'Twin Peaks' Returns as Confusing and Terrifying as Ever -- Here's What Happened in the Premiere!
By Andrea Reiher
Warning: Spoilers ahead if you haven't seen Sunday's two-hour Twin Peaks premiere.
Twin Peaks returned to TV on Sunday after 27 years and it was every bit as scary, twisted and confusing as the original -- though we expected nothing less from David Lynch.
In the two-hour premiere, there were two distinct threads happening: one with the show's original characters and one featuring new faces and new mysteries. They eventually intersected, but for much of the first hour it was a lot of introducing seemingly unrelated things, most of which were happening outside the titular small Washington town.
The Twin Peaks Sheriff's Department is still going strong with Lucy (Kimmy Robertson), Deputy Andy Brennan (Harry Goaz) and Deputy Chief Hawk (Michael Horse), with Lucy and Andy married and parents to at least one child. But things are about to get weird, as Hawk receives a message from the Log Lady (Catherine Coulson) informing him that "something is missing and you have to find it. It has to do with Special Agent Dale Cooper."
This tip reveals to viewers that Agent Cooper has been missing for 25 years (!). It turns out he's still trapped in the Black Lodge, with his doppelganger (presumably possessed by BOB) out in the world doing terrible things.
This answers a major question that has been on fans' minds since the original series ended and sets up a potential showdown between Cooper and his doppelganger, since Coop is released from the Black Lodge at the end of the premiere episode, but it does not appear that his doppelganger is forced to return to the Black Lodge in his place.
Cooper also receives a few messages before departing the Black Lodge, ones that will undoubtedly become clear as the series continues. First, the Giant (Carel Struycken) tells Coop to "remember 430, Richard and Linda. Two birds with one stone." Second, the evolution of Mike's (Al Strobel) missing arm tells Coop, "253 time and time again. Bob Bob Bob. Go now! Go now!"
Who knows what those mean at this point, but they are surely worth noting since nothing is a throwaway line in Lynch's world.
Finally, viewers also learn the fates of a few more Twin Peaks denizens. Shelly (Madchen Amick) and James (James Marshall) are still in town and are maybe romantically interested in each other. Shelly has a daughter named Becky, while James appears to maybe have a son (though this is not confirmed in the premiere).
Poor Sarah Palmer (Grace Zabriskie) is a lonely old woman who still loves her smoking and her drinking, though honestly, after what happened to her daughter and husband 25 years ago, it's a wonder she's still alive at all.
And speaking of the Palmers, Leland (Ray Wise) and Laura (Sheryl Lee) are still trapped in the Black Lodge. Laura gives Cooper some advice before he leaves, while Leland just urges Coop to "find Laura," which is interesting. There are some implications that Laura is still alive out there in the world somewhere, but we'll have to see how that all plays out.
The New Mysteries
There are a few threads introduced that, at first, don't seem to have anything to do with anything, but you always have to trust in Lynch and co-creator Mark Frost. Eventually the new plotlines do connect to Agent Cooper and Bizarro Cooper, with some added mystery thrown in that is thus far unexplained.
First, there's a man named Sam (Benjamin Rosenfield) in New York City tasked with sitting in a basement and staring at a glass box for hours on end. It's some kind of top-secret project funded by an "anonymous billionaire." In the first of several typical Lynchian scares, Sam lets his admirer, Tracey (Madeline Zima), into the bunker and they start to have sex, only to have a smoky figure appear in the glass box, break it open and kill them (at least, that's what it looks like is happening). It's incredibly scary and one of the reasons viewers will either love or hate that the new Twin Peaks is on a premium channel instead of a broadcast network -- the revival is decidedly more graphic than the original series ever could be.
Meanwhile, in Buckhorn, South Dakota, a woman's head is found perched on top of a dead body that isn't hers. Local principal Bill Hastings' (Matthew Lillard) fingerprints are found all over the scene and he is arrested. While being held in the local jail, a smoky figure is shown disappearing from the cell next to Hastings. Is it the same smoky figure from the glass box? Perhaps.
So how is everything connected? Well, when Cooper is expelled from the Black Lodge, he emerges in the glass box in New York City, only to disappear before the smoky figure shows up and murders Sam and Tracey. And Bizarro Cooper is working with a creepy rural South Dakota family to apparently frame Hastings for these local deaths -- and not only that, but doppelganger Cooper kills Hastings' wife Phyllis (Cornelia Guest) and two people connected to the weird backwoods family, Jack (Steve Baker) and Darya (Nicole LaLiberte), who are helping frame Hastings.
What does it all mean? Honestly, who knows at this point. The only things we know for sure is that it was terrific seeing so many old faces and the idea of Good Cooper vs. Bad Cooper as an ongoing storyline is intriguing. Also, a Shelly-James romance could be very interesting indeed.
But overall, it was pretty much exactly what we expected from Lynch and Co. -- a slow burn of a show that is alternately hilarious, confusing and terrifying. We are definitely on the edge of our seats for more!
Twin Peaks: The Return airs Sundays at 9 p.m. ET/PT on Showtime.