25 years ago today, most of us found out who was responsible for Laura Palmer’s murder – and like explaining to your kid why the ginger-guy got into office this week, the answer didn’t come easy.
Still, kudos to the electric duo of Lynch & Frost for even believing that a sleepwalking sheepdog could be responsible for such atrocities.
I joke, you can Google yourself who the killer was if you like? With so many newbies about to experience “Twin Peaks” for the first time, thanks to Showtime’s renewal, it’s natural that they’re going to visit the original series beforehand – I’m not risking having my house tomatoed by a gang of angry, newly-pubescent emo types. Still scrubbing that door from Halloween. But I digress, spoil it if you want, don’t spoil it if you want to be treated to what was one of television’s greatest reveals.
Not only was the reveal of Laura Palmer’s killing thrilling, but it was also quite moving. The way Lynch & Frost crafted, er, that moment was frighteningly beautiful – never before has one been touched, scared, so genuinely affected by what would otherwise likely be a throwaway scene in any of the “Law & Order” shows. Points too to the person who played the killer – it’s no wonder, despite what’s come after, they’re still best known for that particular part. But again, explaining who Laura Palmer’s killer is requires more than a straightforward explanation; give us a notepad, map of Twin Peaks, a bible and a couple of episodes of The Cosby Show and I might be able to do it. But best to Google.
On November 10, 1990, episode 14 (“Lost Souls”) aired of the cult masterpiece on ABC. 17.2 million households in the United States, about 20 percent of a possible audience, tuned into find out the answer to ‘Who Killed Laura Palmer?’.
Mark Frost wrote the episode, David Lynch directed it. It was a real return to form – feels so wrong to say such things about a show that constantly captivated, granted, some episodes were better than others – for the quirky murder-mystery series, and critics who’d previously lost a little interest in the show were seemingly won back. “Even at its most strained and obtuse, [Twin Peaks] displays more imagination and effort than almost everything else in TV land”, Chicago Sun-Times critic Richard Roeper wrote in his review.
Though the show would only last thru the end of the season (until that 2017 surprise return!), the episode offered audiences a reason to return.
“It’s a promise of sorts that we’ve still got a reason to be with the show, and it sets us up for the middle portion of the this cycle”, Jamie S. Rich from DVD Talk said. “This good will is carried through episodes 15 and 16, as the killer is finally unmasked, and as the Log Lady tells us in her intro, shifts the queries from who to why.”
Some argued that “Twin Peaks” solved it’s mystery soon – and that’s the reason ABC decided to abort the show soon after the killer was revealed. But you might also remember that the same episode would be the last we’d see, let alone get a hint of a Cooper (Kyle MacLachlan) and Audrey (Sherilyn Fenn) romance. MacLachlan had the producers put an end to the on-screen romance, feeling it wasn’t right for the older Agent to be romancing an 18-year-old schoolgirl. While some stuck with the show, quite a few did tune out after this episode and they’re the two main reasons mentioned as to the ‘switching’.
For me, the reveal of the killer in episode 14 provided more juicy questions than it did answers, let alone reason to keep watching, for me and so, as any die-hard Moviehole fan knows, I stuck with it until the end (and will be there with it through the rebirth too) – when, let’s admit it, things got even weirder and funner. Clearly, there weren’t many of us who felt the same though at the time – “Twin Peaks” ranked #77 at the time the episode aired.
25 years later, “Lost Souls” still packs as much a punch as it did on the telly back in 1990.