Max Koch Uncorked

Wine-soaked adventures through a twisted life…

My Return to Twin Peaks

WARNING: The following post contains spoilers about the series Twin Peaks and Twin Peaks: The Return. Reader discretion is advised.

“Hawk, electricity is humming.  You hear it in the mountains and rivers.  You see it dance among the seas and stars and glowing around the moon.  But in these days, the glow is dying.  What will be in the darkness that remains?”  – Margaret Lanterman AKA The Log Lady, Twin Peaks: The Return

In 1994, not too long after the Northridge Earthquake, the wife (then-girlfriend) and I decided to move to Seattle. Our master plan was to be “big fish in a small pond.” Yeah, well, little did I know a small pond meant me working crappy dinner theatre shows and running a little video store on Lake Washington while my woman waited tables, serving the likes of August Wilson and Courtney Love. (Yes, we were living in Seattle when Kurt Cobain was found dead. Devastating.)

There were a few reasons why we chose to relocate ourselves to the Pacific Northwest.  One was because the apartment building we were about to move into down here in L.A. had been red-tagged as a result of the quake.  Not to mention, the restaurant where we had met and worked at together, located in Northridge, had endured some significant damage as well.  Plus, I had friends in Seattle and thought it would be a good idea to get the hell out of the San Fernando Valley before we, you know, got killed by “The Big One.” I might even add that I LIVE for rain and cool weather.

Sno Falls

There was another more secret, more mystical reason why I felt I was being called to the state of Washington.  I wanted to live – you guessed it – in Twin Peaks.  I mean, even though Twin Peaks is a fictitious town – or state of mind, depending how you look at it – I felt that if I could just get up to Snoqualmie Falls on the weekend for a hike…or head on over to the Double R Diner for a piece of damn fine cherry pie, well, it would just be a 40 minute drive from Seattle to Twin–okay, North Bend, Washington, but still!  I would be closer to the Black Lodge.  To the Roadhouse.  To the Great Northern Hotel.  To the strait where Laura Palmer’s murdered, wrapped-in-plastic body washed ashore. 

Nichole and I did get up there a few times, North Bend.  We used to hike around the bottom of the falls and one time we brought my Uncle Patrick up there and actually made our way BEHIND the falls.  I mean, if there wasn’t a backdoor entrance into the White Lodge already established, behind the falls would be PERFECT.  Ideal.  It’s breathtaking. 

So why did I want to live in Twin Peaks so bad?  Well, after meditating on it for a minute, the answer has come to me: Twin Peaks was the first show I had ever truly felt a part of its “cult.”  I was already a massive admirer of David Lynch films before the first episode of Peaks hit the air on April 8, 1990, and I will NEVER forget how I felt viewing that initial pilot.  Holy shit, TV is finally taking a CHANCE. Obviously it blew the minds of millions and went on to become one of the most influential series in television history, but I almost felt like it belonged to me personally as well, at that raw, tender time in my life.  For example, the girls on the show were girls I’d gone out with.  Girls who were do-gooders, got good grades, were loyal to their families…but at an instant could easily be drawn to mystery and darkness.  And, oh, that darkness.  It reminded me of all the rocks I used to lift growing up, to see what was underneath.  And there was always those haunting mentions of “a wind” in the trees.  Lynch himself said recently at the premiere of the new show, “I like to cut wood.  Tonight, we’re going to a place where the trees are primarily Douglas firs.  Douglas firs are a beautiful tree, and if we’re very quiet we can hear the wind rustling the needles as we move through the forest, getting closer and closer, and now we’re here.”  Shit, I can relate to that even as a camper. Why don’t you join me by the fire and we’ll talk of things many refuse to try and understand.

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Twin Peaks.  And so it was.  It was where I always wanted to be.  Where I felt at home.  Pure nostalgia. With the girls–some of whom were ruinously attractive.  With some of the guys–Special Agent Dale Cooper may as well be my ENTIRE idea of the Ultimate Hero.  With the oddwins of the town like The Log Lady and Pete Martell and Mike, the One-Armed Man.  With the dwarves and the giants and the demons and the spirits.  It all just felt…like home.  Where my sensibilities would never be questioned.  Just like a Star Trek convention would be for a Trekkie (or Trekker) or, like, wherever these Game of Thrones junkies go to hang out, wearing pelts and preparing recipes from their Game of Thrones cookbook (I have never seen “GoT” but I hope to get into it eventually…?)

