The new season of Twin Peaks is here and like most of David Lynch’s works, it’s not for everyone
“It is happening again” were the words muttered by a giant envisioned by a special agent in a bar. Yes, that is very much the world of Twin Peaks but it is also the words used in the majority of the campaign for the highly anticipated season 3 of Twin Peaks dubbed The Return. After season 2 was canceled 26 years ago, so many questions were left unanswered. Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me didn’t try to answer those questions either. Some thought that after the movie’s failure, the town of Twin Peaks was never going to be revisited…until now.
Twin Peaks finally returned on Sunday and it had a lot of expectations to fulfill. For over 26 years, fans of the show speculated of what were to happen if their beloved show was to return. With expectations high, David Lynch and Mark Frost were left with slim options, to fulfill those expectations or to diverge from them. The latter is what both creators have chosen to do.
Don’t worry, Dale Cooper and the gang are still present but this version of Twin Peaks is different. At first glance, The Return is a pure Lynchian nightmare filled with a darker tone, long suspenseful moments and surreal deliciousness. On a deeper level, it feels much more like Fire Walk With Me than the original TV series. It feels like a revival of Lynch’s more recent work like Mulholland Drive, Lost Highway or Inland Empire all Lynchian-horror movies rather than the jazzy 50s nostalgia oddball series we came to love. Season 3 of Twin Peaks‘s tone is darker, much darker that it will probably make fans of the original feel like there is less of those quirky moments. I urge you that there is a nice balance of both except in this Twin Peaks there is more of those darker moments than those funny moments like Mulholland Drive. And like Mulholland Drive, this is much more honorific than light hearted. In other words, this is much more David Lynch than Mark Frost.
Yet, as much as this is different, I can’t help but feel that this version is of 25 years later. Everyone has aged, there are new faces and the darker more surrealistic tone is the progression David Lynch was waiting to do at the end of season 2. The first 4 parts of the 18 parts are a slow progression easing us in the world we missed but also introducing us to the things that changed. Of the first 4 episodes, it’s the new faces that appear more on screen. Michael Cera, Naomi Watts, Sarah Paxton, Chrysta Bell and Matthew Lillard all make their debut. However, the series doesn’t forget Kyle MacLachlan, Sheryl Lee and Kimmy Robertson. Some of the old characters are still front and center and are introduced in the very beginning, while some (where is Sherilyn Fenn?) are only introduced later. Again, Lynch and Frost are taking their time easing us into this new vision.
When watching David Lynch movies, I’ve learned not to be scared of confusion. Instead, it’s better to embrace it and embrace it you shall do. The first four episodes offer a rather confusing yet confident start to the season. You will not know all the answer from the start if anything you may have more questions. At times, it’s not hard to get frustrated from all the surrealism and change of places in the season. Fans have learned to love Twin Peaks yet much like Fire Walk With Me, Lynch decides to leave the town more often than not. This is a bold move considering this was and is still a hated part of the movie. Storylines are scattered in New York, South Dakota and of course, Twin Peaks.
These elements may frustrate fans but this is only four episodes in. What may be to come is still unknown and as of right now, it’s hard to speculate where the season will go. All of this isn’t because of Lynch’s confusing direction or Frost’s vague dialogue. It has more to do with a cryptic and minimalistic ad campaign that relied on the past rather than the present, an aspect seemingly not the case with Twin Peaks: The Return. This Twin Peaks is for fans of Lynch rather than fans of Twin Peaks.
Twin Peaks premieres every Sunday at 9pm ET on Showtime.