I just completed this quiz and I got ten out of ten, making me a certifiable ‘Twin Peaks Geek’. Unsurprising, considering that I am one of the many who has been under its hypnotic spell for about a decade now. It is difficult to explain exactly what makes one fall in love with this show. Is it the mystery that the owls and woods are not what they seem (to be)? Is it the beautiful femme fatales, such as Audrey Horne – dressed so innocuously yet enacting her own special brand of trouble? Or do Lynch and Frost excel at what Stephen King exemplifies – exposing a seamy dark underbelly in America’s middle class and then adding a heaped dose of the supernatural and mysterious?
For me, it is a combination of this and more. The characters, such as the eponymous hero, Special Agent Dale Cooper, are fleshed out and compelling in their complexity. Cooper is not your average FBI cliche, with a special interest in Tibet and unique methods to solving crime. The surreal dream sequence in Episode Three and Cooper’s reaction to it (to call the Sheriff and insist that his information can wait until the morning) underscores how Cooper is a different kind of law enforcement. And Sheriff Henry S Truman is also an unusual example of a Sheriff in such a story, with his laid-back yet firm approach and secret romance with the owner of the mill. One only has to watch Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me to get a rather extreme dose of the usual law enforcement narrative in usual FBI/local law interactions.
The first season of Twin Peaks was pure magic, full of riddles, beauty and enthralling characters. The narrative was well-paced and the viewer was immersed in this odd little town, following Cooper in rapt attention as he peeled back the superficial layers of normalcy to reveal the dark that lurked behind. The second season, despite a promising start, started to lose its momentum. Laura’s death was solved (due to US network ABC) and in the void sprung bizarre stories, such as James’ tryst with a rich woman out of town and an odd, and boring, plot where a young woman has a romance with old powerful men. Not even Windom Earle, with his diamond-like mind and eccentric evil, could save the show. The final episode ends with an interesting cliffhanger where Dale Cooper’s good guy status is compromised:
I am also a fan of Stephen King’s television shows (such as Under the Dome and Haven) yet somehow, they do not compare to Twin Peaks. Haven, which is also set in a small town plagued by ‘troubles’, initially showed promise for me yet it was not dark or brooding, positing its wrongdoers as ‘good’ individuals possessed, rather than flawed or even evil human beings committing terrible acts. It leans towards saccharin happy endings and as the seasons rolled on, the characters lose their initial depth. Under the Dome also suffers from similar issues, however the grey morality of Barbie, the unlikely protagonist, adds texture to the show. But plot-holes and unlikely coincidences (and that weird underground place that appears towards the end of season one) has seen my interest in this show wane. The first season of Pizzolatto’s True Detective reminded me of Twin Peaks, with its beautiful iconography, dark characters and deliciously Lovecraftian ending. I am reading Galveston right now and anticipating the next season of TD, which I guess will tide me over until 2016, when Lynch and Frost will give us nine more episodes of Twin Peaks.
I am an impatient person. Two years is a maddeningly long time for me. I have the two seasons on BluRay and I will watch them with new delight as I anticipate what Season Three might offer us. Laura says to Dale in the Red Room; “I’ll see you in 25 years…” and she has kept her promise. Laura’s duality of dark/light makes this exciting. Will it be the demonic Laura, who let it burn, or the Laura who seeks good and believes in angels?