24 May Thoughts on… The Return of Twin Peaks
I’m a relatively new Twin Peaks fan. I bought the boxset back in October and rapidly became invested in David Lynch’s wonderful and strange nineties classic.
And, obviously, fell in love with Special Agent Dale Cooper.
As a horror enthusiast, Twin Peaks is very appealing to me. I love the small town feel, the weird, supernatural feeling of everything not being as it seems, and just how downright frightening and unnerving it is. Even today.
Since visually devouring the boxset and Fire Walk With Me, I’ve been incredibly excited about Showtime’s reboot. The online build up prior to release was so expertly done. Teaser trailers set the scene as opposed to giving fans any sort of inkling as to what we could expect.
So, on May 21st, I stayed up until 4am to officially welcome back Twin Peaks after 26 years.
I may have been absolutely wrecked the next day but it was so worth it because:
A) staying up throughout the dead of the night simply enhanced the feeling of creepiness that goes in hand with the show.
B) Honestly, I haven’t been this excited about a cinematic experience since The Force Awakens was released. I was so hyped up by the time 2am rolled around, you have no idea.
SO excited I was in fact that the night before its release (in true Twin Peaks fashion, might I add) I actually had dreams about staying up until 4am to watch it. And for a show that makes much of dreams and uncanny feelings of deja vu, I like to think ol’ Lynch would be proud.
So, how was the return of Twin Peaks?
I personally thought that the return, so far, has been superb for the four following reasons:-
Whenever I started watching Twin Peaks I was amused by the fact that my parents had watched the show, at the same age as me, around 26 years ago.
I (obviously) wasn’t around in 1991 to watch the show when it was first released so I can only imagine what it must be like for older fans to be revisiting the iconic classic after being around from its inception.
The feelings of nostalgia that would come with revisiting the town of Twin Peaks for both cast and fans would be incredible. I felt nostalgic and I’d only watched it a few months back!
This yearning for nostalgia from a loyal fanbase also poses a difficulty for Lynch however. Getting too bogged down in appeasing fans’ need for nostalgia can be an obstacle for the development of the story for season 3.
I think that Lynch has so far achieved an ideal amount of nostalgia while also gently easing fans into the development of the story in 2017.
For instance, one of the aspects I was particularly excited for was the opening sequence and music. Would the original opening be kept or would a new one be created? Would the same, hauntingly beautiful instrumentals of Angelo Badalamenti remain? What about the original title text?
Small spoiler: there’s a new opening sequence.
The camera pans across the douglas fir trees Cooper admired so much and the waterfall that calls to mind one of the first scenes of Laura Palmer’s body being found. This then transitions into the ominous fluttering of those blood red curtains we are so familiar with and that black and white zig zag floor. The original score is kept along with the title text. It is exactly what I hoped it would be.
While nostalgia is important for a show like Twin Peaks, I feel that Lynch has, so far, upheld the integrity of the story as opposed to simply appeasing fans’ need for a little nostalgia trip.
2. UN-APOLOGETICALLY WEIRD
I’ll be honest, I got about half an hour in and I was wondering what the f*&% was happening. Are you really watching Twin Peaks if that doesn’t happen at least once though?
I was feeling a mixture of exasperation and bemusement. But also worry that it was going to go too far over the weird threshold and would ultimately put people off.
Lynch is unapologetically weird and he jumps right into the weird from the very onset of the show.
Some reviews have complained that the plot is a bit too complicated and doesn’t focus enough on the actual town of Twin Peaks. In other words; it doesn’t pander enough to the nostalgia trip everyone was craving.
Clear answers about the Black Lodge are not given and this is very much intentional. So much of the horrifying element of Twin Peaks is down to our own imagination. Lynch teases this out by not making things crystal clear for his audience.
The day after the return, Scott and I had a pretty in-depth conversation about our interpretations of the Black Lodge, specifically conjecturing on how Cooper experiences time in there.
For instance, would it feel like 25 years has passed? Has he been repeating the same or similar interactions with Laura Palmer and the other residents of the Red Room in a sort of purgatory like reiteration? How would that even feel? Would it feel new every time or would he remember having had the conversations before? Or would he have an odd uncanny deja vu feeling about it all every time?
Just embrace the weird. The weird works so well because it DOESN’T make things clear. You’re left to try and figure it all out yourself and ultimately become pretty spooked.
3. A SUPERB SOUNDTRACK
Stating the obvious but the music in Twin Peaks has always been a very key part to the show.
One of the notable differences between Twin Peaks in the nineties and the return of Twin Peaks is the background silence. In almost every scene in the nineties there was instrumentals in the background such as Laura Palmer’s scene signalling emotional moments and the playful, mysterious instrumentals of “Audrey’s Dance” for more playful, humorous scenes.
Every new episode so far has ended with absolutely incredible music from bands I’ve never even heard of because I’m probably just not hipster enough.
Anyway, they are so in fitting with the show’s whole feel. Especially the performance at the end of the first double episode by Chromatics, check it out here. Very reminiscent of “Falling” by Julee Cruise back in the first season.
I hope that the episodes continue to end with these performances because it’s giving me lots of new bands to listen to and be excited about.
4. EVEN MORE FRIGHTENING
The return of Twin Peaks is not easy watching.
It was never going to be easy watching either. When the show ended back in the nineties audiences weren’t left with resolution; rather they were left asking more questions and feeling thoroughly unsettled.
We’ve all had time to mull over the fate of Cooper and try to understand how the demonic entity of Bob works. The return of Twin Peaks focuses on these issues head on. In fact, the return dives straight into these issues which I did not expect.
I expected the first episode to ease us back into the community of Twin Peaks, and postpone any visits to the Black Lodge until the end or even until the next episode.
But NOPE, Lynch threw a curveball with that one and shot down any expectations I had tentatively set up. He gets right into the horrifying aspects of the show and they’re even more frightening.
We don’t get short glimpses into the horror either, we get lengthy, painfully slow scenes that you can’t tear your eyes away from.
For instance, 2017 Laura Palmer’s debut is entrancing but also absolutely terrifying.
Solid effort for becoming being 100 times scarier 25 years later, Laura.
Her bizarre backwards vocal effects and actions, that are a benchmark of the Black Lodge, still remain incredibly unnerving to watch. The thing that creeped me out the most though was the creaking noises she makes as she walks. What’s that about?
Who knows, but it’s truly horrifying to behold.
Relishing in being unhurried, the return of Twin Peaks builds up an inherent sense of menace throughout almost every scene.
And I can’t wait for the next fourteen episodes.
What are your thoughts on the return of Twin Peaks?