“I’ll see you again in 25 years.”
It’s been one hell of a long stay in the waiting room, but Laura Palmer’s foreboding promise, made approximately a quarter century ago, has been kept. A murder mystery set in motion by a homecoming queen wrapped up in drug addiction, prostitution, and plastic, Twin Peaks enthralled audiences for the better part of two seasons in the early nineties and on Sunday, it made its hotly anticipated return to television with a two-hour premiere.
Created by auteurist David Lynch and Mark Frost, the horrific soap rapidly descended into bizarre obscurity following the reveal of Laura Palmer’s killer. An extra-dimensional afterlife, demonic entities, and phonetic reversal represent but a taste of the surreality that Twin Peaks offered its viewers, quite possibly resulting in the show’s cancellation following the completion of its second season.
After its premature demise in 1991 and Lynch’s constant denying and downplaying of a return throughout the years notwithstanding, Twin Peaks has now been revived. Some twenty-five years down the road and a significant portion of the principal cast has been retained. The addition of recognizable faces to the mystery will assuredly reel in newbies and with Lynch behind the camera for the limited series’ entirety, cultists and newcomers alike will be vying for clues to crack this enigmatic Lynchian spawn.
The first two instalments pose many more questions instead of cauterizing loose ends that have been gestating since the show went off the air. Spread across several cities, introducing multiple new characters, and opening numerous modern, intriguing, and terrifying plot tangents, Twin Peaks will certainly frustrate those in search of closure for their favourite residents of this small Washington town. It’ll also intimidate both enthusiasts and the uninitiated with hefty visuals and an intricate story.
Picking up 25 years following the series’ initial conclusion, FBI Agent Dale Cooper (Kyle MacLachlan) has remained in the Black Lodge, incapable of leaving until his doppelgänger is returned. Laura Palmer (Sheryl Lee), the One Armed-Man (Al Strobel), the Giant (Carel Struycken), and an evolution of the Man From Another Place (Michael J. Anderson) offer cryptic messages and warnings to Cooper, hinting that his window to escape captivity is closing. On the outside, Evil Dale is murdering everyone in sight, adamant that he never return to the Black Lodge.
The premiere’s most memorable and puzzling addition to the Twin Peaks universe is without a doubt the room with the glass box. Constantly monitored by a handful of videocameras and an operator, the cube sits a few feet off the ground waiting for something or someone to enter. This leads to an utterly petrifying sequence in which the glass box is filled with blackness as a distorted human-like mass appears and radiates inside before bursting forth and shredding the two onlookers (the operator’s love interest). What’s really bone-chilling about this scene is the victims’ bodies sitting upright and motionless, alive as their faces are diced by quick and imperceivable strikes set to the sound of a scalpel effortlessly cutting through flesh countless times, leaving them drenched in red.
Only two episodes in and the Twin Peaks’ resurrection is already more violent, gory, and baffling than its prior seasons combined. It isn’t long before viewers who settle in with coffee and pie in hand will realize that this isn’t the emotional, consistently funny, and occasionally fantastical series they’ve grown to love. A severed head paired with a separate decapitated body will do that to you.
Narratively complex and visually brutal, this isn’t your parents’ Twin Peaks. True to form, the complete picture remains an enigma and it may never be viewed with complete clarity, even by season’s end. If you can stomach the unknown and visual viciousness though, finding entertainment in the journey and joy in the minutiae, then strap yourself in for a wild ride. Conclusively, it’s far too early to fall on either side of the fence, but from what we’ve seen of the show’s return thus far, Lynch and company have set up what is sure to be a damn fine season.
Depending on your familiarity with David Lynch’s body of work and your opinion of which, Twin Peaks' near-complete diversion from small town soap to full-fledged science-fiction horror will either come as a shock or natural progression.