Welcome to Twin Peaks: An Interview with a First Time Viewer, Part 2

For our First Time Lynch Series, I Interviewed my friend, J. Schmidt about the show. He knew little to nothing, I spoiled nothing and he had a thoroughly interesting time. Below you’ll find the transcript of the interview we conducted on Twin Peaks Season 2 Episode 7 through Season 2 Finale.

Original Interview recorded October 2017

EGM: Okay so first of all are there any opening statements you would like to make?

J. Schmidt: I just don’t want to think anymore. I had all these theories about the show all of these theories about Lynch’s artistic view on the show and what he was trying to portray and I was thinking that I’d get some validation from the finale about what I was thinking but then I got a big middle finger, so I don’t really know what I’m thinking anymore [laughs]

EGM: Okay!  So coming off your Season 2 finale how do you feel about your previous answers generally? the things that we talked about do you feel like you were really really off base or were you saying led to a particular understanding? Do you feel duped?

J. Schmidt: I don’t feel duped.  From where I was at with Season 2 when we talked last I felt like I was kind of on point with the crime part of it and I felt like I was following that correctly and could predict what was going on there in particular. But I feel like I was super off  about how the show would progress after her [Laura’s] case was solved. yeah I had no idea I feel like I was totally off but that’s okay to feel like as the show went on. I was thinking ” Nothing went how I thought it would go” which isn’t bad.It just developed differently than I thought it would.

EGM: I have a little background information for you. The initial intention of Frost and Lynch was to not reveal the killer of Laura Palmer at all.  the network forced them into the reveal before the season was over. It is a fact that this hurt the back half of the season for a variety of reasons.First, do you think this compromised the integrity of season one and the back half of Season 2 at all?

J. Schmidt: Yeah, making them close in on the killer and connect dots a lot sooner than I think the show would have done naturally. Obviously, if they didn’t want to reveal the killer, the whole Season 2 would have been a lot of dead ends and thinking that they are connecting. And using logic to solve this case and then never actually solving it. So, having to reveal it, especially as soon as they did in episode 7 and 8 they really had to rush that whole process. They couldn’t even show the full evil of Bob and the Killer – Leland – or even show the full extent of the evil if they were going to reveal the killer because they had to rush it.

EGM: So you thought it felt rushed?

J. Schmidt: Oh yeah.

EGM: Do you think that the show could have been sustained without ever revealing the killer?

J. Schmidt: No no. It would’ve been a three season show. In that time period they would have had to do something pretty extravagant to go on without revealing the killer because of how, not bad because of how uncompelling some of the side plots are where you’re kind of watching and think “I wish this was the normal plot or one of the better side plots” You know that you can’t have three seasons of James Hurley and his crap. You can’t have that. It would not have been a show that I think would have lasted long anyways but I think good shows don’t have to last long.

EGM: Agreed on that.

J. Schmidt: Yeah, I would rather I would rather have a really strong three,four, or five season show than a nine season drama where the writers have to constantly be compromising the arc to have a show that goes so long.

EGM: Definitely. Let’s talk a little bit about BOB and the evil. Albert suggests that Bob is “the evil that men do” and Cooper asks Harry and the audience which is more difficult to believe: that a supernatural demonic entity killed and raped Laura or that her father did. What do you believe of BOB?

J. Schmidt: I believe that BOB – his entity -basically grabs on to the evil that’s inside of every man. Because I personally believe that, as humans, there is some evil in all. Some people have it more on their sleeve, and for some people it’s super down deep but if I firmly believe that every human being has the ability to do something evil and I think that what Bob does. What his presence in someone does is brings out that evil. And I think that with Bob in control of someone, it felt like, watching the show, that was basically that thing nudging you to do the evil instead of BOB being the thing that’s controlling you and Bob doing the evil.

EGM: You now know that the Dale Cooper has a doppelganger and to you think that he’s split like a split personality or do you just think BOB is inhabiting him and that’s the concept of the doppelganger and in the world now?  Or how do you view that?

J. Schmidt: That’s really tough to wrap my head around! The whole like doppelganger thing! Oh my gosh. Right now I think that it’s more BOB controlling him than being this split person.

