Recap: 'Twin Peaks' returns, and we (still) are full of questions
'Twin Peaks' returns for a limited series starting Sunday night. Here is what you need to know about the show.
Spoiler alert: The following contains details of the two-part premiere of Showtime's Twin Peaks revival, which aired May 21.
Sunday’s much-anticipated return of Twin Peaks answered one question and raised a million others.
Speculation that the revival of the transformational 1990s series might seem conventional in a more creative TV environment it strongly influenced was immediately dispelled. Twin Peaks is still way, way out there.
At the same time, Showtime’s two-hour opener, written by co-creators David Lynch and Mark Frost, offered a cornucopia of head-scratchers that could be filed under: What the heck is going on?
A talking tree with a fleshy blob for a head? A glass box with multi-dimensional transporting power located in the middle of Manhattan? A murdered woman’s head inches away from what appears to be an equally dead male body?
One thing is clear: If you’re not a little confused after the first two hours, you’re just not trying.
The 2017 reboot opens with a scene from the 1991 finale, with an otherworldly Laura Palmer (Sheryl Lee) disjointedly telling FBI Special Agent Dale Cooper (Kyle MacLachlan): “I’ll see you again in 25 years.”
And here we are, a quarter century (or so) later, gliding above the fog-shrouded, tree-bedecked Pacific Northwest lumber town, reassured — if only briefly — with familiar connections: opening credits in the original font, Angelo Badalamenti’s dreamy, hypnotic theme and, as in the original, a picture of Laura in a high-school trophy case.
Although it’s hard to be certain in this off-kilter world, a major point seems clear: Cooper has been trapped in the supernatural Black Lodge’s Red Room for 25 years, with his evil doppelganger, a possessed, long-haired, leather-jacketed double, out in the real world, plotting some devious act.
This alt-Cooper, driving a high-end Mercedes-Benz, arrives at a house in the woods, where he picks up a young man and woman, Ray and Daria, who are co-conspirators. Later, he brutally murders Daria after discovering she is a traitor.
The real Cooper, in a hazy state, remains in the ever-baffling Red Room, listening to familiar-sounding stilted dialogue from a version of the murdered Laura, who tells him he can go, removes her face to reveal a white light and eventually flies away. He briefly encounters Laura’s no-longer-white-haired father, Leland (Ray Wise).
He also meets the spirit Mike (Al Strobel), a one-armed man who takes him to a leafless, electrified tree with a fleshy talking blob at its peak. “I am the arm,” it says, suggesting it is the re-embodiment of The Man from Another Place (aka Mike’s Left Arm) from the original.
Late in the second hour, Cooper finally escapes the Red Room, plummeting through a netherworld before plunking down on the Manhattan glass box, an apparent doorway — like the one near Twin Peaks — to the Black Lodge’s alternate dimension.
He arrives as the box’s observer is downstairs, meeting an extremely curious young woman. They come back to the room, with the box empty and Cooper gone, and start to have sex before a vaguely human-looking white entity enters the box and explodes out of it, leaving the couple bloody and apparently dead.
Other locales feature action of unexplained significance: The mismatched head and body are found in Buckhorn, S.D., where school principal Bill Hastings (Matthew Lillard) is arrested for murder. (He says he wasn’t in the victim’s apartment, but had a dream in which he was.)
After a heated jailhouse encounter between Hastings and his wife, each unfaithful, an alien-looking figure is seen in a nearby cell and then evaporates. When Hastings’ wife arrives at home, she is surprised by alt-Cooper, who shoots her with her lover's gun.
On the Las Vegas Strip, a businessman hands a wad of money to an assistant and instructs him to tell a woman she is hired. The assistant asks, “Why do you let him make you do those things?”
The world-weary boss responds, “You better hope you never get involved with someone like him.” Who “him” is remain to be seen.
Plenty of familiar faces from the original also appear.
• An ailing Log Lady (Catherine Coulson) and her log are channeling important information involving Cooper from somewhere beyond that she wants to pass along to Hawk (Michael Horse), now deputy chief at the sheriff’s department.
• Dispatcher Lucy (Kimmy Robertson) and deputy Andy (Harry Goaz), who still work at the sheriff’s department.
• Ben Horne (Richard Beymer) sits in his Western-themed office when his food-obsessed brother Jerry (David Patrick Kelly) pops in, espousing some “salty, crunchy” delight and taunting Ben over his womanizing ways. Ashley Judd, new to Peaks, plays one of Ben’s employees.
• Laura's mother, Sarah Palmer (Grace Zabriskie) sits at home watching a gory nature film, drinking, smoking and fidgeting.
• The final scene takes place at Twin Peaks' Bang Bang Bar, with Shelly (Mädchen Amick) seated at a table with three women. James (James Marshall), Laura's secret boyfriend, walks in.
And coffee, pie and donuts, which achieved cult status in the original, get mentions, too.