A warning: this is going to be the longest review I’ve ever written. Twin Peaks, as regular readers of this site will know, is one of my favourite shows of all time and affects me like no other – then and now. The characters, the setting, the lore, the layers of consciousness explored… it has all added up to something wonderful and beguiling, and something that has stayed with me and will stay with me for the rest of my life. It’s also going to be a long review because of the sheer amount of things that transpired in this two-part finale, some easy to understand, some not so. I could talk about it for a long time, but I’ll try to be as concise as possible, which probably won’t happen. It’s best to strap in and get the coffee on.
Despite it being frustrating and hard going at times, I’m greatly enjoying the third series of Twin Peaks, David Lynch’s cross-dimensional crime drama, which finishes with a two-part finale on Monday 4th September. Throughout the 16 parts so far, we’ve caught up with old favourites, found out how they’ve been created, met new characters and have been plunged into new mysteries. One of the absolute delights, though, has been spending more time with FBI Deputy Director Gordon Cole (Lynch) and FBI Special Agent, Albert Rosenfeld (the late, great Miguel Ferrer). They’ve crucial roles as the the splintered personality of Agent Dale Cooper has slowly resolved itself, and the more I’ve thought about it the more a spin-off series featuring these two would make sense. So David Lynch, if you’re reading…
This third series has been a sometimes thrilling, sometimes viscerally terrifying and sometimes infuriating journey. Throughout 15 episodes we’ve waited and waited until Agent Dale Cooper – our beloved FBI man – snapped out of his fugue and take back the identity that had been locked away for so long. No question about it: we’ve all needed saintly patience to get to that point. Ultimately, this is what this third series has been about – the search for identity. It’s been so different in tone and structure to the first two series that I know many friends have been turned off by it, but I’ve seen this as another detective story but not in any traditional, rational or step-by-step procedural sense. No, this series of Twin Peaks has, among other things, been about shattered identities and characters searching for who they used to be. And, after so many false dawns, Dale Cooper – the Dale Cooper we knew and loved – looked for all the world to have found himself again.
Any long-time viewers of Twin Peaks will have been at once beguiled, terrified and intrigued, as well as frustrated, by this extraordinary third series. We’ve been waiting patiently through all the errant, seemingly innocuous and scattered scenes and new characters, hoping that Good Coop is finally revived from his catatonic state and that Bad Coop is returned to The Black Lodge. Finally, finally, by the end of part 14, things looked as though they were on the move.
After this 12th part of series three of Twin Peaks, there are only six episodes left, and there’s still a huge amount to tie up – if David Lynch is indeed in the mood to tie things up at all. Who knows what’s going to happen? Will the Dougie Jones/Good Coop issue be resolved – or at least begin to be resolved – in this episode? Of course not.
How to follow part eight? That was the question heading into the ninth instalment of this remarkable series. It has had a week off – something I had forgotten about – which was probably a good thing after the sublimely extraordinary shenanigans of that episode. It was the episode where Lynch and Frost presented us with a step outside of the present-day timeline and took us back to the 1940s and 50s, to a black-and-white world where the advent of the atomic bomb had created an unspeakable evil that was to manifest itself in 1990s Washington State. Had we witnessed the birth of Bob in these crazy scenes? And what now, after a new dimension of political and visceral polemic, had been added to what was hitherto an invigorating whodunit (albeit and cross-dimensional procedural)?
The first thing to say about this episode is, “wow”. The second thing to say about this episode is, “wah?” It was that kind of episode. Again. Constantly throughout this third series of Twin Peaks, you think you kind-of-maybe-sort-of-know what’s happening and can perhaps kind-of-maybe-sort-of-predict what might happen. But then all your assumptions are ripped up in the most unexpected, mind-frazzling, dazzling way possible, to the extent you sit there in stony silence wondering what the fuckety-fuck just happened. This was one of those episodes.