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Fire Watch With Me: “Twin Peaks” in 2015

_titi, FLICKR

I’m almost ashamed to say that I still haven’t seen all of “Twin Peaks.” My friends have been telling me to watch it for years, but it never really caught my eye until I heard confirmed rumors of a 2016 reboot, which has since been confirmed by Showtime. I’ll admit that this wasn’t my first time watching the pilot. I gave “Peaks” a shot in October, right before midterms, but it’s safe to say I never had time to keep watching.

A second viewing really clarified a lot of foggy points; the show has a large cast and the first episode is 93 minutes. I knew going in that this was not a typical crime drama, but rather surreal, meant to poke fun at the prime time soaps of the ’90s.

The pilot opens when a man in the small town of Twin Peaks, Washington, discovers the body of local high schooler, Laura Palmer (Sheryl Lee, “Winter’s Bone”). From there we are introduced to an entire town full of unusual individuals. We meet Laura’s parents, her boyfriend and friends, local business owners and town residents, all of whom are connected through unusual romantic affairs. Each scene is overacted, with all of the characters’ personalities exaggerated to create an almost mystical feeling within the town. The absurdity dances between comical and downright disturbing. For example, Laura’s mother, Sarah’s (Grace Zabriskie, “Seinfeld”) actions throughout the episode are both over dramatic and chilling. The moody and synth-y theme music that plays behind these important scenes is emotional and unsettling.

Most of the episode focuses on Dale Cooper (Kyle MacLachlan, “Blue Velvet”), the FBI agent investigating Palmer’s death in Twin Peaks. Cooper is eccentric, awkward and completely out of place in such a small town. We first meet Cooper as he drives down an open road towards Twin Peaks; he speaks matter-of-factly into a tape recorder about his desire to find an affordable hotel room. It’s still too early to tell if he really has any idea what he’s doing.

However, he may be the only one without a clue, as everyone else in Twin Peaks seems to have some sort of hidden agenda: Laura’s boyfriend Bobby Briggs (Dana Ashbrook, “Return of the Living Dead II”) is cheating on Laura with Shelly Johnson (Madchen Amick, “Sleepwalkers”), who is cheating on her extremely creepy boyfriend, Le-o Johnson, (Eric DaRe, “Starship Troopers”) (who may just be a killer). Meanwhile Laura was cheating on Bobby with James Hurley (James Marchall, “A Few Good Men”), who was cheating on Laura with Donna Hayward (Lara Flynn Boyle, “Men In Black II”) etc. Confusing, I know.

“Twin Peaks” was first released in 1990, which means that I am watching a show that is five years older than I am. I have to admit that I wish I could dress like Donna. Being set 25 years in the past means that “Peaks” lacks scenes where characters talk to each other on the phone or shots of detectives doing research on high tech computers. The town of Twin Peaks feels even more isolated and lonely when being watched through the lens of 2015.

I really have no idea where “Twin Peaks” can go from here or what I’m supposed to think. The main takeaway for this episode was the scene where Cooper picks up his first big clue off the floor while in the background synth plays an eerie tune. The clue: a paper reading “Fire, Walk With Me.”

@jeanx16 - jvozella@theeagleonline.com


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