This is a review of episodes 1 & 2 of 2017 series.
Whatever questions we have about Twin Peaks (and there are plenty), one thing is clear: David Lynch has lost none of his striking touch, some 25 years after this series ended.
Baffling, dazzling, trippy it may be, but across it all is a distinctive directorial tone unlike anything else on television. While other shows may have ventured down a path of surreal television (lookin’ at you American Gods), Lynch is unafraid to play with time and space.
There is so much stillness in his work. There are wide shots, slow-tracking cams, pregnant pauses and actors sitting in silence. And then it is all disrupted with flashes of chaotic violence. It’s like Lynch brings us Waiting for Godot on acid…
But for anyone unfamiliar with the previous outings there are no free passes here. No “Previously on Twin Peaks” to bring you up to speed in the script by Lynch and Mark Frost.
“I’ll see you again in 25 years,” Laura Palmer (Sheryl Lee) told FBI Agent Dale Cooper (Kyle MacLachlan) all those years ago in the red confines of the Black Lodge. Now 25 years on it’s time for Cooper to leave the Lodge -but only after his doppelganger (McLachlan in a dual role) returns first. That’s going to be some challenge given he is wreaking havoc in South Dakota and has no plans to return.
This instalment shifts between several locations, those in Twin Peaks Washington, were amongst the most fleeting of all.
Instead we focus on a young student (Ben Rosenfield) in an NYC warehouse apartment, hired by a mysterious billionaire to watch a glass box under the glare of lights and video cameras. Working without any insight into the mysteries of the box, he gets a rude lesson in dark forces during an intimate moment with sexy friend Tracy (Madeline Zima). It’s a scene we will revisit later…
The key action takes place in Buckhorn, South Dakota where Marjorie Green calls police over fears for her neighbour Ruth Davenport. It’s a black comedy of errors until Ruth’s grisly remains are discovered, setting in motion the arrest of school principal Will Hastings (Matthew Lillard). Meanwhile Cooper’s doppelganger is going after co-conspirators Ray and Daria, and tidying up other business in Buckhorn….
At Twin Peaks loglady (Catherine Coulson) is passing on crucial information to Deputy Sherriff Hawk (Michael Horse): “Something is missing and you have to find it. It has something to do with Special Agent Dale Cooper.”
And in the hypnotic, eerie surrounds of the Red Room, Cooper is visited by several previous characters all passing on widsom: Laura Palmer, Leland (Ray Wise), Mike (Al Strobel) and a talking tree suggesting it is the re-embodiment of The Man from Another Place (aka Mike’s Left Arm).
There were other blast-from-the-past cast members, Grace Zabriskie, James Marshall, Kimmy Robertson, Harry Goaz, Richard Beymer, David Patrick Kelly, Mädchen Amick -and a cameo by Aussie Gia Carides. Trying to stay on top of everybody and how they connect is a chore.
From its opening strains of Angelo Badalamenti’s theme (which frankly, we don’t hear enough of) to the parade of perplexing scenes, Twin Peaks raises far more questions than it answers.
Twin Peaks is streaming on Stan.