WARNING – If you haven’t seen Twin Peaks all the way through, don’t read this!
David Lynch never wanted to resolve the mystery of who killed Laura Palmer, but when he was made to do so, he certainly didn’t go at it half-cocked. The seventh episode of the second series was directed by Lynch himself and the closing minutes are amongst the best of any television show ever. With Julee Cruise singing her usual haunting melodies on stage, things seem calm for Agent Cooper, even if he is sitting with Log Lady, but then the lights go down and Julee has been replaced by The Giant, who tells Cooper that: “It is happening again. It is happening again.”
What was happening was the murder of Maddy Ferguson by her uncle Leland Palmer, with the revelation coming that it was he who murdered his own daughter Laura, possessed by the evil spirit Killer Bob, whose face appears when Leland looks at himself in the mirror. His frenzied, emotional attack on Maddy (who looks like Laura) is one of the most shocking moments of a mainstream TV show, and it’s amazing that it was even aired at the time.
After the horror of that, we return to Agent Cooper, with The Giant fading out and going back to Julee Cruise and one of her saddest songs. Cooper doesn’t yet know what has happened, but the look on Kyle MacLachlan‘s face shows that he knows he has failed to catch the killer in time to prevent a new tragedy. The sadness is almost overwhelming, making for a hauntingly beautiful closing to an episode that changed everything for Twin Peaks.