Jake

Twin Peaks Rewatch 35: The Return, Part 1

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Twin Peaks Rewatch 35:

Twin Peaks Rewatch 35


The Return, Part 1
The first new Twin Peaks episode in 26 years just hit television. We'll unpack what's new - and what has stayed the same - two decades later, share our thoughts on the fate of Agent Cooper, dig into the new mysteries and characters introduced, and take our best guesses at what Mark Frost and David Lynch are up to with the season as a whole. Join us as we stare into a glass box for hours, watching to see what happens.

 

If you have a question for us or thoughts to share on the new season of Twin Peaks, write us at twinpeaks@idlethumbs.net.

Looking for a place to discuss the season with fellow viewers? We recommend the Twin Peaks Rewatch forum.

 

 

 

Original first post:

 

Hey let's talk about episode one of Twin Peaks: The Return!

 

Chris and I are going to be talking about this episode in about 12 hours so if you have any thoughts drop them here or email us at twinpeaks@idlethumbs.net. We'll be back mid-week with a podcast for episode two.

 

It's okay to be spoilery in here btw, but please use spoiler tags for any content past episode 1!

 

So what did you think? What did you think in general about having Twin Peaks back? About how the new season seems to be paced, about where its focuses are (and aren't) in these early episodes? I'm very happy the theme song's back. 

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Only made it through Ep 2 tonight, will have to get to 3 and 4 tomorrow.

 

Early thoughts are the show is deadly self-serious start, which is fine for now, but I do hope it lightens up and has some fun too.

 

I managed to ignore most of the cast leaks or talks about the show, so Matthew Lillard showing up, and immediately being arrested for murder was just fucking delightful as a surprise.  I'm also now read for Scooby and the gang to show up and unmask the real BOB.

 

Overall I enjoyed it, but do have some reservations about the tone and pacing of an entire season based on the first two episodes. 

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Having just watched all 4 episodes released online, I can't quite recall where the demarcation points are between episodes, so I'll just stay vague.

 

One thing that I didn't expect to happen was to get really emotional upon seeing certain characters again. I only really got into Twin Peaks a few years ago. I didn't grow up with it like I did with say Star Wars. All the same, just like with The Force Awakens, I found myself tearing up upon seeing old favorites back. Especially the Log Lady. I also got pretty weepy when Laura and Coop share the scene in the Lodge.

 

That's all I have for now. Episode 3 is phenomenal, mirroring season 1.
I'm really sad that Catherine Coulson and Miguel Ferrer passed away before the show made it back to air. I'm really grateful to be getting some damn fine David Lynch in my life again.

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All the stuff in the red room has hit me hard so far, with a couple exceptions I'll talk about in ep 2. It felt like Lynch was instantly at home with those scenes, to me, and the actors all came to life in just the right way. 

 

Seeing the Log Lady again and the casual familiarity she and Hawk have on the phone was the most emotionally impactful though. Knowing Catherine Coulson passed away between filming her scenes and the premiere made it so sad to watch. (Thst she seemed to be playing the Log Lady as emotionally overwhelmed didn't make it easier!)

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One of the complaints I've had with Twin Peaks, particularly the finale, is how hard they lean into the red room setting and aesthetic. It seemed to me that Cooper's dream in the red room should have been just one manifestation of a place that doesn't have a specific, defined form, and I was kind of disappointed to see more of it yet again at the start of this season.

 

I'm really happy that, while they do continue to use that imagery here, there is finally more. I particularly liked the stuff at the beginning of episode 3.

 

I kinda wish they'd not had anything supernatural in the first couple episodes at all, though. Don't get me wrong; I'm loving this stuff; but it feels indulgent. I'd say we shouldn't have even seen Cooper until a few episodes in, to give the audience a chance to just be in the place before things get weird again. As-is, there's barely been any actual time spent in twin peaks the place.

 

I'd argue that people didn't like original twin peaks because of the supernatural stuff; they liked it because of the soap opera, and the crazy stuff just made it more subconsciously compelling, particularly because it left you unsure what was normal and what was weird. (Tibetan rock throwing is a great example of the blurred line between the two.) I'm a nerd who loves all the crazy stuff on screen, both then and now; but I don't know that that makes it the best twin peaks.

