Alyson Draper ~ Web Editor
CW: Mild Spoilers, Abuse
I am sure any fan of cult classic TV shows is familiar with Twin Peaks, the TV debut of David Lynch.
David Lynch was already well known for his surrealist approach to filmmaking, especially with his flagship film “Eraserhead” (1977). So seeing Lynch take a stab at a prime time TV show was a bit strange for people familiar with his work.
The show is supposed to be a parody of the prime time soap operas that were popular at the time, but with that signature Lynchian twist. “Twin Peaks” follows Special Agent Dale Cooper as he enters the small Washington town of Twin Peaks to investigate the mysterious murder of the primaddona Laura Palmer.
As Cooper and the police force of Twin Peaks begin to uncover the mystery behind Laura’s death, it is clear that something dark is happening behind the scenes. But despite its rather dreary premise, the show still keeps an air of comedy about it with Cooper’s endless positivity and love of coffee mixed with the strange and endearing characters that populate the town.
The large cast carries the show and there are many plot threads going at once with each one of them. For example, take the story of Shelly and Leo Johnson. Shelly works at the local diner, and Leo is known as the local thug, running drugs and doing less than legal things for money. The viewers see that Shelly is constantly abused by Leo, and she finds herself trapped within a cycle of fear and abuse, unable to escape. Shelly is helped by Bobby Briggs, Laura’s ex-boyfriend, to face Leo and stand up for herself.
This is just one of the many darker plots going on within the idyllic logging town of Twin Peaks, which in turn shows that Lynch is not afraid of touchy subjects on prime-time TV.
The murder of Laura Palmer is also something that sets the show apart from other crime or mystery shows at the time, with the bloody details of her death being explained more and more as the season goes on. Laura is the driving force of the show, every event being caused by her death in one way or another.
At the end of the season we know about as much as Cooper and the police, which is little to none, and the mystery remains open ended. Lynch’s original idea was to keep the mystery unsolved, as it did not really matter in the long run. The show was ultimately about the characters and their relationships, with Laura’s murder being a catalyst for the story at large.
Personally, I loved the first season. It has its low moments in the form of gushy love scenes, but in all it is a perfect dark comedy thriller. If anything, I would recommend this series just for Dale Cooper himself, as he is one of the perfect protagonists.
Twin Peaks is available to watch on Netflix.