Even though I couldn’t make it through the first episode (S01E01) when I tried to watch it again in 2012, no one was looking forward to Twin Peaks: The Return more than me…
Airing the first two parts of season three as a feature-length episode was a definite mistake – 120 minutes was too hard a slog to reintroduce viewers to the universe, but episodes three and four were a delight to watch. Dark Cooper, Real Cooper’s first secenes as Dougie, The Black Lodge and any supernatural elements hold my attention but halfway thriugh the fifth episode, this season is becoming a chore and I’m not sure I can last much longer.
People may say that the original series was the same – and though it was teeth-pullingly slow and now unwatchable, the original didn’t suffer from the same glaring storytellig errors. The original opened with the possibly the most famous thematic question in television: Who killed Laura Palmer. Twin Peaks: The Return has no thematic question, begging the question… what exactly are we watching?
After five hours of going nowhere, I’m no closer to understanding.
There are no answers without questions and “What the hell is going on?” is no dramatic question.
I love David Lynch, not just as a visionary artist but as a transcendental meditator; this real-life spirit guide can teach us some of the secrets of the universe. I knew I would have to forgive a few of his foibles up front; pacing, scenes that go nowhere, kookiness for the sake of it, wooden acting, purposefully pulpy terrible dialogue and of course, trademark confusion but there is no excuse for 18 episodes of confusing filler.
I fully concur with Alfred Hitchcock, when he said:
If you confuse an audience, then they aren’t emoting.
After finally making it out of The Black Lodge after all these years trapped, what started as a fun novelty act just two episodes ago, Kyle Mclauchlan’s turn as Real Cooper/Dougie is becoming cringeworthy, very quickly. Not just because it’s taking an aeon to develop (I thought coffee would snap him back into FBI Agent Dale Cooper, but alas) but because, despite displaying behavior that should see him dragged off to the nearest psych ward, not one single person around Dougie stops to pause to ask what’s wrong.
I understand surrealism (and to a certain extent, non-realism) makes up his universe and that Lynch has always trod a fine line between low quality and bad with a knowing wink – but, with hurriedly framed shots that students should be ashamed of, I genuinely can’t tell the difference anymore.
In fact, half way through this episode. I’m done. You win, Lynch. You have broken me.
I’m sure there are some very clever hidden statements about society or the media or spirituality in there somewhere… but I can’t wade through hours of manure on the off chance of one pearl of wisdom. I’m sure I’ll change my mind, but please, please give us some substance over style.
Since there are no questions in Twin Peaks: The Return, I’ll end by posing one of my own:
I say, I say, I say… which one of your favorite directors can make you switch off a show you’ve waited 26 years for as a car bomb explodes on screen?
David Lynch, that’s who.