So I've been thinking about Twin Peaks since the Season 3 finale aired and I have to say, after plenty of reflection, it simply lacks magic for this particular viewer. Nothing left me wondering about the mysteries or speculating about the events that unfolded in the years between. It's just left a really bad taste in my mouth, and that's about it.
The show did feature some very strong scenes early on, scenes that were packed with mood and implication, and it certainly felt like it was heading in a very deep, dark and frightening direction. Yet even though the mystery felt thick and heavy at the outset, the reality is that we were strung along every episode, and all the anticipation and starved speculation was rewarded with a bunch of unrelated and underwhelming bullshit capped off with terrible lip-synced performances from mostly obnoxious bands that seemed heavily invested in image but not in music. The experience was not pleasant, and whether or not it was good, or bad, it was still nothing like any of the original show. Nothing at all!
It would have been very difficult to make Twin Peaks work after a 25 year break. I'm not denying that. But it's almost as though Lynch and Frost experienced tremendous stage fright and ultimately did not try to make a new season at all. It felt like a new show featuring cameos from the Twin Peaks cast, and it contained a small handful of scary scenes and truly intriguing material interspersed among endless "setup" that in actuality sets one up for nothing but more setup, ultimately being a hype trail that leads to a disappointing dead end. That’s how it left me feeing, in any case.
mtwentz wrote:Since The Return, I've thought more about the afterlife, dualism, identity, memory, amnesia, the passage of time and ultimately, whether 'we live inside a dream', then I ever have in my life.
I think the folks who were disappointed were looking for something that wasn't there (the soap opera and/or murder mystery aspects of the original series) without realizing they missed what is there: one of the great 'mind bending' psychological films of all time.
But then again, the mind bending stuff is not everyone's cup of tea. I come from the background of being a mind explorer/mind warrior from a young age, '2001' being my first favorite film. So I am very prejudiced toward this type of cinema.
For me it wasn't the lack of soap opera / murder mystery elements, but rather the lack of focus. In the original show we followed the characters and got to peek into their lives. As things changed around them, we were able to ride along and subsequently feel as they felt. This time, we were given but a few fragmented glimpses into the lives of individuals we've come to know and love. For some, seeing the original characters thrown a handful of cameos was downright heartbreaking. When you consider the time spent on new characters who didn't impact us like the original characters did, along with the investment in Roadhouse performances and other such side story, it can be maddening. It's all the more frustrating when you see these Twin Peaks characters featured in a new film that was great, perhaps even the greatest Lynch film yet, but one that mostly failed to harness the things that made Twin Peaks magical to begin with.
A few things also occurred outside the bounds of creative control, and how the creators dealt with those factors was also a problem for the new Twin Peaks. Two of the larger examples would be the loss of David Bowie and the absence of Michael Ontkean. Make no mistake, dealing with those realities must have been hell for Lynch and Frost.
There's nothing subtle about the magic that was created when Agent Cooper teamed up with Harry S. Truman, and Season 3 was denied it, but moving another Truman brother into position did nothing to patch the issue up. Others have voiced the opinion that placing Hawk in the role of Sheriff would have been the best route to take and I have to agree. More Hawk is hard to argue with, and though Frank Truman was one cool dude, we could have just as easily done without him. Personally I'd have preferred to see Andy, Hawk, Bobby, and Big Ed working in unison. I mean, we're already crazy about these four, and the Sheriff's Department has an established history of working with the Bookhouse Boys.
As far as Phillip Jeffries goes, that's another area that was handled fairly poorly. Phillip was never much more than a side note in the larger picture. Though I greatly admire the clear attempt to pay homage to the actor behind the character, I believe the outcome represents a good case of how not to deal with loss of an actor during production. If the actor passes and hasn't filmed scenes or recorded dialogue yet, you're left with a limited set of avenues to take. In this instance, hiring someone to impersonate the original actor's voice just didn't work for me. It only served to bring me out of the story as I lamented the route taken. It felt forced, I guess, as though Lynch and Frost simply could not accept the situation they landed in, and their insistence on including Jeffries birthed a workaround that seemingly created more problems than it solved.
Ultimately, when going into Season 3 of Twin Peaks, one bases their expectations on the previous two seasons, and not on the general oeuvre of David Lynch, though it of course should be factored in.
I would like to add, however, that being a fan of his films, hearing that he would be the sole director for all episodes was the best news at the time. The Lynch episodes of Seasons 1 and 2 were great, so expecting more of that did not seem unreasonable. The way it worked out, however, was that the third season is really more of a related story to the original, rather than a continuation. If it were its own disconnected film, I would be able to enjoy it much more (sans Roadhouse!). As it stands, the original characters making cameos amidst brief glimpses of Twin Peaks sure makes for some extremely depressing viewing.
After having given it some thought, it seems to me that straying from the approach used to create the first two seasons was a mistake. Initially, I thought that by ditching the slew of writers and directors, the work would be more focused and more "Twin Peaks" than ever. But even though we've got another decent Lynch film on our hands, we've missed a great opportunity to get the continuation we all hoped for.
Personally, I've grown weary of reading so many posts that claim fans were disappointed due to expecting one thing but getting another. I think that's unfair. The burden is not on the audience here. Lynch and Frost had a precedent to follow. This was not a new show. They should have attempted to balance making something that was satisfying for them with something that would have also been satisfying for us. Otherwise, what's the point of making more Twin Peaks? Seeing Big Ed for 5 minutes is outright depressing. Same goes for Shelly, Norma, Dr. Jacoby, Nadine, James, and all the rest. It seems unconscionable that after all this time the creators would bring the old cast back only to use them as sparingly as possible. They pop on camera for a quick moment then it's back to Las Vegas and other spots to showcase random henchmen that are 100% uninteresting.
I was hoping to
-Get some of the same feelings that the original series imparted
-Catch up with the characters we have come to know and love and follow their lives once again
-Go on a journey with Good Cooper / Evil Cooper
-Feel the same dread and horror that was so commonplace in the original story
-Get that same feeling as much as get hints that it would be back
-Catch up with our beloved townsfolk as much as say a quick hello before heading off to watch random vignettes with strangers
-Go anywhere other than an insurance office and suburban residence
-Feel scared at all after the first few episodes
New disappointments included
-The Roadhouse scenes! Yuck!!!
-Base villains ("Uh oh, my head is gonna get crushed" V.S. "I will be taken over and made into a host of unspeakable evils")
-Tons of throwaway characters who superseded the main characters in order to appear, contribute nothing to the narrative and at most a smidgen to the mood, then vanish from the story altogether
-An amorphous and intangible narrative that appears to be a product of whimsical notions and rough concepts, threatening to destroy its own foundation in the name of "Nothing means anything; Make it whatever you like"