Though an older and widely known show, I’m still going to write a little review on the early 90s show Twin Peaks as I’ve just finished watching the last episode the other night. If you’re aware of David Lynch’s movies, you’ll somewhat know that his work tends to be very, for a lack of a polite word, weird. That’s definitely a big plus in my books though and not offsetting.Compared to some of his movies though, the bizarre aspect has been toned down. In that department, it is definitely not on par of something like Eraserhead. If you’re a fan of murder mysteries, quirky characters, seemingly unexplained paranormal events, and even cheesy soap opera dialogue then Twin Peaks is right up your alley.
In the sleepy mountain town of Twin Peaks, the community is rattled by the murder of home coming queen Laura Palmer. Suspecting a serial killer linked to another murder, FBI agent Dale Cooper rolls into town. After quickly concluding there is indeed a serial killer afoot, Dale works with the local sheriff and they begin an investigation by interviewing possible suspects linked to the murdered beauty. Little time passes before Dale realizes just how many peculiar characters inhabit this quiet little town. As if the quirky population in town isn’t enough, Dale begins to have bizarre dreams and visions that seem to give hints towards the killer’s identity.
Though the initial intrigue is the mystery of the original murder, Twin Peaks core focus seems to be on the characters and their individual tales. Even our protagonist Dale is a likeable eccentric with a tragic past. As more of the cast is introduced, it becomes clear that this seemingly uninteresting town has more than its share of secrets. Furthermore we learn how many of these colourful characters are connected to each other, unfortunately most of the time it’s due to an illicit reason. Drugs, affairs, shady business deals, prostitution, murder, coffee, and damn fine cherry pie are a few of the things that seem to keep Twin Peaks together. One thing almost everyone in town seems to have in common is that they all connected to the deceased Laura. A population where everyone has something to hide and knows the victim means Dale has his work cut out for him, and it also means the viewer will likely be guessing until the end.
Besides the wide array of odd characters, Twin Peaks does a wonderful job of setting both an eerie and uniquely odd tone. There are a few factors that contribute to the feeling the show conveys to the viewer. There are many paranormal events that happen throughout the show. A few characters have seemingly random visions from early on, Dale himself has bizarre dreams and visions throughout the entire show too. Sometimes a character’s dialogue (both actual and in paranormal events) seem to be fairly cryptic and don’t make much sense at times. Most of it gets explained near the finale of the show, but it will involve potentially another dimension, a demon or two, and more coffee and cherry pie. The show does use these things lightly though and sprinkles them throughout the episodes so it does not go all haywire for the viewer.
Another key piece to the overall atmosphere of Twin Peaks is the music. This kicks off right away with the recognizable introduction song. The song itself is used not only for the introduction, but in the show as well. This is usually around when some characters have some satirical soap opera style dialogue. The show also utilizes a lot of other synth music and atmospheric hums, but a fan favourite is definitely the cool jazz that plays from time to time. If the music isn’t enough to remind you that you’re watching a show from 1990 the videography will. Though I’m sure the cameras weren’t anything bad, the filming of the show does seem to reflect its age. However, this contributes to the overall feel of the show so it is definitely not a bad thing.
As the old organic theory goes, the whole is more than the sum of its parts. This is the case with Twin Peaks. Many murder mystery shows are out there, plenty of paranormal activity shows too. A boat load of soap operas and even more shows from the 90s with synth music. Oddball characters and cryptic messages are nothing new to TV either. Granted it’s not for everyone, Twin peaks does a wonderful job of putting all these aspects together to build an extremely unique experience.
In addition to the two seasons, there is a movie called Fire Walk With Me. Though this should be watched only after the TV show as it contains major spoilers. The movie tends to be more bizarre than the show, but it is great background information to the original story. Just don’t go in expecting a longer than usual episode of Twin Peaks, but rather a David Lynch movie. In May 2017, 26 years after the cancellation of the show, Twin Peaks will be back on the air for a third (and last) season. So if you’re interested, get caught up and tune in!