Parts 17 & 18 Instant Reaction: The Waiting Room

It feels like the ’90s all over again, almost as if the ending of Season 2 and the public reaction to Fire Walk With Me merged. I told myself I wasn’t going to look at social media before I started writing but when those ending credits rolled, my curiosity got the best of me. My gut reaction was right – people are confused, angry, their expectations weren’t met and they wanted closure. I get that. There are people calling it a setup for a fourth season. I get that too. That being said, I don’t agree with any of those sentiments.

Twin Peaks: The Return is going to take years to unpack, in particularly the final two hours. Right now I can’t tell you what it all means. To speculate would be depriving myself the journey I’m so excited to take to try and wrap my mind around it over time. Mulholland Drive is one of my favorite films and it took me 3 complete viewings to even begin to understand the final 30 minutes. Hell I still don’t completely understand Eraserhead yet I love the film because it dares me to dream. I don’t think Twin Peaks: The Return ended on some big elaborate plea for another season. I don’t think Frost and Lynch were doing what they did in the season finale of the first season when they literally scripted every subplot to end in a cliffhanger. There is a story that was told in The Return, a complete story that it’s up to us who choose to do so to examine, study and dream about for years to come. It’s televised art and to assume that it would provide the closure that other shows do is wrong. Nothing about Twin Peaks is like other shows and that’s what we love about it. Why should we expect the ending to be any different?

Will there be a fourth season? Your guess is as good as mine. I can assume that Showtime wants there to be based on the numbers they and their parent company CBS have reported and not based on the outdated ratings that so many subpar journalists report on. Do Lynch and Frost want to revisit this world and tell more stories? I have no idea. Speaking as someone who is well versed in the works of David Lynch, I’m quite confident that the ending of Part 18 was the ending that he and Mark Frost wanted to tell. Both Frost and Lynch have said numerous times over the past 25 years how unhappy they were with not being able to end Twin Peaks the way they wanted to. They were given the gift of a lifetime by being able to revisit this material 20 plus years later. I can’t even begin to imagine a scenario where they would end the story here anyway except the way they wanted to. Again, the ending is here, we just have to understand what it is.

I will not be going in depth like I said into what we saw. My head is spinning just like most of yours probably is. I am one great big ball of emotions right now: happy, excited, sad that it could be over, exhausted, confused. That is what art does to us though. I’m glad that I’m not smiling ear to ear because Shelly and Bobby got back together, Cooper ate a bunch of donuts and asked Lucy about married life and everything got tied up with a nice pretty bow. Is Cooper caught in some loop where he’s always trying to save Laura and fails? Did he actually course correct her death? What’s the significance of the names “Chalfont” and “Tremond” being used in the final scene? What are we supposed to take away from that? Why did Cooper wake up in a different hotel room? Was that actually Cooper even? It seemed like him up until him and Diane drive through that portal or whatever that was. After that, his voice, his demeanor, really everything was different except for brief moments when he seemed Cooper-ish. I’m starting to feel like I watched Mulholland Drive for the first time again. Who is Diane Selwyn again???

To anyone reading this that might have had a negative reaction to what we saw tonight, your feelings are completely valid. If you are interested, here on this site we will be continuing to dive into what we saw for awhile to come. We will theorize, speculate and try to determine what exactly Lynch and Frost were trying to tell us. We’re not going anywhere. I hope you stick around to because just like with the original show and film, I have a feeling it’s going to be a lot more enjoyable after some time has past and the shock has wore off. Until next time, thanks for reading.

10 Replies to “Parts 17 & 18 Instant Reaction: The Waiting Room”

  1. Up until the end when Laura screamed kind of got the feeling that he was fantacizing everything to do with Twin Peaks. Lime maybe he IS just an insurance agent (named Dougie Jones, perhaps) who daydreams weird snd very detailed stuff with him in a hero role, just as a means of escaping his mundane life.

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    1. After thinking about it all, once you strip out all the oomie-goomie mumbo-jumbo about alternate timelines/realities, lodges, tulpas and the like–I think the entire TP story, from pilot to hour 18 really was about a guy named Richard who ended up in a psych ward (diagnosis maybe dis-associative personality disorder) after he survived a double homicide attempt involving his married lover and her husband. He met Carrie (herself a bi-polar survivor of incest and sexual abuse who may have attempted suicide) in the common room of the ward and together, they created a whole fantasy world where Carrie got to be the beloved homecoming queen whose “tragic murder” affected an entire town, and Richard got to be the incorruptible FBI agent from 1950s Noire films who came into town to “solve the crime”.

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  2. The idea that helped make sense of the last episode for me is that, even if Cooper succeeded in saving Laura Palmer from her death, she was still in an awful situation: subject to repeated rape from her father, who would still be possessed by Bob. Perhaps also Sarah Palmer is still possessed, but I’m not sure if the show or film ever suggested if that possession happened before or after Laura Palmer’s death. Does the scene with Sarah Palmer smashing Laura’s picture show us that something different but equally terrible happened? Meanwhile, Cooper has been duped into thinking he can control his experiences in the Black Lodge/ White Lodge.

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  3. If I walk into a hardware store and matter-of-factly ask the clerk what isle the invisible elephant diapers are in, I should expect a seriously contorted and confused look in return (maybe even a silent 911 call leading to a wellness check). However, if the hardware store is owned by David Lynch and run by Mark Frost, I know I will unflinchingly be lead to the section marked “Imperceptible Pachyderm Panties,” handed a glass bucket full of zigzag shaped toothbrushes with little tiny singing bird heads instead and smile all the way home accompanied by a low moaning wind and slow motion 50’s guitar track.

    The Return was unequivocally the greatest eighteen hours of television any of us are likely to ever see in our lifetimes, the finale was beyond next level inspired and the ONLY thing that could possibly destroy those facts would be if Lynch/Frost were to revive it for another season. I seriously hope both of them are sipping coffee in the Double R right now blasting “We Are the Champions” on the jukebox.

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  4. I too had a WTF feeling after the first watch, have now watched 17 and 18 four times. Starting to make more sense. Cooper did seem to change after they drove over that spot. Still not a clue about the Richard and Linda thing, and where in the heck did Diane go, first we had one, then two, then none. When Coop found Carrie, he seems to be back to good old FBI Coop but very very serious sounding. Is Carrie adopted? (Was Laura adopted?) Cause she did not recognize Leland but when Coop asked about Sarah Palmer it affected her. Yeah, this is going to take a long time, maybe years. Looking forward to hearing more of your comments

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  5. Thanks so much for doing this. I was abroad and missed the last 4 episodes. I’m up to speed now and while looking for good commentaries (as opposed to recaps) on what I had just seen (depressing, crazy, mysterious, frustrating, exhilarating) I ran into your site. I like it very much. You really captured how it felt to go thru the ending. Will read your other posts, past and future, as time allows. Thanks again!

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