“A place both wonderful and strange”: Superfans reveal ‘Twin Peaks”s endurance
In 1990, the way we engaged with content was very different from today. There was no Netflix and chill, binge-watching really wasn’t a thing (that people would admit to anyway), viewing times were set by the network, and no show could survive without strong ratings to appease advertisers and studio heads alike.
Without the internet, there were no chat rooms, no social networking, and no video on-demand. But one thing remains the same for television throughout all times and places: quality content creates fans.
When Twin Peaks first aired, it didn’t set ratings on fire, but it did ignite a passion in a select group of people. It became a pre-internet viral hit, with diehard fans lighting up generations of fans to follow. Now some 27 years on, Twin Peaks is back on our screens. Who better to learn about the phenomenon than from its self-proclaimed superfans?Film Daily: When did you first find out about Twin Peaks?
Amanda: I watched the original series when it first aired in 1990. My mother had unusual taste in films and was already a David Lynch fan. She took me to see Dune in the theater when I was eight and I had no idea what was happening. But I was fourteen when Twin Peaks debuted and could understand more of the themes.
Simon: I was about 12 or 13 and a teenage friend put me onto the first series. I think I saw Wild At Heart around the same time, and a lifelong interest in Lynch started.
Boukje: Around a year after it aired in the US, I read articles about Twin Peaks and David Lynch. When the show aired in Holland, I saw one or two episodes.
Sue-Beth: Shortly before the pilot aired, I read a preview in Entertainment Weekly that claimed Twin Peaks was going to be the show to watch. My husband Walt and I were hyped about Twin Peaks before we even saw the premiere, and it did not disappoint.
Jan: Back at the start in 1990, I was 12 years old and completely fascinated by Twin Peaks – and I’ve stayed fascinated by it since. I guess it’s fair to say it influenced me to become who I am today.
Al: I first found out about Twin Peaks after becoming a fan of Lynch. I watched Blue Velvet at a young age and read about Twin Peaks in music magazine NME. I was hooked instantly.
Niki: I first found out about Twin Peaks when it was initially broadcast. However, I was living in France at the time and, while I found the season one premier visually exciting, it was extremely hard to follow the dialogue in French.
Can you imagine trying to decipher the “fish in the percolator” conversation when it’s not in your first language? It was too tricky, so I gave up and rewatched the whole two seasons on VHS when I was in the UK a few years later. That was probably my first “binge watch” of anything. I just couldn’t turn it off!
Cheryl: I watched from the very first episode on UK television in 1990. I heard it was directed by David Lynch and that it was going to be something mysterious and strange.
Andrew: I am one of the original viewers of the show. I watched it weekly when the show first aired.What attracted you to Twin Peaks in the first place?
Amanda: It was like a teen drama for smart, quirky people. I liked different music and weird movies, none of the regular teen stuff out at the time. Twin Peaks was complicated, mysterious, and still funny and clever. It was also something that my Mom and I really enjoyed watching together. I taped every episode so we could watch them multiple times and discuss.
Simon: The weirdness of course, which is cool when you’re a teenager. But there was still something likeable and human about it that kept me interested through the years.
Boukje: The images, the low speed, the music, the friendly eeriness.
Sue-Beth: I am attracted to the juxtaposition of the mundane and the strange, the humor and the horror, and a mythology that invites and provokes exploration and growth. I was really drawn to the raw emotionality of Twin Peaks. I’m thinking particularly of Sarah Palmer getting the phone call where she learns that Laura is dead.
Once the show got started, my husband Walt and I had friends over every week to watch Twin Peaks and have doughnuts. There always had to be doughnuts – and coffee, of course, though I don’t care for coffee so I’m glad to see green tea latte added to the Twin Peaks menu, in “The Return”.
Jan: Its mystique probably most of all. Even at a young age I felt my mind was getting triggered by David Lynch and his creation.
Al: Well, Lynch mainly. I was aware of Mark Frost too, but Lynch’s storytelling style is what draws me in. He does mystery like no other of his generation.
Niki: I knew of David Lynch’s work; my grandfather showed me Eraserhead as a child and I went to the movies to see Wild at Heart, which I loved and which is still one of my favourite films.
