The opening roadside image from Twin Peaks with the town sign located beneath a mountainous vista

Welcome to Twin Peaks

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The quiet town of Twin Peaks holds shocking secrets and daring twists all leading to The Return.

By Michelle Darrisaw

It’s been just over 30 years since we were first introduced to the fictional, seemingly quiet mill town of Twin Peaks and the beginning of our obsession with not only who killed Laura Palmer but also Douglas firs, possibly loquacious logs, and “a damn good cup of coffee.”

In just two seasons, the series changed the landscape of TV and crime dramas and amassed a cult following. Choosing the top moments from the David Lynch and Mark Frost series is a near-impossible task, but here are some of our favorites from the original and the SHOWTIME limited-event series The Return.

Twin Peaks streams on Paramount+ and The Return streams on SHOWTIME.

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Laura Palmer Wrapped in Plastic

The now iconic image of murder victim Laura Palmer wrapped in plastic from the pilot episode of Twin Peaks

A dead Laura Palmer

Photo by CBS Photo Archive/Getty Images

“Pilot” (Season 1, Episode 1)

When 17-year-old Laura Palmer’s (Sheryl Lee) body is discovered on a riverbank covered in cellophane, it sets off a chain reaction of surreal and downright bizarre events.

The homecoming queen’s murder also introduces viewers to the eccentric characters of Twin Peaks, including FBI Special Agent Dale Cooper (Kyle MacLachlan) and the Log Lady (Catherine E. Coulson), whose log does not judge. With an hour and a half runtime, the pilot is a tour de force in small-screen cinema.

Dale Cooper Dreams a Little Dream

The man in the red room wearing the red suit from an infamous dream sequence in Twin Peaks

The infamous red room dream sequence from Twin Peaks

Photo courtesy of Paramount+

“Zen, or the Skill to Catch a Killer” (Season 1, Episode 3)

Let’s rock! Twin Peaks is not without famous dream sequences, and one of the first to captivate viewers is Agent Cooper seeing himself as an aged man while sitting in the infamous waiting area of the Red Room.

For Twin Peaks newbies, no spoilers about the sinister curtained room or the Man from Another Place. Just know there’s a reason this otherworldly dimension, housed inside the Black Lodge, lives on in pop-culture infamy

Dale Cooper’s Love Affair with Coffee

Agent Dale Cooper enjoys a darn good cup of coffee with Audrey Horne at the diner in Twin Peaks

“We’ll have what Coop’s having.”

Photo by ABC Photo Archives/Disney General Entertainment Content via Getty Images

“Pilot” and “Traces to Nowhere” (Season 1, Episodes 1 and 2)

In the first few episodes, viewers learn that Agent Cooper takes his coffee “black as midnight on a moonless night,” and that the way to his heart is through his stomach, most notably in the form of doughnuts and cherry pie, made fresh by the Double R Diner’s Norma Jennings (Peggy Lipton).

Every darn “good cup of coffee” and food reference in Twin Peaks inspired all of us to say, “We’ll have what Coop’s having.”

Agent Cooper Receives a Special Visit

Agent Cooper lays on the floor of his room at the hotel after being shot and hallucinates a shadowy giant

A bleeding and hallucinating Agent Cooper

Photo courtesy of Paramount+

“May the Giant Be with You” (Season 2, Episode 1)

After being shot three times in the stomach in his room at the Great Northern Hotel, a bleeding Agent Cooper has another vision, this time in the form of a shadowy giant (Carel Struycken).

A man in a smiling bag, deceptive owls, and a guy who points without chemicals? Sounds like the makings of a riddle, right? Wrong. Just clues from the giant that could help solve Laura’s murder.

Audrey Horne Dances

Audrey Horne wears a pink sweater as she leans against a wooden post inside the diner in Twin Peaks

Sherilyn Fenn was in both Twin Peaks and The Return

Photo by CBS Photo Archive/Getty Images

“Traces to Nowhere” (Season 1, Episode 2)

The troubled yet seductive Audrey Horne (Sherilyn Fenn) dances her way into fans’ hearts as she sways to the jazz sounds coming from the Double R Diner’s jukebox. It’s dreamy and iconic, right along with Audrey’s signature sweaters and tongue-twisting abilities. Thankfully, Fenn dances on in the reprisal of her role in The Return.

Mr. C Is Formed and Laura Keeps Her Promise

Agent Cooper stares closely into a smashed mirror at his reflection now that it is now Mr. C grinning back

As promised, The Return came 25 years after Twin Peaks

Photo courtesy of Paramount+

“Beyond Life and Death” (Season 2, Episode 22)

How’s Annie? Twin Peaks closes with Agent Cooper back in the Red Room of the Black Lodge to rescue his love interest, Annie (Heather Graham). A lot of strange things occur, but none more important than closing the series with the emergence of Cooper’s doppelgänger and the spirit of Laura telling Cooper she’ll see him again in 25 years. She was right: The Return premiered a quarter century later.

Mark Frost Leaves Fans on a Cliff

Leland Palmer played by Ray Wise looks forlorn as he clutches a photo of his murdered daughter in a scene from Twin Peaks

Leland Palmer vowed vengeance

Photo by ABC Photo Archives/Disney General Entertainment Content via Getty Images

“The Last Evening” (Season 1, Episode 8)

From Jacques Renault’s (Walter Olkewicz) arrest and Leland Palmer’s (Ray Wise) vengeance to the town’s Packard Sawmill going up in flames, it’s hard to believe writer and director Frost had one more trick up his sleeve for the season finale.

Instead of room service, Agent Cooper receives a dish served cold when he opens the door to find a masked gunman on the other side.

Laura’s Killer Is Revealed

A screaming woman falls to a couch in a pivotal Twin Peaks scene

More death follows the revelation of Laura's killer.

Photo courtesy of Paramount+

“Lonely Souls” (Season 2, Episode 7)

Well, that was fast. Ask any Twin Peaks fan for the most controversial moment of the two-season run, and this mid-season plot reveal will probably top their list. Audiences learn the identity of Laura’s killer, much to the surprise of fans and, frankly, the chagrin of Lynch. Still, the revelation, followed by another cruel murder, is one of the season’s most tragic and provocative moments.

One Final Dance

Agent Cooper stands in a casino talking to his love interest

Agent Cooper is back after 25 years.

Photo: Suzanne Tenner/SHOWTIME

“No Knock, No Doorbell” (Part 16)

“I am the FBI,” says Coop, ensuring a collective sigh of relief for fans waiting for the real Agent Cooper to please stand up. For most of the revival, our caffeinated protagonist is replaced by dark personifications of his former self. Agent Cooper finally finds his bearings and goes on the hunt for his evil doppelgänger. We also get to see Audrey dance at the Roadhouse again.

The Gum Comes Back in Style

A cast of characters from The Return stand in the sheriffs department in the final episode of the show

Reunited at the Sheriff's Department

Courtesy of SHOWTIME

“The Past Dictates the Future” (Part 17)

The band is back together in Twin Peaks, Washington, including Agent Cooper and Diane Evans (Laura Dern). While we adore the characters reuniting at the Sheriff’s Department and Lucy (Kimmy Robertson) saving the day, the nostalgia and recall to the night of Laura’s murder take center stage, serving as a love letter to the original series.

Twin Peaks streams on Paramount+ and The Return streams on SHOWTIME.

SUBSCRIBE NOW: Enjoy 4 Digital Plus 2 Print/Digital Issues Of Watch Per Year — For Free!


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