Welcome to our biweekly roundtable of Twin Peaks where we are working our way through every. Single. Episode. Some of us are regulars and some of us newbies, but none of our experiences are the same. So get yourself a damn fine cup of coffee, watch along with us, and feel free to chime in on the comments section. Say anything you like, our log does not judge.
Ah yes, it’s finally here, the old nightmare that I can never fully wake up from—the middle of Twin Peaks season two. With Laura Palmer’s murder solved, the show suddenly had nowhere to go and crashed and burned. The book Reflections: An Oral History of Twin Peaks has a very thorough write-up of everything that went wrong behind the scenes: David Lynch and Mark Frost were distracted by other projects (including Lynch’s film Wild at Heart, which included a few familiar Peaks-y faces), the show had no series Bible, and writers were forced to nix the planned Cooper/Audrey romance due to Kyle Maclachlan’s (and, according to Sherilyn Fenn, Lara Flynn Boyle’s) objections. What followed one of the biggest mysteries in television history are a slew of awkward, goofy, wheel-spinning plotlines—none of them work, none of them feel like Twin Peaks.
I hadn’t seen these episodes in over a decade, and I hoped they would be better than their infamous reputation. I vaguely remembered the plotlines people groaned about—James stupidly romancing a femme fatale, Dick adopting a possibly murderous child, Josie forced to play the role of Catherine’s submissive servant, etc. I had the impression that these would be spaced out over the remaining half of the season, but I was shocked to discover they all happen at once. Without Lynch and Frost, Twin Peaks immediately became a parody of itself. Watching these episodes is like falling down the waterfall in the opening credits and being crushed by a surge of shitty writing.
James on the run is accurately considered the nadir of Twin Peaks. Following the adventures of anyone outside the titular town would be a mistake, but with James it’s catastrophic. He dumbly wanders into a bad TV-movie adaptation of Double Indemnity, and while the attempt to get back to the show’s noir influences should be a welcome change of pace from the soap opera buffoonery back home, James absolutely does not have the charisma necessary for this story to work. Thank BOB we’re doubling up these episodes and can get through this all the quicker.
The Little Nicky storyline is … sigh. Let’s all look at this screencap and think about our sins. Also, Agent Cooper wearing flannel is an atrocity. Let’s never speak of it again.
Fire walk with me a second. Dick says, “I believe that Little Nicky may in fact be thedevil.” Could Little Nicky have been the inspiration for Problem Child (and, to a lesser extent, Little Nicky)? Think about it. This is an adopted child, there are behavioral issues afoot, an unprepared father figure, and devilishness. Then you have Little Nicky, which is about a devil called Little Nicky. It’s all coming together.
I was in tears laughing over Dick and Nicky wearing the same outfits from the department store.
There’s some heavy fish/sex correlation going on. Cooper avoids Audrey and goes on a fishing trip, Hawk says Dougie’s weddings are seasonal like the salmon migration, and the butt skunk lure is supposed to distract horny salmon. Lots of fish and sex going on here. These episodes are so hard to talk about. It’s a whole lot of nothing going on.
Side note: Do the Hornes live in the Great Northern? I don’t remember them ever being shown in a specific living space. Ben is almost always in his office, but where does Audrey actually live?