Monday, September 4, 2017

TV Show Review: Twin Peaks (The Return)

One of the most bizarre television shows out there returned after two and half decades with a humorous and wild season. There were moments of intense violence mixed with otherworldly occurrences and interspersed with silly scenes of nostalgia. Characters had grown old or become possessed by strange spirits with a story that spanned the country. Knowing this show was coming back, I revisited the old seasons having never watched the second and really enjoying the first. I found the pace slowing in the second season as the murder investigation ended and another villain took its place but the finale left plenty of things unexplained. The biggest cliffhanger was that Dale Cooper (Kyle MacLachlan) had become possessed by Bob, a demonic spirit that was responsible for the death of Laura Palmer (Sheryl Lee).

The new season begins with some strange scenes and the discovery of a dead body. There is a class case that is being watched by a man but when he invites a woman to see it and they start making out, they are brutally murdered by a strange creature that appears int eh box and breaks free. The murder victim is several people whose body parts have been placed together in a motel bed. An evil version of Dale Cooper has been traveling around causing trouble and could be responsible for the murder. The time has come for Bob to return to the signature red room but to avoid detection, the rogue Dale has created a clone known as Dougie Jones, an insurance agent who liked to spend times with prostitutes. He is taken back and replaced with the real Dale. Unfortunately, Dougie, or Dale, is unable to communicate so he travels around only repeating words he hears. This still works out as he can predict which slot machine is about to reward a jackpot and his wife Janey-E (Naomi Watts) doesn't seem to notice his limited vocabulary.

Back in Twin Peaks, there are some familiar faces like Deputy Hawk (Michael Horse) who is receiving strange messages from the Log Lady (Catherine Coulson). Lucy (Kimmy Robertson) and Andy (Harry Goaz) are still working at the Sheriff's office though Harry Truman is no longer the Sheriff, his brother Frank Truman (Robert Forster) is now in charge. Bobby Briggs (Dana Ashbrook) has grown up and joined the force and works with Hawk to figure out the strange messages. Bad things are happening again in Twin Peaks as criminals terrorize innocent individuals. Meanwhile, FBI Agent Gordon Cole (David Lynch) has retaken up an investigation into the Blue Rose cases from the initial murder alongside Agent Albert Rosenfield (Miguel Ferrer) and Agent Tammy Preston (Chrysta Bell). They recruit Diane (Laura Dern) as the expert on Dale Cooper.

It's hard to explain anything that happened though there are plenty of scenes of horror and humor throughout and though I couldn't always follow what was happening, I was almost always entertained. Dougie's venture through Las Vegas in search of coffee and pie was hilarious while the murderous rampage of Richard Horne (Eamon Farren) was horrific. One episode, in particular, episode 8 is almost all in black and white and alludes to the creation of evil with the atomic bomb, full of symbolism and strange, disturbing images. There is no way I could capture every thread and idea that pops up in this wild ride of a television show but I enjoyed it and would be curious to read more about it as professional reviewers recap the final episode.

Twin Peaks is true experimental television that is not always focused on the main plot and will drop a character or add a new one without a full arc. For all the enjoyable comfort of seeing old characters eating pie or drinking coffee at the Double R, there were equally terrible scenes of the black faced hobo ripping someone apart or a bug crawling into a young girl's mouth. There were murders and mysteries, multiple dimension and timelines, and all sorts of wackiness. Sometimes I had to sigh at the outrageousness of the scenes and shake my head in confusion. I enjoy the interpretation and would be interested to see if someone has understood it all and hear them explain what they think. 

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