What is on my TV this week: Twin Peaks S3
I am working two theories about season three of Twin Peaks (now showing on Showtime). Maybe David Lynch is doing the original series in reverse. Starting with all the weird stuff up front, only to then to switch course into a seemingly normal plot. That, or he is just screwing with us all.
The Twin Peaks (or at least the first season and a half or so) are seminal television, in my mind. I would argue that Twin Peaks set the foundation for the current golden age of scripted television we are enjoying today. It showed that there was a place for complex and interesting shows with adult themes had a place in television.
What those seasons of this show have to do with this new season is hard to say. And this is coming from someone who almost took the day of to celebrate when it was announced the show was coming back for another season. OK, sure there are some characters back from the original show. Andy and Lucy are here, Hawk is back, the Black Lodge is back (oh, is it ever), and there are some cameos from everyone from Bobby to James. We have seen the Horne brothers, the log lady, the one-armed man, but what is missing is the heart of the show.
What made Twin Peaks great was the fact that no matter how far into the depths of insanity, the forest, or Canada the plot twisted it was always about the people. Yes, there were bad people, bad things hiding in the woods, drugs, sex, but it was always the interaction of this town full of twisted and broken people and how they are all interconnected, especially though the one tragic figure of Laura Palmer. It wasn’t just the murder of Laura Palmer, it was all people left after she died.
Which is why the second part of the second season was always so disappointing. After they solved the murder, the show and the characters just wandered aimlessly. And then it just ended.
A mercy, by that point the hoopla had died down. I don’t know if people who were not around when Twin Peaks was on the air can really understand how big the first season was at the time. People would throw Twin Peaks viewing parties (remember this was in the age before DVR and on-demand, so you were watching this live), there were books, bus loads of tourists from Japan would descend upon the poor town where it had been filmed (that last one is my memory of the show, I grew up in Twin Peaks, literally), the show was the biggest thing on TV for a bit there. Most people had stopped watching by the final episodes, it flamed out hard, one might say.
And now it is back, but not the pieces of the first season that kept people in their seats, even as the crazy piled on, there are no compelling characters. But, maybe that is what this series is about, the first version of Twin Peaks was some sort of twisted version of a soap opera wrapped in a police procedural. This new season is an equally twisted version of the type of shows that dominate the airwaves and movie theaters today, maybe this is Twin Peaks does comic book movies and science fiction/fantasy. Which is sort of twistedly cyclical since those shows, and one could argue movies, own their existence to Twin Peaks.
Or maybe David Lynch is just rattling all of our cages, throwing a boat-load of unrelated, yet compelling, images at us for as long as it takes Showtime to cancel his ass.
TL;DR Review: Wait until it is done and binge.