The stars turn and a time presents itself. That time is now, and the stars have turned toward us with a gift: the return of Twin Peaks. David Lynch and Mark Frost‘s highly-influential television series ended with one of the all-time great cliffhangers in 1991 with the added promise that we would see it again in 25 years. Those 25 years came and went, and The Return finally arrived on Blu-ray and blessed us further.
Lynch’s 18-hour vision of a follow-up to the series plays as his magnum opus. It strings along remixes of things he’s done in his feature film career, while directly addressing plot threads from over 25 years ago, and also acts as a springboard for new and exciting ideas that are truly unlike anything you’ve seen. Nothing on television this year has had the same amount of guts to put its audience through the ringer, test their patience, and award their endurance like Twin Peaks: The Return. Traditional structure and storytelling are thrown out the window and crushed in traffic by a speeding truck. The Return must tell its story and it does it in ways that are both deafening and delicate. It’s an epic poem told visually that injects every emotion right into your eyeballs.
What makes Twin Peaks: The Return just so remarkable is how the timing for the entire thing works out perfectly. There’s an urgency to the storytelling here as we the audience feel the clock ticking toward the end. We know the things we think we want, but Lynch makes us wait for the things he knows the story actually needs. We must also admire the work’s timing by virtue of the fact that we know so many of the characters on screen are played by the dearly departed. Though some of the cast members from the original series died before it could come back, Lynch has found clever ways to pay homage to them and even reuse footage of their performances to tell this new story. Even some of the cast that returned for the series unfortunately passed away before it would air on television, which gives a whole new weight to what we’re seeing. The late Catherine Coulson, especially, gives one of the bravest performances of our time, delivering a beautiful monologue about death and life which was filmed just two days before her own passing.
There is also a resonance in this series that shakes us to our bones. Twin Peaks: The Return delivers in every department with laughter like a true comedy, suspense like the most seasoned thriller, and true petrifying terror like no horror movie this year has been able to stir in me. The strongest link as well, which dabbles in all these aspects of the series as it carries on, is star Kyle MacLachlan. MacLachlan plays multiple characters in the series, depicting people that could not be more different and doing it with a grace and ease that makes it all seem simple. School is in session and Professor Kyle is delivering lessons to everyone as the evil Mr. C, the hapless and hilarious Dougie Jones, and the model citizen of this topsy turvy world, Dale Cooper. There is no justice in the world if MacLachlan isn’t recognized for his work here come awards season.
The Blu-ray release of The Return is also not without its bonus materials for the viewer, which take this release from being simply an essential for fans to being a lesson for all home video distribution. Included in this release are not only many of the behind-the-scenes featurettes released before the series premiered but over six hours of brand-new material. Lynch knew that these moments they were filming would be special, so he enlisted help from several different voices to craft these behind-the-scenes videos. Three different directors were tasked with creating the featurettes, which makes each of them unique and beautiful in their own right. Charles de Lauzirika’s “A Very Lovely Dream: One Week in Twin Peaks” is a straightforward featurette about the production’s time spent in their original home of Snoqualmie and North Bend, Washington, showing us the characters and actors we love as they first return to the series. Ricahrd Beymer’s two-part featurette series takes us “Behind the Red Curtain” and onto the set as they film the famous Red Room sequences for the new series, while also taking on a persona with the camera that feels like a fan of the series was given a camera and free reign.
The icing on top of the very delicious cake though is director Jason S.’s “IMPRESSIONS: A Journey Behind the Scenes of Twin Peaks,” a ten-part, four-and-a-half hour look at the entire filming process of the series. What fans are treated to here is a look at David Lynch at work, a man who totally doesn’t notice the camera around him and is only focused on his own camera and the things he must point it at to tell his story. We see every side of Lynch here in a way that makes us painfully aware of the human sides of an artist, who delights in sharing it with others, who gets frustrated at set backs, who needs to execute the vision how his brain is telling him. It’s an uncompromising look at how this world was created and born from his head, plus there might be some answers inside that fans were left wondering about.
There’s a moment when the series asks the question “We’re like the dreamer who dreams and lives inside the dream… but who is the dreamer?” I could go on for a day about what I think that means in the context of the series and what it points to as having all the answers but it’s a sentence that summarizes what this show makes me feel. Twin Peaks: The Return is like being in our dreams, it’s a world with logic that only makes sense in its own world, where the rules are bent and new laws are created by what the story must tell. So when Monica Bellucci, as herself, asks this question, the answer right now is us. We’re the dreamer, and we live inside this dream that is Twin Peaks, and we don’t want to wake up.
You can order Twin Peaks: The Return by clicking here.