Twin Peaks: The story so far
David Lynch’s first foray from the big screen into television spawned a fanatical cult following with the population size of a small country. Twin Peaks will be returning to our living rooms in May after a 16 years long hiatus.
With multiple possessions by evil spirits, perplexing hallucinations and mysterious eavesdropping owls – it was a demanding task keeping on top of the series when the first two seasons were originally aired, never mind remembering it all a decade and a half later.
Prepare for the third season with these five memory aides.
Who killed Laura Palmer?
The homecoming queen of Twin Peaks, Laura Palmer, washes up on the bank of a river wrapped in plastic. The series centres around solving her murder, throwing light on the dark and supernatural underbelly of the otherwise pristine town.
Being the most popular girl at the local high school, most residents are in disbelief that Palmer could have had any possible enemies. But it is revealed that she led a double life, cheating on her jock boyfriend with a biker and moonlighting as a prostitute to fund an increasingly out of control cocaine habit. A secret diary is uncovered in which her possible killer is identified as a man who had abused her since she was a child.
Special Agent Dale Cooper
The FBI sends one of their agents, Dale Cooper, to investigate the murder. Not your conventional detective – rather than searching for hard physical evidence, Cooper finds his leads from his own dreams and hallucinations. Any observations he makes are noted on a tape recorder on which he begins each entry addressing ‘Diane’, someone we never meet and who may not even exist.
Thanks to the occult manner in which he attempts to expose the truth behind Laura Palmer’s death, Cooper encounters a range of highly puzzling but very memorable characters, with equally memorable names – the Log Lady, an outsider who can communicate with “her log”, The Giant, who appears to Cooper with three clues before vanishing, and even an evil doppelgänger of himself, to name but a few.
Who is Bob?
The clues point to a man named Bob, who appears to Cooper in visions as a long haired, double-denim sporting savage and is also named as the man who abused Laura Palmer in her secret diary. Unfortunately, he seems impossible to track down.
The logical explanation for this is that he is actually an evil spirit from the woods, of course! Bob takes possession of Palmer’s father and commits murder whilst using his body, one of the victims being… Laura Palmer. Instead of serving as the climax of the series the solving of her murder was revealed in the middle of season two. Viewing figures dropped after this, as many felt that the ‘whodunit’ aspect of the series was no longer a mystery. But this was when Lynch’s imagination really began to get going.
The Black Lodge
One of the most iconic and parodied moments from Twin Peaks – even referenced to in the second instalment of The Simpsons’ ‘Who Shot Mr. Burns?’ episodes – the Black Lodge sequences are as uncanny and unsettling as any of Lynch’s work.
Cooper dreams of the Red Room, a space in the Black Lodge in which Laura Palmer’s spirit and a dwarf, named The Man from Another Place, reside. The scenes were shot with the actors performing in reverse, with speech recorded backwards but played forwards, achieving a strange and warped effect. The dwarf, communicating in this unnerving way, offers the detective riddles to help solve the murder case and to discover what is going on behind the mystic occurrences haunting the town.
The Black Lodge is where the evil spirits causing chaos in Twin Peaks have come from, including the killer Bob. Cooper finally enters the lodge to save his lover and sacrifices his own soul to save hers, becoming another spirit trapped inside the Red Room.
Fire Walk with Me
Declining audiences led to the show being cancelled. However, Lynch’s love affair with Twin Peaks refused to be extinguished and he released a feature-length movie just a year later, Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me.
Typically ambiguous, the movie is neither sequel nor prequel whilst managing to be a bit of both at the same time. It follows the seven days of Laura Palmer’s life leading up to her death but also offers a solution to Dale Cooper’s entrapment in the Red Room. Cooper and Palmer, in the presence of an angel, are bathed in white light in the final scene. This allows them to transcend the Black Lodge to the good side of the spirit world, the White Lodge. It appears that they are no longer trapped in the Red Room in the company of evil spirits. Or are they?