I’m taking my time immersing myself in the new batch of Twin Peaks episodes, because I still can’t believe they really, truly exist and aren’t just some white horse figment of my imagination. So far I’ve watched the first two installments, so this isn’t a real review of the revival — for that, check out Dustin’s write-up here.
Let’s face it — the wait for the return of Twin Peaks was excruciating. After decades of hearing critics wax philosophical about how every good, bad, and mediocre television show owes its soul to David Lynch, Showtime announced they would bring the series back to life in 2014. And since then we’ve waited in anticipation for every scrap of new information about what the new third season would look like. Last year we got what was probably the biggest piece of that elusive cherry pie: the full 217-member cast list, revealing which familiar faces would be returning (oh Ray Wise, I just can’t quit you) and who would be joining the world of Twin Peaks for the first time. Other than that, we were given barely a hint of footage or plot until the show finally launched last Sunday.
We’ve already seen newbies like Ashley Judd, Matthew Lillard, Jennifer Jason Leigh, and apparently (though I haven’t gotten there yet!) even Michael Cera in these first four episodes. We still don’t know how people like Jim Belushi (?) or Eddie Vedder (??) will fit in. And Diane, I’m holding in my heart the hope that you’ll turn out to be Laura Dern. So imagine my surprise when I realized that the best new character in the Twin Peaks revival so far isn’t played by any of those much-hyped new cast members.
The best new character is an arm that looks like a tree with a talking bald testicle on top.
Ok, let’s rewind. MIKE, the one-armed man, hails back to the original series. He is another spirit like BOB who can inhabit host bodies (in his case a traveling shoe salesman). He repented his evil ways by cutting off the arm that had a “Fire Walk With Me” tattoo on it, and has tried to find and stop BOB ever since. It was hinted or explained (hard to tell in the Black Lodge) that the so-called “Man From Another Place” from the original series was Mike’s missing arm. So technically the arm was always a part of the show, but the actor who played it (Michael J. Anderson) did not return for the revival.
In these new episodes we see that MIKE is in the Black Lodge with Agent Cooper after all these years, and he leads Coop to talk to his arm. Which manifests itself this time around as a talking testicle tree because, you know, Black Lodge and stuff.
If all of this sounds a little nuts, bear with me, because I think the arm-tree also has an evil arm-tree doppelgänger in the Black Lodge because it totally spooked Coop when he was looking out at his own evil doppelgänger on the highway. Either that or the tree is moody.
What I’m saying is that I’m already more invested in the story of MIKE’s arm than I am about almost anything else I’ve seen in the first two episodes. It might be my personal “who killed Laura Palmer” hook. And in the next 16 episodes, I hope its little testicle-mouth slurps on some creamed corn, because I just really need something good and pure in my life.