The 10 Totally Singular Moments of Twin Peaks: The Return Before the Finale

Before this Sunday’s double-episode finale on Showtime, we recap the most memorable moments of the Twin Peaks revival.

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Suzanne Tenner

On Sunday night, the finale double-episode of Twin Peaks will air on Showtime—most likely marking the very last time Agent Dale Cooper and co. will grace our TV screens. (Maybe.) Nevertheless, Twin Peaks: The Return was both a reunion and proof that, 25 years later, David Lynch is still ahead of the TV curve. No one makes television quite like this. And to celebrate a truly, wonderfully strange revival season full of old favorites, new weirdos, and more unexplained murders, we went back through the most singular moments from the past 16 episodes. There were a lot; here are 10 of our favorites, in no particular order. Many spoilers ahead.

1. When We Met “The Experiment”

Ben Rosenfield and Madeline Zima in a still from Twin Peaks. Photo: Suzanne Tenner/SHOWTIME

Suzanne Tenner

The beginning of the season treated us to the spooky new storyline of a New York City loft space where a guy had a gig looking at a mysterious glass box. Meanwhile, his crush would often turn up with coffee. During the four-episode dump at the beginning of the season, as the pair made out in the room, something finally appeared in the box… and subsequently attacked and ate their faces. (The FBI would eventually receive grisly photos of the mutilated.) In a later episode, when Cooper finally leaves the Black Lodge / Red Room, and its associated regions, he passes through this same portal before ending up in Dougie Jones’s life in Vegas.

2. When We Found Out Bobby and Shelley Had a Kid:

Amanda Seyfried and Mädchen Amick in a still from Twin Peaks. Photo: Suzanne Tenner/SHOWTIME

Suzanne Tenner

This season was heavy on fan porn, and rewarded those who have obsessed over the series—namely, millennial offspring like Becky Burnett, formerly Briggs, played by Amanda Seyfried. Supernatural occurrences are passed down through the ages around here. In that vein, the children of Twin Peaks inherit their parents’ ghosts. Becky picks the wrong man, her drugged-out husband, Steven, in an echo of both women his father was involved with, Shelley and Laura Palmer. Seyfried gave a solid performance as the new troubled local anti-heroine.

3. When We Got Diane (and her outfits):

Laura Dern in a still from Twin Peaks. Photo: Suzanne Tenner/SHOWTIME

Suzanne Tenner

Even though we just found out that Diane was not human—she is an imposter created by Bob, called a “Tulpa”—she was one of the season’s best new characters. (Though her existence as Cooper’s assistant has long been integral to the series; we just never saw her before.) Diane, real or not, was the perfect 2017 update to Lynch’s hard-boiled-cop kitsch characters, in the form a fabulously dressed, bob-sporting operative with deadly secret. Thank you, Laura Dern. Please be in all the TV.

4. When Dreams of Cherry Pie Saved Cooper

Robert Knepper and Jim Belushi in a still from Twin Peaks. Photo: Suzanne Tenner/SHOWTIME

Suzanne Tenner

Clownish Vegas casino owners the Mitchum Brothers drive Cooper (as Dougie Jones) out into the desert to kill him—without knowing he has their newly printed insurance check. Cooper/Dougie, however, has a box for them, and right before the deed, Bradley Mitchum recalls a dream in which Dougie had a box. If it holds the thing he saw in his dream, they can’t kill him. It means he’s not their enemy… if he has a cherry pie. And guess what? It is a cherry pie. They frisk him and find a $30 million check. Murder, millions, camp, and cherry pie—with a side of nostalgia.

5. When Nadine Let Ed Go

Everett McGill and Wendy Robie in a still from Twin Peaks. Photo: Suzanne Tenner/SHOWTIME

Suzanne Tenner

Nadine and Ed finally appeared in the same scene again and gave fans the payoff they’d been wanting for more than 25 years. As fans will recall, Nadine and Ed always had a fraught relationship—but Nadine formally acknowledged how she kept Ed and Norma apart, and that she knew Ed only stayed with her out of guilt. Mere moments later, Ed is asking Norma to marry him. There’s at least one happy ending.

