Without doubt, Twin Peaks is the hardest show I’ve ever had to review in this site’s relatively short life. Not only is it dazzlingly brilliant in places, it’s also frustrating, strange and doesn’t follow any of the narrative conventions we’ve all come to know. If that wasn’t enough, this series has required extreme patience, as Good Coop slowly starts to find himself again. There were signs in part six that he was beginning to emerge from his Dougie Jones reverie, and there were more signs in part seven, too.
Five weeks in and we were no closer to a resolution to the fate of Good Coop – Agent Dale Cooper – returned from The Black Lodge, and living back in the conscious world as Dougie Jones, still struggling to grasp basic social, movement and speech skills. To begin with, his predicament was high comedy, but as the minutes, hours, wore on I was left wondering – hoping, even – that it wouldn’t be too long until this strange duality would be resolved. The sooner we got Agent Dale Cooper back the better. There were signs in this sixth part that things were starting to turn around.
I have to say that this fifth episode was my least favourite of the series so far. The previous four episodes had been a stupefying mix of nightmarish surrealism and high farce – Good Coop had battled to escape The Black Lodge, but when he emerged Lynch and Frost gave us something entirely unexpected: he returned to the conscious world, taking the over the body of loser and chancer Dougie Jones, who, we soon found out, was some sort of decoy made by Bob (maybe). Good Coop’s brain was struggling to process the stimuli of our modern world, and he shambled around it with childlike innocence and incredulity. It was almost as if Good Coop was acting out a response to the leaps in technology, habits and consumerist ephemera that litters our world. Twenty-seven years’ absence can do strange things to a person.
After last week’s incredible, dark, unpredictable start to the much-anticipated third series of Twin Peaks, there was no telling where things might go in episode three. Those first two episodes featured everything from two Dale Coopers – one in the conscious world reeking havoc and killing people, the other (the one we know and loved from the first two series) still imprisoned in the unconscious world of the Black Lodge – a brutal murder (or three), some mind-bending aural and visual thrills, visceral fear, and some familiar faces making a return. It had a bit of everything from the Lynch canon, and so, too, did these next two episodes. Just not in the way that anyone could have expected.
NB: Spoilers inside
It has been a long time since 1990 – 27 years, maths fans – and since those heady days, when Twin Peaks took over the world for a short while, we’ve had all kinds of dramas on television that have elevated the medium to new heights. Just think, we’ve had The Wire, The Sopranos, Sex And The City, Mad Men, Breaking Bad, True Detective, The Killing, The Bridge and the rise of Netflix and other streaming sites. All genre-defining – era-defining – dramas that have raised the bar. But at the start of it all was Twin Peaks. It struck a chord for so many people – me included – thanks to its beguiling alchemy of whodunit, police procedural, soap and a melodrama (unashamedly so), as well as Lynchian expeditions into other dimensions and the subconscious. There were memorable characters, cliffhangers, emotionally engaging moments, as well as terrifying scenes aplenty that are still branded onto my retinas. Despite its many influences, it became a post-modern masterpiece, something genuinely fresh and new. But 27 years is a long time, and even though I’ve been impossibly excited by its return there was a kernel of dread fomenting in my belly. How would it hold up after all these years and after so much good envelope-pushing drama? My only hope was that this new run of 18 parts, this return to the world of Twin Peaks, would not be engulfed by the new benchmark in quality we’ve seen develop over the past decade or so. I just wanted it to hold its own and be good. It was more than that.
NB: Spoilers inside
Anyone who reads this site knows how excited I am for the return of Twin Peaks in just over a week’s time. Growing up it was one of the shows that changed my outlook on the world, and was the first TV series that I became gripped and obsessed with. Yes, my excitement is tempered by a little caution (I really hope it’s good), but the latest trailer -released yesterday – certainly stokes the fires. Have a look after the jumperoo.
It’s getting closer. The much-hyped and much-anticipated (at least in this house) ‘revival’ series is set to drop on US cable network on 21st May, with a UK premiere on Tuesday 23rd May on Sky Atlantic. Now we have our first trailer of any significance, although the 49 seconds doesn’t give too much away. What it does do is to let us see the likes Big Ed Hurley (played by actor Everett McGill), Carl Rodd (Harry Dean Stanton), Sarah Palmer (Grace Zabriskie), Deputy Andy Brennan (Harry Goaz), Deputy Tommy “Hawk” Hill (Michael Horse) and FBI Special Agent Dale Cooper (Kyle MacLachlan) as they are in 2017. Which is fun for all the family. Have a look after the jump.