“Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me” has been known for two things in the Twin Peaks fanbase. First being a prequel to the TV series in revealing the moments up till Laura Palmer’s death. The other thing is the never-ending mound of deleted scenes that exist. Now, it is common for a movie to have certain moments removed up during post production wither it be an entire sequence or a conversation that needs to be trimmed down for pacing purposes. Less is more. But in the case of “Fire Walk With Me,” more apparently was needed.
The recent Blu-Ray box set, dubbed “The Entire Mystery,” has both the original TV series that started the cult craze and its prequel movie to accompany it. But the biggest highlight of all is a supplemental section of the deleted footage from the movie dubbed “The Missing Pieces.” Now normally a typical movie could have anywhere up to 10 or even 20 minutes of removed scenes. “Missing Pieces” on the other hand contains roughly 90 minutes of deleted/extended scenes that didn’t make it into the final cut and could have improved David Lynch’s strange big screen adaptation in many ways.
Fans will be pleased to hear that many discarded moments will be seen in their glory as they refer to it as the “Holy Grail” of Twin Peaks fandom. Indeed, a lot of the footage does brush upon certain aspects like the spirits of the Black Lodge and many subplots that could have been better fleshed out or developed better. Among the batch is more of Bobby and Laura as we see a relationship on the rocks. One notable highlight is Laura visiting his boyfriend Bobby for something less intimate than he thinks. Its made quite clear that she only wanted him for the drug trafficking he’s been doing. I do admit when these two are on-screen, you can feel a tragic sense greater than Romeo and Juliet. That is if you knew the show well-enough that is.
We also get to see more of the Palmer family but not as sublime in the final cut. One scene that I’m sure everyone will be talking about is Leland Palmer teaching his wife and daughter some Norwegian which references a key element in the pilot. Scenes like these show that not everything is gloom and doom in the family while giving us a bittersweet feeling in contrast to later when Laura becomes suspicious and fearful of her father. Its a nice and humorous moment that could have balanced the dark nature.
Another crucial addition is David Bowie’s appearance as the strange agent Phillip Jeffrie whose brief moment in the final cut is expanded upon just a little bit. We get to have more time and devotion to his appearance as opposed to the theatrical cut where his moment is jarringly edited with the inhabitants of the Black Lodge mugging at the screen. Unfortunately, we may get to see more of Phillip and elaborate on his talks of “Judy” (a character that we never see in the show or the movie) but some things are never explained like his odd power to teleport from one place to the next. “The Missing Pieces” does show where he came from but never elaborates on the strange phenomenon.
Certain elements are made more clearer like the ring Teresa kept which could have played a bigger role in future continuations and the motive behind Tersa’s death in the beginning. But much like most of these scenes, we get new information but at the same time raises more questions. I’m glad to see more of the Black Lodge and its bizarre inhabitants but it only leaves me wondering exactly what kind of people they truly are and the reason for their existence. But moments like Kyle McLaughlin’s Agent Cooper talking to/practicing to talk to Diane really has me raising eyebrows. In the series, he would often recap events into a tape recorder supposedly for a secretary named Diane. We never do see this “Diane” (not even the deleted scenes hint who this is) and this only questions further if she is real or not. My argument for the series is that “Diane” is the tape recorder but then this bit completely obliterates that theory.
Also in the mix are a series of characters from the show that intended to make an appearance. Among the notable include footage of the late Jack Nance as wood mill lumberjack Pete Martell arguing with a customer over a two by four board. It doesn’t add much to the plot or enhance anything but something about it feels humorously engaging. Others include some extra bits in the Sherif’s office that never made it into the final cut and more of Ed and Norma’s romance fling is expanded upon considering where it leads in the series. Bits like this could have allowed more time in the town of Twin Peaks and even see about the place. Wither it would have detracted from the main storyline is their own to question.
However, not every additional moment is good. As said above, the “two by four” argument really has no value or place and there’s little moments here and there that just don’t work. There’s a physical fight scenes that goes on for quite a while but something about it doesn’t work. There’s a purpose for it but the way its staged with the handheld camera and the awkward pans around the two duking it out really kills the excitement over the clumsy execution. I’m sure fans will be pleased to see this “long talked about” sequence but I unfortunately found it as too poorly shot. But does it deserve to be seen? Well, yes. Most cut footage has a right to be examined and looked at to understand why it got cut or why one thinks it could have helped the movie.
But the biggest moment I’m sure fans will be talking about is the “extended” ending we get. Included is a five minute sequence that elaborates more on the final moments of the season two finale and while it does answer a lot, it sets things up for a sequel that never came to. Again, I’m glad to have seen this but it only makes matters more frustrating when you hope for an answer and instead just adds more cliffhanging frustration to the point you feel the story is unfinished.
Its best to see “The Missing Pieces” as a supplement as opposed to the “deleted movie versions” of the Anchorman films considering the string of “lost vignettes” that are included. While edited in a continuity form to help understand how it would have played out, I do think this could have benefited earlier on with that footage added in for a two-night TV airing. Now that would have been something back in the day. As it stands, “Missing Pieces” is more of an interesting afterthought much like its feature film revealing the biggest mysteries that were left behind from the show. The only negative is that while it does enhance and expand on a few things, not everything is going to be adjusted. We don’t know if one character escaped from the Black Lodge (possibly stuck there for life) and we don’t know much about how the supernatural elements work here. Perhaps to best quote David Lynch himself, “There is no end to the mystery.”