EGM: There have been a lot of theories about that but there was no real answer. Season 2 cuts us off before anything can truly be discovered so it’s always interesting to see where people fall on that line. So many people fall so differently  have different beliefs about how the doppelganger and everything works and of course we’ve also seen that Leland has a doppelganger and then the question becomes was it really Leland out there in the world or was it his doppelganger and there’s no real answer to that at this point either so it’s interesting to talk about. I warn you that Season 2 experienced a devolution in plot construction in the back half with meandering some plots and very changed trajectories. How noticeable was it to you as a first time viewer?

J. Schmidt: Very.

EGM: Do you feel like it hurt your opinion of the show?

J. Schmidt: It became a show I was locked in on to a show where, all the sudden I was checking my phone.

EGM: During the Evelyn Marsh portions?

J. Schmidt: Yeah, like that part or it was like, “Oh, okay this is happening I’m going to check my Twitter” you know like now. So it became something that I was less glued to the screen like those soso subplots and those I plots with Evelyn Marsh or even the Bobby and Shelley stuff in the back half of Season 2 None of it was really that compelling. So it definitely took away from took away some of the show’s luster. The show is very intriguing and I would say, maybe not intense but there was a certain thing about the show that made you just always want to watch it because you knew that maybe there’d be a little detail that you get to deal with later to remember for later. It was sort of the side plots in the back end of Season 2 it was just like okay,none this is going to apply. It became kind of like soap opera-y.

evelyn marsh and james hurley in a bar

EGM: And it’s been described also known as a mixed genre show. It is both surrealist television, it’s a crime drama, it’s a soap opera and it’s all those things at once and it tries to incorporate all the genres together and sometimes it succeeds and sometimes it doesn’t. Of course the other additional information for you is that Lynch and Frost were gradually kind of receding from the show and they didn’t have as much creative control because they weren’t as involved shorts the back half sure and that’s probably obvious to you.

J. Schmidt: Yeah, I can see that.

EGM: Let’s see. Let’s talk some side plots and some new characters here for a bit. How do you feel about the inclusion of last minute characters: Annie Blackburn, John Justice Wheeler, Dick Tremayne.

J. Schmidt: If the show was going to continue Annie Blackburn would have been a really cool character as it was nice to see Cooper actually almost pull out of his whole persona, everything he was.She basically made him stop being the Dale that he was all the time; constantly focus, constantly locked in, constantly apply himself to his work. But I really liked her character. Her character kind of contributed to the whole rushing thing where it’s just like man, you wish there was more content and more time with that character more to learn about her you know just just more I guess so but I liked her character. As for the others you know it really was fine I just again I felt like season to you it felt like that first eight episodes of Season 2 could have been a whole season and then the back half of Season 2 could have been a whole season and it could’ve been a three season show but instead it was a season crammed in the eight episodes that probably could have been made to twenty episodes in that season cram into fourteen episodes it could have been another seven episode season.

EGM: As far as a side plots you really liked go, do you feel you got the payoffs you wanted and/or that were deserved or not?

J. Schmidt: Oh yeah! I actually started really liking that whole Nadine subplot with her super strength and her completely weird delusion that she was a high schooler. It was weird though. The payoff was weird because she just gets hit in the head and now she’s back to normal. That was kind of strange. I figured they would maybe tie in some more of why that happened or I guess but but I was okay with it I thought it was fun I thought her or her character was actually like kind of funny. I’m really happy that Andy got chosen to be the dad because he’s great. He’s so good. It was cool they also kind of a11f1c2de0a2985438e3eba9c305c015107603829d703fcd566bf1939fc5fbf2worked into his character at the end of the show that he’s not that stupid but he actually is observant and actually is paying attention and like was kind of a big help in figuring out where the Black Lodge is like that was cool too it was good that it made his character more important to the plot instead of just kind of this a funny. Comic relief side piece character so that was cool. But those are the ones that I really like the payoff I like a can’t stand Donna and James Hurley and all that crap and that there is this scene after the whole bit with James leaving and he comes back and then they’re like having a picnic. (Laughs) That was the pinnacle of the obnoxiousness of those characters […Here we paused because we saw a cat in the yard….] It’s annoying because it was less of ironically funny and more of why are we just wasting time. That was how I felt. Early on with those two it was fine like when they record the song together like that to me was hilarious and then they just kind of keep giving them a screen time and keep giving them plot points and they’re just not really that compelling, but I was going to keep watching anyway because I wanted to know what happened.

