My Thoughts on Showtime’s “Twin Peaks” Episodes 7 & 8


Some of you may have noticed that I didn’t post my weekly review of Showtime’s “Twin Peaks” last Sunday night. The reason for that was because I was out of the country on a set visit, one that will become public probably next spring or early summer. So, rather than skip a week, I decided to make this review a double-header that will catch up both my reviews and you, the readers. Plus, it gave me an excuse to enjoy a double dose of the show!

Now, to say that these are both wildly different episodes in tone, information, and story, is an understatement. Perhaps there is no better example of how wildly diverse the show can be. It is, for lack of a better explanation, a shocking contradiction yet a brilliant representation of the breadth of humanity.

Let’s dive into both episodes, shall we? Oh, and as always, beware of spoilers!

This episode opens with Jerry Horne standing in the middle of the woods during the day, terrified and paranoid. Were it not for his present state, it would be a beautiful location. He is looking around as though he expects someone to leap out from behind a tree. He gets a call from Benjamin, who demands to know what’s going on. The short of it is that Jerry is high off his ass and his car was stolen. What began as a startling and unsettling moment morphs into something lighthearted and almost comedic, a great play on expectations.

Later in the episode, Benjamin and Beverly Paige are standing in the office, attempting to locate the origin of a strange noise. Together, they walk throughout Benjamin’s office from one corner to another without being able to locate the focal point. The scene builds a delicious sexual tension between the two, although nothing is done about it but coy smiles and overly long pauses. Beverly then tosses Benjamin the old Great Northern key that Cooper had in his pocket and Jade mailed in. He recalls that this was the key that accessed the room Agent Cooper was staying in when he got shot, all those years ago.

After leaving, Beverly goes home to what appears to be her incredibly ill husband, Tom. The frustration and mistrust between the two is apparent, which leads to her verbally assaulting him while he sits in a wheelchair, hooked up to an IV bag. Without knowing more, it’s hard to find sympathy for her. However, Lynch and Frost are known for being able to turn the tables at any second, so I’m reserving my judgment.

In the sheriff’s station, Hawk and Sheriff Truman go over and read the pages that Hawk found in the previous episode. What he realizes he has obtained are three of the four missing pages from Laura Palmer’s secret diary. In these pages, Laura talks about a dream she had in which she sees Annie Blackburn and Dale Cooper, figures she could never have known as they arrived only after her death. Hawk and Truman discuss the events in the final night of the second season, specifically regarding Agent Cooper and his exit from the Black Lodge, although now they are uncertain if the man who came out is the same as the man who went in.

This leads Sheriff Truman to Skype with Doc Hayward to hear his thoughts on Cooper’s attitude the morning following his exit from the Black Lodge. Hayward suggests that Cooper, at one point, was in the hospital visiting Audrey Horne, who was in a coma after the explosion at the bank. While there’s no suggestion from the show, there’s a curious thought that emerges: did something happen in the hospital room between Evil Cooper and Audrey to create Richard Horne, the scumbag from previous episodes?

A small side story in the show comes in the form of Andy, who confronts some random person and demands that they meet in a secluded location at a certain time. Andy checks his watch, which is surprisingly expensive (a Rolex), and leaves when the man doesn’t show up. We get a hint that something sinister has happened to this random person that didn’t allow him to leave for this shadowy meeting.

We’re also reintroduced to Lt. Knox, the woman who was sent to South Dakota to investigate the appearance of Major Briggs’ fingerprints. Upon arriving and doing some investigating, she realizes that the prints have come from the decapitated body. However, mysteries materialize when she’s told by the pathologist that the body is in its late 40’s and no older. Briggs would be in his 70’s, according to Colonel Davis. The lack of a head is also deeply unsettling to both. While she is on the phone with Davis, a strange and dark figure walks in the background. While he isn’t revisited in this episode, I have a sneaking suspicion he’s one of the Woodsmen (I’ll explain below) in the eighth episode.

In Gordon’s office, he’s whistling a strange ditty for his own amusement. Albert then comes in and the two talk about his meeting with Diane, which didn’t go well, to say the least. To try and fix get her help, both go to Diane’s place in NYC where she’s clearly not happy to see either of them. In fact, she’s not hesitant to tell them to go fuck themselves. However, in her own way, she slowly warms up to them to hear what they have to say and how they need her help. Next thing we see, she’s on a plane with Gordon, Albert, and Tammy to head to South Dakota for Diane to meet with Dale and give her thoughts on what’s going on and if he’s the real deal.

At the prison, Diane asks for 10 minutes alone with Cooper where she has complete control. It’s obvious that she is desperately against going into the room to talk with him but she does so anyways, resulting in a powerful scene between the two. When she and Cooper talk, she’s clearly frightened and he speaks to her in that strange, almost robotic tone. After just a few moments, she closes the shutter and leaves with tears in her eyes, distraught over the encounter. Outside, she says that it’s not the Dale Cooper she knows. She breaks down and embraces Gordon, who believes her even though she has no concrete evidence to back it. He knows that her years of closeness with Cooper means she is an authority on knowing if it’s really him.

