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File:TwinPeaks sm 9793.jpg

 Through the darkness of future past,

the magician longs to see.

One chants out between two worlds...

fire, walk with me.

An early-nineties television series created by David Lynch (responsible for such films as Blue Velvet and Eraserhead) and Mark Frost (co-writer of the Fantastic Four film). It paved the way for shows like Northern Exposure, which stole its Northwest locale and some limited quirkiness. The series also heavily influenced a surprising number of video games, most obviously Deadly Premonition and Puzzle Agent. It had a little bit of everything (see Soap Opera and Mix and Match). Ostensibly a hybrid Crime-Time Soap / Detective Drama, it quickly took off for parts unknown with a pervasive supernatural element that turned it partly into an Occult Detective story that smacked of slightly off-kilter Magic Realism.

The series starts off with the discovery of a murdered teenage girl, Laura Palmer. This event in turn leads to the eccentric Special Agent Dale Cooper visiting the town as part of his hunt for a serial killer. Although the murder investigation wraps up partway through season two, a new foe from Cooper's past keeps the plot moving until the notorious "How's Annie?" Cliff Hanger ending of season two (and in fact the series). The 1992 movie Fire Walk With Me mostly wraps things up. The show features a rather large and colourful cast with about as many subplots as there are characters, and the story contains quite a few examples of Red Herring Twist and Powers That Be.

This show is an example of:

Tropes used in Twin Peaks include:

  Philip Gerard / The Man From Another Place: "Bob, I want all my... Garmonbozia (pain and suffering)."

  • The Chessmaster: Windom Earle is a rather literal example of this trope. He determines his victims through a game of chess played against Cooper, and even at one point dresses a victim as a giant chess piece before shooting him with a crossbow.
  • Cliff Hanger
  • Cliffhanger Copout: Episode Two in the first season of ends with Agent Cooper having a dream from which he learns the identity of who killed Laura Palmer. Cooper immediately wakes up from the dream to call up Sheriff Truman to tell him that he knows who the murderer is but teases that the answer could "wait 'till morning." Come the next episode, taking place that following morning, Cooper recaps all the events from the dream that ended with Laura Palmer whispering the name of her killer in his ear. Then, once he's asked who the killer is, Cooper nonchalantly responds "I don't remember."
  • Cloudcuckoolander: Agent Cooper, who talks to a tape recorder while hanging upside-down by his boots in his room. His superior, Gordon Cole, was obviously an influence....

  Cole: "Coop! You remind me today of a small Mexican chihuahua!"

    • On the Twin Peaks side, Margaret (the Log Lady), the source for at least one of the page quotes and the following:

  "Wait for the tea! The fish aren't running!"

 TMFAP: She's my cousin. But doesn't she look almost exactly like Laura Palmer?

Cooper: But she is Laura Palmer. Are you Laura Palmer?

Not-Laura: I feel like I know her, but sometimes my arms bend back.

TMFAP: She's filled with secrets.

  "God, I feel like singing! Come on, everybody, and just get happy!"

  • Eyepatch of Power: Nadine. Good old casually-600-pound-pressing Nadine.
  • Failure Is the Only Option: Averted due to Executive Meddling.
  • The Fair Folk: The residents of the Black Lodge. Okay, so they're not really "fairies", but they still fit the bill.
  • Faking the Dead: Catherine Martell.
  • Fat Bastard: Jacque Renault
  • Fatal Family Photo: A security guard at the Twin Peaks bank discovers that his wife has just given birth to a boy seconds before a massive explosion kills everyone.
  • Fate Worse Than Death: Being posessed by Bob. Being raped by Bob. Being trapped in the Black Lodge for twenty five years that could either go back in time, forward in time, or completely nonlinearly, and may not even equate to human world time.
  • Fille Fatale: Audrey Horne
  • Five-Man Band
  • Foreshadowing
    • "She's my cousin. But doesn't she look exactly like Laura Palmer?" (referring to Maddy)
  • Gainax Ending: The ending for the "International Version" of the pilot episode. It ended up being heavily edited and recontextualized for Cooper's dream at the end of the second episode.
  • Government Agency of Fiction: The FBI in the Twin Peaks universe often deals heavily in supernatural cases. These more often than not tend to be just a little more dangerous than the usual kind of work.
  • Government Conspiracy: Dale Cooper is a strong believer in conspiracy theories. Given his own experience...
  • Grail in the Garbage: The ring.
  • Grotesque Gallery: Lodge inhabitants include The Man From Another Place (a dwarf, who is actually a severed arm in, for lack of a better word, "human" form), The Giant (A ... giant, obviously), a one-armed man, and Jimmy Scott (who suffered from Kallmann Syndrome).
  • Hannibal Lecture: Jean Renault gives Cooper one
  • Heel Face Turn: Ben Horne becomes a nice guy toward the end of season 2. ( See We Want Our Jerk Back )
    • Leo Johnson is one of the few examples of a Complete Monster who manages to turn face. He is an redeemable, abusive control freak toward Shelly in Season 1, but suffers much of the same abuse at the hands of Windom Earle in Season 2. His Heel Face Turn begins when he is reluctant in assisting Windom Earle kill an innocent victim, then sets fellow captive, Major Garland Briggs free and asks him to keep Shelly safe. Bear in mind Leo previously tried to immolate Shelly at the end of Season 1.
  • Hidden Heart of Gold:
    • Audrey Horne. At first sight she seems to be a spoiled troublemaker who aspires to be a femme fatale (often successfully), but with time it is revealed that she's actually an lonely innocent with good intentions.

