The Twin Peaks Log: S.1 E. 2

Twin Peaks title screen cropped, Mark Frost, David Lynch, CBS, 1990

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.

Note: The first installment of Twin Peaks is commonly referred to as The Pilot while the second episode aired is considered to be Episode One. We will be designating each episode using this criteria. The third installment of Twin Peaks is Episode Two.


So, newbies — when everyone said this show was weird, were you expecting that? It’s been 24 years, and I’m not sure anything that bizarre has aired on a major network again.

My favorite character has arrived: Albert Rosenfield, wonderfully played by Miguel Ferrer. He doesn’t get a ton to do in this episode, but…is it a spoiler to say he’s in future episodes?

I’m finding it difficult to talk about the show much without giving spoilers. What do y’all think? Do you have any major suspects?

By the way, it was just announced that David Lynch and Mark Frost are bringing a new Twin Peaks series to Showtime in 2016. We have amazing timing, Log Ladies! There are no spoilers at this link, but for you newbies, I’d advise not reading anything about this. Major spoilers are very likely in discussions of the show, and what the new series might involve.


NEW TWIN PEAKS, YA’LL. I’ve been a Twin Peaks fan for over a decade, and I never thought it would happen. Of course, our coverage of the final episode of season 2 is a long way away, but I’m thrilled I won’t have to end my piece with “and then the show was canceled forever, and all my dreams died.” LET’S ROCK!

But back to season 1, which begins with an awkward Horne family dinner. Twin Peaks has a fascinating relationship with food. There’s Cooper’s love of coffee and cherry pie, of course, and now we meet Jerry Horne (aka the “WARRIOOOORS! COME OUT AND PLAAAAAY-AAAAY!” guy) and his beloved sandwich. Was there ever a Twin Peaks cookbook? There had to be one, right? Even the Horne brothers’s names, Ben and Jerry, call to mind the ice cream company.

Nadine’s determined to make her silent drape runners. Were noisy drape runners an epidemic in the U.S. in 1990?

I love Cooper’s unorthodox investigation method. It’s such a quietly funny scene that reveals a lot about Cooper (this method won’t be the only thing he gets from a dream) and the motley crew of the Twin Peaks police force. Whenever I watch this scene, I remember Scott C.’s adorable painting of Cooper and company. And then they’re soon shaken up by the arrival of Miguel Ferrer’s Albert Rosenfeld. Ferrer is always excellent at playing assholes, but there are really great Albert scenes coming up soon.

audrey twin peaks dancing
twin peaks, music in the airTwin Peaks
loves food, and it loves dancing. There are three very different dancing sequences in this episode: Audrey’s dreamy, spaced out dance at the diner (yes, I get that way when I’m thinking about Agent Cooper, too); Leland Palmer crying and dancing with Laura’s picture; and finally, the dancing Man from Another Place.

How amazing, how audacious and surreal, is this scene? By the end of this episode, what had been an occasionally kooky, but straightforward mystery series suddenly becomes much more. Cooper’s belief in the power of his dreams seemed like a charming quirk at first, but his dreams are integral to the deepening mysteries and mythology of Twin Peaks. Is Cooper psychic? What is the Red Room? Who are Mike, Killer BOB, and the Man from Another Place? What do the words “Fire Walk with Me” mean? There’s an enormous amount of strange new information to take in, and it hits you like a fever dream. Even now, 25 years later, it still seems surprising that this aired on a major network.

(Less impressive is Cooper’s old age makeup. Thankfully, Kyle Maclachlan has aged much more gracefully.)

Cooper’s dream of The Red Room is probably Twin Peaks’ most iconic scene, and it’s been referenced and parodied many times. The Simpsons parodied it in the “Who Shot Mr. Burns?” two-parter, and even Scooby Doo paid a visit to Twin Peaks.


Holy shit everyone, new Twin Peaks coming. Yes to what Annie said. If you’re a total newbie, avoid all spoilers for your own sake. Also, someone pinged me with the news about the new season announcement while I was watching the Red Room scene. Needless to say, I had a heart attack.

