Criticism of Twin Peaks – Transcripts

Joel Bocko – Lost in the Movies

Having seen The Return as a whole now, do you have any criticisms of the show? In comparison to the original, or taken on it’s own.

I don’t know that it’s a criticism but I’m not yet sure what The Return contributes to the Twin Peaks narrative cycle (the pilot through Fire Walk With Me), which already felt whole and complete to me. If anything it seems to reinforce the oft-ignored message of episode 29 (Cooper’s failure to accept his shadow) and Fire Walk With Me (Laura’s importance beyond just being a dead girl mystery object). Both reminders are definitely welcome, but do they justify expanding the Twin Peaks universe (aside from its prodigious value as a standalone piece of Lynch art)? I am beginning to think if anything gives The Return equal footing with the previously existing high points of Twin Peaks, it’s the Dougie storyline. It works splendidly on its own terms, while contributing to our understanding of Cooper in a highly unique and original way (possibly suggesting an ideal path under the sly guise of a detour?). Otherwise, I think The Return mostly riffs on pre-existing Twin Peaks or creates new, wonderful ideas and situations which don’t need Twin Peaks to thrive (Part 8 is a great example – it’s maybe my favorite episode of Twin Peaks old or new but also stands largely outside the rest of the story). But I love the idea that the bumbling fool everyone kept waiting to turn into the “real Coop” may actually hold the heart of The Return.

There has been quite a lot of animosity online towards any criticism of The Return, and a dismissal of their points as simply not ‘getting’ Lynch. Why do you think Lynch inspires such aggressive fandom, and is there any validity to this point of view?

To be honest, I’ve mostly seen the Twin Peaks community as a far more welcoming, thoughtful, and generous fandom than many others (granted, I generally liked the show). My dabbling in the Star Wars fandom for example has pointed to a far more poisonous and entitled culture. I do think Twin Peaks is one of those rare places in pop culture where the avant-garde and the mainstream cross paths, so there are bound to be frustrations when people expect one thing, get something else, and don’t know what to do with it. I think Lynch fanboys and fangirls are probably pretty low-key compared to a lot of other directors (I think there’s an anecdote of David Fincher himself telling his daughter to stay far, far away from boys who told her Fight Club was their favorite movie haha) but there’s a frustration inherent in his work, especially if one isn’t accustomed to an experimental ethos, plus a frustration borne of people feeling the vibe intuitively and then getting upset when others don’t. (Not that someone accustomed to more straightforwardly narrative works can’t love Lynch, or someone immersed in the avant-garde can’t reject him.) I think the platforms can also lend themselves to varying reactions – some communities are just by their nature far more vicious and vitriolic, regardless of who’s under discussion.

Brad Dukes – Reflections, an oral history of Twin Peaks, and The Brad Dukes Show podcast

What if anything were you hoping or expecting from The Return?

I really did my best to drop most of my preconceived notions about what The Return would be. All of the buzz before the premiere indicated something entirely new and different. I think all that I really expected was for Dale Cooper to get out of the black lodge, and I guess that happened.

What were your feelings after seeing the first half of the season, and did part 8 change any of this?

I really enjoyed the first half of The Return. I was enjoying the story so much that Part 8 kind of put me off when I first saw it because it changed gears so drastically. I have come around to liking Part 8 more and more. It definitely is a chapter of Twin Peaks all to its own.

Have your feelings changed after the finale, and having seen the season as a whole?

My gut reaction, is part 18 was way too obtuse and left a sour aftertaste. I like that lasting visual of Cooper and Carrie on the street, but I don’t know if I like the journey there. I had some serious reservations when Laura’s body, wrapped in plastic, disappeared into thin air at the end of 17. I still am not sure what that means. It was a lot to process. I was pretty upset the first time I saw the finale of season 2, so it’s tough to say how and if time will change my feelings.

What would your main criticism be, if any, of The Return, in comparison to the original, or taken alone?

I did not want Twin Peaks: The Return to be a nostalgia fest. I’m very happy it was unforgiving and unrelenting in its design and approach, but I suppose I wish it was more accessible for people outside of the intense fanbase. Even for casual fans of the first two seasons, I can see many barriers to accessing it and even enjoying it. It took me multiple rewatches of each part to even keep my head above water, keeping track of it all. There were so many moments that will rank as some of my favorites, right along with the original, and there were also some choices that still have me scratching my head, wishing some of that time was devoted elsewhere. It was a rollercoaster.

What are your thoughts about the level of criticism of The Return from some fans of the original series?

