Wednesday, January 5, 2011


The Score: 10 out of 10

By the time the second season of Twin Peaks premiered, the series had achieved a level of popularity rarely heard of on television. Before the second season, the cast and creators were featured prominently on many shows, like Donahue and Saturday Night Live. David Lynch's popularity was at its zenith, a time when most creators would begin playing it safe and avoid taking risks that could alienate the enormous audience. When you have millions of dollars riding on your popularity, the temptation is great to start taking the middle road artistically. Lynch rose above this mediocre trend by delivering the most daring, challenging, and polarizing episodes of network television.

Twin Peaks Saturday Night Live Parody

The Cast are Later Joined by Series Co-Creator Mark Frost to Answer Questions
from Phil Donahue and his Studio Audience
Twin Peaks Cast on Donahue, Pt. 1

Twin Peaks Cast on Donahue, Pt. 2

Twin Peaks Cast on Donahue, Pt. 3

Twin Peaks Cast on Donahue, Pt. 4

Twin Peaks Cast on Donahue, Pt. 5

Kyle MacLachlan on Letterman

The Female Cast Members Became Fashion Icons
Twin Peaks Season 1 Recap Special, Pt. 1

Twin Peaks Season 1 Recap Special, Pt. 2

The Pilot's Full Opening Title Sequence Plays for the Second and Final Instance in the Series, But the Ending of the Sequence Transitions into a Darker Nighttime Shot of the Otherwise Familiar Rushing Water
After David Lynch shifted his attention temporarily toward the post-production of Wild at Heart (1990) before its premiere at the Cannes Film Festival in May, Mark Frost and the other series writers/directors completed the next five episodes to finish season one of Twin Peaks. And to the audience's delight, these collaborators adhered faithfully to the high standards established by David Lynch. After the first season aired, including the feature-length pilot and next seven episodes, people by and large recognized it as the strongest opening for any television program ever produced.
The Second Season Begins Just Moments After the Cliffhanger Ending to Season 1 at the Great Northern Hotel
As evidenced from the sample of video clips at the beginning of this article, Twin Peaks made a huge impact on the popular culture of the early 90's. People from vastly different backgrounds would gather around their TV sets every week and experience the world of Twin Peaks together, some in large groups with their friends and family, others would watch alone by themselves. Whatever the case might be, millions of people connected on a profound level with David Lynch's television dream world and were anxious to see what would happen next.
Season 1 Ended on Agent Cooper Receiving Three Bullets to the Chest by an Unknown Assailant
At this moment David Lynch's popularity peaked and he became a household name in film and television. Lynch gained monumentally high ratings for Twin Peaks and won the Palme D'Or at the 1990 Cannes Film Festival for Wild at Heart. After Cannes he returned to Twin Peaks to direct the second season feature-length premiere episode and the following episode, giving him the opportunity to open the season with equivalent of three episodes under his direction.
Agent Cooper Left Deputy Andy on the Phone to Get What He Thought was his Room Service When He was Shot, Leaving a Worried Deputy Shouting Out to a Fallen Cooper
Two Bullets Were Stopped by Cooper's Kevlar Vest, but One Bullet Struck Home in the Gut
A Decrepit Elderly Man Delivers Cooper his Room Service
And Notices Cooper on the Ground
The Elderly Man is Confused by Cooper's Requests for an Ambulance
Instead, the Room Service Attendant Gets Cooper's Signature for the Warm Milk
Cooper is Careful to Make Sure the Elderly Man is Given an Adequate Gratuity
The Elderly Man Assures Cooper that his Tip is Included in the Price of the Service Bill
Cooper is Relieved by this News as the Elderly Man Says Farewell, Apparently Providing Cooper without Any Help

After the Man Walks in and Out of the Room a Total of Three Times in Total, a Giant Appears in Cooper's Room
Unsure of What is Happening, Cooper Listens to the Giant Carefully
Cooper's Visitation with the Giant

