Sheryl Lee in I segreti di Twin Peaks (1990)

Sheryl Lee in I segreti di Twin Peaks (1990) © IMDB

In a quiet town lost in the mountains of Washington state, just a few miles from the Canadian border, the community has just been rocked by a heinous murder: the body of a young girl is found on the beach.

It’s about Laura Palmer, the darling of the town. And the latest arrival is agent Dale Cooper, charged by the FBI to shed light on the strange circumstances of her death.

Welcome to Twin Peaks. Here, the air is always permeated by the scent of cherry pie and something sinister is hidden in the woods.

The thousand faces of Laura Palmer

Model student, always ready to lend a hand, commissioned by Norma, owner of Twede’s Cafe, to deliver meals at home. Laura Palmer is the golden girl of the city, with a happy family, and Bobby Briggs, the quarterback of the football team, as a boyfriend.

Sheryl Lee in I segreti di Twin Peaks (1990)
Sheryl Lee in I segreti di Twin Peaks (1990)
© IMDB

And yet, behind her appearance as a sweet girl, always ready to smile, dwells a soul full of secrets. It is with her death that all the unpleasant situations in which the girl was involved come to the surface.

Interpreted by the splendid Sheryl Lee, Laura Palmer will remain until the end an ambiguous, out-of-the-ordinary character, for whom a morbid interest is immediately felt, a curiosity that chains the audience to each episode. Her life is divided in half: what she shows the world, and what she keeps for herself. The perversions, the desires, her frustrated fulfillment.

Her darkness leads her astray, far from the right path, and leads her to be the gravitational center around which the lives of other characters revolve: the young biker James Hurley, played by James Marshall; the agoraphobic Harold Smith, played by Lenny von Dohlen; her best friend Donna Hayward, played by Lara Flynn Boyle.

And with her death, the entire balance that dwells in the homes of Twin Peaks is forever upended.

Fire, owls, and burnt engine oil

But behind Laura Palmer’s killer lies something much greater, and that’s why Special Agent Dale Cooper (Kyle MacLachlan) has come to town. He has a sixth sense, special gifts that put him in touch with forces outside our world, one of which, wicked and unscrupulous, committed the murder.

Kyle MacLachlan in I segreti di Twin Peaks (1990)
Kyle MacLachlan in I segreti di Twin Peaks (1990) © IMDB

This is where things get complicated and a series of strange individuals come into play, such as the one-armed Mike, the Giant, the Dwarf, and the Log Lady. The owls in the forest seem to know something, fire is friend and foe, and burnt engine oil acts as a door, the gate to the so-called Black Lodge, where the shadows dwell.

With his little obsessions, his great intelligence, and the propensity to analyze and always see things from a greater perspective, Agent Cooper is the right man that fate seems to have chosen to bring to light all the mysteries of Twin Peaks.

His fellow investigators? Sheriff Truman, agent Andy, and Deputy Sheriff Hawk, along with the secret club of the Bookhouse Boys, which was created to fight the darkness that surrounds the town.

The Return: 25 Years Later

Twin Peaks was born in 1990 to finish after only two seasons, however enough to guarantee it a place among the most loved cult.

Twin Peaks: il ritorno (2017)
Twin Peaks: il ritorno (2017)
© IMDB

The last episode of the second season closes with a sort of prophecy. The dead Laura Palmer tells Agent Cooper they would meet again in 25 years. And what happened some 25 years later? A new season of Twin Peaks has been released, to answer the questions that remained.

All the characters have been brought back there, between the mountains and those forests, but the years have passed and now their story takes on new nuances. The level of ambiguity and mystery rises, and the effective pauses are prolonged to leave time for the audience to catch every little expression that is part of the new way of seeing the protagonists.

Twin Peaks Returns truly is like coming home after a long time. We immediately notice how everything has remained the same and at the same time has changed, while evil overflows and the origin of that darkness that haunts the woods is revealed.

The forerunner of the modern mystery

Twin Peaks is a unique work of its kind. It pioneered what is now called the mystery genre; in fact, it is from this TV series that inspiration has been drawn for shows such as Riverdale, Veronica Mars, Wayward Pines, Bates Motel, and True Detective.

Its role in the history of contemporary TV series is marked. Everyone has something to thank for Twin Peaks and the great work of creators David Lynch and Mark Frost. For this reason, Twin Peaks honorably joins the Old But Gold column.

So, say goodbye to Audrey in the hall of the Great Northern Hotel, don’t forget your cup of hot coffee, and stop by Big Ed‘s petrol station before heading home.

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