After this meeting, Evil Cooper is taken back to his cell, where he tells the guard that he needs to speak with the Warden about a strawberry. Obviously some sort of code word, it works and Evil Cooper is brought to the Warden’s office for a secret meeting with no security cameras or microphones. Evil Cooper begins saying things that suggest he knows about a dark secret in the Warden’s past, something that is terrible enough that he agrees to help orchestrate Evil Cooper’s escape along with his partner Ray. Later that night, the deal is struck and Evil Cooper and Ray leave the prison while the Warden watches on, clearly frustrated and upset but unable to do anything.

We get a taste of the more lighthearted aspect of the show when we go to Dougie’s workplace, where he’s in his office with Anthony Sinclair grilling him about the meeting he had with their boss and those reports Dougie scribbled all over. Jane stands outside waiting for Cooper but ultimately gets fed up and goes inside. While Dougie is drawing random scribbles on paper and his deskmat, policemen show up to speak with him about his stolen car. Jane comes in and helps answer all their questions.

As they go outside to head home, the killer midget from the previous episode nearly shoots Cooper but Cooper suddenly snaps, wrestles the gun to the ground, and then sees that strange branch thing from the beginning of the series telling him to squeeze his hand off. Cooper fights off the midget, who drops the gun and runs off. What is rather disgusting later on is that we see the gun and there’s what appears to be a piece of skin stuck to the handle.

At the Bang Bang bar, we watch for what seems like an overly long time while the floor is being swept and music plays for Jean-Michel and his employee. Then a phone call comes in and Jean-Michel responds. Apparently, there is shady shit happening, including the prostitution of women who have fake IDs and are underage, something Jean-Michel claims to know nothing about.

The episode ends at the Double R Diner, where Norma is doing her bills, Shelly is serving a packed house, and people seem to be enjoying life. What makes this odd is that the outro music has a sinister undertone as though something evil is lurking right around the corner.

While the sixth episode was slower and didn’t offer nearly as much in the way of new storylines, the seventh episode picked it right back up. Utilizing humor, terror, intrigue, and surrealism, it offered everything we’ve been encountering so far from the revival and more. Still, with seven episodes under our belt, I want to see more Dale Cooper. And while I enjoy Dougie, I want to see him begin to find pieces of himself, tangible ones that will allow him to come to his sense. Even if it’s not the same charming Agent Cooper as we’re used to, I feel that this storyline is beginning to overstay its welcome. That being said, the midget attack scene awakened something in Cooper and it’ll be fascinating to see how that plays out.

Alright, if the last episode was the varied charm that we know, love, and expect from “Twin Peaks”, this episode is where David Lynch and Mark Frost decided to absolutely destroy audiences’ expectations and give them something so strange and surreal that it’s almost impossible to describe. However, I’ll try.

The opening begins somewhat normally, at least for this revival. Evil Cooper is being driven by Ray. As the pair are driving, Ray makes it clear that he wants to extort money from Evil Cooper, which Evil Cooper clearly doesn’t take too kindly to, although his expression barely changes. They turn off the highway and drive along a backroad, going deeper into darkness and farther away from civilization. At one point, Ray stops the car to go to take a leak and Cooper pulls the gun out of the glovebox to try and shoot Ray. However, the gun doesn’t have any bullets, allowing Ray to withdraw his own gun and shoot Evil Cooper, dropping him to the ground.

Before Ray can celebrate, bright flashes of light begin striking and strange shadows appear out of nowhere to dance around Ray and Evil Cooper’s corpse. We’ll call these creatures Woodsmen and I’ll explain in a bit why that is. The Woodsmen rub blood all over Evil Cooper’s body and face as something begins emerging from his torso. A strange blob-like object, it’s got Bob’s face, bearing that terrifying rictus we all know, inside of it. Ray runs to the car to escape and the shadowy figures slowly disappear into the darkness.

We cut to the Bang Bang bar where Nine Inch Nails play “She’s Gone Away”. It doesn’t cut away, allowing the band to play the whole song, as though it’s some strange music video, the second time such an occurrence has taken place. After the song, we’re back in the field where Evil Cooper was shot to see him suddenly shoot up, seemingly fine, although covered in blood.

Now is where things get really weird. Rather than continue the show’s narrative, we’re suddenly taken to July 16th, 1945 in White Sands, New Mexico. From a distance, we watch an atomic detonation. Terrifying music plays, a cacophony of shrieking strings, as the camera zooms in and enters the mushroom cloud where we are greeted with nightmarish visions. The only real way to put it is that we’re taken on an acid trip straight out of hell. We exit the trip to face a convenience store, shown in black and white. The door opens and fog jerkily comes in and out, back and forth, that skin-crawling music never stopping. Then there are people outside, milling about aimlessly but just as jerkily as the fog. They resemble the shadow people that danced around Evil Cooper and Ray.

