On April 8th, 1990, the first episode of the series known as “Twin Peaks” premiered on ABC. The series captured millions as it focused on the odd, mysterious town of Twin Peaks, hit with the sudden murder of “Laura Palmer”. The show follows, Agent Dale Cooper, who finds himself not only investigating the death of Laura but being drawn to the town and the dark secrets within it. The show is really like a show unlike any other because it’s super weird yet so intriguing at the same time. Here’s my quick opinion of the show, it’s very strange….but I kind of dig it at the same time. Part of the reason why I think Twin Peaks is so beloved is because it really had it’s own thing going. While the show primary focuses on the murder of Laura Palmer and the search for her killer, there’s more to the show that brings the audience into the bizarre town of “Twin Peaks”. I’m going to point out that I have not watched Season 3. I’ve only watched Season 1 and Season 2. The show was cancelled after it’s second season but was revived for a limited season on Showtime back in 2017, I don’t have access to the 3rd season and I really don’t know if I have much interest in watching it. So far I haven’t personally heard positive things about it. Either way, let’s dive into everything Twin Peaks and my overall thoughts of the show. Warning, there will be spoilers because it would be too difficult in my opinion to write this article without spoiling key details of the show. Also joining me for this article is Instagram account, The Scream King. They’re a big fan of the show so I decided to interview them to get another perspective from a fan of the show.
Who Killed Laura Palmer?
So the show obviously starts off with the death of Laura Palmer. Her body is discovered wrapped in plastic, washed ashore. Needless to say it’s pretty creepy, there’s even a Funko Pop you can buy of Laura Palmer’s body wrapped in plastic. Not sure if I would buy that figurine if I’m being honest. Anyways, basically the town is left absolutely devastated by Laura’s death and Agent Dale Cooper is called into town to investigate her murder. Now, the character of Dale Cooper is one of the best parts of the show. He’s a character who like us is not familiar with the town of Twin Peaks and as he interacts with the townspeople, we as the audience are as well. Agent Cooper has his own fun little quirks, he loves coffee, and has all types of unique methods of solving cases. I just really like his character and it’s very intriguing to watch his character onscreen.
It was the first of its kind. It was the first murder mystery that really went for it-it was dark, scary and grounded (Aside from the surrealism). The genre has become tried today with many similar shows such as PLL and Riverdale.The Scream King
The main mystery during Season 1 and during the first half of Season 2 revolves around Agent Cooper’s search into uncovering the identity of Laura’s killer. Eventually by Episode 7 of Season 2, we learn the identity of the killer and let me tell you the way they reveal it is absolutely terrifying. It’s a twist I think some people might not see coming. At the end of the episode, the killer strikes again and let’s just say it is by far one of the creepiest scenes in the entire show in my opinion. I watched it at like 1AM in the morning and I was terrified, not sure if that was a good call if I’m being honest but oh well. Needless to say, I think the network should’ve waited to reveal the killer until the end of the season because it seems interest in the series began to fade after the killer was revealed. This is what sadly eventually led to the show’s cancellation in 1991 and let’s just say the second season ended with a massive cliffhanger. “I think that viewers started to check out after that, not necessarily because it was the main draw but also because the storylines after that weren’t promising” says The Scream King. I can’t imagine how original fans of the show felt when ABC cancelled the show. That’s sometimes the problem with shows having only one specific “hook”, once you pull out the one card and people get what they wanted, it can often lead to people jumping ship. I think while Twin Peak’s main grab was the question as to who killed Laura, there are other things within the show like the characters that should’ve kept audiences around.
The Characters Of Twin Peaks
One of the things that stands out on the show really is the characters within the town. My favorite character is obviously Agent Dale Cooper. As I mentioned earlier, he’s a newcomer to the town of Twin Peaks and is being introduced to this crazy down the same time the audience is. We’re introduced to the Twin Peaks Sheriff Department team as some of our first characters. First we meet Sheriff Harry Truman, who partners up with Cooper during the search for Laura Palmer’s character. Alongside the department team is the receptionist Lucy, and the other staff members including the Deputy Chief, Hawk and Andy. These characters grew on me the most because again they were one of the main people working to solve Laura’s murder and each character had their own little character trait that made them stand out. I think these characters in particular are the strongest written characters on the show and the dynamic they have with Cooper just really works. Cooper, has such an interesting way of solving cases as well and he’s just a fun character overall so I think anything that involved him got my attention the most.
