Did David Lynch Win New Fans With His Twin Peaks Revival?

Our writer, new to the series, seeks out other Lynch newbies to find out if the legend lives up to the hype.

by | May 22, 2017 | Comments

The revival of Twin Peaks, the ’90s cultural phenomenon created by David Lynch, was announced years ago. There was plenty of time for anyone who missed the show’s original two seasons and movie, Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me, to catch up. But life gets busy and Netflix drops a new season of some show every week —Master of None and Kimmy Schmidt aren’t going to watch themselves! — so viewers who never found the time to catch up on Twin Peaks probably aren’t alone.

There were plenty of fans on Twitter sharing theories to help fill in the gaps — or not.

A Twin Peaks newb wasn’t that far behind the fanboys when Showtime aired the first two hours of Twin Peaks: The Return on Sunday. Episodes 3 and 4 went up on Showtime Anytime right after, but the first two already provide a lot to unpack, so let’s start there.

Anyone alive in the ‘90s already knows the basics even if they never watched it: Agent Cooper (Kyle MacLachlan) went to Twin Peaks to solve the murder of Laura Palmer (Sheryl Lee). The kooky town had a Log Lady (Catherine E. Coulson), who shares messages from her log; owls; a pale horse; and some damn fine coffee and cherry pie.


Double the Cooper With Double the Hair

After 25 years, Lynch and co-creator Mark Frost upended even the few basic things Twin Peaks thought they could count on. The Agent Cooper we first meet (after a brief intro in the Black Lodge, that weird red-curtained place with stripey floors), now has hair like Nicolas Cage in Con Air — and a temper like Nicolas Cage in everything else!

It soon became clear that this had something to do with BOB, an evil spirit from the Black Lodge who possessed Leland Palmer (Ray Wise) in the original series. By the end of part 2, long-haired Cooper was refusing to go back to the Black Lodge, where mysterious callers were trying to get back to BOB. Some fans were onto BOB much earlier.

Fortunately, good old clean-cut Cooper was still there in the Black Lodge. That doesn’t look like a fun place to spend 25 years. Somebody get that man some coffee and pie!

At least he got to see Laura Palmer again.

So in the Black Lodge, a dead person can age 25 years. Or at least some bright white light can wear a Laura Palmer face!

The horse appears briefly too.

And a talking tree. So this gets complicated. The tree says he is the arm. The arm was played by Michael J. Anderson in the original series. You know what they say: When Michael J. Anderson isn’t available, get a tree.

So yes, for double Kyle MacLachlan, and just to see how these trippy visuals develop, whether they’re explained or not, keep watching Twin Peaks.

The Log Lady And Other Friendly Neighbors

I totally know the log lady! It’s still Catherine E. Coulson, who passed away in 2015, so she must have filmed scenes before she died. She’s got breathing tubes in her nose, which could have been her reality near the end of life, but it was very touching that Lynch was able to include her.

Hawk (Michael Horse) was still there to follow the Log’s guidance.

There were plenty of other Twin Peaks regulars a newcomer would be excited to meet for the first time. Lucy (Kimmy Robertson) is still the sheriff’s receptionist, and she filled everyone in that Cooper’s been missing for at least 24 years.

It wasn’t until the last scene in The Bang Bang Bar that Shelly (Madchen Amick) shows up. She’s out with her girlfriends and notices James (James Marshall) eyeing one of her friends.

James, I had to look up, but he was on the original show too. Shelly says he had a motorcycle accident so he’s quiet now, but if the fans are happy to see him again, so am I.

Jerry (David Patrick Kelly) is clearly a fan favorite, so can’t wait to see more of him.

Leland Palmer and Phillip Michael Gerard (Al Strobel) are also in the Black Lodge with Cooper. The Giant (Carel Struycken) is now officially credited as “???????,” so people we thought we knew are getting more vague!

The Glass Box of Doom

Of course there are totally new characters and bizarre scenarios, so everyone is in the same boat watching the new storylines unfold. That science experiment in New York City where a college student (Ben Rosenfield) is watching a glass box to see if anything appears becomes the second most graphic scene in the show when a figure appears in the box, then busts out and kills both the college student and the flirtatious Tracy (Madeline Zima).

By the end of the second hour, Cooper has appeared in the glass box, but it was while the observer was out in the hall with Tracy. So did Cooper come back and kill them, or was that BOB? Or something else? Definitely going to have to watch the series to find out.

Who Killed Ruth Davenport?

We met a lot of new characters, some briefly like Beverly (Ashley Judd) and Chantal Hutchens (Jennifer Jason Leigh). It looks like Bill Hastings (Mathew Lillard) is the main suspect in a new murder. A body was found in an apartment in Buckhorn, South Dakota, in what was the most graphic scene.

Since she was missing an eye, some fans thought she was someone familiar, but they were wrong.

The body was Ruth Davenport, a librarian. Bill’s fingerprints are all over her apartment and his only alibi is an affair he was having. But his wife Phyllis (Cornelia Guest) is cheating on him too. Phyllis is letting Bill go down for this, but Evil Cooper kills her before we got much of a chance to know her.

And then, two cells over from Bill, a black figure dematerializes from the cell. If Lillard’s unhinged performance and the murder mystery werent’ enough (they were), you’ve got to keep watching to find out what that was.This sure ain’t Law & Order.

Mr. Lynch, You Have Our Attention

Low-fi visual effects punctuate the twisted nature of the Twin Peaks story, and there are trails of breadcrumbs dropped that we’ll also have to follow, like Evil Cooper’s Ace of Not Quite Spades. What’s that about?

And there are plenty of cast members who have not yet appeared. So we can look forward to finding out who Robert Knepper, Jim Belushi, David Koechner, Trent Reznor, and Amanda Seyfried are going to play. One guess is that Seyfried’s character is Shelly’s daughter.

So yes, here’s one viewer who got sucked into David Lynch’s trippy world tonight and who’s going to watch to the end, and maybe even go back and catch up on the original finally.

Twin Peaks airs Sunday nights at 9 p.m. on Showtime.


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