Here is a shot I took of “The Great Northern” back in 2010
INTRODUCTION and INITIAL THOUGHTS
It was a slow, but very transfixing experience. (I remember warning Conan that it would be slow.)
Nothing was intensely bizarre, or frustratingly oblique — except for that scene in Space. And everything seemed to be flowing towards something. It had a narrative!
It also had plenty of nods to the fans and quite a few laughs. But I got the distinct impression these first episodes won’t have the beautiful re-watchability as the 90s TP had. But of course this wasn’t a reboot of Twin Peaks — it wasn’t a brand new soap opera or an “Invitation to Love.” This was a big, bad “What Happened Next.”
The credits were incredible. As much as drone-filmography have a bad rap, they really do get some amazing vistas and the shot over the falls was just incredible. Like what a poetic death-plunge would look like. Very symbolic. And yep – I was ready to dive right in.
A 12PM, MONDAY PARTY
So I was due to watch this all at Bri and Tim’s place. Also coming were Conan, Susan and Ben (And Laura eventually). Just barely north of beer-o’clock.
I arrived super-early having tried to engage everyone I could about the momentousness of today: a) the guy in the boozer — no idea. b) The woman at the donut stand — completely oblivious. And the taxi driver tried his best as I piled into the cab with all my bits. But again, no hint of any idea what Twin Peaks was. Sigh.
As I came in Bri was putting the finishing touches on her cherry pie. But there was music in the air and soon Conan swaggered in with an equal sense of nervous expectation. Tim was doing exercise and the dog Arrow was so cute he had a way of getting onto the balcony by magic. (The dog door in another room was later revealed to me.)
Susan arrived with wine and then Ben with cigarettes. We watched the last episode of season 2 and then a little mashup before Bri suddenly announced it had dropped a few minutes early. I was so nervous it took me a while to relax enough to actually sit down. I noticed Susan spent the majority of the 4 hours of viewing on the edge of her spot on the couch, leaning as close as she could to the screen. (Bri and Tim have a projector so we got to see it almost cinematically).
There was silence in the room for the first 50 minutes. It was all business. The ground rules had been laid before. No chit-chat, but laughing and crying and gasping were acceptable. And there was all of that. Including the tears at Margaret — the Log Lady’s final scenes. (Heartbreaking). Bri lost it apparently. She had tubes going into her nose and we all know they were totally legit.
Then we had an accidental break at 50 mins and we could all grab some air, use the facilities, get some more refreshments and do a tiny debrief. It had been pretty intense up to that point. We all agreed it was compelling. But we needed more!
Steadily the party got looser and I got in trouble for talking (see below). Conan kept looking at me with that “eek!” look in his eye and any time there was a “Blue Rose” mention — Bri and I had a little nod at each other. (That was the name of our trivia team at GOMA and BLACK [BEAR] LODGE).
Conan gripped my thigh quite a few times at intense moments. I jgnored it and just kept sinking another beverage. I got quite wasted by the end and started talking about how the cosmic background radiation has a cold spot and that was evidence of another universe with just might be connected to the black lodge. Ugh.
Luckily it was time for episode 4 and I was forced to shut up.
That’s where things really clicked. Apparently they (Showtime I imagine) were only going to “drop” the first 3 episodes on May 22, but it seemed they realised that would be a mistake and they needed a lighter, funnier, more traditional episode to keep us all keen.
By this stage the whole world was trying to hit this stream and Stan kept freezing or going low-res or pausing for buffering. It was almost imperceptible if it wasn’t for the spinning “loading icon” at the centre of the screen. We got used to it and decided to plough on.
What made this episode was it had a great deal of old characters. Heaps of Good Cooper just coming to sense with the real world. Then more Hawk and “Sheriff Truman.” (Is this the real Truman re-cast by Robert Forster or is it Truman’s brother?) In Ep1 one was “sick” and the other was “fishing” according to Lucy. And this one was the one “fishing”. I think Bobby calls him “Frank”. Just before he says: “I gotta take a leak so bad my back teeth are floating!”
So I think we have that issue sorted. LOL. Then we get Wally (Michael Cera) confirming that. Sick Truman was his godfather. Wally is paying his respects. But also saying goodbye. (I think he will be back.) He talks about Lewis and Clark. (Just like in the Secret History book by Mark Frost).
The biggest laugh of the afternoon came when Wally is trying so hard to be profound: “My shadow is always with me. Sometimes ahead, Sometimes behind. Sometimes to the left, sometimes to the right. Except on cloudy days…or at night.”
Then Sheriff Truman walks away and does a quick shake of the head.
Bobby says that Cooper was the last to see his dad Major Briggs. But of course this insinuates that Bad Cooper killed Major Briggs and covered it up in a fire.
And we get some Naomi Watts. Our Naomi Watts. Brilliant.
Oh god Lucy and Andy are just the same and it is bloody, bloody incredible. And Ched is a dick! Go have a word with your pine-cone douchecanoe.
Mike puts it down saying that Good Cooper was tricked and that now one of them must die. Battle lines are drawn. Good vs Evil.
Cooper looks at his reflection again and it seems like he is beginning to know he is real again. Cooper has a great thumbs up with “Sonny Jim.” Coffee can save him!
Tammy is going to be a real force in the next episodes.
I really suspect that the body (without a head) in the Ruth Davenport crime scene is actually Major Briggs. EEK.
And who is the woman that Rosenfield and Cole need to talk to to expose the fake Cooper? Cannot wait.
There were so many threads. Here are the few I can just about note down:
1) Dr Jacobi and his mission to paint several shovels in gold.
2) Ben and Jerry had a welcome joust early on. It seemed these eccentric characters had turned out in their old age (25 years later) just like they would have IRL.
