Continuing a hit TV show that has long been a cult favorite after twenty-six years is no easy task, but that’s what co-creators David Lynch and Mark Frost attempted to achieve with the third season of Twin Peaks, officially known as Twin Peaks: The Return.
The inaugural season premiered on American television screens on ABC way back in 1990 to much fanfare. Viewers became enchanted with this titular mountain resort, where weird things happened and no-one dared to bat an eyelid. The investigation into the murder of Laura Palmer by FBI Agent, Dale Cooper, played by Kyle MacLachlan, transformed the television show into a phenomenon that almost everyone was talking about.
However, its return to ABC for season 2 was received with somewhat less fanfare. The decision to solve Laura Palmer’s murder and end the secrecy and confusion surrounding the whodunnit saga actually killed off much of the intrigue of the show. With very little appetite for a third series, ABC promptly cancelled the show in June 1991, seemingly consigning Twin Peaks to the archives forever.
Its loyal band of followers tried hard to convince broadcasters to put in the budget for a third season, but it wasn’t until 2014 that Showtime agreed to stump up the cash for a revival season. It’s taken some time, but season 3 has now been and gone, and with two million weekly viewers it has been largely deemed a financial success for Showtime.
To mark the admittedly perplexing finale of Twin Peaks: The Return, we thought now was a good time for a recap of some of the scenes we found most bizarre from co-creators David Lynch and Mark Frost. They were definitely hard to pick, but here they are, in our opinion… The four most unexpected and outright odd scenes in this year’s TP revival.
Part 7 – Diane’s reaction to seeing Dark Coop
Agent Cooper’s trusty secretary from back in the day, Diane, ventures to prison to meet with Gordon and Albert and attempt to identify Cooper. However, Diane’s reaction to meeting Coop’s doppelganger is cold and eventually she shuts down the meeting after asking Coop’s doppelganger to recall when they last met. The almost classic frustrated face of Laura Dern spoke volumes here, and the lighting highlighted a face that was oddly non-human. Although Mr. C’s response was correct, Diane remained certain it was not the real Cooper, despite refusing to confirm to Gordon what went on when they last met.
Part 3 – Mr. Jackpots
Dougie is dropped off at the Silver Mustang Casino after bizarrely avoiding death whilst bending down to pick up his Great Northern Hotel door key. Appearing in some kind of trance, Jade hands Dougie a $5 bill to call for help on arrival at the casino. When Dougie walks into the casino, he’s almost on autopilot, cashing in the $5 for some chips.
All of a sudden, a floating image of the Red Room appears above a slot machine. Dougie sits down to pull the lever, shouting a characteristic Hello-o-o that would stay with us forever, and sure enough gets a jackpot. Seconds later, and while Dougie’s still so out of it that he doesn’t even pick up the winnings, more images appear on top of classic slot machines all over the casino floor. Unlike video slots, classic slots — also known as reel slots — have more of a traditional appearance and 1 to 4 paylines. Overall, this means it’s not as easy to win when playing them, but that doesn’t really matter for a Dougie who’s shouting Hello-o-o after Hello-o-o and landing jackpot after jackpot. Meanwhile, Dougie’s Hello-o-o became a meme with Twin Peaks fans on message boards and beyond.
Part 8 – Mr C. gets… killed?
At the start of what certainly was the strangest hour of television anyone has ever put together, Ray Monroe is in the car with Cooper’s doppelgänger, who is determined to get the information he wants from Monroe. Growing increasingly impatient with Monroe, Cooper’s doppelgänger threatens to shoot him if he doesn’t provide answers. Monroe is fastest, however, and shoots the doppelgänger with his own pistol in a proper Wild West stand-off.
What was to follow left us scratching our heads as a group of men we hadn’t seen yet before appeared out of thin air, gathering around the body of Mr. C, smothering it with its own blood and tearing away at it to reveal a black ball with the face of Bob on it. The face of Bob is enough to freak Monroe out and run away believing Cooper’s doppelgänger to be dead…. Or is he?! One surprise performance by “the” Nine Inch Nails at the Roadhouse later, and he’s back. Then things get really strange. It would have been an obvious choice to go with one of the latter scenes in this episode — which Vanity Fair called “the show’s most bonkers” — but in fact, plot-wise and as a bit of prologue to the madness of atomic bombs, Bob vomit and frogbugs, we think it set the tone for sure.
Part 17 – Cooper and Laura Palmer prior to her disappearance
After meeting the legendary Philip Jeffries — number 29 on Rolling Stone magazine‘s list of Best Twin Peaks characters back in 2014, who undoubtedly would have made it higher today — who is in a “slippery” kettle-like machine, Agent Cooper is transported back to 1989 from the convenience store, as he seeks to visit the night of Laura Palmer’s death. Laura bizarrely recognizes Cooper from a dream and, startled, she runs off into the woods while her lover James speeds off on his bike. Cooper follows her and reaches out to her, urging her to come home, to which she complies. Yet the vision of Laura’s body disappears outside, and Cooper is left hearing her terrified screams in the woods. A really dark and frustrating scene that some say directly mirrors the last scene of the very last episode.
Unfortunately, it doesn’t look like there will be a fourth season in the offing. Despite the relative success of this third series, Showtime has not yet agreed to fund another season and it might be best for the cult fans to digest this third season for a while longer yet. It’s definitely given us lots to think about — and maybe watch in sync.
Featured image: Bloody Good Horror