The Giant Tells Cooper Three Obscure Sentences and Asks if Cooper Will Believe in his Words When Everything He Says Comes True
The Giant Explains that He Will Take Cooper's Ring and Give it Back to Him Once He Discovers the Truth
Cooper Allows the Giant to Take His Ring
And the Giant Disappears, Leaving Cooper Alone Again
Meanwhile, One of the Most Disturbing Scenes of the Series Unfolds at One-Eyed Jacks
Audrey's Investigation into Laura's Murder has Brought Her to this Moment Where She Planned to Discover the Identity of the Owner of One-Eyed Jacks
But She is Horrified to Realizes Her Father is the Owner
Unaware of the New Girl's Identity, Ben Gleefully Approaches the Bed with Sexual Playfulness
Audrey Strains Her Voice to Sound Different than Normal and Tries to Shoo Away Her Father
Ben is Not so Easily Dissuaded Though
While this Horrific Scene Unfolds, We Jump to Blackie and Jerry Horne Arguing Over Business
Blackie is in Need of a Heroin Fix and the Horne Brothers are Her Dealers
Jerry Comments on How Blackie's Looks are Deteriorating
And Blows Blackie a Kiss as He Passes Her a Dose
Blackie is Angry for Several Reasons Now
But She Holds Her Tongue Until Jerry Leaves
And She Whispers an Impotent, "Bastard!"
Blackie Focuses on Her Addiction Again
We Go Back to Audrey's Perilous and Disturbing Struggle Just a Few Rooms Down the Hallway from Blackie
Ben Believes the New Girl is Simply Teasing Him
And Pretends to Play Along with the Game by Explaining How He Will Leave the Room
But of Course Ben is Just Playing Around Still
For a Brief Moment Audrey Hopes She has Succeeded
As Ben Opens and Closes the Door as if He Left the Room
But Audrey Knows Her Father is Still in the Room, So She Devises a Plan to Buy Her a Little More Time
She Calls Herself Prudence and Puts on a Mask
Notice How the Red Curtains Surrounding the Bed Frame Parallels with the Red Room in Agent Cooper's Dream. There is Something Important Happening in this Scene that Connects to Cooper's Dream
Audrey Hides Under the Covers, Trying to Put as Many Obstacles as Possible Between Her and Ben
Ben Pulls the Covers of the Bed Away to Reveal his Masked Daughter
Ben Unknowingly Leers at his Own Daughter
As Ben Starts Moving from Traumatizing Seductive Talk to Frisky Action...
Audrey Physically Blocks Him, Hoping that She Will Not Have to Reveal Her Identity to Get Him to Leave Her Alone
Jerry Knocks on the Door and Explains that he Needs to Talk to Ben
Ben Finally Leaves Audrey, But Promises to Return to Complete the Game they Started
Poor Audrey has Uncovered Many Unpleasant Facts Tonight, Leading Her to Suspect Her Father of Killing Laura


Agent Cooper, Audrey, and Most the Townspeople are Going Through Hell Tonight
Luckily Cooper Accidentally Kept his Recorder on Voice-Activation Mode
Agent Cooper Shares Some of his Thoughts and Feelings About his Near-Death Experience
He Jokes Around About How he Hallucinated About a Giant Earlier, But When Cooper Reaches for his Ring he Discovers it is Missing
Deputy Andy Clearly Worried About Agent Cooper and Rounded Together Hawk and Truman to Come to Cooper's Rescue
Upon Seeing his New Group of Friends Arrive, Cooper Passes Out
Cooper Wakes to the Faces of Sheriff Truman, Lucy Moran, and Doc Hayward Looking Down
Cooper is Woozy
Agent Cooper had a Wood Tick Under his Vest, Which is Why Part of his Kevlar Vest was Lifted Up When He was Shot. One Bullet Hit Cooper Under the Exposed Area, But Luckily the Wood Tick Took the Worst Part of the Impact
Pictured: David Lynch's Unique Brand of Humor
Agent Cooper is Informed About Everything he has Missed from the Previous Night's List of Tragedies
Cooper Humorously Asks How Long he was Out
Cooper Insists that he Does Not Need Bed Rest and he Gets Up to Continue his Investigation

