Answers in a World of Blue

Just days before her death, Laura Palmer (Sheryl Lee) stepped inside the Twin Peaks watering hole, The Roadhouse. Immediately, viewers of Fire Walk With Me were swept up in the ethereal vocals of the bar’s staple singer, Julee Cruise, as she sang about questions in a world of blue.

Questions.

In relation to Twin Peaks, questions can be compared to the mythological hydra. For every answer that viewers were given, two more questions grew in its place. The continuous barrage of questions, mysteries, and secrets that swirled amongst the colorful (and oftentimes odd) cast of characters was what kept viewers tuned in each week.

And then, along came Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me, the prequel film that chronicled the murder investigation of Teresa Banks (Pamela Gidley) and the events leading up to Laura Palmer’s demise. Originally compiling over five hours of footage, David Lynch was faced with the task of trimming it down to roughly two hours and fifteen minutes. The celluloid that ended up on the editing room floor not only included further exploration of newly established characters like Teresa Banks, Chet Desmond (Chris Isaak), and Philip Jeffries (David Bowie), it also featured the only scenes with Twin Peaks alumni Josie Packard (Joan Chen), Dr. Lawrence Jacoby (Russ Tamblyn), Nadine Hurley (Wendy Robie), and others.

Questions.

When would the studio and Mr. Lynch share these highly coveted scenes with fans?

Little did we know, it would be over twenty years before this question would be answered. This year’s Blu-ray release, on July 29th, of Twin Peaks: The Entire Mystery  included not only the entire series and the Fire Walk With Me prequel, it also delivered over 90 minutes of deleted scenes from the film.

Presented in chronological order to act as a perfect companion piece to Fire Walk With Me, the newly remastered footage (appropriately labeled as The Missing Pieces) begins with further exploration of the FBI’s investigation into the murder of Teresa Banks. The scenes with Irene (Sandra Kinder) and Jack (C.H. Evans) at Hap’s Diner are fleshed out with some additional dialog and we are also treated to the infamous scene where Special Agent Chet Desmond (Chris Isaak) gets into fisticuffs with Sheriff Cable (Gary Bullock) over relocating Teresa’s body to Portland.

Those familiar with the film know that Desmond disappears shortly after securing Teresa’s remains. The focus then briefly shifts to the FBI offices in Philadelphia where, in a “missing piece”, we see Dale Cooper (Kyle MacLachlan) playfully interacting with Diane for the first time (although she is offscreen and inaudible). Quirky scenes like this, while regularly present in the series, were mostly absent from the film, allowing for a continuous dark and foreboding tone.

Following an additional scene where Cooper visits with Sam Stanley (Kiefer Sutherland) to gather information about Desmond’s disappearance, viewers are finally treated to some further exploration of the mysterious Philip Jeffries (David Bowie). While no further information is given as to who Judy is (although rumors had already been present that, had the series continued, she would’ve turned out to be an identical twin to Josie Packard), “missing pieces” showing Jeffries checking into his hotel in Buenos Aires are present along with additional footage of his inexplicable reappearance in Gordon Cole’s (David Lynch) office where he discusses his time with the inhabitants of the Black Lodge with his colleagues.

The real “meat and potatoes” (or “coffee and cherry pie”, if you will) of The Missing Pieces is, inarguably, everything that builds on Laura Palmer and the pre-established characters and situations within the town Twin Peaks.

There are several scenes that show Laura and her family doing things that normal families do… laugh, bicker, etc. A moment that ties in nicely with the pilot episode sees Leland (Ray Wise) teaching Laura and Sarah (Grace Zabriskie) how to introduce themselves in Norwegian. Fans will remember that a large Norwegian investment group was present at the Great Northern Hotel regarding the Benjamin Horne’s Ghostwood project.

