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Week by Week TV: Twin Peaks The Return Part 12

Russ Tamblyn in a still from Twin Peaks. Photo: Suzanne Tenner/SHOWTIME

Twin Peaks: The Return is directed by David Lynch and co-written by Lynch and Mark Frost. It stars Kyle MacLachlan as FBI special Agent Dale Cooper. This new, third series takes place 25 years after the original series, one of the most influential of the modern TV age.

This is a continuing series review. To read my reviews of Parts One and TwoParts Three and FourPart FivePart SixPart SevenPart EightPart NinePart Ten or Part Eleven please click these links.

What a drop in quality! I haven’t seen such a decline since True Detective’s second season. In the stages of grief, I’m past denial and anger, and am definitely at the bargaining stage. While this series has had declines in quality before, that was early on, not when this series should be in its prime. Episodes like this make me wonder how much better it would have been if David Lynch had more constraints put on him. His eccentric editing style does lead to plenty of dead air, but usually something exciting or relevant is happening. Not in this case.

I’ll start with the things I liked. Laura Dern is a great addition to the cast and her portrayal of Diane is never less than engaging. Tim Roth and Jennifer Jason Leigh had a great scene where they performed an assassination, which was the one moving scene in the entire episode.

Now for everything else. This was a horribly paced episode. Pointless scenes which would have been short non-sequiters in other episodes were dragged out to the point of boredom. I’ve been confused and annoyed with certain parts of this series but never utterly bored. If my boredom means that I didn’t take much in this week, then that is criticism in itself. Gordon Cole has a stupid scene where he chatted to a french woman who proceeded to take a long time to leave the room. The punchline of the scene was about turnips. It’s fair to say I wasn’t amused.

My least favourite scene in the episode and probably the entire series was the long heralded return of Audrey Horne. Horne is a fan favourite from the original series. Her crush on Dale Cooper and he mischievous innocence was the bright spot in many episodes. Now she’s a grumpy, philandering shrew who screams every line. Was this supposed to shock us? And she’s married to a little person. There would be no reason to point this out if David Lynch wasn’t fascinated in a juvenile way about little people. They are always portrayed as freaks or weirdos, and it annoys me more than anything else. There is a scene in The Elephant Man (directed by Lynch) where John Merrick is aided by a group of circus performers, including the late Kenny Baker. This is an incredibly mature and moving scene about the nobility and humanity of these people branded as freaks and subhuman. It’s Lynch’s best film and is the scene that sticks with me from that film. Why has he gone backwards?

Other things happened including an update on Dougie’s situation in Las Vegas, Sarah Palmer’s deteriorating mental state and Jerry Horne has made it out of the woods. Russ Tamblyn’s Dr Jacoby repeated his golden shovel schtick from an earlier episode.

I hope things look up next week. Please join me then for more Twin Peaks The Return.

Twin Peaks The Return is available on various catch up platforms. Image source: IGN.com