Twin Peaks: The Return Failed to Bring Back the Classic Twin Peaks Magic

Finally when I was able to watch the sequel to David Lynch’s classic Twin Peaks, it turned out that the new series of 18 episodes, aired in 2017, doesn’t even come close to the magic that the original 1990 show left over its audience—or at least, me.

The very first episode of the show was a disappointment for me as it showed only a few glimpses of Twin Peaks and its original characters and then wanders to New York to a secured experiment facility and then to South Dakota where a mysterious murder in an apartment would attract FBI attention.

So the story continues and the main question is whether Cooper’s evil doppelganger would succeed in staying in the regular world where he kills people or whether he would be forced back to return to the Black Lodge and thus let the real Cooper released. The plot becomes complex as alternative timelines and twists are added in episodes down the road. But lost in the complex plot and multiple settings are two most important things that made Twin Peaks what it originally was: the town and its people. They are treated as side items in the show.

The original characters, aside from Cooper, are barely kept alive in The Return and the stories of their lives and conflicts—which constituted the soul of Twin Peaks—never see a return to the show. There is no story of Shelley as to how she had a child with Bobby and now isn’t with him; no story of what happened to Harry (whose brother Frank is now the town’s sheriff); no story of Audrey as to how she survived that bomb blast and now is shown briefly as married to a midget while her son Richard seemingly has nothing to do with her; no story of James who is now a security guard and shown briefly in a few episodes; and worst of all, there is not any mention of Donna who was actually the heroine of the original show. A number of other original characters don’t appear or find any mention in the new season.

The only Twin Peaks characters that appear in their full glory in the third season are the Twin Peaks Sheriff Office staff: Andy, Lucy, and Hawk. But their time too is minimal and the story of the small town seems nowhere a priority of the show’s creators in these 18 episodes.

With more violence and sex as well as more action than drama, combined with a bigger cast, The Return has all the more movie-like feel with Lynch’s directional talent proving itself. In fact, I could clearly see parts of Mulholland Drive laced into this season. What The Return obviously is not is Twin Peaks. It’s more a spin-off that should have been called something else. Calling it the Twin Peaks is misleading. The original show and Fire Walk with Me explained the Laura Palmer’s tragedy quiet convincingly, and that is where Twin Peaks ended.

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