Twin Sneaks – Volume One: Pilot


Welcome to Twin Sneaks! I started this column about a year ago, but stopped watching the show as I wanted to wait until the new Season 3 was closer. What I’m hoping to do here is recap all the episodes for you guys leading up to the new premiere on May 21st (EEEEEK!!) After that, I’ll continue to recap the new episodes for you, and have them ready to go every Monday or Tuesday! There will, of course, be SPOILERS in these recaps, so please stop reading (or don’t, I’m not you mom) and WATCH THE DAMN SHOW ON NETFLIX, YOU JERK!

Twin Peaks – Pilot

Directed by: David Lynch

Written by: David Lynch and Mark Frost

Recap by Nick Spanjer

Because the Pilot is so damn long (a little more than twice as long as most of the episodes), this recap was originally split into two parts. So forgive the length, but I feel like it covers the episode pretty well. Also, don’t watch the International Version of the Pilot (included in both the excellent DVD Gold Box and beautiful Blu-Ray set; the Pilot included on Netflix is this version I’m recapping) unless you’ve seen the whole series. Lynch and Co. didn’t know if the show would be picked up and gave away some key pieces of the story at the end.

I hate the way Twin Peaks begins. Not the slow, painful reveal of Laura Palmer’s unfortunate demise or the grueling realization of her death by her parents. No, the worst part of how Twin Peaks begins is the ultimate foreshadowing of a wasted storyline that I’ve come to rank right above the James/Evelyn Marsh melodrama: Josie Packard. The camera zooms in on her, staring longingly into a mirror with that “I’m taking a shit” face she always has on.

I’m going to be talking quite a bit about things that annoy me in Twin Peaks. Face it, drawn out storylines and particular characters or plot holes got to you too. If you’re reading this and you haven’t seen the show, I’d advise you to do so now. Stop reading and fire up Netflix, or buy the amazingly beautiful Blu-Ray set. It’s all right there at your fingertips. Then come back. This whole thing is going to take me a while anyway. Now back to the Pilot. Where were we?

Oh yeah. So, now that Josie is out of the way, let’s move on. Laura Palmer’s dead body is lying face down on a rocky beach outside Pete and Catherine Martell’s house. Pete’s call to the Twin Peaks Sheriff station is perhaps one of the most iconic scenes from the show as he announces shakily that Laura is, “…dead. Wrapped in plastic.” The sheriff arrives with deputy Andy Brennan and Doc Heyward, and Andy cries for the first time…in the show.


Over at The Great Northern Hotel, we get our first peek at the insane Audrey Horne and her father, Ben – owner of the hotel and local Donald Trump. We’re introduced to him as he spits a horrifyingly productive shot of mucus into the fireplace while talking Ghostwood illegalities with his lawyer (and Laura’s father), Leland Palmer. They take their speech into the conference room with the “cheese eaters” concerning the Ghostwood development, when Leland is called away for a phone call to his wife. They do their best to pinpoint Laura’s location until Sheriff Truman arrives at the hotel to give Leland the bad news. Then Sarah erupts into a gloriously crazy puddle of sobs and screams (one of many to come).

Onto the Double-R Diner. We are first introduced to Badass Bobby Briggs and his secret girlfriend and waitress, Shelly Johnson as they hurl a thinly-veiled blowjob joke at immigrant waitress, Heidi. Double-R owner, Norma Jennings watches them leave as leatherclad Bobby plugs the jukebox with some 50’s jam constructed by the amazing Angelo Badalamenti. A cop-car whizzes by the forbidden romantics in the other direction as they take ungodly 8 AM rips from a flask on the way to Shelly’s. “It’s happy hour in France.” This is when we find out that Shelly is married to another dude, as Bobby slams on his brakes when he sees Leo Johnson’s semi truck.

At the hospital, Leland arrives to identify his daughter’s body. He bawls at the sight of her blue-black face and is helped away by Sheriff Truman. Back to the high school now, where the previously mentioned Audrey Horne is slipping out of her flats and putting on red heels at her locker while smoking. The insufferable Donna Heyward laughs at the sight of this and James Hurley arrives, looking like that kid that no one talked to in ninth grade, to tell her “Nice day for a picnic,” with his shit-eating grin. Big ups to David Lynch by the way, for filming the kid that slams his locker, spins and arm-roll dances himself down the hallway.

