The Pilot

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Re: The Pilot

Postby Gabriel » Mon Apr 17, 2017 3:25 pm

I respect the pilot more and more, the older I get. The location work is massively important. Twin Peaks is a palpable entity in the pilot, rainy forests, owls watching in the woods, a grey, damp, cold, small town. The weekly show never manages to capture the bleak beauty of the pilot's location – I say this as someone who grew up next to Dartmoor, so the sea and the moorland are in my blood. The weekly TV show looks like a Disneyland version of the town in comparison.

The interior locations have the same effect. They feel real. The sound echoes in the way it would in a real room, not on a set.

I agree with LostInTheMovies. There's a distance in the treatment of the events. Actually, the pilot is meticulously pitched: performances that were played any more broadly would be melodramatic and camp, but instead, the girl running screaming across the schoolyard, Sarah Palmer's scream, Donna breaking down, James snapping the pencil, Andy breaking down in tears both times, are unsettling... almost making this viewer feel like he is intruding on a town's private grief. Also note the pace: there's no trendy fast cutting. It's almost 'Old Hollywood' in its slow cuts, only pacing things up when seeking to unnerve the viewer, such as the cut to a closeup when a Mike and Bobby start barking and Laura's scream blends in (what did that mean I'm the end?) The show was often referred to as a Blue Velvet TV series with Cooper as a grown up Jeffery in those early days. You can feel that in the pilot: there's something of Jeffery's impetuousness in Cooper. Cooper's personality stranger and spikier, less easygoing.

While FWWM is visually and aesthetically far more flamboyant, reflecting the show Twin Peaks became, the pilot is a an exercise in restraint (the European ending notwithstanding.) I often wonder what sort of a show Twin Peaks might have been had production moved to Canada for the weekly show, rather than Hollywood. The weekly show changes the look of the interiors out of necessity to match better the outdoor scenes shot in California. There's a similar change in The X-Files, post-season five, when the show moves to LA. Many people feel the move changed the character of The X-Files and one can't help but wonder what a weekly Twin Peaks show that kept the rainy aesthetic would have been like. Would the different feel have changed the way stories were told?
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Re: The Pilot

Postby Agent Earle » Tue Apr 18, 2017 2:07 am

Gabriel wrote:The show was often referred to as a Blue Velvet TV series with Cooper as a grown up Jeffery in those early days. You can feel that in the pilot: there's something of Jeffery's impetuousness in Cooper. Cooper's personality stranger and spikier, less easygoing.

In my mind, Jeffrey Beaumnot and Dale Cooper were always essentially the same character, some younger version of Lynch. I caught Blue Velvet on late-night telly a year or two after the series was over and was lucky to have it recorded, whereas no such luck with Peaks; so for about six years (that's how long it took for the show to be aired again in my corner of the world), Cooper was closed off to me and existed only in my memory (save for a VHS recording of the "killer reveal" episode that I begged the neighbor into making me a copy) and Jeffrey was the only Lynchian hero that was available to me to watch over and over again. I was obsessed with the flick (from the age of 12) anyhow, so I didn't mind.
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Re: The Pilot

Postby claaa7 » Thu Apr 20, 2017 11:17 pm

especially in The Pilot the likeness between Cooper and Jeffrey are very palpable. no other director had yet had a chance to add layers to the character, and i just love how incredibly bizarre his amazement at Douglas firs, snowshoe rabbits, etc. are in context. The Pilot has certainly grown to be one of my favorite episodes of the series.. it's in the top 3 for me. the location and the extreme depths of mystery are strong selling points along with the music and sounds. as LostintheMovies pointed out it feels very much in place with Lynch's first four films but especially so with "Blue Velvet".

i think that Twin Peaks would have been a very different show had it used a different location than LA for the actual series. its kind of strange how they picked LA to represent the rainy, grey and dreary location shooting of the Pilot. it works wonders in setting up an entire world, full of mysteries and characters that the audience will want to know more about, and as such it is an almost unbelivably excellent Pilot that Frost and Lynch created here.

the European ending is truly bizarre but i still get a kick out of watching the entire thing as a crazy two hour movie. We are introduced to all these strange characters with various relationships to the dead girl of the first scene then suddenly we reach the conclusion and it's two people we have not at all encountered until now... and THEN it takes a leap 25 years into the future with one of the most bizarre scenes Lynch has ever shot (and that includes all of his work up and until "Inland Empire"). we are so used to it now bc of how iconic it became, but that first 25 years later dream sequence is truly mindblowing in all its weird glory.
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Re: The Pilot

Postby Jonah » Fri Jun 16, 2017 4:53 pm

I still haven't rewatched the new series, but decided to start rewatching the original series. Just finished the Pilot.

Amazing episode. I don't think it will ever be truly topped. It stands outside the series as its own amazing entry. There is wonderful stuff to come, but this is a very special movie-length episode.

Of course I've always loved it, but I'd forgotten just how amazing it was.

A few observations:

Everything is so well laid out here. The narrative structure is perfect. None of it is exactly fast-paced, none of it is slow-paced. Rather, its pacing just seems perfect all around.

