“Twin Peaks: The Return” is far more than a television show; it is purely the mind of a man with endless, baffling ideas for a world of perfectly insane happenings. Its ending is horrifically unsatisfying, though completely expected of David Lynch, and the story of Laura Palmer -- the epitome of the existence of the show -- can not feel any more intentionally rejected than in the last few moments of the film. Of course, being what it is, having any sort of expectations to begin with will only cause viewers to feel further ignored in their innate need to understand the unknown, which is surely the exact thing Lynch wanted to happen while creating “Twin Peaks: The Return.” This return to Lynch’s odd universe was completely unnecessary, but that is simply the thing that makes it completely necessary to be a part of once again.
Lynch’s work is painstakingly mind-boggling and artfully attractive to the eye. His decision to bring back “Twin Peaks” in the form of an 18-hour-long feature containing 18 separate screenings and calling it “Twin Peaks: The Return” has only proved his unfailing ability to deliver said complicated, dream-like art. “The Return” plays an important role in the story of Laura Palmer and her murder in the town of Twin Peaks, but that still doesn’t mean that the new film -- as Lynch himself insists on calling the 18 hours of screen time -- gives its viewers the closure that they want and need.
Figuring out the mystery of Laura Palmer herself, as well as the way she came to be murdered, within the original television show has always been the one thing that fans and audiences everywhere have strived after, but as is David Lynch’s mind, it is just a plain impossibility. It is a feat that should not be sought after, no matter how tempting, due to the sole understanding that just because something has been created and is an idea played out on a screen does not mean that it has answers to all the questions in the world. Even if critics have an unending supply of questions for Lynch and his world of Twin Peaks, that still does not mean that he himself has all the answers. But that is what makes Lynch who he is; that’s what makes his art so obsessively excellent.
Spoiler alert: David Lynch gives his audience the exact same thing they were given at the end of “Twin Peaks” -- more unanswered questions. Even more so, questions that are incomprehensible in themselves. “The Return” goes back and forth from the obligatory-to-Twin-Peaks, so-called “Black Lodge” to the real world, in which Dougie Jones, aka Secret Agent Dale Cooper, has been living for 26 years as someone he is not. Though, he is completely unaware of this, in part due to the fact that half of his soul is the living reincarnation of Bob, aka Bad Cooper. The “how” of how Cooper’s life was split into two people and two worlds does not exist; all viewers know is that Cooper is stuck inside of the Black Lodge and must leave in order to finally end what Bob first started with Laura Palmer over 25 years ago. But like this, most of the “how”s are unanswered; there are moments when literal aliens enter the human-world only for viewers to ask themselves, why? What is the connection between it all?
Aside from this, Lynch has brought in the grotesque-factor to “Twin Peaks: The Return.” In several scenes within the film, Lynch offers the cringe-worthy content seen in horror films -- those types of films which present icky concepts, such as eels being forced down the throats of patients in the film “A Cure for Wellness” (2016). “The Return” differs from the original series in this way, being offered more generously the title of horror film with its inexcusably gross bits and pieces, such as the now-infamous “moth-frog” scene. Not only so, but Part 8 single-handedly delivers one of the most terrifying storylines. The episode offers the line “got a light?” and one woodsman’s ability to gruesomely murder any person in his path, while covered in scorched engine oil, of course, and it fully illuminates the concept of being unable to escape the clutches of evil itself by any means -- as Laura once was -- through an uneasy, stomach-turning timeline and darkened world; the entire episode is in black and white, which only further enhances the low-key invasiveness of the episode. A lack of color somehow makes everything feel more dreary. This episode, specifically, feels long, and it happens slowly; while sitting on the edge of their seats, viewers will most likely find exhaustion in the searing, eye-peeling segments, which feel as though the universe is forever stuck in slow-motion and is heading straight toward a black hole. But one cannot be surprised that this was the path Lynch decided to take, even if it did nearly nothing to further the show’s storyline (at least not on the surface).
Of course, bringing back the most important characters from the town of “Twin Peaks” was only foreseeable for this return, and even the return of Lynch himself allowed for viewers to feel this sense of relief that even after all the time that has passed, (almost) every person has stayed the same. The story continues with Cooper, as is only fair, but introduces Janey-E, Good Cooper’s wife, and their son; all of the other characters live the same old, odd lives they did back in the year of ‘89. The only deeply upsetting character return is that of Audrey Horne. Once the beautifully-charmed girl with ambition and passion, the time between both “Twin Peaks” obviously did Audrey wrong in some way. Her story resumes with her being seemingly confused, baffled by her husband (whom viewers have never met before) and mortified by her own inability to leave her house to find her troubled son, Richard. It is not clear as to how accurate her story is, considering the fact that in her traumatized state, her mental-awareness and stability seems fleeting, at best. While watching her scenes, one can only attempt to put two-and-two together and assume that her sanity -- or lack thereof -- seems to be in relation to some horrific event of her past. The beloved Audrey Horne, whom viewers once believed could take on the world, is a painful reminder that happy endings often do not exist, but consequences for the dark, pain-ridden world do.
With the original “Twin Peaks” under his belt, as well as others (“Blue Velvet,” “Lost Highway”), Lynch has gained some sort of right to do whatever the heck he wants to at this point -- after all, it is 2018. The entirety of “Twin Peaks: The Return” is filled with imperfect, incomplete thoughts and offers absolutely no closure to its viewers, per usual. Even still, the creation of the film was never supposed to be an answer to all of the questions floating through space anyways. And if that isn’t David Lynch, what is?