I am a little miffed at the polar reactions of “this is the greatest television product ever” and/or “this was 18 hours of garbage.” This is an 18-hour film that demands some serious evaluation, as well as some patience a lot of people just don’t have. I think I would be comfortable saying this is the most dense installment of TV I’ve ever seen. It’s going to take time, but I will say, I understand the people who are upset, and I think their feelings have merit. For people that think it’s perfect and the greatest thing ever, I’m very happy for them and a little jealous.

What are your feelings about the reactions of some fans online towards any criticism of the show?

I haven’t dug too deep into that. I’ve tried to tread lightly in the discussion of the show to keep my views fresh. Some people gave me flak for some of my criticisms of the show, but I’ve only been honest. Time always morphs my feelings about Lynch’s films. I could name you a list of my favorite records, and I never knew what to make of them the first few times I heard them. I’m very much looking forward to see how Twin Peaks-The Return ages.

Aidan Hailes – Bickering Peaks Podcast

What if anything were you hoping or expecting from The Return?

I both expected and hoped for an 18-hour Mulholland Drive set in the world of Twin Peaks and featuring our favourite characters. So in that sense I guess I can say I got exactly what I wanted. I just didn’t know what I wanted could be quite as painful as it turned out to be.

What were your feelings after seeing the first half of the season, and did part 8 change any of this?

I didn’t love the first six or seven parts, so much as I appreciated them. I’m a fairly traditional media viewer I think – I love things that entertain me, but I can engage with something that’s not trying to be just entertainment. So those first seven hours were great for me because they were obviously doing things differently than anything I’d seen before, and I just knew I could come back and watch them over and over again. At the same time I didn’t find every moment of them riveting or even interesting. I guess I’d sum it up as saying I was enjoying the experience as a whole – emotionally and intellectually – but I wasn’t eagerly anticipating each Sunday night just yet. Part 8 definitely changed that. Not just because it was so unlike everything else, but because it came out of nowhere and really redefined just what we were watching. It wasn’t just a show about Cooper’s return to Twin Peaks, it was something otherworldly (both literally and figuratively) that could take us back in time and redefine entire concepts we’d taken for granted in new, amazing ways. After Episode 8 I couldn’t wait to watch every Sunday.

Have your feelings changed after the finale, and having seen the season as a whole?

The finale changed everything for me. I can’t remember any work of fiction, in any medium, affecting me like that. There have been films or books or games that will keep me awake and keep my mind focused on them after I finish them. I’ll spend hours involuntarily meditating on the images or the characters or the events: kind of a post-catharsis come-down as my mind reels and makes sense of it all. But The Return added a layer of pain and mistrust on top of that experience. I felt I’d been toyed with and manipulated into preparing for one kind of catharsis, which would have been fine in and of itself, but then I was driven to another place entirely and dropped into the middle of an empty, soul-crushing desert. There was no clarity, not even about which parts – if any – of what I’d seen could be considered real. It was terrifying and terrible, and I honestly felt betrayed. And then slowly, over a day or two, as my brain kept bringing me back to the finale, I started to see slivers of meaning and honesty in the ending. And with the help of all the people online going through the same process I was, I started to see the ending for what it was: an ending befitting all the ambiguity and conflict we’d been exposed to all season. And now I can’t imagine it ending any other way: Cooper and Laura, only not really Cooper or Laura (but their twins), alone in front of that street, as the electricity dies. If you would have told me at the start of the series that’s how it would all end I probably would have said “Makes total sense.” The journey to getting there was a roller-coaster that set me off balance for a knockout punch, but where we ended up feels as natural as anything Twin Peaks has ever brought to us. So kudos to Lynch & Frost for putting me on the ropes for seventeen hours before finally knocking me out.

What would your main criticism be, if any, of The Return, in comparison to the original, or taken alone?