Suddenly we cut to a the evil shadow monster from the glass box in the first episodes as it floats in darkness and vomits random detritus, including a blob that has Bob’s sneering face in it.

Back to the bad trip, we go through a tunnel of fire, smoke, and flashing colors. A globule of what appears to be molten metal approaches the screen allowing us to enter it where it looks like we’re laying on the ground while a torrent of blood rain descends. We then fly over the vast purple ocean from the third episode towards a rocky spire. As we near it and can make out details, we see that the waves are crashing in reverse against the base of the spire.

At the top is the building where Cooper landed after falling through the cosmos. The camera pushes through a tiny slit of a window, the only one on this particular building’s facade, where we see a woman on a chaise lounge who is listening to a phonograph record play. She sways slowly to the music. Then, an alarm begins ringing and the giant man steps out form behind a large bell. He looks at her before walking to the camera and staring into it for longer than what should feel comfortable. Saying nothing, he simply stands there for several seconds before turning back to the bell-shaped alarm device. He pushes a button and it shuts off, whereupon he walks behind the bell.

The giant man walks up a small flight of stairs (ones that look like they belong in a cinema) and disappears around the corner. Upstairs, he walks across a large room that holds another bell-shaped object before emerging into yet another room, this one with a stage. He raises his hand and the nuclear explosion from a few minutes ago plays on the silver screen. He watches with a somber expression as the screen freezes on Bob’s sneering look. The giant man levitates into the air while the woman from before enters the room and watches him float in a reclined position. Glowing sparks emerge from his face.

As she watches him and the glow, which is rather beautiful, I must say, a glowing orb descends from the stream fountaining out of his face. She raises her hands and takes hold of the orb, where inside is an image of Laura Palmer. She gives it a kiss and lets it go where it rises up into a strange horn-like instrument. Passing through this device, the orb enters the movie screen where it floats over a globe across the United States, although we don’t see where its final destination takes it.

Not content to let us rest our minds, we’re then taken once again through time, now to August 5th, 1956, to the New Mexico Desert, where we watch an egg hatch and some sort of strange creature that is half insect/half frog emerge.

Coming back slightly to a “normal” narrative, we watch a young couple outside of a convenience store, who are on a date. Clearly no older than mid-teens, there is an awkwardness and innocence to their walking through the night. There is no ill-intent nor is there seemingly any threat to their wellbeing. However, as they are walking, we cut to a scene where a shadow figure emerges from the air in the desert. This man is referred to in the credits as “Woodsman”, which is why I’ve been referring to the others like him as Woodsmen. He’s a menacing figure, one that constantly asks people, “Got a light?” His voice is almost alien sounding, as though it is attempting to be human but lacking the right timbre.

We go back to the young couple, where the boy is walking the young woman home and gives her a kiss. Were it not for everything we’ve seen before, it would be a sweet moment, one that puts a smile on your face. However, we’re in the midst of something truly phantasmagoric and nothing feels safe. As he walks home through the desert, we cut to a radio station, which begins playing The Platters’ “My Prayer”.

The Woodsman from the desert comes into the radio station and asks the secretary for a light before squeezing her head so hard that it bursts open. He then goes into the broadcast room and holds the radio operator’s head in his hand, turns on the microphone, and begins chanting the following riddle to the local community, “This is the water, this is the well, drink full and descend; the horse is the white of the eyes and dark within.“.

The climactic scene shows the young woman laying asleep in bed as the frog/insect from earlier crawls into her room. It nears her face and she opens her mouth accommodatingly so that it can crawl in.

As mentioned previously, this was Lynch and Frost abandoning all pretense of standard narrative and embracing the surreal madness that always lurks at the corners of “Twin Peaks”. While some say this episode is us witnessing the birth of the Black Lodge, it may be something else entirely. At this point, I can safely say that I’m wondering if the rest of the episodes will offer enough time to tie everything together to a satisfying conclusion.

That being said, watching a David Lynch story (not to discount Mark Frost at all here) means that one should be willing to accept that it doesn’t play by standard rules. What we see are surreal representations of humanity in every form possible. This episode may not make sense now and it may not ever be completely clear no matter how much the show reveals but that doesn’t matter. It was, without a doubt, the most terrifying, obscure, surreal, maddening, and fascinating the series has ever been. “Twin Peaks” literally dropped an atomic bomb on us and it wasn’t even the most shocking part of the episode. Where we go from here is anyone’s guess.



Sign up for The Harbinger a Dread Central Newsletter