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Twin Peaks is a small town in rural Washington State, USA. The Homecoming Queen, Laura Palmer ( Sheryl Lee ) is found murdered. Her Mother ( Grace Zabriskie ) and father Leland (Ray Wise – Robocop ) are distraught, and everyone is a suspect.
The FBI sends a lone investigator, Dale Cooper (Kyle Maclachan – Dune ). He is as quirky as the town inhabitants, in his own way.
The investigation is slow-moving, but this is not just a cop show. This is really a soap opera, about the daily lives of a town of unusual people.
Cooper (Kyle Maclachan – Dune ) starts his investigation, and the soap opera aspects begin to hot up. It turns out that Laura’s BF Bobby was cheating on her with Shelley the Waitress ( Madchen Amick ). But Laura was cheating on Bobby with James Hurley, who now grieves for her by hooking up with her best buddy, Lara Flynn Boyle
Laura Palmer’s Mother ( Grace Zabriskie ) has visions of a creepy man.
Cooper’s investigation takes a couple of major steps forward. Firstly, Albert the FBI pathologist (Miguel Ferrer – Robocop ) arrives in town and promptly starts insulting everyone. Secondly, Cooper’s zen method identifies a couple of suspects. And finally, he has a dream about the victim in the red lodge.
Jerry Horne (David Patrick Kelly – Dreamscape ) arrives home. His brother Ben takes him to One-Eyed Jack’s, a quick boat trip across the border in Canada.
Cooper (Kyle Maclachan – Dune ) tells Sheriff Truman about his unusual dream. It seems that Cooper, with his Zen techniques, is the perfect man to investigate a supernatural mystery like this. Unfortunately, Cooper cannot remember the identity of the murderer.
Albert the FBI pathologist (Miguel Ferrer – Robocop ) actually has some success with his more scientific techniques. However, his personality clash leads to a physical encounter with the sheriff’s fist.
Laura Palmer ( Sheryl Lee ) is finally given a funeral, cutting short Albert’s pathology work. The victim’s father (Ray Wise – Robocop ) is comforted by her newly-arrived cousin Madison, a brunette lookalike ( Sheryl Lee ).
Cooper reveals he has idealised the town for its Small Town feel, the idea that the community is so tight-knit (the population is FIFTY THOUSAND, although we only get to see a handful of people) that Laura Palmer’s death affected each and every one of them. However, Cooper seems completely unaware of the dark underbelly of the town - Laura’s life was mired in prostitution, gambling and drug addiction. Two decades on, these victimless crimes are referred to as lifestyle crimes by the Law Enforcement Industry, which aims to keep government employees on the gravy train by making it a crime to HAVE a lifestyle. A 21st century Police Procedural would not have been so kind about the town.
Cooper (Kyle Maclachan – Dune ) and the Sheriff get a call from Cooper’s boss Gordon ( David Lynch , in a Hitchcockian Director’s Cameo). Albert’s pathology tests have identified the source of the marks on Laura’s back. They can cross-reference this with a list of local pet-owners. This allows the team to identify a suspect, which is a major leap forward in the investigation.
Ben and Jerry Horne have a party of Icelanders stay over at the hotel. This is good for them, because it may get some investment for their project. However, Cooper (Kyle Maclachan – Dune ) and the other residents are getting no sleep.
The estranged husband of the lady who owns the Diner is paroled from Prison. He has links to a number of prominent locals, such as Josie (the mill-owner) and Leo Johnson (the wife-beating trucker who moonlights as hired muscle). Josie’s mill is the subject of plotting by Ben Horne, who seems to be playing Josie and her sister-in-law Catherine ( Piper Laurie ) against each other.
Audrey Horne ( Sherilyn Fenn ) carries out her own investigation. She is her father’s daughter, using extortion to get a job as Laura Palmer’s replacement at the Perfume Counter in the Department Store.
Cooper, the Sheriff, Deputy Hawk and the Doctor go hiking in the woods, looking for the remote log cabin.