 

I keep thinking "this is what Lost was trying to be," but, when I was into Lost, I didn't even know Twin Peaks existed. Watching this now, it reminds me a lot of of Silent Hills; which is interesting, because people (at the time) said that Silent Hills reminded them of Eraserhead (which I haven't seen).

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Well, I'm pretty sold on it. The tone of the first episode was what I was expecting; a continuation of Fire Walk With Me. I'm sure that was off-putting to a few people, but I'm glad to see quite a few of the people I follow on Twitter were really into it. Also, thank goodness David Lynch and co were brave enough to really, really limit the nostalgia in the first episode. That restraint alone gives me hope for the rest of the season.

 

Twin Peaks is showing all the TV and movies that ripped off it's supernatural, weird aesthetic how to actually do a weird vibe and I'm 100 percent here for it.

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This may be a weird take, but it almost made too much sense for me? Like as the plot slowly started to take shape in episode 2, I realized I would've been happiest with 18 hours of hallucinatory nightmare imagery with zero narrative throughlines. 

 

But it was great! The Lillard reveal was so great! I loved how Inland Empire it felt, especially how of the CG looked cheap in ways that felt very Lynchian and very "this is supposed to feel off-kilter and wrong."

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1 hour ago, Jake said:

Seeing the Log Lady again and the casual familiarity she and Hawk have on the phone was the most emotionally impactful though. Knowing Catherine Coulson passed away between filming her scenes and the premiere made it so sad to watch. (Thst she seemed to be playing the Log Lady as emotionally overwhelmed didn't make it easier!)

Same here. I'm assuming they all knew that she was ill, since she was on oxygen during the scene? It played as if the show was so huge in her life and she was having to say good-bye to it.

 

 

I only saw the first episode tonight and hope to space them out one per night (and avoid spoilers). I really enjoyed it. I was surprised how tonally different it was from the original series, but I'd compare it to Lost Highway more than anything else. (I haven't seen Inland Empire). Scenes were awkwardly paced, the look of everything was somehow between film and video, and it was so matter-of-fact in its creepiness. The effect in the monitoring room (which I'm going to have nightmares about tonight) looked almost like an X-Files-era effect. And the music was so understated that I don't remember any playing in the entire episode, diegetic or otherwise.

 

The original series was so overwhelming with the music and melodrama that its soap opera influences were apparent. This one seems more like a subversion of Law and Order than a subversion of Peyton Place, and I'm not sure how I feel about that yet. I feel like with the original series, that layer of artifice helped distance everything that was being shown, so it was scary but never felt ghoulish. I know all those affectations annoyed some people, but to me that tone is what made the first season and a half near-perfect, and what Fire Walk With me lacked.

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The Log Lady hit me really hard as well. I'm not aware of what state she was in during the filming. But the oxygen, the rapport with Hawk and her glassy eyes really got to me.

 

Watched 3 episodes tonight, and also finding hard to recall where each "episode" started and stopped. Calling them episode really doesn't feel right.

 

I felt really relieved that doppelgänger Dale hasn't flown under the radar at the FBI, and seemingly just went AWOL as soon as he got out of the Lodge.

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I want that scene between Ben and Jerry (lol) to be only time we see the Horne brothers. It was so perfect and hilarious and I don't need to know anything else about what they're doing or what they've been up to. Seeing the two brothers together with a similar dynamic to their original show relationship, but with clear progression of their characters in the intervening 25 years, was a beautiful and comedic moment. These men have changed and grown up - at least Ben has - but they still have that old Horne brothers spark. It was such a human moment that was laced with a goofy pot joke. I loved it.

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I've only seen the first episode, and I'm still processing it, but I had some thoughts about the glass cube monitoring scenes.

 

First off, the image of two millenials sitting in a faux-living room couch holding coffee cups intently staring into the camera felt like such an eerily effective mirror to the audience.

 

And once they started making out, I realized that the scene was at the nexus of Twin Peaks' various hugely divergent modes. I kept asking myself—wait, is this soap opera teen(ish) drama mode now? Is this mysterious cube monitoring putting us in Major Briggs conspiracy mythology mode? Or are we just in bizarre Lynchian quirkiness mode? From what I recall, these three different modes rarely intersected in the original show (or even Fire Walk With Me), and it was an interesting reflection how we all as an audience have been endlessly anticipating which the primary mode will be for this revival. And then the cube darkens and whatever that is attacks, boldly proclaiming that this series will be something very different from any of those previous modes.