Almost every character is introduced here. Even Mayor Milford! So many stories being set up. So much being hinted at. It really is just remarkable how good it is. And the stunning scenery.

I had thought we saw more of the Log Lady, not just a non-speaking part of her flicking the lights. And speaking of the Log Lady, in the introduction, she says the line "Laura is the one", which - as someone else pointed out - is a title for an upcoming episode of the new series.

Harriet! Will we ever see her again?

Joey Paulson! Ditto.

All the performances are great. Lara Flynn Boyle is brilliant, so much better than I had remembered it. She really is underrated.

Sheryl Lee is great in the brief picnic scene.

Audrey appears more than I had remembered.

That final scene is terrifying. The music, the scream--and the shot of Bob glimpsed in the mirror as we see the gloved hand picking up the necklace. Watching it now, having seen the first episode of the new series, I was reminded of Sarah back on a couch in that house, mirrors behind her, reflecting predators again. (Someone else pointed this out previously.)

I saw David Lynch reflected (beneath Lucy's reflection) in that first scene in the sheriff's station as Harry answers the phone. Since it was pointed out here in a screencap, it's impossible not to see it now. I can't believe I'd never noticed before. It's something you can't not see now.

All those scenes at the end at the road house and Cooper and Harry driving along the dark roads are wonderful. Donna and James in the woods with their close-up shots and beautifully lit faces is just perfect. And Harry and Josie standing by the log at the end-wonderful.

All in all, this is just top-notch filmmaking from beginning to end. As I said, I don't think it will ever be topped.

I think the shot of the light at Sparkwood and 21 is the exact same shot reused in Episode 6 of the new series.
Last edited by Jonah on Sun Jun 18, 2017 1:41 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: The Pilot

Postby Jonah » Fri Jun 16, 2017 7:35 pm

Additional comments based on the European ending:

They utilised the best footage in Episode 2.

I love the bit with the candles.

It's a shame the Lucy and Andy scene was never reused elsewhere, even briefly.

Couple of things I noticed:

The scene with Bob behind the bed when Sarah sees him doesn't seem to be the same footage of him behind the bed we see in Episode 2. So it was reshot? Or they used a different angle? This is interesting because I assumed they just reused this footage in Episode 2, like they did for the dream sequence, but this shot looks slightly different.

I always forget we don't see Sarah describing Bob for Hawk to sketch here, even though the sketch itself appears. The actual scene appears in the series proper, but all of these ideas began here.

At the very end of the Sarah on the couch sequence here, you see Bob turn his head in the mirror. You don't see this in the actual series.

We see Room 315! I'd forgotten this. Our first proper time seeing Coop's room is Episode 1, Season 1 - on a different set I think? One that was built for the series? The one here looks a bit different. It's the same idea but the gun over the bed is at a different angle, its affixed to something different, and there's no lamps on the wall. The wooden headboard looks different too. And the bedside lamp is not the same. Wondering if this was an actual room in the Salish Lodge, circa 1989/1990 - or if they built this on a set, as most of the Pilot was shot on location. These sets weren't used or built until the series itself. This is interesting especially since all the recent talk of Room 315 - and how it will look - in the new series!

While I know this ending was poor as an overall wrap-up to the "movie"/VHS release, it's amazing to look back and see how much of the series's mythology arose here - especially the red room, but so much more.

And I just realised the iconic line "When two separate evens occur simultaneously pertaining to the same object of inquiry we must always pay strict attention" arises here too! This is used again later in the series. I forget where. But didn't realise it started here. Later on, it's prefaced by "Gentleman", but here it's spoken to Diane.
Last edited by Jonah on Sun Oct 13, 2019 12:15 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: The Pilot

Postby Poiuyt » Thu Jul 26, 2018 5:45 am

At what point did Lynch and/or Frost decide that the European ending would be Cooper's dream?
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Re: The Pilot

Postby Poiuyt » Thu Jul 26, 2018 6:26 am

Jonah wrote:I love the bit with the candles.

This whole time, I thought it was Laura's necklace in the center of them. My mind is again thoroughly blown to discover it's the ear from Blue Velvet... or at least AN ear, anyway. (Going by this Twin Peaks Archive story from a few years ago: ... t-can.html)
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Re: The Pilot

Postby Cappy » Thu Jul 26, 2018 8:47 am

I always loved that shot of James and Donna standing in the headlights of Truman's police vehicle, with Donna exclaiming "he didn't do anything!" I don't know why, there's just something very naturalistic and weird about the way the shot looks, especially coming right after James and Donna's sincere, Sirk-ian embrace in the dark.

I love the pilot, but it is fascinating to notice how some characters altered as the series progressed. A lot of people have pointed out how terse Cooper is with Harry in the hallway of the hospital, and also his referring to Josie as a "babe". But I always crack up a little when Harry snaps at Andy for crying in the opening moments. He was so warm and patient with Andy throughout the whole series, even when Andy's gun accidentally went off at the Timber Falls Motel. I guess I can explain it to myself as Harry reacting to the stress of finding a dead body, an event that he likely rarely ever dealt with in Twin Peaks.
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Re: The Pilot

Postby Jerry Horne » Thu Apr 18, 2019 4:43 pm

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