Audrey Horne ( Sherilyn Fenn ) makes her move on Cooper (Kyle Maclachan – Dune ), but he maintains his high moral values. So she continues her investigations, getting a job at One-Eyed Jack’s. Hopefully this will help her ease her frustrations. After all, while the character is a teenager the actress who plays her is ten years older!
The Mynah bird has yet to talk. Unfortunately he is the best witness so far (the other one being the Log Lady’s log) so the sooner they get answers out of him, the better.
Cooper (Kyle Maclachan – Dune ) dresses in a tuxedo and goes undercover at the Casino. Real James Bond stuff, especially considering that the casino (One Eyed Jack’s) is in Canada – outside his legal jurisdiction. He brings ten grand in FBI petty cash to lure the suspect back to US soil. Everett McGill ( Licence to Kill ) comes along as his backup man.
Local gangland enforcer Leo Johnston has a stack of work to do. He has to punish his cheating wife and her lover, kill the only witness the cops have that would implicate him in Laura’s activities, set an incendiary at the logging mill (and ensuring that the Life Insurance Fraud victim is inside) … Quite a busy night, all told. He forgets that he might be considered one of the loose ends too.
Audrey Horne ( Sherilyn Fenn ) is still hanging out at One-Eyed Jacks. It seems she never planned an exit strategy. Worse, the staff there are more loyal to money than their boss.
Donna ( Lara Flynn Boyle ) continues her own investigation into Laura’s murder. She takes up Laura’s old shift with Meals on Wheels. This leads to an un-nerving scene with a pre-teen boy dressed like David Lynch , who has learned a magic trick and can steal cream corn. She also discovers Laura was friendly with the local shut-in (Lenny Von Dohlen - ).
The Log Lady gives Major Briggs (Don Davis - Stargate SG-1 ) a message from her log. He actually understands it, and reveals to Cooper that he works in the USAF’s Project Blue Book, researching alien radio signals. They detected a signal with Cooper’s name in it … and that signal came from the woods outside town. Could this be the Red Lodge?
Jean Renault (Michael Parks - Kill Bill ) turns up.
Donna ( Lara Flynn Boyle ) becomes convinced that James is cheating on her with Maddie ( Sheryl Lee ). Naturally, she starts hanging out with Harold (Lenny Von Dohlen). This leads on to a Sex, Lies and Videotape Interview in which she tells Harold a toned-down version of events shown in Fire Walk With Me .
Donna ( Lara Flynn Boyle ) has lunch with Harold the local shut-in (Lenny Von Dohlen - ). He reads her some extracts from Laura Palmer's secret diary.
The travelling Judge comes to town for a court hearing. Yes, despite having a population of fifty thousand the town does not have its own Judge or courthouse. However, the Judge's assistant is a young-looking Claire Stansfield !
Ben Horne’s minions have double-crossed him and are holding his daughter Audrey for ransom. They have teamed up with Jean Renault (Michael Parks – Kill Bill ), brother of the barman who pimped out Laura Palmer. Renault holds Agent Cooper (Kyle Maclachan – Dune ) personally responsible, and wants to kill him. His new partners fail to realise that they are nothing more than loose ends. After all, if a man intends to kill an FBI agent he will not hesitate to kill any potential witnesses.
Meanwhile, Donna ( Lara Flynn Boyle ) and Maddie try to steal Laura’s Secret Diary from Harold.
Cooper’s boss Gordon ( David Lynch ) arrives in town. This coincides with the investigators getting their next big lead on Bob. They find the one-armed man ...
Bobby Briggs and Shelly the waitress discover that Leo’s welfare benefits (after taxes and expenses) are only $700 per month. That is less than she made as a waitress! In all fairness, she must have made a lot of money from her tips because waitressing in 1991 was not a well-paid profession.
Now that Maddie has helped track down Laura’s Secret Diary, she has no further business in town. She declares her decision to return home.
Cooper (Kyle Maclachan – Dune ) and the team take the one-armed man to the Hotel. He cannot identify Bob directly, but they identify a major suspect. Meanwhile, Deputy Hawk goes to retrieve Laura’s Secret Diary from Harold’s house.
That night, Cooper gets another message from the Giant. It is happening again ... . In a brutally violent scene, Bob takes another victim.
