Twin Peaks

Season 1 Episode 2

Episode One "Traces To Nowhere"

Aired Thursday 9:00 PM Apr 12, 1990 on ABC
out of 10
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183 votes

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Episode Summary


Agent Cooper enjoys the comforts of the Great Northern Hotel; Bobby Briggs and Mike Nelson are released from jail; Doctor Hayward hands over the autopsy report on Laura Palmer; Cooper and Truman interview Josie Packard; Audrey Horne and Donna Hayward vow to solve Laura's murder; Sarah Palmer has a vision of a gray-haired man; Doctor Jacoby conceals important information.


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  • The Italian Bob

    Traces to Nowhere sees Dale Cooper enjoying the comforts of his new motel and questioning several suspects in Laura Palmer's murder, including her boyfriend Bobby and mill owner Josie Packard. Meanwhile, Donna reveals her true feelings for Bobby and Laura's sexual activities prior to her death are revealed.

    The supernatural element to the series really kicks into gear in this episode. It's most notable in the case of the Log Lady, who goes from "freaky background character" to somebody who actually gets some dialogue. Albeit, she's still a freak, seeing as she tells Cooper that her log witnessed something which could unearth Laura's killer. Eye-patch lady Nadine Hurley also gets some freaky moments, with her conversation with Norma being undeniably insane. It's amazing how David Lynch and Mark Frost make something like drapes sound so sinister.

    We also get (I'm guessing) the first of several Laura Palmer flashbacks. Sheryl Lee appears to be pretty convincing during her first speaking scene on the show and Laura herself gets much more intriguing. I love how she's presumed to be this amazingly nice school girl (helping old people, Chinese people etc. etc.) when really she's harboring dark secrets of infidelity and drug use.

    All the cast are remarkable, even if they only appear for brief moments. Madchen Amick's Shelly Johnson becomes more developed in this episode and her relationship with the abusive Leo makes you feel immediate sympathy for her plight. The storyline involving the old mill and the relationship between Catherine and Josie is also intriguing me, mainly because of the varying differences between their performances. Joan Chen gives a caring, if slightly dark, mystique to Josie whilst Piper Laurie's crazed acting abilities (put to stunning use in earlier roles in her career) make Catherine an immediately creepy character and one of the most interesting on the show.

    Lara Flynn Boyle also impressed me in this episode. Her two stand-out scenes were scenes with two mothers, her own and Laura's mother. Both are finely acted by Boyle and she never fully upstages both Grace Zabriskie and Mary Jo Deschanel, who play Sarah Palmer and Eileen Hayward, respectively. The former is also stunning in this episode, with her mourning over her daughter's death never overplayed, making it entirely believable. Her vision of the sinister Bob is also a well-acted scene.

    Beginning as a simple "questioning of the suspects"-style episode eventually turns into an excellently done, character-driven second hour, featuring some note-perfect performances and further insight into the wacky locals of Twin Peaks.

    Director: Duwayne Dunham

    Writers: Mark Frost, David Lynch

    Rating: A+moreless
  • The case goes on

    A very good first step into the series, the episode is well written and extremely dream-ish. There is still so much I don’t understand but that’s what gives me the need to watch more of this show.

    The most strangest thing about this show is definitely Laura’s mom who keeps seeing things, she sees Donna as Laura and then someone hiding in her house. Her screams are very creepy and shilling as well.

    In this episode Donna and James continue falling inlove, James is released from jail when he told the truth to the investigators, well, except for the heart that Laura gave him. Bobby and his friend also get released but they don’t like James all that much, they are even thinking of killing him. I like the relationship of both sheriff’s a lot. They make a fun couple, one is the quiet weird one and the other is the talk-addictive weird one.

    What I’ve liked a lot about the show is that it doesn’t take itself all that serious. With the log lady for example, and the fish in the coffee. The creep in the show is definitely Leo, what is he hiding? And why does his girlfriend keep staying with him? If I were her I would just leave him. Why does she let him hit her? Although this episode didn’t tell as much as the first one, it did have a better script and more than just a few storylines. I still think it has the soap-feeling to it. The two apparently bad guys are Kathrine and Audrey’s dad who are trying to ruin an asian woman’s life, who is dating one of the sheriff’s.

    Even though I don’t like the soap-ish feeling to it. I do love the case and the mystery, I wonder who’s the guy that found Laura’s heart.moreless
  • Meet Bob

    A fairly relaxed episode that concentrates almost entirely on developing the relationships between the various characters. The "Lynch" quotient is low but thankfully this episode is not as "soapy" as the pilot.

    Up first, we have the positively steamy meeting of Cooper and Audrey Horne over breakfast. Audrey shows an unmistakable interest in Cooper while he tries his best to ignore her radiant sex appeal. Loved the shoes.

    I like the easy chemistry between Cooper and Sheriff Truman. It's only the first proper episode of the series and already the two of them have gelled, with Truman playing the perfect straight man to Cooper's idiosyncratic oddness. Speaking of which, doesn't Cooper remind you of a young David Lynch, with his "aw-shucks" mannerisms and his obsession with capturing his thoughts (no matter how trivial) on tape in an unending stream of consciousness?

