The Big Picture
- Xolo Maridueña made a small but memorable appearance in “Part 8” of Twin Peaks: The Return, which is considered one of the most terrifying episodes.
- The episode serves as an origin story for the supernatural entities in Twin Peaks, showing how evil forces like BOB entered the world.
- Maridueña’s later success in Cobra Kai and Blue Beetle reflects the strong qualities he displayed in Twin Peaks, despite his small role in the show.
Xolo Maridueña has officially made his big screen debut as a DC Comics superhero in the new summer blockbuster Blue Beetle. Maridueña is best known to viewers for his role as Miguel Diaz in the hit Netflix series, Cobra Kai, where he has appeared in every season. However, before Maridueña hit it big with Cobra Kai, one year earlier he made a small, one-off appearance in another major event television series, David Lynch’s Twin Peaks: The Return. Maridueña appeared in what became one of the most iconic, signature episodes of the series, which also happened to be one of the most terrifying episodes of television of all time. It’s time to take a look back at Maridueña’s role in Twin Peaks: The Return.
What Is “Part 8” of ‘Twin Peaks: The Return’ About, and Who Does Xolo Maridueña Play?
Twin Peaks has always been a highly memorable and indelible series that is still talked about even years after it went off the air. The series, created by Lynch and Mark Frost, left its mark on viewers, and fans went crazy when it was announced that the show would be returning, recalling that moment in the waiting room of the Black Lodge when Laura Palmer (Sheryl Lee) says, “I’ll see you again in 25 years.” That set the stage for Twin Peaks: The Return, which takes place 25 years after the end of the previous series finale.
“Part 8” was easily one of the most memorable, but also one of the most terrifying, episodes of Twin Peaks‘ exceptional revival. It was a dreamlike, nightmarish vision into the past, as Lynch and Frost depicted how the evil forces and entities that appear throughout Twin Peaks were able to find their way into the natural world. The episode flashes back to the original Trinity Test, the first atomic bomb explosion, that took place in 1945. Apparently, this event allowed the malevolent, extradimensional entity called The Experiment, also known as “Judy” or “Jowday,” to give birth to the evil entity known as BOB, and BOB was able to find its way to Earth. It seems after the atomic detonation, The Experiment’s progeny and the spectral-like Woodsmen were able to gain a foothold into our reality.
Later in 1956, one of The Experiment’s eggs appears in the New Mexico desert, giving birth to a strange hybrid-like “frog-moth” creature that starts to wander the desert. Soon after that is Maridueña’s scene. Playing a character credited only as “Boy,” he’s a kid from Los Alamos, New Mexico who just took his classmate, a girl (portrayed by Tikaeni Faircrest), on a date and is walking her home. Despite how frightening the episode is, Maridueña’s moment in Twin Peaks is rather sweet and innocent. It’s symbolic of the show’s longstanding thematic dichotomy. Twin Peaks is best known for how it depicts the duality of humanity, showing humankind’s capacity for both goodness and terrible evil. After walking home, the girl finds a penny and thinks it’s good luck. The boy then asks the girl if he can kiss her, and she awkwardly accepts the offer. They say good night to each other and part ways. It’s a pleasant, sweet, and innocent moment, juxtaposed by the suspenseful moment of pure terror that is shown later in the episode.
Later, the spectral-like entities, The Woodsmen, who appear to be acting in service of The Experiment, begin appearing in the area. One Woodsman enters a local radio station, horrendously murdering both the receptionist and the disc jockey. The Woodsman then starts broadcasting an eerie message, “This is the water and this is the well. Drink full and descend. The horse is the white of the eyes and dark within.” Anyone who is listening to the broadcast is forced to fall asleep, including the young girl who was returning from her date. The hatchling frog-moth creature is then shown making its way into the young girl’s room. It slowly crawls into the girl’s mouth, and she swallows it without ever knowing.
Why “Part 8” of ‘Twin Peaks: The Return’ Is So Terrifying
“Part 8” of The Return is an origin story of sorts. It offers background for the strange, otherworldly, supernatural entities that appear throughout the show and movie. Some of these creatures, such as BOB, have a malevolent influence on others. Then there is the demonic force called The Experiment, or Judy, which seems to be the mother, or quite possibly the leader, of the evil forces. The episode illustrates how BOB made its way into the world, and it’s highly suggested through both The Return and supplemental material that the young girl on the date with Maridueña’s character is none other than Sarah Palmer (née Sarah Novak), the eventual mother of Laura Palmer.
The reason the episode is so terrifying stems from the excellent way Lynch captures dreamlike, nightmarish imagery. His work looks like the type of subconscious visions we see and feel in our dreams. When we’re asleep, the dreams we experience feel real, and that makes the imagery of Lynch’s work that much more unsettling. Lynch brings those unsettling things we see in our dreams and our nightmares to life onscreen in a way that no other filmmaker manages to accomplish with such a visceral panache. The creature that Sarah Palmer consumes in the episode would explain her strange odd behavior throughout the original series, such as the moments where she appears possessed by an outside force. Also, the entity Sarah Palmer (Grace Zabriskie) appears to give host to, an evil dark force created by The Experiment, or possibly Judy itself, would explain her family’s connection to BOB. Between the haunting depiction of the Trinity Test, The Experiment seemingly to vomit out its children, The Woodsmen entering the world, the haunting broadcast message, and that frog-moth hatchling, “Part 8” of The Return is pure nightmare fuel. Lynch presents these sequences in a deeply disturbing, arresting manner. It’s like the haunting visions of our subconscious minds.
Consistent with the show’s thematic depiction of humanity’s duality, while Sarah Palmer is host to this evil entity, she also gives birth to Laura Palmer, who turns out to be a being of goodness and light who can combat both The Experiment and the dark forces shown throughout Twin Peaks. This likely explains why BOB and other dark forces were targeting Laura Palmer throughout her youth. Perhaps, evil forces were trying to convert or corrupt Laura Palmer, who in The Return appears to be a being sent by the forces of the White Lodge to offset the evil that made its way into the world as the result of the Trinity Test.
Xolo Maridueña’s Role in ‘Twin Peaks: The Return’ Is Small, But Memorable
Maridueña has a small but memorable appearance in the Twin Peaks episode. He’s a young gentlemanly kid who is simply taking a girl he likes on a date. It’s a very wholesome scene, soon juxtaposed by the terror of the lugubrious creature that stalks Sarah Novak. Maridueña did well in this show, and just a year later, he would make his debut as Miguel Diaz in Cobra Kai. And now, Maridueña is starring as a comic book superhero in the Blue Beetle movie. It looks like the strong qualities he showed in his performance in Twin Peaks carried over into his later work in Cobra Kai and Blue Beetle as well, such as his gentlemanly, affable nature and charm. However, it’s interesting to watch and realize that Maridueña once appeared in television’s eeriest and scariest events. It’s no wonder the episode garnered such huge critical acclaim and numerous award nominations. Maridueña did a great job in the show, despite a small role, so it’s no surprise that his career would eventually take off with Cobra Kai, and now he’s joining the cinematic DC Universe.
DC and WB’s Blue Beetle, starring Maridueña, is now playing in theaters.