Monday, November 17, 2014

Recapping the Pilot & Alternate Ending

All wonderful things start off strong and Twin Peaks is no exception. There were two versions of the pilot. The U.S. version ends with Sarah Palmer having a vision of a gloved hand taking Laura's necklace from where Donna and James buried it in the woods. The UK version ends with an elaborate dream sequence that isn't seen in the US until the end of episode 2.

Written by: Mark Frost & David Lynch

Directed by: David Lynch

Original Air Date: April 8, 1990

The Pilot

"She's dead, wrapped in plastic!"

At the Packard's, Josie stares into her mirror longingly, while Pete tells Catherine downstairs that he's gone fishing. He walks outside and notices something laying in the beach. When he goes to investigate, Pete realizes he's looking at a dead woman. He runs back into the house and calls the sheriff. Pete tells Harry, "she's dead, wrapped in plastic!"

Harry brings Deputy Andy and Dr. Hayward to investigate, while Catherine and Josie look on from the porch. Andy takes pictures of the body and starts crying. Harry can't believe he's crying over another body and has him return to their van. After Dr. Hayward and Harry unwrap her and realize it's Laura Palmer.

"Laura, now means now!"

At the Palmer's house, Sarah demands Laura come down to breakfast. When Laura doesn't, she starts searching the house and says, "Laura now means now!" However after checking Laura's room, Sarah realizes she's not in the house. She decides to call the Brigg's house, hoping they heard from Laura, but to no avail. Mrs. Briggs thinks Laura's probably with Bobby. After Sarah calls the school hoping the football coach has seen Bobby, but the coach tells her no one has seen him.

"My Daughter's Dead"

Audrey goes to school, while Ben Horne and Leland Palmer plan to win over the Icelander's at The Great Northern. Ben chats up the group, but Leland gets a call from Sarah and has to step out. Leland takes her call in the lobby and tries to sooth Sarah's fears about Laura. However, then Sheriff Truman walks in and Leland suddenly knows something is off. His silence makes Sarah panic on the other end. Both parents instantly know their daughter is dead. Ben comes out to check on Leland and Leland tells him, "My daughter's dead!" Meanwhile Sarah screams manically on the other end of the phone.

"Too busy jump starting the old man?"

At the Double R Diner, Shelly teases Heidi when she's late for work and says she was too busy jump starting her old man. Norma pours Bobby more coffee, but he offers Shelly a ride home instead. Before leaving he plays a tune for Norma and says he'll see her in his dreams. Once alone in the car, Shelly and Bobby steal a kiss before taking off. Shelly drinks a flask with Bobby as he drives her home. Bobby worries that Shelly's "old man" might be home. She assures him there is nothing to worry about, but when they pull up toward her house, Bobby sees her hubby's truck. He quickly stops and Shelly gets out.

Meanwhile Leland is escorted to the hospital with Harry to identity Laura's body. Upon seeing her he cries, "My baby! That's my little girl!"

At the high school, Donna laughs at Audrey when she smokes at her locker. James comes up behind her and says it's a nice day for a picnic. Nearby Bobby sees Mike in the hallway when he walks in. Mike warns him that the police are looking for him. In class, the teacher takes role call. A police officer walks in and tells her that Laura is dead. Donna and James instantly realize it's Laura. Donna starts crying, but Audrey smirks.

In the Library, Deputy Andy and Deputy Hawk question Bobby. Then Harry walks in and tells the principal to make an announcement to the school. Harry then tells Bobby that Laura is dead and proceeds to arrest him. Bobby gets defensive and swears that he and Laura loved each other. After the principal asks for a moment of silence before weeping like a baby. Meanwhile Donna cries hysterically and James looks confused.

Back at the Palmer house, Doc Hayward and a nurse administer a sedative to Sarah so Harry can question her. Once she's calm, Sarah is able to tell Harry what she remembers from the night before. She tells Sheriff Truman that she heard Laura's phone ring once. Meanwhile Leland and Deputy Hawk go through Laura's things in her bedroom. Hawk takes her diary and a video recorder. After Andy takes a call informing him that another local girl is missing as well, Ronette Pulaski.

"I have the final say so!"

At the Packard Saw Mill, Josie demands they shut the mill down for the day, despite Catherine's insistence they stay open. In anger, Catherine impulsively fires a random mill worker, while Josie makes the announcement that their co-worker Mr. Pulaski's daughter has gone missing. Meanwhile over by the town bridge, a battered Ronette Pulaski makes her way back into town.

James rides his Harley to Big Ed's Gas Farm and tells his uncle Ed that Laura's dead. He asks Ed to give Donna a message if he sees her. Nearby patch-eyed Nadine screams at Ed to put her drapes up by night fall.

"What kind of trees are these?"