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Thinking about it, the tone of the first episode reminds me of The Missing Pieces more than anything else. It's a sequence of scenes featuring seemingly unrelated characters and events presented without context, and usually without music. Although, having watched further episodes, it does seem like all of these events are being slowly woven into an interrelated plot, which is a very cool feeling. It's refreshing to see a show that is not afraid to leave things unexplained, to let it's characters know or talk about things that the viewer doesn't understand, and at the same time does not flaunt the mystery to the audience with cartoonish cliffhangers or loud musical cues.

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1 hour ago, jeffinitelyjeff said:

I kept asking myself—wait, is this soap opera teen(ish) drama mode now? Is this mysterious cube monitoring putting us in Major Briggs conspiracy mythology mode? Or are we just in bizarre Lynchian quirkiness mode? From what I recall, these three different modes rarely intersected in the original show (or even Fire Walk With Me), and it was an interesting reflection how we all as an audience have been endlessly anticipating which the primary mode will be for this revival. And then the cube darkens and whatever that is attacks, boldly proclaiming that this series will be something very different from any of those previous modes.

 

With Alien: Covenant fresh in my mind, that glass box scene

Spoiler

reminded me of the shower scene in that movie, however regrettable that was. People being horrifically punished by the big bad for having sex is such a staple of the horror genre.

 So it read to me as pure horror. And it was definitely scarier than anything I've seen on screen in a while. I find myself not being able to take horror stuff seriously, but in this context it worked a lot better for me. I literally said to myself out loud "well it can't break out of the glass, can it? No way." And then...

 

On the podcast, I don't remember when, there was talk about how David Lynch would handle the introduction of new technology into this universe. I think the answer is both "directly" and sometimes "hilariously." I was thinking about that when I saw the box with all the cameras surrounding it and the SD cards.

 

One more thing: The first couple episodes of this show were giving me some Fargo vibes. Definitely mining some of the same territory.

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22 minutes ago, Vegas said:

One more thing: The first couple episodes of this show were giving me some Fargo vibes. Definitely mining some of the same territory.

 

Thought the same -- which is a great thing IMO.

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I have a feeling that I need to watch a couple of more episodes before it makes sense to comment on the series. I'll just say this: The first episode definitely got the oppressing atmosphere right, but I hope they will introduce more humor and warmth in the later episodes, because that was what really made the dark bits of the original run so effective. 

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The Episode is up! Really nice to hear these nice boys talk about this show again and that opening sting :)

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33 minutes ago, Nappi said:

...but I hope they will introduce more humor and warmth in the later episodes, because that was what really made the dark bits of the original run so effective. 

 

I'd enjoy a fan-edited S3 episode where an Andy-versus-scotch-tape and/or Dick's-tire-picnic scene are randomly inserted.

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22 minutes ago, lethalenforcer said:

 

I'd enjoy a fan-edited S3 episode where an Andy-versus-scotch-tape and/or Dick's-tire-picnic scene are randomly inserted.

 

Id be genuinely curious to see someone try and take the season one/two/FWWM incidental music and apply it to episode one and two. I bet it wouldn't work but I'd love to see it all the same. 

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Yeah, The Missing Pieces is a good reference point with the lack of music and long static shots. At times I wished for some camera movement, especially during the interrogation scene. Hm, I wonder if Lynch tried to do the most with the least effort and time required considering how much effort and time he needed to put in.

It's so eerie how quiet it is all of the time, with the constant background hum. It's like there's nothing happening outside of the confines of the scene. No movement in the Great Northern or in the Police Department. Not just music is missing, but also background noise. Don't like it really, but it's something!

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Baseless speculation on the teen horror sex scene! No spoilers for episode 3 and 4, but maybe a spoiler for episode 2?

 

Spoiler

I'm gonna guess that the two "teens" are related to the severed head and the headless body found in the South Dakota apartment room. Matthew Lillard said he "had a dream" about the South Dakota killing, and we know that dreams are often Black Lodge related in this show. I'm assuming that the clear box is related to Major Briggs/Black Lodge/supernatural research and potentially triggered the Lillard dream. We know that Lillard is connected to the Black Lodge somehow because his wife knows "evil" Dale Cooper.