In the Season 1 Finale We Saw the Packard Sawmill Ablaze
In the Season 2 Premiere We Witness the Tragic Aftermath of Ben Horne's Treachery, One of the Saddest Images of the Series. The Sawmill that Opens Every Episode of Twin Peaks Lies in Ruins
Series Co-Creator Mark Frost Cameos as the Anchor Delivering the Terrible News. The Stakes are Getting Higher as All the Characters and Elements of the Series are Under Threat Now
The TV Set is Playing in Shelly Johnson's Room, Where She Weeps in Mourning for Bobby Who She was Led to Believe to be Dead at the Hands of Her Husband Leo
Against Doc Hayward's Counsel, Agent Cooper Presses Forward After Being Seriously Wounded
Jacques Renault's Body is Delivered to the Hospital Morgue in a Body Bag
Not Sure if this Could be the Fulfillment of the Giant's Prophecies from Earlier, Cooper Asks if that Bag Looks Like it is Smiling. His Bizarre Question is Greeted with Confusion
We Have Not Seen or Heard Much of Ronette Pulaski Since Lynch's Episodes Last Season
But We See Ronette Stirring with Some Promising Signs of Life


The Palmer Household
As revealed in the season one finale, Leland Palmer murdered Jacques Renault in the hospital in a fit of grief and rage, apparently suspecting him of being his daughter Laura's killer. Any hope that this action might finally bring Leland some semblance of relief is immediately dispelled in his character's introduction.

Leland's Second Season Opening

Compared to the Activities Taking Place Everywhere Else Across Town, Things Seem Relatively Peaceful and Calm at the Palmer Residence
Maddy Pensively Stares Down at the Carpet and Begins to Engage in What Seems Like Small Talk
David Lynch's Characters Often Discuss their Dreams with One Another
Madeline "Maddy" Ferguson Explains to her Aunt Sarah a Dream She had Last Night
Sarah Asks if Laura was in the Dream
Maddy Explains that She Dreamed About this Area of the Carpet, Directly in Front of Her
But Before Explaining Any More About the Dream, Leland Pops Out from Behind the Nearby Decorative Screen and Begins Compulsively Singing a Children's Nursery Song

To Everyone's Surprise, Leland's Hair has Turned Completely White Overnight

After Finishing his Disruptive Solo, Leland Runs Out of the House to Leaves for Work. Sarah Runs After him to Try to Prevent him from Leaving

When Maddy is Left Alone in the Room, She Apparently Experiences a Literal Fulfillment of the Dream she was Interrupted from Explaining to Sarah
A Large Puddle of Blood Gradually Reveals itself in the Fabric of the Carpet in Front of Her Before Quickly Dissolving Away Again
A Scene in Mulholland Dr. (2001) Involves Two Friends Discussing a Nightmare While Eating Out at the Diner. Without Spoiling Anything, that Scene Eerily Reflects Maddy's Terror

As Mentioned in Our Analysis of the Pilot Episode, the Conspicuous Use of Fire Should Alert the Audience
As Jerry and Ben Horne Consult Over the Burning of the Packard Sawmill, they Receive an Unwelcomed Guest
Leland Palmer Strolls into the Office as if Nothing has Changed in his Work Schedule, But Continues to Sing the Children's Nursery Song from Earlier Over and Over Again
In What has to be One of the More Bizarre and Comedic Scenes of the Series, the Horne Brothers are Apparently Dumbfounded by What to do with Leland 
So they Begin to Playfully Dance Around the Office to Leland's Tune
Richard Beymer Gets to Show Off Some of his Dance Skills from his Earlier Days When he Played Roles Like Tony in West Side Story (1961)
Leland Finally Stops Singing and Declares...
"I'm Back!"
Leland began dancing compulsively in episode 2, breaking the frame of his daughter Laura's photo and cutting his hand in the process. Now Leland is both singing and dancing compulsively, apparently no longer operating on the same wavelength that he once did. This comedic compulsion does not seem entirely out of line with some of the other eccentric behavior in Twin Peaks, but it is a drastic departure for a man considered one of the pillars of the community and the best lawyer in the region.

