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‘Twin Peaks: The Return’ Mid-Season Review

From this point forward (the end of the season in September), I will be writing weekly reviews on Showtime’s Twin Peaks. We are halfway through David Lynch’s 18-episode season, so for this week I’ll review some of what has happened so far, compare to Lynch’s original series from 25 years ago, and speculate on a little bit of what might happen in the final nine episodes.


If you haven’t gathered this already, this article will have SPOILERS, so please go back to the homepage and read something else if you aren’t caught up on Twin Peaks (both the 1990 original series and the current 2017 series).


First of all, it’s pretty darn cool (but not as cool as James, who’s “always been cool”) to have a television series continue after 25 years of being off the air. As you know, in the Season 2 finale from 1991, Agent Dale Cooper emerged from the Black Lodge possessed by “Bob,” leaving viewers with a cliffhanger of sorts.


Twin Peaks: The Return (as it has been called) picks right up where Season 2 ended. The first scene of The Return shows “The Giant” and Agent Cooper in the Black Lodge—a great opening to the kick things back off for Twin Peaks. And it quickly becomes clear that on earth (is the Black Lodge considered to be on earth?) is the “bad” Agent Cooper, with “good” Agent Cooper stuck in the Black Lodge.


By the way, before watching The Return, the 1992 prequel film Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me should be required viewing and has a lot to do with this new season. In that film, Annie Blackburn tells Laura Palmer (in a dream, in another dimension, who knows?), “the good Dale is in the Lodge, and he can’t leave.” Well, at the start of Season 3, Dale is still stuck and can’t leave.


This also begs the question, was there a “good” Leland Palmer that was still in the Black Lodge? There is simply so much mystery and intrigue going on in Twin Peaks.


A big difference between Season 3 and the original first two season is the scope of everything. Whereas the original was set in Twin Peaks, Washington, Season 3 takes place throughout the entire country. The scope of the entire thing now is awe-inspiring, the original felt better (at least so far). This season has certainly been very good all around, but the highs of the first two seasons (which was basically everything except for the slight lull after the reveal of Leland Palmer as Laura’s killer) were better so far.


Part of what made the first two seasons a cult classic were the characters, with Dale Cooper being among the best of them. While Kyle MacLachlan is doing an excellent job as both Dale’s, things aren’t the same without Agent Cooper being himself—and we aren’t sure how long it’s going to take for him to snap out of it. We might have gotten some indication throughout these first nine episodes. He still loves coffee, he still has the ability to perform like he did before (when he took down “Ike the Spike”), and he noticed the red shoes of the woman that walked by in Episode 9—we’ll get to that in a minute.


Still, this season is very engaging and thought-provoking. While it’s taking place all over the country, it still involves the entire Twin Peaks canon, and in particular builds upon things from Fire Walk With Me (blue rose, Fat Trout Trailer Park, Agent Phillip Jeffries). It appears David Lynch, Mark Frost, and co. are pulling out everything.


The biggest mystery in Twin Peaks might be: who is that supposed billionaire that owns the warehouse with the glass box that Coop was in momentarily? You know, the glass box that had something come out of it and kill Sam and Tracey. Which brings us to another huge mystery:


Where is Audrey Horne? Could she (red shoes) be the one to snap Cooper out of this funk?


Some theories state that Audrey is the billionaire, but it doesn’t add up too well. She might have gotten very rich and still wanted to help Cooper (find him), but did she really know that much about what was going on, aside from what happened on the surface with her dad? But Audrey is sure to show up as sometime, and it should be as an important character.


One side note: Episode 8, I thought to be perhaps the worst episode of the entire series. Most people have acclaimed it as the best of this season, though. I just don’t see it. While it was a beautiful moment seeing Laura opposed to Bob as, presumably, good versus evil, a lot of the episode (like the around-20 minutes of going through a nuclear explosion and molecules or whatever that was supposed to be) didn’t do anything for me. It’s almost as if people are acting like they are way too smart and nuanced when they praise Episode 8.


Overall, it’s awesome to see Twin Peaks pick up 25 years later with much of the old cast in place. It’s great to see all the characters—in particular, seeing Bobby Briggs clean his act up and become a police officer, which based off last night’s episode is something his father fully anticipated and knew would happen. I wouldn’t mind more of a focus on Twin Peaks and these characters as we enter the second half of the season.


It was also a fine moment seeing Diane after only hearing Cooper talk to her in Seasons 1 and 2. What exactly happened between her and Coop/fake Coop/Bob? And what was up with the text from bad Coop (that she didn’t share with Gordon and Albert)?


Another question: how did bad Cooper “manufacture” Dougie Jones (the Coop doppelganger he was able to get switched out for the real Dale 25 years later)? And what in the world (maybe not this world) is going on with Major Briggs? That, we should find out next episode.


There are a lot of questions and a lot to be revealed. These questions and mystery help make Twin Peaks great. While it has a different energy than it did nearly three decades ago, the legendary cult classic is doing something amazing in continuing the story. And we all can’t wait for the next episodes as more and more is revealed and things happen.


Episode 10 of Twin Peaks Season 3 will be back this Sunday at 9:00 PM ET on Showtime.

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