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Clouded in mystery, 'Twin Peaks' is back

Published May 23, 2017 10:13 am

Television • David Lynch directs all 18 hours of Season 3, which comes 26 years after end of Season 2.
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2017, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Most television shows are about plot. "Twin Peaks" was about damn fine cups of coffee, cherry pie, the Log Lady, Agent Cooper, otherworldly dreams, a one-armed man, demonic entities, the White Lodge and the Black Lodge, and Angelo Badalamenti's haunting score.

What, exactly was the show? You could ask co-creator/producer/director David Lynch, but the answer isn't going to tell you much.

"Well, in the beginning, many years ago, we were, [co-creator/producer] Mark [Frost] and I, as if lost in the wilderness, as it always is in the beginning," said Lynch, a four-time Oscar nominee ("The Elephant Man," "Blue Velvet," "Mulholland Drive"). "And then we seemed to find some mountain, and we begin to climb, and when we rounded the mountain, we entered a deep forest, and going through the forest for a time, the trees began to thin. And when we came out of the woods, we discovered this small town called Twin Peaks.

"And we got to know many of the people in Twin Peaks, and the people who visited Twin Peaks, and we discovered a mystery. And within this mystery were many other mysteries. And we discovered a world, and within this world, there were other worlds. And that's how it started, and that's what brought us here today. This story continues."

Alrighty, then. That answered nothing and everything.

When "Twin Peaks" began, there was, of course, a mystery to solve — who killed Laura Palmer (Sheryl Lee)?

Whodunit? Her father, Leland (Ray Wise), while he was possessed by the evil spirit Killer Bob. (Season 2, Episode 7 — Episode 15 of 30, overall.)

According to Lynch, solving Laura Palmer's murder was the worst mistake the show ever made — it was "what killed 'Twin Peaks' originally," he said.

The discovery of the body of Laura Palmer — the homecoming queen — wrapped in plastic is what launched "Twin Peaks." FBI special agent Dale Cooper (Kyle MacLachlan) came to town, encountered a cast of unusual characters and got caught up in, well, sort of supernatural weirdness.

The eight-episode, nine-hour first season was a surprise hit in early 1990.

"Lo and behold, it clicked, but I didn't really know about television," Lynch said. "We just were telling the story."

The 22-episode second season, however, crashed and burned in the ratings, and ABC canceled it. And the 1992 prequel film, "Fire Walk with Me," bombed at the box office.

Now it's back, with an 18-episode Season 3 that premieres Sunday at 10 p.m. on Showtime. Lynch has once again teamed with Frost, although, this time around, Lynch is much more involved.

He directed six of the original 30 episodes; he directed all 18 episodes of Season 3 — working as if it were one big script that was eventually divided into hour-ish episodes.

"I see it as a film, and film in parts is what people would experience," Lynch said. "And it was a joyful, fantastic trip with this great crew and great cast. And this word 'expect' is a magical word, and people expect things. And their expectations are met, hopefully, when they see the thing."

When last the television audience visited Twin Peaks — June 10, 1991 — Nadine (Wendy Robie) woke up after a head injury. Dr. Hayward (Warren Frost) fought with Ben Horne (Richard Beymer), knocking his head into a fireplace mantel. While opening a safety deposit box rented by Thomas Eckhardt (David Warner), Pete Martell (Jack Nance) and Audrey Horne (Sherilyn Fenn) set off a bomb and were killed (apparently).

Agent Cooper was on the trail of Windom Earle (Kenneth Welsh), who had taken Annie (Heather Graham) into the Black Lodge — a sort-of portal into another dimension. Cooper made a deal with Earle, but Bob killed Earle and took possession of his body.

Cooper encountered an evil version of himself … and that shadow version of Cooper exited the Black Lodge with the doppelgänger inhabited by Bob.

How much of this will have any bearing on where the show picks up 26 years later, we have absolutely no idea. For one thing, Lynch said the events in the movie "Fire Walk with Me" — a prequel that takes place in the week leading up to Laura Palmer's death — are "very much important for this" revival.

For another, we have absolutely no idea what to expect. Showtime didn't screen a single episode for anyone. We don't even know what characters all the new cast members play.

There's a rumor that Laura Dern will star as Agent Cooper's never-seen secretary, Diane, but it's only a rumor.

"I am not at liberty to discuss anything," Dern said, "except how incredibly excited I am to join these guys. And I will tell you I am playing my very own character, different than their characters, and yet not able to discuss who the character is."

Alrighty, then.

"As far as I could see, it was like we were just plopped right back into the same spot we were in before," said Mädchen Amick, who returns as Shelly. "It felt like a big movie to me."

"I felt the same way," MacLachlan added. "There were some long days, but they were joyful days" filled with "a huge sense of gratitude just to be there, to be creating something that we all loved, to be able to work with a master like David Lynch."

If anyone other than Lynch told you that he's spent the past quarter of a century thinking "about what might be happening" in "Twin Peaks," you'd have to be skeptical. But with Lynch, it seems entirely plausible.

"I always felt, even if it only happened mentally and emotionally, the story goes on," he said.

And now it does.


Twitter: @ScottDPierce —


The 18-episode revival of "Twin Peaks" premieres Sunday at 10 p.m. on Showtime.






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