The Black Lodge Review: Return to Twin Peaks

Spoilers might be missing.

(Source: Showtime)

It’s happening again. Or rather, we’re getting a more Lynch-ian epilogue to Twin Peaks. It doesn’t quite feel like its own story yet. It probably will become so a few months after the show ends, I’ve seen each episode and then it will all percolate into my brain like a fresh pot of coffee.

Twin Peaks: The Return is not receiving the weekly Series Issues treatment. I really thought it would be an obvious fit. The original Twin Peaks was my obsession back when it started back in the nineties. But this is sequel feels very raw and much like a different animal. The truth is a certain amount of David Lynch’s brand of crazy is better moderated. In it’s purest form, I can’t quite handle it. It’s not just above my head, it’s also mostly lacking in entertainment value. You have to deliver something while the main meal is cooking or you could be starving your guests.

The way it works with this return/sequel is an unbridled Lynch that takes his time, laying down too much space and silence. He wants everything to simmer. He’s rarely a fan of injecting musical backgrounds. He keeps most of his scenes long and quiet. That would be fine if I was enjoying the moment. Most of the time I’m just anticipating a payback that feels five episodes away from materializing.

The original Twin Peaks was a constant struggle between Lynch and the rest of the producers and showrunners that knew they need to keep people’s attentions. Back then we got the incredibly jazzy and weird music of Angelo Badalamenti. Popular characters even had theme music. We got shorter and more manageable scenes without so much blank space in between. We didn’t get the crazy until the groundwork had been laid for it.

But in this new version, the iconic score is only in the title. At the very end we do get a music performance at a roadside bar where a band plays until the credits roll. But music and dialogue rarely mix, leaving huge gaps of silence where contemplation is required. They also require huge deals of patience. Sometimes we’re just left to wait with very little to watch.

It’s a very slow burn. If you’re waiting on Special Agent Dale Cooper to finally get to that cafe and order a piece of pie and a cup of coffee, I feel you’re not going to enjoy the first four episodes where literally nothing like that happens. Yes, there could be a huge payback worth your while at the end, but it’s hardly something to enjoy by itself. It makes itself harder to love later on, when the series concludes and you just want to remember the fun parts. Was there something to enjoy looking at while you waited on character A to meet character B?

Kyle MacLachlan is undoubtedly David Lynch’s star this time. There’s a very large focus on him as he has roles as diverse as the show’s several running storylines. The problem is that the main character, the actual Dale Cooper, has started his existence very much like a cocoon. He’s not quite awake yet. It feels like a different role than the original character. Are we getting him back at all? Is Lynch making some sort of allegory for the lack of mental issue awareness and wants to make sure he drives the point across?

In the end, these are the first four episodes and like all of Lynch’s body of work, there might be more to say the second time around. For the time being, I hope there’s solid ground at the end of the rabbit hole. I’m still staying a viewer since like everyone, I want to know how it ends. Whether that is strong enough an allure to keep me interested throughout, only time will tell.

That will do for now.

 

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