    Other important relationships that are fleshed out include the creepy abusive Shelly/Leo marriage, the adulterous affair between Benjamin Horne and Catherine and the Truman/Josie and James/Donna romances.

    The dinner scene between Bobby and his military dad and mousy mom is a hysterical twist on the misunderstood teenager theme. We have the outwardly stiff military officer in full uniform offering Bobby fatherly advice with the cold precision of a trained psychotherapist. Great writing. I always loved the Major's speeches.

    The last scene with Leo taking a bar of soap to Shelly is brutal without showing any overt violence. The plastic sheeting on which Shelly collapses is a nice touch and serves as yet another pointer to Leo as being the killer.

    Oh, we actually meet the killer in this episode. His name is Bob and he hides behind a couch. You might think that I have ruined the surprise with this revelation, but actually I haven't.moreless
Kyle MacLachlan

Kyle MacLachlan

Special Agent Dale Cooper

Michael Ontkean

Michael Ontkean

Sherriff Harry S. Truman

Mädchen Amick

Mädchen Amick

Shelly Johnson

Dana Ashbrook

Dana Ashbrook

Bobby Briggs

Richard Beymer

Richard Beymer

Benjamin Horne

Lara Flynn Boyle

Lara Flynn Boyle

Donna Marie Hayward

Alan Ogle

Alan Ogle

Janek Pulaski

Guest Star

Michelle Milantoni

Michelle Milantoni

Suburbis Pulaski

Guest Star

Grace Zabriskie

Grace Zabriskie

Sarah Palmer

Recurring Role

Don S. Davis

Don S. Davis

Major Briggs

Recurring Role

Mary Jo Deschanel

Mary Jo Deschanel

Eileen Hayward

Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (4)

    • In the scene where James Hurley is released from jail, watch carefully for the secret sign exchanged between Big Ed Hurley and Deputy Hawk. Its significance will be explained in later episodes.

    • This episode takes place on: Saturday, February 25

    • Jill Rogosheske, who plays Trudy, the waitress at the Great Northern Hotel, is married to writer/producer Robert Engels. Trudy appears in many episodes, and also acted as the on set pianist for when the Icelanders or Leland break into song at the Great Northern.

    • Some of the characters look somewhat different in this episode then they did in the pilot. Audrey and Leo have very different hair styles, even though only a few hours have passed since the end of the last episode. {This is due to the fact that many months seperated the filming of the pilot and the filming of Episode One.}

  • QUOTES (6)

    • Log Lady: For your information, I heard you speaking about Laura Palmer?
      Agent Cooper: Yes?
      Log Lady: One day my log will have something to say about this. My log saw something that night
      Agent Cooper: Really? What did it see?
      Log Lady: Ask it.

    • Log Lady intro: I carry a log -- yes. Is it funny to you? It is not to me. Behind all things are reasons. Reasons can even explain the absurd. Do we have the time to learn the reasons behind the human being's varied behavior? I think not. Some take the time. Are they called detectives?

      Watch--and see what life teaches.

    • Pete: How do you take your coffee, Mr. Cooper?
      Cooper: Black as midnight on a moonless night.
      Pete: Pretty black!

    • Cooper: Diane, I'm holding in my hand a box of small chocolate bunnies.

    • Cooper: This is, excuse me, a damn fine cup of coffee! I've had I don't know how many cups of coffee, and this... this is one of the best.

    • Audrey: Do your palms ever itch?

  • NOTES (6)

    • David Lynch was not able to direct this episode because he was off shooting his film "Wild At Heart." Once he finished shooting "Wild At Heart," Lynch was able to direct Episode Two.

    • The fish in the percolator bit is apparently based on an incident in director Duwayne Dunham's own personal life. While driving on a family vacation, Dunham noticed that the coffee in his thermos had a particular taste. He later discovered that one of his kids had placed a hot dog in the thermos prior to their departure from home.

    • The actor who plays Janek Pulaski is now Alan Ogle (Taking over for Rick Tutor). The actress playing his wife is now Michele Milantoni (previously Roberta Maguire). Mrs. Pulaski's name was "Maria" in the pilot but it is now "Suburbis."

    • Note the construction going on in the lobby of the Sherrif's Department. They are removing the glass foyer that was seen in the pilot. Director Dunham said that David Lynch didn't want the foyer on the set (A replica of the actuall location from the pilot), so Dunham came up with this visual gag to explain it's absence.

    • A.K.A. "Traces to Nowhere"

      Lynch/Frost Productions assigned no titles to the episodes, only the episode numbers. When the show aired in Germany, the station assigned episode titles, which were re-translated to English and are somewhat accepted by fandom.

    • Rating: 16.2/27; Number 13 for the week.


    • Truman: I'm begining to feel a little bit like Dr. Watson.

      Harry is reffering, of course, to the famous sidekick of master detective Sherlock Holmes. Episode co-writer Mark Frost has written two novels featuring Sherlock Holmes and his loyal Dr. Watson. This famous duo were the partial inspiration for the Cooper/Truman dynamic.

    • Cooper: What really went on between Marlyin Monroe and the Kennedys? And who really pulled the trigger on JFK?

      Speaking about the events surrounding the assasination of President John F. Kennedy, this is the first of several references Cooper will make to unsolved mysteries in American history.