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David Lynch (#110 of 135)

Twin Peaks: The Return Recap Parts 17 & 18

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Twin Peaks: The Return Recap: Parts 17 & 18

Suzanne Tenner/Showtime

Twin Peaks: The Return Recap: Parts 17 & 18

The two-part finale of Twin Peaks: The Return puts us at long last in a position where we can assess the various layers of sense, nonsense, and pure irony contained in the show’s very title. We’ve always assumed that, at the narrative level, Dale Cooper (Kyle MacLachlan) would finally return to the town of Twin Peaks. And the finale certainly delivered on that promise, albeit in an extremely offhand and attenuated fashion, exemplified perfectly by the fleeting glimpse of the iconic “Welcome to Twin Peaks” sign we catch during Cooper’s limo ride into town. Series creators Mark Frost and David Lynch pointedly frontload “Part 17,” paying off several major storylines in the first half hour, only to spend the next 90 minutes spiraling into a terrifying Moebius strip of time loops and alternate realities that effectively undercuts everything we thought we knew about Twin Peaks.

Twin Peaks: The Return Recap Part 15

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Twin Peaks: The Return Recap: Part 15

Showtime

Twin Peaks: The Return Recap: Part 15

Though it opens with the ecstatic consummation of one of Twin Peak’s longest-running thwarted love affairs, “Part 15” of Twin Peaks: The Return soon after plunges again into a nightmarish spectacle of self-destruction and shrieking madness. The episode also marks the most explicit reference yet to one of the show’s most poignant and haunting themes: the looming specter of ineluctable mortality. Oh, and David Bowie’s Phillip Jeffries finally makes an appearance (of sorts) in the form of a giant, steam-spewing teapot. Even better, we finally get to talk about Judy!

Twin Peaks: The Return Recap Part 14

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Twin Peaks: The Return Recap: Part 14

Suzanne Tenner/Showtime

Twin Peaks: The Return Recap: Part 14

The latest Twin Peaks: The Return is, to invoke the Bard, “such stuff as dreams are made on.” David Lynch has always conjured up his disorienting, often disturbing narratives according to an intuitive dream logic. The original Twin Peaks often used Agent Cooper’s dreams to forward, and occasionally frustrate, the central mystery of who killed Laura Palmer. And the new series has taken several dreamlike excursions into far leftfield, in particular the recursive flashbacks of “Part 8.” But never before has Lynch commented quite so explicitly about the philosophical, even metaphysical, function of dreams. Suffice it to say, dreams and visions—as well as a few rather gnomic discussions thereof—take up practically the entirety of “Part 14.”

Twin Peaks: The Return Recap Part 13

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Twin Peaks: The Return Recap: Part 13

Suzanne Tenner/Showtime

Twin Peaks: The Return Recap: Part 13

Last night’s episode of Twin Peaks: The Return testified to the life-affirming power of cherry pie, gave viewers an object lesson in Existentialism 101, and suggested, in suitably surreal fashion, that the more things change, the more they stay the same. A recurrent leitmotiv in the show’s iconography, cherry pie signifies David Lynch’s unabashed embrace of old-fashioned Americana, a deep-running feeling of kinship and respect for the salt-of-the-earth denizens of the country’s outlying and often overlooked small towns. In “Part 13,” a damn good slice of cherry pie plays a pivotal role in several storylines.

Twin Peaks: The Return Recap Part 12

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Twin Peaks: The Return Recap: Part 12

Suzanne Tenner/Showtime

Twin Peaks: The Return Recap: Part 12

Tinkering with the basic building blocks of serialized television has always been a key component of David Lynch’s approach to Twin Peaks, particularly when it concerns tone and timing. The protracted opening segment of “May the Giant Be With You,” for example, demonstrates Lynch’s longstanding penchant for deliberately confounding viewer expectations. And you’d doubtless be in the triple digits by now if you were keeping a running count of the scenes sprinkled throughout the new series that linger lovingly over seemingly inconsequential details. But last night’s installment of Twin Peaks: The Return takes the concept of delayed gratification to whole new levels of perversity—and even apologists for deep-seated perversity are going to have a tough time justifying long stretches of this one.