The audience now know who Bob is, so the show has pretty much jumped the shark. It is only a matter of time before the show’s cops discover him too. We even get some phony jeopardy where it is briefly and unconvincingly suggested that they might make the discovery completely by accident. After all, that would be a terrible anti-climax to the investigation.
Cooper (Kyle Maclachan – Dune ) has run out of ideas, so he resorts to what for want of a better word he calls Magic. He does what everyone does in a cosy murder-mystery – he gets all the suspects together in one room. Bobby wheels in the chair-bound Leo, while Leland Palmer accompanies his client Ben Horne.
The story jumps forward three days, to the funeral. The event itself is disturbed
Cooper (Kyle Maclachan – Dune ) is about to leave town and return to the Seattle Field Office when a couple of strangers arrive. Clarence Williams III is a James Brown-looking type from FBI Internal Affairs, and his companion is a Canadian Mountie in full uniform. When not parading around in broad daylight in bright red serge, the Mountie is undercover in a drug deal with Jean Renault (Michael Parks – Kill Bill ). This operation was interrupted by Cooper’s jaunt across the border to rescue Audrey, so it has gotten him suspended without pay. Also, the crooks’ involvement with narcotics importation means the DEA sends in an Agent. This is an old friend of Cooper’s – Dennis (David Duchovny – X-Files ). Of course, in a show like this it should not be a surprise that Dennis is now Denise.
Bobby Briggs tries to blackmail Mr Horne into hiring him. Luckily, Audrey is on hand to help out.
Major Briggs (Don Davis - Stargate SG-1 ) takes Cooper fishing. But as they are camping in the woods, Briggs is abducted in a strange flash of light.
The town's leading lights attend the wedding of the Publisher and his bride, who is young enough to be his great-grandaughter. Royce D Applegate ( seaQuest DSV ) conducts the ceremony.
Elsewhere, Laura's biker boy-toy James Hurley has left town. He hooks up with a femme fatale in a dodgy bar. She invites him home ...
Andy and his rival (Ian Buchanan – ) have to prove their fatherliness to the receptionist by acting as father figures to a young boy. However, the child’s fondness for sadistic practical jokes, combined with the wake of violent death he leaves in his path, seem to have inspired the film Little Nicky .
Bobby gets his dream job, working for Ben Horne. Unfortunately Ben Horne has become unstable. Audrey tells Bobby that SHE is the one he has to suck up to now.
Supernatural arch-villain Bob puts in yet another appearance, and someone dies for no apparent reason. The two cops present do not even attempt CPR!
This episode was directed by Diane Keaton.
Windom Earl (Kenneth Welsh - Crocodile Dundee 2) is in town, with evil plans for Agent Cooper. Other Guest Stars include Sherilyn Fenn 's on-screen uncle (David Patrick Kelly - Dreamscape), Joan Chen 's on-screen husband (David Warner - TMNT 2 ) and Cooper's FBI associate (Miguel Ferrer - Robocop ).
Bobby Briggs is helping Ben Horne with his US Civil War delusion. While Bobby is away, Shelley discovers that Leo is not as comatose as he used to be.
James Hurley has been framed for murder. Will he leave town and take Donna home, or will he hang around and make things worse for himself?
Leo Johnston is now an unwilling henchman to Windom Earle (Kenneth Welsh). Unfortunately for Leo, his new boss is an insane psychopath.
Audrey, despite having contributed to her father’s mental collapse, orders her minions to help. Bobby is the bugler, Audrey is Scarlett O’Hara, Uncle Jerry is her father, and Dr Jacoby is General Grant. So, will Grant surrender to Lee in time to save the day?
With Albert's evidence and Hank's testimony incriminating the Sheriff's GF, it looks like the time is up for Josie ( Joan Chen ). Catherine Martel ( Piper Laurie ) gives her back her Walther PPK, and sends her off to meet Thomas Eckhart (David Warner - TMNT 2 ).
