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Twin Peaks: The Return (Episode 17 and 18)

Twin Peaks: The Return is here and Remi is watching every episode! This time: Episode 17 and 18. (And needless to say: Herein are spoilers.)

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So, that was… Well, what was it? A surprisingly satisfying ending that resolved preciously little, yet, in a sense, resolved everything? I think that’s the greatest takeaway from all of this. Individual puzzle pieces were never put together, but the completed puzzle could still be seen. Hasn’t that been the case with the whole season? A confounding, yet straightforward story? That is all very much a result of the balance between Frost and Lynch, and I can’t help but wonder if we would have ended up with something closer to Inland Empire had Lynch solely been responsible for the script.

In the end we got right around half an hour of Cooper-of-yore and that was, thanks to MacLachlan’s pitch-perfect performance, just about enough. Having Lucy kill Mr. C was incredibly satisfying — I would have wept openly had James ended up being the hero (picture a slow-mo close-up of the gun firing to the silky smooth crooning of Just You) — and Freddie finally offing Bob (although probably not really, but more about that in a bit) was strangely not ridiculous for a scene involving a Hulk fist.

And oh Cooper.

It’s too bad we never got the planned Philip Jeffries movie. The concept of being unstuck in time in time is fascinating — read Slaughterhouse-Five if you haven’t — and the hints of what that character was going through in Fire Walk With Me (and in the deleted scenes seen in The Missing Pieces) had the makings of… pretty much what we saw here?

Has Cooper always existed independently of time and space? Or did he transcend into becoming one with the Lodge at the end of The Return? I could be way off, and there is no way Lynch ever will reveal what happened (Frost might, I suppose), but I’m left with the feeling that Cooper will forever be trapped in a circle, either having to save parallel-Lauras or whoever lives in her Twin Peaks parallel-house. That the house once belonged to the Chalfonts (and never the Palmers) in the parallel-universe would suggest the latter might be true, and that Bob will return again and again, with parallel-Coopers being doomed to having to fight him for eternity. Maybe. Or maybe not.

A lot of potential answers lie in the many unresolved1 side-plots, and I’m sure fans will ferociously dig into them. At the center, if we are to take Lynch’s word about her importance to The Return, is Audrey. What was the white room she was transported to in episode sixteen? What world was she living in, be it literally or in her own head, during those infuriatingly frustrating scenes? I suspect the answer to those questions holds hints to the greater Twin Peaks lore.

(Side-note: That these lore related plot-points were never explained is a very, very good thing. Lost and The X-Files took frequent plunges into ridiculousness when they tried to over-explain the universes they existed in.)

Also not fully resolved was the humming sound in The Great Northern, though it is more than plausible it was related to the portal to the Lodge. Why the sound started appearing when it did is anybody’s guess, though it wouldn’t be crazy to assume it happened in tandem with Cooper’s return.

What was it Becky had done that drove Stephen crazy, and did he survive the gunshot? Did he even shoot himself? Red’s powers, The Woodsman, all of episode eight… We’ll never fully know what it was all about, nor should we — mystery is a good thing, and everything in this show did mean something. It was never random. Many mistake Lynch’s elusiveness for an excuse to make abstract, stylized films, and while the latter is partly what he does, it is always done with meaning. Even Inland Empire has a cohesive story-line.2

I doubt we’ll see another season of Twin Peaks, with Frost and Lynch getting up there. Writing and directing eighteen hours of TV would take years. A movie, though? Both writers have an affinity for the property, and I wouldn’t be surprised if we saw something related to Audrey at some point. (Mulholland Drive was, of course, based on the idea of making an Audrey spin-off.)

Time will tell. Next up is re-watching Fire Walk With Me and the eighteen episodes all over. Because, why not? We all have our things to obsess over.

1 In Lynch’s mind I’m sure they are done, though it wouldn’t be completely surprising if Frost touched upon some of these stories should he release another Twin Peaks book.

2 Exactly what it is I leave to smarter people to figure out