6. When Audrey Horne Returned

Sherilyn Fenn in a still from Twin Peaks. Photo: Suzanne Tenner/SHOWTIME

Suzanne Tenner

Audrey Horne, original teenage vamp of Twin Peaks, returns as an unhappily, contractually married middle-aged adult, played again by Sherilyn Fenn. Fenn didn’t appear in Fire Walk With Me, so her appearance on the new season was noteworthy. And the Hornes play heavily into the plot of this season, given Richard Horne is her son (and don’t forget Bob/Cooper called him “my son” as well). Like Becky Burnett, Richard was warped by the image of his parent’s generation. But as we learned in the last episode, everything we’ve seen of Audrey so far might just be a dream. So we may have yet to meet the real Audrey.

7. When Sarah Palmer Ate a Face

Grace Zabriskie in a still from Twin Peaks. Photo: Suzanne Tenner/SHOWTIME

Suzanne Tenner

The season has closely followed what happened to Sarah Palmer, mother of Laura Palmer, who has long had a history of psychic disturbances. But Sarah showed herself to be something else entirely. At a bar, she gets accosted by a man and responds, “I’ll eat you.” She pulls her face off and shows behind her flesh is black-and-white screen with the Experiment lurking across it. (You’ll recall that’s almost exactly what Laura did when Cooper saw her again in the Red Room at the very beginning of the season.) Then Sarah puts her face back on and attacks the man, gauging out his throat—just like the Experiment, and the Woodsmen, have in the past. We still don’t know who or what Sarah Palmer is and when she got this way. The finale may fill in the blanks.

8. When David Bowie Came Back

New Line Cinema.

We’ve been treated to archival footage of the late David Bowie throughout the season. His character, Agent Philip Jeffries, reappeared in Fire Walk With Me after having disappeared for years. More importantly, much of what he said proved prescient for the current series—he spoke of the convenience store, and questioned Cooper’s identity. One of the best flashbacks though came when Gordon recalled a dream he had about Cooper that featured Monica Belluci. In the dream, Monica told him: “We are like the dreamer who dreams and then lives inside the dream… But who is the dreamer?” She indicated for Gordon to look back behind him. He saw himself from long ago, listening to Cooper telling him about a dream he had. Which was the day Jeffries appeared and asked about Cooper. Though Bowie never filmed scenes for the show before his death, his character reappears in the form of a machinated Jeffries, at the Dutchman’s, a realm above the convenience store.

9. When Cooper Woke Up

Kyle MacLachlan and Naomi Watts in a still from Twin Peaks. Photo: Suzanne Tenner/SHOWTIME

Suzanne Tenner

The moment we all waited for all season finally happened last week. After his long journey out of the Black Lodge and through other dimensions and/or worlds, Cooper arrived in place of Dougie Jones, in Las Vegas, but with his brain completely fried. Which was a shame because it’s more fun to watch Cooper be Cooper. It took an electrocution to snap him out of it. For the finale, we’ll get to see what became of him. By the looks of episode 16, he’s still got it.

10. When David Lynch Exploded Everything

Carel Struycken and Joy Nash in a still from Twin Peaks. Photo: Suzanne Tenner/SHOWTIME

Suzanne Tenner

The eighth episode of the revival season will likely go down as the definitive moment of the whole series. David Lynch made what is essentially a short film, mostly shot in black and white, that both stands on its own while also explaining nearly all the mythology behind Twin Peaks’s universe. Too much crazy stuff happens: just watch it again. And again. Nine Inch Nails even performs mid-way through. Opening with the Trinity nuclear testing, the episode is a meditation on destruction; out of the explosion we get Bob, the Woodsmen, otherworldly violence. Destruction births more destruction—and these events are inherited through generations and evolve. That’s Twin Peaks for you.

A Field Guide to Recognizing Your Favorite Twin Peaks Actors Now, 26 Years Later

Though Kyle MacLachlan has since starred in other cult series, even when he was Charlotte’s impotent husband on Sex and the City and a murderer on Desperate Housewives, he’ll always be known as Special Agent Dale Cooper, a man never too far away from a slice of cherry pie or cup of strong, black joe. (No word yet on whether Diane will be returning, too.)

