Twin Peaks at 20

Spurred on by Radiator Heaven's declaration of "Twin Peaks week" (the series premiered twenty years ago yesterday) I'm taking a momentary break from my break, to re-present my 2008 episode-by-episode analysis of the groundbreaking TV show. It covered all of season one, the first half of season two (through the conclusion of the murder mystery), and the final episode. I also wrote about the disturbing and powerful prequel film, Fire Walk With Me, and put out a few other, random posts on the series as well. Without further ado, then, I prevent a centralized nexus for all my "Twin Peaks" pieces:


The picture came from Jeremy Richey's always eye-catching blog, Moon in the Gutter. Check out his post on the show.


  1. Woa! I'm almost afraid to start looking at these individual episode summaries, since I only just watched all of Twin Peaks last summer. I was seriously hooked on the show, but haven't watched any of it since. Maybe I should buy the Gold Box set?

    All the same, I'm afraid to rewatch the show again because I'm worried that the magic of the originality of each episode will already have been worn off. I'm not sure the magic would still be there once you know what to expect. Am I wrong?

    One thing I hated about the second season: the lame attempts at humor. The biting sensibility of the first reason was replaced by humor that was infantile, juvenile, and just plain crass. Like when Bobby and the Madchken Amick character (what's her name again?) try to "raise" Leo Johnson while he's in a coma. Those scenes with the birthday parties and the spoon-feeding were just too much!

  2. Adam, in a way no, but the underlying tragedy only grows in significance and the sense of mystery deepens because Lynch's mysteries are only superficially solvable, anyway...

    Have you seen Fire Walk With Me? If so, what did you think? I thought it was a remarkable exculpation of what was going on beneath the cheerfully ironic surface of the show. I was troubled by it as well but thought it was ultimately more powerful and more honest than the series.

    Anyway, my episode analyses were written immediately after viewing the series for the first time; I went back and watched them all again, writing up a piece after each one. So in that sense they might serve as a good accompaniment to a re-viewing.

    I also tried to focus on what different writers and directors brought to the series - how the themes, characters, and style of the film could be pulled in subtly different directions depending on who was helming the given episode. That's also the sort of thing you only notice when taking a step back and watching it all again.

    The "humor" of the second season was appallingly bad. I've never such a sharp, incredibly obvious decline in quality on a TV show - it was like night and day. That's why I skipped from the conclusion of the Laura Palmer story to the very last episode of the series, which is actually one of the best - probably THE best, actually. The rest of the second season, particularly the dreadful middle section (things get slightly better after that, but still nowhere close to the earlier heights) is not just forgettable self-parody it's unbelievably embarrassing.

  3. Whoa. Massive. MovieMan. I guess I must apologize for my long absence at TSNY. Gave up reading for some time. I'll be back soon. I'm especially excited to read your reviews of Elephant (which I don't like, yet) and Tropical Malady (which I love)!


  4. Thanks for the shout-out! This is an impressive collection and I can remember when I first discovered your blog, being immediately drawn to these TP-related posts. Well done!

    The show really holds up well and I've even softened on the more awful parts of season 2 which I guess can happen when enough time passes. Even at its worst, TWIN PEAKS was better than a lot of show on TV today. It really paved the way for so many shows since and it's a shame that Lynch doesn't try another crack at TV with a network like AMC or HBO which might be more receptive and he wouldn't have to attract as huge a demographic. Fo course, after having been burned again with MULHOLLAND DR. I can certainly understand his hesitancy to go back to TV.

  5. JAFB, it's a good time to take a break as I'll be posting very infrequently for the next few months. (See the "I'll Be Back" post for more details.) Nonetheless, I will continue posting Best of the 21st Century? reviews on Wonders in the Dark, albeit once every two weeks instead of once a week for the time being.

    J.D., almost every major series now on TV (well, aside from popular but thoroughly conventional stuff like the Charlie Sheen show) can be directly traced back to the influence of Twin Peaks. It's really remarkable - everything from the detective shows to the quirky comedies to the sci-fi mystery shows like Lost. Of course, that's not surprising as it works both ways - TP was very much a synthesis of television's 40-year history up to that point, albeit with an ironic twist.