Cheryl: I was 14 years old and interested in horror and the occult. My friend said to me, “There is a new show starting about a murdered prom queen. It sounds perfect for you.” She was right!
Andrew: There was a commercial that aired prior to the show’s debut on television that featured the line “It’s a nice place to live but you wouldn’t want to die there.” That line really stuck with me and made me want to see the show.In the 20+ years that the show was off the air, how did you engage with Twin Peaks? Did you take part in chat rooms and/or real life communities?
Amanda: I have watched the original series more than fifty times (really) and Fire Walk With Me around twelve times. Part of it was nostalgia, and some of it was that I didn’t have cable service for years, so I just watched my Twin Peaks VHS tapes over and over.
My mom passed away in 2001 and it was a way of reminiscing after that. She and I used to debate the meaning of the black and white lodges, what ultimately happened to Cooper, and all the darker mysteries. I think the repetitiveness of watching it was both a way of trying to figure it out and the nostalgia of familiarity.
Simon: I came to see Twin Peaks as part of Lynch’s wider body of work, which I ended up studying and writing about in my undergraduate degree. I’ve rewatched both series in the past 20 years, and have seen the film [Fire Walk With Me] a good few times too.
Boukje: After I seriously watched TP 1 and 2 a few times, I studied an article sequence in Vrij Nederland, bought the three books, watched every bit of Lynch I could find, bought Eraserhead, FWWM, saw Blue Velvet a few times, and saw Dune & half of Mulholland Drive. I have not seen the other films yet and was not part of any community around TP.
Sue-Beth: I hated to see Twin Peaks end. It felt like the end of an era (okay, a pretty short era, but an era nonetheless). I had the Angelo Badalamenti Twin Peaks soundtrack CD. (I might have had it in vinyl too but I’m uncertain.) Of course I got the trading cards and The Secret Diary of Laura Palmer.
Once I found out about the magazine Wrapped In Plastic, I bought it every time I could find a copy, but sadly that wasn’t often. I wasn’t part of any chat rooms. I know I had some of Twin Peaks on VHS when it became available, but it seems that some of it was hard to come by. Of course I have the Definitive Gold Box Edition and Fire Walk With Me on DVD as well, but I haven’t yet splurged on the set with The Missing Pieces.
And I’ve brought other people to the Twin Peaks party, as it were, including a former boss and my adult son, who remembers us having friends over to watch Twin Peaks (and, naturally, remembers the doughnuts), but was much too young to watch at that time. I tried to get my adult daughter to watch too, but it wasn’t her cup of green tea latte.
Jan: I followed the career of David Lynch. As far as Twin Peaks is concerned, I watched it numerous times in the next 25 years. Every time it aired on TV, when the DVD box got released: I was there. I was never part of real-life communities, but I made a secret vow once with my best friend to become a secret brotherhood. He moved to Berlin last year, so he’s watching the show there, but I can tell you: the brotherhood is still strong.
Al: I have always been drawn to TP forums, podcasts, and news in general. I have kept in touch with a few other fans over the years and we pick up on different things and share the knowledge!
Niki: In that time, the whole social media explosion has enabled like-minded people to engage and share their views and love for shows such as Twin Peaks, so obviously I enjoy sharing thoughts on Facebook, etc. Before that, I suppose due to the cultural phenomenon that the series became, there were a number of books to digest and consider from the tie-in style of the secret diary (of course!) to Full of Secrets, which is a collection of media essays.
Cheryl: Twin Peaks has been part of my life every day for the past 26 years, from how I decorate my house to the clothes I buy. My bedroom is very much like Laura’s, even to this day. I would only buy RR diner-style cups. I’ve searched for decades for a diary exactly like Laura’s, but I’ve never found one exactly the same. Either the paper was the wrong shade, or the cover was too stiff. It’s a constant mission.
I know every second of the original run, and Fire Walk With Me, to an obsessive degree. It was something I loved privately. I never interacted with other fans until social media, and have now made some wonderful friends, each one just as weird and unique as I am. It is a wonderful community.
Andrew: I scoured the internet back in its primitive days searching for anything Twin Peaks-related. I loved reading any theories I came across, any bit of information of what a potential third season could’ve been like had the show continued back in 1991. In high school, I talked several of my friends into renting the VHS tapes of the series with me and we spent a weekend watching the entire series together.
