Top 10 TWIN PEAKS Moments

PrintE-mail Written by Iain Robertson

It’s one of the biggest, not to mention best cult TV shows of all time, and a firm favourite here at STARBURST HQ. The Blu-ray set released recently was special enough, but the news this week that the show will be coming back to TV has sent us into overdrive! So forgive us for bringing you our Top 10 Twin Peaks moments. Please note that it includes MAJOR SPOILERS for both the series and movie, including the identity (identities?) of Laura’s killer, but as it’s 25 years old, we figure we’re allowed. Let’s rock…


Josie Packard was, to be honest, one of Twin Peak’s less interesting inhabitants. As played by Joan Chen, the successful businesswoman / grieving widow / Sheriff’s love interest / murderess / former prostitute would have been a standout in any other show. But in Twin Peaks, she was one of the town’s more conventional soap opera style characters. That is, until her frankly bonkers death scene.  After a night of passion with her husband’s former business partner Thomas Eckhardt (with whom she conspired to murder her husband), Josie kills him. Then, just as Cooper and Sheriff Truman (Michael Ontkean) burst into the room, she drops dead, seemingly of fright. And then it gets weird. Demonic killer Bob pops up shouting, “What happened to Josie,” the mysterious backwards talking dwarf (or The Man From Another Place to give the entity his correct title) appears, dances on the bed, and then Josie’s spirit seems to get trapped in the wooden door knob of the bedside cabinet. Oh well, if you’re gonna go, go in style.


It’s a small throwaway moment, but one which captures the spirit of the show so perfectly it just had to make the list. When Cooper and Truman visit a local vet as part of their investigation, they find the waiting room taken up not by the usual dogs or cats, but by a fully grown llama. The moment epitomises the show – it’s the kind of thing that could happen in the real world, but just doesn’t. The same goes for most of the town’s residents, or the various eccentric groups of guests who populate the background of its hotel, The Great Northern. Barring the supernatural elements, theoretically most things in the series are plausible, but Twin Peaks is the only place where they actually occur! The scene’s highlight? That’ll be when the llama walks between the two actors mid-conversation, exchanges a stare with Cooper, then the two actors continue, both without missing a beat, and somehow manage to keep a straight face.


The unfairly maligned prequel film Fire Walk With Me upped the weirdness ante considerably, with the movie’s climax – Laura Palmer’s death – proving a suitably nightmarish Lynch masterpiece. Following a rather unpleasant party with Leo, Jacques and Waldo the Myna Bird, Laura and fellow bad girl Ronette Pulaski (in no way named after a well-known director) are abducted by Bob/Leland and taken to an abandoned train car, hotly pursued by one armed man Philip Gerard (in no way a reference to The Fugitive). What follows is a nightmarish sequence, with the killer constantly flitting between Laura’s father Leland and Bob, his attempted possession of Laura, a magic ring and her eventual, brutal death. The following sequence, where Bob/Leland returns to the Black Lodge is equally bizarre, and concludes with an angel visiting Laura in the Red Room, and her bursting into tears of joy; death finally giving her the happiness she was denied in life.


The season one cliffhanger saw an unseen assailant (Josie Packard as it turns out) gun down Agent Cooper in his hotel room. Fortunately for the eternally chirpy FBI agent, Josie had an almost Stormtrooper-like sense of accuracy, and despite shooting him three times at point blank range, none of the bullets did enough damage to put an end to Cooper’s exploits. Season two opens with a wounded Cooper being found by the world’s most decrepit waiter, who’s delivering his night-time cup of warm milk. Ignoring Cooper’s requests for a doctor, the waiter fails to realise anything out of the ordinary is happening, and the two of them proceed to have a nice chat, with Cooper even giving the waiter a somewhat generous given the circumstances tip. And then it gets odd. A giant appears to Cooper in a vision, and offers him some helpful clues such as, “There’s a man in smiling bag,” “Without chemicals he points,” “Leo locked inside a hungry horse,” as well as the immortal, “The owls are not what they seem.” He then tells Cooper he requires medical attention before handily buggering off without so much as dialling 911.


Ok, Twin Peaks did weirder, but the series’ final scene is surreal, not to mention heart-breaking enough, to more than merit a place on this list. After rescuing his girlfriend Annie Blackburn (Heather Graham) from the clutches of the insane Windom Earle and the Black Lodge, Cooper wakes in his hotel room, where he’s been watched over by Sheriff Truman and Doc Hayward. After asking after Annie’s well-being, Cooper announces, naturally, that he needs to brush his teeth. He heads into the bathroom, squeezes toothpaste onto his brush, then empties the rest of the tube into the sink, stares into the mirror, then suddenly headbutts it. The truly shocking bit though is where we see Cooper’s reflection in the shattered mirror. After spending the series hunting and fighting murderous demon Bob, we see the killer’s reflection staring back at Cooper. The possessed, bleeding FBI agent stares at the camera, repeatedly asks “How’s Annie”, before breaking into a laugh and we cut to the end credits. It’s one of the most shocking, memorable and brilliant endings to any show ever, and have left fans desperate to find out what happens to their hero for a quarter of a century.


