If you don’t know that the iconic TV show “Twin Peaks,” co-created by David Lynch and Mark Frost, is going to return to our screens in a new, 25-years-later third season airing on Showtime next Sunday, I honestly can’t imagine what you’re doing reading this, and you should probably stop. But if, like some of us, you’re counting the minutes, well, hello friend, pull up a chair, slip off your saddle shoes and let’s talk about our favorite “Twin Peaks” moments.
Rather than rank them, we’ve selected 45 brief slivers of scenes that were particularly strange, funny, sad or horrific and listed them below chronologically, according to when they would have originally aired. This way, the hope is that, as well as prompting the usual disagreements about inclusions and exclusions, this list can function as a quick primer for anyone too time-pressed to attempt to rewatch all 30 episodes and a feature film before the new show airs.
That said, this isn’t a plot recap (that would take forever, and there are entire websites dedicated to just that). Rather, it’s a subjective selection of sticky highlights of the show from the avowedly biased, deeply partial point-of-view of one whose young mind was warped by “Twin Peaks” when it first aired, and who has never quite recovered. So come along, then; I have no idea where this will lead us, but I have a definite feeling it will be a place both wonderful and strange.
1. The Crazy Long Opening Titles
For some of us, just the mere shot of that bird, dissolving to a chimney stack accompanied by the opening strains of that Angelo Badalamenti track, summons a Pavlovian reaction of excitement, but over time even the most die-hard of fans make frequent use of the fast-forward button: man, these credits are long, and then usually extend over the action for a minute or more.
2. The Very First Character
Good trivia question: who is the first character we see onscreen in the pilot episode of “Twin Peaks”? Possibly surprising answer: Josie Packard (Joan Chen), looking in a mirror (indicating her double personality, which would be pretty neat except everyone in “Twin Peaks” has one of those).
3. Laura’s Face in Plastic
The discovery of Laura’s body gives us the second most iconic image of Sheryl Lee (after the framed photo, of course), and the inspiration for a million cheap-to-rustle-up Halloween outfits since, as well as the fan campaign against cancellation in which people sent Barbie dolls wrapped in plastic to network heads.
4. Random Plump Kid Body-Pops to Class
You can attach great cosmic significance to almost any anomalous event in this show — except this one. This one just is.
5. Deer Head in the Bank
Why is there a deer head on the table in the bank? Duh, “It fell down.”
6. The Staircase and the Fan
Legit terrifying, for no discernible reason. And look, someone’s looped it, so there’s seven minutes of it!
7. Fish in the Percolator
Ah, Pete (Jack Nance), always ready with an endearingly squinty comic non sequitur when all the murder-y, source-of-evil stuff is getting a bit much. Is this the only bad cup of coffee ever served in Twin Peaks?
8. Rocks, Bottles and a Big Map of Tibet
Maybe the quintessential “Twin Peaks” scene, it’s not only a way to show just how special Special Agent Dale Cooper (Kyle MacLachlan) is, but also a cunning way of running through the dramatic personae to date, for anyone who, just three episodes in, is finding themselves at sea. And back in 1990, this was all uncharted territory.