That started my interest in showing Twin Peaks to as many people as I could. Social media has allowed me to develop friendships with people all over the world who are just as passionate about Twin Peaks as I am. I’ve been very engaged in the Twin Peaks fan community for most of my life.What is it about Twin Peaks that makes it accessible to such a wide range of ages?
Amanda: I think the show is a refreshing change for people who value a cerebral kind of mystery – it covers a broad and diverse range of people. Twin Peaks isn’t the typical show where there’s some evidence to follow, there’s a suspect, maybe a twist or two, but then the mystery is decisively solved.
Even when the killer is revealed in the original story, there are many other unanswered and more supernatural questions. The new series is even more open to interpretation than the first, because the entire story has no real linear rules about time and dimensions like the first one.
Simon: There’s a timelessness to all of Lynch’s work which I think is largely to do with how he references and synthesises pop culture from so many different eras. Also, on the subject of age, perhaps another reason he’s held onto the original fans is that he hasn’t hidden the process of aging for any of the actors. 25 years have gone by, and it’s as if we’ve aged alongside them.
Boukje: It was unique, it still is. Unpredictable. It’s a cult. If you want to maintain an “intelligent” image you should know about Twin Peaks.
Sue-Beth: Like any good soap opera, Twin Peaks has plot lines involving characters at various stages of life. I think the main thing that continues to draw an audience is how much it influenced television that came after it. If you look at a list of television shows that are currently on the air, you would find a great many that could be termed what I call “weird”, and lots of others that could be called “quirky”. All or nearly all of these shows have been influenced directly or indirectly by Twin Peaks.
Younger viewers grew up with the influence of Twin Peaks on much of what they have watched for years, so even though it is new to them, it may feel familiar. Also, Twin Peaks cries out for engagement either in person or on social media platforms.
I was a big fan of the show Lost (which I can’t imagine would have existed without Twin Peaks as a forebear) and always looked forward to reading Doc Jensen’s recaps that were filled with literary and philosophical theories, and provided ideas to investigate further. Then I would go through something like 30 to 50 pages of commentary responses from other readers.
I remember wishing how that had been available to me (and everyone else) when Twin Peaks first aired. Imagine my delight when Doc Jensen became the recapper for Twin Peaks: The Return. Imagine my frustration when I realized that there are now more recappers than I can keep up with.
Steve: I don’t know if that is entirely true. I think season one, season two, and Fire Walk With Me were agnostic to age and demographic; you simply had to love metaphor, humour, and mythology and have an open and enquiring mind. However, season three is pretty impenetrable with no foreknowledge of what preceded, regardless of age. You may well still love the images and characters and seek out the previous iterations, so I suppose in that sense it would work.
Jan: The awareness of witnessing a masterclass in filmmaking. That, and people just love secrets hidden behind everyday life.
Al: I think there really is something for everyone, although season three seems to have really ramped up the content! You have suspense, horror, comedy (albeit very dark), a bit of everything – and wrapped up in the best cinematography and sound I’ve ever known.
Niki: I think that’s akin to asking why many generations enjoy the Sergeant Pepper album: because it was groundbreaking, it endures as unique, and its influence is still felt in television shows that wide age ranges enjoy.
Cheryl: As a 14-year-old, I related to the teenagers. I grew up in a small town that was very similar to Twin Peaks, and I loved the contrast between the day and night, and the different lives that can be lived after dark. That enthralled me. I spent a lot of my teen years drinking with friends in the woods and looking for danger. Now that I’m a mother, I see it from the other side. I’m protective and nurturing, and want to save everyone. I want happy endings and redemption.
Andrew: Mystery and a desire to explore the unknown aren’t age specific. Most of us are attracted to mystery from a very young age. If you look at the themes in the show, it’s one of the only series I can think of that wasn’t targeted to one demographic. All of the generations in the show were treated with respect. The younger characters in the show aren’t written as a punchline for the older generation to laugh at.
Younger people that watch the show can relate to the teenagers’ desire to solve the mystery of Laura Palmer’s killer. Older viewers can find themselves caught up in the mystery, a love of the town and its residents, and certain nostalgic feelings. There was something for everyone and a lot of universal themes that connect us all as humans, regardless of age.How would you sum up Twin Peaks in one sentence?