While the gut-punch of the finale hit me hard, I’ve come around on it and am more than willing to admit it was a genius moment, not a failing. However, it does raise one huge concern for me which I haven’t seen any theory or analysis really answer definitively: why did we see what we saw in the first seventeen hours? Structurally The Return matches Mulholland Drive, with an abrupt change in realities at the end causing us to question everything. However, Mulholland Drive managed to repurpose the images and characters of the first 3/4 of the movie into Diane Selwyn’s dream (if we go with the traditional analysis of the movie), and doing so felt genius. It doesn’t just work on an intellectual level, it works on all the emotional levels the characters we saw experienced. In other words the two worlds were revealed to not be as unrelated as they may seem, and that wound up strengthening my engagement with both portions of the film. That hasn’t been true of The Return. Why did we need to see Audrey? Becky and Steven and Gersten? Red? Jerry Horne? Dr. Amp, Nadine, Ed and Norma? One answer could be purely for tone and atmosphere – we are returning to Twin Peaks and these characters are part of the makeup of the town. But they contributed nothing to the actual plots of the series itself, and they never engaged with the world that Cooper finds himself in at the end. They fail to contribute to the larger experience in which we find ourselves, tying back to Laura and the initial trauma that drove the story of Twin Peaks. There are too many scenes that just are, without any of the connections that could have strengthened the impact of that final hour. And so they feel like padding, which was a common complaint of The Return (three minutes of sweeping comes to mind), and one which the ending does nothing to address. Yes, it was nice to luxuriate in the moments themselves, but the WTF scenes that were presented without context or connection (the sick girl in the car, the Billy sub-plot, the drunk in the Sheriff’s station) are not integral in any way, and it feels like we were duped for the sake of being duped in retrospect. Maybe there’s an elaborate theory out there that will explain why we needed to watch three minutes of sweeping, or Wally Brando’s very existence, but one week after the finale, they still feel like extra weight on a story that struggled at times to engage on the basic levels of plot and character movement.

Putting it much more simply: the ending moved The Return into a far more post-modern film, antagonizing the audience for following the narrative expectations the series had laid out. Mulholland Drive (and other great marriages of art-house and traditional cinema) carried the audience along through the narrative shift, and felt more rewarding as a whole.

What are your thoughts about the level of criticism of The Return from some fans of the original series?

I totally get the criticism from fans of the original series. If your only exposure to David Lynch as a director was the original TV show of Twin Peaks, The Return would absolutely not be what you expected. Tonally and in terms of pacing, it is unlike anything else on TV, whereas the original Twin Peaks is very much like everything else that’s now on TV (and in some ways was just an upgraded and artistic version of what was on TV back in 1990). So unless you went in explicitly as a Lynch fan, I can understand the struggle to enjoy the show, especially considering the criticisms I made above regarding the plot lines that went no where or failed to connect in traditional ways.

What are your feelings about the reactions of some fans online towards any criticism of the show?

I found it odd scrolling through Twitter and various online groups the night of the finale and the day after, and finding that so many fans were so ready to instantly hail the ending as flawless. I felt like doing so missed something very important. In a series that, for better or worse, played with mood, tone, and viewer emotion in such deliberate ways. Not engaging with the final hour as a giant result of misdirection felt like they’d actually deluded themselves in some way. As different from normal TV and storytelling as the first 16 hours were, they still adhered to recognizable storytelling techniques and expectations in a way Inland Empire or other more surrealist films wouldn’t. We were led to believe that the ending would be tied to what we saw in those first 16 hours, and it was almost explicitly not. And I truly believe we were meant to suffer in the agony of those unmet expectations for a while, to stew in them and even feel resentment toward Lynch & Frost for setting us up and then taking us down so masterfully. And I think the goal of all that was that we would return to not just the ending, but the whole series to look for the answers that would fill the void left by that suffering. So to say you “enjoyed” or “loved” the ending feels like you didn’t really get the ending at all. You’re not supposed to love it. You’re supposed to hate it, and then you’re supposed to come back to it time and time again until you’ve made it right in your head. And that’s a pretty crazy thing to think of.

More generally, beyond just the finale though, I think there are hardcore fans of almost any series who refuse to accept criticism of their fandom, and Lynch seems to inspire a certain level of hero-worship in a small group of his fans as well because he is such a visionary director. Combine those two factors and you have a group of vocal fans who want to protect what they view as perfect. All the power to them, it’s their take, they can do what they want with it. There are enough spaces online for super-fans and super-critics to each say their piece without pissing off the other too much.

Matt Humphrey – Twin Peaks Podcast

What if anything were you hoping or expecting from The Return?

A continuation of the old series that felt at least a little familiar and tonally similar. Lots of people told me this is impossible. But “Ash vs the Evil Dead” nailing the feel of “Evil Dead 2” so many years later makes me tend to disagree.

I wanted a series with warmth and quirky characters that made the town of Twin Peaks comes alive in my mind. I wanted Bookhouse Boys adventures, Owls, maybe a murder mystery and an “evil presence in those old woods”. One that’s still vague and not over explained.

Instead we got a cold, unfeeling and sterile show with none of the warmth, character, humour or subtle mystery of the original. I’m glad Lynch/Frost got to make the continuation that they wanted to make, but that doesn’t mean I have to like the direction they took it or even respect their decisions. But I’m glad for them and for the people who enjoy it.

What were your feelings after seeing the first half of the season, and did part 8 change any of this?

