“Twin Peaks” - David Lynch & Mark Frost (1990-91)

Undoubtedly the finest work of filmmaker David Lynch is Twin Peaks (1990-91), an American serial drama TV series that he co-developed with Mark Frost.  It is basically a mystery story, but it features a pervasively eerie and evocative atmosphere that overcasts everything.  It is this moody and expressionistic ambience, which colors the entire physical and emotional landscape, that makes this series one of the great works of cinema.

There are a number of elements that contribute to this creative mix.  The film is set in a fictional town in the northeastern corner of Washington state, Twin Peaks, whose economy centers around its local sawmill.  This setting provides an opportunity for another Lynch portrayal of the dark underside of small-town middle America, as he did with Blue Velvet (1986).  In this case there is a vast soap-opera-like cast of characters, most of them having secrets and disturbing obsessions they cannot share with others in their community.  Lynch’s and Frost’s characters are rarely straightforward and innocent – they are often driven by fears, lusts, and obsessions and are sometimes under the disturbing influence of mysterious, occult forces.

Another key ingredient is the haunting musical score composed by Angelo Badalamenti, who  worked with Lynch on a number of his films, including Blue Velvet, Wild at Heart (1990), Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me (1992), Lost Highway (1997), The Straight Story (1999), and Mulholland Drive (2001).

The overall narrative scheme for the series concerns the investigation of a mysterious and grisly murder of a beautiful yong girl in the town.  The overriding task is to discover and capture those who were responsible for the crime.  This situation is established almost immediately in the pilot episode when the corpse of the young girl is discovered on the banks a river near the town.  A murder investigation is begun immediately by the town sheriff, but because there is a presumption that the murder investigation will involve evidence across state boundaries, a FBI investigator is appointed to take charge.  The main narrative development follows this FBI agent’s undertakings, but the narrative focalization often localizes on various other participating characters in the story.

The principal characters in the cast of Twin Peaks are:
  • FBI Special Agent Dale Cooper (played by Kyle MacLachlan).  He is a good-natured rationalist: straightforward and logical.  Unlike most of the other characters, he has no hidden personal issues.
  • Sheriff Harry S. Truman (Michael Ontkean).  Despite the odd historical reference in his name, he is not a politician, but an upstanding and sympathetic upholder of law and order in the community.
  • Lucy Moran (Kimmy Robertson) is Sheriff Truman’s young secretary.
  • Jocelyn Packard (Joan Chen) is the widowed owner of the local sawmill.
  • Laura Palmer (Sheryl Lee) is the beautiful highschool girl found murdered at the start of the series.
  • Leland Palmer (Ray Wise) is the father of Laura Palmer.
  • Sarah Palmer (Grace Zabriskie) is Leland’s wife and Laura’s mother.
  • Donna Hayward (Lara Flynn Boyle) was Laura Palmer’s best friend
  • Dr. Will Hayward (Warren Frost) is the father of Donna Hayward
  • Audrey Horne (Sherilyn Fenn) is a pretty highschool classmate of Laura and Donna.
  • Benjamin Horne (Richard Beymer) is Audrey’s father and is a wealthy landlord.
  • Shelly Johnson (Mädchen Amick) is a highschool dropout and works at the local Double-R Diner.
  • Leo Johnson (Eric Da Re) is the abusive husband of Shelly Johnson.
  • Catherine Martell (Piper Laurie) is the conniving sister of Jocelyn Packard’s deceased husband.
  • Pete Martell (Jack Nance) is Catherine’s gentle husband.  Nance is a Lynch regular, e.g. Eraserhead (1977) and Blue Velvet (1986).
  • Norma Jennings (Peggy Lipton) owns and runs the Double-R Diner.
  • James Hurley (James Marshall) is a biker and secret lover of Laura Palmer.
  • Ed Hurley (Everett McGill) runs a local gas station and is James Hurley’s uncle.
  • Ronette Pulaski (Phoebe Augustine) is a highschool girl who survived the savage attack on her and Laura Palmer, but she is in a comatose state.
  • Bobby Briggs (Dana Ashbrook) is the boyfriend of Laura Palmer
  • Mike Nelson (Gary Hershberger) is Bobby Briggs’s best friend and is initially the boyfriend of Donna Hayward.
  • Madeline "Maddy" Ferguson (Sheryl Lee) is Laura Palmer’s cousin.    
  • Dr. Lawrence Jacoby (Russ Tamblyn)
  • Deputy Sheriff Andy Brennan (Harry Goaz)
  • Deputy Sheriff Tommy "Hawk" Hill (Michael Horse)

