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TPFest – Night One – Welcome to Twin Peaks

Entering David Lynch’s idyllic town of Twin Peaks with the pilot and the first episode.

Pilot 1000 – “Northwest Passage” (US version)

Written by Mark Frost and David Lynch.
Directed by David Lynch.
Original Airdate: April 8, 1990.

Synopsis: Pete Martell finds Laura Palmer’s body. Ronnett Pulaski is found beaten and in a daze. FBI agent Dale Cooper arrives in Twin Peaks to investigate. Full Big Picture Timeline

A little rough around the edges, characters and sets aren’t really established as those we will come to know and love. It hadn’t quite yet found its quirky, off-beat voice, but is still absolutely captivating as we see the range of emotions and the depths of grief and misery. Filmed in 1989, but like most of Lynch’s works: simply timeless. There are no reference points for any particular era — except for the ones that conflict with the other ones. Angelo Badalamenti outdoes himself and begins to give us anthems for a particular character, even moreso a particular mood.

The ‘US version’ ends with Sarah Palmer having a vision of the necklace being unearthed. The ‘Euro version’ has an ending created for marketing as a standalone movie overseas and has an additional 15minutes or so. Lynch was so proud of the scenes that a truncated version of this ending would later become the dream sequence at the end of episode 2. At the beginning of episode 3 Coop describes his dream to Truman and Lucy, including details that were not seen in episode 2 but in the unaired, original ending of the pilot. If you’re a fucking-completionist-superfan (like myself) , you should air the original ending at the end of episode 2. Details of when to switch over in the next installment.

Dale Cooper, Harry Truman, Twin Peaks

Trivia: The town sign was intended to read 'Population 5,201' but the network felt nobody would care about such a small town. They upped the number to 50,000 , though a town that size would be unlikely to have only one doctor, or only one bar, or a sheriff dept. with only a handful of deputies.

Episode 1001 – “Traces to Nowhere

Written by Mark Frost and David Lynch
Directed by Duwayne Dunham.
Original Airdate: April 12, 1990.

Log Lady Intro

“I carry a log–yes. Is it funny to you? It is not to me. Behind all things are reasons. Reasons can even explain the absurd. Do we have tbe time to learn the reasons behind the human being’s varied behavior? I think not. Some take the time. Are they called detectives?

“Watch–and see what life teaches.”

Synopsis: FBI Agent Dale Cooper and Sheriff Harry Truman discover more about the troubled secret life of the murdered Laura Palmer; Big Ed Hurley reveals that he was drugged at the Roadhouse; a frightened James Hurley, vengeful Bobby Briggs and Mike Nelson are released from jail; Catherine Martell lays bare her plot to take control of the Packard sawmill.

Random Thoughts & Ruminations

Theme: Elements are featured prominently:

  • Fire – ‘Walk with Me’, fireplaces, and the plan to burn the mill
  • Stone & Earth – Outside TPSD a rock monument, necklace on mound of earth
  • Water – Rain, mist, haze
  • Air – wind through the trees, mist from the forest

Theme: Good corrupted by evil, and the insidious secret underbelly beneath the shiny surface. Industry infecting nature, the good-girl-prom-queen is full of secrets, and no one is innocent.

Laura Palmer, Twin Peaks

"She's Dead. Wrapped In Plastic."

The protagonist is Laura Palmer, even though she was dead before the story began. Her story is revealed through flashbacks; in other characters uncovering details (mainly Coop, but essentially everyone). Later the show becomes ‘about’ Coop, which is why Lynch never wanted to reveal the killer. It would invariably provide a sense of closure, and kill off the protagonist of the whole series, the dead girl.

Twin Peaks is a Murder Mystery more than anything else. We are introduced to an ensemble cast of suspects in a “whole damn town” of eclectic, mysterious persons. Red herrings aplenty.

Significance: Precursor to mainstream ‘weird’ TV  [X-Files, Millenium, etc to Fringe or any of the fantastic specialty cable shows] to the point that a new viewer may lose some of that impact. Cinema was different before Citizen Kane,or Psycho and TV was different before Twin Peaks. It brought fine cinema to the small screen every week. Supernatural Superserial — you cannot miss a minute; not much may happen but everything is significant and a potential clue.

Note: Even though the movie, Fire: Walk With Me could be argued to be watched before the series (in chronological order as it’s the last week of Laura’s life), it’s not recommended thematically. Especially not for a TPvirgin (major spoilers), even if you do know the outcome already, it takes away from the grand design. The characterization of Laura is meticulously doled out throughout the series. Watching the flick first is anathema to the good girl Laura that we gradually find out to be not so innocent after all as the mystery unfolds.

The whole nation was asking the question, “Who Killed Laura Palmer?”

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