David Lynch’s early ’90s cultural phenomenon is about to come back into style when returns to Showtime on May 21. Not much is known about the revival aside from the mammoth list of cast members — nearly everyone from the original series, plus myriad new faces — but fans can be sure it will be full of strange and scary David Lynch moments like the ones from the original series that are forever burned into our brains. Twin Peaks
In preparation for the show’s return, Rotten Tomatoes has compiled a list of the 15 most iconic, bizarre and terrifying moments from the first two seasons, so take a walk down memory with lane with us — and try not to let BOB get you.
‘She’s dead, wrapped in plastic’ Pilot
It’s the moment that started the nationwide craze. Pete Martell (Jack Nance) finds 17-year-old Laura Palmer (Sheryl Lee) on a lakefront beach naked, dead and wrapped in plastic. It was the mystery that kept viewers glued to their TVs for 17 episodes of some of the best television of all time.
Ronette Pulaski turns up Pilot
A second girl, Ronette Pulaski (Phoebe Augustine), wearing nothing but a slip, smeared with blood and with twine restraints still dangling from her wrists, wanders into town on the railroad tracks and immediately drives home the fact that Laura Palmer’s death was no ordinary homicide. There is something much darker, much more disturbing at play here.
The red room dream ‘Zen, or the Skill to Catch a Killer,’ Episode 103
Cooper’s insane dream introduces viewers to the red room, one-armed man Mike (Al Strobel), killer BOB (Frank Silva), the Man from Another Place (Michael J. Anderson) and Cooper’s dream version of Laura Palmer, whispering the identity of her killer in his ear. It’s one of Twin Peaks’ most iconic sequences.
Laura’s funeral ‘Rest in Pain,’ Episode 104
In a total David Lynch move, Leland Palmer (Ray Wise) throws himself on top of daughter Laura’s casket at the grave site, causing the burial machine to malfunction, so he then rides the coffin up and down while wailing and crying over his baby. It is simultaneously heartbreaking and hilarious, something very few writer/directors can pull off like Lynch can.
Leland’s manic singing ‘May the Giant Be With You,’ Episode 201
For reasons that later become disturbingly clear, Leland starts going off the rails throughout the first season and first half of Season 2. In the Season 2 premiere, he manically sings “Mairzy Doats” and “Get Happy” — after his hair turned bright white overnight.
Ronette’s flashback ‘May the Giant Be With You,’ Episode 201
Twin Peaks got away with showing a lot of scary, violent imagery on a broadcast network, especially for 1990-91, and Ronette’s flashback to BOB killing Laura in the train car is one of the scariest. A bloody-mouthed Laura screams and screams as BOB wails away on her. The violence is entirely implied, but that actually makes it even more disturbing.
The creamed corn ‘Coma,’ Episode 202
When Donna (Boyle) takes up Laura’s Meals on Wheels route, she meets an old lady (Frances Bay) and her grandson (played by David Lynch’s mini-me son, Austin). The kid magics some creamed corn off the plate and into his hands and then says in French that he is a lonely soul. It’s super weird and super Lynchian.
Maddy sees BOB ‘Coma,’ Episode 202
Obviously carrying a touch of the same spirituality as her Aunt Sarah (Grace Zabriskie), Laura’s cousin Maddy (Sheryl Lee) has a couple visions during her stay at the Palmer house, none more disturbing then when she sees BOB come into the living room and crawl over the couch toward her. It’s one of the scariest things Twin Peaks ever did (and that is saying something).
Donna betrays Harold Smith ‘The Orchid’s Curse,’ Episode 205
Donna and Maddy trick shut-in Harold Smith (Lenny Von Dohlen) so they can steal Laura’s diary from the secret compartment in his bookcase. Harold catches them and flies into a rage, raking a three-tined garden cultivator down his face and screaming at them to get out. He later kills himself. Watching Donna so easily manipulate someone so sweet and gentle (someone she obviously comes to care for) is plenty disturbing by itself, but it becomes even more so after his breakdown.
Mike’s soliloquy ‘Demons,’ Episode 206
During a seizure, Mike reveals that he is an inhabiting spirit and so is BOB. They need human vessels in order to kill people. “He is BOB, eager for fun. He wears a smile… everybody run.” And few people can see BOB’s true face, which means he could be anyone.
The killer is revealed ‘Lonely Souls,’ Episode 207
In what is arguably the show’s strongest sequence, Leland-as-BOB violently kills Maddy, intercut with shots of various cast members who are getting psychic feelings that something terrible is happening, while the Giant (Carel Struycken) reappears to tell Cooper that “it is happening again.” It is incredibly disturbing, it is incredibly well directed, and is one of Ray Wise’s most incredible Twin Peaks performance moments.
Leland’s confession ‘Arbitrary Law,’ Episode 209
BOB has completely taken over Leland at this point and confesses to the murders, adding in a dose of creepy by revealing he knows about Cooper’s murdered love, Caroline. As BOB flees Leland’s body, he tells Cooper and Sheriff Truman (Michael Ontkean), “When I go, children, I will pull that ripcord, and you just watch Leland remember… just watch him.” Then Leland is back and he remembers all of the horrible things he’s done, which the show has previously implied includes not only killing his daughter Laura, but also years of abusing her, and Leland cries and cries as he dies on the floor of the sheriff’s station.
Josie’s fate ‘The Condemned Woman,’ Episode 216
The entire Josie Packard (Joan Chen) storyline always bored us to tears, but at least she goes out in a totally Lynchian way — BOB appears, as does the Man from Another Place, and Josie keels over dead in Harry’s arms. Then her spirit gets trapped in the knob of a drawer at the Great Northern. OK then!
The Black Lodge ‘Beyond Life and Death,’ Episode 222
In one of the scariest sequences of the series, Cooper becomes trapped in the Black Lodge while trying to find Annie (Heather Graham), his new love interest. He interacts with BOB, various doppelgangers (including Evil Cooper), and several nightmare scenarios, before waking up a day later in the forest.
‘How’s Annie?’ ‘Beyond Life and Death, Episode 222
After escaping from the Black Lodge, something just seems off with Cooper — and then he goes into bathroom to brush his teeth, squirting a tube of toothpaste into the sink in anger before bashing his head on the mirror and repeatedly asking, “How’s Annie? How’s Annie?” in a super-creepy way. His reflection is of BOB and that’s the way the original series ends. We are dying to find out what happened next.
Is there a Twin Peaks moment you found particularly disturbing? Tell us in the comments!
Twin Peaks ‘ new season airs Sunday, May 21 at 9 ET/PT on Showtime