The episodes of Twin Peaks are:
  • "Northwest Passage", Twin Peaks, Season 1, pilot - David Lynch (1990)
  • "Traces to Nowhere", Twin Peaks, Season 1, Ep. 1 - Duwayne Dunham (1990)
  • "Zen, or the Skill to Catch a Killer”, Twin Peaks, Season 1, Ep. 2 - David Lynch (1990)
  • "Rest in Pain", Twin Peaks, Season 1, Ep. 3 - Tina Rathborne (1990)
  • "The One-Armed Man", Twin Peaks, Season 1, Ep. 4 - Tim Hunter (1990)
  • "Cooper's Dreams", Twin Peaks, Season 1, Ep. 5 - Lesli Linka Glatter (1990)
  • "Realization Time", Twin Peaks, Season 1, Ep. 6 - Caleb Deschanel (1990)
  • "The Last Evening", Twin Peaks, Season 1, Ep. 7 - Mark Frost (1990)
  • "May the Giant Be with You", Twin Peaks, Season 1, Ep. 8 - David Lynch (1990)
  • "Coma", Twin Peaks, Season 2, Ep. 9 - David Lynch (1990)
  • "The Man Behind the Glass", Twin Peaks, Season 2, Ep. 10 - Lesli Linka Glatter (1990)
  • "Laura's Secret Diary”, Twin Peaks, Season 2, Ep. 11 - Todd Holland (1990)
  • "The Orchid's Curse", Twin Peaks, Season 2, Ep. 12 - Graeme Clifford (1990)
  • "Demons", Twin Peaks, Season 2, Ep. 13 - Lesli Linka Glatter (1990)
  • "Lonely Souls", Twin Peaks, Season 2, Ep. 14 - David Lynch (1990)
  • "Drive with a Dead Girl", Twin Peaks, Season 2, Ep. 15 - Caleb Deschanel (1990)
  • "Arbitrary Law", Twin Peaks, Season 2, Ep. 16 - Tim Hunter (1990)
  • "Dispute Between Brothers", Twin Peaks, Season 2, Ep. 17 - Tina Rathborne (1990)
  • "Masked Ball",Twin Peaks, Season 2, Ep. 18 - Duwayne Dunham (1990)
  • "The Black Widow”, Twin Peaks, Season 2, Ep. 19 - Caleb Deschanel (1990)
  • "Checkmate", Twin Peaks, Season 2, Ep. 20 - Todd Holland (1991)
  • "Double Play", Twin Peaks, Season 2, Ep. 21 - Uli Edel (1991)
  • "Slaves and Masters", Twin Peaks, Season 2, Ep. 22 - Diane Keaton (1991)
  • "The Condemned Woman", Twin Peaks, Season 2, Ep. 23 - Lesli Linka Glatter (1991)
  • "Wounds and Scars", Twin Peaks, Season 2, Ep. 24 - James Foley (1991)
  • "On the Wings of Love", Twin Peaks, Season 2, Ep. 25 - Duwayne Dunham (1991)
  • "Variations on Relations", Twin Peaks, Season 2, Ep. 26 - Jonathan Sanger (1991)
  • "The Path to the Black Lodge", Twin Peaks, Season 2, Ep. 27 - Stephen Gyllenhaal (1991)
  • "Miss Twin Peaks", Twin Peaks, Season 2, Ep. 28 - Tim Hunter (1991)
  • "Beyond Life and Death", Twin Peaks, Season 2, Ep. 29 - David Lynch (1991)

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