The teasers for Showtime’s upcoming revival of Twin Peaks are gleefully, frustratingly vague. Co-creator David Lynch has all but promised no plot details ahead of the premiere, so we’re left with recycled old footage, cryptic puzzles and the occasional new look at an old locale.
The latest teaser is equally vague, giving us little more than a glimpse at how several characters have aged over 25 years. Over the course of 30 seconds we see Dale Cooper (Kyle MacLachlan), Big Ed Hurley (Everett McGill), Deputy Andy Brennan (Harry Goaz), Deputy Tommy “Hawk” Hill (Michael Horse) and Sarah Palmer (Grace Zabriskie) all looking very serious. Hawk even gets to say a word!
None of this is revelatory. It’s nice to see everyone, but anyone following Twin Peaks news already knew these characters would be back. What makes this teaser more interesting is the inclusion of Harry Dean Stanton as Carl Robb.
Stanton’s inclusion in the series is also not news. His inclusion in this footage, though, alongside other central Peaks characters, is both noteworthy and fascinating.
Robb, a trailer park manager with a sour demeanor and a mysterious past, is the only character in this teaser who does not appear in the original Twin Peaks series. Let us put on our nerd glasses: Dale is a creation of Lynch’s prequel film about Laura Palmer’s last week alive, Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me. In that film he appears for only a few minutes, as two FBI Agents (played by Chris Isaak and Keifer Sutherland) investigate the trailer where a recently murdered woman lived. That woman, Teresa Banks, was an earlier victim of the demon killer BOB (who is possessing Laura Palmer’s father Leland), which gives Robb a connection to the Palmer case. His trailer park was also previously home to Mrs. Chalfont (Frances Bay), the strange old woman from both the show and the film who lives with her grandson and is so concerned about creamed corn. Robb was also the last person to see Agent Chester Desmond (Isaak) before he disappeared while reaching for a mysterious ring (which, believe me, is its own incredibly complicated thing) with connections to Banks, Palmer and the Black Lodge. That’s at least three parts of the massive network of Twin Peaks weirdness with direct ties to Stanton’s character. Boom. You following that?
Of course, in Fire Walk With Me, he mostly just appears as a grouchy guy with a strong cup of cofee in his hand. Nothing is ever as simple as it seems when we’re talking about David Lynch, though.
So, will Robb have a major role to play in the mysteries to come? Who knows? This could all be a big misdirect designed to get Peaks superfans all riled up. If that’s the case, it’s working.
Twin Peaks returns May 21 on Showtime.