Wasn't the killer obvious? (SPOILERS)

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Jonah
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Wasn't the killer obvious? (SPOILERS)

Postby Jonah » Thu Oct 10, 2019 6:47 pm

SPOILERS for the original run about the killer's identity

Wasn't the killer obvious? Or was it even a whodunnit once "Bob" was revealed?

I watched it back in the day too but I was a kid and my memories are vague. My strongest memories are of the photo of Laura at the end of each episode and Maddy's murder. Beyond that, it's a blur.

But I'm just wondering, wasn't

Spoiler:
Leland


as the killer obvious? (I'm putting it in spoiler tags just in case, but lol I'm sure anyone reading this on this board knows who it is.) Even to those who watched this in modern times and somehow didn't know the killer, did it not seem obvious to you?


I mean,
Spoiler:
the guy is dancing around and crazy for most of Season 1. He breaks a photo of Laura, smears blood all over it. And then he's acting crazy in public all the time, Sarah's telling him not to "ruin this too". Then in the final episode of Season 1, HE ACTUALLY KILLS SOMEONE. Then in the Season 2 premiere, his hair is white and he's acting crazy again, really crazy this time. Even singing "be happy!" like what a week after the murder? Then he's connected to Bob in the very next episode too, who's hinted to be someone he met as a child. Okay so I know a lot of the dancing and stuff could be put down to grief, but did he not seem really off to everyone? And we were meant to think Bob was real up to the reveal, right? So did people actually believe Bob was the killer? Is that why they managed to throw suspicion off Leland? Or were people still waiting for the "whodunnit" reveal? But how is it a whodunnit if everyone thought it was this Bob guy since Season 1? More like a whydunnit or whoisbobdunnit?


Anyway, would love to hear people's thoughts on this aspect of the show. I've rewatched it so often, that it's impossible for me to know what it was like to not know who the killer was. And did anyone see FWWM and not know? Curious about that too.
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mtwentz
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Re: Wasn't the killer obvious? (SPOILERS)

Postby mtwentz » Thu Oct 10, 2019 7:24 pm

No, it wasn’t obvious at all to most people. The obvious ones were Bobby, James, Leo, Jacques and Ben Horne.

Plus, the whole BOB thing threw another wrench into things.

The clues about Leland only seem obvious in retrospect.
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Mr. Reindeer
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Re: Wasn't the killer obvious? (SPOILERS)

Postby Mr. Reindeer » Thu Oct 10, 2019 8:25 pm

I would posit that Twin Peaks, like Fight Club, is one of the rare audiovisual narratives that redefined the way viewers process narrative. These things seem obvious now precisely because the TP approach to mystery and storytelling has become so imitated and ingrained in the cultural consciousness. At the time, there really wasn’t anything else like it on TV, or even mainstream cinema.
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Re: Wasn't the killer obvious? (SPOILERS)

Postby Hester Prynne » Thu Oct 10, 2019 9:54 pm

I was very young when I watched the original series, so my perception probably would have been different had I watched it ten years later, but I don’t think the killer was obvious. “Crazy” in Twin Peaks is a relative term - plenty of nutty, but lovable characters to go around, so any oddball behavior is the norm. I think most people probably interpreted his behavior as part of a breakdown from the grief of losing his daughter as opposed to a guilty conscience. That’s how it came across to me - was totally surprised by the reveal. I had thought it was Ben, but that’s what they were leading us to believe in the buildup.
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Re: Wasn't the killer obvious? (SPOILERS)

Postby Soolsma » Fri Oct 11, 2019 4:25 am

I was completely baffled when I figured Leland was the actual killer, the realization came even a bit later than the Maddy killing scene. I still couldn't fully comprehend what was going on with the BOB/Leland thing.

