Responses to Twin Peaks: The Return

In October 2014, it was announced that David Lynch and Mark Frost would be returning to the world of Twin Peaks, the television drama series which followed the intuitions of FBI agent Dale Cooper (Kyle MacLachlan) as he investigated the death of high school homecoming queen Laura Palmer (Sheryl Lee). Twin Peaks is the name of the small northwestern town where the murder takes place, and is home to a community of eccentric personalities and troubled figures. First aired in 1990, Twin Peaks become a cultural phenomenon that spanned two series and a feature-length film (Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me, 1992). The show secured David Lynch lasting mainstream recognition, and the show has influenced countless television series since.

Lynch and Frost’s continuation of the story in Twin Peaks: The Return, aired by Showtime, has offered some of the most boldly audacious television of the twenty-first century. The series has been ingenious in its use of timing and dialogue to generate mystery, suspense, and humour, and the writing and performances have been superb throughout. I found the two-hour finale confusing for a number of reasons, but I also found it appropriate to the story Lynch and Frost were telling: for me, it was haunting and deeply moving.

Articles, Reviews, and Interviews

What follows are some of the articles and responses that I have read while the show aired, which includes a few reflections on the finale. There are also interviews with show co-creator David Lynch and actor Kyle MacLachlan. Needless to say, the links below contain spoilers.

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David Lynch directing the Season 2 finale of Twin Peaks

Twin Peaks finale recap – something very special happened here (The Guardian): “[F]ew would deny that this has proved one of the most electrifying TV events in years. So let’s get down to business.” [Read More]

Why Twin Peaks had the perfect ending (IGN):Twin Peaks: The Return has finally concluded, with what is shaping up to be one of the most controversial episodes in television history. While the first half of its two-hour finale, Part 17, saw some of the major plotlines tied up – some more comprehensively than others – the path Part 18 took viewers down was dark, obscure, and divisive. It opened up terrifying new doors to its world, shed an uncomfortable light on characters we love, and alienated us from everything we thought we had come to understand over the past several weeks – perhaps even the last several years.” [Read More]

David Lynch’s Personal Recommendations on how to watch Twin Peaks properly (WelcometoTwinPeaks.com): “For me, the key to why Twin Peaks changed television is because we see it as a film, not a TV show. One film broken into 18 parts.  A beautiful picture and beautiful sound. And I would like to tell you and ask you to tell you friends and your friends around the world, that when you see Twin Peaks on a television, or a computer, or even worse, a telephone, you are not hearing the full soundtrack.” [Read More]

The Best Post-Finale Theories About Twin Peaks: The Return (Vulture): “All summer long, fans of Twin Peaks: The Return have analyzed and dissected pretty much everything series creators David Lynch and Mark Frost put forth in each episode — and we mean everything. The numbers! The sounds! The names! But now that the season is officially over, what are we to speculate on? Even though we were granted a handful of satisfying answers in the two-part finale, there are still way more questions to unpack, especially after that chilling last scene between Agent Cooper and Laura Palmer. Let’s dive into five of the most popular theories about what it all meant.” [Read More]

The 5 Definitive Answers We Got in the Twin Peaks Finale (Vulture): “In Sunday night’s finale, Twin Peaks: The Return raised lots of questionsabout Dale Cooper and company. But that’s alright. In true Lynchian form, we were also granted answers to several big headscratchers that were teased throughout the season — some of which even date as far back as Fire Walk With Me. Below, we dig into the finale’s most clear-cut answers to those questions. Read on, unless you want to keep the mystery alive a bit longer.” [Read More]

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Kyle MacLachlan as FBI Special Agent Dale Cooper in Twin Peaks: The Return

Twin Peaks: the apex of TV as art, and the only show that chimes with our times (The Guardian): A scene early on in the magnificent, some say bewildering Twin Peaks: The Return acts as a subtle pointer. We’re in the office of FBI director Gordon Cole, played by the show’s auteur-creator David Lynch. On a far wall there is a huge portrait of Franz Kafka; behind Cole’s desk is a picture of Trinity, the first atomic bomb test in New Mexico in July 1945. The two stark, black-and-white images stare each other out, as if daring the other to make the first move. / It was right about here I realised that, as we cower beneath the civilisation-mocking possibility of nuclear war via tweet, Twin Peaks is the perfect television show for our times.” [Read More]

