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Twin Peaks: Season 2 DVD Review

Twin Peaks: Season 2

April 5, 2007

Director: David Lynch, Lesli Linka Glatter, Tim Hunter, Todd Holland, ,
Starring: Kyle MacLachlan, Michael Ontkean, Sherilyn Fenn, Lara Flynn Boyle, Dana Ashbrook, Mädchen Amick, Richard Beymer, Peggy Lipton, James Marshall, Ray Wise, Jack Nance, Kimmy Robertson, Sheryl Lee, Heather Graham, Eric Da Re,

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DVD Review

Twin Peaks was the first bonafide pop culture phenomenon of the 1990s as millions of viewers tuned in every week to find out who killed Laura Palmer (Lee) and check out what the quirky inhabitants of this small, northwestern town were up to. After the successful run of the first season, the pressure was on the show’s creators, David Lynch and Mark Frost, to solve the murder of the beloved prom queen and once this happened, Twin Peaks lost a lot of its momentum. People began to tune out and the network moved the show’s timeslot a couple of times making it hard for viewers to find it. Years after the first season was released on DVD, the second and final one makes its much anticipated debut with crystal clear transfers of each episode personally supervised by Lynch.

As the second season begins, FBI Special Agent Dale Cooper (MacLachlan) has been shot by a mysterious assailant. The local sawmill has been burned to the ground. Jacques Renault, a primary suspect in the murder of Laura, has been killed. Leo Johnson (Da Re), another potential suspect, has been shot. Audrey Horne (Fenn) is trapped at One-Eyed Jacks, a casino cum brothel owned by her father (Beymer) and where Laura worked part-time as a prostitute. These are only some of the subplots that the show juggles over the course of this season.

Lynch directed the season opener and, as he did with the pilot episode, sets the tone and establishes the stylistic template that other directors would adhere to with varying degrees of success. However, all of the episodes leading up to the resolution of Laura’s murder have the same kind of seamless consistency as the first season. Afterwards, the show lost its way for a spell as the writers struggled to create a storyline as compelling as that of Laura’s murder and this is evident in brooding teenager James Hurley’s (Marshall) clunky film noir storyline or Nadine’s bizarro regression to her teenage years albeit with a steady supply of adrenaline. Cooper even started wearing flannel shirts – a flagrant betrayal of the spirit of his character and symptomatic of how the show faltered with the absence of Lynch’s guiding influence.

Twin Peaks improved significantly once Cooper’s ex-partner Windham Earle arrived in town to play a deadly game of cat and mouse (and an actual game of chess) with Cooper that builds to an unforgettable final episode that infuriated many viewers but remains one of the most exciting and unpredictable swan songs in television history.

The show, at times, was a clever pastiche of genres, including the soap opera, the police procedural and the supernatural to name a few, and filtered them through Lynch’s distinctive, idiosyncratic sensibilities. To this end, Twin Peaks not only celebrated these genres but also critiqued them while also referencing past shows as diverse as The Prisoner and The Fugitive. One of the most fascinating aspects of the show was its supernatural element as represented by an otherworldly realm known as the Lodge that was occasionally accessible in the woods outside of town and through dreams and visions (most memorably, Cooper’s in the third episode). It was a strange place inhabited by a backwards talking dwarf and a giant who speak to Cooper and give him cryptic clues to help solve Laura’s murder. These interludes allowed Lynch to really cut loose with his surrealistic impulses and he does so with a vengeance in the series finale, throwing evil doppelgangers into the mix.

Special Features:

Each disc features an interview with a director of an episode from this season (with the exception of Jennifer Lynch who wrote Laura Palmer’s Secret Diary). They talk briefly about how they met Lynch, got a chance to work on the show and how they feel about it now.

Also included are the Log Lady introductions for each episode that Lynch wrote and directed himself for when the entire series was re-broadcast on the Bravo Network.

However, the best extra is a collection of interviews with various cast members that include the likes of Dana Ashbrook, Madchen Amick, Sherilyn Fenn and James Marshall. They all talk about how they got cast on the show, their initial impressions of Lynch, an anecdote about working on the show (easily the best segment for many of these actors) and what they think of the show now. Of course, every fan will have their gripe about who was excluded (what, no Sheryl Lee? No Lynch? Mark Frost? Ray Wise?), and the brevity of these segments is somewhat disappointing especially compared to the wealth of extras on the Season 1 box set.

J.D. is a freelance writer who is currently doing research for a book on the films of Michael Mann. He likes reading anything written by Jack Kerouac, James Ellroy, J.D. Salinger, Harlan Ellison or Thomas Pynchon. J.D. is currently addicted to the T.V. series 24 and enjoys drinking a lot of Sprite. This is not a blatant plug for the beverage but if they ever decided to give him a lifetime supply he certainly wouldn’t turn them down.
view all DVD reviews by JD Lafrance

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Rating: 89%

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