  The director Todd Holland on Audrey's character: "She's one of my favorite characters because you thought she was such a big slut and she's probably the most moralistic person in Twin Peaks and that's all tremendous fun. The ones like her father feign morality and are incredibly treacherous, but they carry on a good business front."

    • Albert Rosenfield and his speech.
  • Hidden Villain
  • Hooker with a Heart of Gold: Laura. And Audrey when she tries to get into the business for investigative purposes.
  • Hormone-Addled Teenager: Laura Palmer's peers. And she herself, but with a bit of extra baggage.
  • Horrifying the Horror: MIKE does this.
  • Humanoid Abomination: Whatever else the inhabitants of the Black Lodge are, they are all surely this -- even the more benevolent ones, such as the Giant.
  • Idiot Ball: Happens sometimes towards the end of the series with both Harry and Cooper. The greatest offender, however, is Major Briggs, who after establishing that a murderous psychopath is hiding out in the forest is to take a casual relaxing walk in the forest on the way home. Harry and Cooper thinks it's a great idea.
  • I Just Shot Marvin in the Face: In Episode 4, Andy drops his gun and it goes off by accident. In the next episode, a character gives a braggadocio-filled impression of how he'd handle being caught having an affair while waving a gun around with his finger on the trigger.
  • Interservice Rivalry: The Deer Meadow law enforcement don't like FBI sniffin' around their neck of the woods.
  • Invisible Backup Band: James' song he sings while playing guitar in the episode "Coma" has bass and percussion come out of nowhere halfway through.
  • Is This Thing On?: Played painfully straight with the town's mayor in the pilot and later on in the second season.
  • Japandering: This Georgia is damn fine coffee!
  • Jerk Jock: Bobby Briggs and Mike Nelson.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Albert defines this. After an amazing speech in which Albert's heart of gold becomes apparent, he and Sheriff Truman -- formerly bitter enemies -- become close friends and even hug one another in a later episode.
  • Jigsaw Puzzle Plot
  • Jurisdiction Friction: Averted right off the bat in the pilot episode when Agent Cooper specifically asks Sheriff Truman if he is going to have any trouble with this.
    • Played straight with a different jurisdiction in the movie.
  • Just Friends: Audrey and Cooper, to the ire of both David Lynch and the Fan-Preferred Couple crowd.

 Audrey: But don't you like me?

Cooper: I like you very much. You're beautiful, intelligent, desirable. Everything a man wants in his life. But what you need right now, more than anything, is a friend. Someone who will listen.

  "Agent Cooper loves coffee."

