WARNING THE FOLLOWING REVEALS PLOT DETAILS ABOUT THE SECOND SEASON OF TWIN PEAKS. READ WITH CAUTION.
While the popular belief is that the second season of Twin Peaks is where the show really started to go downhill, I would personally disagree with this statement. To a certain degree. While the later episodes are indeed more hit and miss compared to the first season, I think that the first nine episodes are some of the finest in the show’s admittedly sparse canon. I think that some of the problems with the narrative can be connected to David Lynch and Mark Frost (the series creators and executive producers) being pressured to reveal Laura Palmer’s killer in the middle of the series due to declining ratings. Frost and Lynch had intended for Laura’s killer to not be revealed until the very last episode of the show. It was meant to be slowly phased out as the show went on, but still always lingering in the background. They had wanted it to be like Richard Kimble’s search for the one armed man in the classic Fugitive series. That being said, we get some really good material out of the reveal early on in the series. The scene were Leland dies after BOB exits his body is among one of the most powerful moments in the show (in my humble opinion). However, it is after Leland’s funeral that the show starts to decline for me. It all starts right at the beginning of episode 11, Masked Ball when James Hurley is making his “dramatic” exit from Twin Peaks. If this was the last we saw of James, I would be fine with it (as cringe worthy as this scene is, him riding around like a terminator knock off) but no, we follow this dumb story line of him fixing up a car for some lady who turns out to be using him in some sort of scheme. We also get Ben Horne doing a Civil War reenactment where the south wins. These scenes get more lengthy and harder to sit through each episode. However later in the series around episode 17 or 18 the quality starts to pick up again as Annie is introduced and the Windom Earle storyline starts getting pretty heated. Earle is one of those more comedic villains, and works as a good contrast to Coop. He works as an eccentric as well, but his motives are more twisted and he is way more insane. This I feel works with a theme of the series with opposites (the giant and the dwarf, black lodge and white lodge, etc). We also get a sort of redemption for Leo, when he lets Major Briggs escape. But his fate (as well as many other characters) is left hanging. Speaking of Major Briggs, he also gets some really cool development in this season, as we get to see another layer to his personality when we learn more about his work with Project Blue Book. He’s a badass, and probably one of my favorite characters.
The series ends with Beyond Life and Death. This episode is what I would call a worthy conclusion to the series, even though it leaves a lot hanging. But maybe that’s why I think it’s worthy. It’s fun even when the show is finished to have stuff to speculate about. In conclusion I would say that season 2 of Twin Peaks does have it’s problems. It starts with some of the series’s finest episodes, however they almost ruined it there in the middle. But luckily this only lasted about 5 episodes and they ended the series on a high. Next year we should hopefully get answers to some of these questions left hanging(which will be great) and hopefully even more mysteries to speculate about when the series returns for it’s long awaited third season.