Twin Peaks Revisited

Maybe we all expected too much.

Maybe too much time had passed.

Maybe we were no longer able to be scared or scarred by the murder of Laura Palmer.

For whatever reason, the reboot of ‘Twin Peaks’ never really took off with me. While I appreciate the genius of David Lynch, and the nightmarish images only he can conjure, I felt a profound disappointment in connecting to anything or anyone in this revisit. At first I thought it was just an exercise in self-indulgence, and that it would work itself out after an episode or two, but by the sixth or seventh I still wasn’t finding the magic and melancholy that Lynch so evocatively and expertly portrayed at the dawn of the 1990’s. But in some warped way, that makes sense. We’re in a very different place.

I remember watching the first episode in the fall of that year. It was mesmerizing. Magical. Surreal and seriously disturbing. It was the first television show that I experienced where the silence and stillness and pauses were just as important as the bombast, violence, and beauty. It was wonderfully weird, but nothing was so outlandish and extreme that you couldn’t see glimmers of it in people you knew. It was a slice of cherry pie life, served with a cup of black coffee and backed by the majesty and mystery of the northwest. Over it all loomed the ghostly blue-lipped visage of Laura Palmer, wrapped in ethereal plastic and speckled with dirt. A mist rose from the thunderous Snowqualmie Falls, and in every corner lurked a cloud or a secret. Only one thing could ever break through that: love. It was there in the dreamy music of Angelo Badalamenti, in the lofty wind-chafed reach of the fir trees, in the haunting hoot of a hidden owl. That was missing this time around, and perhaps that’s the point. Lynch has a knack for making the most of what’s missing – the missing ear that launches one of his seminal movies, the missing heads from this current incarnation of ‘Twin Peaks’, the missing space in shots held longer than any other television show on air – and that notion may be what’s at work here.

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