  • Ms. Fanservice: Audrey.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: Both Laura and Leland experience these moments... though in the second case, it's for a pretty good reason. Ben as well, albeit in a much more Narm-filled fashion.
  • Name's the Same: The name of Bobby's partner in crime is Mike Nelson. In-universe, Bobby and Mike have the same names as BOB and his former accomplice, Mike.
    • Not to mention the obvious examples of Sheriff Harry S. Truman and Ben & Jerry Horne.
    • In episode 7 of season 1, Cooper and Big Ed adopt the aliases of Barney and Fred.
  • Narnia Time: Time in the Black Lodge is a somewhat more Mind Screw worthy take on the idea.
  • Never Found the Body: Catherine Martell.
  • No Dead Body Poops: The aversion is mentioned, but not depicted.
  • No-Holds-Barred Beatdown: Maddy's demise.
  • Not Himself
  • Occult Detective: The natural result of Agent Cooper becoming aware of the town's less-than-normal qualities.
    • Of course, he started out using such investigative techniques as throwing rocks at a bottle while listening to the list of suspects to determine which leads to follow, which he learned from the Dalai Lama in a dream.
    • Keep in mind, given what we find out in The Movie, Cooper had already foreseen Laura's death and Gordon Cole likely informed him beforehand that he was working on a Blue Rose case. Which means the rules are, to put it mildly, just a little different.
  • Odd Friendship: Well, most of the town's residents and the agents dispatched there are odd, to say the least, but the trope is best exemplified by Albert and Truman later in season 2.
  • Old Cop, Young Cop: Windom Earle and Dale Cooper might have been this before Earle went insane.
  • One-Scene Wonder: Loads of these in the movie. David Bowie shows up for all of a minute as Agent Jeffries (whose role in the shooting script was slightly larger), Harry Dean Stanton as a bizarre trailer park landlord, etc.
  • Out with a Bang: Mayor Doug Wilford, in the "wedding night" variant.
  • Owl Be Damned: They are the eyes of BOB. Maybe. (In any case, they are not what they seem.)
  • Place Beyond Time: The Black Lodge, where Cooper winds up stuck for at least 25 years while still communicating with himself and others through their dreams at various points in time -- including before Laura Palmer's murder, which brought him to Twin Peaks in the first place, even happened.
  • Powers That Be
  • Power Walk: The first shot of Season 2, Episode 9.
  • Precocious Crush: The reason why Cooper can't return Audrey's feelings.

 "Audrey, you're a high school girl. I'm an agent of the FBI."

  • Rape as Backstory: A common explanation of Leland's backstory is that he was sexually assaulted by Bob Robertson, possibly as a means of demonic possession (or thus creating said demonic force). And that's not even bringing up how it affected Laura.
    • The "Cooper's Diary" book suggests that Cooper was also sexually abused by BOB (he came into his room) as a child.
  • Rape as Drama
  • Rasputinian Death: Leo Johnson. He survives being shot twice, two axe battles with Bobby Briggs (one of them being right after awakening from a coma from said gunshot), survives being out in the woods with no water, gets electrocuted by Windom Earle on a number of occasions, then finally it is implied Leo finally met his fate by a venomous spider.
  • Real Life Writes the Plot: BOB only murders women who resemble Laura Palmer. Kind of helps that his second and first victim were played by the same actor before David Lynch had even thought to establish this as a plot point.
  • Recursive Acronym: Beware Of BOB.
  • Redemption Equals Death: Laura Palmer's death.
    • Also Leland Palmer's death.
  • Redemption in the Rain: Leland Palmer's death. Sort of.
  • Red Herring Twist
  • The Reveal
  • Scarily Competent Tracker: Cooper and Hawk.
  • Scenery Porn: Twin Peaks has some truly beautiful cinematography. The opening also gives you a good first look at some of the breathtaking nature scenery you're going to see in the show.
  • Serial Killer: BOB.
  • Set Right What Once Went Wrong: Cooper tries to do this in The Movie. It fails.
  • Sex Is Evil and I Am Horny: BOB. Laura herself angsts over having this attitude in The Secret Diary of Laura Palmer.
  • She Really Can Act: Sheryl Lee's work as Laura (specifically Laura and not Maddie) in the few brief flashbacks in the series was...a little underwhelming, although it did fit in with the spirit of the high-concept Soap Opera spoof. Then along comes Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me and she proved she does have the acting chops.
  • Short Lived Big Impact: With only two seasons and 30 episodes, it popularized the Quirky Town genre in American television, having descendants such Picket Fences and Northern Exposure that ran much longer than Twin Peaks itself. Also, the amount of surrealism, eccentric humor, and horror in it were highly exceptional for a mainstream American drama series of its era, but such elements became much more common in television in its wake in the 1990s and 2000s.
  • Shout-Out: Many, most notably to the Gene Tierney film Laura during the first season.
  • Show Within a Show: Invitation to Love.
  • Smug Snake: Ben and Jerry in the first season.
  • Some of My Best Friends Are X: Played for laughs:

 Gwen: God, how you must hate us white people after all we've done to you.

Hawk: Some of my best friends are white people.

  • Sorry I Left the BGM On: The first episode has Audrey doing this, much to her father's dismay.
    • She does it again with the jukebox at the diner in the second episode.

  "God, I love this music. Isn't it too dreamy?"