Twin Peaks: The Return Recap Part 11

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Twin Peaks: The Return Recap: Part 11

Suzanne Tenner/Showtime

Twin Peaks: The Return Recap: Part 11

Where last week’s episode of Twin Peaks: The Return brought intimations of encroaching darkness on a tide of unflinching violence and male brutality, last night’s installment divides its time pretty evenly between domestic drama, furthering the show’s overarching mythology, and an extended set piece of seriocomic pop surrealism. In a tidy structural parallel, “Part 11” opens with a pair of scenes that extend (and complicate) events from last week. The first reveals that eyewitness Miriam Sullivan (Sarah Jean Long) somehow survived Richard Horne’s assault and attempted assassination via makeshift gas-oven-and-candle explosive. It’s safe to say that Horne’s misdeeds will now see the light of day, setting up an inevitable showdown with the authorities that seems likely to end in a hail of bullets.

Twin Peaks: The Return Recap Part 10

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Twin Peaks: The Return Recap: Part 10

Suzanne Tenner/Showtime

Twin Peaks: The Return Recap: Part 10

In “The Marriage of Heaven and Hell,” William Blake wrote: “Without Contraries is no progression…Love and Hate are necessary to Human existence.” Last night’s installment of Twin Peaks: The Return illuminated the precarious balance between these two opposing forces, previously represented as overarching cosmic principles in “Part 8” but here embodied at the level of all-too-human experience in ways both touching and terrifying.

Twin Peaks: The Return Recap Part 9

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Twin Peaks: The Return Recap: Part 9

Suzanne Tenner/Showtime

Twin Peaks: The Return Recap: Part 9

Showtime gave viewers of Twin Peaks: The Return two weeks to process the epically unsettling excursion into cosmic tone poetry and splattery monochrome horror that constituted much of “Part 8.” It seems likely that, given the show’s fondness for delaying the connection of its many plot points, those events will only bear their strange fruit a few episodes further down the line. And so last night’s installment resolutely picked up where the previous episode’s present-day first act left off, with the miraculously resurrected but still blood-soaked Bad Dale (Kyle MacLachlan) hoofing it along a dusty country road, until a blood-red bandana shows him where to turn off.

Twin Peaks: The Return Recap Part 8

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Twin Peaks: The Return Recap: Part 8

Suzanne Tenner/Showtime

Twin Peaks: The Return Recap: Part 8

For those who thought “Part 7” of Twin Peaks: The Return contained too much exposition and narrative linearity, Mark Frost and David Lynch have obliged you in spades with “Part 8,” a delirious descent into the murky matrix of material existence. Events pick up, deceptively enough, right where they left off last week, with Bad Dale (Kyle MacLachlan) and Ray (George Griffith) barreling through the night, leaving their recent confinement in Yankton federal prison far in the rearview. The opening sequence sets us up to expect that Bad Dale will summarily execute Ray for withholding key information. Frost and Lynch, though, have a nifty, noirish twist up their sleeves: Ray gets the drop on Bad Dale, putting two in his chest, but before Ray can finish the doppelganger off with a headshot, three spectral figures appear out of nowhere to “treat” his wounds with some bloody hands-on healing.

Twin Peaks: The Return Recap Part 7

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Twin Peaks: The Return Recap: Part 7

Showtime

Twin Peaks: The Return Recap: Part 7

This week’s episode of Twin Peaks: The Return uses Mark Frost and David Lynch’s abiding preoccupation with doppelgangers and mirror imagery as an often subtle structural device. Take Hawk’s (Michael Horse) fleeting mention of Jacques Renault (played in the original series by Walter Olkewicz) during his conversation with Sheriff Frank Truman (Robert Forster) about the handwritten pages he found in the bathroom stall door. This brief reference is later echoed by our introduction to Jean Michel Renault (also Olkewicz), the French-Canadian clan’s next generation of sleazy bartender-cum-pimp. Lynch uses a couple of classic rock instrumentals to link scenes set in the wee hours of the night: Booker T. & the M.G.’s “Green Onions” incongruously accompanies the image of a man (reduced almost to a silhouette) sweeping the floor of the Bang Bang Bar, a shot Lynch holds until it becomes strangely hilarious. Set to Santo & Johnny’s aptly titled “Sleep Walk,” the end credits scroll over the late-night patrons of the Double R Diner, only the second time the new series hasn’t concluded with an on-stage performance.