Amanda: I think this might be an impossible question! How about “You’re going to need more coffee to figure this one out.” I certainly do.
Simon: “This is a damn fine cup of coffee.”
Boukje: “Twin Peaks is one of the greatest works of art – an amazing achievement and entirely original.”
Sue-Beth: “Twin Peaks is the granddaddy of weird television, ushering the medium into a new age of art, mythology, and prestige.”
Jan: “Here’s your manual to evolve as human beings.”
Niki: “The wildest, strangest, most compelling TV journey you will ever take”
Cheryl: “Twin Peaks is about darkness and light, beauty and violence, and the endless yearning for more than real life.”
Andrew: “A place both wonderful and strange.”How has Twin Peaks influenced your life?
Amanda: It has, without a doubt, been the reason that I enjoy the types of film, art, and television that I do. I love complicated, dark work that’s open for interpretation. I hear the same criticism, “it doesn’t make sense”, of directors like Von Trier, Lynch, or Kubrick. I don’t feel like their work necessarily has to “make sense”; it can be for the beauty of the imagery or the enduring mystery of the themes.
David Lynch’s work introduced me at an early age to a new way of considering art as potentially inexplicable, yet sublime to consider and to value. As an historian who works usually with logic, dates, facts, and concrete evidence, that quality of mystery really brings me a lot of joy.
Simon: I study anthropology now, so I’m always looking out for the uncanny in daily life – definitely something that began with Lynch and Twin Peaks.
Boukje: As I am an artist. Twin Peaks has further enriched my imagination and enhanced my feeling of freedom in creating paintings, jewelry, mobiles.
Sue-Beth: I’ve just recently started thinking I should set up a blog focused on Twin Peaks. I’ve made copious notes and lists for an article that I want to write about genre television and how Twin Peaks is largely responsible for much that we watch on television today.
Currently, I feel that I am diving deep into the mythology and aesthetic of Twin Peaks in all aspects of my life. It has given me a closer relationship with my son, who lives at a great physical distance but is the only person in my life currently as invested in Twin Peaks: The Return as I am.
Right now all I want to do is watch Twin Peaks, read about Twin Peaks, talk about Twin Peaks, make Twin Peaks arts and crafts (which I haven’t done yet, but seeing what others have done is inspiring me), and get more people to watch and enjoy it with me. I feel Twin Peaks pull at the heart of my soul.
Jan: My appreciation for the fine things in life. The beauty of film. I studied photography after I finished high school. Books I read, movies I watch, music that lifts me up, ideas and thoughts I have, my perception of everyday life, the preference of being in the presence of people who have some actual intellect. Also, Dana Ashbrook: if you’re reading this, you made me realize as a young boy I was bisexual. Good times 🙂
Al: It really has influenced a lot of my tastes, specifically in art and music. I think it encourages you to push yourself a little bit further than you normally would, push past your boundaries – as the show does.
Niki: Well I’ve been to Snoqualmie Falls and done all the tourist stuff, which is quite a journey to make when you live in Scotland. And my three-month-old son has Cooper for a middle name.
Cheryl: Twin Peaks saved my life, and I mean that sincerely. The first time I saw an interview with David Lynch, I knew there were people out there whose minds worked just like mine, that my weirdness and intensity was acceptable and could fuel my creativity. I wouldn’t want to have lived without it.
Andrew: Twin Peaks dared me to dream from a very early age. It showed me the value of open-mindedness and thinking outside the box in both art and life. Twin Peaks has influenced me to pursue my passion of writing – both with my website [25 Years Later] and my fiction work. The series also showed me that quality art is out there, although we might have to seek it out.
We don’t have to settle; there are artists out there creating the kind of work and the kind of worlds you want to spend time in. I’ve met and become friends with some of the most amazing and talented people due to a shared love of Twin Peaks. Those relationships and the influence from them is a beautiful thing, and it all stems from Twin Peaks.Why do you think Twin Peaks has endured, despite critics’ reactions and over 20 years off the air?
Amanda: The complexity of the story, the endearing characters, and a desire for something challenging and different out of a TV series. A lot of critical reaction to the new series seems to be that it doesn’t show enough of the town and original characters of Twin Peaks.