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Death be damned, Laura Palmer is coming back with a bang by starring in all 18 episodes of the new series—that is, unless Sheryl Lee, whose first post-Peaks role was Salome opposite Al Pacino, and who has since showed up in Winter’s Bone and Woody Allen’s Café Society, is simply reprising her role as Laura’s suspiciously identical cousin, Maddy.

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Dana Ashbrook has kept up acting with a steady roster of smaller films, including 2012’s The Agression Scale with Ray Wise, aka Leland Palmer, and more than a few appearances on Dawson’s Creek, presumably making him more than up to the job in reprising his role as the annoying ultimate bad boy Bobby Briggs—even now that his hair’s gone gray.

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Though she’s now a long way from a schoolgirl, the ever flirtatious Audrey Horne may have a chance at getting together with Coop after all, especially since actress Sherilyn Fenn has been keeping up her acting chops on shows like Gilmore Girls and Shameless (not to mention appearing on the cover of Playboy in the ’90s).

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At 70, Peggy Lipton scarcely seems to have aged since she last played Norma Jennings, the owner of the Double R Diner, though she has since raised another actress, her daughter Rashida Jones.

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Richard Beymer‘s eyes seem only bluer than ever since the now 79-year-old actor last turned up as Benjamin Horne, Audrey’s father and the owner of the Great Northern Hotel (not to mention an appearance in West Side Story, which helped to earn him a Golden Globe for New Star of the Year that he shared with Warren Beatty). Not that viewers have been able to appreciate them: Twin Peaks is only Beymer’s fourth on-screen appearance so far in the 2000s.

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From blue streaks to twin top knots, Kimmy Robertson seems to have as much appreciation for an out-there hairdo as Lucy Moran, her curly-haired secretary in the sheriff’s office. Robertson has since lent her high-pitched voice to shows like Batman and The Simpsons, plus appeared onscreen on an episode of Drake & Josh—all good practice for appearing on all 18 episodes this season.

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Like Leland Palmer, Laura’s potentially murderous father, actor Ray Wise has since gone gray, a new look he’s shown off in shows like Mad Men, Fresh Off the Boat, Gilmore Girls, 24, and How I Met Your Mother. That’s range.

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Another face who’ll be showing up in the full series, Mädchen Amick has lately turned up on Riverdale, plus a host of cult shows like Mad Men, Gossip Girl, ER, Gilmore Girls, and Dawson’s Creek. Fortunately for her character, the waitress Shelley Johnson, though, her abusive husband Leo won’t be back.

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Since playing Deputy Hawk, one of the most reasoned voices in the sheriff’s office, Michael Horse has gone on to not only appear in shows like Malcolm in the Middle, but pick up a full-on artistic career as a jeweler and painter.

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Though Michael Ontkean has maintained his curly head of locks since starring as Sheriff Harry S. Truman, the actor, who last showed up in The Descendants in 2011, has decided to leave Coop hanging and won’t be returning to Twin Peaks.

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Lara Flynn Boyle won’t be returning to this season but she’ll always live on as Donna Hayward, Laura’s best friend of sorts who was never short on spectacular sweaters.

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Russ Tamblyn‘s daughter Amber has since gone on to become an actor and even director herself, but Tamblyn has kept up an acting career of his own since playing the ever eccentrically-outfitted psychiatrist Dr. Lawrence Jacoby, recently picking up roles in films like Django Unchained.

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Like the actor who plays fellow bad boy Bobby Briggs, James Marshall, aka James Hurley, Big Ed’s nephew who can’t get enough of riding his bike, has also gone gray, but still showed up on-screen with a few films and an appearance on CSI.

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Like her on-screen daughter, Laura, the grief-stricken Sarah Palmer will be returning for all 18 episodes, although actor Grace Zabriskie has turned up in shows like Charmed and Big Love.

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Fittingly, like her beau Sheriff Harry S. Truman, sawmill owner Josie Packard won’t be returning to the series—like fellow mill worker Piper Laurie, aka Catherine Martell, David Lynch apparently never asked her back. But actor Joan Chen has been looking young as ever lately in shows like Netflix’s Marco Polo.

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Read all our our Twin Peaks coverage, including recaps and news.

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