TV: Twin Peaks S03 E05 - Reviewed

When we last saw David Lynch in 2006, audiences were left expectedly puzzled but for many unexpectedly disappointed in the director’s 3-hour low grade digital video internet movie Inland Empire.  Then he said he was done with film or, in other words, out of ideas.  While Lynch continued working steadily in music as well as directing music videos and concert films such as Duran Duran: Unstaged, the notion we’d ever see anything new from world cinema’s most famous and celebrated surrealist seemed increasingly remote with each passing day.  And then amid subtle rumblings over the past few years after the success of the Twin Peaks: The Entire Series blu-ray boxed set which finally unveiled the long awaited Missing Pieces cut from the prequel film Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me, Lynch, co-creator Mark Frost and Showtime made what is now a historic announcement for 2017: Twin Peaks: The Return!

Picking up after twenty-five years elapsed where the ill-fated second season left off, four episodes in it is fair to say David Lynch is back in full force with no sign of his vision diminishing or compromising in any way with more resources afforded to his creative powers than ever before.  Reuniting much of the original cast with many newcomers and unexpected cameos, the highlight of the third season thus far for this Lynch die hard was undoubtedly the third episode which sports some of the most innovative imagery of the director’s illustrious career.  It also opened new doors for those curious where unresolved character arcs left open at the end of the second season would or would not go, some more difficult than others to process.  Initially the first four episodes aired on Showtime’s streaming service but going forward one new episode will air each weekend.

Which brings us to the fifth episode of Twin Peaks: The Return which reintroduces familiar faces in addition to serving up unlikely new additions to the cast.  Slowing the trajectory somewhat compared to the headlong drive that hooked viewers through the first four episodes, the fifth episode continues moving the preordained threads moving with further emphasis on Dougie Jones’ mercurial background and the mob related dangers lurking in the distance.  I won’t list the many completely surprising cameos that come at you except to say that each one tried to offer familiar pop Hollywood actors in a light not seen previously.  

By now you’re aware of the Cooper/BOB conundrum and of the episodes channeling the evil spirit of the late Frank Silva as the infamous demonic force within the Black Lodge, this one is easily the scariest yet.  Frank Silva may have passed on but his spirit is alive and well within the fabric of the show itself.  Harkening back to the original series are loosely established threads involving teenage characters corrupted by darker forces buried within the town including echoes of the violent sexuality dominating the Fire Walk with Me prequel.

Much like the director’s last feature Inland Empire, the fifth episode exists outside the first four in a way by seemingly doing nothing to advance the story while hitting nearly every high watermark that gave the series and the film prequel it’s formidable edge.  Some who have been disappointed with the new Dougie conundrum aren’t going to get too many new developments here save for some amusing asides involving the catatonic character malfunctioning within the office job setting.  The fifth episode also drops another closing track by Johnny Jewel though not necessarily ending on the exultant tone of the second episode in the Bang Bang Bar. 

Those who expressed restlessness over the Dougie character aren’t necessarily going to get the new developments fans like myself are still pining for, but the surrounding characters and new additions get a lot of leverage here and gives viewers a momentary break from moving the plot forward.  A delight for Lynch fans but Twin Peaks fans with some reservations shouldn’t expect the gavel to drop like it did in the third episode.

- Andrew Kotwicki