But I think for fans, people who really love Lynch’s work, we went into it knowing it probably wasn’t going to be anything like the original series. I personally watched the first episode of The Return without huge expectations, because I knew Lynch would do something magical, even if it didn’t explain all the mysteries. I think he’s doing that.
Simon: Lynch’s own reputation as an artist, primarily. I’m assuming that by “critics’ reactions” you mean negative press; I think the appeal of most of Lynch’s work is at a nonverbal level, which makes the reviewer’s job difficult – perhaps it’s just easier to trash it.
Boukje: Twin Peaks is such a monument of dreamstuff, that even the fiercest critique can’t scratch it.
Sue-Beth: The strength of David Lynch and Mark Frost’s vision for the show and its execution are such a draw. The show and the place are both “wonderful and strange”. It’s hard to explain, but there is something inherent in the nature of Twin Peaks that it should have a cult following: a cult show tends to foster obsession. The fans, in time, find a kind of kinship with one another, which tends further to feed that obsession.
Jan: Well, it’s quite impossible not to be in awe of it all. Twin Peaks is such a visual feast. Also, people really don’t like critics. Someone should say it, so there it is.
Al: It’s a timeless story, and although the main murder-mystery theme had been done a million times over, it had never been done like that before. Especially not on mainstream television!
Niki: Because Twin Peaks is multidimensional. Because it combines soap opera romance with comedy, murder and the supernatural. Because it’s influenced so many other popular shows such as Lost and The X-Files. Because there’s never been anything like it since.
Cheryl: Twin Peaks has everything the soul yearns for: love, mystery, danger, spirituality. It is entirely unique and intelligent, and that is a big part of its longevity. Plus, it’s utterly beautiful to look at and listen to. It never ages.
Andrew: Twin Peaks has endured because its impact is still felt. The term “golden age of television” is often thrown around. Ask the creators of the shows we associate with the “golden age of television” about Twin Peaks’s impact. David Chase from The Sopranos has been very outspoken about it. Damon Lindelof from Lost and The Leftovers has too.
Ask Matthew Weiner from Mad Men or Vince Gilligan from Breaking Bad. Twin Peaks was the trailblazer for the quality of television we are used to seeing today. It does go beyond that, though. Twin Peaks became a symbol for change, for not wanting to play by the rules of “standard television”, and people respond to authenticity.What are the themes featured in Twin Peaks that most resonate with you?
Amanda: I think the philosophical and sacred themes of purgatory, good and evil, the possible duplicitous nature we all harbor within that are represented by the waiting room, black lodge, white lodge realm are what I enjoy most now about the series. Originally, I was attracted to solving the murder mystery, then as I’ve watched it repeatedly and as I matured intellectually, I realized that some of the questions contained in the show are monolithic, maybe even unanswerable.
Boukje: Depiction of human behavior, humor (so many funny details and scenes), references to philosophy, sociology, history, suspense, and the spot-on set design. A big attraction for me is the location of Washington State, with douglas fir woods, the rainforest, and the mix of people living in the Pacific Northwest.
Sue-Beth: That people and things (along with owls) are not just what they seem. That one must go below the surface to see and experience what life has to offer and that what we find can be beautiful or horrific, hilarious or heartbreaking, and many other combinations and contrasts, often at the same time. That it is fine to dance to the tune of one’s own heart (thinking of Audrey and music she considered “too dreamy”).
Jan: A journey through the inner self, knowing you are part light, part darkness. I’m attracted to multi-layered people.
Al: I think the unknown, and the fear of the unknown, and then the desire to figure out what the unknown is, is what keeps me glued.
Niki: I think just the premise that Lynch delivers so well: that under the façade of a neat American town lies a seedy underbelly. He can deliver a supernatural aspect to perfection because he gives such attention to detail to the mundane.
Cheryl: I love it for the journey of the spirit, the otherworldly elements, and the reflection of all of us, our strengths, our failures, in its key characters.
Andrew: I don’t know if it’s themes so much that resonate with me as much as the characters, their stories, and that world as a whole. Take Laura Palmer for example: her story is one of the most tragic I’ve ever heard. In any other show, Laura would have been a body shown once, a plot point. In Twin Peaks she is a character whose story expanded throughout the series and that we grew to love, despite her being dead before the story even begins.
