballsy opening to a show and I was transfixed by all the questions and confusion it raised. Apparently though this was the point at which Americans first started switching off, obviously my tastes were not in line with middle America.
Twin Peaks felt then, and still does, like a perfectly formed piece of television. Every character fleshed out from the start, their world’s internal logic made perfect sense to me. Much was made of the surreality of the show but everything fitted inside its own internal logic. Much of the praise for Twin Peaks continues to be heaped upon David Lynch but we must not forget the importance of Mark Frost who helped to make sure there was a very warm heart at the centre of Twin Peaks, something that doesn’t always shine through in Lynch’s work (much as I still love him).
I could eulogise for pages about certain sections and episodes from the series but special mention must go to the beginning segment of the pilot itself. A near wordless 20 minutes or so as the murder of Laura Palmer is revealed and the townsfolk slowly discover the news, I’m not sure how often, if ever, I shall see a better depiction of lives being torn apart by what’s not clearly verbalised. Never has an empty school chair said so much.
This also feels a good point to address one of my bugbears, the oft-repeated opinion that the second season was rubbish. I would argue that the whole series only really contained 3 bad, or inconsequential episodes. Unfortunately these fell after the resolution of the main Laura Palmer plot, full of plots that had no real relevance to the greater story arcs of the series, but what series couldn’t get derailed when having its heart pulled out? Get through these though and the season quickly picks up steam again diving into the deeper myths of the town and marches towards the wonderful double length finale.
David Lynch still highly rates his journey into the Black Lodge and I couldn’t fault him for it. 90 minutes staring into a dark dreamlike world, full of many questions and few clear answers. For someone who enjoys a bit of work and thought with their entertainment now and again, this was perfect for me. Whilst the frustration of leaving Twin Peaks at that point still burns deep within my soul, it’s probably best that way. I can fill in the gaps and come to my own conclusions as to what really happened in the last episode and what would happen after and never be disappointed.
Now, who wants to join me in the argument that the ‘European’ end to the pilot contains big clues, actually helped sculpt the end of the show and is not the ‘waste of time’ for the viewer that it originally got described as? For a start it contains the far better first (and much scarier) reveal of Bob.
You see, I can go on and on and on…..