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When You See Me Again It Won’t Be Me

May 24, 2017

RR-20651.R

You may have heard that Twin Peaks returned Sunday night after a 25+ year absence. I had no interest in writing weekly reviews of the new series because I want to have the full experience and let it wash over me without worrying about taking notes and coming up with coherent thoughts immediately afterward. But a few days later I still can’t stop thinking about it, so I’m going to write about it anyway – not a review, exactly, just a collection of impressions, observations, predictions, and random thoughts about the first four hours. DO NOT READ IF YOU HAVEN’T SEEN ALL OF PARTS 1-4!

  • Although neither I nor anyone else knew much about what was going to happen on the new series, there were a few things I was fairly certain about. It would be divisive. It wouldn’t be a comfortable nostalgia trip through the Twin Peaks of coffee and pie, the way many people prefer to vaguely remember the original. My theory was that David Lynch, who has struggled to get financing for his projects and hasn’t made a movie since the self-financed Inland Empire in 2006, knew he could get someone to back up the Brinks truck if he returned to Twin Peaks. But he wasn’t going to do it unless he had complete control, which he got. And knowing that this might be his last big hurrah, he was going to throw everything from Eraserhead to Mulholland Drive to his paintings to his handmade furniture into this thing. It would be Twin Peaks, yes, but it would be much more than that – a sort of grand career summation. (Now, I don’t believe Lynch thinks exactly in those terms, but he has his obsessions, and with the Showtime budget he had the means to bring them to life on a big canvas.)

 

  • That is more or less how it turned out, at least based on the first four hours, which is less than 25% of the total. And honestly, I’m thrilled beyond words by the whole thing. I’m not sure I breathed for the first half-hour or so; just being immersed in Lynchland again cast the spell on me it usually does. It certainly has its flaws, but how could it not, given the scope of the thing? It’s definitely fragmentary, especially early on, but I love the feeling of uncertainty that comes with each little diversion. Is that all we’ll see of Ben and Jerry Horne? Will we ever really know what Dr. Jacoby is up to with the shovels? Are we done with the glass mystery box, or does it still have an important role to play? I’m glad Lynch and Frost didn’t go the binge-watch route and release all the episodes at once, as I look forward to this thing living in my head all summer long.

Kyle MacLachlan in a still from Twin Peaks. Photo: Suzanne Tenner/SHOWTIME

  • Addressing some of the complaints I’ve seen: Not enough set in the town of Twin Peaks, not enough of the familiar old characters, not enough Angelo Badalamenti music, etc. I believe this is all by design. We’ve only seen the first few chapters. As Cooper makes his way back to Twin Peaks, so will we: it will grow in prominence and start feeling more like the place we remember. Having said that, I do feel like there’s way too much of Lucy and Andy so far, and that’s the only part of the new show that feels like a strained attempt at recapturing the old one. Lucy’s fear/confusion of cell phones and the business with the chocolate bunnies just doesn’t really work for me. As for Wally Brando, that’s one of those Lynch things that seems like a very bad idea at first, but grows funnier as it pushes past the point of absurdity.

 

  • What does work for me in Twin Peaks proper: Hawk and the Log Lady, of course. Sarah Palmer with the nature documentary reflected in the mirrors behind her, recalling the end of the original pilot when we glimpsed Bob there. Bobby Briggs, startled by Laura Palmer’s photo on the evidence box, breaking down as it “brings back some memories.” And the scene at the Roadhouse that closes out the first two hours, which really captures the feeling that life has been going on in Twin Peaks all this time without us watching. It’s both a homecoming and a glimpse of our eventual destination.

The Chromatics in a still from Twin Peaks. Photo: Suzanne Tenner/SHOWTIME

  • Another complaint I’ve seen: the special effects are bad. I don’t get this one at all. Lynch isn’t going for any kind of realism with these effects, he’s drawing on his whole history as an artist to create a unique handmade CGI look. You can see “good” special effects anywhere, and they all look the same. This is a particular vision, and I don’t know how you look at something like the Evolution of the Arm and say, “that could look so much better.” What would that even mean? It looks like a David Lynch creation, as it should. (And it’s the greatest recasting job in history, a brilliant fuck-you to the troublesome Michael J. Anderson.)

 

  • One thing I was hoping to get from this revival is an extended look at the Black Lodge beyond the Red Room, and holy crap, did part three deliver on that. I think my head was smoking like Cooper’s when he gets pulled into the electric socket.

 

  • Kyle MacLachlan must have been giddy when he read the script and saw all the different aspects of Cooper he’d get to play. So far we’ve seen four different Coops (Lodge Coop, Evil Coop, Rain Man Coop, and poor Dougie Jones), and none of them are Classic Coop yet. I think he’s on the way, though. The breakfast scene with Coop-as-Dougie was goofy, yes, but also quite suspenseful as I knew it would be building toward that first sip of coffee. When that moment arrived, I could not have been more delighted.

 

  • This is already running very long, and there’s a lot I haven’t gotten to, but I thought I’d do a little speculating, foolhardy as that might be. What’s missing from the evidence boxes? Well, remember when Annie appeared to Laura in Fire Walk with Me and told her to write “The good Dale is in the Lodge and he can’t leave” in her diary? Maybe she did write that, and the page is missing. Hawk’s “heritage” must be a reference to the legend of the White and Black Lodges as he explained them to Cooper. He told Coop he would meet his own shadow-self there. My guess is that Evil Cooper will get to town first, and Hawk will be the one to figure out that he is the shadow-self, not the real Coop. After all, Cooper told Hawk in the original series, “If I’m ever lost, I hope you’re the man they send to find me.”

 

  • It’s odd that Albert doesn’t immediately figure out what’s wrong with Cooper, given that he was around for the Leland/Bob revelations. His line “I know where she drinks” – is he talking about the never-seen Diane? And will she be played by Laura Dern? I think so!

Carel Struyckenin a still from Twin Peaks. Photo: Suzanne Tenner/SHOWTIME

  • The black-and-white scene with the Giant (or ?????, as he’s listed in the credits) and Cooper: I’m guessing this is the White Lodge at some entirely different time. Is it future? Is it past? Notice that Lynch provides some mystery numbers here. I’m not sure if he’s even aware of Lost, but if so, what a beautiful troll job.

 

  • Did Evil Cooper kill Major Briggs? Bobby says Cooper was the last one to see his father alive, right before leaving town. That would have been the doppelganger. (This is in Mark Frost’s book, The Secret History of Twin Peaks.) The Major died in a fire at his station the next day – because Evil Coop knew Briggs was onto him? (Loved the posthumous Briggs cameo in part three.) If we see Philip Jeffries, will he be a recast? Or by some miracle, did David Bowie manage to do some filming before he died? The show was shooting for several months before his death, so it’s at least a slim possibility.

 

  • I better stop now. In conclusion: I am very happy Twin Peaks is back and I plan to savor every minute.
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