Bobby finally arrives to school where he’s summoned to the principal’s office while talking to Badass Part Deux, Mike Nelson. A cop arrives in the homeroom where Donna, James and Audrey are sitting, and makes an over-dramatic mess of things, asking if Bobby is in the class and pulling the teacher away. A girl runs screaming through the school’s courtyard and Laura’s best friend Donna looks at Laura’s empty desk. James realizes this at the same time and breaks his pencil with veins popping out of his fivehead. Donna ugly-cries for the first time and jesus christ, a lot of people have cried so far.


Bobby is interviewed by Deputies Andy and Hawk in the library because he was her kind of boyfriend, and West Side Story-snaps in defiance at their questions. Sheriff Truman arrives in all his hatless, permed glory and asks the principal to tell the school about their dead classmate. Truman tells Bobby that Laura is dead and that he’s a suspect, so he will be placed under arrest. Bobby proceeds to profess his seemingly angry love for Laura as he tries to worm his way out of custody.

David Lynch goes all Kubrick with the Shining-like tracking shot down the high school’s hallway as the principal announces Laura’s death to the school. Donna ugly cries some more while James stares at her with rapist-like intensity. We then return to the Palmer household to see Sarah frantically moan and wail. Truman asks her about Laura and the last time she saw her, while Deputy Hawk and Leland look through Laura’s things in her bedroom. Hawk asks Leland where the key is to Laura’s diary then places the diary in a box, and Leland asks if he really needs to keep it. Deputy Andy tells Truman that another girl, Ronette Pulaski is missing as well.

We cut to the sawmill to see Pete singing about 2×4’s and 4×8’s along to the din of Catherine screaming at useless Josie for deciding to close the mill for the day. “Peter, push the plug.” Josie gives a speech that Evita would call too dramatic and shuts the mill down. What better time to cut to the violently molested, zombie-like Ronette crossing a trestle then? We’ll leave that for a second as James “I Need a Hug” Hurley parks his hog at his Uncle, Big Ed Hurley’s Gas Farm. He tells Ed that Laura is dead, confessing to his uncle that “she was the one.” Ed just doesn’t get it, so James gives him a note to give to Donna then rides off angrily onto the rainy highway. Eye-patched Nadine Hurley yells at Ed to get drapes from across the street and Ed gets in his truck immediately, seemingly leaving the gas farm unattended.

Finally, we get our first sight of FBI Special Agent Dale Cooper descending the tree-lined highway into Twin Peaks as he rambles into his tape recorder at the series-long unseen Diane. We learn Twin Peaks’ approximate location in Washington state as he notes it is five miles south of Canada, 12 miles west of the Idaho state line. He goes on about trees for a while then randomly spits facts about his day. Cooper and Truman meet at the hospital and go over some jurisdiction issues which Truman has no problem with. Cooper then starts in with the trees again. “Sheriff? What kind of fantastic trees have you got growing around here? Big, majestic…”


Cooper and Truman go to Ronette Pulaski’s comatose bedside to find she was raped several times and Cooper immediately assumes there is a connection between her and Laura Palmer. He tells the doctor that he’d like to examine her fingers (which is the craziest thing someone could possibly say) and as he looks at them with a magnifying glass, Ronette begins to moan “Don’t go there.” Cooper and Truman watch a one-armed man get out of the elevator in time to see Dr. Jacoby yelling to a receptionist about a giant fish he caught that started talking to him. At the sight of the law enforcement, Jacoby tries to stop the elevator before it closes but can’t, so he runs down the fire exit to meet them. He’s donning ear plugs and introduces himself to Cooper, asking if he can go to the morgue to look at Laura with them. He confesses that Laura’s parents didn’t know she was seeing him as a patient, while horrifyingly fingering under the skirt of a hula girl on his tie.

In the morgue, Cooper begins searching Laura’s fingers for evidence under the flashing fluorescent lights. In glorious improvisational awesomeness, Cooper asks the attending morgue guy to leave, to which morgue guy replies, “Jim.” Cooper reiterates, “Will you leave us alone, please?,” and the actor playing Jim finally gets it. Props for leaving that in, DL. Cooper disgustingly jams tweezers down in between Laura’s dead fingernail and retrieves the paper letter R. With this, Cooper realizes that Laura’s death may be the work of a serial killer that he is familiar with.

Back at Big Ed’s, Donna approaches Ed and gets the note from James asking her to meet him at the Roadhouse after 9:30. Badass Part Deux, Mike rolls up in all his abusive boyfriendliness, screaming at girlfriend Donna for not being with him because Bobby is in a lot of trouble. “He’s my best friend, you’re supposed to be with me, Donna.” He makes some threats to Ed, then peels away to be with his boyfriend Bobby at the sheriff’s. Nadine yells across the street again at Ed about the drapes then slams the screen door.