‘Twin Peaks’ Star Kyle MacLachlan on Divisive Finale: “Good Art Asks Questions” (Hollywood Reporter): “Even those who loved Lynch and Frost’s vision for the final notes of Twin Peaks were left in the clutches of despair, without any easy answers and with the very likely possibility that we’ll never see Cooper and Laura on our screens. For his part, series star MacLachlan is similarly unsure about the future of Twin Peaks, and is similarly left “reeling” after watching the finale. Read on for his thoughts on what Lynch unleashed in the finale.” [Read More]

The Surprising (Other) Reason for the Sunset Boulevard Allusion in Twin Peaks (25YearsLatersite.com): “Why is Billy Wilder’s self-reflexive noir triumph, Sunset Boulevard(1950), the film chosen to serve as what may very well be the catalyst for Cooper’s re-awakening in Twin Peaks: The Return? Aside from the obvious facts (e.g., that in Sunset Boulevard, film director Cecil B. DeMille utters a name shared by a major Twin Peaks character; or that Lynch riffs off Sunset Boulevard in both theme and title in his own Hollywood noir masterpiece, 2001’s Mulholland Drive), Wilder’s tale of a washed-up, silent-era movie star, Norma Desmond (true-to-life silent film phenom Gloria Swanson) and her delusions of a grand return to the screen in 1950 very much channels our own desires for FBI Special Agent Dale Cooper to return in fully realized form to our own screens.” [Read More]

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Promotional image for Showtime’s Twin Peaks: The Return. Trivia: When Twin Peaks first aired, ABC insisted that the population of the fictional setting be raised from 5,000 to 50,000. Show creators Lynch and Frost acquiesced, but secretly maintained the original population size

If you want to understand what’s going on in Twin Peaks, just listen to it (AV Club): “The first line of Twin Peaks: The Return, after a quarter-century hiatus and endless speculation and several minutes of dreamlike preamble, is this: “Listen to the sounds.” It’s The Giant speaking, or at least the huge guy we used to call The Giant, sitting in a grayscale corner of The Black Lodge with a docile Agent Cooper. Before spouting some names and numbers that still haven’t been deciphered, The Giant points Agent Cooper toward a gramophone that emits some unearthly chittering. You listen to it. Cooper blinks.” [Read More]

David Lynch: ‘I’ve always loved Laura Palmer’ (The Guardian): “If you follow David Lynch into the woods he will not hold your hand. He cannot guarantee you will find your way home. He truly hopes that you’ll emerge unscathed.” [Read More]

‘I Love Winds’: David Lynch on the Sound of ‘Twin Peaks’ (The New York Times): “When the original “Twin Peaks” debuted on ABC in 1990, the eerie mystery-drama distanced itself from everything else on network television by how it looked. Over a quarter-century later, the show’s creators, David Lynch and Mark Frost, have brought “Twin Peaks” back into a TV landscape where “cinematic” is the norm, not the exception. Yet Showtime’s “Twin Peaks: The Return” still stands out from the pack with images unlike any ever seen on the small screen.” [Read More]

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A still from the title sequence of the original Twin Peaks series

Fire Walk With Me: how David Lynch’s film went from laughing stock to the key to Twin Peaks (The Guardian): Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me is David Lynch’s film maudit. With the revival of the director’s seminal TV series currently earning acclaim, it might be hard from today’s perspective to fathom the stink the prequel caused when it was released back in 1992. Although there has been a critical reappraisal in recent times, Fire Walk With Me’s reputation at the time was of the atrocious movie from a director who’d lost his pop-surrealist mojo.” [Read More]

Twin Peaks finale: how David Lynch gave us two ‘endings’ (INews.co.uk): “But first let’s start with what has been our guiding mantra this season: Twin Peaks is a show to be experienced, not dissected, and if you’ve been watching it as one big mystery to be solved you were always heading for disappointment.” [Read More]

‘Twin Peaks’ Season 3 Finale: The Curtain Call (The New York Times): “In May of 1990, ABC aired the “Twin Peaks” Season 1 finale, and frustrated viewers who’d expected the show’s creators David Lynch and Mark Frost to resolve the “Who killed Laura Palmer?” mystery. In June of 1991, “Twin Peaks” Season 2 also ended with more questions than answers, and stuck fans with a cruel twist, revealing that heroic FBI Agent Dale Cooper had been replaced by an evil twin. So if you were confounded by the way the third (and perhaps last-ever) “Twin Peaks” season wrapped up last night … well, call it tradition. Whether by circumstance or intent, this has always been a TV drama that eschews tidy resolutions.” [Read More]

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