I have had to wait a couple of weeks to write this. Anyone who experienced the whole eighteen hours of the third season of Twin Peaks will understand why. For those who haven’t seen it, beware, there will be spoilers, and also, the return of Twin Peaks needs time to settle in.
Where to begin? Well, as any fan of David Lynch will tell you, the return of Twin Peaks was a miracle and joy in equal amounts. Fans of Twin Peaks had long given up hope on a return to that sleepy lumber town in the Northwest Passage of Washington state. But three years ago there were rumblings, and a trip back to TP was on! Then it was off, then it was on, and then we all held our breaths.
We live in a time that many people are referring to as televisions’ golden age. There is a lot of good television on at the moment. In my opinion, though Lynch and Frost have transcended the lot of it. Some people will disagree, I don’t really care, this blog is my opinion and opinions are like annoying family members, we all have one.
So, how did the dynamic, electric duo of Lynch and Frost manage to beat all comers this season? Simple, they trod new ground. There were no nostalgic nods to the old Twin Peaks. They didn’t redo plots that would play out the same but slightly different to what had come before. For example, I, like a lot of people thought that the murder of Ruth Davenport would be this year’s, Laura Palmer. It was not. In fact, we still do not definitively know who actually killed her, perhaps it was Bill Hastings – being controlled by Bob. It could just have easily been the Woodsmen. We’ll have to figure that out for ourselves.
The splitting point of this show was that through a movie that played out in 18 chapters, there were no easy answers. A few plot points were cleared up definitively (Big Ed and Norma – yes!), but not many. After the finale, people cried foul, and from what I could gather by scanning the internet, a lot of people were pissed off that season three was not tied up into a lovely wee bow. But let’s be honest, when is life or anything tied up into a beautiful bow? Never.
If anything this show was truer to real life than the grittiest BBC drama. I’ll give you an example, in part twelve, Gordon Cole (David Lynch), is drinking wine in a hotel room with a lady. Albert (Miguel Ferrer), knocks on the door and asks to speak to Cole alone. Cole asks his lady friend to meet him at the bar. She then takes approximately 5 minutes of screen time to get ready and leave the room. Aside from the look on Albert’s face, there is something else that is priceless about this scene. Lynch is often thought of as a surrealist; in this instance, I would accuse him of being hyper-real. Imagine this, you come home and say to your bestie, wife, hubby – whoever, “come on, we’ve got to nip out. Let’s go.” Would they just stand up and leave? Nope. We all have a routine of stuff that we do and check before we leave home, and that’ll take between two and five minutes. Drama is life with the dull bits taken out. Unless Lynch is doing it, and then on occasions he will leave the transitional bits in.
There are a lot of moments like that in the new Twin Peaks. It adds something to the already heady brew of slapstick comedy, surreal incidents, hilarious dialogue, intricate characters and bowel-shattering horror that is Twin Peaks. Whereas some smart drama will turn left when we expect right, Twin Peaks turns around or up – or goes subterranean. This show never goes where you think it is going to. And that friends, is art.
People got upset about the end. I am not going to give it away here. But I didn’t. Here is what I loved about the ending; if you do a Google search of ‘Twin Peaks ending explained’ it will return 638,000 articles in less than a second. If you have watched all of the magnum opus that is Twin Peaks, you could read 50 of these posts/blogs and I am pretty sure that each one of them will have some merit. There’s a good chance that you’d agree with most of them, only to realises that they all contradict each other.
In my mind that is a thing of beauty. When Game of Thrones ends, great show that it is, I am sure that it will be definitive, there may be one or two ways that individual character decisions or motivations could be interpreted, but not many. Twin Peaks is brilliant because it allows us to question and decipher a mystery. Devising our own meanings and conclusions. It’s like looking at a great painting, we all see what our heart renders from the waves our brains sends us. Our own human need for answers makes our brains work like that. But sometimes the painting doesn’t need a meaning, it is amazing as it it is. Just let it be.
Personally, I am happy to do that. Let me reproduce a messenger conversation between a friend and myself the day after the finale:
Me: I can’t deny how good the whole season 3 experience has been. What are we gonna do on Monday’s now?
Friend: Rewatch them in segments, have a notepad handy to take notes and look for hidden meanings in numbers.
Me: Dude, leave the notepad and just enjoy it. As I said, 20 years later and lost highway hit me like a brick and made perfect sense. I still enjoyed it every time I watched it.
Friend: It’s hard to just enjoy it!
Me: It’s not. Big Ed, Dougie, the Mitchum Brothers, Dr. Amp, Jerry! Hutch and Chantel, Bad Coops, and the dynamic duo of Cole and Albert make it very easy to enjoy. Tres Chic!
Friend: Fair Play.
You see while we all get tangled up scratching about for answers, there is a lot to love in the new Twin Peaks. What did Bruce Lee say? “Don’t concentrate on the finger or you will miss all the heavenly glory.”
David Lynch himself said, ‘The more unknowable the mystery, the more beautiful.”
One day, the whole Twin Peaks saga will clarify before my very eyes. In the meantime, I’ll watch it again, all of it from 1990 onwards and I’ll enjoy it again. I love all the theories, but I’m not longing for the day when I have my own because for now, I am just lost in the beauty and creativity of the whole thing. It is very personal. That show will mean something different to each and every one of us because it was created that way. That is a tough thing to do.
Thank you, David Lynch and you, Mark Frost. This has been one hell of a ride and I have and will continue to love every minute of it.
This is a blog by Nick Mann, if you liked it, you can find more of the buggers here and some short stories here. Otherwise, if you have enjoyed it please consider sharing it – Karma and my badself will thank you for it. The buttons are on the right, thank you kindly.