I just finished watching Twin Peaks: The Return, the incredible, maddening, brilliant puzzle box mystery told over 18 hours last summer on Showtime. The library has the collected series on DVD, and I am left at the end of it with more questions than answers. I am sure this was creators David Lynch and Mark Frost’s intention all along. I’m not going to be able to do the show justice in one blog post, but let’s just say you’ll know pretty quickly where you are into it or not, starting with Season 1, which aired way back in 1990 on ABC.
In one of the final scenes of the second season of the show’s original 1991 run, the spirit of Laura Palmer leans in to Special Agent Dale Cooper, both captives of the Black Lodge, and whispers, “I’ll see you again in twenty five years”. By some amazing meta-reality twisting, fans of this peculiar show are presented with the fulfilment of this promise in almost real time. Many of the original cast returned for what would be their final roles. (Almost every episode ends with a “In Memory of” tribute to someone who you had just been watching). Many long-term David Lynch collaborators, such as Laura Dern and Naomi Watts, appear for the first time in the Twin Peaks universe, and it was a joy, if not a frustrating joy, to watch it all unfold.
Part way through the series, (I believe it was after the particularly mind-bending episode 8. No spoilers here, except to say that if you don’t have a clue what you just watched, you are not alone), I knew I had to turn to some expert help. I found a wonderful podcast by Entertainment Weekly writers Jeff Jensen and Darren Franich that goes deep into each episode. To give you an idea how deep, their episode on the finale runs for three and a half hours! Myself, I found the podcast an essential companion to the new season.
In addition to this podcast, WPL has some great supplemental resources for those Twin Peaks fans left wanting more.
Mark Frost, the co-creator of the series, recently published a couple of books that help fill in some gaps in the mythology. Both Twin Peaks: The Final Dossier and The Secret History of Twin Peaks are worth checking out. Could these be the final words we ever get from them about Twin Peaks?
Damn Fine Cherry Pie by Lindsey Bowden
Music also plays an important role in the Twin Peaks experience, with many episodes of the new series ending in the Roadhouse with full performances from a variety of interesting musical artists. Additionally, the haunting themes of Angelo Badalamenti are peppered throughout the entire run and set the mood for this show’s mystical setting.
The soundtracks to the original series, the follow up feature film Fire Walk with Me, and the limited series return are all available through Hoopla, and there is an excellent book about the collaborative process between David Lynch and composer Angelo Badalamenti called Soundtrack from Twin Peaks by Claire Nina Norelli.
Now that I am through all 18 parts, and have lived to tell the tale, I am also left wanting more. Hopefully this isn’t the last we’ve seen from the world of Twin Peaks, and that we won’t have to wait another twenty five years for our next piece of cherry pie.