The Town of Twin Peaks (1990)

The Town of Twin Peaks (1990)

Picture by Kennedy Starr

Enter the town of Twin Peaks, visit the Double R diner for a slice of cherry pie and a cup of coffee, and help FBI Agent Cooper and Sheriff Truman solve a crime. In the 1990 show, a small town is rocked by the mysterious murder of its homecoming queen, Laura Palmer. Created by David Lynch and Mark Frost, “Twin Peaks” gripped the nation in the 90s, and everyone wanted to know, “who killed Laura Palmer?” 

Understanding this eccentric show is like understanding its creator, David Lynch. Known at this time for movies like “Eraserhead” and “Blue Velvet,” the Lynchian way of filmmaking held his fans tightly as something no one had ever seen before. When setting out to create the show, Lynch famously thought that TV was no different from a theatre—creating 30 episodes as mini-epic adventures fitted for the cinema and the comfort of the everyday home. 

Washing up on the shore “dead, wrapped in plastic,” Laura’s death slams into this comfortable small town brewing with secrets. The pilot takes the viewer through each character’s grief. This Northwestern town is so tightly knit that Laura’s death knocks everyone off their feet as if she were their own family. From her mother, Sarah Palmer, breaking down on the kitchen floor to the high school principal barely choking through the announcement that one of their own was gone. 

Twin Peaks sits in silence; it rests in the tension of the wind-blown fern trees and doesn’t shy away from emotion. Lynch illustrates the beauty of silence. One of the things I love about the show is its ability to feel. Lynch and Frost explore a very familiar theme: good vs. evil. 

Within the town, there are so many important characters. Like Laura’s best friend, Donna, and her jock boyfriend, Bobby. The jazzy Audrey Horne (daughter to Ben Horne, the local business tycoon) and Laura’s secret lover James. Not to mention the Log Lady (who sounds exactly like her name), Big Ed and his eye patch-wearing wife Nadine, and his love affair with the Double R owner Norma Jennings. These are to name a few of the wonderful residents of Twin Peaks. 

By far, the shining star is Agent Cooper. He is guided by his intuition and rather odd cryptic dreams that visit through a dancing dwarf who communicates through riddles. Agent Cooper is someone you could trust with your life, therefore solving your murder. He sees the beauty of the town and the world. He believes he already holds all the answers in his subconscious and is ready to find justice in every corner of the world. 

Lynch and Frost create a town that is not only forever changed by death, but they are brought together in their grief and take care of each other through it all. As you venture through this never-ending pandora’s box of mystery, take a moment to stop and smell the fresh air and great ferns. And join Agent Cooper and Sheriff Truman for a “damn fine cup of coffee.”