I’m not sure if this is a theme of the show or not, but I do really enjoy the idea that Twin Peaks brought to the surface what’s happening right next door to you that you are either unaware of, or choose not to think about. I found that made for really powerful storytelling in Twin Peaks.What are your theories about what is going on this season?
Amanda: I don’t know and I like it that way. I like to go where Lynch’s story takes me, rather than obsess over every single word, number, and image. I think with episode eight, he took what everyone thought might be happening and completely upended it. Now, it seems that he’s touching on something much larger, more universal, and more spiritual, in a sense, than ever before. He’s coming back to the themes of good and evil in a metanarrative, not a microcosm of a tiny town, and it’s beautiful.
Simon: I’m just here to enjoy the ride.
Boukje: There are a lot. There seems to be a connection between detonation of A-bombs and the release of dark forces that led to the killing of Laura P. To me that seems too simple for a Twin Peaks plot. There must be much more to it.
Sue-Beth: One of the most important scenes I have seen this season is when we learn that Doris Truman did not always behave as she does now. What that scene told me is that, no matter what I have seen and heard, there is so much more that I do not know. I am enthralled with the whole season thus far.
I see Dale/Dougie not so much as a tabula rasa, but as a slate that had much written on it, which was then erased, but leaving traces. I have worked to transcribe older documents on which things have faded or been difficult to read. I found that if I made a photocopy of the document that I could write on, starting with words and individual letters that were unclear, soon other things that had looked incomprehensible at first would become more apparent.
That is what I see happening with Dale/Dougie as he has more contact with aspects of his pre-lodge self. He will return, whether it be in small increments or whether these small steps lead to a sudden change. I also suspect that Sonny Jim may have some relationship to an otherworldly being, much like the aged waiter had to the giant. If the giant and this being are truly separate, perhaps said being is who Sonny Jim represents in this world.
Jan: I think it’s going to be an apocalyptic sort of thesis.
Al: I have a few. I’m thinking mostly about Albert’s involvement in this season. I think at this stage he might know more than he’s letting on. I’ve always been fascinated by the “Blue Rose” motif and I’m hoping to see Chet Desmond’s story tied up in some way. Season three is the best TV I’ve ever seen – so much to digest and understand.
Niki: I have no theories! But to quote Agent Cooper: I have no idea where this will lead us, but I have a definite feeling it will be a place both wonderful and strange.
Cheryl: I have never found any of it difficult to understand. I get it, completely, every time. This is Cooper’s test of the soul. He is still facing his Dweller on the Threshold and a showdown must occur in order to get back to himself and become whole. At the same time, Bob is born of violence and destruction, counterbalanced by the good sacrificial lamb, Laura. Darkness and light will come up against each other, and I am confident that light will banish the darkness for good.
Andrew: I have a lot of theories about what’s going on, as do the other writers on the 25 Years Later site! But Twin Peaks has been and always will be a story of good vs. evil. Everything that we’ve seen in The Return has been about either the hero’s journey or the rise of evil. A showdown is coming between those forces and we’re seeing the sides taking shape.What’s your favorite fan theory?
Amanda: There’s a theory from someone on the Facebook Twin Peaks group that is so whimsical and delightful: the mysterious billionaire is actually Nadine, who made a fortune with her silent drape runners. I love it because it’s exactly the small, yet unexpected, type of detail that Lynch and Frost might throw in there.
Boukje: Some elaboration on electricity infrastructure, some on Jupiter and Saturn. Some go into specific characters other than Cooper. I do not have a favorite fan theory – I like to judge what is a possible development and what is far-fetched. I want to be surprised and, while I watch a good many crime series and quite a few films – Twin Peaks has never disappointed me.
Sue-Beth: My own wacko theory from season 2 involves tying a much-hated storyline (James/Evelyn) to a story we heard but knew little about. I thought that perhaps Caroline, Windham Earle’s wife and Cooper’s lover, had not really died and was, in fact, Evelyn. Since that apparently was not the case, fortunately that theory just ended.
Jan: I once read a theory that the story would unfold where the whole town of Twin Peaks would be like that community of people in The Wicker Man.
