The Second Season
and ends with a cliffhanging image of FBI Agent Dale Cooper.
For those that experienced Twin Peaks through DVD, it's
been almost six years between
season releases, with Cooper (Kyle MacLachlan) lying bleeding
on the floor of his hotel room. Then a giant appears and tells
the lawman to beware the owl. And it only gets weirder from
Oft-cited as groundbreaking television, nobody ever seemed to know what to do with this cult series. Spawning true watercooler talk when first broadcast, it creeped people out, even as some couldn't look away. ABC could, though, moving it around after its initial success and cancelling it after its second season. It found new life in reruns on A&E, with introductions from the mysterious "Log Lady," played by Catherine Coulson.
With this second season set from CBS Television DVD, maybe it will find new life again. The central mystery of the show, who killed Laura Palmer (once on lips all over the country), finds its resolution here, as well as bizarre side-trips into prostitution, scandal and the Civil War. Perhaps appropriately enough, it ends on a nightmarish note that can never be solved.
So why watch it? Because it really was ground-breaking television, and perhaps way ahead of its time. The interweaving mysteries and combination of chills and humor fit right in with some of today's most popular shows, such as Lost, Desperate Housewives or Heroes. The writing was tremendous and the vision - well, most everyone involved including creator David Lynch admit they had no idea where they were going. Yet it's still singular.
Peaks, after all, the line between dream and nightmare is
very thin. Though Lynch would come close to striking the balance
between art and coherence again with Mulholland Drive
(also originally intended as a television pilot), Twin
Peaks really is one of the apexes of his work, though
not everyone working on the series understood it.
Sherilyn Fenn opines in an interview that some directors on
the show would put in weirdness for its own sake, not getting
that Lynch has a method to his madness.
Or does he?
Several directors also contribute interviews, though not specific episode commentary, praising Lynch's vision. This could be coincidental, but notice that two of these directors have acting offspring of some note: Caleb Deschanel (Zoe) and Stephen Gyllenhaal (Maggie and Jake).
Lynch's own daughter, Jennifer, got tapped by her father and co-creator Mark Frost to write the diary of Laura Palmer. The disc includes an interview with her which does imply David Lynch had more control over his story's direction than he let on.
But interview may be too strong a word. Each of these extras is more a chance for the talent to opine; no interviewer guides them. On Artisan's first season collection, the editors of Wrapped in Plastic drove the sessions; here, CBS takes it out of the fans' hands. Unless you count the actors involved as fans. Clearly, they are, especially MacLachlan and David Duchovny, whose three episode stint as a cross-dressing FBI agent is included.
Those Log Lady introductions are included here, too, as they were on the previous season collection. Though they tie in thematically, they're really just as opaque as the series.
Let me amend that; the series itself is wonderfully shot and directed, and CBS has done a slightly better transfer than Artisan did. But there's not a lot of background information included beyond the short interviews. Perhaps they're waiting to put out a truly complete package.
Because in addition to the never-to-be resolved cliffhanger, another mystery is where the heck is the series pilot? Paramount owned the rights when Artisan put out their first season collection without it, and it's never been legally released domestically . On top of that, Lynch did a theatrical prequel, Fire Walk With Me, that needs to be added in here. Heck, for that matter, Artisan no longer exists so that first season is ripe for some DVD pickin'. If CBS could pull all of it together, that would be one tasty package.
Consider this an enthusiastic but guarded review. I'm glad to be able to get rid of my videotapes from the original broadcasts, and to get a look at everyone fifteen or so years later. (Oh, I still love you, Sherilynn Fenn.) This makes my long overdue marathon of sitting through it all a lot easier. For newcomers, it's definitely worth the investigation.
But if a complete package comes out, I'm dropping this one faster than you can ask what that dancing dwarf is doing over there.
Twin Peaks - The Second Season