Twin Peaks, Washington, welcomes you.
In early February this year, I finally got around to viewing the unusual, influential, and critically acclaimed American television series, Twin Peaks, from the maverick minds of Mark Frost and David Lynch, and it has been a memorable viewing, indeed.
TWIN PEAKS showcases the quintessential small American town, with its lively diners and roadhouses, quasi-luxurious hotels, flourishing yet troubled sawmills, active sheriff stations, and isolated backwoods cabins.
Everyone is already familiar with the primary storyline, so I will not write of it here; everyone knows at least one defining image from Twin Peaks, the main one being the iconic Red Room, a place that I will let viewers find out more about for themselves. Before I watched Twin Peaks, I wondered why the relatively simple plotline, the F.B.I. investigation of a murdered girl in a small town, had been stretched to two lengthy series. Upon viewing it, I can see why a feature-length movie was inadequate. (There was a prequel film, Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me, released in 1992 after the second series ended.) Not only was it a murder-mystery, but, in Frost and Lynch’s hands, it became a fantastical and unholy gem of occulted surreality. Admittedly, it loses quite a bit of steam during the second season once the killer’s identity is discovered and lesser and, in some cases, cringe-worthy soap opera subplots begin to arise, but it regains some strength when we return to that familiar red room inhabited by that familiar beautiful spectral girl and the backwards-speaking Dwarf in the red suit.
The iconic Black Lodge/Red Room sequence, where strange and terrible things are revealed.
With the imminent broadcast of the new third series of Twin Peaks, twenty-six years after the series ended prematurely, the show has been hovering all over the news and media like a vengeful ghost. I seldom watch television, but the eighteen episodes of the new series, all written by Frost and directed by Lynch, are a must-watch for connoisseurs of Lynch and the small Washington mill town, a town that, like Santa Teresa in Roberto Bolano’s posthumously published tome, 2666, acts as a magnet attracting the strange and dangerous and criminal. This is what happens when standard soap opera drama and murder-mystery is commandeered by the cabbalistic imagination of an Alejandro Jodorowsky or the nature mysticism of a John Muir. This, then, is a town populated by lachrymose and bumbling police officers, furtive and rebellious youths, scheming business owners, exotic femme fatales, neurotic eyepatch-wearing housewives with superhuman strength, Hawaii-fixated psychiatrists, doddering bank clerks and hotel waiters, tottering mayors who threaten to kill but are then enthralled by younger women, braindead truckers, stoic yet sagacious military generals, reclusive flower-keepers, sophisticated ”British” gentlemen who are disliked by local wildlife, transgender F.B.I. agents, dancing fathers who can change from mawkish to joyous to sinister in the blink of an eye, shamanic F.B.I. agents with the metabolism of a bumblebee, sulky women who divine through logs that act as close spars, murderous F.B.I. agents who become hegemonic occultists seeking forbidden power, magic grandsons and creamed corn-loathing grandmothers, one-armed shoe salesmen who are possessed by obliging spirits, supernatural giants that impart cryptic intimations, long-haired evil spirits that feed on suffering and pain, petroglyphs in ancient caves that hide maps to other dimensions, eerie poems with esoteric significance, some healthy inspirations from such arcane sources as Tibetan, Native American, and Theosophical mysticism, and stacks of donuts and ”damn fine” cups of coffee. Have I missed anyone or anything? This is a town that only minds who have gazed into the Black Lodge and its nefarious denizens could have founded, and I look to forward to seeing it again.
Good cop and bad cop. Agent Dale Cooper confronts his former partner and mentor, Windom Earle, in the spirit-haunted Black Lodge.