Lost in the Movies: Twin Peaks at 20

Twin Peaks at 20

Update March 2016: From 2014 to 2016, this post contained a larger directory to ALL of my Twin Peaks work. But I have now moved all of those links to a new page, "The Complete Twin Peaks Directory", and returned this post to its original 2010 form, as a simple lineup of my first episode guide. If you had this bookmarked as a Twin Peaks directory, please change your bookmark to the above link.

Spurred on by Radiator Heaven's declaration of "Twin Peaks week" (the series premiered twenty years ago yesterday) I'm taking a momentary break from my break, to re-present my 2008 episode-by-episode analysis of the groundbreaking TV show. It covered all of season one, the first half of season two (through the conclusion of the murder mystery), and the final episode. I also wrote about the disturbing and powerful prequel film, Fire Walk With Me, and put out a few other, random posts on the series as well. Without further ado, then, I present a centralized nexus for all my "Twin Peaks" pieces:

The top picture came from Jeremy Richey's always eye-catching blog, Moon in the Gutter. Check out his post on the show. (Update: images for each episode added to directory in August 2019)

This post was originally published on The Sun's Not Yellow.


Adam Zanzie said...

Woa! I'm almost afraid to start looking at these individual episode summaries, since I only just watched all of Twin Peaks last summer. I was seriously hooked on the show, but haven't watched any of it since. Maybe I should buy the Gold Box set?

All the same, I'm afraid to rewatch the show again because I'm worried that the magic of the originality of each episode will already have been worn off. I'm not sure the magic would still be there once you know what to expect. Am I wrong?

One thing I hated about the second season: the lame attempts at humor. The biting sensibility of the first reason was replaced by humor that was infantile, juvenile, and just plain crass. Like when Bobby and the Madchken Amick character (what's her name again?) try to "raise" Leo Johnson while he's in a coma. Those scenes with the birthday parties and the spoon-feeding were just too much!

MovieMan0283 said...

Adam, in a way no, but the underlying tragedy only grows in significance and the sense of mystery deepens because Lynch's mysteries are only superficially solvable, anyway...

Have you seen Fire Walk With Me? If so, what did you think? I thought it was a remarkable exculpation of what was going on beneath the cheerfully ironic surface of the show. I was troubled by it as well but thought it was ultimately more powerful and more honest than the series.

Anyway, my episode analyses were written immediately after viewing the series for the first time; I went back and watched them all again, writing up a piece after each one. So in that sense they might serve as a good accompaniment to a re-viewing.

I also tried to focus on what different writers and directors brought to the series - how the themes, characters, and style of the film could be pulled in subtly different directions depending on who was helming the given episode. That's also the sort of thing you only notice when taking a step back and watching it all again.

The "humor" of the second season was appallingly bad. I've never such a sharp, incredibly obvious decline in quality on a TV show - it was like night and day. That's why I skipped from the conclusion of the Laura Palmer story to the very last episode of the series, which is actually one of the best - probably THE best, actually. The rest of the second season, particularly the dreadful middle section (things get slightly better after that, but still nowhere close to the earlier heights) is not just forgettable self-parody it's unbelievably embarrassing.

Just Another Film Buff said...

Whoa. Massive. MovieMan. I guess I must apologize for my long absence at TSNY. Gave up reading for some time. I'll be back soon. I'm especially excited to read your reviews of Elephant (which I don't like, yet) and Tropical Malady (which I love)!


J.D. said...

Thanks for the shout-out! This is an impressive collection and I can remember when I first discovered your blog, being immediately drawn to these TP-related posts. Well done!

The show really holds up well and I've even softened on the more awful parts of season 2 which I guess can happen when enough time passes. Even at its worst, TWIN PEAKS was better than a lot of show on TV today. It really paved the way for so many shows since and it's a shame that Lynch doesn't try another crack at TV with a network like AMC or HBO which might be more receptive and he wouldn't have to attract as huge a demographic. Fo course, after having been burned again with MULHOLLAND DR. I can certainly understand his hesitancy to go back to TV.

MovieMan0283 said...

JAFB, it's a good time to take a break as I'll be posting very infrequently for the next few months. (See the "I'll Be Back" post for more details.) Nonetheless, I will continue posting Best of the 21st Century? reviews on Wonders in the Dark, albeit once every two weeks instead of once a week for the time being.

J.D., almost every major series now on TV (well, aside from popular but thoroughly conventional stuff like the Charlie Sheen show) can be directly traced back to the influence of Twin Peaks. It's really remarkable - everything from the detective shows to the quirky comedies to the sci-fi mystery shows like Lost. Of course, that's not surprising as it works both ways - TP was very much a synthesis of television's 40-year history up to that point, albeit with an ironic twist.

James M. Barrie said...


I'm planning to watch the whole series for the first time, and I'm REALLY excited (Blue Velvet e Mulholland Dr. are among my favorite films ever).
But, even though I know the series is not exactly about the mistery and answering the question "Who killed Laura Palmer", I'm still afraid of bumping into some spolers around the web.

So, I gotta ask: are your comments on each episode spoiler-free? Like, can I read them immediatily after watching an episode? I really like when I can read an individual analysis of what I just saw.

Anyway, if that's not the case, I'll catch up with everything when I finish watching.

Thanks for the great blog!

Joel Bocko said...

James, thanks for the question. I designed the episode guides to be spoiler-free (as far as subsequent episodes go), with people like you in mind. Some of the comments on the post reference later developments, so I wouldn't read those, but if you read my episode review after watching each episode, you should be safe.

I may sometimes hint at developments (in the general arc of the show, in character turning points, in revelations, etc.) without giving away the nature of those developments. For example: the show gets better/worse at this point (without saying why, at least in any way that would involve serious spoilers), or this particular mystery is eventually resolved/unresolved (without saying how).

Anyway, I'd love to hear your own thoughts on the episodes after you watch them. Feel free to leave comments - though I am away from the internet much of the time now, they will be published & responded to when I see them.

Hope you enjoy.

Joel Bocko said...

Just to clarify: when I wrote "Some of the comments on the post reference later developments," I meant that some of the readers' responses (including my own) found underneath the post may have spoilers, but the bodies of the posts themselves do not.

Joel Bocko said...

Oh and one more minor note: in a few of the posts I include You Tube videos. At the end of those videos, as is usually the case with You Tube clips, a series of links to other related videos shows up on the screen. Sometimes the titles of these related videos contain spoilers. Fair warning...

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