    • This happens on a radio (which is immediately changed) in season 2 episode 2. Actually, this happens a lot on Twin Peaks.
    • In another season two episode, some melancholy flute music plays over an establishing shot of the abandoned house Windom Earle is occupying, which turns out to be... Windom Earle himself playing the flute. It sounds kind of silly, but it's in fact a pretty eerie moment since he's doing it while waiting for Leo Johnson to come to so he can torture him.
  • Spell My Name with an "S": BOB -- all caps.
    • Not to be confused with "BOB!".
  • Spider Sense: In The Movie Cooper reveals to Albert that he's foreseen Laura's death before it actually happens (possibly by meeting his future self in the Black Lodge), putting Albert's skepticism in an entirely different context on a second rewatch of the series.
  • Spooky Painting: Laura enters one in the movie.
  • Stunt Casting: This probably ranks first on the extensive list of "most egregious waste of David Bowie."
  • Stylistic Suck: From what little we see of it, Invitation to Love, the soap opera everyone in Twin Peaks apparently watches, is fairly ridiculous.
  • Surreal Horror
  • Switching to GEICO: In the surreal Black Lodge:

  "I've got good news. That gum you like is going to come back in style."

  • Temporal Paradox: Agent Cooper examines the live security cameras in the FBI office and catches sight of himself on screen as Agent Jeffries walks in the room (which had already happened just a few seconds ago). It's later claimed that Agent Jeffries was never there in the first place. This is hinted to be similar to the way time works in the Black Lodge when Cooper tries to contact Laura through her dreams.
  • Things That Go Bump in the Night
  • To Hell and Back: Cooper in the series finale. The Black Lodge may not be Hell itself, but neither is it pleasant.
    • But did he really come back???
  • Tom the Dark Lord: Killer BOB.
  • Transvestite: A young and studly David Duchovny as DEA Agent Dennis Denise Bryson.

 "Now, could we talk about something more important? Exactly how old is that girl?"

"Denise, I would assume you're no longer interested in girls."

"Coop, I may be wearing a dress, but I still put my panties on one leg at a time, if you know what I mean."

"Not really."

This show's production and television run provided examples of:

  • Dawson Casting: Most of the teen characters in the series are played by actors in their twenties.
  • Executive Meddling: ABC pressured Lynch into wrapping up the Laura Palmer mystery, which he wanted to continue throughout the series.
  • Kudzu Plot
  • Production Posse: Kyle MacLachlan first worked with Lynch in Dune. Also, Jack Nance, who played the protagonist in Eraserhead, plays the character who discovered Laura Palmer's corpse.
  • The Other Darrin: Donna Hayward in The Movie.
  • The Resolution Will Not Be Televised: The movie Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me. Subverted in that it was actually a prequel. Well, sort of...
  • Screwed by the Network: Twin Peaks was renewed for the second season , but the network moved it to one of the lowest-rated timeslots on television, Saturday nights at ten.
  • Throw It In: The villain BOB was created/cast when set director Frank Silva's reflection accidentally appeared in a mirror when filming the last shot of the pilot where Laura's mother has a frightening nightmare.
    • Earlier, Silva had trapped himself in Laura's bedroom, endearing him to Lynch, which caused him to shoot footage showing him looking up from the foot of Laura's bed. His serendipitous appearance in the pilot just cemented his place. According to Wikipedia.
    • Two other things from the pilot: When Cooper first examines Laura's body, a fluorescent light keeps flickering -- the light they were using really was malfunctioning, but David Lynch liked the eerie disorienting effect this had, so it got written in as a transformer malfunction. And in the same scene, an extra misheard Cooper's line "Would you leave us?" as "what's your name?" and, thinking Kyle MacLachlan was breaking character, said his real name. The awkward moment that ensued got left in as a momentary aversion of Realistic Diction Is Unrealistic.
  • "Well Done, Son" Guy: A female example involving Norma and her mother in the second season.
  • Wham! Episode: The final one, and several others along the way, including Maddy's death at the hands of of Laura's killer.
    • What about the first season finale? Audrey is captured at "One Eyed Jacks", Nadine tries to commit suicide, Leland murders the newly captured Jacques Renault in the hospital, Leo tries to kill Bobby but is shot by Hank, the mill, with Catherine and Shelly inside burns down as Pete rushes to the rescue and Cooper is shot in his hotel room by an unknown assailant.
    • Mark Frost has talked about how he really wasn't sure the show would get a second season, so he packed every conceivable cliffhanger he could into the first season finale (to the point that it almost became a parody) in the hopes that someone would say, "Okay, I have to know what happens next."
  • Wrap It Up
  • Writing by the Seat of Your Pants
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