Twin Peaks: The Return Screen 36 articles

Twin Peaks: The Return


Twin Peaks: The Return Poster
  • Moved to the core of my being as I was by the 18 episodes of Twin Peaks that appeared between May and September of last year—as uncompromised and demanding as anything that Lynch has made for cinemas—I kept finding the mark of the series cropping up in the strangest places in the months after.

  • “The Return” portion cinches what threatened to be a Fleetwood Mac reunion show. Tantamount is the fact dropped that Lynch and Frost worked on the script for four or five years. Cooper, every one of him, gets Icarusized, as Lynch broke new ground in his quest to “show” doppelgängers.

  • Twin Peaks was less film or television, but moreso something born of alchemy. A tragedy written in a holy text that reshaped our conceptions of what cinema could be while circling back to the life of the girl whose death is where it all began. If Fire Walk With Me gave the cinematic dead girl a voice then the newest incarnation of Twin Peaks made her a deity.

  • It started by slowing everything down, and then it went way, way out, inch by inch, week by week. Absolutely nothing like the original 1990s series, The Return was a deep meditation on … returning, precisely: the difficulty of returning, through time, in one’s body, to any kind of origin, whether that origin is a town, or one’s self. However you slice it, it’s a grand, momentous achievement, including some of the finest work Lynch has ever done.

  • The return of Twin Peaks in 2017 came like a Taser shock to the “golden age of television,” overturning audience expectations for what Twin Peaks—and TV—could encompass, both in narrative and form. . . . With its narrative fissures and variety of abstract mise en scène, The Return has blown established forms of television wide open and generated some of the most sublime digital artwork of all time.

  • The temporality of the new series is unbound to stadial satisfactions. Over the first half dozen episodes, the series seemed — to many — achingly slow. But then we would have sudden bursts of exposition, as if to say, “You know, we can explain things in a minute. We can just tell you.” Those sudden, lurching, Lynchian moments might be just right or slightly off or way out, but in their manipulation they are reminders that in The Return, time, space, and tone are in constant flux.

  • I have some conflicted feelings about the finale, and I think that’s probably appropriate... But with something like this? Or any other singular piece of art? A movie, a book, a painting, a play … I can think of so many examples in all of these where the artist broke all of the conventional rules. And that’s WHY the art was so good. And no, not everyone would love it. But not everyone loves everything

  • Even though I was sure the end result would be closer to Inland Empire than the original show, I thought Frost’s presence as well as the sheer task of shaping 18 hours of material would require some sort of narrative arc simply to serve as an organizing principle. And it certainly seemed that way until the elliptical and incredibly desolate final episode, which I found viscerally disturbing like nothing else in Lynch’s oeuvre.

  • Do I wish there were more answers? Kinda... [But] Twin Peaks will be one of the main memories laid down for me by summer 2017. It actually slowed time down — a precious thing when one is nearing fifty. Both by durational tricks (take a bow, floor-sweeping guy!) and by making the weeks stretch out like Cooper’s face as it nears that big power socket, as we waited for the next exciting installment.

  • This is way beyond different time lines and doppelgangers. When Cooper and Carrie/Laura go up to that house, they are not greeted by Sarah Palmer, but by the real woman who owns the real house, in real life. (If we can even trust that to be real.) It’s one final bit of dislocation from Lynch, one final reveal of nothingness, his masterstroke, and the end to what might be his existential masterpiece.

  • Over the course of the series’s final sprint, Lynch turns this story into an elemental drama of dramas, a distorted and refracted version of the lone American male hero on a relentless quest to rescue an abused woman—he turns “Twin Peaks: The Return,” in other words, into a modern-day version of John Ford’s “The Searchers,” and the tragic depth of his view of the solitary and haunted Western hero is worthy to stand alongside Ford’s own.

  • There's little that's delicate about the conclusion to the Twin Peaks revival, which aired its final two episodes this past Sunday on Showtime in a two-hour block. Back in my first recap, I noted that there was "no netherworld of nonexistence in which I'd rather spend a summer," though I couldn't have conceived that my comment would so accurately describe the harrowing, horrifying endpoint of FBI Special Agent Dale Cooper's (Kyle MacLachlan) years- and worlds-traversing odyssey.

