Lost in the Movies (formerly The Dancing Image): TWIN PEAKS First Time Viewer Companion: S1E7 "Realization Time"

Monday, September 10, 2018

TWIN PEAKS First Time Viewer Companion: S1E7 "Realization Time"


These short Twin Peaks episode responses are spoiler-free for upcoming episodes, presented here for first-time viewers who want to read a veteran viewer's perspective on each entry while remaining in the dark about what's to come. They were first published as comments on a Reddit rewatch in 2016. (This is referred to as "Episode 6" in some places, including the DVD/blu-ray, but is "S1E7" on Netflix.)

This episode is a small jewel in the crown of season 1. It advances all the plots, exciting us for what's to come, while also allowing us to relax and savor the moment. In a sense, it's the best Twin Peaks could be as a "tune in weekly" serialized TV show. Or maybe it's more accurate to call this storytelling form a miniseries: we are building to a climax, and it's hard to imagine how anything could follow whatever is about to happen (or how this sort of building tension could be repeated and sustained over a full-length season). This is really where Mark Frost's hand can be felt most strongly at the tiller, guiding his various narrative ships into port (to mix metaphors), even though he didn't write this one directly (it's Harley Peyton's shining moment, despite the funeral episode getting him nominated for an Emmy). It's hard to think of a single character (maybe Pete only?) who doesn't pull double or even triple duty in several crisscrossing storylines. That's one thing I love about the first season: the writers really weave a web that makes the entire community feel interconnected.

At the same time, as I watch this for the umpteenth time I realize how much I'm appreciating atmospheric locales, character tics, sharp dialogue, and musical cues rather than really hanging onto "what's gonna happen next?" suspense and excitement. How could I? I've practically got the episode memorized at this point. So while I come to praise season 1, I also have to recognize that if this was the plateau Twin Peaks reached and stopped at, I doubt I would have rewatched, let alone read, discussed, and written about it as much as I have. The episode is a gem not only because it plays so well the first time, but because it's embedded in a larger, much more complex tapestry, even more fascinating if less perfect. This is one of the most solid hours of the whole show, and that solidity creates a firm foundation the more ethereal elements to come.


Next: "The Last Evening" • Previous: "Cooper's Dreams"


Want more? Here's my other coverage of the episode:


More for first-time viewers (SPOILER-FREE)
(but be careful of image/link recommendations at the end of Tumblr posts)




For those who've already seen the full series & film
(SPOILERS IN THE FOLLOWING LINKS)

The comments section below may contain spoilers.

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