Al: My favourite has to be that “Judy” is actually some sort of code name for Garland Briggs. It seems entirely plausible to me, given David Lynch’s fondness for The Wizard of Oz.
Niki: That Harry S. Truman will reappear in season 3. We can but hope!
Cheryl: I love the theory that the green ring switched out Laura’s doppelgänger at the moment of death, and the real live Laura became trapped in the Lodge. “I am dead, yet I live.” I don’t believe this theory, but if I was writing it, this is what would happen.
Andrew: That’s a really tough question. I’ve read so many great ones over the past 20 something years. My current favorite theory is that Cooper needs Laura to “wake up” and become himself again.What’s your favorite episode, and why?
Amanda: In the original series, my favorite episode is season one episode three, “Zen, or the Skill to Catch a Killer”. I love it because it really introduces the audience to the peculiarities of the town and to Dale Cooper. It also showcases the acting skills of Ray Wise, who I think is one of the best actors in the series.
In The Return, my favorite episode so far is episode eight, because it’s such an incredible departure from everything I thought was happening. Visually and sound-wise, it’s stunning, overwhelming almost. The themes of good, evil, and the ethereal suddenly take on a more historical, universal narrative, and the mystery gets even more complex than before.
Simon: It was the final episode of season two. A grande finale in its own right. But then season three episode eight just happened, and I’m still reeling from it. It might actually be a career best for Lynch.
Boukje: I loved and love every episode. The last one, The Return episode eight, was outstanding and promises a whole lot!
Sue-Beth: Of the original, probably “Zen, or the Skill to Catch a Killer”. I loved the scene with the rocks and bottles, but Cooper’s dream – that’s when things truly become wonderful and strange. For Twin Peaks: The Return, I am currently struggling between seven and eight as to which is my favorite. So much in each episode (not just those two) to love and be amazed by.
How could I not love Dale/Dougie kicking into action and taking down Ike the Spike and either the Evolution of the Arm or its doppelganger cheering him on (just a shade too extremely)? And the horror and grandeur of episode eight and how its artistry dives deep into the mythology underlying the whole series.
Of course, if you ask me Sunday at a little after 10:00, I may well say that episode nine is my favorite of the new season. I love going along for the ride. The highways and byways of this great show of ours appears to be my dharma, at least for the present.
Steve: Fave scene is Ray Wise in the cell with the sprinklers raging as Bob and then collapsing as Leland, probably the most well-acted scene in TV history. Favorite episode would be season three episode eight – it seems to be the most opaque in its imagery, but is actually full of incredible detail that can help build your own theory, or shared belief. Also, I totally called the White Sands Nuke!
Jan: No doubt, Lynch surpassed himself with this already legendary episode eight. It’s a majestic effort on Lynch’s behalf to try to reprogram the minds of a lot of people worldwide. Fans will understand this.
Al: My favourite episode – that’s a tough one. Does Fire Walk With Me count as an episode? If not, so much to choose from. I’d say episode three, six, and eight of The Return are hard to separate for me right now.
Niki: The pilot. The music, the body on the shore, the arrival of Agent Cooper and of course Bob. I have never seen anything more terrifying on screen than Bob. And it’s not because he was wearing double denim!
Cheryl: My favourite episode is the season two finale. I loved the creepy doppelgängers, the horror aspect, and the ending. Kyle and Sheryl were spectacular in that episode. They always are.
Andrew: Another tough question. While the pilot episode and the season two finale are both worthy contenders, the episode in season two where we as an audience discover Laura’s killer is television perfection. The entire episode was so tense, and Lynch really captured that feeling in every scene – particularly in the Roadhouse.
The reveal of the killer was one of the most disturbing scenes in television history and, instead of feeling relieved to finally know, instead it was a feeling of fear as to what could happen next and what it all means. That hour of television really hit on all cylinders and left a lasting impression on me.
Thanks to our superfans for answering all our questions:
Amanda McCrary Smith
Community college History professor and Beagles Mom.
PhD student and DJ
Born in The Hague, Netherlands
Ex-union worker, current artist
Information & Security Office / Actor and Community Theatre Volunteer
UK, CEO CLECT
Jan Van Roosbroeck
Cheryl Lee Latter
Author & Journalist – read her work over at 25 Years later