Back at the sheriff’s station, Cooper and Truman break open Laura’s diary. Cooper flips through and finds the last entry. She writes, “Nervous about meeting J, tonight.” which Cooper notes to Diane. He flips back a few pages and finds a safety deposit key taped to a page with some white, powdery substance on it. Turns out our murdered high school beauty queen may have been a cokehead. Truman doubts that it’s cocaine and tells Cooper he didn’t know Laura. Cooper moves on with the evidence and notes the small box of chocolate bunnies he’s holding.


The second half of the Pilot begins ominously, as the camera drifts across a clouded mountain landscape and onto an abandoned train car. Deputy Andy calls Lucy at the sheriff’s station to report the location of the murder. He’s crying, of course, and asks her not to tell the sheriff about this. In a back office of the station, Cooper and Truman interview Bobby with his lawyer present about Laura’s death. Bobby gets defensive and yells at Cooper which he in turn, laughs off as he shows Bobby a video of Laura and Donna dancing at that picnic James so cleverly made reference to. Cooper reveals to Bobby that someone with the first initial J is involved and Bobby sees something at the end of the video, making a realization that isn’t revealed for a while.

After Cooper asks Truman to let Bobby out of jail, we return to The Great Northern where Audrey Horne pokes a hole in a cup of coffee like a 5-year old all over the concierge’s desk. Audrey sighs and poses in the corner of the room where the prospective Ghostwood Norwegians are going over the contracts. She tells them against hotel advisement that her “friend” Laura was found face down on a rocky beach, completely naked and murdered. Goofy music plays over this as she sighs again and pretends to cry.

Bobby is released into custody of his parents where Badass Part Deux, Mike is waiting for him. Bobby asks Mike if he “straightened” Donna out yet and that they need to look for some biker named J for fooling around with both Donna and Laura. Lucy Moran, receptionist at the sheriff’s office, is meanwhile typing out their whole conversation that she overhears. Bobby’s dad tells him that he there’s for him to which Bobby replies, “I don’t need a damn sympathetic anything.” Cooper grills Donna about the video, asking who is filming the picnic. She ugly cries again as Lucy comes in to show Cooper what she typed. Cooper reveals he knew they were looking for a biker as he pauses the video in a closeup of Laura’s eye. “Looks like a hog to me.” Cut to Hug Me James who is fondling a necklace on a depressing mountaintop, looking like someone stole his juicebox.


Back at The Great Northern, the Norwegians are leaving the hotel in a hurry at the news of the murder, much to the sadistic delight of Audrey. Her father, Ben is clearly angry which makes Audrey giggle. She truly is one of the best characters in the show. We join Cooper and Truman at the abandoned train car as they shine their lights on a massacre, gore up and down the walls, and a bloodied hammer on the floor. Upon a mound of dirt sits a necklace; half a heart connected to a gold chain with a piece of paper below it. Written in blood are the words, FIRE WALK WITH ME.

We then cut back to James’ lonely mountaintop of isolation where he continues to fondle the necklace that is revealed to be the other half. The beautiful Snoqualmie Falls finally makes an appearance below “The Great Northern” as the Horne’s mentally challenged son Johnny bangs his head against a dollhouse, much to the chagrin of his impatient mother. Johnny is upset because Laura helped him in the afternoons. Cooper and Truman head to the bank for the safety deposit box that belongs to the key in Laura’s diary. They open the box on the table where a mounted deer head has fallen and find pornographic magazine Flesh World, along with a stack of over $10,000. Cooper excitedly opens Flesh World to a marked page, finding a circled Ronette Pulaski escort ad. The camera pans over to a pixelated picture of Leo Johnson’s semi and now the real fun begins.

Inside Leo Johnson’s unfinished shanty of a house, he’s drinking a beer on the couch, fingering through the disgusting ashtray of smoked cigarette butts when he realizes something is amiss. He demands  wife Shelly turn the TV off and quizzes her on the type of cigarettes that she smokes. “There’s two things, Shelly. When I come home, this house should be clean. And I mean clean. Number two, you smoke one brand of cigarettes from now on because if I ever see you with different brands of cigarettes in this house again, I’m going to snap your neck like a twig.” He takes a swig of beer like he’s never taken one in his life and stares down Shelly, and it’s so gloriously ridiculous that you can’t help but laugh.