Basically I was feeling unmoved and unengaged already, but by the time part 8 rolled around I was basically fully out. I realized this wasn’t for me as a primarily Twin Peaks fan. This is for die hard Lynch fans. I like most of his films (I hate a couple) but I don’t like anything he’s done nearly as much as I like Twin Peaks. Which probably boils down to TP being a collaborative effort. Maybe if people like Harley Peyton had been there to write lines such as, “Every day, once a day, give yourself a present…” they could have recaptured the old spirit better.

Have your feelings changed after the finale, and having seen the season as a whole?
The finale hammered home my disappointment with the show and I basically want to forget it ever happened. I thought it was incredibly disrespectful to it’s own source material, effectively erasing it and at the same time not wrapping up any of the new characters we were introduced to this season. This made me wonder why they even bothered to show us these stories in the first place.

I’m just hoping I can detach the memories of this season from my love of the first two when I go to rewatch them. I hope they haven’t been ruined for me. It will be hard to watch scenes with Coop and Audrey or Coop and Diane, knowing their ultimate fate.

What would your main criticism be, if any, of The Return, in comparison to the original, or taken alone?

That it’s just not very well done. Editing was haphazard, it was clear many times that they were editing around a lack of footage. Acting was bizarre, probably made worse by artificial pauses. There were very few interesting camera shots to take note of. The lack of music kept me at a distance, instead of drawing me in.

What are your thoughts about the level of criticism of The Return from some fans of the original series?

I think there are far too many people giving this show top marks, and I’m amazed they don’t see what I see. It almost feels like some people, especially TV critics, are afraid to be critical for fear of being accused of not “understanding” something so “masterful”. I’ve seen people who are disappointed in certain decisions that were made by Frost/Lynch but they convince themselves they should like it simply because it “subverted their expectations”. I would argue that alone does not make it good. If your first response is to be repulsed or disappointed, don’t try to reason your way out of that and convince yourself that you love it.

What are your feelings about the reactions of some fans online towards any criticism of the show?

It hurts when people attack me for not being on board with this. They claim I’m an idiot who just doesn’t get it. Or that I’m not a true Twin Peaks fan… Me, not a true Twin Peaks fan. The guy who started the first Twin Peaks Podcast on the internet because I needed an outlet to talk about my new obsession. The guy who has all the merch. Who has flown across the continent multiple times to go to the Twin Peaks Fest. The guy who actually got physically ill over the two years waiting for season 3 because I was so stressed that I wasn’t going to live to see it.

I’m not sure what else I had to do to be considered a “true fan”. But the way people have reacted to me, and the way this season turned out it’s erased a lot of my warm feelings towards the show and the fandom. Twin Peaks used to feel like home… But now I want to get away from it for a while. And that leaves a big emptiness inside me, because it’s been such a big part of my life for so long. The last thing I wanted was to hate this new season.

Like I said though, I’m hoping I can go back to watching exclusively the old series and maybe get a little part of that feeling back.

Brian Bollman – Twin Peaks Revival podcast

What if anything were you hoping or expecting from The Return?

I would love to say that I had zero expectations but that would be a lie. We all had some expectations and things we wanted to see. I wish I could have been more open minded going in. Like a lot of people not “all in” on the return I don’t know exactly what those expectations were but clearly the show didn’t deliver on them or I would have loved it.
I was most interested to see the “evolution of Lynch” post Inland Empire. That film had some fantastic moments but at the same time was right on that line of being too out there for about 95% of the general public (myself included). That made me nervous but I figured since Frost and Showtime (a streaming service desperate to compete with the big boys) would be in the room things wouldn’t go to Lynchfinity and beyond.

What were your feelings after seeing the first half of the season, and did part 8 change any of this?

It was a rollercoaster for me throughout the return. Like with every Lynch work I’ve seen I find myself absolutely loving some things while hating others. A lot of times the scales are tipped in favor of the love (Eraserhead, Lost Highway, Mulholland Drive, etc) but unfortunately with this return, all things considered, the scales tipped to hate.
I thought the show got out to a great start but quickly it became obvious that they were only going to develop and expound upon one storyline; the cooper/dougie thing. Now that’s not necessarily a bad thing but I just didn’t find it to be that interesting. The original show was all about diverse character “interactions” and “relationships.” I was never a huge fan of cooper in the original series but there were so many other interesting/developed characters and storylines interacting with him in a way where it didn’t really matter what I thought about his character in isolation. With the return if you’re not interested in that storyline YA BANGED.