With Leo Johnson shot and in a coma, the principal suspect of Laura Palmer's murder cannot be questioned. At this point, Agent Cooper and Sheriff Truman are a little overwhelmed with data. How do they direct their investigation now that the town has spiraled out of control?
"These same geese were flying that night."
Leo Johnson's Copy of Flesh World
Another Great Day in L.E. History

Albert Rosenfield Returns to Twin Peaks to Investigate the Shooting of Agent Cooper
Deputy Andy is Anxious and Excited to Warn Cooper and Truman
Unfortunately, Andy Does Not Anticipate a Loose Board
And Andy Runs Headlong into the Board
Andy is Disoriented
Everything Rosenfield has Said About Small-Town Living Seems Accurate
"Another great day in law enforcement history!"
Rosenfield is Right, Since this Serendipitous Accident Revealed Leo Johnson's
Secret Stash of Drugs and Boots
Most directors would have difficulty shifting tone from a horrifically serious murder investigation to classic slapstick humor. But we are playing in the world of David Lynch here, so we can expect the full range of humor and a roller coaster ride of emotions when we watch one of his films. Although these shifts in tone might confuse and trouble the audience at first, the effect is remarkably engaging and grounds Twin Peaks as one of the most strangely real TV shows ever made. Surprising for a show heavily featuring psychic phenomena.
Witty, sarcastic humor tends to dominate modern TV programming, but slapstick frequently occurs in real life, too. But slapstick tends to be relegated to a less classy rung of the humor ladder. We avoid laughing while we are present at these accidents out of empathy for the person experiencing pain, but America's Funniest Home Videos (1990-Present) and its bastard stepchild Jack-Ass (2000-02) were not hit TV programs for nothing.

Donna Hayward and Madeline Ferguson take a strange turn in this scene from their previously dainty, wholesome, and slightly homespun image into more self-assured and aggressive women. Although the investigation into Laura Palmer's life has definitely desensitized the two young women to many things, their shift in behavior seems a little extreme.
Some have gone so far as to theorize that Laura Palmer's sunglasses might in some way be exerting a subtle but powerful psychic influence on the two girls, Laura's spirit rubbing off on them and prompting this sudden behavioral change. Whatever the explanation, the Donna and Maddy seem to have become a little addicted to danger and have become more like Laura through their investigation.
In some ways this would seem to echo Jeffrey Beaumont's descent into hell in Blue Velvet (1986), the dark underworld luring them deeper into trouble. Thankfully both young women avoid going to the extremes that Jeffrey did.
Maddy has a Sudden Urge to Destroy her Glasses and Never Wear them Again
Apparently Out of the Blue, Donna has Begun Smoking, Evidence Against
the Psychic Sunglasses Theory Since Donna Would Have had to Purchase
the Cigarettes at an Earlier Time, Before Having Contact with them
Maddy Informs Donna of her Uncle Leland's Hair Turning White Overnight
Norma Received a Letter in the Mail Addressed with Donna Hayward on the Envelope