Over at Big Ed’s, Ed receives a call from a shaken Double-R owner, Norma, where they arrange a night-time meeting at the Roadhouse. Ed looks out the window after he hangs up to see his obsessive, one-eyed wife sliding her new drapes open and shut. Over at the town hall, we get to see Cooper ask about local rabbit populations while Josie walks in and Truman says “That is one of the most beautiful women in the state.” Yeah, ok. It’s revealed that she married into the ownership of the mill before her husband Andrew Packard died in a boating accident. It’s also revealed that Ben Horne is after the Packard land for the Ghostwood development, which annoyingly, becomes one of the biggest storylines in the show.

As the ancient Mayor Milford gavels for attention, the Log Lady makes her first appearance, flipping the lights on and off in the hall. “Who’s the lady with the log? Oh, we call her the Log Lady.” Cooper introduces himself to the hall and proclaims that Laura’s murder may be connected to another murder. He warns against a witch hunt and places a curfew on those under 18. A streetlight turns from green to red in the wind as we move to the Heyward’s house, where Doc Heyward is attempting to comfort his wheelchair-bound wife in the living room (Zooey Deschanel’s mom, BTW). Donna overhears that the police think the killer has the other half of the heart necklace and attempts to escape out the window. Her annoying sister asks for poetry tips as she jumps out the bedroom window to meet up with James at the Roadhouse.

Mike and Bobby drunkenly arrive at the Heyward’s with the intention of picking up Donna. Doc Heyward runs upstairs and grills Donna’s younger sister about Donna’s whereabouts while Bobby pretends to surf on top of his car. Doc Heyward inexplicably asks her abusive boyfriend to go find her to which Mike basically says, “Oh I’ll find her, and when I do…” Cooper and Truman are meanwhile, staking out the Roadhouse when they receive a call from Doc Heyward about the missing Donna.


We finally arrive to the penultimate Roadhouse. Julee Cruise and her band sway through the theme song as Ed and Norma talk about their shitty lives. Cooper is whittling when Mike and Bobby show up to the Roadhouse. The club is full of bikers and some of them make note of Mike and Bobby’s sudden appearance. Donna arrives on a child’s bicycle and when she walks in, is immediately verbally berated by her boyfriend and Badass Part Deux, Mike. The bikers and Ed intervene and a brawl breaks out. “Lights out, Mr. Monkeywrench!” One of the bikers gets Donna out and Cooper and Truman follow “from a discrete distance.” Mike and Bobby get clobbered by the multitudes of bikers and more police arrive.

Joey the biker manages to elude Cooper and Truman, and drops Donna off with James in some emo part of the woods. James reveals to Donna that Bobby killed someone, according to Laura, and he thinks that Laura was killed for some reason involving drugs. They begin to ugly cry together for the first time of many, and after making out for way too long, decide to bury his half of the necklace under some fucking rock for some reason. Cooper and Truman see James and Donna ride by and pull James over. Truman brings James in and releases Donna to Doc Heyward. James is placed in a jail cell across from Mike and Bobby where they stare at each other lovingly.

Doc Heyward accepts his daughter’s apology as grief for her best friend’s loss. Cooper and Truman walk into a break room loaded with an insane amount donuts and coffee at the sheriff’s office. Cooper asks for some modest lodging and Truman tells him that he’ll get him a great rate at The Great Northern. Mike and Bobby start barking and screaming at James in the jail in one of the more insane scenes in the Pilot.

Finally, we come upon the Martell’s place where Truman makes out with Josie Grossie. Catherine sees this and tells Ben Horne on the telephone. Truman and Josie grip each other in soap operatic style, staring out at the lake. We get another shot of the stoplight in the wind then return to the Palmer household. Sarah “sees” a gloved hand picking up the rock in the woods which sits atop the necklace and begins to scream, while Bob makes his first appearance, hovering over her (the crew member that accidentally would come to play Bob, because David Lynch is a nut) in a mirror.


Best Quotes:

  • “She’s dead. Wrapped in plastic.” – Pete Martell
  • “If you’ll permit me, Sven, to repeat what you told me this morning after your run: “My air sacks have never felt so good.”” – Ben Horne
  • “Diane, I’m holding in my hand a small box of chocolate bunnies.” – FBI Special Agent Dale Cooper
  • “The Norwegians are leaving! THE NORWEGIANS ARE LEAVING!.” – Hotel Concierge
  • “There’s over $10,000 here. That’s a lot of Girl Scout Cookies.” – Special Agent Dale Cooper
  • “Don’t take any oink-oink off that pretty pig.” – Bobby Briggs

Come back next Friday 4/14, where I’ll be recapping (in much less detail) the remainder of Season One!



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