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TWIN PEAKS: The Return / Part XIII Analysis

Showtime
Over the top? Some fight for money, some fight for glory… Mr. C’s fighting for the death of Ray.
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Spoilers for Part XIII of Twin Peaks: The Return

I’ve almost had enough. Reaching pretention levels that I haven’t seen from Lynch since the second half of the second season of Twin Peaks.

Last week’s part felt pointless overall. Its sense of ennui with its need to relax while still pushing the plot forward was excusable. But compared to this week’s entry, it was damn near essential and enthralling material. David Lynch isn’t “playing with us,” he’s just been giving too much free reign with this show. We don’t need 17 hours (the finale is allegedly two hours long) for a story that could have been tight and concise in under 12 hours (and remember, this season was originally a nine-hour series order).

Lynch and Frost needed an editor or producer to sit with them and remove excess material because Part XIII has nothing substantial to offer. Instead, Showtime thought to let an auteur do whatever he wanted means they would have gotten the most complete product with no studio interference. The problem is auteurs need interference sometimes or they produce egregious material that feels like an amalgamation of hundreds of opposing ideas battling for shine.

The only thing somewhat worth mentioning in the scheme of the entire plot at work here is Mr. C going to visit Ray in Western Montana. Ray eventually tells Mr. C that Philip Jeffries (played by David Bowie in Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me) hired Ray to kill Mr. C to get the spirit of BOB out of Mr. C — and also — to put the green ring on Mr. C’s eventual dead body to send him back to the Black Lodge.

Unfortunately, this small nugget of useful information is wrapped up in an insufferably boring scene of Ray’s bodyguard challenging Mr. C to an arm wrestling contest. You have to recreate scenes from Stallone’s Over The Top to get answers out of Ray, it seems. Mr. C wins, kills the bodyguard and Ray, puts the ring on Ray, and thus, his body and the ring drop back into the Black Lodge.

Auteurs will go out of their way to create a vibe in a project that doesn’t necessarily “make sense” to the audience, but that atmosphere produced is worth it enough to watch it.

Take Inland Empire, for istance. You can create whatever narrative you want for that film, but it’s all up for interpretation. The cathartic mood it creates makes it an enjoyable, but nightmarish viewing. Having Lynch and Frost set forward several hours of pointless material to “pull a fast one” on audiences that want a worthwhile series is pathetic.

It reminds me of what Michael Haneke did with his two versions of his film Funny Games. It’s a horror movie meant to never give the audience any sort of satisfaction and in turn, make them question their blood thirsty tendencies when watching violent works of fiction on screen. The difference being that Haneke had something to say and whatever message Lynch and Frost are metaphysically trying to convey, it’s aggravating and doesn’t need multiple hours to say it.

When Twin Peaks: The Return isn’t pushing forth the plot by adding on more and more characters with minimal amount of development like convoluted Jenga pieces, it seems Lynch and Frost have a lot to say about television audiences. Sarah Palmer spends her days watching animals being tore apart or a 15-second boxing clip on loop amidst mountains of cigarettes butts and empty vodka bottles. The season started with a character on a couch watching a clear box for hours.

This week’s credits scrawl has Ed Hurley (Everett McGill) at Big Ed's Gas Farm starring out into the road in a comatose state, sipping coffee. The problem with this layer of social commentary is it comes at the price of having scenes that amount to nothing — in the sense of plot or even enjoyable metaphorical mood.

A social experiment to hold the mirror to the audience about their binge watching and current cultural intake of art. I’m just not buying it because it’s a message that’s strung out longer than it needs to be.

Ending the episode with James Hurley, the peaked-in-high-school greaser that everyone still pretends to like, playing his agonizing “You and I” song felt like grabbing onto bits of nostalgia to make the viewers not realize they are being fed bullshit this week.

I wish I wasn’t ready for this season to end, but I am at this point. I’m here to be entertained, not for an auteur to spend hours of a television show to “get me.” That’s idiotic on so many levels and a waste of time for everyone on either side of the television screen.

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Kevin Tudor

Born and raised in the mean streets of Yukon, Oklahoma, Kevin is currently majoring in...

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