  • Argue as we may, the moment I’ll remember most is Cooper in the Twin Peaks sheriff station, saying “I hope I see all of you again.” It could just as easily be a man talking to the figures of his fantasies, or Lynch talking to his own artistic creations—creations that, as Lynch has insisted over the years, seem to spring out at him from some unknowable source, but that he’s had the luck, fortitude, and skill to put on screen. Bless his madness.

  • Every episode of The Return reminded us — at times seemed to caution us — that the old Twin Peaks does not exist anymore, at least in a normal sense... What we’re left with is a piercing series of reminders that you can’t go home again, that what was done can’t be undone or redone, that any attempt to reduce experience to a series of definitive factual proclamations is sure to end in frustration.

  • For all the stray flashes of beauty, humor, and tenderness in The Return, it concluded with a moment of nightmarish disorientation in which time, place, and identity are completely out of joint but things still somehow feel familiar—the same town, the same street, the same house. The only thing scarier than knowing that you can’t go home again is learning that you can.

  • I’m not the first person to write about Lynch’s genius at casting, but I specifically want to look at how he uses the extratextuality of classic Hollywood stars to inform his films. Lynch’s environments are often so esoteric, yet these connotations and connections outside of his universe give the viewer fundament to build on as they try to grasp the obscure events happening onscreen.

  • [Lynch] consistently defies easy explanations... and the usual interpretive moves. That’s part of his brilliance, and the deep pleasure of his work. We can read him this way or that, dust off some Freud, riffle through the surrealists, click our heels together and invoke history: Mr. Lynch was born in 1946, for instance, a year after the first atom bomb was detonated, a horrific landmark directly cited in “The Return.” Like everyone else, he has lived under that existential threat ever since.

  • [Becky and Steve] lurch from quarrel to reconciliation to quarrel to reconciliation until Lynch suddenly fixes his camera just above Seyfried’s radiant upturned face as she speeds along in a convertible, the air and the light illuminating her delirious accepting smile. The shot goes on for a ridiculously long time, its beauty deliberately exceeding any narrative plausibility or function. These are the splendors that make Twin Peaks: The Return worth watching.

  • It may be the crowning achievement to Lynch’s career, an expectation-shattering masterpiece that both breaks new ground and grounds itself firmly within Lynch’s cannon, revisiting (and elaborating upon) many of his past obsessions, tropes and bugaboos. Though he has called the program an eighteen-hour film, there is true delight in receiving the program in weekly installments, like opening a fortune cookie filled with a Möbius strip of familiar, yet uncanny images, words, sounds and songs.

  • The entire sequence is “Twin Peaks” in microcosm, a gradual shift from the (relatively) ordinary to the abstract, as circumstances escalate from the dramatic to the dark and inexplicable. Just when you think you have a handle on where it’s going — say, a commentary on Twin Peaks’s younger generation and the mistakes bequeathed to them by birthright — Lynch hits you with something unexpected, a reminder that his internal logic dictates where [it's] going. We can only chase breathlessly behind.

  • It impresses upon me how very powerful a factor in this medium is faith. Art in which you have faith can do extraordinary things that other art cannot. Many a great religious artist has understood this, and I suppose the Marvel people do too. When you have already banked your audience’s spiritual fealty before they walk in the door, merely by sharing their belief as you create, you can navigate a path to their euphoria. So it has been for me and Twin Peaks so far.

  • My first remark after watching the first two episodes was that I’d never seen anything that seemed to so fully and innately understand what it feels like to be living in 2017 and, even more so, how it feels to live in 2017 compared to how it felt to live in 1990. It’s embedded in so many of the elements of the show, the most monumental being the image.

  • The sense of dread that the show creates settles in after each episode is over, and the credits roll over some indie band playing a slow song (please bring back Julee Cruise or even Chris Isaak). These interludes provide a contemplative break in this enigmatic anti-cliffhanger’s narrative of violence.

  • It works in a much different register, relying on something closer to the expressionism of silent cinema, when acting was largely gestural. In fact, much of Twin Peaks plays like silent film, or film whose only sound is music and noise, as there are long stretches that feature either no dialogue or only intermittent words, such as the opening of part 3 featuring Cooper and Naido, the eyeless woman.