Dale Cooper rides into Twin Peaks while talking to Diane on his tape recorder. He meticulously details his comings and goings, before wondering what kind of wonderful trees he's seeing on the drive. Later he meets up with Sheriff Truman at the hospital and quickly lets him know the FBI is in charge since Ronette stepped over the state line. Then he asks Harry what kind of trees they have in Twin Peaks. Harry tells him Douglas Fir. After they speak with Ronette's doctor who tells them that she was raped and could have neurological damage. Cooper asks to see her fingers, but doesn't find what he was looking for.

Dr. Jacoby seeks out Harry and Cooper at the hospital and asks if he can join them to view Laura's body. Cooper tells him no. Later when examining Laura's body, Cooper finds a tiny piece of paper under Laura's finger nail with the letter "R" typed on it. He quickly notes to "Diane" that he needs Albert's team.

Donna goes to see Big Ed at the Gas Farm. Ed gives her a note from James asking her to meet him at the Roadhouse later. Right then, Mike drives up and starts demanding that Donna get in the car with him. Ed tells him to get lost. Then Nadine again screams for Ed to put her drapes up. After Ed and Donna agree they picked bad romantic partners.

"He did not do it!"

At the station, Cooper and Truman review the contents of Laura Palmer's diary in the conference room. They find a safety deposit box key in a tiny plastic bag lined with cocaine. Harry is shocked to think of Laura using drugs. Then Bobby comes in to be questioned by Cooper. Cooper plays a video of Laura and Donna on a picnic together. He asks if Bobby shot the video, but Bobby says no. Cooper asks if he knew Laura was seeing someone else. Cooper says the first initial is "J" but texts to Harry that Bobby didn't do it. Meanwhile Andy calls Lucy to tell her that they found where the murder's happened. He can't help but cry thinking about how awful a scene it is. After Bobby tells Mike Laura was seeing a biker.

At the Great Northern, Audrey torments Julie the concierge by getting coffee all over her desk. Then Audrey slyly walks into the conference room and interrupts the Icelander's meeting. She stands there despondently and tells them her friend was violently murdered. It consequently causes them to leave and blows Ben's deal.

Back the station, Cooper questions Donna about her picnic video. Donna lies and says some random woman shot the video for them. After Lucy tells Cooper and Truman that Mike and Bobby are after a biker. However Cooper already knew it and zooms in on Laura's eye in the video which clearly shows a hog. Then we see James brooding on the mountain top while staring at a broken heart necklace.

'"Fire Walk With Me"

At the train car, Cooper and Harry investigate the murder scene. They find half a gold heart and a bloody note that reads Fire Walk With Me. Cooper says they need to find the other half of the heart.

At the Horne's residence, Audrey and Mrs. Horne watch as Johnny knocks his head into a wall over and over because Laura isn't coming to tutor him.

Cooper and Truman head to the bank to view the contents of Laura's safety deposit bank. They find $10 K and a copy of Flesh World. The magazine has a page marked with Ronette's picture on it and a picture of a big rig.

At the Johnson house, Leo demands to know why there are varying types of cigarettes in the ashtray. Shelly assures him there is nothing to worry about. Leo promptly orders her to keep the house clean and only smoke one brand from now on or he'll snap her neck like a twig. 

At the Diner, Norma calls Ed and they agree to meet later at the Roadhouse.

"Is this thing on?"

Cooper and Truman hold a town meeting. Truman points out some of the town's finest to Cooper in the audience. Then Major Milford starts the meeting, but quickly gets confused and asks if the microphone is on. Cooper quickly takes charge and explains to the town folk that he believes Laura's murder and Ronette's attack are the mark of a serial killer.

Doc Hayward explains to Mrs. Hayward at their house that Donna may have knowledge about who has the other half of Laura's heart necklace. Donna eavesdrops and then asks her sister, Harriet, to cover for her so she can sneak out. Meanwhile a drunken Mike and Bobby drive over to Donna's house looking for her. Mike rings the doorbell and asks Doc Hayward if he can speak with Donna. Doc goes looking for Donna and realizes she's not home. Then he asks Mike to help him find Donna. Mike immediately tells Bobby to drive him to the roadhouse.


Cooper and Truman stakeout The Roadhouse and learn that Donna is missing. Inside, Ed tells Norma he's been hanging drapes. Norma says she's going to leave Hank. Mike and Bobby arrive and quickly start some trouble. Cooper and Truman see Donna ride up on Harriet's bike. When Donna walks in Mike starts to manhandle her. Big Ed tries to intervene, but Bobby hits him and a bar room brawl breaks out. Joey Pulson ushers Donna out and says he'll take her to James on his bike. Cooper and Truman follow them, but lose them shortly after.

Joey brings Donna to meet James in the woods. The two share a discreet discussion about Laura. James tells her that Laura was into a lot of bad stuff. He says Laura told him that Bobby killed a guy. Then James tearfully shares his final moments with Laura. Donna tries to console him and they kiss. They instantly feel guilty, but give in and continue to kiss. Then they hear sirens and decide to bury James's half of Laura's necklace in the dirt for safe keeping.