One of the major problems that many “Peaks Freaks” had with Fire Walk With Me was the absence of memorable characters that were prominently featured in the television series. Save for the scenes with the Horne family (which were allegedly never filmed for various reasons), most of the footage that featured these folks has been restored. Yes, many of these scenes do little to move the narrative of the film forward. However, they are almost integral in helping to establish a connection between the film and the rest of the Twin Peaks mythos.

Josie Packard (Joan Chen) and Pete Martell (Jack Nance) deal with an irate Dell Mibbler (Ed Wright) over the size of some lumber that he had ordered while, back at the RR Diner, Ed (Everett McGill) and Nadine Hurley (Wendy Robie) pay a brief visit to Norma Jennings (Peggy Lipton).

In Fire Walk With Me, there’s a moment where Laura first makes the connection between her father and BOB. She then flees to her best friend, Donna Hayward’s (Moira Kelly) house where The Missing Pieces shares some wonderful interaction between Laura and Donna’s parents Will (Warren Frost) and Eileen (Mary Jo Deschanel). The scene culminates with Leland calling the Hayward house, looking for his daughter. As a reluctant Laura leaves, the expressions on the faces of Will and Eileen echo back to accusations at Laura’s funeral that everyone in the town knew she was in trouble.

In addition to an extended scene where Leo Johnson (Eric Da Re) is ragging on his wife, Shelly (Mädchen Amick) about cleaning the house, the footage of Laura and Donna’s night on the town with Jacques Renault’s (Walter Olkewicz) trucker friends is also extended. Before The Missing Pieces, it was never explicitly clear that the group travels across the Canadian border to meet up with Jacques and Ronette Pulaski (Phoebe Augustine) at the Pink Room.

A series of flashbacks to Leland Palmer’s interactions with Teresa Banks are also shown… from first date to blackmail. It is here that a viable motive for her murder is shown.

Additional “missing pieces” tie directly into the first season of Twin Peaks. A meeting at the police station between Sheriff Truman (Michael Ontkean), Andy Brennan (Harry Goaz), and Deputy Hawk (Michael Horse) takes place to discuss the drug trafficking of Jacques’ brother, the moment when Bobby Briggs (Dana Ashbrook) gives Laura the $10,000 to stash in her safety deposit box, and a telephone therapy session between Laura and Dr. Jacoby (Russ Tamblyn) are among them.

Just prior to Laura meeting up with Leo, Jacques, and Ronette at the cabin, Lucy Moran (Kimmy Robertson) receives a telephone call from Josie Packard about a possible prowler on the property and Sheriff Truman is quick to respond. The scenes that follow in the film are enough to provide whiplash due to the light and fluffy nature of this moment at the police station.

It was known that Margaret, the Log Lady (Catherine Coulson), lived near the location where Laura and Ronette were assaulted and kidnapped. A powerful, albeit brief, “missing piece” shows the woman’s reaction to hearing the desperate cries for help from the girls as they are taken to the train car.

The final moments of The Missing Pieces are, perhaps, the closest things that fans will ever get to a continuation of the series.Following the events of the Miss Twin Peaks contest in season two, Annie Blackburn (Heather Graham) is released from the Black Lodge and warns the hospital staff that Cooper is still trapped there. While the staff tends to Annie, Cooper’s doppelgänger seems to have Sheriff Truman and Dr. Hayward fooled at the Great Northern Hotel.

The style of Fire Walk With Me remains truly polarizing among fans. It is inarguably a David Lynch film but lacks the quirky weirdness of the television series. In the end, the movie chronicles the last days of a troubled girl who was plagued with drug addiction and abuse. Perhaps the best way to watch Fire Walk With Me is to imagine that you are witnessing the events through her eyes… and these events would be nothing short of surreal, nonsensical, and morbid.

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Follow Shaun N. on Twitter at @datura1979.

Shaun N.'s picture
on August 15, 2014

A Marvel fanboy whose super powers include throwing side-eye, drinking whiskey, and re-reading back issues of "Alpha Flight."

Twitter/Instagram/Snapchat: ThatShaun