I think the biggest (yet very subtle) tell that suggested Leland was in fact the killer was in season one. I can't recall the exact moment, but when Maddy sneaks out of the house to join up with Donna and James, the camera pans to Leland sitting in the dark in the living room with a frowned face. The dancing thing is even in retrospect a very vague clue. I mean; batshit crazy stuff happens in Twin Peaks, how on earth is one suppose to deduce a link like that: dwarf dancing + Leland = he's the killer. He just seemed like a manically depressed father in mourning.

When I introduced my best buddy to the series, we were regularly discussing the series, and I would ask him who he thought the killer was. About 4 episodes in he would say "maybe her father killed her". You guys should have seen the poker face I pulled. Afterwards he suggested many of the obvious culprits: Leo, Horne, later it turned to BOB. Still he was also completely astonished by the reveal.
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Re: Wasn't the killer obvious? (SPOILERS)

Postby dkenny78 » Fri Oct 11, 2019 8:03 am

Another reason that might have made it difficult for the audience to deduce that it was Leland was that, subconsciously, we didn't WANT it to be Leland. Leland was a sympathetic and likable character, we understood his grief in Season 1 which is what got us past the murder of Jacques, the dancing with Laura's picture, etc. And when he started to rebound in Season 2, we were rooting for him and wanted him to make a full recovery. That's what makes the revelation all the more heartbreaking. Bobby, Ben, Leo, on the other hand, all had demonstrated dark sides pretty early on (though I think Bobby starts to come around after the session with Jacoby and then especially at the beginning of Season 2).
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Mr. Reindeer
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Re: Wasn't the killer obvious? (SPOILERS)

Postby Mr. Reindeer » Fri Oct 11, 2019 8:06 am

I also think the idea that the show would go the darkest possible route, incorporating incest and parental abuse, was something people assumed no network show would touch in that era, and for that reason alone it presumably didn’t cross most viewers’ minds that Leland was even a suspect.
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Re: Wasn't the killer obvious? (SPOILERS)

Postby LateReg » Fri Oct 11, 2019 8:17 am

I'll echo what everyone else has said. The clues only becomes obvious on repeat viewings, and that's a truly remarkable thing. I also think that as soon as someone might grow suspicious of Leland, too many other variables arise - from his own grief to the shady dealings and intrigue surrounding other characters - that cause one to push Leland out of their mind of actual suspects. I also think, as Reindeer said, Twin Peaks was one of those shows that taught us how to watch certain media, and in retrospect trained us to look for certain clues (in a wide variety of films/TV) that we wouldn't have known to look for when it aired.

My uncle recently directed me to some poll that was done back during the time the show aired. I think it might have been done via whatever message boards existed back then. Before the reveal of the killer, only 2% voted Leland. I will try to find the link he sent me, but it was via text and I'm not sure if I still have it.
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Re: Wasn't the killer obvious? (SPOILERS)

Postby Agent Earle » Fri Oct 11, 2019 8:23 am

I think them having Leland kill the at-the-time prime suspect for Laura's murder, Jacques Renault, was another red herring, so to speak, that threw everyone off Leland's scent - of course he was gonna come after his little girl's killer, what with his grief being so earth-shattering and all.

On a side note, it cracks me up that we apparently still need "spoilers" tag when talking about the contents of nearly three decades-old show! :D
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Cappy
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Re: Wasn't the killer obvious? (SPOILERS)

Postby Cappy » Fri Oct 11, 2019 9:04 am

I always found it interesting that the (second) most overtly insidious character in Season 1 (Hank Jennings) was the only character in the whole show that had an air tight alibi for the night of Laura's murder, and therefor couldn't be a suspect. (Leo is the most insidious character: beating his wife, trying to kill his wife, assassinating a mynah bird)

I was completely shocked when Leland was revealed as the killer. I didn't want to believe it -- I tried to rationalize him killing Maddie by thinking BOB had possessed him to do it, but had possessed someone else to kill Laura, or maybe Leland went insane from the grief of losing Laura and couldn't bear for Maddie to leave him for her life in Montana. I suppose Leland was obvious in hindsight in the same way most hindsight is 20/20. But he was just so damn sympathetic and likable that I personally didn't want to believe it. And on top of that, his murdering Jacques Renault to avenge Laura made the possibility of him murdering Laura seem totally implausible.

