“Twin Peaks: The Return” was the 99th highest rated cable show last Sunday night. The Showtime series had 270,000 viewers at 9pm. To give you a comparison, AMC’s “Fear the Walking Dead” commanded 2.5 million viewers, at the same time, also on cable. “Keeping Up with the Kardashians” had 1.4 million viewers at that time.”American Gods,” on Starz, a channel no one knows exists, pulled 629,000 viewers.
And so on. You get the idea. “Twin Peaks” was the lowest rated show of any kind on cable at 9pm Sunday night.
To say that the “The Return” is a disaster is a David Lynchian understatement. In Episode 6, Lynch (Agent Cole) and Sheryl Lee (Laura Palmer) are listed in the credits, but don’t appear in the show as far as I could tell. This suggests a lot of last minute cutting. As this “Twin Peaks” makes no sense, moves at a snail’s pace and seems random, the credits bear the only explanation for what’s not going on.
The new show is not enjoyable. It’s exasperating. I can’t believe anyone watches it in real time: you must have your finger on a fast forward button. In Episode 6, Kyle Maclachlan as the Agent Cooper doppelganger Dougie says fewer than 20 words. Naomi Watts, not knowing what the hell is happening, looks like a small child lost in a superstore.
Very little is set in Twin Peaks itself, like the preceding five episodes. This show is set in Las Vegas and its environs, and maybe Washington, DC. Who knows? But what does happen in Twin Peaks is awful: a child is hit and killed by a careening truck driven by a coked up tertiary character. Two women in an office are brutally and graphically murdered by a dwarf. And they are mundane: Deputy Hawk pulls apart a bathroom door to discover some notes on lined paper. Coffee is poured at Norma’s but she (Peggy Lipton) isn’t there. Just Shelly (Madchen Amick), wasted in silence.
Guest stars included Laura Dern, revealed after 25 years as Diane, Agent Cooper’s secretary; the late Miguel Ferrer; Harry Dean Stanton, who looks dead; Robert Forster and Candy Clark. The one armed man dances in the red room as a hologram and warns Dougie “Don’t die.”
“The Return” is just bullshit. It’s a test from David Lynch: how much can he put over on you? How long will people pretend to understand in order to seem hip? There’s no plot, no story, no continuity, and more importantly, no fun. It’s not arch, like the old “Twin Peaks.” It’s just work, with no payoff.