Lost in the Movies: TWIN PEAKS First Time Viewer Companion: S1E4 "Rest in Pain"

TWIN PEAKS First Time Viewer Companion: S1E4 "Rest in Pain"

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 3" in some places, including the DVD/blu-ray, but is "S1E4" on Netflix.)

With this episode, I think we reach the limits of "watching the town in the wake of Laura's death". By now, we're pretty well introduced to everyone. Coop has visited all the relevant townspeople to gather information about Laura and has the lay of the land. We're now getting ready to move forward on individual stories, as we see with both Norma's visit from the parole officer, and the Bookhouse Boys' drug sting operation - both plots that were seeded in early episodes but never really started to go anywhere till now. At the same time we haven't really wrapped (pardon the pun) with the immediate aftermath of the Palmer murder - we need to put her in the ground, providing a last(?) opportunity for the community-members to grieve: Bobby, Johnny, Jacoby, Leland, James all get opportunities to express their pain (does Leland ever!).

So while some see this as the beginning of a new story cycle, following the explosive dream climax, I see it as the conclusion of a phase before we begin a new path in earnest. Here is where the sense of frustration and inertia reaches its breaking point, and where Coop's prep work finishes: soon it will be time to launch a full-on investigation (or several) but today the moment of shock must close itself out. Everything's on hold until the funeral has concluded, and even then its cries of despair and anger echo into the evening.

This is also the first appearance of Harley Peyton, who would author more solo teleplays than anyone else, and more contributions overall than anyone except Mark Frost. His arch humor and deft touch with characterization would help to define the show's distinct flavor, and he came up with some of the best, most well-remembered bits in the series. Albert in particular bears his mark - worth noting is that this episode was actually shot before the previous one (Lynch was busy with Wild at Heart for much of season one, and unavailable to direct his episode till late in production). So this was actually Miguel Ferrer's first crack at Albert. It's a hell of a debut.

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

More for first-time viewers (SPOILER-FREE)
(but be careful of video recommendations at the end of YouTube videos)

+ My "Journey Through Twin Peaks" chapter on this episode, from 2014:

+ My original episode guide for this episode, from 2008

For those who've already seen the full series & film

My essay accompanying my ranking of this episode (#13), from 2015

The comments section below may contain spoilers.

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