Friday, May 24, 2024

“Twin Peaks” Continues to Mystify: Sherilyn Fenn Returns for No Reason, Star Kyle MacLachlan Misses Episode


I am literally hate watching “Twin Peaks: The Return” hoping something will happen. So far, nothing has happened. Outside of that surreal cinematic experiment in Episode 8, “Twin Peaks” seems like it might be a long running prank that David Lynch is playing on Showtime. The executives must be out of their minds. Last Sunday they had 219,000 viewers. On Tuesday we’ll if there were more than 8 people watching tonight’s episode.

Tonight: Part 12 of 18. No appearance by Kyle MacLachlan, the star of the show, star billed as Agent Dale Cooper and Dougie Jones, a semi-catatonic who might be Cooper but no one knows. Or cares. He barely makes a sound or emits emotion unless stimulated by coffee or cherry pie, Agent Cooper’s favorite things 25 years ago. He’s married to a cunning idiot played by Naomi Watts, has a kid, and works for Don Murray, who is 88 years old in real life. We should all look so good at 78.

“Twin Peaks” is mostly filler. It has more filler than a non Kosher hot dog. Scenes are long for no reason, there are incredible pauses. They’re supposed to be meaningful. They are not. Something seems like it might be happening, and then doesn’t. Sometimes conversations take place between people you’ve never seen before, or about people you’ve never heard of. There’s no continuity.

Director David Lynch is still playing G man Gordon Cole. He continues to make Cole a running deaf joke. I don’t care, but I don’t know why either. Cole wears large hearing aids, can’t hear a thing, hears the wrong thing. and is like Mr. Magoo. In Part 11 he witnessed a lot of extra-terrestrial things in the desert. In Part 12, he explained to a new FBI agent that they’re part of a team hunting E.T’s. They are the “X Files.” “Twin Peaks ” has become the “X Files,” kind of. (In Episode 8 there were direct references.) The “Twin Peaks” team doesn’t know what they’re doing, so they moved into UFOS and aliens.

Tonight we saw more of the old “Twin Peaks” characters than we have since the beginning: Sarah Palmer, Det. Hawk, Nadine Hurley, Richard and Jerry Horne. None of it made any sense or went anywhere. Robert Forster returned as Sheriff Frank Truman, brother of original character Sheriff Harry Truman, who was played by Michael Ontkean in the original series. Ontkean is retired (in Hawaii) so Lynch thought this up. Harry was referred to tonight as “kicking something.” It’s a waste of time. Forster is so good, though, you don’t mind.

Also tonight we finally saw Audrey Horne, played by Sherilyn Fenn. It took 12 episodes. Audrey was the slutty sweetheart of “Twin Peaks,” a high school girl obsessed with Agent Cooper. Audrey is likely the mother of a sinister young man who’s killed a child with his truck and brutalized his grandmother. But when Audrey finally arrived, this was not addressed. Instead she spent an interminable scene yelling at Charlie, the man she apparently married since we last saw her 25 years ago. He is put upon and odd looking, a typical Lynch character. We gather he’s rich. But their appearance meant nothing, went nowhere, was about nothing, and just pfffed to a close.

The episode sort of faded out, with a conversation between two young women who have nothing to do with anything. Then Lynch, as usual, filled up the empty space with music. I turned to “Game of Thrones” with enough time to see the stunning revelation that Diana Rigg’s Olenna Tyrell, Queen of Thorns, killed the Lannister baby. She revealed it after she drank poison delivered by Jamie Lannister. It was quite an ending.

(PS If you’re young, go back and see the real “Avengers” starring Diana Rigg and Patrick McNee.)

I’m sure David Lynch thinks “Game of Thrones” is contrived and silly because it has a plot and moves forward (it’s fantasy, but so is “Twin Peaks”). Three months in to “The Return” he might give it a try.

Kudos as usual to Laura Dern and Miguel Ferrer.

Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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