 

Spoilers for episode 3 or 4

Spoiler

Eventually we learn that it was probably Cooper who the sex teens saw in the glass box, but when we revisit that scene from Cooper's perspective, he doesn't violently murder anyone. Did his escape from the Black Lodge also release something evil that killed the sex teens? And is that evil thing related to Matthew Lillard? 

 

 

 

Edit: Both scenes with the glass box really terrified me. That was the most freaked out I've ever been watching an episode of Twin Peaks; from the second that box is introduced, you just know something awful is going to happen and I dreaded absolutely every second it was onscreen.

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24 minutes ago, Argobot said:

Baseless speculation on the teen horror sex scene! No spoilers for episode 3 and 4, but maybe a spoiler for episode 2?

 

  Hide contents

I'm gonna guess that the two "teens" are related to the severed head and the headless body found in the South Dakota apartment room. Matthew Lillard said he "had a dream" about the South Dakota killing, and we know that dreams are often Black Lodge related in this show. I'm assuming that the clear box is related to Major Briggs/Black Lodge/supernatural research and potentially triggered the Lillard dream. We know that Lillard is connected to the Black Lodge somehow because his wife knows "evil" Dale Cooper.

 

Spoilers for episode 3 or 4

  Hide contents

Eventually we learn that it was probably Cooper who the sex teens saw in the glass box, but when we revisit that scene from Cooper's perspective, he doesn't violently murder anyone. Did his escape from the Black Lodge also release something evil that killed the sex teens? And is that evil thing related to Matthew Lillard? 

 

 

 

Edit: Both scenes with the glass box really terrified me. That was the most freaked out I've ever been watching an episode of Twin Peaks; from the second that box is introduced, you just know something awful is going to happen and I dreaded absolutely every second it was onscreen.

 

ep 2 spoilers as well:

I wasn't convinced that the two glass box occurrences were the same event. Maybe I'm taking it too literally but it seemed like Cooper showed up and then disappeared when the room was empty, before the event that killed the teens. Maybe something was following Cooper through, and that's what hit the teens?

 

We should probably be talking about this in the episode 2 thread. biiinnngeeee tttvvvvv

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I'm having a really hard time keeping the episodes straight, haha.

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Wow! Well, that's going to filter out a certain section of the audience! I felt my brain chewing on every single thing and really enjoying it but I think anyone coming to this fresh will find it an interminably slow start. After 15 minutes my wife said she knew why it was 18 episodes long.

 

Still digesting it but highlights include Ben Horne (I thought Richard Beymer wasn't returning!), the languid opening with the glass box, the beat that introduced Bad Dale as he drove along the track at night, the evolution of the Arm(!)...in fact, thinking back there were many, many highlights. It felt uncompromising, which I admire. And I didn't realise Catherine Coulson filmed her scenes - they really got me, as they did everyone, it seems.

 

It was interesting to hear a certain FWWM character mentioned (I watched 1&2 as a supercut - not sure where the divide was) - I wonder if any of the missing pieces might show up here. I thought Lynch struck the tone perfectly here, giving fans some flashback glimpses while really carving out some new plot lines/characters too.

 

I'm feeling very positive! Though I imagine new viewers will be utterly '???'.

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Man, during the discussion in the episode today about David Lynch and his views about deviant body types I kept thinking You're Forgetting Elephant Man! David Lynch is one of the few directors who has dedicated a film to humanizing those who are, in the eyes of society, deformed. That scene at the end of the movie where the circus freaks are walking him out of his captivity says everything you need to know about Lynch's attitude on the subject, I think. To say nothing of this classic scene:

 

 

 

Also, while "the arm" is kind of a morally ambiguous character, 

Spoiler

his cooperation with Mike overall and the presence of his doppelganger in ep 2 would suggest that he is in fact good.

 

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Yeah that seemed like quite a notable counterpoint to me. Equally the Lady in the radiator, while obviously physically "deformed", doesn't seem to display any negative moral qualities (I think, it's been a long time since I've seen Eraserhead.) I think the principal probably works better when solely looking at "unkempt" features instead, i.e. long greasy hair, dirty clothes and a generally dishevelled appearance, although this doesn't really work fully either.

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