Twin Peaks: The Return has been some of the weirdest TV ever produced. It’s David Lynch at his most unrestrained and unforgiving, while also an incessant, targeted subversion of what audiences expect from modern television. It’s the third season of a show that spent weeks avoiding its namesake and cares more about the once-reviled prequel movie. It’s a horror and a comedy, sometimes at the same time. Monica Belluci makes a cameo as herself and it may be the most important scene. It stars Kyle MacLachlan three times (and everyone else in alphabetical order). And the finale felt like an entirely different show.
But, now it’s all over, we can make a grander statement: Twin Peaks: The Return made sense.
Did everything get answered? No. Is that ending made to spawn a literally neverending debate? Yes. Cutting through all that, though, it’s a show we can understand. Let’s take a deep dive.
The Original Twin Peaks (Mostly) Made Sense (This Page)
The Original Twin Peaks (Mostly) Made Sense
Sense and Twin Peaks rarely come together in the pop culture lumber factory. Sure, by modern standards its seven-episode first season has a pretty straight throughline and follows a suitably sprawling set of characters, but that was challenging in the era of episodic TV. A second year only upped the ante; the central mystery was solved and so its second half began to splinter off in a half-dozen different directions, all bridging the real and metaphysical plane.
The reasons the show was canceled are many – quality, writing shifts and scheduling all played their part – although the affronting bizarreness helped accelerate them all. The likes of Homer Simpsons may have found it “brilliant“, but having “absolutely no idea what’s going on” is poison to weekly viewing.
Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me, a movie that was half prequel explaining Palmer’s death, half mythology expansion that attempted to deepen the lurking threat of the Black Lodge and the purpose of Cooper’s FBI division, was savaged on release, primarily because it was neither a simple explanation of the show nor a complete standalone.
But, as we already said, looking back it’s not exactly incomprehensible. Sure, the later parts of Season 2 when Lynch left the regular writing staff struggled from the same problems all his imitators do, yet at its core Twin Peaks is a clearly focused story of one chip in the facade of Americana being pulled back to reveal true evil. It’s part metaphor, part soap, all Lynch. It was different (and due to its impact being a distillation still is) but is hardly affronting. That it was the peak of strangeness really only highlights how much TV has changed in the past 27 years.
The Return is much weirder. Knowing the previous 30 episodes and movie certainly helps but the decision to give this its own title – rather than the often used yetincorrect “Season 3” – was telling. This isn’t the same show as the one we got in the 1990s. Fitting of us being in the midst of aptly named Peak TV, it’s a more ambitious descendant of the game-changing original series. But we’re still dealing with something different to the present norm, rather than something truly ethereal.
To be clear, we’re not going to be providing a full explanation here – don’t worry though, Screen Rant will have you covered with a great series of enlightening articles. What want to look at why The Return ultimately made sense.
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