Twin Peaks and the Voyeur

In the long, empty, crashing weeks since the finale there have been a million words written about season 3. We are still in a weird limbo of mourning what is over, and of hoping for more clarification and understanding of what we actually just went through.

Putting the baffling, jumbled elements of the finale itself to one side for a moment, the greatest dissatisfaction with fans seems to be the endless new threads of storyline that trailed off into nothing or were just left hanging in a particular moment with no resolution in sight.

For me, these scenes were never a substantial part of the show, but were just added background colour to provide a stage for the Laura and Cooper stories that were playing out in the foreground.

The Roadhouse scenes are a perfect example of this. They start off pretty normal with Shelley and her friends hanging out and flirting with boys. Just what you expect. But as the season continues, the scenes and characters get progressively stranger and trashier, and things become more violent. Scabby armpit girl and geeky screaming girl have no input to the bigger picture. They are just an indication of where the town is going wrong. It’s like sitting in your favourite bar and watching it go downhill week by week as a new crowd moves in and brings their skanky friends with them.

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Imagine that David has handed you an Access All Areas pass to the town. Like Ebenezer Scrooge, you can go to any time or place in Twin Peaks and watch what is unfolding, completely unseen. It is the ultimate in people watching.

Walk around for a day and see what is happening in these little snippets of life. In a grimy warehouse on the edge of town, a charismatic criminal called Red is recruiting reckless newbie Richard. We don’t know yet that Richard is a psychopath, or that Red is dating Shelley. We don’t need to know. We might never see these people again, or we might pass them in the street every day, just like in life.

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In the lush green woods, we wade through high grasses and wet leaves, enjoying the silence and the sunshine, until a gunshot disturbs the birds from their branches. Rounding a corner, we see a young red-haired woman at the base of an enormous tree, distraught and confused. Only she knows the violence and horror that has occurred on the other side of that tree. We can’t help her, because we are just watchers. And so we move on.

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At a nearby trailer park, Carl Rodd surveys his kingdom. We see him all the time, we don’t know anything about him, but he has a kind aura, and we hope his life is okay.

Driving through the heart of the town at night, we see an older couple talking in the window-light of a shop called Run Silent, Run Drapes. We glance at them with vague recognition and dismiss them. We have no idea of all the love and heartache that has led up that moment of bonding. Or that if we pop into the RR the next day we might be just in time to catch a wonderful love story play out right in front of us. We might be there, we might miss it, just like in life.

It is interesting that the heart of The Return lies in Vegas, a place known for having a glittering, opulent front. Here it is always sunny, and always filled with life, and the characters are strong and fully formed.

The Blue Rose team also are in full bloom, rich and developed characters with slow-paced, heavily-laden scenes. They are the strength behind the show, and they pull us along with them, led by the alter ego of our fearless creator Lynch.

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In contrast, what we see of Twin Peaks seems detached and out of synch, little vignettes that leave more questions than answers.

We have no control over the outcome of the Vegas stories, where happy endings do exist in the glitter and the glamour.

But when it comes to the town of Twin Peaks itself, David and Mark have granted us the power of omnipresence, and also, in a way, they are letting us play God.

They are allowing us to do what we do in life, when we encounter people here and there and wonder about who they are and what they do. They are letting us take these stories and characters and mould them like fleshy clay into our own desires, and into our own forms. We can project our own needs onto them, and take what we need from it.

In my own version of these stories, Red isn’t too bad after all, but he and Shelley will go the way of all her other relationships. Jacoby and Nadine will form a bond that gives them comfort but still allows them to be their unique and independent selves. Becky is still alive, Gersten will get cleaned up.

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No matter all the evidence to the contrary, I choose to accept that Ed and Norma will have their happily ever after, because in all this darkness, there has to be a little firefly of hope and light.

And at the Fat Trout Trailer Park, Carl is singing to the stars for one final time, the power of the White Lodge quietly embracing him.

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