Inland Empire of Twin Peaks
The third season of Twin Peaks premiered for viewers all over the world on May 21. If you don’t know yet who killed Laura Palmer and why the hype about the return of the 1990s series, we’ll try to give you a quick breakdown (careful, spoilers!).
What Is Twin Peaks About
The body of young Laura Palmer wrapped in plastic is found on a cloudy morning on the lake bank in the small town of Twin Peaks.
Surrounded by majestic mountains and centuries-old pine trees, Twin Peaks seems a peaceful and cozy place at first. Everybody here knows each other, nobody locks their doors, and life is steady and quiet. A mysterious death leaves the citizens in shock.
FBI special agent Dale Cooper comes to investigate the murder. His detective methods are complemented with zen, dream interpretations, recorded monologues for his secretary Diane, and endless cherry pie with coffee.
It very soon becomes clear that the happy-go-lucky facade of the city hides many secrets: drug trafficking, prostitution, conspiracies, a secret society, domestic violence, and incest. Almost every person in Twin Peaks has a skeleton in the closet.
In addition to all this, the ancient woods that surround the city have a mysterious Black Lodge, where supernatural forces live.
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Twin Peaks series was created by Mark Frost and director David Lynch. The series premiered on ABC on April 8, 1990.
The management of the channel and even the film crew doubted the prospects for the series: it was gloomy and too smart for the TV of the 1990s. However, Twin Peaks became the turning point in the history of television, and the question “Who killed Laura Palmer?” became one of the symbols of the epoch. The series has an army of fans, it inspired board games, and was quoted in The Simpsons, Sesame Street, and Darkwing Duck.
ABC renewed Twin Peaks for a second season, but gave the creators much less creative freedom. Pressed by the channel managers, the authors were forced to reveal the name of Laura Palmer’s murderer earlier than planned — by mid-second season. After that, Lynch and Frost diverted their attention to other projects, and the series’ ratings started to drop. As a result, despite the active support of the fans and a dramatic final, directed by Lynch, the second season was the final one for the series at that time.
In a year, a prequel movie of the series, Fire Walk with Me, was released. The movie failed, had a cold response from the critics, and left the fans puzzled.
The Lynch-Frost duo split. Many actors, including Frank Silva, who played Bob, died. For many following years, David Lynch denied any possibility of renewing Twin Peaks.
The interest to the series lingered. The Twin Peaks festival is held every year at the shooting location, gathering fans from all over the world. On the Internet, fans talk about the mysteries of the series that remained unsolved. What was the significance of the blue rose from Fire Walk with Me? Is the Giant on the side of the good, or is he also an evil spirit? Was Cooper being lured into the Black Lodge from the very beginning? Are the doppelgangers from the Red Room and Bob the same thing?
Twin Peaks inspired the creators of other series (Lost, True Detective, The Killing, Bates Motel, Top of the Lake) and computer games (Max Payne, Alan Wake, Silent Hall, Life Is Strange), musicians (Moby, Xiu Xiu), it infiltrated the interiors of bars, cafes, and restaurants.
The undying love of fans finally led to Showtime announcing a third season of Twin Peaks on October 6, 2014. As Laura Palmer said in the Black Lodge: “I’ll see you again in 25 years.”
A Return to Twin Peaks
The third season was created in the atmosphere of complete secrecy. Teasers and trailers don’t give much information: except the familiar characters, we see only several scenes with new and old actors. Nothing is known about the plot, except the general phrase of Showtime President David Nevins: “The core of it [the new season] is Agent Cooper’s odyssey back to Twin Peaks.” He also called the footage ‘pure heroin’.
Almost all the members of the old team were involved in working on this season: Lynch and Frost, composer Angelo Badalamenti, almost all of the currently living actors. The actors received carte blanche from Showtime: the management did not interfere with production, and Lynch directed all 18 episodes by himself.
The third season involves 217 characters. Actors Jim Belushi, Kristen Bell, Laura Dern, Robert Knepper, Monica Bellucci, Naomi Watts appear on screen. For some of the actors working on the series, it became their final project — Catherine Coulson (The Log Lady), Warren Frost (Doctor Hayward), and Miguel Ferrer (Albert Rosenfield) passed away soon after the shooting of the series.
