This is an expanded and re-structured version of an article that originally appeared in newspapers
[syndicated over the Knight-Ridder wire] Sunday, September 30, 1990, in advance of
the first episode of the second season.)
"I just know I'm gonna get lost in those woods again tonight.''
-- Laura Palmer, in a tape to her
psychiatrist made the day of her death
"Entering the town of Twin Peaks --
five miles south of the Canadian border, 12 miles west of the state line,'' says
FBI Special Agent Dale Cooper (Kyle MacLachlan), dictating into his handy tape recorder as
he speeds down a highway lined with Douglas Firs.
Twin Peaks, the surreal serial
thriller series that begins its second season tonight [Sunday, September 30, 1990], can't
be pinned down with those geographical coordinates alone, however. When Agent Cooper
enters Twin Peaks, he crosses over another state line that won't be found on any map. It's
a line that (to paraphrase Rod Serling) marks the boundary between states of mind -- a
dark and demented territory that is the creation of David Lynch and his collaborator, Mark
Frost, who conceived, co-wrote and co-executive produced the TV phenomenon known as Twin
There are several ways, figuratively
speaking, to get into Twin Peaks. The most obvious, of course, is to tune your television
set to an ABC affiliate station Saturday nights at 10 p.m. this fall. There, you'll find
yourself venturing into some strangely familiar territory -- especially if you've already
visited other Lynchscapes, such as Eraserhead or Blue Velvet.
But Twin Peaks is also a place -- or a
bunch of places -- in Washington state that you can actually drive to. Just take
Interstate 90 east of Seattle for about half an hour until you get to the area around
Snoqualmie Falls, seen in each week's opening credits, and you'll find some of the spots
where series exteriors and some interiors were shot in February and March of 1989.
Like most movie settings, the mythical town
of Twin Peaks is a composite, made up primarily of locales in the small mountain burghs of
Snoqualmie, North Bend and Fall City -- all of which are clustered within minutes of one
another on highways 202 and 203. (Studio shots were done in Van Nuys, California.) Ask the
desk sargeant in Snoqualmie where they shot Twin Peaks around here and he'll say,
"Where didn't they shoot `Twin Peaks around here?''
"The germ of Twin Peaks,''
co-creator Mark Frost told the Seattle Weekly last spring, "came out of David (Lynch)
and I just talking about a town, a city in the Northwest full of mysteries, secret
relationships, a sort of film noir undertone to it all that could sustain the mood we wanted from
one episode to the next.
"That led to the idea of starting with
the discovery of a body, a mysterious crime which would get the show off the ground, serve
as a spinal column for the series. That in turn led us to topography, a map of the town,
and that gave way to a history of the town that ended up going back over a hundred years.
And that suggested what kind of people lived there now and their interrelations, the way
their pasts are connected, with the town's and each other's.''
And yet, Twin Peaks (and Twin Peaks)
cannot be satisfactorily explored with just a car and a road map. To really get a feel for
the place and uncover its hidden secrets, you need a VCR. [The series is also available in
VHS and LaserDisc collections.] Twin Peaks was created for armchair sleuths with
remote controls instead of magnifying glasses. It is one of the few destinations on
American TV dials that demands active analytical involvement from the tourists who look in
every week -- though it's not for the literal- or linear-minded.
The most rewarding way to watch Twin
Peaks is to look at it the way its creators did: not as a linear story headed toward
a simple resolution (Who killed Laura Palmer?), but as a place with its own laws and
customs, perhaps only tangentially related to the world as we know it. Twin Peaks
offers the viewer a woodsy labyrinth in which you are invited to get lost, stumbling over
clues in the dark and getting mired in the underbrush -- and where, by the makers' design, you may not
be able to see the forest for the trees.
That in mind, here is a free-associative
visitor's guide to some of the significant physical, geographical and thematic landmarks
in the topography of Twin Peaks...
right this way...
Ed's Gas Farm