published: Mon, 28-Apr-2008 | updated: Mon, 28-Apr-2008
A little over three weeks ago I finished watching the complete Twin Peaks (at least the episodes that appeared on TV, I haven't watched the movie). Oh boy, did this ever bring back some memories from 1990 and 1991.
Back then I was designing and writing a Swaps Trading system for Deutsche Bank's Swaps Desk in London, and the mornings after a Twin Peaks episode — especially the first series — always resulted in lots of discussion about what it all meant. What were the allusions, what did they mean, who is a pawn begin moved and who is a mover, but most of all who did it and what did the episode reveal about who that was.
And then I got the opportunity to go over to Seattle for the GeTUGether conferences organized by the Turbo User Group, that is no more. There of course I met the TurboPower people for the first time, which led eventually to my job there. I also met Jeff Duntemann and his wife Carol for the first time there as well. And of course, on the off days, I had to go find Snoqualmie Falls and North Bend, just to say I'd been.
A quick plot synopsis: Laura Palmer's naked body is found by the lake at Twin Peaks wrapped in polythene. Who did it? The same day, the FBI turn up in the guise of Special Agent Dale Cooper. He starts uncovering clues, discovering details about Laura's final few hours, meeting the locals. As we're led into the depths and horrors of Twin Peaks, it seems that everyone has something to hide, no one is telling the truth.
Notice I said "first series" back there. In re-watching all 30 episodes. one after the other, bam, bam, bam, it's immediately obvious that the first series, and the first, I don't know, 4 or 5 episodes of the second, were the best. Best in a lot of ways: the ambiguity about who it could be, the characters and their relationships, the quirks, the humor, the horror, the David Lynch moments. But as soon as it was revealed who the killer was, it all got incredibly tedious. The humor got tedious, the storylines were tedious, and you didn't really care any more.
(Regarding second series storylines... Apart from the joke of James Hurley as James Dean going to find himself on his motorbike, what the heck was the Evelyn Marsh storyline there for? Ditto the tedious drawn out joke about the stupid kid that Dick Tremayne and Andy want to look after to catch the heart of Lucy. OK, ditto Dick Tremayne, period. And I think the entire storyline of Leo Johnson in the second series was just to get back at Eric Da Re for having such a daft name.)
Actually, it was obvious watching the series this time around that each episode occurs on succeeding days in "Twin Peaks time". I can't say that ever struck me the first time I watched them. In fact, in one episode it actually says "Three Days Later" which came as a jarring shock. And I could have sworn that there was more of the Black Lodge in the earlier episodes, especially the Man from Another Place dancing and the backwards speech, but my memory is faulty about that as well.
Back then I must have missed at least 4 or 5 episodes in the latter half of the second series because they were completely new to me.
I must admit that up until Laura's killer is unmasked, I really enjoyed watching Twin Peaks again. Cooper's earnestness still makes me laugh, I still have the hots for the three beautiful vixens (Audrey, Donna, and Shelley) — although from 17 years remove I must admit that Norma (Peggy Lipton) outshines them all — the music is still very evocative and funny. I can still clearly see why the series was so innovative and why I was hooked on Lynch's movies.