Later Cooper and Truman catch up to Donna as James drives her home on his bike. They arrest James and send Donna home with her father. Andy and Hawk put James in a cell near Bobby and Mike, who were arrested for their Roadhouse brawl. Bobby can't wait to torment James and starts barking like a dog at him.

Later Sheriff shows Cooper the nightly spread of donuts that Lucy puts out for them. Cooper is delighted and asks where he can get a nice hotel with a reasonably priced room. Truman says he'll get him a good rate at the Great Northern. After the Sheriff goes to see Josie at the Packard's. They kiss and discuss the day as Catherine chats on the phone with Ben Horne.

Meanwhile at the Palmer's house, Sarah has a startling vision of a gloved hand taking James's buried necklace out of the dirt and screams for Leland.

This concludes the U.S. pilot.

On to the alternate ending:

Sarah Palmer dreams of seeing Bob in Laura's bedroom. She has Leland call Lucy in order to get a hold of Sheriff Truman. Leland does so and tells Lucy that Sarah believes she saw Laura's killer and wants to have someone make a sketch of the face she saw. Lucy calls the Sheriff to tell him. Meanwhile Dale is awoken by Mike, the one armed man, who tells him to come and see him at the hospital. After Lucy gets a hold of Cooper and tells him about Sarah Palmer's dream. Cooper tells Lucy to get the sketch and have Harry meet him at the hospital. Then Dale tells Diane that these events require strict attention.

The Sheriff and Cooper head to the hospital. Andy greets them at the entrance to the morgue and ironically tells them that one armed Mike is "unarmed" and waiting for them. Upon greeting Sheriff Truman and Cooper Mike says, "Through the darkness of futures past the magician longs to see. One chance out between two worlds; Fire walk with me!"

Then Mike tells them about his experiences with Bob. He explains that they lived above a convenience store and spend a lot of time killing together. Mike says they shared a tattoo "Fire walk with me" on their arms. However when Mike saw the face of god he was purified and decided to cut his arm off. After Mike correctly identifies Bob in the sketch Hawk drew and tells them that Bob is in the hospital basement right now.

Cooper and the Sheriff head to the basement and indeed find Bob. Bob admits to being the killer and says he was spelling Robert, his proper name, with the letters under the victims finger nails. Bob promises to kill again. Then one armed Mike comes out of nowhere and shoots Bob dead. After Mike mysteriously collapses and appears to die himself.

At very end, Cooper dreams it's 25 years later and he's meeting Laura Palmer and "The Arm" in the waiting/red room. The little man tells him that gum he likes is going to come back in style and doesn't his cousin look exactly like Laura Palmer. Dale asks if she is Laura Palmer. She answers that sometimes she feels like she knows her, but sometimes her arms bend back. After the little man starts dancing and Laura walks up to Dale. She kisses him and then whispers the name her of killer in Dale's ear.

End of show!

I only knew the UK version because I didn't see the full pilot when it originally aired in the US. I was young so it wasn't until I bought the UK pilot on VHS that I got to see the whole thing. Despite the fact that I like it better, the UK version also gives us our first real taste of Bob so there is a lot to love. However, it doesn't make a whole lot of sense so early in the series so maybe it's better to leave it out. Either way it's a must see for Twin Peaks fans. Which ending do you prefer?


  1. The UK version was not meant to be a series, it was released as a movie. Kind of like how Mullholand Drive was shot as a TV series but when it wasn't bought as a TV show so they shot more scenes and released it as a movie. The Alternate version is not meant to be a part of the series it is a stand alone entity.

  2. The analogy I would make is not so much to Mulholland Drive's theatrical version in 2001 - since Lynch went ahead and shot a much longer ending that reconceives what came before - but the MD pilot + the Silencio sequence (which was the original "closed" ending for that project). Both involve a visit to a mysterious color-coded location that ends the work enigmatically and somewhat roughly.

    I like the idea, with Twin Peaks, that even though we see a bit of the dream in episode 2, the whole ending is "canonical" (as a dream sequence). That's why Cooper describes the whole thing in #3. And it adds an interesting twist to what we do see - like that, for example, it's Leland who calls the police and sends them after Bob.

  3. The alternate ending is conceptually fine and does not interfere with the overall story arc. The events that occur after Sarah sits on the couch are part of Cooper's extended dream sequence from Episode 2. What we're seeing is the entire dream Cooper experienced, as opposed to the bits and pieces that he remembers after awakening.

    As long as you realize that the additional 20 minutes in the Euro version of the pilot are a dream that Cooper is about to have there's no continuity issue nor is there a need to place this version in a "standalone" box separate from the series. If Lynch insists that the Georgia Coffee ads are canon, then by golly so is the International Pilot.

    1. After watching Season 3, I really don't think he considers those Georgia Coffee ads canon anymore.

  4. The UK version is the best because it makes no sense, and so manipulates the viewer into watching the whole damn-fine series, which is something poor Mulholland Drive can never do.