First half (sans that ridiculous nine inch nails plug) of Part 8 was GREAT (up until the got a light guy sequence that I just thought was stupid). I loved seeing Lynch experiment in that way. It’s amazing to think that the same guy responsible for that is also responsible for the DianeTulpa dissipating in the waiting room (one of the dumbest looking things I’ve ever seen). Most directors would be openly mocked and crucified for a shot like that.
Instead of Twin Peaks the Return I would have preferred 18 hours of Lynch just experimenting the way he did at the start of Part 8. At least in that lens I wouldn’t be disappointed because there would literally be zero expectations. Obviously I know that’s not realistic since I get the sense the only project Lynch would get funding for at this stage in his career would be something “Twin Peaks” related.

Have your feelings changed after the finale, and having seen the season as a whole?

No. I didn’t enjoy the season as whole and nothing in the finale changed that. I appreciate and applaud what he did in the finale but I’m not one of those people who automatically loves anything that’s experimental or daring for it’s own sake. I still would like to be entertained.
I do know now that if I went back and rewatched the entire thing I would be able to appreciate it a lot more (there wouldn’t be any disappointments). But to me appreciation and enjoyment are two totally different things. I really enjoyed the original Twin Peaks and never felt like I needed to analyze it on a deep level unless I wanted to. The return is a challenging work of art that I struggled to enjoy most of the time.

What would your main criticism be, if any, of The Return, in comparison to the original, or taken alone?

Simply put it wasn’t entertaining or interesting. When you only develop one storyline you’re taking a massive risk. I loved that in the old Twin Peaks there was something for pretty much everyone. The return had some real interesting ideas (Bill Hastings, Richard Horne, The Box, etc) that didn’t really go anywhere.
But at the end of the day it’s really just a personal taste thing and I totally understand why lots of people love this show. There are plenty of films that I really like that are universally hated. This return will have it’s cult like following and I think that’s really cool; just wasn’t my cup of tea.
It felt like the show was intentionally going as far away from the vibe of the original as possible. Again that’s totally fine if people love it but I wanted to at the very least be entertained by the return and most of the time I wasn’t.
Nothing has ever come close to the vibe of the original (that includes FWWM, the journal, secret history, the return) to a point where I really don’t even think you can compare the two. I look at these works as companion pieces not continuations.

What are your thoughts about the level of criticism of The Return from some fans of the original series?

I’m one of these people so I think it’s totally fine. So many different people for so many different reasons could love the original show. In my opinion you have to be a Lynch fan first to really appreciate and love this Return (generically speaking, I’m sure there are exceptions). There’s nothing wrong with that but for a lot of people who loved some of the charms of the original that had nothing to do with Lynch you will feel left out, confused, and frustrated. I desperately wanted Ontkean and Chen back because they were so essential to my first go around and seemingly could have fit in this story. To be honest if the entire thing was set in Twin Peaks and Cooper/Maclachlan didn’t even make an appearance until the end I wouldn’t have cared.

What are your feelings about the reactions of some fans online towards any criticism of the show?

It’s been kind of sad. The go to thing I’ve read online is “If you don’t like it don’t watch it.” Counter: don’t call it Twin Peaks then. Like I said before I honestly would have preferred Lynch doing something brand new with 18 hours of screentime versus doing “Twin Peaks.”
Fans of the original are going to tune into every episode and Showtime was banking on that. People with the “don’t like don’t watch” attitude you can’t even talk to because they are unwilling to listen. Of course I’m going to tune in every week just in case Ontkean makes an appearance or we get a scene with Snake and the Bobcat (or for a lot of people anything to do with Audrey). I’ve read and heard a lot of positive things about this show that have convinced me I’ve been wrong and was too quick to judgment. People seem to assume that criticism is coming from some sort of place of malice when rarely that’s the case. Being critical is an important part of engaging with a TV show in my opinion. Just because it’s Twin Peaks and Lynch doesn’t mean every second will be perfect.
Showtime knew what they had with this show from the start and obviously went down the pay for stars/reviews route and front-loaded the hell out of their marketing campaign. I think it’s fair for fans of the original to feel a little betrayed based on the marketing (doing little vignettes of some of the heartfelt quirky things people remember). At the end of the day the show is what it is and while I think it was well done, adventurous, and unique I just didn’t find it all that interesting or consistently entertaining.

Mark Walker – The Formica Table Podcast

What if anything were you hoping or expecting from The Return?

I think all our hopes and expectations were sky high, with Lynch and Frost on board – what could go wrong?? I had few preconceived ideas as to the nature of the narrative. We’ve had 25-plus years to imagine what might manifest inside the box. Originally I presumed that although Cooper would be central on the return, we’d be more in Harry’s shoes or someone else. That it would develop from a whodunnit into a whenaretheygonnacatchhim. But those preconceptions changed and evolved over the years. As it turned out, we didn’t get much of a consistent protagonist at all, which was one of my major gripes. At the same time, I was glad that the show was much more complex than we could’ve imagined and that it refused to play any easy, fan-servicey cards or pander to expectations.

