After a 25 year hiatus, the new (i.e. third) season of the cult show Twin Peaks has made it to DVD. With every episode co-written and all directed by David Lynch, the series’ original co-creator, this is very much a Lynch project (though I must say I was curious to what degree Mark Frost contributed the story line as the other writer).
How to describe the startling 18-episode run? To begin with, prepare to be mystified. Certainly due to Lynch’s status as a master director, he was clearly indulged here (by the cable network Showtime) much more than in the original, network-television format. It shows, in both good and bad ways.
The new season begins with the return of Special Agent Dale Cooper, but his return is quickly made much more complex by the fact that he has doubled, and his “twin” is not the straight-arrow, lovable agent we remember so fondly from the original show. Quite the opposite. From there the story branches out to different locales (thus marking another difference from the original show), including New York City, South Dakota, Las Vegas, and places that can only be described as otherworldly.
We also get to catch up on some of the original characters, all, of course, older, some having changed quite a lot, others seemingly the same. But they are, at times, very secondary players in the much bigger tale of Agent Cooper, his twin, and the ongoing mystery of Laura Palmer.
Beyond these mysteries though, I did find a clue that might help the starting viewer: Like its geographical namesake, the new show is full of doubling effects, particularly in its characters, but also in its quite bizarre ending—which I won’t attempt to explain, even if I wasn’t worried about being a spoiler. Here’s just a sampling: There are now two Sheriff Trumans, two assassins, (possibly) two Lauras, two demons (there was Bob; now there is also Jane), two corpses, and, very importantly for Lynch’s aesthetic, those two endings. What those endings mean—or even if I am correct that there are two—remains to be ascertained by a second viewing. Complexity and cryptic plot turns, of course, do not always equal profundity, but let me simply say that, for fans of the original, the new show deserves their attention; let the interpretations begin!
(This show is not rated. It has some strong language and some brief nudity, as well as graphic violence.)