TWIN PEAKS: A LIMITED EVENT SERIES
Review by Michael Jacobson
Stars: Kyle MacLachlan, Sheryl Lee, David Lynch, Miguel Ferrer, Chrysta Bell,
Robert Forster, Grace Zabriskie, Madchen Amick, Dana Ashbrook, Catherine Coulson,
Richard Beymer, Russ Tamblyn, Peggy Lipton, Everett McGill, James Marshall,
Michael Horse, Harry Goaz, Kimmy Robertson, Robert Knepper, Jim Belushi, Warren
Frost, Carel Struycken, Tim Roth, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Naomi Watts, Laura Dern
Director: David Lynch
Audio: DTS HD MA 5.1
Video: Anamorphic Widescreen 1.78:1
Features: See Review
Length: 1020 Minutes
Release Date: December 5, 2017
“But what about the FBI?”
“I AM the FBI.”
What a phenomenon was Twin Peaks.
In the early 1990s, when television was seemingly near brain-death, it came along and swept up the world with its singular style, unique characters, wit, mystery, and charm. It was unlike anything we had seen before. It made us laugh, cry, fear, and awaken to the power of the medium. It vanished far too soon. It left us wanting more.
It left Special Agent Dale Cooper (MacLachlan) in the realm of the Black Lodge, while his evil doppelganger broke out and assumed his role in the world. It was where the spirit of Laura Palmer (Lee) promised him “I’ll see you again in 25 years.” And 25 years later, she did.
With a pair of dual tweets from creators David Lynch and Mark Frost, fans knew that the “gum we like is going to come back in style”. After a quarter century, they were ready to take us back to that world, to answer a few questions…but if you know anything about Twin Peaks, you should not be surprised at being left with questions anew.
Twin Peaks: A Limited Even Series, or Twin Peaks: The Return, or Twin Peaks: Season 3…however you wanted to name it…came to us in the form of an 18 episode, commercial free, uncensored and unaltered romp on the Showtime network. All shackles were off. Lynch and Frost were free to be true to their vision like never before. And that vision? WOW.
Like I did in the original series, I’ve spent much time watching and re-watching. Analyzing. Thinking of clues and connections. Marveling. My reactions? Awe. Frustration. Amazement. Confusion. Ecstasy. I hate to use such hyperbole as to say it may be the single greatest achievement yet on American television, but nothing in my mind or my heart really wants to stop me from calling it just that.
It’s a dreamlike world where timelines can change right before our eyes. Things we took to the bank as fact become questionable. Things we question become solid. Evil is real. So is good. Wrongs can be made right…but not without sacrifice.
The partnership of David Lynch, who directed all 18 episodes, with Mark Frost, who co-wrote and co-produced the series, has taken the quirky eccentricity of Twin Peaks and stripped away all safe network television pretense. The boundaries of reality are pushed, blurred, and broken. There is no safe space, no safety belts, nothing to hang on to. You must surrender yourself for the duration of the ride.
For those who haven’t seen this series, or the original seasons, I won’t go into plot. If you haven’t seen the original shows and Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me (including the Missing Pieces), you’ll be going in without a roadmap. If you’ve seen and cherished the whole history of Twin Peaks up to now, you know what to expect…to a certain degree.
I will say two episodes in particular are the apex of television for me. One is episode 8, which goes from a live performance from “the” Nine Inch Nails into a…I don’t even know what to call it. The story breaks to bring us the first nuclear bomb test. What does that have to do with the rest of the story? Maybe nothing…or just maybe, everything. Suffice to say, this ultimate unleashing of man’s destructive power may have had consequences in more worlds than one.
The other is the finale, which aired on Showtime as a two-parter, and is best seen that way (these discs give you those options). If you think Lynch and Frost were about to tie everything up neatly in a happy-ever-after ending, you’re watching the wrong show. There is salvation and loss, victory at a huge price, and a loop…some good people may be damned by their own virtue to repeat their own failures because they can’t let it go until they get it right.
It was satisfying and aggravating. It was closing doors left purposely ajar. It left so much for us to sift through...look at the web and you’ll still see passionate groups discussing, analyzing, critiquing…each fan bringing a theory, and each theory is easily argued for and argued against.
This is the tremendous gift of Lynch and Frost…they invite their audience to create along with them. Stories aren’t neatly arranged in a palatable, mindless order…they are as open as a blank coloring book, and they gladly hand us the crayons to start filling in our own pictures.
Many do not get Twin Peaks, and if they didn’t get it back in the day, this new series won’t make things any better. And that’s okay. Like all of Lynch’s works, this isn’t meant for everyone. I can only speak as a fan, and as a fan, I say, I’ve never had a more exhilarating experience in front of the TV.
Dedicated to those who have left our plane of existence but remain forever immortal: Catherine Coulson, Don S. Davis, Miguel Ferrer, Warren Frost, Jack Nance and David Bowie.
It’s not a 4K transfer, but man, this is still one of the best looking discs of the year. Lynch’s vision ranges from brightly lit outdoors to the darkest of dark settings, and everything comes across with beauty, crispness and clarity. Many scenes had me reaching for the pause button just to admire the construction and gloriousness of the transfer.
David Lynch has said about this limited series that the best way to watch it is to sit as close to your TV as possible and with the sound all the way up. Sound in Twin Peaks is absolutely crucial; in some cases, the sounds ARE your clues and landmarks. Every subtle effect comes through with clarity and dynamic range, and the music performances that end almost every episode are strong and vibrant. Dialogue is well mixed throughout, but don’t be afraid to turn on your subtitles; you don’t want to miss a thing.
The extras are spread out over the multiple discs, but they include series promos and 16 total featurettes, covering everything from the phenomenon of the show to very specific scenes, filled with interviews with cast and crew, and all entertaining.
Is Twin Peaks at an end? It’s certainly not ‘resolved’. Even if there is another series, I doubt David Lynch and Mark Frost will ever ‘resolve’ it all. It was never about who killed Laura Palmer…that question was answered, causing more casual fans to jump ship, but those of us who are in for the long haul know that was just a single piece in a surreal, wonderful, magical, frightening, funny puzzle. This limited series reminded all of us how much fun we had putting the pieces together. And if we all ended up with a different image than what was on the box, all the better.