Entertainment Television

‘Twin Peaks’: Welcome back to David Lynch’s weird and wonderful world

By Jim Slotek, Postmedia Network

This image released by Showtime shows Kyle MacLachlan from the revival of "Twin Peaks." The series debuts Sunday at 9 p.m. EDT. (Suzanne Tenner/Showtime via AP)

This image released by Showtime shows Kyle MacLachlan from the revival of "Twin Peaks." The series debuts Sunday at 9 p.m. EDT. (Suzanne Tenner/Showtime via AP)

It was a weirded-out corner of the Northwest, as dictated into a recorder by Agent Dale Cooper to his “home office” mate Diane – “five miles south of the Canadian border, 12 miles west of the state line.”

But Twin Peaks was also a considerable distance west of any normal state of mind.

Cable hadn’t yet usurped network TV in the early ‘90s when David Lynch unleashed his mad fever-dream of a series, about an FBI investigation into the murder of a prom-queen named Laura Palmer (Sheryl Lee), found dead by a river, wrapped in plastic.

From the violence unleashed by the demon BOB, to the disturbing visions and dream sequences with a giant and backwards-talking dwarf, to the “damn fine coffee” and oracle-like utterances of the Log Lady, the two seasons of Twin Peaks was a trip the likes of which TV viewers had never experienced.

“Who killed Laura Palmer?” was a question gone viral before the concept of viral existed, the ‘90s version of the ‘80s’ “Who shot J.R.” In that whole decade, only The Simpsons’ “Who shot Mr. Burns?” would fascinate as strongly (and it spoofed Twin Peaks in the process).

And now, to quote the giant, “It is happening again.”

An 18-episode reboot of the series begins on Showtime, starting May 21, directed by Lynch himself, with most of the original cast, including Kyle MacLachlan’s agent Dale Cooper (with Lynch himself playing Cooper’s boss Gordon Cole), plus Ray Wise (Leland Palmer), Madchen Amick (Shelly Johnson), Russ Tamblyn (Dr. Jacoby) and Sheryl Lee.

Among 217 listed cast members, fellow returnees also include Richard Beymer, David Duchovny, Sherilyn Fenn, David Patrick Kelly, PeFggy Lipton, Harry Dean Stanton and Grace Zabriskie. They will be joined by such newcomers as Jim Belushi, Michael Cera, Richard Chamberlain, Laura Dern, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Tim Roth, Amanda Seyfried, Eddie Vedder and Naomi Watts.

Secrecy has reigned. But fans tend to look to the series finale, in which the ill-fated Agent Cooper was visited by the ghost of Laura Palmer in The Black Lodge, who told him, “I’ll see you again in 25 years,” and assume it picks up that many years later.

However the new Twin Peaks plays out, here from the memory banks are some moments that are stuck in our collective brains.

-“That gum you like is going to come back in style.” Considered one of the weirdest scenes in TV history (and the one Lisa Simpson played out years later in Chief Wiggum’s dream), it introduced the dwarf character called The Man From Another Place (and a spectral appearance by Laura Palmer). In Agent Cooper’s dream, he provides esoteric non-sequiturs (spoken in backwards-talk) and performs an odd jazz-dance. Whatever insight he imparts, Cooper wakes up convinced he knows who Laura’s killer is. A red herring for the viewers, whose patience would be tested.

-“The owls are not what they seem.” A warning from the Giant (Carel Struycken) and presumably received by Major Briggs (Don S. Davis) from outer space via radio. Agent Cooper would have a dream about “the darkness in the woods” that connected the owls to BOB.

-Ronette Pulaski’s flashback. Pulaski (Phoebe Augustine) was a witness to the murder of Laura Palmer, who spent the entire first season in a coma. At the end of the second season premiere, she wakes up and experiences a flashback, with the stringy-haired BOB (Frank Silva, a set decorator whom Lynch promoted to cast member) running at the camera and making unclear violent motions and laughing insanely. Not the most soothing wake-up call.

-“It is happening again.” So warned the giant, and yes, it was, sickeningly violently. Possessed by BOB, Leland Palmer drugged his wife Sarah (Grace Zabriskie) – who’d just been visited by a vision of a white horse – and straightened his tie in front of a mirror, showing us the image of BOB. In came Laura’s lookalike cousin Madeline (Sheryl Lee). Very bad timing. The “dance of death” that followed was one of the most violent scenes in the history of network TV.

-BOB leaves Leland Palmer’s body. In prison for the murder of Madeline and Laura, “Leland” drops the act, and BOB lets it all hang out. Then he departs, leaving the real Leland with agonizing memories of murders committed, and a determination to commit suicide.

-BOB possesses Agent Cooper. Looking to rescue his girlfriend Annie (Heather Graham) from his evil ex-partner Windom Earl (Kenneth Welsh), Agent Cooper enters the Black Lodge and Red Room, has demonic encounters and ultimately trades his soul for Annie’s life.

-The series ends with Agent Cooper in a hospital bed accompanied by Sheriff Truman (Michael Ontkean) and Doc Hayward (Warren Frost). As Agent Cooper brushes his teeth, he sees BOB in the mirror and crazily begins asking, “How’s Annie?” and laughing.

As MacLachlan told Entertainment Weekly about the sequel series, “As we left, evil has established a beachhead in Twin Peaks through Agent Cooper.”

Twin Peaks premieres Sunday, May 21 at 9 p.m. EST on Crave TV.