Doc Hayward is Concerned with the Condition of One of his Patients
Dr. Jacoby's Healing Process Seems a Little Stunted
Doc Hayward Suspects it is the Hospital Food. The Evil, Evil Hospital Food
that has Sound Effects Implying its is an Evil Force Beyond Our Understanding
Doc Hayward: "Agent Cooper, why don't you tell a psychiatrist about your
broken ribs and torn cartilage."
Cooper Confronts Jacoby with Arrest if he Does Not Reveal How he Came
into Possession of the Other Half of Laura Palmer's Heart Pendant
Jacoby Explains that While Chasing After Leo Johnson, he Stumbled on James
and Donna's Rendezvous in the Woods When they Buried the Locket
Cooper Inquires About Jacques Renault's Murder, Which Took Place Next
to Dr. Jacoby's Hospital Bed Last Night at the Hospital
Jacoby Remembers a Strange Smell of Scorched Engine Oil at the Time of his
Attack that Gave him the Heart Attack and During the Murder of Jacques
In One of the Funniest Moments in the Series, Bobby Visits Shelly, Who Thought
Bobby was Killed by her Husband Leo Last Night
The Two Grunt in Unison as they Pull on Each Other's Hair
For the First Time Shelly Tells Bobby She Loves Him
And in a Character Defining Moment, Bobby Responds in the Affirmative
Back to her, in his Own Uniquely Commitment-Phobic Way
As Bobby Leaves Shelly's Room
The FBI Agents and Sheriff Notice him and are Curious About his Presence
Cooper and Truman Notice Ed Hurley Waiting Anxiously Outside his Wife
Nadine's Hospital Room. Cooper and Ed have a Real Heart to Heart
Ed Begins to Explain How Emotionally Conflicted he Feels About Nadine's Attempt
Cooper Empathizes with Ed, Who Begins Relating the Story of How he Met
and Eventually Married Nadine
Truman Pours Albert a Cup of Hospital Coffee to Distract Albert from his
Normal Tendency to Make Fun of Other People
Then Ed Explains How he Accidentally Shot Nadine's Eye Out
In a Moment of Bonding, Truman and Rosenfeild Understand Each Other
Perfectly as they Overhear the Strange Account of Ed's Shooting
In an Attempt to Avoid Disrupting Ed's Story, Albert Pretends to Cry to Help
Cover his Almost Uncontrollable Fit of Laughter
David Lynch has a Way of Grounding the Spectacular in Realistic Terms
The Psychic Phenomena Touched on in the Series Feels Organic to the Story
What Could Be an Annoying Clue in Another Series, Lynch Makes it Feel Ominous
You Will See a Man in a Smiling Bag
Cooper Remembers What the Giant Spoke to Him in What he Thought was a Simple Hallucination
Agent Cooper Cannot Rationally Explain Away this Coincidence
We covered a little over half of David Lynch's big return to the Twin Peaks. The rest of our analysis of this episode will continue next week. But so far, Lynch has helped reassert the power of the mystical and unexplained phenomena that influence our lives. And Lynch's steady and inspired direction helps bring out the best in every cast member's performance.
Michael Ontkean Receiving Direction from David Lynch
Kyle MacLachlan explained: "David is the keeper of the flame. This is his world. The show is unique because of the combination, the balance, of Mark and David. That uniqueness is not necessarily transferable. It may madden the staff when David directs a segment, because he throws the rules out. But to us actors that freedom is an elixir, a magic potion. It's hard to have it watered down once you've tasted it."
David Lynch Directing on the Set of the Red Room
Next week we will continue our analysis of the two-part second season premiere of Twin Peaks Episode 8. All episodes can be found in an excellent box set: Twin Peaks - The Definitive Gold Box Edition (see commercial for this edition in the video clip embedded below). Twin Peaks can also be found in 720p HD format at the iTunes Store. Many of the episodes can also be viewed for free in lower definition on IMDBCBS, and Fancast.
Twin Peaks Definitive Gold Box Edition

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1 comment:

  1. The opening scene in series 2 with Droolcup & Coop is my favourite scene from Twin Peaks and just about my fav scene from television 'full stop'.

    To open the 2nd series in this way was so audacious and brilliant...I cannot ever see anyone ever doing something like that again.

    Truly remarkable.