EGM: We wrapped up the Leland plot and we moved on to new big bad sort of. Let’s discuss your feelings in terms of Windom Earle and Dale’s backstory. Any first thoughts?

J. Schmidt: So I felt that backstory and the whole Windom Earle character – you could see the lack of influence from Lynch and Frost – it seemed very you know classic T.V. villain, weird manufactured evil and not like actual evil. Like they were trying too hard. You can almost just see the group of writers around the table “how could we make this evil?” And then it doesn’t really come across as evil on the screen.

EGM: Does Dale’s backstory change your opinion of him at any point?

J. Schmidt: A little bit. Maybe not really because he kind of is a man that doesn’t show that much emotion so like at first I wondered “man why doesn’t he get more hung up on this? Why isn’t he more affected really by it? His his backstory is pretty dark and I really did think about  why he wasn’t seemeingly affected by this and then he meets Annie. So it made sense after after a while but I was really thinking “Man, Dale, I love you but you’re really cold to this whole thing and then it kind of shows why when he’s given another love interest,

EGM: Do you think it enhances or detracts from his character to have that?

J. Schmidt: I think enhances.  It does it gives a nice character another layer. He’s a character that is lovable is interesting but I think that characters like that need extra layers of content to them, like a dark backstory and then as a viewer you can like have your opinion on how he handles that kind of stuff. I think it’s more of a dimension because you might love like the Sheriff but they don’t really give you too much to work with. So like anything like that backstory is good for a character because it gives you more to work with and more information to formulate an opinion on how you feel about that character.

EGM: Ultimately, up until that point Cooper is pretty two dimensional as a faceted person and he’s the boy scout and there is nothing really truly wrong with what he does ever and then you find out Oh! he had an affair with his partner’s wife and that makes him a bit more, well, more human.

J. Schmidt: More human. Because he is kind of a robot. Which is fine by coffee fueled by coffee and pie! (laughing).

EGM: The finale episode Beyond Life and Death was totally unique on television for twenty seven years and in some respects still is. Lynch scrapped all but the bare bones and totally rewrote most of it as they filmed. How did you react to the finale and then, knowing what you now, how do you feel about it? What do you off think.

J. Schmidt: Oh. So this is where we were going to get stuck! (Laughs) I’m I think that it was incredibly unique. I think it was the most compelling episode of the entire show. I really honestly couldn’t look away from what was happening because there were just so many weird things going on and it’s it was the first episode of a T.V. show that I’ve watched in a long time – maybe ever – that I immediately wanted to just rewatch it right away, not because I just thought it was really good but because there were so many things going on.  you I was like “what what what what what what”  and I’m trying to process all the information, trying to connect dots and it felt like I was getting there but oh wait no it doesn’t make sense, so it was something I really wanted to watch again right away and I probably will watch once more this weekend. It was weird because I had all these concepts of what was going to happen –  when you know… that the payoff for the show, maybe Coop is going to get to the Black l]Lodge and defeat whatever evil is in these woods or you’re going to have a scenario where maybe they kill Coop. Who knows? I thought would be either one of the other and then it kind of just dragged on but in a good way and… I can’t even imagine. I’m glad I’m a first time viewer and then can just watch this Return. I can’t even imagine being someone who’s super fascinated and obsessed with Twin Peaks and having to wait years for answers. I would lose my mind because right now  I need some form of closure or an answer as to why of a lot of these characters appearing in the Lodge. How convoluted everything was where he would go in and out of rooms and things would show up again or not show up again. He kind of was able to retrace his steps a little bit; he’d come into a room there’d be nothing. I don’t know. I just wish I had a better opinion or more words or a way to not sound like I’m running in circles. But that’s how I feel.

