The return of Twin Peaks was certainly a long time coming, and as frustrating as it was at times, the eighteen episode run was definitely worth the wait. Creator and director David Lynch is, arguably, even more absurdist and surreal than ever before, though that could also appear to be the case simply because of the lack of difference on our TV screens. In a world that is very much the same, Lynch’s direction, and his co-writing with Mark Frost, dares to be different. As a director, Lynch is not afraid of silence or inactivity – in fact, he relishes it. Given that Twin Peaks: The Return was so different and unique, and that it ended with so many unanswered questions, it makes sense that we should want the show back for a fourth season, but will that ever happen?
First of all, it’s worth remembering that when Twin Peaks season 2 came to an end, we didn’t think it would ever be back. Laura Palmer might have said she’d see us in 25 years, but even so, it seemed unrealistic to hope. So it was something of a surprise when, in 2014, Lynch confirmed that he and Frost were working together again to film a new, 9 episode season of Twin Peaks.
An accompanying book, The Secret History of Twin Peaks, written by Frost, was also released, and filled in all that had taken place in the town in the 25 years since we last paid it a visit. However, the project seemed to be abandoned when Lynch announced he would no longer be involved because Showtime, the new home of Twin Peaks, wouldn’t give the series the money and time he felt it deserved. Essentially, Showtime realized that if Lynch wants to make a show for your network, it’s probably best to let him do as he pleases and after talks, Lynch came back on board and Twin Peaks season 3 was officially green-lit for eighteen episodes, all co-written and directed by Lynch.
With almost all of the original cast willing to return, filming on Twin Peaks then started, shrouded in secrecy as with all of Lynch’s work. The cast list was expanded upon and then some; over 200 names are credited as appearing in the season. Overall, though viewing figures haven’t been all that great, the return of Twin Peaks has been heralded a success by Showtime, and it’s easy to see why.
Firstly, once on-demand, international, subscription, and recorded viewings are taken into account, Twin Peaks: The Return has given Showtime its biggest success to date. Secondly, it’s gotten people talking, speculating, dissecting and discussing the show just as they always used to do in the 90’s – only now we have social media, which makes the conversation even more prevalent. Thirdly, the return of Twin Peaks has rightly brought Lynch back into the conscious of the mainstream viewers, and even if we don’t understand a lot of it, we can still appreciate damn fine TV when we see it.
As with all previous seasons of Twin Peaks, this third season was left open-ended and unfinished. After Dale Cooper (Kyle MacLachlan) tracked down a waitress named Carrie whom he believed was Laura Palmer, the show ended with Cooper asking what year it was, and Carrie/Laura emitting an ear-piercing scream. Did she, or does she, remember something? Is she really Laura? Have we traveled to another dimension?
Certainly there are more than enough unanswered questions to ensure that a fourth season could get made. If Lynch and Frost were so inclined, they could set about writing the kind of final season that other shows have, where each character has an ending- happy or otherwise- tied up with a neat bow. There would be no trouble recruiting the cast, either. MacLachlan would do more, Laura Dern is one of Lynch’s frequent collaborators, as is Naomi Watts, and the rest of the Twin Peaks regulars, Madchen Amick, Dana Ashbrook, etc, would almost certainly be up for it.
But the trouble is, Twin Peaks isn’t any other network show. It never has been. It is singular, unique, and unlikely to ever follow any pattern that’s already been set by someone else. Possibly this is the reason why the cast are so faithful; an opportunity to work with a true visionary such as Lynch doesn’t come around all that often so when it does, you take it. Sadly, though, MacLachlan says there’s been “no discussions” about any further seasons. This ties into what Showtime have already said, which is that while there are no plans for more, Lynch would be welcome to return at any time.
Lynch is not one to bow to pressure from fans, either. If he were to decide that more episodes could happen, it would be his (and Frost’s) decision, and it would be done on his terms, in his own way. It could be 5 episodes, it could be 20, or it could be a movie…but it’s likely to be nothing at all. For Lynch, who played the hard of hearing Gordon Cole, one would also have to question just how much joy a future reunion could actually bring.
For almost all of his scenes- and there were many in The Return, Lynch played opposite Miguel Ferrer as Albert Rosenfield. The pair were a brilliant double act; their scenes together always a real highlight. Ferrer passed away in January, never getting to see the long awaited Twin Peaks return. Gordon without Albert? That’s like a donut without coffee. It just wouldn’t work. Other cast members have also passed away since filming their scenes, including the beloved Catherine Coulson as Log Lady, while some never got the chance to reprise their roles at all, including David Bowie as Phillip Jeffries. Although not all central characters, Twin Peaks isn’t solely about Dale Cooper, and to have such important people missing could make the show seem very hollow and sad indeed.
So could Twin Peaks return? Most definitely. Will it return? Unlikely. As frustrating as it is, we will most likely never know what made Laura/Carrie scream, or why Diane started referring to herself and Cooper as Linda and Richard. We’ll never find out where Audrey really is, or why Phillip Jeffries is a kettle. But we do have three compelling and brilliantly enjoyable seasons of extraordinary TV to watch, and that is Lynch’s gift to us all.
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