Monday, May 22, 2017

Twin Peaks: The Return 1.1-2: Superluminal Sans Cherry Pie

Twin Peaks was back - therefore also known as Twin Peaks: The Return - last night with the two first episodes of some new seasons on Showtime.   I enjoyed it. But - well, it's a strange and tough narrative to enjoy.

Here's my story about the story so far - that is, the return, and how it relates, after the first two episodes, to the original two seasons (and, for that matter, to the subsequent movie, which was actually a prequel):

Twin Peaks started out as an idiosyncratic, remarkably good, just slightly absurdist whodunnit, as FBI Agent Dale Cooper, who loves a good cup of coffee and a piece of cherry pie, investigates the murder of homecoming queen Laura Palmer, who turned out to have been leading a double life.  There were lots of suspects and bizarre characters and intricate plots, which are resolved - if you can call it that - by a shift into a supernatural, science fictional, insano world of lodges in other dimensions, time rollbacks, doppelgängers (a literal double life) and all kinds of spirits with no real interest in coffee or cherry pie.

Twin Peaks: The Return starts out in and on this superluminal plane (I take faster than light to be the beginning of impossible dark fantasy), and sprinkles in a murder or two just to keep the story's feet on the whodunnit ground.  But this return has little of the detective mystery that drove so much of the original.   Good Agent Cooper is almost completely within the Black Lodge.  He's kissed and whispered to by Laura Palmer, who realizes she's dead, even though she like Cooper look and are 25 years older.  The doppelgänger bad Cooper is mixed up in some kind of criminal business, but the essential point, as told to good Cooper in the Black Lodge, is that he can't get out until the bad Cooper returns, which he has no intention of doing.

My favorite thread was actually a science fiction sub-story right out of the 1950s, which features a young couple about to make love, with the guy taking his eyes off an extra-dimensional device he's supposed to watch (he doesn't know it's extra-dimensional) with dire results for the amorous couple. I especially liked this not only because I was brought up on clunky 1950s science fiction on the screen, but because I'm pretty sure I was actually in a room much like this one myself, when Bill McClane was interviewing me for his 2002 documentary, "The Evolution of Science Fiction" (though it may have been his 2014-2015 "How to Survive the End of the World" series).  I'm not kidding, see the IMDb listings for Evolution and End).

So you get the idea.  If you like Lynch at his Dadaist best - which gave flavor and edge to his Blue Velvet (whose "In Dreams" sequence is one of my all-time favorite scenes in any movie, period), Twin Peaks, and Mulholland Drive - you'll find it in spades, as almost the complete mind-bending story, in Twin Peaks: The Return.  At least, insofar as the first two episodes.

And I'll be back with more next week.


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