Months later and I’m still puzzling over Twin Peaks: The Return, trying to put my thoughts about it together into some coherent, conveyable form instead of just staring into the distance, amazed and awed. I want to discuss it and I’ve done so with friends in fits and starts, but there’s just so much process and speculate about.
This new season was so vast and complex that I find I can scarcely contain it all in my mind, let alone keep track enough to dissect it in conversation. I suspect the best way to discuss it would be while re-watching it. To be sure, there would be lots of pausing and probably a fair bit of replaying moments and scenes, so it would take well more than the series’ 18 hour duration to complete it. And, of course, the task would require lots of coffee and pie. But who doesn’t love coffee and pie?
I’ve had great fun reading other people’s interpretations and theories about what actually transpired and what might’ve symbolized what over the course of Twin Peaks‘ luxuriously long 18-episode third season. Some people were terribly frustrated with this latest visit to the world of Twin Peaks, either by the third season as a whole, or its pacing (deliberately, sometimes achingly slow, which I loved), or what they perceived as a lack of closure at its end. At least it seems as though the singular being that is Wally Brando was universally beloved.
For my part, I enjoyed every inscrutable, ecstatic, enigmatic, nauseating, delightful, whimsical, gut-wrenching, wistful, tender, hilarious, horrifying, beautiful, baffling, triumphant, and terrified minute of it. What I said at the outset of the third season remains true for me after its conclusion: it was just so good to be home, even when it was clear that home had grown much much darker and even more mysterious and menacing since our last visit.
There were as many moments of heartfelt nostalgia as there were traumatizing new weirdnesses involving both beloved old characters and new. But my advice to those of you who, like myself, are still pondering what it all means, is to simply trust your instincts; listen to your Twin Peaks-loving heart. It knows, even if it can’t explain. One thing I’ve repeatedly read about Twin Peaks: The Return is that David Lynch intended for it to mean whatever you think it means. There is no one correct set of answers because, as Kyle McLachlan said during an interview with The Hollywood Reporter:
“…the whole journey was for the audience to experience and to take away from the experience their own interpretation. He’s just presenting his creation, and we all have our own take on it. I think as I’ve gotten older I’m less inclined to want those answers, and I’m more inclined to just let the experience sit with me and dig down in me and awaken or resonate or touch those things in me that he [Lynch] wants to as an artist. He’s special. (Laughs.) So I wouldn’t ask him.”
In addition to combing the internets for theories about it, the other thing I’ve been enjoying as a direct result of the return of Twin Peaks is a wealth of new additions to The White Lodge, an ongoing Twin Peaks-inspired series of phantasmagorical large scale graphite illustrations created by Massachusetts-based artist Greg Ruth, celebrating the show’s return. Some of Ruth’s original pieces from The White Lodge are still available via his webstore.
Will there be more Twin Peaks? When the finale ended my first thought was hope that there would. Actually, that’s not true. My very first thought – once it felt like I’d returned to my body after the screen went black – was, “Holy shit, Sheryl Lee still has the most intense and fantastic scream!”
But as I’ve since sat with all the episodes together in my head I no longer cling to the hope for more. The 18-hour movie that was the third season of Twin Peaks feels complete to me and the ending was horrifically sublime. If David Lynch decides he has more Twin Peaks story(ies) to tell, so be it. I’ll be ready. But if this is it, I’m completely satisfied.
Here’s one more quote for those still grappling with general bafflement or a lack of closure, this time from David Lynch himself in a 1990 article in the Los Angeles Times:
“Closure. I keep hearing that word. It’s the theater of the absurd. Everybody knows that on television they’ll see the end of the story in the last 15 minutes of the thing. It’s like a drug. To me, that’s the beauty of ‘Twin Peaks.’ We throw in some curve balls. As soon as a show has a sense of closure, it gives you an excuse to forget you’ve seen the damn thing.”