Is time travel possible? In the land of reruns and Netflix, time travel is just a short twenty-five years back to a show that was not only the king of cult shows, but a favorite of my friend, Andy Burns. I had never watched the “Twin Peaks” series created by David Lynch and Mark Frost when it originally aired and, I probably would have gone through life never seeing the show if it weren’t for Andy Burns’ book.
Andy Burns was all of thirteen years old when the show premiered, but it changed the way he looked at television and maybe life itself. A work of love, Andy Burns wrote Wrapped in Plastic: Twin Peaks as a tribute to the show’s creators and to the show’s cast. The pilot and first season focused on who killed the beautiful teenager, Laura Palmer. American audiences tuned in each week to watch the handsome Agent Dale Cooper (Kyle MacLachlan), with his strange Tibetan beliefs and childlike ways, track down the killer.
Agent Cooper was a knight in shining armor and he captured my heart as I read Andy’s book. When Andy asked me if I would like to watch and then do reviews on the 29 episodes, my reply was, “Hell yes!” What fun I had as I watched the collection of strange and memorable individuals jump to life on Netflix. I had my favorites as I’m sure everyone did. I loved Audrey the most because she was smart, daring and beautiful, but there were others that I held close to my heart as I reviewed each episode.
Watching “Twin Peaks” was like living with my family. My family was anything but normal. Maybe it’s why I loved and understood this series. The show had its share of wackos, like Log Lady, Deputy Andy and Nadine, but not everyone on “Twin Peaks” was funny. BOB wasn’t funny and neither was Laura’s killer, an incestuous parent who loved to dance, Leland Palmer. I could have watched several episodes at one time, but I wanted to slowly savor the show, sipping small amounts as you would a fine wine. I made a wise choice and, I have finally reached the last episode. I feel unsettled and sad. I was never good at goodbyes.
Beyond Life and Death
This episode was written by Mark Frost, Harley Peyton and Robert Engels, but rumor has it that David Lynch was mainly responsible for this last episode. On the previous episode of “Twin Peaks,” Annie was kidnapped by Windom Earle. We open with Andy trying to console a frightened Lucy. Who is afraid the lights might go out when she’s ready to give birth.
While the loveable, dumb, Deputy Andy promises to keep Lucy and the baby safe, Cooper, Harry and Hawk study the cave drawing when Pete tells them that the Log Lady stole his truck. Cooper tells Pete it wasn’t the Log Lady. The Log Lady shows up with a bottle of scorched engine oil that comes from a gateway in the woods. Ronette Pulaski remembers the smell of oil the night Laura was murdered.
Cooper and Harry need to search for twelve sycamore trees at Glastonbury Grove. Off they go to Ghostwood Forest to find the gateway. It is believed among people who deal with the spirit world, as I do, that gateways are not only portals to the world of the dead, but to other dimensions or universes. Cooper is not properly prepared to enter one of these gateways as we are soon to find out.
With twelve rainbow trout in the cooler of the truck, Windom has Annie reciting every prayer she’d ever learned at the convent, but it won’t help her now. It’s Annie’s fear that opens the gateway. Windom and Annie, now in a trance, enter the red curtains that magically appear in the forest.
I think I’ll miss the Weenie Files the most because they were used as a switch and bait all along to throw us off the straight and narrow road. Lynch has a diabolical mind and even in this last episode, he distracts us with Nadine’s recovered memory where she realizes that both her husband and her beloved drape runners are gone.
We also peek in at the Hayward home as Ben tries to persuade Donna into not leaving town. Doc Hayward finally grows a pair and punches Ben. We are left to wonder if Ben is unconscious or dead. Ben’s wife Sylvia makes her appearance in this episode, but it’s too late. We never learned anything about Ben’s wife to make us care about her. David Lynch had a gold mine in this character and he failed to mine it.
