After a twenty-five year hiatus (that was actually predicted in the final season, although it was probably just David Lynch writing weird dialogue) Twin Peaks is back in a season that took no less than three years to film (and so is rather more layered and nuanced than just about any other season of TV you’ll ever see) and consequently includes appearances from multiple characters where the actors are now dead (although, so far at least, only two really major ones).
If you’re a fan of the original Twin Peaks and David Lynch at his most Lynchian you’ll probably enjoy this. It’s not quite so much a season three (although it’s numbered as such), it’s styled as Twin Peaks: The Return and so it is. Many, but not all, of the original cast are back (some are dead, some have retired, some didn’t want to be involved and although I don’t know what pressure if any was applied, those choices for retired and uninterested actors seem to have been honoured), and looking 25 years older. I’d go so far as to say I’ve never seen such a wrinkled looking cast in a US show in fact. The story, such as it’s possible to distinguish it so far, is not a direct ‘and this happened next’ although it is clearly developing links back to what happened twenty-five years ago.
It’s almost impossible to imagine you would want to watch Twin Peaks and not be a fan of David Lynch, at least to some extent - even if you only really know his work through the show’s first two seasons. But we’ve already seen a lot of his trademark tricks and flourishes: the apparently mundane scene that builds tension better than just about any other director doing anything else, the bizarre, the surreal, the causally brutal, the multiple levels on which the story appears to being told and even the Lynch muses. Mixed with that is quite a lot of what made Twin Peaks work: the charm, the whimsy and more. In 2017, who else could give you a scene of someone spray-painting shovels gold in the woods that lasts about 4 minutes? Even more, who else could leave you wondering if that’s ever going to be significant or it’s just one of those things that happens in the town of Twin Peaks? And even more than that, who could do it in a US TV show and have the fans and the critics applauding it?
Although Twin Peaks predates procedurals and super-hero TV it certainly subverts them both. There are people that don’t like David Lynch for a variety of reasons personal, professional and directorial/stylistic, and I certainly understand many of those concerns on a visceral as well as a cerebral level. But he makes things that engage me and wonder wtf is going to happen next, and just sometimes make me wonder if the things I’m seeing will escape from the box I’m watching them in. No one else does that, not regularly anyway (although other directors and storytellers make me want to climb into the box and into their stories) and for that reason I always want to see more.
I’m enjoying it and I’m fully invested in the trip, with many of the values of that word.
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