Twin Peaks: The Return/Season 3 – Review, Part 1

David Lynch and Mark Frost’s third season of the popular TV series, Twin Peaks has reached its halfway point and it has been…

I don’t think there’s an accurate way to finish that sentence. I first watched an episode of Twin Peaks on Netflix several years ago, after it was spoofed by an episode of Psych. By now, I’ve probably seen the series in its entirety, about four times. It definitely took me a while to get into it at first; it’s still one of the weirdest, quirkiest and dark TV shows I’ve ever seen. Watch it enough times, and you’re addicted.

With the resurgence of Twin Peaks on Netflix and its renewal on Showtime, I’ve found a fervent fan base for the show and cinema of co-creator/director, David Lynch. I am slowly becoming one of them. It has also introduced an interesting phenomenon that will probably puzzle me forever. Lynch’s body of work incredibly confusing and visually striking. Die hard Lynchians will say it’s about the experience more than following the story perfectly. With this logic, you could conclude that every one of Lynch’s films is a masterpiece, you just need to “get it.” But, of course, what does that mean? Why is one confusing movie better than the other, equally odd one? This is just scratching the surface of what I want to talk about, so buckle in for a bumpy night.

This will be mostly a review/stream-of-consciousness post about the first half of Season 3, focusing heavily on the latest episode since I just watched it. I know it’s not quite halfway done, but with a two week break and the scope of episode 8, I absolutely had to write this review now.

I’ve been in two camps so far when looking at this season. One is that of some disappointment. I was expecting a continuation very similar to the original two seasons of Twin Peaks. For the most part, that’s not what it’s been at all. The other way of thinking I have is of joyous fascination. I like a lot of Lynch’s films – I think Mulholland Drive is a masterpiece – so I’ve also been loving these last eight episodes. Though this has started to make me think the “original” Twin Peaks was more of a Mark Frost product with consultations from Lynch. Of course, Lynch was very involved with the series, but there’s no way for sure to know who’s ideas most reflected the essence of the show.

Throughout this month, it’s slowly started to feel more like the Twin Peaks we all know, and hopefully love. Well, episode eight just threw all that out the window. But I think it’s one of the best episodes of television I’ve seen. I honestly think this episode will be talked about when thinking about some of TV’s best episodes of all time.

We all know Twin Peaks, and anything done by Lynch is pretty odd. Fully expecting more of it, I was even more astounded to such a degree that I can’t comprehend yet. Maybe I’m still recovering from the initial excitement. However, I don’t think I am.

The evil, spirit entity named BOB is the essential villain of Twin Peaks. He’s become the personification of evil. You could easily make the argument he’s the most important character because he seems to have a presence ever. This episode pretty much acts as his origin story. Early in the episode we go back to 1940’s New Mexico, with the detonation of the first atomic bomb. This whole sequence is brilliant. It’s black and white, starting with a wide shot of white plains, slowly zooming into the mushroom cloud. We then enter into a weird realm of bright lights and beautiful images that seem to blend sequences from (2001) A Space Odyssey and The Tree of Life. It’s then revealed that BOB, entombed in a blob, has been released onto Earth. The H-bomb is said to have demonstrated the evils that man is capable of. Apparently it was much worse than we thought. The implications of these scenes were utterly fascinating and awe-inspiring.

21twinpeaksweb2-master1050.jpg

Source: NY Times

We also seem to have found some sort of Heaven, filled with the Giant and another woman. It’s also located on a tall, rocky island with a building on top… Azkaban?? They go into some kind of theater where we see the previous images being projected onto a screen. I took this as Heaven, or some other realm, watching over Earth and the universe, being able to access it through the screen. We see this as Laura Palmer’s orb is sent down to Earth. For some reason, this whole black and white sequence amazed me. There was something so raw, beautiful and poetic about it. The Giant appearing in the Roadhouse while BOB is taking another victim from the original series is another scene that had a similar affect on me. This theater sequence may have beat that for me. It is completely indescribable for me at this moment.

There are so many more scenes in just this episode that I could talk about: Bad Coop coming back to life, that weird gas station scene, all the bums, Laura’s grandparents?, the body that threw up BOB, and where’s Audrey??? I’m just going to leave all that for you to figure out.

Lynch has been reported as saying he’s done making films, so Twin Peaks may be the last thing we ever see from him. In this episode I began to think that this is Lynch’s magnum opus, bidding farewell to the world of film. He clearly has more motives than just making a continuation to Twin Peaks. It’s turning out to be some of the most high-concept work he’s ever done, while also tying it into the show.

I’m probably overhyping this. Twin Peaks has been blowing people’s minds for years. I love hearing numerous interpretations of Lynch’s work, then seeing interviews where he just shuts them down. Sometimes a red flower is just a red flower. I don’t know what was going on inside his mind for this episode. All I can say is that my awe has reached a monumental peak. Pun intended.

Showtime has done a fantastic job releasing these episodes, whether or not it was a conscious choice. They put out the first four episodes in one day and waited two weeks for another. This let viewers acclimate to the new style of the show. If it had only been one episode, I think people would have had very negative reactions. Instead, we were able to begin piecing together the bigger picture. Now with another two week break, we are left with more than enough to think about. However, I think it’s more than possible that the rest of the episodes may not even come back to what we saw here.

I don’t want to give any real theories or predictions about the rest of this season. I’m sure whatever they are, they’ll be completely wrong. I’m just enjoying the experience of seeing something I never thought I would. The early ’90s were before my time, so I could only read about the culture Twin Peaks created. I’m so glad that I’m alive now, able to experience some of it. I’ve been watching TV for years, but this is a time I’ll never forget.

Drink full and descend.

 

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