IT’S HAPPENING, IT’S HAPPENING! Twin Peaks comes back THIS Sunday, and we don’t know what to do with our hands. The cult-loved show, directed by David Lynch, is back on Showtime, this Sunday May 21st at 9 p.m., after 25 years for its third season — so needless to say, we’re excited. And in preparation for everything Twin Peaks, we’re taking a look back at the first two seasons to refresh our knowledge.
Also, it should be noted that the whole show is extremely confusing. So if you’re confused, that’s fine (that’s kind of the point). But beware: If you haven’t seen the show, you’re in for some major spoilers with our recap. But if you’re ready, make yourself a damn fine cup of coffee, grab a slice of cherry pie, and read on.
Twin Peaks takes place in the town of Twin Peaks, Washington.
The show explores the idea of small town life and it’s hidden secrets. It begins with the body of a local high schooler, Laura Palmer, covered in plastic, washing up on the shores of the local lumber mill. Twin Peaks is shaken by this, and the local sheriff, Harry S. Truman (Michael Ontkean), calls for backup from the FBI.
In comes one of the greatest characters in television history, Agent Dale Cooper, who has a heart of gold, the slickest hair known to man, and a love of pie and coffee so deep, it will warm your heart. He’s a staple at the Double R Diner while he resides in Twin Peaks, and is constantly saying how “damn fine” their coffee and pie is.
In the first season of the show, which centers around finding Laura’s killer, we also learn a lot about Laura.
Like the fact she wasn’t as perfect as she seemed. Laura was into drugs and ended up as a sex worker at One Eyed Jacks, a brothel owned by her classmate Audrey Horne’s (Sherilyn Fenn) father, Ben Horne ( Richard Beymer).
Cooper’s methods to solve Laura’s murder are… unorthodox. He’s vaguely psychic (although they don’t use that terminology on the show), and his dreams often help him solve cases. In one dream, he’s visited by an interdimensional being named Mike, who lives in the body of a one-armed man named Phillip Gerard (Al Strobel). Mike tells Cooper that it was a demonic entity, which can also inhabit bodies, named Bob (Frank Silva) who killed Laura. Then suddenly, Cooper’s dream changes and he’s 25 years older, surrounded by red curtains and checkered floors.
The above is the Red Room in the Black Lodge, a portal between dimensions that hosts some not-so-savory characters.
There’s a dancing little person in the room, who tells Agent Cooper that the gum he likes is coming back into style. Laura’s also there, and she whispers into the agent’s ear before he wakes up. Thankfully, he knows interpreting this dream will help him solve this case.
In trying to figure out who killed Laura, there are many twists and turns — a giant, plenty of drama, and a few leads on who the murderer is; but to no avail. We don’t find out who the murderer is until the second season, when it’s revealed that yes, it is Bob … but that body he was inhabiting was that of Laura’s father, Leland Palmer (Ray Wise). Bob had been sexually abusing Laura, against Leland’s will, for years, which led to her heavy drug use (much of this is also recorded in Laura’s diary and talked about in Fire Walk With Me, a prequel to Twin Peaks which came out after the show went off air.)
Once you find out that Leland/Bob is the killer in the second season, things start to take shape in a different way.
Agent Cooper’s former FBI partner, Windom Earle (Kenneth Welsh), comes to town and makes his life a living hell — literally. We find out Cooper fell in love with Windom Earle’s wife Caroline while protecting her. This drove Windom Earle so mad that he killed Caroline, who died in Cooper’s arms, and pretty much sent him off the deep end. Windom comes to Twin Peaks in an effort to take hold of the power of the Black Lodge, and in the process starts a vindictive game with Agent Cooper; a metaphorical chess game where people are the pieces and each time one of Cooper’s is captured, they’re killed.
Around this time, a new resident of Twin Peaks makes an appearance.
The ever-lovable Annie (Heather Graham), who Cooper soon falls in love with. She enters the “Miss Twin Peaks” contest, which is when everything pretty much goes to shit. When she wins, Windom Earle kidnaps her and takes her to the Black Lodge, effectively reeling in Agent Cooper, who comes to save her.
Like the selfless, loving human that Dale Cooper is, he tells Earle he’s willing to give his own soul for Annie to survive. But then comes Bob, who says that Earle cannot make that call and only he can, and then bam! He kills Earle. In the final episode of Season 2, we see that Annie and Cooper both survive. And in the last scene, we see Cooper looking in the mirror at his reflection; but instead of himself, he sees Bob.
And in case you really want to be prepared for Season 3, here are some characters you should also be familiar with.
Donna Hayward (Lara Flynn Boyle) is one of Laura’s best friends before she’s killed. She becomes obsessed with finding out who killed her friend, and ends up falling in love with Laura’s lover, James Hurley (James Marshall).
Shelly Johnson (Mädchen Amick) is a waitress at the Double R Diner who dropped out of high school to marry Leo Johnson. Leo is an extremely abusive man who works as a trucker, and smuggles cocaine across the Canadian border into Twin Peaks. Oh! And he has connections to Laura’s death. Leo tries to kill Shelly after finding out about her affair with Bobby, tying her up at the local lumber mill before setting the place on fire. Shelly is only saved by Catherine Martell (Piper Laurie), who runs the mill.
Leo ends up in a coma after being shot later on in the season, and Shelly and Bobby decide to keep him alive so they can commit insurance fraud. Leo ends up abducted by Windom Earle, and is left for “dead” at the end of the second season.