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Twin Peaks, Ep. 2.02, “Coma”: The mystification of Laura Palmer

The dualities of Lynchian art are always interesting and always compelling in their simplicity. They reveal something, in their best moments, that is not typically talked about or openly acknowledged. Binaries are so easy to use, good versus evil, but when David Lynch manipulates them, he is uniquely capable of showing us the phoniness and feebleness of these structures.

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Twin Peaks, Ep. 2.01, “May The Giant Be With You”: The pressure of a phenomenon

The question of who killed Laura Palmer holds a particular and acute power. Not only did it captivate millions of people in 1990, but it has continued to have the same effect on millions more in the decades since thanks to home video and, most importantly, Netflix. When I first started watching Twin Peaks as a teenager some years ago, I wasn’t as familiar with the phenomenon, having only been told by many about how powerful the show’s legacy has become. The first season of David Lynch and Mark Frost’s series immediately gripped me, not only with that central question but (more importantly) with the remarkable world and its characters that these men had carefully crafted.

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Twin Peaks, Ep. 1.08, “The Last Evening”: A fire fueled by gasoline and personal histories

It’s interesting to consider how Twin Peaks would have been received if it aired today. The viewing culture of the 2010s is one that’s been bred for the ad infinitum dissection of television shows: episodes are picked apart in real-time on Twitter, reviewers dig for greater analysis in the days between installments, and cliffhangers and twist endings can spark wars in comment sections. One wonders how the first eight episodes of Twin Peaks—loaded with symbolism, often emotionally extreme, at times determined to frustrate the viewer—would survive in an environment made so contentious by endless discussion of its spiritual successors LOST and The Sopranos. How many interpretations of the Log Lady’s words would there be? Would Cooper’s love of coffee launch a thousand memes immediately? And would James and Donna be more loathed than Nikki and Paolo?

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Twin Peaks, Ep. 1.07, “Realization Time” hypnotically ties narratives and cherry stems together

With the sheer breadth of stories being told on an average episode of Twin Peaks, it’s startling to take a step back and realize that each episode only covers a period of 24 hours. While not as slavishly devoted to calling attention to its timeframe in the way The Killing or 24 was, Twin Peaks is a show focused on the day-to-day of the town, beginning each episode with the prerequisite cup of coffee and ending on the wind blowing through the deserted streets and forest. The basic nature of that structure only makes it more remarkable to consider how much happens in a single day, and how good the writers are at keeping the momentum of each plot going as the season progresses.

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Twin Peaks, Ep. 1.06, “Cooper’s Dreams” sees alliances shifting and control slipping

In the first scene of “Cooper’s Dreams,” Agent Cooper complains to Diane via tape recorder that the sense of peace he found in Twin Peaks has been shattered, proving one of his oldest maxims: “Once a traveler leaves his home he loses almost 100% of his ability to control his environment.” And indeed, control is something that’s slipping away from Cooper at every turn this episode. When a rowdy gang of businessmen wake him up at 4 am, it leaves him looking worn down during a key part of the investigation. His normal sense of equipoise fails him in the presence of the Log Lady, who slaps his hand for inopportune timing. And at the end of the day, he returns to his room hoping for peace, only to find Audrey Horne naked in his bed, begging him not to send her away. So often the smartest man in the room, this episode shows Cooper being pushed by circumstances, rather than the other way around.

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Twin Peaks, Ep. 1.05, “The One-Armed Man” ties man and beast to the investigation

While Twin Peaks is easy to praise for both its alien-like atmosphere and the skill with which it constructed the Laura Palmer investigation, neither of these aspects would resonate to the degree they do if they weren’t built on the solid framework of the show’s world. The residents of Twin Peaks are all distinctly drawn characters with their own set of quirks, biases, and motivations; many of which are only tangentially related to Laura’s death. David Lynch said at the time and in many interviews since that he considered the murder the entry point to the rest of the town, and that in an ideal world it would have turned into a perpetual motion machine of story as their lives progressed.

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Twin Peaks, Ep. 1.04, “Rest In Pain” buries Laura Palmer and unearths cryptic facts

When the viewer enters the world of Twin Peaks, they do it at close to the exact same time Laura Palmer leaves it. Whoever she was is gone entirely, departed off to heaven, hell, the darkness in the woods, the strange red room in Cooper’s dream, or perhaps to nowhere at all. Cooper and the Twin Peaks police department can overturn every stone in town until they find the killer, but nothing they do is going to bring her back. The only thing that’s left behind is a body growing colder by the minute, and the memories of a town that loved her without truly understanding anything about her.