An aspect of David Lynch’s work that has always hooked me is that he said in an interview that he does not base his ideas off of dreams that he’s had:

I don’t remember my dreams too much. I hardly have ever gotten ideas from nighttime dreams. But I love daydreaming, and dream logic and the way dreams go. They are an influence because of just the way they are. One of the beautiful powers of cinema is taking that logic.

agent cooper, bottles, twin peaks, consciously develops his narrative and visual ideas and they do not primarily develop in his unconscious dreams. But, the dream sequences in Twin Peaks (i.e. the Red Room and later scenes) and Mulholland Drive feel so real. He has this fantastic ability to depict dreamscapes, but it’s all very purposeful and thought out. It’s beautiful. I love everything about Agent Cooper’s dream, and I love the scene with Cooper’s divining technique equally as much.

Really, right now I’m too excited about the new season to say anything more. But if you haven’t been rewatching (or watching it for the first time) with us, jump on board. We’re only three installments in, people! Let’s have a worldwide party on premiere night.

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Romona Williams

Romona Williams

Romona Williams is an ex-librarian, current tutor, and constant writer. She can usually be found in antiquarian bookstores, curiosity shops, and carnivals after dark.

4 thoughts on “The Twin Peaks Log: S.1 E. 2

  1. When I first stumbled across Twin Peaks on Netflix (and Netflix was all you will love this!), I barely knew of it in the cultural imagination, but I started watching it and was just blown away like how did a television show in the 90s do this sort of surrealism and the way it deployed a certain soap opera style at the same time – just like whoa. What a mash-up. I think that’s what like Claire said makes noir earnest.


    Okay, the scene with the pebble tossing. It’s perfect.

    It starts like a scene from Monk. It’s exactly like Monk. And Monk is calm and homely and homey, like Murder She Wrote or Columbo (which had its directorial moments, but) neither of which are surreal or edgy or push any limits. Dale Cooper sets up what he’s going to do and I get it. I understand that he’s testing himself, to see what he “truly thinks”, trial by subconscious. I see where the scene is going and I start to wonder at once how many tosses it’s going to take before the bottle gets hit. If it takes one, that’s not enough. It doesn’t allow full exhibition of the concept of this test. Two, also — it’s not enough to have one miss and the one hit. But three? Three would feel just right, but I know that because i know there is “the rule of three”. Three feels good. It’s a tried & true aesthetic choice.

    So I start to think “but is a show so heavily invested in surrealism and absurdity going to feel OK, playing by the rules? Three is such an OBVIOUS number of throws for it to take.”

    It takes three throws. Leo is totally suss. Then it takes three more for the bottle to get smashed, a perfect regular comforting familiar three + three, with escalation after the latter. I’m so at home. The viewer is comfortable. So I think about why Twin Peaks decided to go with this comfortable three rule, and I realise that of course it’s fine with that: without “realism” there can be no “surrealism”; without rules there can be no rule breaking, and without boundaries they can’t be tested. Familiarity separates surrealism from the abstract! Of course! Dali melted them, but he did use the incredibly normal, common objects “clocks”.

    Gosh, the confidence and panache of the thing. Cooper’s post-morning hang note about Marilyn Monroe in the pilot leading so smoothly to his apparently honest enjoyment of Audrey’s company, that goddamn introductory monologue that was 100% noir evolved into these foamy gorgeous fall colours (tulip orange through plum purple with that boundless forest green), noir without self-hate or deprecation or *crooked* confidence that means the noir narrator is so rarely actually talking TO anybody. Noir made earnest!



      But yeah, they do a good job of keeping you just balanced enough to keep going, even with all the weirdness. They’re biding their time, waiting for that dream sequence to blow up everything. It also makes you consider whether Cooper is actually a competent detective. If I saw someone do the rock-throwing exercise in a true crime documentary, I’d be out of there because nobody should let this nut be an official representative of anything. But in Twin Peaks, they show you Cooper’s apparent eccentricity and it only stands out a little in the midst of the other characters’ weird quirks. And then the dream comes along and it makes you think, wait a minute: maybe he’s absolutely right and that’s just how things work in this world.

      1990 TV wasn’t exactly jam-packed with supernatural procedurals. Shows with fantasy elements either were very upfront about it — Highway to Heaven is explicitly about an angel running around helping people, no mystery there — or grounded in a certain reality — maybe something spooky happened at Halloween or something magical at Christmastime. People didn’t really know what to make of all this, but they were interested (at least for a while).

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