Twin Peaks isn’t merely cherry pie and ‘damn fine’ coffee – it can be profoundly disturbing, with its dark secrets, prophecy, vice and a town under the influence of supernatural entities, intent on murder and mayhem.
To the uninitiated, Twin Peaks is maddeningly non-linear, narratively backwards (literally) and frustratingly metaphorical. Lynch’s own vocalisation is amusingly declarative, and at complete odds with his unique style of filmmaking, in a way that has made something of a cottage industry of Lynch explanation and explication alike.
Twin Peaks’ cultural impact cannot be underestimated; the red curtains and chevron floor have become part of our televisual heritage - without Twin Peaks there’s no X Files, no True Detective and definitely no Lost.
A mixture of the macabre and the everyday, Lynch’s work is not for those of transient attention. All the clues are painfully obvious if you understand Lynch’s presentation of dramatic events; “I mean it like it is… like it sounds,” explains the spirit of Mike, speaking for Lynch himself.
Lynch is as comfortable with horror as he is with surrealist cinema – here are the definitive, most disturbing moments featuring Special Agent Cooper, killer BOB and Laura Palmer’s heart stopping scream, in a town where nothing is what it seems…
10. Sarah Palmer Removes Her Face
Sarah Palmer has a more integral and sinister part to play in The Return and episode eight introduces Sarah as a teenager in 1956. As she sleeps, Sarah is blissfully unaware as a ‘frog-moth,’ the seed of events yet to pass, enters her mouth – events that become increasingly more disturbing.
Grace Zabriskie plays Laura’s grieving mother - a broken, abused woman - and The Return finds her alone, deserted by the world with no role left to play in the drama of her own life, or so she thinks.
In the fourteenth episode, as she sips a Bloody Mary, alone at a bar, a trucker decides to assail her with misogynistic, homophobic insults as she warns him to mind his own business. Some guys just can’t take a hint – Sarah calmly asks him “Do you really wanna f*ck with this?” and literally removes her face. Underneath, a sharp, spiked tongue and rows of shiny teeth remove half of the man’s neck, leaving him dying on the bar floor in a pool of his own blood.
Unusually gory and loaded with mystery, this is one of the most interesting sequences of The Return. Through ending the investigation prematurely in season two, the creature behind the face represents closure; Lynch, in his own abstract way, is telling us to be careful what we wish for - it might just come true.