Bob and Coopers doppelganger laugh maniacally in the black lodge

EGM: I think that’s perfectly valid.  I think a lot of people felt the same way for a long time. It’s my personal favorite episode overall. I think it’s a tour de force.  I actually wrote a love letter to it before The Return aired. And knowing that Lynch just scrapped most of what was in the script and said “this is what we’re going to do”,  I think it was a complete return to the way they started things out in the first episode of the show and really brought things back and even though all those meandering subplots really dragged down the minute that we were into that Red Room though, we’re just automatically sucked back in. It makes everything worthwhile. Every minute of it.

J. Schmidt: Oh for sure!

EGM: We’re going to be watching Fire Walk With Me and Fire Walk With Me aired in 1992 and was shown at the Cannes Film Festival and it was booed. Ultimately, because it’s two years removed from the cancellation of the show and even though people knew that it was a prequel and not a sequel there was still a lot of disappointment in not having these questions answered

J. Schmidt: Oh I am sure they were all wanting every question to be answered.

EGM: It has a very different tone to it. So I’m not going to ask for predictions regarding it now because it’s a prequel. Rather I would like to ask you predictions about The Return trip, picking up twenty five years later with the characters What do you hope will be addressed? Do you have concerns any reservations?

J. Schmidt: I hope that they will … For one, I don’t really know what happened Audrey because the big bank exploded and she was on the door.  That bothered me. It made no sense. It’s just stupid. I would like to address the whole entering and exiting the Black Lodge and the whole doppelganger thing that was introduced at the end. I’m less concerned about whether BOB is still inhabiting Cooper because I think it might still be happening but I don’t know. There might be some questions answered but those are the main things concern or want to have answered.  I think the only thing that I would be concerned about is that, because the show has such a cult following, The Return isn’t like kind of fanservice-y.  Where they do things that people and fans will like want to happen. Instead I would love it if they just kind of stick to what they want to happen with the writing so that was what I would be concerned about. I can’t tell you how many shows I’ve watched in the past that bring back or do a return episode or do a return series or a movie and everything is very Fanservice-y. I’d rather have the showrunners write what they want to write and not try to appeal to the current fans they even have to just do their vision so hopefully that’s what The Return will be. From what from what you’ve described I feel like that will be the case.

EGM: Who from the Original series do you think is going to appear in The Return and what life do you think they’ll be living?

J. Schmidt: I’m assuming they’re going to include most of the cast members. I would assume that the Sheriff is probably retired at this point, maybe – twenty five years later? – I assume that he’s probably retired. Or just rock and rollin on the Police force. I think that they hopefully will include Andy and Lucy’s baby because he’s an adult now and it would be a cool to see that character and see Andy as really cool a kind of father or something for him because he’s so awkward. I’m going to be interested to see the interactions, later in the Black Lodge with Laura Palmer because she does talk about seeing him [Dale] twenty five years later and what that’s going to be. I’m very happy about that. That. So I’d like to see that. And I’m interested to see if they do anything more with Sarah Palmer. I’m assuming that she might be dead be dead but she was a character that they feel that they didn’t touch enough on.

EGM: The last time we see her is pretty strange.

J. Schmidt: Yeah! I’m trying to figure out who’s communicating to Briggs through her and they don’t really answer that. And I’m kind of confused. Is it Leland’s doppelganger out in the world that died and Leland’s trying to communicate to Briggs through his wife or is it  Cooper? That really that was a situation that scares me and that I would really love some kind of closure on, because that definitely was weird. She hadn’t really been on the show at all for a while; she disappears and then she’s suddenly communicating through… She’s like a vessel, so it’s quite interesting. Really though, I feel so lost, I feel so confused which isn’t bad. It’s not a Bad thing at all! I just ah! Don’t know!  Those are some of things and like resolved or answered. I have a feeling they won’t be and that I’ll be angry in a good way but we’ll see.

EGM: Thank you once again! And now on to Fire Walk With Me!

J. Schmidt: And the Missing Pieces!

J. Schmidt’s journey through Twin Peaks will Continue next week with Fire Walk With Me and the Missing Pieces. Here’s the link to Part 1 of our interview

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Written by Eileen G. Mykkels

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