Rating: 4.5/5 stars
David Lynch deserves his own genre. The man is not bound by anything besides himself. Which is, in an industry of overused storylines, redundant symbolism and bland products, an impressive feat.
“Twin Peaks: The Return” picked up almost exactly where the original series left off, just 25 years later. The original series, as well as the film “Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me,” had established a unique and complicated mythology for what is really happening beyond the small Washington town.
Therefore, “The Return” was not anchored to any specific narrative, and for those familiar with any of Lynch’s prior work, it is not a surprise. Lynch is known for taking the long way home.
He has his own brand of imagery and storytelling that is unlike anything else in the worlds of television and film. He is weird. His work is weird, but it flows with such wonder, humor and ambition that at the end of the day it does not really matter.
Lynch is all about the experience. Try not to think too much about what is happening and simply enjoy it. Some viewers will not be familiar with Lynch or his work. “The Return” is not for new viewers, it’s designed for those who are familiar with the town of Twin Peaks and all of its unique characters.
Showtime brought the show back for an 18 episode limited series, allowing Lynch full creative freedom, as well as the opportunity to push the envelope further than “Twin Peaks” had been pushed before.
The original cast returned, besides Michael Ontkean (“Twin Peaks: The Missing Pieces”) who had retired from acting and declined reprising Sheriff Harry Truman. Kyle MacLachlan (“Portlandia”) was finally back, in full, as Special Agent Dale Cooper, after a 25-year wait and a journey through 16 new episodes.
An impressive aspect of the new series is the way Lynch uses his characters as chess pieces, maneuvering them for the sake of the story and not solely to give them screen time.
Minor characters from the original two seasons are now major players. Even deceased actors’ roles such as Major Briggs (Don S. Davis, “Twin Peaks: The Missing Pieces”) and Phillip Jeffries (David Bowie, “Twin Peaks: The Missing Pieces”) are integral parts of the story, even if they are not alive in the traditional sense of the word. It is almost as if Lynch is paying tribute to these actors without distracting from the rest of the show.
No matter who shows up in “Twin Peaks: The Return,” the viewer does not feel like he is being brought out of the program. Michael Cera (“The LEGO Batman Movie”) appears briefly as Deputy Andy (Harry Goaz, “Twin Peaks: The Missing Pieces”) and Lucy Brennan’s (Kimmy Robertson, “Angel from Hell”) son Wally Brando. Robert Knepper (“Prison Break”) and Jim Belushi (“Good Girls Revolt”) are brothers who co-manage a casino while dabbling in organized crime.
Not to mention, Jennifer Jason Leigh (“Good Time”), Laura Dern (“Big Little Lies”), Naomi Watts (“The Glass Castle”), Tom Sizemore (“Bad Frank”) and countless others joining the fold in both small and large roles.
Even the smaller characters, no matter how briefly they are touched upon, seem to affect how the story is told in a major way filling the screen with pure authenticity.
“Twin Peaks: The Return” has episodes that will notoriously go down as being like nothing else on TV, and that is not a bad thing. For a hypnotic, visceral tale, the revival series was able to close old doors and open new ones, bend the dimensions of space and time, and have viewers question what is real and what is not.
Sure, there was not a traditional cast reunion that most screenwriters would have used decidedly sooner than the penultimate episode, but Lynch is not one for tradition. “The Return” was about moving forward, as much as it was about unboxing the past.
Photo: Twin Peaks via YouTube.com