Dale Cooper - Kyle MacLachlan
Harry S Truman - Michael Ontkean
Benjamin Horne - Richard Beymer
Audrey Horne - Sherilynn Fenn
Donna Hayward - Lara Flynn Boyle
Hawk - Michael Horse
Andy - Harry Goaz
Lucy - Kimmy Robertson
Shelly Johnson - Madchen Amick
Leo Johnson - Eric DaRe
Bobby Briggs - Dana Ashbrook
James Hurley - James Marshall
Ed Hurley - Everett McGill
Nadine Hurley - Wendy Robie
Norma Jennings - Peggy Lipton
Leland Palmer - Ray Wise
Sarah Palmer - Grace Zabriskie
Dr Jacoby - Russ Tamblyn
Pete Martell - Jack Nance
Catherine Martell - Piper Laurie
Josie Packard - Joan Chen
Madeleine Ferguson - Sheryl Lee
Hank Jennings - Chris Mulkey
OTHER TWIN PEAKS SEASONS
OTHER ODD TOWNS
A Town Called Eureka
Laura Palmer, a seemingly model student at the Twin Peaks High School, is found murdered, washed up on a beach wrapped in plastic. The police are, frankly, baffled, but Agent Dale Cooper of the FBI arrives, suspecting this to be the work of a serial killer. Then a second girl walks out of the woods and the police backtrack her route and find the site of some terrible crimes and the scrawled words 'Fire Walk With Me'.
TWIN PEAKS is the television spin off of the ideas that director David Lynch first had for the feature film BLUE VELVET. The premise is basically the same, a seemingly quiet town turns out to be seething with secrets and to have a less pleasant underbelly. Only on the television, the idea can be developed at a more leisurely pace and the secrets twist some more before finally being dragged out into the light.
The first part of this pilot is a terrible peek into the collective grief that such a loss can bring. Of course her parents are devastated (excellent playing by Ray Wise and especially Grace Zabriskie), but also her friends and the people whose lives Laura touched. This could almost be a documentary about how a community is wrecked by such a tragedy in real life it is played that well, except perhaps for Andy, the deputy who cries at every crime scene. Light entertainment it is not.
Then agent Cooper arrives like a breath of fresh air. The conventional policeman he is not. Getting excited by the smell of the trees, the sight of a snowshoe rabbit and a slice of cherry pie, he is full of life and light, delighting in everything, including the mental workout that the case has brought to him. Kyle McLachlan is brilliant in this role, managing to keep Cooper believable whilst whittering some of the most ridiculous dialogue ever written. With his arrival, the entertaining starts and the little quirks of the characters and the town are allowed to come out more, be it Lucy the police receptionist and her doughnut buffet, Audrey Horne sabotaging her father's business schemes or Dr Jackoby, the psychologist who could use some of his own medicine.
Everyone, it seems, is having an affair with someone else, everyone has a secret and there are lots of characters that we haven't even got around to yet. When agent Cooper says that he might be staying around for a while then we just might not mind staying with him.Top
The investigation into Laura's death gets underway with the start of a new day. James Hurley, her secret boyfriend, tells what he knows of Laura's drug problem and other issues and then goes to meet the parents of Donna, Laura's best friend with whom he realises he was in love all along. Bobby and Snake, the two most likely candidates for the murder are in debt to Leo Johnson to the tune of 10,000 dollars, that being the money that Cooper and Sheriff Truman found in Laura's safety deposit box. Benjamin Horne and Catherine Packard are planning to burn down Josie's mill to get the land it stands on and Dr Jackoby is revealed to be the man who has the other half of Laura's necklace.
Not much is learned about the truth behind Laura Palmer's death, but the mysteries are starting to take more shape and the relationships between all of the characters in the town are becoming more clear and more tangled all at the same time. They range from the sublime to the ridiculous, from the dangerous to the outrageous. Leo Johnson is a wifebeater and all-round bad guy who has blood on his shirt whilst the Log Lady declares that her 'log saw something that night'. Those cast members who are supposed to be playing it straight do so with admirable skill whilst others make the most of the quirky characters. Kyle McLachlan continues to delight as Cooper extols the virtues of coffee and pie, but there is darkness too as Laura's mother has a psychic flash of a strange and feral man at the end of her sofa.
This first episode also ditches the strange, almost sepia, tint that the photography had in the pilot in favour of a much brighter and normal colour palette.
What's going on? Haven't a clue, but it looks like it's going to be immense fun finding out.Top
Bobby and Leo face off over the matter of the money locked in Laura's safety deposit box and Bobby learns of Leo's wifebeating. Ed inadvertantly helps Nadine with her curtain runners(!). Ben Horne's brother Jerry returns from France with wonderful sandwiches and the pair take a trip to One Eyed Jack's, a brothel just over the Canadian border. Agent Cooper shows everyone an investigative technique he learned in a dream about Tibet and has an even stranger dream in which Laura Palmer and a dwarf talk backwards.
Up to now, TWIN PEAKS has been eccentric, but it leaps feet first into the deep end of wierdness with the dream that Agent Cooper has at the end. Can he really now know who killed Laura Palmer? It'll be a short series if he does and how will he prove it? The wierdness here will make or break the show for many viewers.