Ultimately what I hoped was that we’d get that indescribably deep sense of place that few (if any) beyond Twin Peaks has managed to produce. This sense that for 50 minutes you are transported to this sleepy, moonlit town surrounded by dark mysterious woods. Even outside of those 50 minutes, that feeling would linger, living in your head until your fix the following week. We got a smattering of that this time around, but not rich and constant, like back in the day. I suppose all the geographical jumping around and the show’s refusal to stay with any of the characters (at least until later parts) precluded any sense of ‘settling in’ to the town.

What were your feelings after seeing the first half of the season, and did part 8 change any of this?

Our hopes were dented a little after the first three/four eps. After the third, I vocally questioned the wisdom in committing ourselves to an 18 part podcast. I was the one who was started out the most sceptical. Jason, who’s idea it was to start the podcast, was more forgiving. Rob was on a journey at that point, from a starry-eyed rekindling to a more cooler place. But for all of us, Part 8 was a game changer. It renewed my own flagging faith in the series. It did something really incredible, it pulled open this rich tapestry of character and story set in a small town and stretched it across the cosmos. It made Twin Peaks into something that Lynch/Frost had always hinted at but never fully established. It deepened the mythology around the series and elevated Laura Palmer into a Christ-like figure of love and goodness and cast Bob as this primal evil born of man’s worst instincts. It made Twin Peaks a story set against the backdrop of this epic struggle between good and evil, light and dark. It was incredible.

Have your feelings changed after the finale, and having seen the season as a whole?

I think I speak for all of us when I say that Part 8 was the high point in the series. There was no topping that. Certainly things improved latterly, we started to focus more on individual story strands and characters. Slowly but surely, the geography started to hone in on TP. Ultimately though, all that came a little too late and much of it turned out to go nowhere. By that time, Dougie Jones had established himself as the Jar Jar Binks of TP and the damage done to the series was irreparable – for me at least. Although I got a lot from the final pair of episodes and I thought this focus on Laura was absolutely the way to go – nothing could have felt more ‘right’ than returning to her this way – I couldn’t shake the feeling that with half the number of ‘parts’ and half the (vast) number of periphery characters we’d have an infinitely more engaging, more focussed and more satisfying overall experience. So much story stuff goes… nowhere.

As for the others around our Formica Table, I think Rob made the greatest shift. By the end he’d slipped into a permanent grump ? No getting him back. He was in the lodge and couldn’t get out. I understood him though, I was in that place at certain points throughout, but not, like I said, at the end.

The finale was ultimately a rewarding conclusion/continuation to Laura Palmer’s story – but not arguably, for TP as a whole. I acknowledge that for the most part, TP and Laura are one and the same and without Laura, there is no TP – but while FWWM was about Laura, the series was about her absence and in describing that absence, the show focussed on many other aspects and characters of the town – and very few of them received meaningful screen time in The Return. As for Jason, his loyalty did waver, but very little: he remained cautiously optimistic throughout, and ready to defend the show or make excuses for it. I’d say that mix helped us deliver a fairly balanced criticism of the 18 parts, despite myself and Rob occupying different places on the spectrum at different times.

What would your main criticism be, if any, of The Return, in comparison to the original, or taken alone?<<
isodes. These weren’t episodes. I know Lynch defends the project as an 18 hour film in eighteen ‘parts’ but that explanation doesn’t cut the mustard. Mostly, it feels like an 18 hour cake sliced arbitrarily into 18 pieces. No-one wants to eat that cake in one sitting (ok, maybe Dougie). You’d throw up violently long before you got to the last bite. Even if you make it to that last slice, you’re not going to enjoy or appreciate it. Either it should have been a smaller cake (with less total slices) or crafted more carefully into cupcakes. Actually, food analogies are not my forte, Rob is much better at this. What I’m saying is, if it’s a movie, make a movie. If it’s a TV series, take the time to craft each episode with respect to the format, at least in form if not content. This didn’t sit in either chair. It was rare that we got what felt like a well-paced episode, with strong openers and narrative hooks and perhaps a cliffhanger at the end? Too often we ended up in the Roadhouse with music numbers that felt tacked on at the end, in lieu of an actual narrative ending for each episode. There were exceptions, certainly, but a discrepancy between the way it had supposedly been conceived and the way it was being delivered was never resolved. You wanna make an 18 hour movie? Ok, bring it on. For Lynch, I’d give up those 18 hours of my day for such an event. However, you wanna make TV, well then craft it accordingly. I’m sure it was liberating and less hassle to write without having to properly consider 60 minute segments, but it just feels sloppy. Whatever issues the latter (and weaker) half of season two struggled with, they were never of this nature.

