It sets the tone, the first scene, all in black and white, slow-moving, with premonitions of what may or may not be relevant to future episodes. It’s an unmistakable combination of something unmistakably Twin Peaks and unmistakably latter day Lynch.
The first four episodes are weird in the best possible way. The original series was certainly out there compared to anything else on TV at the time, but here Frost and Lynch go Lost Highway and Inland Empire all over our faces.1
Yet, the story is, somewhat surprisingly, fairly easy to follow.
This comes down to a clever balancing act by the aforementioned showrunners. You have the craziness of Cooper escaping the Black Lodge2 in episode three (a strong contender for the best Twin Peaks episode so far), where whatever world he goes through could very well be the one where Inland Empire takes place, with the visual panache of Eraserhead. It’s an odd scene, one where casual viewers might have jumped off the train, but the fact is you don’t have to understand what’s going on. It’s something fans can watch and re-watch and theorize on. There is a meaning behind it, but you don’t have to get it to follow the story. Just consider it visual candy.
It’s been a slow burn so far, but it never gets boring. The universe gradually expanded from the original show to Fire Walk With Me, so it makes sense that very little of the town of Twin Peaks has been seen so far. The story was always supposed to be on a bigger scale—that was more than hinted at even during the first season—though I’m still surprised how far it goes. The New York stuff, with the box and all? It doesn’t seem too Twin Peaks-y, but it works. I think. It seems like it works, though we might never know exactly what it all is. Point really being: this will all lead back to Twin Peaks.
Finally, Kyle MacLachlan and his array of different Coopers… Bravo. We haven’t even seen the real Cooper yet (I can’t count the Black Lodge version as more than a shadow of him) and he is nailing each character he is in. His Bob-infested doppelgänger could as well have been played by a different actor (I mean, it would have sucked if that was the case, but you know what I mean) and what on god’s green earth is Dougie Jones all about?
The first four episodes are everything I had hoped for. This makes me happy. Michael Cera? Such ridiculous fun.
Analyzing anything right now to a meaningful extent is impossible, but what a ride it has been so far. It’s like getting an 18 hour David Lynch movie. That’s all I need.
1 Not to mention Mulholland Drive, but one could argue it was a bit less out there than some of Lynch’s work.
2 My previous assertions of it being a waiting room proved to be wrong. C‘est la vie.