David Lynch’s bizarre, unsettling and strangely seducing world of Twin Peaks is back, and with it, a number of familiar faces from the original ’90s series. The best part about the return, however, is arguably a new character, played brilliantly by Michael Cera.
[Warning: The following contains spoilers for the fourth episode of Twin Peaks.]
It’s revealed during Twin Peaks’ season three premiere that Lucy and Andy, two staples of the Twin Peaks Sheriff’s Department from the first season, had a son named Wally who is now 24. Andy delightfully points out that Wally shares a birthday with Marlon Brando and, because this is a Lynch creation, the similarities don’t stop there.
When Wally makes his grand debut, it’s in the show’s fourth episode with a cocky Michael Cera chilling on the back of a motorcycle. Like any proud parents, Lisa and Andy are excited for Wally to meet their friends and co-workers. They wrap their arms around him and beckon for Sheriff Truman to come over and talk to him.
The entire introductory scene can be watched in the clip above, but the best part about Cera’s entire performance is his impression of Brando’s signature voice. Cera slows down his speech, mumbling his words and at one point, even makes a reference to The Godfather, one of Brando’s most famous films.
“As you know, your brother, Harry S. Truman, is my godfather,” Cera says. “I heard that he’s ill. I came to pay my respects to my godfather and extend my best wishes to his recovery, which I hope will be swift and painless.”
Throughout Wally’s entire monologue, Lucy and Andy stay by his side, fawning over every word their only child says to Sheriff Truman. It’s a wonderful caricature of small-town life, a major theme of the show. Twin Peaks may have been a murder mystery, but as actor Kyle MacLachlan told The Guardian, “The people that populate that town, and what they do, and how they behave, and what’s going on under the surface ... that was not expected.”
Twin Peaks was designed to make the viewer feel uncomfortable, and Lynch is a master at turning normal people into sideshows, exaggerating slight details to make them seem weird enough to disturb us. Wally, although funny, is a perfect example of that. There’s something strange about him, and when he’s positioned between two lovable but equally odd people, the scene is strangely off-putting.
Although the role is small, Cera underplays it well, drawing attention to his voice and nothing more. His appearance is in itself a tribute to Brando and plays into Lynch’s joke, but Cera doesn’t call attention to it. Letting Cera be weird — a role that’s been given to him time and time again — and combining that with his comedic talents has led to one of the best parts of Twin Peaks’ revival.
For Cera, it was the job of a lifetime. Without even knowing what the role was, Cera told GQ that he told his agent to let Lynch know he was interested.
“I got a call from my agent that David had reached out,” Cera said. “I don’t think I initially knew what the project was. But I didn’t really need to know anything. I just said, “Tell me where and when and I’ll do whatever possible to be there.’”
Twin Peaks airs Sunday nights at 9 p.m. ET on Showtime. The first four episodes are available to watch through the network’s streaming service.