For the past few years, Team BMD has been having the same conversation. It pops up every few months or so, and it always starts like this: "Man, remember the summer of TWIN PEAKS: THE RETURN?"
Sometimes it's me saying it. Sometimes it's Evan. Sometimes it's Britt, or Russ, or Meredith. Doesn't matter. Once that phrase is uttered, all productivity comes to a screeching halt for about ten minutes, and we all take turns recalling moments from that glorious summer: The season premiere party I threw at my place, which required everyone in attendance to bring a whole-ass pie. The conversations we had after each episode, which always involved pointlessly speculating on where the show might be going next (David Lynch barks laughter in the face of your predictions). The night we met Wally Brando. The Night Episode 8 Aired, a phrase I can only write using capitalized words. That jaw-dropper of a finale. I'm not exaggerating when I say that, for many of the writers you know through their work on BMD, "the summer of TWIN PEAKS: THE RETURN" was the last truly great summer we shared together.
Today marks the third anniversary of TWIN PEAKS returning to television. Admittedly, a third anniversary isn't particularly sexy - hell, it's not even a round number - but so what? Given the state of things, and given what a bummer we all know this summer's gonna be, we figured now would be the perfect time to attempt to recapture a little of that "summer of TWIN PEAKS: THE RETURN" magic. Couldn't we all use that right now?
So, here's what we're gonna do: over the next 18 weeks, we're gonna work our way through TWIN PEAKS: THE RETURN one episode at a time, with a new post arriving each Thursday. This series will feature contributions from a number of BMD writers both old and new, but we're not gonna be out here writing recaps. We did that the first time TWIN PEAKS: THE RETURN aired. No, this time we're going to focus on a specific element from each episode that really knocked our socks off - an unforgettable sequence, a beloved character, a moment that scared the everloving shit out of us. Our writers will pick whatever they want to focus on, but in general this will be a celebration of both TWIN PEAKS: THE RETURN and the incredible conversations we had in the summer of 2017.
And I'm gonna start it off right now, with episode one.
And this weird fucking box.
The Box appears several scenes into TWIN PEAKS: THE RETURN's premiere episode, "My Log Has a Message for You". It's guarded by a guy named Sam, who watches The Box for hours on end, only moving to replace the SIM cards in various video cameras stationed around the odd, glass-walled enclosure. Later in THE RETURN, we'll learn who owns this box and what it's there for (go digging around online to learn more about how The Box functions and you'll end up going down quite the rabbit hole, eventually arriving at an in-universe anecdote involving Richard Nixon and Jackie Gleason), but I'm not terribly interested in rehashing the lore here. What I'm far more interested in is the way The Box made me feel the first time I saw this episode.
The Box is a perfect Lynch invention. It's something we've never seen before in the PEAKS universe, and to look at it is to have a million questions about it. What're those floodlights meant to illuminate? All those switchboards and cables - what are they connected to? Does that portal in the back actually lead outside the building? Who's this guy watching it, and why is he (are they) filming it, seemingly for hours on end? Given the way Lynch normally conducts his narrative business, I recall thinking: that thing's probably not gonna do anything special for a while. When Lynch cut back to this location later in the episode and a romance seemed to be blossoming between Sam and a woman named Tracey, I figured that settled it. Hell, I thought, The Box might not even be important.
Ah, but then!
Then Sam invites Tracey into The Box's forbidden chamber, and soon enough they begin making out on the couch. Then The Box begins to grow dark. Then Sam and Tracey begin fucking, and something ... horrible appeared within the swirling black depths of The Box. And then, quite viciously, that horrible thing smashed its way out of The Box and immediately chewed both Sam and Tracey's faces off. Friends, I do not mind telling you that this shot had the audience I saw this episode with positively hootin' and hollerin'. What a moment!
This development only led to more questions, of course. It's not the only dangling thread introduced in TWIN PEAKS: THE RETURN's premiere, but for me it was the most compelling. The Box was unlike anything we'd seen in this world before, yes, but seeing it used as the conduit for something monstrous and otherworldly ("Is that thing loose in our world now?!") was profoundly intriguing to me. Other than the Green Glove that gets introduced later in the season, the purpose of The Box and the name of its owner were perhaps highest on the list of questions I wanted answered. I wanted to know everything about that goddamn thing. When I think back on TWIN PEAKS: THE RETURN now, the image of Cooper suspended within The Box's glass walls tends to be the first image that pops into my mind.
What a way to open THE RETURN. Not only was Lynch telling us that this PEAKS would be delivering brand-new mysteries (as if we'd had any doubt), but he was also making it clear, via the intense gore of the scene, that he wouldn't be pulling any punches. For months we'd been wondering if TWIN PEAKS: THE RETURN would offer more of a classic TWIN PEAKS flavor or more of a FIRE WALK WITH ME-type feel, and this seemed to settle the debate instantly. This was gonna be a hard-R, ultra-surreal TWIN PEAKS, not the borderline soap opera we'd all fallen in love with on primetime television back in the '90s. Precisely what I'd been hoping for, in other words. What a thrill.
TWIN PEAKS: THE RETURN: THE RETURN will run on BMD every Thursday. We invite you to rewatch the series along with us each week.