Twin Peaks’ strength was that it reinvigorated a tired old format – the soap opera. It went to town on the originality of its content, within those traditional constraints, but always respected the form.

What are your thoughts about the level of criticism of The Return from some fans of the original series?<<
ve seen some people who gave up after Part 8. I don’t understand that. Not at all. What did they think they were signing up for? If anything, for me, that one episode validated The Return.

What are your feelings about the reactions of some fans online towards any criticism of the show?<<
ve heard/read people praising this season to high heaven like its untouchable. With some intimidating those who disagree with them. I understand the devotion to Twin Peaks but find the zealotry disturbing and quite at odds with Lynch’s own philosophies of love and goodness, which are frequently promoted within the show. So, each to their own, but to those who deem TP to be perfect – that’s nonsense. To clarify, alI of us at the Formica Table subscribe wholly to the Church of Lynch. Twin Peaks is art, a rare and beautiful thing in cinema and television – by one of America’s greatest living artists – but like religion, art isn’t beyond criticism

Patrick Hook – World of Peaks FB Group

What are the main criticisms you’ve seen directed at The Return?<<
e main criticism I’ve seen has been if unsolved storylines. Audrey, Red, Becky etc etc. some thoughts have been that some of these characters now have no really story due to being..simply forgotten about. Although, if Cooper in fact changed Laura’s history he very well may have altered all of Twin Peaks.

Has the level of criticism changed during the course of the season?<<
ve been a fan since May 21. Yet I’ve noticed many drop off and many come back. It was not a nostalgia trip at all and I’m happy with that. I guess the main issue I’ve read or heard has been “it’s too surreal” “where is Audrey?” “This isn’t Twin Peaks we remember” My feeling was since the beginning that no, it isn’t Twin Peaks of 1991. And it can’t be.

What is your opinion about the reaction of some fans online towards any criticism of the show?<<
me online opinions are justified with the finale and some aren’t. The green glove thing has been the biggest criticism I’ve seen so far. As many felt (and myself) it was a bit too comic bookish. Many have dealt very well with how it ended. As again, Cooper kinda messed things up by saving Laura Palmer. You can’t go home again. And in knowing that, sometimes the darkness wins.

Christian Hartleben – Admin of Twin Peaks 2017 and Twin Peaks Logposting

My perspective on your questions is informed by my role as a very busy administrator in the Facebook groups Twin Peaks (2017) and Twin Peaks Logposting®®, from Monday September 4 through Friday September 8. I do not think I have seen a true representative sample of viewers.

Most of the comments I saw were based on one viewing of the final two parts, or two viewings so close together that they do not allow for a true re-examination of initial reactions: so I would say I have seen people’s first-pass impressions for the most part.

What would you say is the general reaction to The Return from fans of Twin Peaks?<<
ry positive, but then we weeded out the malcontents over the Summer.<<
me of them after the Premiere; most of the rest after Part 8.<<
rejected their complaining posts. They gave up… or came around (hard to tell how many)<<
ong the rest of our members, intense engagement.

But reactions to the final two parts, and the Whole = .<<
ew outright loving the ending(s) without reservation or conflict.<<
any deeply frustrated, angry, dismissive.<<
ost conflicted, disturbed over specific elements which did not work for them; also disappointed for the lack of resolution to Audrey, anger over a lack of Annie.

What are the main criticisms you’ve seen directed at The Return?<<
islike of some Roadhouse acts.<<
islike of how disconnected the Roadhouse plot is from the rest.<<
oo much Dougie, not enough Coop.<<
islike of Chrysta Bell’s acting style – since this was her first role, it’s a rejection of her own physicality and movements which she brought in to the character (rather than a “method” approach, where the actress would have ask herself how a junior female FBI agent would want to be seen, and would choose to carry herself).

Has the level of criticism changed during the course of the season?<<
s, rising and falling with the Parts.<<
rt 11 (Richard attacks Sylvia) and Part 12 (re-introduction of Audrey) were lows for many viewers.<<
ch more criticism than average for 18; and also 17.

What is your opinion about the reaction of some fans online towards any criticism of the show?<<
ns understand that some criticism is natural – for younger fans and those who have not trained themselves with auteur cinema, it’s a byproduct of digesting the material. Fans understand that this is not easy material. Many are quick to delight in condescending to the whining n00bs with choruses of “Learn Cinema! Learn Lynch!”