  • It has been odd, though, to apply the now-well-established tactics of the TV “recap” to a show as sublime as Twin Peaks. Lynch and Frost have taken astonishing advantage of the money and creative freedom that premium cable television allows to make a daring, complex piece that, when all is said and done, will be ranked alongside Lynch’s masterpieces Eraserhead, Blue Velvet and Mulholland Dr. These 18 hours of TV will be studied and unpacked for decades to come.

  • I wish I could be interested in Lynch’s fiddling with CGI, his overworking of his actors’ glottal stops, and his evocation of Mystery Science Theater 3000, the symptomology of Alzheimer’s disease, and, more generally, castration anxiety. But I’m not.

  • After, perhaps, the most quintessentially "Twin Peaks'y" episode of the reboot thus far (i.e., the episode most reminiscent of the original series and its "quirky" charms), the new one might be the most radical hour of American TV ever, and, really, as radical as anything Lynch has done in any medium. It's also, I think, the most legibly "religious"--Christian and otherwise--thing Lynch has made to date.

  • One of the most viscerally intense viewing experiences at Cannes this year, and will probably go down as the first truly avant-garde work of the putative “golden age” of US television we are presently living through.

  • It would require a doctoral thesis to concoct a coherent theory regarding the deep intellectual structure and symbolism of the new Twin Peaks, and I am sure that there are numerous academics already hard at work on the task. There are early indications this series could prove to be David Lynch’s masterwork, and one reason for this is Lynch’s commitment to operating in the register of atmospherics and affect rather than plot.

  • There’ll be no network interference this time, no second-string writers and directors watering down the coffee. This is the strong stuff, served black as midnight on a moonless night. Pure Lynch – with just a touch of Frost... Predictably, The Return refuses to deliver the cosy pleasures some old-school fans might’ve been hoping for – this is an altogether shiftier beast, haunting and beautiful when it wants to be; ugly and aggressively off-putting when it doesn’t

  • The first two hours of The Return, seen on the huge screen of the Grand Theatre Lumiere, were so singular, so uncompromising, so transporting that they dwarfed everything else in Cannes.

  • The first two episodes are, from the get-go, emotionally severe and narratively oblique, akin to if Berlin Alexanderplatz had put its fever-dream epilogue right up front; there’s a strong sense that Lynch is weeding out the weaklings... Having to answer to no one, Lynch drags TV away from dialogue and into gallery-land: each room and space has been exquisitely color-graded, each signature ominous room tone/bass rumble personally sound-designed by Lynch himself.

  • What we have here is an auteur who plays not with but _to_ critics. Lynch teases, he tickles, withholds relief and escape. He also holds out comfort in symbols and puns. He’s a lot like the other David, that is to say Cronenberg, in his twisted devotion to genre, his habit of making actors talk like they’re saying lines from other, lesser movies, like B-movies, and his hokey, dated special effects, stopping shy of “movie magic” and leaving spells broken, lying around.

  • Cooper—with his boy scout values, his love of coffee, and his enthusiastic interest in dreams and meditation—is an alter ego for Lynch. I am not trying to offer a solution here. To think of a Lynch work as a puzzle to be solved is to miss the point...There is an air of mortality, but not finality. What we’ve seen so far is as true a work of art for TV as anything. But am I the only one who... found himself alternately grateful to Lynch and Mark Frost and kind of worried about Lynch’s health?

  • Just like that gum you like, Twin Peaks is back in style. And that style is unadulterated, late-period David Lynch. Sometimes it's the casting of seemingly minor parts, sometimes just a bit of stray imagery, but Lynch and co-creator Mark Frost somehow manage to evoke moments from Lost Highway and, in particular, Mulholland Drive at least as often as they do the original TV series.

  • Although the original series initially captured viewers with what seemed like a relatively linear murder mystery, Twin Peaks: The Return suffuses itself almost entirely in the mind-bending supernatural symbolism that later defined it... A better way of understanding [Twin Peaks], perhaps, is not just to look at what happens in them, but at how they make you feel, and how those feelings connect to one another

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