The reason “Twin Peaks” was cancelled in 1991 after its second season is simple: no one knew what was going on, or what the point was. Frankly, once Laura Palmer’s killer was revealed, the show should have been over. The original conceit was excellent. Belaboring it became the central problem. After around 13 episodes, all the cute stuff either had to stop or be explained. And David Lynch had no explanation for it.
I remember asking Lynch about this a few years later. He and Mark Frost initially conceded that they had no game plan. All the so called “clues” were just affect. I can tell you that when the show first started, the water cooler conversation in my office was ‘what did the log mean’? and ‘why was that woman constantly pulling her drapes open and close?” We figured, it all meant something. Listen: it meant nothing.
Twenty five years later, this is worse than ever. The first four episodes of the new “Twin Peaks” are turgid and miserable, and a waste of time. If you have time for this nonsense, so be it. But there is no central conceit this time. The charm is long gone. So is Michael Ontkean as Sheriff Harry Truman. The sheriff’s office is like a sad send up of itself. The town of Twin Peaks is hardly used in these episodes. Much of the action takes place in Las Vegas, New York, and Philadelphia.
There are no new characters of interest, no plot point to jump from, no one to care about. I’m sorry, we love David Lynch for so many great movies. But his last film, “Inland Empire,” was just like this: just a pointless slog, total masturbation. “Twin Peaks 2.0” follows in its footsteps. There’s nothing clever going on. I’m sort of gobsmacked about how awful it is. It takes three episodes before we Lynch himself, or the late Miguel Ferrer. Four to see David Duchovny. There’s no hero since Ontkean didn’t return.
And what of Kyle Maclachlan as Agent Dale Cooper? I doubt he has any idea what he was asked to play or what the heck is going on. It’s just as well. When “Twin Peaks” ended, Cooper was possessed by the Devil, or Bob. That made no sense either, but it was a kooky way to say goodbye. A quarter century later, Cooper is sitting in some alternative universe talking to Laura Palmer– even though she’s been dead for 25 years, she’s still somehow aged. I don’t know why.
The mill is gone, the myth of the town is MIA, Julee Cruise has been replaced by long tedious musical sequences. So far there’s no explanation for the absence of Sheriff Truman. Seemingly none of the story lines or beloved characters from the old series have been thought out or resuscitated in a meaningful way. I think they just had no idea what to do, so they goofed off this 18 episode (18 hours! no!) sequel. You could just skip to episode 4 to get the idea. There is no plot of any kind.
I don’t know why Frost and Lynch just didn’t have a new high school girl get murdered, Cooper return to Twin Peaks to find Harry, who’s dead or retired to Florida. Introduce new people in the sheriff’s office, new friends of the dead kid (maybe a boy this time). make references to the Laura Palmer murder as a guide to this one. Instead, we are in New York, where two people we don’t know are staring out a portal, no one’s talking, time is passing, and I really want “Billions” to come back.
Frankly, after “Twin Peaks” we got Tarantino, the Coens, Fargo, and so on. They were the sequels to “Twin Peaks.” You can’t go home again. No one is there.
PS Poor Catherine Coulson aka The Log Lady. She died after filming. She looks so awful in her scenes. I felt so bad for her.