Twin Peaks refresher: What you need to know before Sunday’s premiere


This Twin Peaks refresher contains everything you need to know about the Showtime reboot premiering this Sunday. And lots of spoilers.

It’s been 25 years since the original Twin Peaks aired on ABC, and our memories are a little fuzzy too. If you don’t have the time to rewatch the old series on Netflix, or if you’ve never seen it before, here’s a Twin Peaks refresher that offers everything you need to know.

Warning: this contains MAJOR spoilers for both seasons of the original

Twin Peaks

and it’s follow up movie,

Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me

. Stop reading now if you don’t want (literally) everything spoiled for you.


Major characters

Laura Palmer – The dead girl and the character around which the entire mystery works. She’s found dead in the pilot episode, and all the other characters are connected to her in some way. She is the seemingly perfect picture of an all-American girl-next door, but the investigation into her murder reveals a lot of dark secrets she wanted to keep hidden.

Special Agent Dale Cooper – The quirky and upbeat FBI agent assigned to this case. He’s a gifted investigator and probably has some supernatural abilities lurking around in his deductive skills. He really likes good coffee, especially when it’s accompanied by donuts.

Leland Palmer – Laura Palmer’s father and host for the possession of the evil demon BOB. He is central to the solution to Laura’s case.

Laura’s classmates: James, Donna, Audrey and Bobby. Bobby was Laura’s official boyfriend, but she was in a secret relationship with James. Donna was Laura’s best friend, but secretly lusted after James. Bobby was abusive and controlling and is probably the partial reason she became so heavily involved in the Twin Peaks drug trade. Audrey was merely an acquaintance to Laura, but her crush on Special Agent Cooper leads her to become involved in the solution of the murder. She thinks she’s trading help for his attention.

The central plot, the mystery, and its ultimate solution

In the pilot, Laura is found dead, washed up on the shore, wrapped in plastic – obviously murdered. Local law enforcement elicit the help of the FBI and Special Agent Cooper arrives in town. There are eight episodes of plot twists and turns, and several suspects are caught, then cleared.


In the first third of the second season, we learn that a demon has possessed Laura’s father, Leland. This demon, Bob, has been sexually abusing Laura for years, causing her heavy drug use, and is Laura’s true killer – all while inhabiting her father’s body.


The supernatural and magical realism

There’s really too many insane and unexplainable elements to this show, but I’ll run down the major points.

  • The Red Room – Special Agent Cooper solves Laura’s murder through solid detective work, but mostly because of his dreams featuring the Red Room. It’s a surreal and spooky place with black and white floors and red walls. There, Cooper encounters Laura and little people with strange accents. They offer him clues to help him solve the murder, which turn out to be pivotal evidence in the case’s resolution.


  • The demon Bob – He’s the killer. Apparently he can possess whomever he wants, and does just that. He takes over Josie’s body, transferring her soul into a dresser knob (yes, seriously). He also makes an appearance in the series finale, but more on that later.
  • The log lady – She’s an erstwhile medium, clairvoyant, and meant to serve as one of the main narrators. She also carries around a log.

The back half of season 2

After the resolution of Laura’s murder in the early episodes of season 2, Twin Peaks went off the rails a bit. There were a lot of subplots that ground the series’ momentum down, and muddied the already convoluted waters of the eccentric show.

James leaves town, becomes involved with a femme fatale that’s in love with her brother, and yes, it’s as weird as it sounds. But not as weird as it gets. One of the tertiary characters, Nadine, loses her mind, regresses to her teenage years and begins to date a high school football player.


The final episode

The most important thing to come out of the troubled second season, is Cooper’s maybe-possession. In the final moments of the series, it’s revealed that Cooper has been possessed by the demon Bob. He sees Bob’s image in the mirror directly before he bashes his head into the glass. We’re left questioning where the “real” Cooper is, and how (or if) he’ll ever surface again. Knowing what we know about David Lynch, anything is possible at this point.

Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me

This is the David Lynch-directed TV movie that aired a year after the series finale. Technically it’s a prequel to the series, detailing the days leading up to Laura’s murder. It features Chris Isaak and Kiefer Sutherland as the FBI agents investigating a murder that happened a year prior to Laura’s murder.


Apparently, you need to watch this Twin Peaks installment to understand the reboot. David Lynch himself said as much, remarking, “Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me  is very important to understanding what’s coming May 21.″

Related Story: David Lynch talks Twin Peaks: Confessions, revelations and inspirations

We’ll be dishing on all things Twin Peaks. Check back here every Monday morning to get our thoughts about the new Showtime reboot.