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View from the Peaks: a “Twin Peaks” episode review

Pilot – “Northwest Passage”

I was 8 when “Twin Peaks” first aired on April 8, 1990 and while I was not allowed to watch it I remember my mom setting the VCR to record the newest episode; I remember the TV Guide section of the newspaper printing a graph to show how everyone was connected; I’ve seen references to it in “Psych”, “Gravity Falls”, “Veronica Mars” and “Community”; I have spent most of my life knowing the quotes “Who killed Laura Palmer?” and “This as a damn fine cup of coffee.”

But I never watched a single episode… until now.

After some initial confusion over picking the original or international pilot (the internet told me to stick with original) my DVD booted up and I was introduced to the Log Lady – which left me feeling like I was watching public access TV in Night Vale.

The introduction of the major plot point happened fairly quickly and then we spent the next 45 minutes watching everybody cry. Like, bad soap opera crying. At the drop of a hat. Really, the sheriff walks into your classroom, doesn’t say a word, but somehow you look at him then look at an empty chair and start bawling?

donna cryingThen another girl is missing but before we can blink she’s walking out of the woods in a torn and bloody nightgown. This prompts the arrival of FBI agent Dale Cooper and we discover that Laura has a super small piece of paper under her fingernail with the letter R on it, which the FBI agent says is a clue to a serial killer.

At this point we move away from the crying and on to the part of the episode I call “When is this show taking place?”. Without the major trends (mod in the 60’s, disco in the 70’s, or punk in the 80’s) to pin the time frame, Twin Peaks plays on the small town time warp; the teens are set as jocks vs bikers, the doctor makes house calls and knows everyone by name, and the local dinner is so chock full of kitsch you can hardly find the pie.

The episode finally fizzles out to the end and I’m left wondering what the heck I just watched. But a lot of people – who generally have good taste in TV – have told me this show is awesome so episode two here I come.

Quote of the episode: “The Norwegians are leaving! The Norwegians are leaving! The Norwegians are leaving! The Norwegians are leaving!”


Find it on Amazon

Twin Peaks: The Complete Series (The Definitive Gold Box Edition)

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