Twin Peaks: The Return cinematographer Peter Deming is still trying to “figure out” the meaning of Mark Frost and David Lynch’s mind-boggling TV revival, despite having worked on the show and watched it as a viewer. Indeed, anyone who’s sat through Twin Peaks season 3 will find this bamboozlement highly relatable.
Twin Peaks: The Return raised more questions than it answered, which is exactly what you’d expect from Lynch and Frost’s return to this world. On the answering questions side of the fence, Judy’s true identity was revealed. But on the mystery-stoking side, Audrey’s location was left unknown to both the character and the audience. This mix of resolution and confusion left fans with a small stack of answers and a sizeable pile of new questions at the end of the run. And you could argue the biggest question of all is this: what does it all mean?
As it turns out, shooting the show was even more confusing than watching it. Deming explained to IndieWire that The Return was shot like a film, with the crew staying in one location and shooting all the scenes that are set there, before moving to the next set and all filming all of its relevant content. Essentially, nothing was shot in the right order, and that didn’t make it easy for Deming to keep up:
“I didn’t personally have a lot of prep time to prep 500-pages of material, but even if I had at certain point in the shooting you’re not really sure – besides a scene number – where you are in the story [...] There’s such a huge amount of material it was sort of hard to keep a linear perspective on it. I kept going back [to the script], because there was so many new characters and trying to figure all that out and at a certain point you just had to get through it.”
And now, having watched The Return in the right order, Deming still isn’t able to make complete sense of it. He was asked what it means and how it all fits together, and Deming simply said this: “I’m still trying to figure it out myself”. Essentially, despite having been involved in the making of these 12 episodes, Deming is still in the same position as the audience: attempting to make sense of it all, and failing.
Deming isn't sure what direction his creative relationship with Lynch will go in next. He noted that The Return was "a huge undertaking for David" which "took four and half years of his life" and featured many seven-day working weeks. Deming closed out his interview by saying, “I’m sure I’ll connect with [Lynch] this fall and see what’s on his mind.”
Of course, many fans - who are still trying to figure out The Return - will be hoping that Lynch, Frost and Deming decide to make their creative priority Twin Peaks season 4, which hasn’t properly been discussed or officially been ordered at this stage. If they do go down that route, however, Lynch has stressed that another season of Twin Peaks would take years to make. There’s plenty of time to ponder those mysteries, then.