“Sometimes, there’s a buggy” goes the line from Mulholland Dr. Frost and Lynch took us where they wanted to go. Some people refuse to get on board – they can be mocked, or excused, or ignored. Many more are trying, and learning from podcasts and essays and Facebook posts. They have been learning that there’re other ways of seeing, beyond what they brought initially to process the show.

Twin Peaks (2017) group has been a community and a seminar.<<
in Peaks Logposting®® has been a primal scream therapy session, and a parody of the same.

Overall, I’m incredibly pleased. I see the same process which went on with fire walk with me. So many fans took repeated viewings over long years to come to realize the film’s unqualified genius. I believe the journey from frustration to adoration with The Return is much quicker. The more you let it work on you, the more you trust the process, the more The Return makes you a better person.

May we all Learn Lynch, thereby Learning Cinema; and by extension, Learn how to see our world and ourselves with greater mindful clarity

Laura Stewart – Admin Twin Peaks 2107 FB Group

What would you say is the general reaction to The Return from fans of Twin Peaks?<<
the whole it’s been widely and wildly embraced as a masterpiece. It has had a hugely emotional effect on people, almost an ‘us vs the rest of the world’ sort of feeling. People are very defensive of any criticism of it. Considering that it was not what anyone expected it to be –  no-one could’ve predicted The Return even if they knew it wouldn’t be a trip down memory lane – it has been extremely popular amongst fans on the whole.

What are the main criticisms you’ve seen directed at The Return? <<
e main criticisms I’ve seen are:

1) the pacing – long lingering scenes which some felt were pointless, such as the roadhouse sweep and of course how long it took for Coop to awaken from his Dougie persona. Though when he did it was worth the wait for the ‘I am the FBI’ line alone. However fans were quickly disappointed again when the Coop we know and love seemed to disappear almost as soon as he arrived.

2) Too many storylines that lead nowhere. This only became apparent at the end of the series of course as everyone assumed these threads would be sewn up, but the opposite happened. All the threads were torn the moment laura was ‘saved’.

3) not enough time spent on old favourites such as Audrey – I’m not exaggerating when I say that maybe 50 people a day would wonder when Audrey was going to turn up in the episodes before she finally arrived. Then when she did it wasn’t enough.

4) Freddie and his green glove – whilst Freddie himself was fairly popular in a comical sense many fans have been incensed that such a character, one with so little build up/back story could be the one to defeat BOB. BOB who we feared so much for 25 years, who appeared to be the ultimate evil was reduced to ‘end of level boss’. I don’t suppose anyone was more surprised to learn this than Jake Wardle, who plays Freddie, himself.

Has the level of criticism changed during the course of the season?<<
finitely, I think parts 1&2 were a shock to the system but people quickly got used to this brand new version and embraced the visual spectacular. The mood changed again when people realised that Twin Peaks the town wasn’t featuring much at all. Then came Part 8 and it blew everyone’s minds. It created a buzz, and fans felt like they were privy to something really special, much like the first time round. As the series went on and Twin Peaks/Vegas/Buckhorn all became intertwined a real magic started to happen. From part 14 onwards everyone was completely enthralled and there was very little negativity at all. The build up to finale was an emotional rollercoaster, with many fans feeling genuinely upset that it was going to be over. Part 17 brought such joy but it was quickly turned to confusion after part 18. Initially many people were devastated and left feeling a little hollow. Someone compared it to being kicked in the balks, others were lost for words. It’s only as they’ve all been able to process what they’ve seen, talk it through with each other and dissect it slowly that they are now celebrating it and are either at peace with it or are eagerly hoping for series 4, still hoping that their questions will be answered. However I expect a huge drop in fandom as many have lost their patience with it.

What is your opinion about the reaction of some fans online towards any criticism of the show?<<
ns have been very defensive of criticism and there has been some infighting online. There seems to be a select crowd who are so passionate about it that any criticism means you’re not a ‘real fan’ or that ‘you don’t understand’ which is condescending to say the least. Perhaps even more bizarrely a divide became apparent between Twin Peaks fans and pure David Lynch fans. It’s true though that those who really love anything Lynch have taken to The Return perhaps better than standalone Twin Peaks fans. However on the whole I must say that most fans are very polite and open to the opinions of others and can debate with respect. Those that can’t don’t tend to stick around too long.<<

Written by Matt Armitage

Director of Operations at 25YL Media. Webmaster, Editor, Chief Weasel and occasional writer. Likes: Weird psychological horror, cats, wine, and whisky. Dislikes: Most people, rain, cats.

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