Looking back on the first season, I don't think it's very obvious that Leland was the killer (although him sitting in the darkness while Maddie sneaks around was ominous), but it always feels like Sarah knows or suspects something that she can't fully comprehend.
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Re: Wasn't the killer obvious? (SPOILERS)

Postby Hester Prynne » Fri Oct 11, 2019 5:25 pm

Mr. Reindeer wrote:I also think the idea that the show would go the darkest possible route, incorporating incest and parental abuse, was something people assumed no network show would touch in that era, and for that reason alone it presumably didn’t cross most viewers’ minds that Leland was even a suspect.


Yep - I was thinking that as well. I’ve wondered sometimes if that played a part in the decline in viewership because incest/sexual abuse was still taboo to discuss/acknowledge at the time. Maybe it was too dark and disturbing for some, so they tuned out more because of that than the identity of Laura’s killer being revealed/time changes for the show/Season 2 plot lines,etc. Just another way TP was ahead of its time.
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Re: Wasn't the killer obvious? (SPOILERS)

Postby IcedOver » Fri Oct 11, 2019 7:36 pm

I recall back then (being only 13/14) not really forming an opinion on who the killer was because the show purposely cast suspicion on every character. It became less about trying to figure out who the killer was than going along with what you were shown, feeling the sense of mystery rather than feeling that mystery needed to have an answer.
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Agent Earle
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Re: Wasn't the killer obvious? (SPOILERS)

Postby Agent Earle » Sat Oct 12, 2019 12:33 am

IcedOver wrote:I recall back then (being only 13/14) not really forming an opinion on who the killer was because the show purposely cast suspicion on every character. It became less about trying to figure out who the killer was than going along with what you were shown, feeling the sense of mystery rather than feeling that mystery needed to have an answer.



Well, if more viewers back then were like you, TP would now be in its 30th season! :)
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Re: Wasn't the killer obvious? (SPOILERS)

Postby Mr. Strawberry » Sun Oct 13, 2019 11:06 pm

Wasn't obvious at all to me. I thought of Leland as a real schmarmy goober. A second rate soap opera star. Some small time doofus who believes he's the Supreme American Dream when in reality he's just a vain and cheesy local celebrity passing his prime. The emotional deathblow he was dealt explained everything else, in my eyes.

This of course turned out to be the genius of Ray Wise at work. When he came out dancing and wild, with that incredible charm and electrifying zest, it was totally unreal. It seemed like he had gone over the edge, but also like he was just letting go and being himself, as if he no longer had anything to lose. I thought he was becoming very dangerous but I never suspected him.
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Re: Wasn't the killer obvious? (SPOILERS)

Postby JackwithOneEye » Sat Oct 26, 2019 1:57 pm

I was 13 at the time. I read LP's secret diary. I watched the show with my parents. I kept saying it was Ben Horne. My father kept saying that was red herring, too obvious. When Ben got arrested , i said, see, it's him, and my father was like, nah, there's 15 more minutes or whatever, Lynch has more tricks. As soon as Leland turned into Bob in the mirror, I gulped. My father said 'see'... it was hard to process at first. Leland was very relatable in the pilot and season 1. Part of what made TP special was the accuracy, realism with the grieving process that most modern TV skips over. I remember feeling elated in the 2 hour premiere that Leland had gotten past his grief, and Jaques was established to be, if not the killer, certainly a rapist and a sex trafficker.

Leland as killer only seems obvious in retrospect. I knew who the killer was the second he was introduced in Broadchurch since it was the only person not looked at as a suspect and everyone else seemed guilty. Red herrings easier to spot as one gets older.

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