Audrey decides to play her part in the family business, and learns the ropes by interning in each of the roles in the hotel. Except cleaning the rooms, of course. She meets a new high-rolling guest (and business associate of her father) – Billy Zane ( Back To The Future ). It looks like he is her new love interest.
Ben Horne has his sanity back, although some might disagree when they hear his new scheme. To prevent Catherine from logging the massive lands she took from him, he has decided to jump on the bandwagon of early 1990s environmentalism. His new campaign is to Save the Pine Weasel.
Gordon ( David Lynch ) returns. As Cooper (Kyle Maclachan – Dune ) is now on the Windome Earl case he gets his badge and gun back. Coop takes Gordon to the diner to celebrate with some damn fine coffee. It turns out that Shelley is the only person Gordon can hear properly. Cooper gets a new love interest of his own – the owner’s sister, Annie ( Heather Graham ).
Gordon brings Windom Earl’s sealed FBI file from the 1960s. It turns out that he was assigned to Project Blue Book, so presumably he already knew about the Black and White Lodges. It is a hell of a coincidence that Earl’s ex-partner should be assigned to the same town that his lifelong obsession is centred around. Especially when their last assignment together was in Pittsburgh, on the other side of the country.
The cops discover a link between the case and some strange pictographs in caves nearby. They go spelunking.
Cooper (Kyle Maclachan – Dune ) starts to piece together Earl’s plan. Bob’s home in the Black Lodge, the disappearance of Leo Johnston, and Windom Earl’s secret plot may all be connected. Major Briggs (Don Davis - Stargate SG-1 ), alien abductee and former member of Project Blue Book, may be the key.
Windom Earl spends his time monologuing his evil plan to his next victim – a hitch-hiking heavy metal teenager (Ted Raimi – Xena: Warrior Princess ).
Cooper (Kyle Maclachan – Dune ) and the team have to clear up the mess left by Windom Earl. His extravagant method of disposal of a body (how did he and Leo get the massive crate onto the bandstand?) seems to be weirdness for its own sake. When this reviewer first watched this episode (over two decades ago in 1991) this is the moment that convinced him that the show had reached the point at which the yet-to-be-invented term Jump The Shark would apply. After all, what has Windom’s weirdness got to do with Laura Palmer?
Ben Horne wants Audrey to enter the Miss Twin Peaks contest, So she can be a mini-celebrity and thus a VIP spokesperson for the cause. Unfortunately she is more worried about the fact that her love interest Billy Zane ( Back To The Future ) is leaving town in his personal jet-plane.
Coop suggests to Annie ( Heather Graham ) that she might enter the contest. The Giant appears in a waking vision, telling Coop not to, but Coop goes ahead anyway.
The contest committee all seem to have a vested interest. The Doctor is father of Donna ( Lara Flynn Boyle ), the Mayor is husband (well, ex-brother-in-law) of the red-head, and Pete Martell will not go against his wife.
The cops realise too late that Windom Earl is after the Queen – and the chess metaphor equates to Miss Twin Peaks.
Leo, who was such a terrible husband to Shelley when he lived with her, finally does something right in his life. But he is likely to ever benefit from this apparently unselfish good deed.
Cooper (Kyle Maclachan – Dune ) pursues Windom Earl to Glastonbury Grove, where the gateway to the Lodge is concealed. Earl thinks he can take the Lodge’s power for himself, but he forgets that he is only a mortal. There are other powers at work, more deadly than he could imagine.
Nadine got another bump on the noggin. Will this make her better or worse?
Audrey chains herself up in the bank vault as an act of civil disobedience. Then Pete (Jack Nance) and Andrew (Dan O’Herlihy – Halloween 3: Season of the Witch ) arrive to open Eckart’s safety deposit box. Unfortunately they discover an unpleasant surprise waiting for them.
The ultimate cliffhanger is the final scene, which is so memorable it has yet to be equalled in television history. There are a couple of get-out clauses. In the prequel movie Fire Walk With Me , Annie appears to Laura Palmer in a vision (and Laura apparently puts it in her secret diary). In the episode, Laura tells Coop I’ll see you in 25 years … and a 25th anniversary Third Season has been announced!
Featured Movie: Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me (28/Aug/92)