Lose yourself in David Lynch and Mark Frost's murder mystery-soap opera, which unfolds, in one character's words, "like a beautiful dream and terrible nightmare all at once".
Twin Peaks devotees, who have kept the mystery alive on myriad Web sites, will jump at the chance to return to the spooky town that might just be the anti-Mayberry. Rarely syndicated, the Twin Peaks television series has lost none of its quirky and queasy power to get under your skin and haunt your dreams. So brew up a pot of some "damn fine coffee," dig into some cherry pie, and lose yourself in David Lynch and Mark Frost's murder mystery and soap opera, which unfolds, in one character's words, "like a beautiful dream and terrible nightmare all at once." Twin Peaks was a pop culture phenomenon for one season at least, until the increasingly bizarre twists and maddening teases so confounded audiences that they lost interest in just who killed Laura Palmer (Sheryl Lee). This series was a career peak for most of its eclectic ensemble cast, including Kyle MacLachlan as straight-arrow FBI Special Agent Dale Cooper, Michael Ontkean as local Sheriff Harry S. Truman, Sherilyn Fenn as bad girl Audrey Horne, Peggy Lipton as waitress Norma Jennings, and Catherine Coulson as the Log Lady. Alumni enjoying current success include Lara Flynn Boyle ("The Practice"), as good girl Donna Hayward, and Miguel Ferrer ("Crossing Jordan"), hilarious as forensics expert Albert Rosenfield (who has absolutely no "social niceties"). -Donald Liebenson
"Don't search for all the answers at once," says a giant appearing to FBI Agent Cooper (Kyle MacLachlan) in a vision. "A path is formed by laying one stone at a time." In Twin Peaks, that's easier said than done. Over the course of two seasons, that path went nowhere and everywhere. "Bureau guidelines, deductive technique, Tibetan method, and luck" don't cut it here. It also takes a little magic, which is what makes David Lynch and Mark Frost's bracingly original serial drama one of TV's ultimate trips, and still the stuff that fever dreams are made of. With the DVD release of season 2, die-hard Peakers can rekindle their obsession with this macabre, maddening, sinister, and surreal series set in the rural Pacific Northwest community whose bucolic surroundings hide "things dark and heinous." (If you're new to Twin Peaks, best to get the lay of the land by watching the brilliant feature-length pilot and the instant-cult-classic first season, which capture Twin at its peak.) Three main mysteries drive season 2. First, there's the still (!) unresolved murder of Laura Palmer (Sheryl Lee). Then, there's the question of who shot Cooper in the season 1 cliffhanger. And finally, ultimately: What about Bob? With its dream logic, bizarre behavior, and nightmare imagery, much of what transpires goes right by you. Some subplots (Sherilyn Fenn's sexpot Audrey held captive at the bordello, One-Eyed Jacks) are easier to latch on to than others (amnesiac Nadine believes she's an 18-year-old high schooler) And, yes, that's a pre-X-Files David Duchovny as Dennis/Denice, a transsexual DEA agent.
In Twin Peaks' second season, the truth is out there, but we are entering A Few Good Men territory. When Laura's killer is at last revealed in episode 16, no doubt many will not be able to handle the truth. The teases, red herrings, and out-and-out gonzo looniness will try the patience of viewers with a more conventional bent. But, as Cooper observes at one point, "All in all, [it's] a very interesting experience," with enough doppelgangers, allusions, pop-culture references, and in-jokes to keep bloggers buzzing. If, for example, you get any pleasure from recognizing Hank Worden, who played Mose in The Searchers, as "the world's most decrepit room service waiter," then Twin Peaks may just make you feel right at home.
All Episodes from Season 1 and 2 plus:
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