TV – Twin Peaks: The Return

This article is not what it seems as Steve Taylor-Bryant DOESN'T review Twin Peaks: The Return...

This is not a review. There shall be no huge spoilers here, although a few subtle ones may escape as my emotional style gets the better of me, they certainly won’t be intentional. Twin Peaks is a staple of my televisual life, in fact most things made by David Lynch hold important moments of my life in their hands. Go back to the late eighties and early nineties and you’ll find a young teen still finding his greasy skinned way into life. That teen was me. I was different, a side effect of constantly moving as a child, so had no close friendships, found relating to ordinary people difficult. I filled my time watching Terry Gilliam and David Lynch films and frightening my parents with the levels of weirdness I would readily consume. Then came a groundbreaking television show, something that never really attempted to have a beginning, a middle or an end, and certainly not in that order. Something that resembled a work of art with dialogue rather than a conventional, run of the mill, television show. Something that allowed me to continue my love affair of Kyle MacLachlan’s work but that at the same time allowed other people to enter the world I had been inhabiting. Twin Peaks made David Lynch less niche and more popular but without the expert filmmaker having to change a damn thing. My first wife even liked Twin Peaks and allowed me to name my firstborn Kyle as a tribute to one part of my favourite duo. But then Twin Peaks did what I knew it would do, it got all David Lynch and not everyone that loved this murder investigation show was still there at the end, with Agent Cooper in the Black Lodge. And that was that. Twin Peaks went into cult fandom as either the most important television show ever, or as a complicated mess that people just didn’t understand. Me? I got the VHS tapes so I could watch again and again whenever possible, and when they wore out and technology had moved on, I got the DVDs. And that’s a problem with a comeback after a quarter of a century, what can something ‘of its time’ offer a world almost unrecognisable to one it last had any impact on.

I’m on record for hating The X-Files comeback. I admitted publicly that I was nervous for the Twin Peaks return and the only crumb of comfort I was afforded was from the author, Kneel Downe, who (after calling me names) told me to trust it, that Twin Peaks never was and never will be The X-Files so I watched along with everyone else not really knowing what to expect.

Luckily for me I got exactly what I wanted. Twin Peaks didn’t change. It is not maybe breaking television ground anymore, more following its own path, but it was artistic, it was engaging, it was intriguing, it was full of character. It was exactly what it used to be but a sheen of High Definition that compliments Lynch’s vision and visuals. It has multi layered stories going on, that are impossible to second guess at this early step along the journey, it has stories taking place away from the titular town and the almost purgatorial confines of the red velveted curtains of the lodge, it has new characters that allow for an older audience to enjoy something and try and figure out how it fits what they already know, and allows a new audience a ‘way in’ to something that is as far from all inclusive as a show gets. Whilst Kyle MacLachlan has aged gracefully he slips back into his Agent Cooper façade like he’s wearing comfy slippers, the inclusion of some cast originals leave a warm fuzzy feeling, and I will admit to a tear watching Catherine E. Coulson, complete with disappearing hair and oxygen tube, conversing with her trusted log, knowing that this screen great will never get bask in the happiness her appearance has given us, her audience. There is surely more to come and a lot of the confirmed cast that are reappearing haven’t yet been seen, but the new cast have come in and fitted so well, including a big thank you to Matthew Lillard whose casting I was not particularly happy with. He played his role like he was a member of the Lynch old guard.

Yes, the dialogue for some seems stilted, almost wooden, but if you allow yourself to become immersed in Twin Peaks you’ll see that this considered and controlled way of acting that Lynch wants from his cast is deliberate and fits the stories only Lynch can tell. Yes, sets like the glass box in New York seem strange and out of place. Hold your horses, nothing is in a Twin Peaks story without reason, and with Mr. Frost and Mr. Lynch embarking on another Twin Peaks journey, you know that come the end of this eighteen hour epic (this is no episodical slice of television, this is a very long play cut into acts) not everything will make sense but you will have been treated to what you want from a Twin Peaks experience, because that’s what Twin Peaks is, it’s a personal experience, we all have different elements we get, different characters we love, and my experience will differ from yours, and from Kneel’s, and from your friends. That’s a good thing.

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Images - Showtime
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