Ok, so she’s a character, not a moment, but it’s impossible to compile a Twin Peaks top ten without including Catherine E. Coulson’s brilliantly bonkers Log Lady. Lynch first pictured Coulson holding a log when she worked on his 1977 debut movie, Eraserhead, and when Twin Peaks came along he created the role especially for her. It was worth the wait. In a town full of gloriously bizarre locals it takes a lot to stand out, but the Log Lady takes the weirdness to another level. Margaret, to give her her correct name, has a habit of carrying around a log, which may or may not be possessed with the spirit of her dead husband – a lumberjack who died in a fire on their wedding night. Oh, and naturally the log imparts various pearls of wisdom, which Margaret translates with varying degrees of accuracy. And this being Twin Peaks, the log was a key witness to the events leading up to Laura’s murder, meaning we’re treated to the delicious sight of Cooper questioning an inanimate piece of wood. When the series went into syndication, Lynch filmed introductions from the Log Lady for each episode, in which offers her thoughts on subjects as diverse as logs, death masks, dogs, hearts, pie, and other things that had little or nothing to do with the series.


Fire Walk With Me’s most surreal moment came courtesy of this a cameo from the Thin White Duke. In one of Cooper’s few scenes in the film, he informs his boss Gordon Cole (brilliantly played by Lynch himself) that he’s worried about today because of a dream he had. After a bit of Cooper anxiously pacing corridors, the CCTV starts going weird, the lift doors open and out strolls long lost FBI agent Phillip Jeffries, played by none other than David Bowie. After ranting that he’s, “not going to talk about Judy,” (and no, we don’t know who she is either), he offers some clues about Cooper’s eventual fate (see number 6). Jeffries then starts rambling about having “attended one of their meetings,” accompanied by surreal footage of some of the Black Lodge’s inhabitants, including Bob, The Man From Another Place, Mrs Chalfont and her grandson. He then starts screaming and disappears as mysteriously as he arrived. The Missing Pieces on the new Blu-ray set expands his role, offering a more detailed explanation of who he is and what happened to him, but his cameo is bizarre, bonkers, and brilliant.


There’s ways to reveal your killer, and then there’s the David Lynch way to reveal your killer. After teasing viewers for a season and a half as to who killed Laura Palmer - and then only under network pressure, (Lynch never wanted to reveal the killer) – Bob struck again. That Bob was Laura’s killer was never really in doubt. Exactly who and what Bob was though was one of the biggest TV mysteries in many a year. Laura’s drugged mother, Sarah, has visions of a horse in her living room, the Log Lady warns Cooper “there are owls in the Roadhouse,” Julee Cruise performs some of her weird dream pop, Cooper has a vision of the giant, who proclaims, “It is happening again,” and then we cut to the Palmer house. Laura’s grieving father, Leland, stares into the mirror, and we see killer Bob staring back at him. Laura’s cousin, Maddie (played, like Laura, by Sheryl Lee) walks in at the wrong time, and becomes the demonic killer’s latest victim, in a scene that’s still shockingly violent. After teasing us with multiple suspects for half of the show’s run – and expertly duping us into suspecting slimy local businessman Ben Horne - the reveal that Laura had been raped and killed by her own father, formerly one of the show’s most sympathetic characters, is utterly devastating.


Most of the weirder moments in the show came courtesy of the darker, nightmarish sequences, but this scene is a pure delight, and one of the series’ most inspired moments of demented genius. Rather than rely on normal methods of detection, Agent Cooper prefers to use a traditional Tibetan technique involving “mind/body coordination operating hand in hand with the deepest level of intuition,” which, naturally for Cooper, came to him into a dream. This essentially equates to him lecturing his colleagues on the recent history of Tibet, Deputy Hawk wearing oven gloves, copious amounts of coffee and doughnuts, and Cooper throwing rocks at a bottle whilst the names of suspects are read out. It’s frankly bonkers, and one of the most entertaining moments in the show. Considering this little experiment incorrectly results in the finger of blame being pointed at local bad boy Leo Johnson, its usefulness in crime solving is, unfortunately, limited.


What else could be number one? Nobody captures dream logic like David Lynch, and he’s never done it better than this early sequence. It upped the weirdness ante, offered viewers several tantalising, cryptic clues, and best of all, introduced us to The Red Room. One of the manifestations of the otherworldly Black Lodge, its billowing red curtains, migraine inducing zig-zag floor pattern, statues, weird shadows, minimalist furniture, and a dancing, backwards talking dwarf all go together to form one of the most unforgettable images in television history. Agent Cooper goes to bed one night, and has one hell of a dream. Mike (the spirit inhabiting the one-armed man) delivers the fan-favourite “Fire Walk With Me” poem, Bob promises to kill again, and then all of a sudden it’s 25 years later. Cooper’s in The Red Room with The Man From Another Place and a woman, who the diminutive spirit claims is his cousin, who bears an uncanny resemblance to Laura Palmer. After assorted cryptic, backwards spoken utterances from the pair about chewing gum and arms bending back, The Man From Another Place busts out some funky dance moves, whilst his cousin/Laura handily whispers the name of the killer in Cooper’s ear. And yes, he does forget it when he wakes up.

TWIN PEAKS: THE ENTIRE MYSTERY is available now on Blu-ray. The series will return to our screens in 2016.

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