Twin Peaks – The Entire Mystery
Dir: David Lynch / Various
Cert: 15 • US: 1637 min • Paramount Home Entertainment • July 29, 2014
John Preston reviews
David Lynch and Mark Frost’s wondrously unsettling, endlessly pop-cultural and ground-breaking television series from 1990 can now be seen and heard in all its sumptuous and disorientating glory in what may be presumed to be its definitive version. Previously available as the pretty extensive and not terribly old Gold Edition DVD from 2010, the sound and picture quality have been further upgraded and each frame now looks truly beautiful – crisp but dreamy, as they were meant to be. The 30 episodes – and this set also includes the European closed-ending pilot– have been discussed, analysed, adored and, yes, copied for the last 25 years. Season 1 in particular is as gripping, hypnotic and strange now as it was then. The first trip to the mystifying Black Lodge via a dream had by Special Agent and Lynch conduit Dale Cooper (Kyle MacLachlan) in episode 3 is jaw-droppingly surreal, addictive and genuinely unlike anything that had been seen on television up until that point. During those first 8 episodes Twin Peaks became an instant albeit surprise hit and also it seemed the victim of its own success.
There has always been an accusation that the quality of storytelling dropped considerably during the second season whilst Lynch was heavily involved with his 4th feature film Wild at Heart. This is a valid criticism and, due to pressure from ABC for Mark Frost and David Lynch to expose Laura Palmer’s killer, (ironically in a bid to improve what were now flagging ratings which subsequently dropped further) there are 2 episodes that reveal the killer’s identity (episode 15) and then, in episode 17 when Dale Cooper and the inhabitants of Twin Peaks are finally made aware of the demon serial killer. After that and like a slowly deflating balloon, the show never really recovers from this premature revelation and it’s not until the final episode which finds Lynch back in the director’s seat that it re-emerges and engages again with the same beauty and terror evident previously.
And then it ended, with Lynch never confirming what is surely a highly unlikely return to the show.
There are no new major features here that accompany the 8 discs containing the TV show. An extended chat with some of the cast and crew with Lynch facilitating, already included in an edited version on the Gold Edition, is a nice if laid-back treat. The superb, almost 2-hour documentary Secrets From Another Place: Creating Twin Peaks also appears again, re-mastered but unaltered. The chapter dedicated to Angelo Badalamenti and Julee Cruise’s essential, and what has subsequently become massively influential, musical contributions to the show is an insightful and revealing glimpse into the method and personality of Lynch, with Cruise in particular proving to be a delightful gossip. There’s a new and hastily cobbled together Lynch Discography with antidotes from the cast again and various oddities such as an interview with the proprietor of the Double R Diner and a glimpse into a ‘Peakies’ festival. Along with a couple minutes of bloopers and a quarter of an hour’s worth of deleted scenes which vary wildly in quality (both picture and content), that adds up to a lot of stuff that’s already been seen before and certainly nothing that will get fans of the series jumping with excitement. That delight has been saved for disc 9.
Twin Peaks -Fire Walk With Me is the visceral, frequently brilliant but sometimes high-pitched 1992 film that followed the TV series but was essentially a prequel, chronicling the last 7 days of Laura Palmer. Everybody hated it – it went way too far into the darkness and was essentially a master class in Lynchian film making. After all the television show was, as is often forgotten, a shared vision that played with both light and dark. Sheryl Lee plays the fated high school deviant with incredible authenticity and power, it can only be presumed that this is one of the reasons why the film got made in the first place, Lynch seeing her talent and enabling the dead girl to come back to life with such conviction. Along-side a pretty much perfect high definition print of the film which is certainly the best seen to date are what many fans have campaigned years for, with an addition of 90 minutes of unseen footage aka The Missing Parts. The existence of these parts was already known due to leaked scripts and interviews with actors who starred in the film but it had got to the point where hopes of ever seeing them were low.
In total there are 33 scenes that have been mixed, scored and buffed to an impeccable sheen, over-seen by Lynch himself. Some of these scenes are new and some are extended versions that made the final cut. The piece, very much like the Other Things That Happened deleted scenes from Inland Empire, runs in chronological order and plays as a minor variation on the original film itself. The love and obvious care taken to bring these scenes to life is apparent throughout and there are many moments here that equal and, albeit occasionally, improve upon those included in the final edit as decided by David Lynch. To begin with what is probably the most eagerly anticipated scene, Agent Phillip Jeffries, played by David Bowie, sudden appearance and subsequent disappearance now incorporates a hotel in Spain, a man defecating due to shock and what appears to be the incredibly painful process of time travel. It’s quite something and it still makes little sense. Incorporated into this is the extended version of a scene that takes place above the convenience store (oddly never seen again in either the film or show) and features residents of the Black Lodge ‘between two worlds’ – it’s classic Lynch, a terrifying and visionary nightmare and is fantastic to now see in its initially intended state.
Extended and new scenes of the Palmer family seated around the dinner table push the boundaries of ridiculousness and patience in a way that Lynch makes watchable but both tense and hysterical. Sarah Palmer’s (Lynch regular and astonishing actress Grace Zabriskie) crying scene from the TV pilot episode is matched here in respect to length and awkwardness – for the viewer – but instead of an expression of grief she is shown laughing with the same uncontrollable mania, a clue to her knowledge of a tortured family not functioning in a way that she can control. There is also a very short and moving scene involving the Log Lady (Margaret Lanterman) as she overhears the screams of Laura Palmer on the night of her death and a funny and tender moment with Lucy and Andy. The final missing part is surprising; entitled Epilogue is takes place after Dale and Annie (a young Heather Graham) have been deposited outside the Black Lodge which closed the TV series but not the film. It is both revealing and maddeningly frustrating but an enormous treat for fans of the TV show if not the film. Josie Packard (Joan Chen) and Pete Martell (Jack Nance) didn’t appear in the final cut of the movie but, in a typically Lynchian scene that’s both obtuse and funny, both of them appear together here. There’s a lot more to take in, some of it lending nothing to the plot but all of it a joy to watch.
Disc 10 extras all revolve around the making of the film and the actors subsequent thoughts of how it’s stood the test of time, many now claiming it as Lynch’s masterpiece (it isn’t). There is a new interview with Lynch that takes place with the Palmer family in and out of character which is oddly uninvolved. As Annie states in two different scenes which take place in different beds – once in the film and again in an unrelated and previously unseen clip – ‘the good Dale is in the Lodge and he can’t leave’. Until David Lynch decides the potential fate of Dale Cooper then this supremely polished and rewarding collection is the final word in the Twin Peaks archives. There has never been a show like it and it’s unlikely that there ever will be again and if you’ve never seen who killed Laura Palmer then now is that time, this tragic dream-world has never been so inviting and beautiful.