3) Bad Cooper (And Darya + Ray + Jack’s conspiracy) [and Otis and clan]
3.1) Bad Cooper and his link to the death of Ruth Davenport (Obviously he had Bill Hasting’s wife [“Phyllis”] under his spell).
3.2) Bad Cooper’s plan about NOT getting pulled back into Black Lodge. (And what Gia Carides’ “Hannah” has to do with that). See pt 10.
3.3) Bad Cooper vs Agent Rosenfield and Gordon Cole. (And what role with Agent Tamara/Tammy [Chrysta Bell] play?)
4) Who is the “rest” of Ruth Davenport’s “body”? (And who is that “burnt man” in the jail cell next to Bill Hasting that promptly evaporates?)
5) Hawk and the clue that Margaret (Log Lady) left. Plus all the other stuff linked to the Sherrif’s office.
6) The clues the giant gave Cooper in scene 1: “4.3.0.”, “Linda and Richard”, “Two birds with one stone”
7) What’s the deal with the “Billionaire” with his glass box. And who/what was released just before that ripped Tracey and Sam to shreds. (In the credits it lists “Carel Struyckenn – ??????”)
8) Mr Todd (and Roger) in Las Vegas. Someone makes Mr Todd do bad things.
9) James! and his motorcycle accident. His link with Shelly? And then there’s Balthazar Getty (“Red”) and his connection. Also in that scene (according to the credits) is a new Renault: “Jean-Michel Renault” played by Walter Olkewicz who played “Jarques” back in 90s TP. More interesting than intriguing.
10) The THIRD “Cooper”? oh boy. His name is “Dougie Jones”. And he had the ring. It seems that Bad Cooper can’t be in the real world at the same time as Good Cooper. Someone had to go back to the Lodge so that the real Cooper could come back. (Was he the bad Cooper’s decoy? — this is Susan’s theory). Like the ring made him appear to be the Bad Cooper the Lodge wanted back. (Aside: Loved how Bad Cooper vomited cream corn.) ‘Something is wrong,” Mike says in the episode before. And then, “Someone manufactured you.” So I think there is no real third Cooper — just something Bad Cooper tricked the Black Lodge with. But then there is this gold ball that keeps coming up. We shall see. I think Susan is spot on perfectly right here. (Oh and what is the deal with the assassins trying to kill “Dougie” (Trick Cooper).
10) Good Cooper! Cooper was pretty much the only thing I really paid attention to in the original series. And although his storyline here is really frustrating — by episode 4 it seems he is getting somewhere. Someone who has spent 25 years in the Black Lodge is going to behave a little (I mean “LOT”) weird in the real world. I do need to mention that that bit in space with the woman whose eyes have grown over is silly! But maybe beautifully silly?
Loved how they had genuine bands playing at the Roadhouse at the end of the 2nd, 3rd and 4th episodes. (Au Revoir Simone!) But otherwise music is quite sparse. There appeared to be a Trent Reznor song during Bad Cooper’s drive through the woods to Otis’ house. But it took until over 7 minutes into episode two (apart from credits) for any of Angelo’s original score to get an airing. And even then it was painfully brief.
The Cactus Blossoms are the band in ep3.
I am thoroughly convinced that Laura is going to get out of the black lodge and kick ass in the real world. She says to Cooper, “I am dead. Yet I live”. Then she gets sucked into some vortex and disappears.
From what I knew at the time I was 15 talking to girls who were totally into TP, Laura’s story really affected them. She was almost an “everywoman” to certain people. A woman in trouble and everyone knew it — like Bobby screams at the funeral.
While I identified with Cooper, plenty of women saw Laura as just as much. She had insights into what it was like to be a girl. I read Laura’s diary and someone said to me she almost felt I shouldn’t be reading that because it contained secrets only girls should know. Laura hit nerves. I just saw her screams and how she could instil terror in me. But she was much more than that.
While we were watching EP2 when “contemporary” Laura (2017 Sheryl Lee) appeared I instinctively predicted what was about to be said I got a very firm, “Shut up!” from Susan. I imagine this scene, although pretty predictable to me, was truly important to her. And then Bri said after all 4 episodes were watched: “There needs to be more Laura.”
It’s a thing. Laura NEEDS to come back just for closure or just because it will make a supreme difference to many, many people. (Me included!)
DID I LIKE IT?
It was amazing and if everything goes to shit from here I will know that at the very least I had an amazing time on Monday with great mates and it was a total experience. Genuinely one of the best days of my life.
And upon the second viewing I am even more excited for what’s to come.
It won’t be as magical as the original, but it will have a different kind of magic.
OTHER RANDOM OBSERVATIONS
If “The man from another place” (the actor Michael) refuses to get on board, he can be replaced by a talking brain-tree with and some lightning effects. Genius.
A 30ish year old Kyle MacLachlan made up to look 20 years older (in 1990s TP) looks older than the nearing 60 Kyle in 2017 Twin Peaks. Just saying.
That was Ronette in the “Space Scene”. (Credited as “American Girl”)
Bobby Briggs is a police officer. God that was a perfect arc. Major Briggs was such a special character and Bobby was such an antithesis — but you just knew they were always on the same page. (Briggs had that dream he told Bobby about in ep8).
Chocolate Bunnies get a shout-out! (“It’s NOT about the bunny…Is it about the bunny? No, It’s not about the bunny,” Hawk says.
Michael Cera is just perfect. Bri had predicted this and it just makes so much sense. And it looks like he might be a Bookhouse Boy – or trying to be one. The look of supreme “proudness” on Andy and Lucy’s face is priceless.
The moose head gets a new day in the sun!