I essentially love the characters, though it’s easily the most diverse group of characters I’ve ever seen on a drama which I think benefits the show.The Scream King
The characters of Twin Peaks have their own different personalities that make them interesting to watch. Some are just plan weird, like the lady who talks to a log. Yup, there’s a character who walks around carrying a log. There’s so much going on within the town of Twin Peaks, sometimes you can get lost in the other subplots just based off how bizarre some are but also the different relationships characters have with each other. One of the main characters featured are James (Laura’s secret boyfriend) and Laura’s best friend, Donna. The two of them are also working to help uncover answers regarding what happened to Laura and eventually they team up with Laura’s cousin, Maddy to get answers as well. Personally, Donna, felt like a really flat character in my opinion, I just never cared much for her in general and she never really grew on me. I didn’t mind James to an extent but he was always a hit or miss for me as a character. He has this subplot in Season 2 that I found to be absolutely pointless that came out of absolute nowhere. Overall, I think the characters sell the show for me and the show always was intended to focus on the residents within the town of Twin Peaks, not just on the murder of Laura.
The Plot Twist Killer Reveal
As the show progresses, the identity of Laura’s killer eventually is revealed. Fun Fact: Lynch wasn’t planning on revealing the killer this early on but ABC ultimately forced him to reveal it early. I even saw some sources saying that Lynch never intended on revealing the killer. During Season 1, we eventually come to learn about BOB and it’s later revealed that he is the killer but is an entity of some kind and possessed Leland Palmer (Laura’s father). So yeah technically Laura’s own father is the killer but he’s not even aware of it. We come to learn the identity of the killer pretty early into Season 2 and they do it in the most horrific/creepy way possible. This is revealed when he takes another victim, Maddy (Laura’s cousin). I’m not joking you, this scene was horrifying and her death scene was outright insane. I don’t know how they made it to network TV especially during the 90s. Yikes. The scene of Maddy being killed by Leland (Under the influence of BOB) felt like something straight out of a horror movie and honestly it was chilling to watch. I’ve never seen something quite like this, the scene went on for several minutes and parts were pure silent. It was again……horrifying.
Great mystery. Was handled well and the first half of Season 2 handled it well. The reveal was shocking enough and while the motive wasn’t a typical one for a murder mystery, it’s unique to this showthe scream King
I think the reveal was well done despite it’s darker and horrific tone. I’ve never seen a reveal quite like it and honestly I think this is because of Lynch and Frost’s style. I’m also going to mention that I watched this at like 1AM in the morning which was a dumb idea. BOB, is absolutely terrifying like I always got the massive creeps anytime I saw him on screen. To this day, I still get creeped out by him. I think that this reveal maybe should’ve been pushed towards the end of Season 2 in my opinion especially considering Laura’s death in many ways has a connection to “The Black Lodge”, which is our next point.
The Black Lodge & The Red Room
I’m going to be honest, Twin Peaks is by far the most quirkiest show I’ve ever watched. I don’t quite understand the lore behind it but it gets super weird sometime during Season 2. For me, I enjoyed the mystery of what happened to Laura the most but I still felt interested in the show even after they wrapped up that storyline. The show begins to lean in more towards the mysterious “red room”, a place that Cooper has visited multiple times during his dreams. Now, it was obvious in Season 1 that they were going a supernatural route to an extent but this isn’t your normal supernatural storyline. It’s something much weirder and way more complex. I still don’t quite understand it if I’m being honest but it becomes a key aspect of the show that is worth noting. This concept of this mysterious red room is located in a place known as “The Black Lodge” which is located somewhere in Twin Peaks. Cooper eventually finds himself venturing into the mysterious “black lodge” after his arch enemy kidnaps Cooper’s love interest, Annie. Upon entering the lodge, he finds himself experiencing weird scenarios such as dopplegangers including one of himself. Eventually we are lead to believe Cooper has escaped but we discover at the end of the Season 2 finale that it’s actually his evil doppleganger. Where is Cooper? He’s still trapped in “The Black Lodge” which then leads into the events for Season 3.