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Twin Peaks, Ep. 1.03, “Zen, Or The Skill To Catch A Killer” expands the mystery with dances and dreams

Throughout his career, David Lynch has always paid tribute to the role of dreams in his art and storytelling. He once described his appreciation of the form as such: “Waking dreams are the ones that are important, the ones that come when I’m quietly sitting in a chair, letting my mind wander. When you sleep, you don’t control your dream. I like to dive into a dream world that I’ve made or discovered; a world I choose … right there is the power of cinema.” Lynch’s best works are the pieces that exist perfectly in an elusive feeling, where you’re unsure if you’re awake or still dreaming. Blue Velvet is a walking nightmare for poor Jeffrey Beaumont that shows him the worst of life, while Mulholland Drive’s narrative defies categorization on what is reality and what is a dream.

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Twin Peaks, Ep. 1.02: “Traces To Nowhere” establishes oddly effective beats of investigation

After the tour de force performance that was the pilot of Twin Peaks, the most important of the many questions raised was how on earth this would be able to sustain a weekly series. Its vision was so unique and its oddness so carefully calibrated that it was easy to understand why so many of the critics who first reviewed it and loved it gave it zero chance of mainstream success, even while you could also understand why ABC would take a chance on its vision.

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Twin Peaks, Ep. 1.01: “Northwest Passage” is brilliant world-building, wrapped in plastic

In the nearly 25 years since Twin Peaks debuted on ABC, the show has achieved an almost mythic status in the canon of television. Not only has it influenced a legion of other shows, but its various elements and images have become indelible parts of pop culture. Appreciation of cherry pie and damn good coffee. A lady with a log that she treats like a beloved pet. A dwarf dancing in a room with red curtains and a zig-zag carpet. When people think of Twin Peaks, they think of its oddities, and with good reason: the surreality is so distinct that it lingers long after the details surrounding it have faded.

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‘Twin Peaks’ set to return in 2016

In a surprise announcement earlier today, David Lynch and Mark Frost followed up their recent tweets by confirming that Twin Peaks would indeed be returning to television. Twin Peaks is set to return on Showtime in 2016, with all nine episodes of the new series being directed by Lynch himself, Deadline reports. Dear Twitter Friends: That gum you …

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Discovering Twin Peaks

My love affair with all things David Lynch has been well documented, even on this very website. So my rather late arrival to Twin Peaks is a rather shameful secret, thankfully though it is easily explained. I was only four when it began its two season run on ABC in 1990. About a year ago I finally decided to watch the series after finding it online. What I found was one of the most compulsively watchable, terrifying, funny and inventive shows to ever air on television.

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David Lynch, Auteurism and Haptic Perception in Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me and Inland Empire

Haptic visuality is a term coined by Canadian media theorist, Laura U. Marks. Taking the idea of haptic perception, the process of recognizing objects through touch, Marks integrates the role of eye-sight as part of a greater sensual experience. She says: Haptic images can give the impression of seeing for the first time, gradually discovering what …

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David Lynch and Surrealism in Twin Peaks, Mulholland Dr. and Lost Highway

Ever fascinated by the American way of life, Lynch’s career is rooted in the American experience, be it small town life or the magical land of Hollywood. The contradiction of the sense of community, magic and folksiness with the underbelly of violence and perversion is at the heart of most of his projects. He explores …

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The perfectly strange world of Twin Peaks

There’s something mind-boggling about watching Twin Peaks all these years later. It’s an easy show to dismiss now; after all, the TV landscape is littered with bizarre characters in even stranger situations. Twin Peaks might not have been the first show to explore the stranger, darker side of seemingly normal characters, but it certainly set …

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Wayward Pines, Ep. 1.10, “Cycle”

Ever since Wayward Pines was announced as an M. Night Shyamalan project, the threat of the twist ending is one that’s hung over the entire series. For better or worse, Shyamalan’s name is associated with stories that try to come out of left field in the apex of the third act and surprise you with the idea that nothing you’ve witnessed is what it seems, ends that enjoy their trickiness so much it keeps them blind to the fact that they don’t bear up under scrutiny. And given the early ads for the show, which were heavy on that symbolism—as well as too heavy on imagery and quotes that invited unflattering Twin Peaks comparisons—it was hard to dissuade yourself of that expectation going in.

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Discovering Psych

Psych is one of the most delightful, effortlessly fun shows on television. When it first began on USA in 2006 I watched most of the first season, thought it was enjoyable enough but never really bothered to watch more than half of the season. I would occasionally catch episodes here and there and always like them but I never gave the show much thought. It wasn’t until the season five Twin Peaks inspired episode “Dual Spires” that I reconnected with the unexpected series.

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Can Two Movies Have The Same Title?

Unfortunately, several movies have the same or similar titles, and it’s legal, which can prove annoying when you’re trying to research a specific movie. Sometimes it turns out that the one we were looking for was not the originator of the title as well. It’s understandable when you have the remake of a film or …

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40 Best Halloween Movies of All Time (the Definitive List)

Every year, starting on November 1st, I count down the days until October with the prospect of watching non-stop horror movies (inevitably alone, or with my dog). As I patiently await for the next October to arrive, I imagine the films dancing like poisonous sugar plums in the catacombs of my head. I love October, and …

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