Twin Peaks: Throwbacks and References You Might Have Missed

Twin Peaks wouldn't be a David Lynch show without some hidden subtext, and season 3 is full of throwbacks and references to the original series.

Warning: SPOILERS ahead for Twin Peaks season 3


Twin Peaks has returned to our screens, perhaps even more weird and wonderful than ever. Creator and director David Lynch and co-creator Mark Frost have had twenty-five years to perfect their craft, and with Lynch directing every episode, his influence is very keenly felt. Long, intense silences, trippy, surrealist scenes and plenty of backwards talk pushes an audience to the limits of their comfort, but stick with Twin Peaks and you will be richly rewarded. As is Lynch’s wont, the first four parts of the Twin Peaks revival are littered with callbacks, references, and some hilarious cameo appearances that all reference the original two seasons of Twin Peaks, the movie, Fire Walk With Me, the recent novel, The Secret History of Twin Peaks, and… Marlon Brando.

The Bonsai Tree

Let’s start with one of the more obscure references, present in part 1. Sam is the young man charged with watching a big box in New York City, in the hope (or fear) that something might appear. Though he’s never seen anything, he says his predecessor did. Taking his eye off the ball, Sam invites a young woman named Tracy to sit with him. One thing leads to another, and while they’re busy getting it on, something; a shadowy spirit of some sort, is busy getting out of the box. It proceeds to slash them both to death.

While that’s not a pleasant watch, one thing to note, is the bonsai tree that sits on the small table next to Sam’s couch. Just a tree, possibly, except this is Lynch. In Twin Peaks season 2, Windom Earl terrorized the town of Twin Peaks, kidnapping Cooper’s girlfriend and taking her to the Black Lodge. He only knew how to find the Lodge thanks to listening in on Agent Cooper’s conversations via a device he had hidden in a bonsai tree.

With Twin Peaks continuously using the phrase “It’s happening again,” is this a sign that someone is listening in on the events taking place in that room? It’s unlikely to be Windom Earl, since BOB claimed him, but has BOB now inspired the same actions in someone else?

Lucy Answers the Phone

Lucy is one of the sweetest residents of Twin Peaks, but not one of the smartest. In the pilot of Twin Peaks, we see her struggling to cope with the relatively simple network of phones at the Sheriff’s office, and then explaining to Deputy Hawk how he needs to pick up his call, as if he were a small child.

Twenty-five years later, and she still hasn’t gotten the hang of it, and therefore she assumes Hawk hasn’t, either. Helpfully telling him he has a call waiting, she then adds “It’s the one with the light flashing.” She also hasn’t grasped mobile technology, either - collapsing in a faint when Sheriff Truman arrives in the office while still on the phone to her. Time hasn’t moved on for some.

Cooper’s Legacy: Coffee, Donuts, and Pie

David Lynch - Twin Peaks

It was bittersweet to see the return of Log Lady; Catherine Coulson was terminally ill when she filmed her scenes, and passed away in 2015. However, Log Lady's log had one more message, and she calls Deputy Hawk to tell him something is missing from the Laura Palmer investigation. She also invites him to stop by for “coffee and pie” on his way home, but sadly he doesn’t get there.

When Hawk has all the Palmer files pulled, he tells his officers that they’ll start work in the morning, and that he’ll bring the coffee and donuts. Not only that, but the sign on his office door, is a picture of a donut, with ‘disturb’ written underneath it. Agent Cooper has been missing (to them) for 25 years, but his influence hasn’t left. It also appears that the memory of coffee hasn’t entirely left Cooper, either. When he takes a sip of the stuff in part 4 (as Dougie), it jogs something in his memory.

Jacques Renault Returns… or does he?

At the end of Part 1, we find ourselves back at the Bang Bang Bar (still the local bar of choice, it seems). As Shelley (Machden Amick) shoots a flirty look toward newcomer Balthazar Getty, look to the man tending bar behind him. It’s none other than Walter Olkewicz, who played drug dealer Jacques Renault, the man who used to casually date (read: sleep with) Laura Palmer.

Twin Peaks fans will recall that Leyland Palmer smothered Jacques to death back in season 1, and he seemed pretty dead and gone to us, so how is he back? Well, the credits have Olkewicz listed as playing Jean-Michael Renault. It’s unknown if his character will be expanded upon, meaning we could learn he’s Jacques third brother, or whether he’ll just stay as background. Either way, it’s a fun way for Olkewicz to take part in the revival.

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