Another great character arrives in the shape of Miguel Ferrer's Albert, genius forensic man, but absolutely rubbish at the 'social niceties'.
More and more of the townsfolks' secrets are coming to light, though what they have to do with the death of Laura Palmer and where all these unconnected stories are going is yet to be made clear.Top
It's the day of Laura's funeral and Agent Cooper has forgotten who Laura Palmer told him killed her in his dream. The focus of the investigation switches to the cocaine that she had, cocaine that Sheriff Truman thinks was brought in from Canada by the bartender at the Roadhouse, a bartender who knows Leo Johnson very well. Truman introduces Cooper to the Bookhouse Boys, a secret society created to fight against a very special evil that lurks in the woods around Twin Peaks.
This episode dials the wierdness back down to eccentricity and moves the plot no further forward than it already was. The fact that this matters not at all is down to the depth of character-revealing incident that takes place. The funeral itself is traumatic for all concerned in the show and very funny in a very black way for the audience. Cooper's admission that he forgot who killed Laura Palmer is met with no more than a disappointed 'damn' from the Sheriff, but considering that the reality level of the show is low and dwindling fast, it's easy to accept this with the same equanimity.Top
Cooper and Sheriff Truman track down the one-armed man and trace him back to a veterinarians where there was a bird that might be the one that wounded Laura. Audrey Horne, meanwhile, has realised that the perfume counter at the department store was one point where it all started to go wrong for both Laura and Ronette. Leo Johnson has been a very bad boy and agrees to be bad for Benjamin Horne.
This episode is much more about the residents of Twin Peaks than it is about the investigation. Norma Jennings' jailbird husband is getting paroled and knows Josie Packard whilst Madeleine makes a big impression on James. If all of this wasn't so fabulously well-played and eccentrically presented then it would feel like padding to distract from a central story that isn't going anywhere very fast.
When the incidental pleasures are this great, however, you don't mind the speed of the journey.Top
Agent Cooper, Sheriff Truman and Deputy Hawk take a trip up into the woods looking for Jacques Renault's log cabin. There they find the scene of some of the atrocities carried out against Laura and Ronette, but not before hearing what the Log Lady's log had to say for itself. James and Donna rope Maddy into their plans to find out who killed Laura and Hank returns home to Norma, taking up his less than legal ways without delay. Shelley has a surprise for Leo when he returns.
Nobody in Twin Peaks is being faithful to their wives and husbands, it appears, and now it's clear that everyone is betraying each other in other ways. Whilst Ben is carrying on with Catherine to betray Josie, he is also dealing with Josie to betray Catherine. It's all complete nonsense, but such a delight that it's irrestistible, whether it be yodelling Icelanders or asking questions of a log. There is even time for a few moments of depth, such as the irrepressible Audrey crying for Leland in his pain.
There is no telling where this is taking us all, but we can't wait to find out.Top
Shelly is freaked out after shooting Leo, but he isn't dead and has both of them in his sights until he learns that Waldo the bird is a potential witness to what happened in the cabin with Ronette and Laura. Audrey's investigation into what goes on at the perfume counter in Horne's department store gets her an appointment at One Eyed Jacks. The tape that Madeleine discovered in Laura's room leads James and Donna to dress her up as Laura to give Dr Jacoby a distraction whilst they search his office. They did not plan for him to get attacked. Finally, Big Ed accompanies Agent Cooper on an unsanctioned visit across the border into Canada.
Things are really hotting up as plots collide into plots in a headlong rush towards the season finale. Anyone even attempting to get into the show at this point is going to be left hopelessly lost by the various crosses - double, triple and even quadruple - that are going on, but for those that have been with it since the start it is really satisfying to see these strands coming together at the end and yet still leaving time for the quirky moments that have made the show such a delight so far.Top
Cooper tempts Jacques Renault back across the border where he can be arrested. He explains the events in the cabin, clearly fingering Leo as the probably killer. Leo is not having a good day. He's no sooner tied up his wife inside the mill he is about to torch, but has been shot a second time, this time by the much more professional Hank Jennings. Big Ed's wife Nadine has taken pills, Leland has killed Jacques who he thinks killed Laura, James has been framed for drugs, Audrey's found out that the man she is about to 'entertain' is her father and Agent Cooper just got shot three times in the chest at point blank range.
Wow, what a last episode! With all the situations in place, it's action all the way as cliffhanger after cliffhanger explodes in our face and leaves us desperate that we're going to have to wait however long for a second series to tie up all the loose ends. Are Catherine and Shelly dead in the mill, and is Pete for that matter? Can Josie get out of the deal she now has with the man she paid to kill her husband? How will Audrey get out of the world's most embarrassing situation? Will Jacoby survive? Will Nadine survive? Will Cooper survive? Will we ever learn who killed Laura Palmer?
It's a breathtaking crescendo to everything that the show has been building up to, but never a breathless one. So well has everything been set up that it all comes together like a jigsaw suddenly revealed when all you've seen so far are the pieces. But it is the ending that leaves you gasping with shock and screaming at the prospect of a the long wait till next year.Top