I did attend a very special Twin Peaks Tree People event with my friend Kyle back in the early 90’s, where we got to cocktail with cast members and learn a bit more about planting “the seeds of change.”  It was also at that party that I got to hang out with Mark Hamill for about 45 minutes.  We had both performed the role John Merrick, the Elephant Man onstage and were comparing the way we disfigured ourselves without the use of prosthetics, unlike in Lynch’s wrenching 1980 cinematic tearjerker, The Elephant Manstarring Anthony Hopkins and John Hurt.

I suppose the bottom line is…Twin Peaks has always sorta brought out the geek in me.  It’s my comic books, my video games, my action figures.  Y’know, GEEK shit. MY geek moment.  Like, if I was ever to go to a convention, it would either be a Twin Peaks gathering…or, I dunno, maybe Monster-Mania Con

Even after I moved back to L.A., Twin Peaks continued to inspire me to create my own worlds in my head. I mean, why else do I STILL have THESE after 25 years…???

Koch and Twin Peaks Books

Now little did I know my RETURN to Twin Peaks would pack such a…well, frankly… EMOTIONAL punch.  For starters, it’s CRAZY to see everybody in the cast 25 years older.  Especially the ones who are crushingly no longer with us, like Miguel Ferrer (Albert) and Catherine Coulson (The Log Lady.)  It also wows me to no end that Laura Palmer told Cooper in the Black Lodge that she would INDEED be seeing him again in 25 years.  Was that planned all along??  And don’t get me started on the countless cool guest stars and musical acts and returning oddball characters like Harry Dean Stanton’s Fat Trout trailer park landlord, Carl Rodd.

Seriously, when Showtime announced David Lynch and Mark Frost were returning to Twin Peaks for a limited series event, the first thing that popped in my head was, “Oh, Jesus, I hope I don’t DIE before this happens!”

So in preparation for The Return, Nichole and I went through all of seasons 1 and 2 as well as 1992’s Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me, all of which we were still trying to get through even after The Return had commenced.  Which is nuts because now that I was reminded of Cooper’s fate – that he went into the Black Lodge 25 years ago to rescue Annie Blackburn, the waitress and eventual winner of the Miss Twin Peaks pageant, and got STUCK in there while ANOTHER Cooper, the evil incarnation of himself, managed to escape back out into the real world to do terrible harm to many – it’s absolutely HEARTBREAKING. Because now BOTH Coopers are out in the world, and every week a whole new, nail-biting hour ignites…and I sit there, tied up in knots, wondering what the hell is going to happen when the two finally come face to face. Or maybe they won’t.  Or maybe–whoa, wait just a cotton-pickin’ minute, is that…is that REALLY Laura Dern as Diane??? GENIUS CASTING, DL!!! All your muses, present here…

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Heartbreaking, too, because Special Agent Dale sacrificed 25 years of his life to save the woman he loved from the surreal horrors of the Black Lodge.  And now I think of all the OTHER lives he could have saved during that time. All the OTHER good deeds…and even Blue Rose cases he could have solved.  But no. No, our man Coop was trapped in a red-curtained purgatory…avoiding scary, sludge-y coffee and witnessing The Evolution of the Arm.  But I wasn’t thinking that when I first saw the series finale 25 years ago.  All I thought was, “whoa, cool, that was SO trippy and weird and now Coop is Bob, too, awesome!”  I had no idea the emotional impact Cooper’s entrapment (and eventual mind erase) would have on me.  And now that Coop’s out these days, barely functioning in the real world, living in the fleshy guise of some Las Vegas insurance agent clown named Dougie Jones, it’s even MORE sad what happened to him. Although you could gather that he is ever-so-slowly returning to himself.  And it’s taking a WHILE, Coop’s comeback, believe me.  But I’m not complaining.  I am ALL IN on this journey each and every week, sweating gusto, verve, exhilaration through my PORES.  And I am geeking out just as much now as I was 25 years ago. Lynch is SO into this dual universe/doppelgänger deal, too, look at all his films, it’s WILD.

When my most favorite filmmaker of all, Stanley Kubrick, passed away in 1999, I didn’t think anyone could fill the void of his loss.  Now I think David Lynch is doing a fine job of that.  Or at least carrying the fire.  So much so, that…sometimes…it feels like the two have been merging INTO one another lately.  Especially on Twin Peaks: The Return.  It’s THAT special.  

Have I mentioned I’m inspired?  

Art LIVES, baby.

Gotta light…?

WINE PAIRING: Well, well, well…look who’s making their OWN wine now…

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(Cue Angelo Badalamenti score!)  


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