Twin Peaks (Season Two) Review
Created by: Mark Frost & David Lynch
Media Reviewed: DVD
Welcome back to Twin Peaks!
After the brilliant, albeit short, debut season for Frost & Lynch’s small town murder mystery (view the Season One review HERE), season two was all but inevitable. Yet, sadly, the full length of this season actually detracts from what made the first so special. There are plot lines that bear little importance, and ABC’s demand that the killer be revealed early on in the season leaves the remaining episodes scrambling to tie-in. However, this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t still plunge in to what is still one of the quirkiest and best shows ever to hit the air.
[Spoiler Alert: Although I won't ruin the major revelations of this season, I do need to discuss some of what happened at the end of season one. Fair warning.]
STORY ARC AND BIG BAD
After the amazing season one finale, things are a bit chaotic around Twin Peaks. Cooper lies bleeding in his hotel room; the mill has burned down, leaving Catherine and Josie missing and Shelly and Pete hospitalized; Nadine is in a coma after overdosing; James is in jail after being framed by Bobby…the list goes on. For the first few episodes, catching Laura Palmer’s killer is still very much the focus. However, the aforementioned request by ABC means that investigation is over just one-third into the season. The new “big bad” takes the form of Cooper’s former partner, Windom Earle (Kenneth Welsh). Earle is a formidable and psychotic opponent, with a deeper connection to Cooper that I won’t spoil. There are several plot lines that secondary characters go through that act as filler — which becomes quite obvious. These characters seem to lack much of the charm and Idiosyncrasies they held in season one. As such, these plots fall flat, most notably James’s encounter with a married woman that isn’t all she seems to be. I’m also not a huge Heather Graham fan, so her appearance (and subsequent love interest in Cooper) was unfortunate. Thankfully, all of these can be forgiven after watching the series finale. Without a doubt, this is the most disturbing, horrifying and chilling series finale I’ve ever seen. It more than makes up for the inherent lack of supernatural occurrences throughout this season. Some people may not care for its cliffhanging, but I absolutely love it.
Kyle MacLachlan as FBI Special Agent Dale Cooper
Coop is just as good this season as last. MacLachlan’s charm shines through, even as Cooper begins lying wounded on the floor.
Michael Ontkean as Sheriff Harry S. Truman
Once again, Ontkean is the perfect companion for Cooper and we get to see a more personal side of Harry late in the season for reasons I won’t reveal.
Kenneth Welsh as Windom Earle
Cooper’s former partner that went insane arrives in Twin Peaks and serves as a satisfying foil to the good-natured Dale. Earle “plays” chess with Cooper as part of his twisted scheme. Welsh does a fine job in portraying a psychopath that wants to not only hurt Cooper, but has a darker motive behind his misdeeds.
David Lynch as Gordon Cole
A minor character, Lynch turns to acting as Cooper’s superior Gordon Cole. Essentially comic relief, Cole’s use of double hearing aids leads to cliched misunderstanding gags, but is just another addition to the kooky cast.
Just like last time, I won’t detail the remaining cast, as there are just far too many. Needless to say, they each go through some rather “interesting” events and issues (Keep your eye out for David Duchovny).
BESTS AND WORSTS
Unlike last season, this time I have no problem saying the best episode is the series finale “Beyond Life and Death”. It’s tough to say why without spoiling pretty much everything, but trust me; it’s incredible.
Worst is a lot more broad. After Laura’s killer is revealed, the series struggles to get back to an over-arching plot-line. Windom Earle’s arrival gives the law enforcement something to do, but minor characters suffer this transition, as the writers try finding other things for them to do. I can’t narrow it down to a specific episode; sadly, there will be a few that might leave you wondering if the wheels have fallen off.
If you manage to stick with the show from the pilot all the way to the series finale, you’ll be able to overlook the few flaws and missteps that occur. This is a breed of show that is an endangered species. Frost and Lynch have crafted an incredible town that, once you enter, you’ll never want to leave.