Andrew and Pete take the key and head to the Twin Peaks’ bank where Audrey happens to be handcuffed to the gate of the vault in an act of protest. In the confusion, the bank guard runs in to tell everyone that someone had a baby boy. Was it Lucy’s? Even here, Lynch uses the switch and bait routine. Making us focus on the bumbling bank manager, Lynch plunges a dagger to the heart when Pete, Andrew, and Audrey are killed by the bomb inside the security box. They say the revenge is best served cold, but Audrey was my favorite character and I was not prepared for her death.
“Twin Peaks” consisted of two seasons, twenty-nine episodes in total, not counting the film Fire Walk with Me. From the very first page of Andy’s book and, the very first episode I had watched on Netflix, I was invested in what had happened to Laura Palmer. Somewhere in my subconscious I always knew that the “Twin Peaks” series always centered around one thing; the battle between good and evil.
Lynch and Frost pulled back the red curtain to reveal: a knight in shining armor, Agent Dale Cooper; a monster named BOB, who often hid inside a mirror; a town with dark secrets. Everything else was an illusion. Everything!
Cooper leaves Harry behind after finding Pete’s truck in the woods. I think Cooper had always suspected that the Black Lodge was a one way trip. Harry watches Cooper walk around the oil puddle and the sycamore trees, then Cooper steps through the red curtains and is gone. Harry, always the loyal lawman, waits for the return of his friend.
We are introduced to some old friends like The Man from Another Place, who tells Cooper, “When you see me again, it won’t be me.” Laura is there to tell Cooper that she’ll see him again in twenty-five years. Even the old bellhop is there to offer Cooper a cup of coffee that isn’t what it seems. The giant is there, but this time, there are no words of advice. It’s all very strange, especially, when Cooper leaves the room he is in. Every room is the same, but one room holds Maddy who warns Cooper. “Watch out for my cousin.” The little man gives another clue, doppelganger. It is at this moment that I really understand what is in store for our hero.
The rest of the episode has Cooper frantically searching for Annie only to stumble upon Laura who is screaming like a banshee, then later Caroline, then finally Windom. Annie will live if Cooper gives Windom his soul. Without a thought for his own life, Cooper agrees. I think Briggs knew how dangerous the Black Lodge was. The look of defeat is clearly written on his face when Sarah Palmer, speaking in Windom’s voice, tells him where Cooper is. Unfortunately for Windom, he was so focused on destroying Cooper that he didn’t notice that he’d broken the rules. BOB makes it quite clear to Windom that he did. Doppelganger is such a scary word when you understand the truth of what it means.
Harry finds the unconscious Cooper and Annie in the forest. Cooper is taken to the hotel while Annie is taken to the hospital. Harry and Doc Hayward are with Cooper when he awakes. But is it really Cooper who wants to brush his teeth… or something else. Cooper, the essence of good, is held prisoner somewhere inside the Black Lodge while the man repeating over and over, “How’s Annie,” is his doppelganger. Bob smiles on approvingly from the mirror as Harry and Doc pound on the door.
There are plans for Showtime to bring back Twin Peaks in 2016. If this show does return, I would like to do the weekly reviews for it. I feel invested in the characters and, I want to know what happened to them. Maybe, Audrey survives the explosion. I understand why Andy Burns loved this show so much and, why he felt compelled to write a book about “Twin Peaks.” There was magic in the town of Twin Peaks. There still is. Andy Burns and I, and maybe, whoever is reading this post, will forever be its captive audience. See you next week with my review of Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me.
Rest In Peace
One of my favorite characters on “Twin Peaks” has been the Log Lady played deliciously by Catherine E. Coulson. Did I think it strange that she talked to a log, or that her log knew all the dirty secrets of Twin Peaks? Hell no! The Log Lady would have fit in so easily with my wacky family, and that’s why I so enjoyed the scenes she was in.
I’m sure we were all excited to hear that Coulson was to reprise her role on the newer Showtime version of “Twin Peaks.” Unfortunately, “Twin Peaks” will have to continue without the Log Lady. Catherine E. Coulson died Monday morning, September 28, 2015. She was seventy-one years old. You will be missed, dear Catherine.