The Top 10 Twin Peaks moments

That’s some damn fine coffee.

Thirty years ago today, celebrated cinematic auteur David Lynch turned his attention to the medium of television and arguably changed the course of TV drama.

Only perhaps Dennis Potter before him had come up with some so ambitious, so mind-bending as to influence a new generation of programme-makers.

Now it was Lynch’s turn.

Ostensibly, Twin Peaks was a police procedural. The small eponymously-titled logging town in the verdant American northwest had experienced tragedy, when high school sweetheart Laura Palmer was found murdered, wrapped up in transparent tarpaulin on the banks of the local river.

Sent in to investigate was the FBI’s Dale Cooper (Kyle MacLachlan). But that’s where convention ended abruptly: Twin Peaks presented us with a cavalcade of strange characters, terrifying villains, melodrama and an investigation that spanned not only physical dimensions but dizzying realms of the subconscious.

Happy birthday Twin Peaks, it’s been quite a ride.

Cooper’s dream
Zen, or the Skill to Catch a Killer (S1 E3)
If there’s a piece of imagery that most people will take away from Twin Peaks it’s Dale Cooper’s dream. Falling asleep he’s transported into the dreamworld of the Black Lodge and the Red Room. A one-armed man reads a sinister poem which includes the line ‘fire walk with me’. Villain of the piece BOB appears and says he will kill again. Cooper then begins talks to a dwarf in a red suit, who says a doppelgänger of Laura Palmer is his cousin. Laura Palmer herself leans over and whispers something inaudible in Cooper’s ear, then the dwarf begins to dance strangely to dreamy jazz.

S2 E1
If ever there was a more terrifying villain than BOB, we haven’t seen him or her. The cross-dimensional entity who’s prone to possessing people as and when he pleases, he was the archetypal bogeyman and none more threatening when he did the ‘BOB crawl’. In this scene, Laura’s cousin Maddy is left alone in the living room and BOB makes a sudden appearance.

Audrey Horne’s diner dance
Traces to Nowhere (S1 E2)
Part of the charm of Twin Peaks was its huge ensemble cast, each character living out their personal nightmares. One such character was the iconic Audrey Horne (Sherilyn Fenn). An old-fashioned ingenue, almost a femme fatale, Audrey played up on her little-girl-lost chic and was an arch-manipulator. Underneath it all was a vulnerable, lost young woman. Her dance in the Double R remains one of the series’ most iconic scenes.

The Tibetan Method
Zen, or the Skill to Catch a Killer (S1 E3)
We were, by now, aware of Dale Cooper’s innovative investigative methods. This episode encapsulated these methods with a neat demonstration of his techniques. In the woods, Cooper uses a strange deductive technique that came to him in a dream about the plight of the people of Tibet to try and identify Laura’s killer. Her diary mentions “meeting J tonight”, and Cooper asks Lucy to read out a list of everyone in town with the letter J in their name one by one. As each name is read out he throws a rock at a glass bottle balanced on a log. He misses them all, but when Lucy says the name Leo Johnson he hits the bottle perfectly, smashing it to pieces. Members of the local police force – who Coop has befriended – look on, bemused.

Singing and dancing Leland
May The Giant Be With You (S2 E1)
Leland Palmer – Laura’s father – had suddenly changed appearance at the start of series two. His hair had turned into a shock of white, and he began to act very strangely indeed. At a dinner party hosted by the Haywards, he ‘entertained’ the guests with an enthusiastic rendition of Get Happy accompanied by Gersten Hayward on piano. Even when became manic and collapsed, little did everyone present know what was really beneath Leland’s appearance.

The Giant
May The Giant Be With You (S2 E1)
The Giant is a recurring friend to Dale Cooper throughout the series, coming to him dreams and advising him via cryptic messages. We see him when Cooper is lying on the floor bleeding from a gunshot at the start of series two, and then again at the end of the episode. “Sorry to wake you, I forgot to tell you something. The things I tell you will not be wrong…”

The murder reveal
Fire Walk With Me
One of the truly terrifying scenes in Twin Peaks, among a whole raft of them. In the spin-off film, Leland Palmer, possessed by BOB, kidnaps his daughter Laura and her friend Ronette Pulaski, taking them to an old train carriage deep in the woods. Ronette manages to escape with a little help from the one-armed man, but Laura isn’t so lucky. She realises BOB and her father are the same person as he kills her, setting in motion the events of Twin Peaks. It’s a brutal, disturbing scene.

The return of Philip Jeffries
Fire Walk With Me
Another terrifying scene from Fire Walk With Me, it features the semi-mythical Agent Philip Jeffries (David Bowie) who staggers into the Philadelphia FBI field office. He looks distressed, ranting about someone named Judy, and describes a meeting of Black Lodge spirits including BOB and the Man From Another Place. But it’s how he arrived in the office that was…. strange. Cooper, using the CCTV footage, somehow unlocks a portal from which Jeffries emerges. He then vanishes almost as soon as he appears.

The Atomic explosion
S3 Part 8
No one quite knew what to expect when Twin Peaks returned in 2017. But no one expected episode eight, almost an episode within an episode. In the deserts of New Mexico on July 16, 1945, the first atomic bomb is detonated by the United States. A moment that changed the world and gave birth to the entity we know as BOB. An extraordinary, visceral sequence.

Gotta Light
S3 Part 8
No real words for this, but Gotta Light man was the next in a long line of classic Lynch monsters.



2 thoughts on “The Top 10 Twin Peaks moments”

  1. If your emails are going to include Political ads, rather than simply regular ads,
    I will regretfully need to take myself off of your email lists.
    Please update.
    Thank you


    1. I’m very sorry Zeke, but I have no power over the ads, or what kind of adverts are put on to my site – I will complain to WordPress immediately, as you’re not the first to mention it


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