David Lynch has recently announced that he is ending his film career. It is highly likely that the third season of Twin Peaks becomes his last work. Well, more interest for the continuation of the iconic series.
The Summary of Twin Peaks
Young Teresa Banks is killed. The killer is not found. The agent who investigated this case goes missing (he is not featured in the series). The last week of Laura Palmer’s life is filled with disturbing and strange events.
- Pilot episode. Laura Palmer’s body is found. FBI agent Dale Cooper arrives at Twin Peaks to investigate.
- Laura’s mother has a vision of evil spirit Bob.
- Cooper sees a dream where he is older and sitting in the Red Room, the
Dwarfdances near him, and Laura Palmer whispers the name of the killer in his ear.
- By morning, Cooper forgets the name of the killer. The investigation continues. Laura is buried.
- Laura’s friends start an alternative investigation.
- Cooper and the Sheriff’s team visit a house in the woods where The Log Lady lives. Her log gives them valuable information about the night of the murder.
- During her own investigation, Laura’s classmate Audrey Horne gets employed at One Eyed Jack’s, an underground casino-brothel where Laura used to work.
- Cooper and the Sheriff’s team get into the casino undercover, lure out and arrest croupier Jacques Renault, who is a murder suspect. Renault is wounded during the arrest, and he is hospitalized. Later, somebody shoots at Cooper.
- Wounded Cooper sees Giant the spirit, who gives him three important hints, among them “the owls are not what they seem.” In the course of her own investigation, Laura’s friend Donna becomes a volunteer for Meals on Wheels.
- Cooper finds out that his ex-partner Windom Earle escaped from a mental institution. Audrey Horne finds out about the relationship between her father and Laura. The casino madam kidnaps her.
- Donna meets Laura’s friend Harold Smith through Meals on Wheels and finds out that he keeps Laura’s secret diary.
- Laura’s father Leland is arrested for killing Jacques Renault at the hospital, who is a suspect in the murder case of his daughter.
- Cooper and the Sheriff’s team save Audrey from the casino. Donna and Laura’s cousin Maddy are trying to steal Laura’s secret diary. Leland is released on bail.
- The One-Armed Man tells Cooper and the Sheriff’s team about the spirits Mike and Bob. Most likely, Bob possessed one of the citizens and killed Laura, as well as Teresa Banks a year earlier.
- Audrey’s father, local businessman Ben Horne is arrested on suspicion of murdering Laura. Leland Palmer, whose body is possessed by Bob, kills Maddy.
- Maddy’s body is found.
- Cooper reads in Laura’s diary that she saw him in her dream shortly before death. Leland is arrested for murdering his daughter. He kills himself in the jail cell, and Bob leaves his body.
- Cooper is going to leave Twin Peaks, but the FBI, on someone’s tip, starts an internal investigation of whether he exceeded his powers when saving Audrey.
- Cooper’s ex-partner Windom Earle turns up in Twin Peaks. Cooper hears a legend about the White and Black Lodge from the Sheriff’s deputy, a Native American.
- Internal investigation against Cooper continues.
- Windom Earle starts a chess game against Cooper. And every time when Cooper loses a piece, Earle kills someone.
- Cooper tells the Sheriff the story of his love’s death at the hands of her husband — Windom Earle.
- It turns out it was the Sheriff’s lover, Josie Packard, who shot at Cooper. Earle continues the game of chess.
- Annie Blackburn, Cooper’s future lover, arrives in the city. Josie Packard dies, her soul ends up locked in a wooden handle of a bedside table.
- The preparation for the Miss Twin Peaks contest starts. Cooper continues the game of chess with Earle.
- Cooper finds out about the Air Force project called Blue Book, which studied UFOs and the mysteries of local forests.
- Cooper and the Sheriff’s team find a mysterious illustration in the owl cave. Earle kills again.
- Earle finds out how to get into the Black Lodge, and starts preparing for it.
- Earle kidnaps Annie Blackburn during the Miss Twin Peaks contest. He uses her to open the entrance to the Black Lodge.
- When saving Annie, Cooper ends up locked in the Black Lodge. Bob comes out of the Lodge and possesses Cooper’s body.
Spirits from the other world are a separate category of characters: Bob, Mike, the Giant, the Dwarf, and evil doubles of people who represent their dark side.
Illustrations in the article and on the poster: Yasmin Alananbekh