I love the Black Lodge. I think it was the perfect thing to focus on after the Laura mystery. That’s the thing about Twin Peaks, it was about who killed Laura in the beginning but afterwards they opened the door for so much more.The Scream King
I will add that it seems like Lynch was always intending to go this route as “The Black Lodge” had been teased various times in Season 1. I think that midway through Season 2, the show felt less focused because of some filler subplots which I wasn’t a fan of, but at the end of the season the series started to feel more focused. Another important thing to point out is that the entity of BOB (Who killed Laura while possessing Leland Palmer) comes directly from “The Black Lodge”. Again, The Black Lodge, is a key element in the series and is something to watch out for if you ever watch the show or are doing rewatches. “The show is called Twin Peaks, so getting into the mythology of the town and making the focus of the show after the killer was revealed was the perfect route to go down” says The Scream King. He then adds, “I think that’s where the show was headed had it not of been cancelled”. There’s also a place known as “The White Lodge” but they don’t quite dive into it as “The Black Lodge” is the main focal point. During Season 3 from what I’ve gathered, Lynch does explore more of The Black Lodge. “The Black Lodge is heavily explored in the third season we did get but not in the way I would’ve liked. They would’ve done more justice in the 90s like they originally had planned” add The Scream King, who actually has watched the third season, which aired on Showtime back in 2017.
The Legacy Of Twin Peaks
Following the series initial one back in 1990-1991, Twin Peaks has surprisingly left an impact within the film and writing industry. The show really was unlike anything else at the time and many sources of entertainment have paid tribute to the show along with it’s quirky style. During the second season, several books based of the show were released and after the show’s cancellation, a feature film titled Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me was released in 1992. This movie is actually a prequel to the series and takes place before Laura’s death with it being from her point of view. Originally the movie got negative reviews but progressively as the years went on, it seemed to gain a better following. I have not watched the movie but from what I’ve heard it sounds good although with the R rating I think the tone is ALOT darker. Eventually in 2017, the show was revived for a third season consisting of 18 episodes by Showtime and was dubbed as “Twin Peaks: The Return”. This third season picks up 25 years after the events of the Season 2 finale and navigates Cooper, escaping “The Black Lodge” and trying to defeat BOB once and for all.
Legacy is that it was the first of it’s kind. It kickstarted the dark, Murder-mystery soap opera of television. It was ahead of it’s time though. It wouldn’t be until Desperate Housewives popularized it. It’s been remembered very much positively.The Scream king
Several other movies and TV shows have done many homages to Twin Peaks as well. Different shows such as Bates Motel and Riverdale have used Twin Peaks as inspiration. An episode of Riverdale was even titled “Fire Walk With Me” which is a reference to the 1992 film. I will say that during Riverdale’s first season, the show kind of felt like a modern day “Twin Peaks” for younger audiences. It felt grounded and like Twin Peaks, had a wide variety of intriguing and unique characters. I don’t think Riverdale has as much bizarre effect as Twin Peaks did but there are similarities. Another fun thing to point out if Madchen Amick, who played Shelly went on to star as Alice Cooper in Riverdale. Shelly was one of my favorite characters so it’s cool to see Madchen star in a show that at times has Twin Peaks similarities.
What I Thought Of The Show
As mentioned before, Twin Peaks is really the type of show that…….has it’s own thing going. David Lynch has this talent within the show to really come up with these bizarre yet intriguing ways of telling stories. While I don’t quite understand some of the continuity and lore in the show, it was a very interesting experience watching it. There’s some elements I didn’t quite like but I think the characters and the mystery elements made the show unlike anything at the time. To sum up a majority of my overall thoughts is hard to explain in one sentence or two because there’s so much to analyze. I think the characters really helped shape the show’s identity although some characters I didn’t really care for. Others that interacted with Cooper, I seemed to feel more invested in. While I do feel the show struggled to find it’s way after the reveal of Laura’s killer, I think the writers were able to find their path again and by the finale the show felt like it was back on track. It’s sad that the show was cancelled so soon because it would of been really interesting to see what things would’ve been like but I guess fans were able to get some closure with the 2017 revival so I guess there’s a positive. Although, I’ve heard from some people that Season 3 wasn’t that great. Either way, watching Twin Peaks was an interesting one for sure and it’s very interesting to see the following that the series has had since it’s debut in the 90s. In a way, it’s nice to see a show that got ended pretty early on managed to carry on a solid following and has helped inspire various amounts of new content today. I know that this show has inspired me with my writing. Well the mystery parts that is.
Twin Peaks seasons 1-2 are available for streaming on Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, and CBS All Access
Special thanks to, The Scream King, for attributing to this article!