Twin Peaks: The Return, Part 1-4 Review

series creators: Mark Frost & David Lynch

show runners: Mark Frost & David Lynch

starring: Kyle MacLachlan

genre: Drama | Crime | Fantasy

premiered on Showtime: May 21, 2017

"You're damned if you do, and you're damned if you don't" that's true to almost everything in life, but also especially when it comes to TV show and movie revivals. Some will say "what's the point of a revival" and that "it will never live up to the original's glory and prestige", while others will say "why did it never happen" and live off till the end of days plagued by the ever so many 'what if's' when one of these properties comes to an unfortunate end. No longer though will that be the case regarding 'Twin Peaks'. Which I still don't think it’s a blessing that it has returned, but it's definitely not a disgrace from what came before.

story:

After 25 years of Agent Cooper being stuck in the Black Lodge, the opportunity has presented itself for him to be released, confront his doppelganger and return to the town of Twin Peaks. Many events will have to happen at the same time for this opportunity to present itself. With a new murder case popping up, old characters slowly entering back into the fray due to cryptic messages and the entanglement of new characters into scenarios and circumstances that we hope to come to comprehend with the series conclusion.

thoughts:

As the years gone by, instead of David Lynch keeping his cinematic sensibilities intact, he went down the path of cheap and terrible looking digital filmmaking in his last film 'Inland Empire'. Coming back to the TV landscape and with a bigger budget then before (both in regards to 'Twin Peaks' & 'Inland Empire'), he has kept the digital filmmaking he has now come to love, but also still is sadly in the mood to experiment with a property that many of us are not in the mood to see in that many alternative ways. With much of content in the new episodes veering into the realm of filmmaking that is at times innovative, campy, but also amateur. With ideas and shots in concept that may have sounded good, but on screen look great either for a children's film, YouTube fan-film or a college film festival.

One example of the few subpar moments the series is when Agent Cooper is in a fire place room (another Black Lodge type place) with a woman who can't see. This scene maybe was the worst of all in how poorly it was handled with its back and forth movement cuts of time that felt as if the footage was coming from a malfunctioned VCR and then Agent Cooper's escape into a cardboard like dimension reality and then entry into the world of the living in the cheapest way you could have imagined. As mentioned this was the worst moment of the first four episodes, but they were plenty of others that were either too awkward, long or pointless for them to be present in the show. Such as Deputy Andy’s son’s entry to the show looking like Marlon Brando wannabee or evil Cooper going into a place to pick up a couple of criminal accomplices. Scenes like these didn't lead anywhere substantial and could have easily been cut out.

Moreover, much of the new ideas of the 'Twin Peaks' mythos are debatable if they enhance the show or not. Such as the further exploration of the Black Lodge or Lodges and the true intentions of Evil Cooper. Still, some of those elements do lead to funny events such as Cooper coming out of an electrical power point, even though as mentioned it’s a cheap looking effect. Not to mention the odd mixture between lighthearted soap opera and pure sadistic evil that is there to a point, but not as we remembered. No longer do we have Bob creeping the scenery after a quiet family dinner at the Palmer's. However, the one scene in the whole 4 episodes that was the most 'Twin Peaks' moment of all was Bobby seeing Laura's picture. This and a few other moments were nostalgic and keeps you committed to seeing it to the very end.
Another thing that the show has kept true to is its eeriness in the events that occur, while also still combining perfectly with Badalamenti's music and Lynch's creepy camera angles and set ups. Although, this eeriness isn't so much 'Twin Peaks' like in its execution and style, as much as its more reminiscent of 'Mulholland Drive'. Additionally, some of the some of the creepier elements are ruined by the overuse of editing or even under-use at times. Notable scene is the picture booth room, where a spirit or demon comes out and does some heinous actions. At first, it looked creepy, but then when it persistently remained on screen its something you will change your mind about.

Lastly, the lack of many 'Twin Peaks' characters and their placement in the show without a real subplot is disappointing. The new episodes are truly focused on Cooper and his return to Twin Peaks. The issue here is as mentioned is the time given to Cooper overall, the editing and the fact that much of his story could have been cut out. I know this may sound as consistent critique of mine when it comes to movies or TV shows, but its one that is the most obvious and in plain sight. Personally, I wouldn't have minded if we were watching four episodes split between good Cooper winning jackpots, evil Coop's many misadventures and then focusing on what the rest of the Twin Peaks characters were doing. But, instead it was all Cooper at times and not even the real Cooper we remember. As it was either Cooper barely speaking in the Black Lodge, then searching for a way out without dialogue again and then losing himself completely once he entered the real world. Because of all this, the upcoming episodes has a lot of ground to cover. As we are venturing too far away from what 'Twin Peaks' was and what originally people fell in love with.

verdict:

The first batch of episodes had plenty of moments of 'Twin Peaks' humor and weirdness and also some introductory story threads that were interesting, but that lacked meat to them. The bigger issue though was the episodes tediousness in its editing and filmmaking. This amateur and almost college level execution of scenes messed the show's flow and punch of its best dramatic and eerie moments. And that's without mentioning the beef one may have with the more subjective elements such as the spiritual and otherworldly elements the show has. Nevertheless, if your a hardcore fan I would still suggest to tag along, at least for now.

Personal Rating:

review by Paul Katsaros

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