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Week by Week TV: Twin Peaks: The Return Part 5

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 series of the modern TV age.

To read my reviews of Parts One and Two or Parts Three and Four please click these links.

Part Five has been the weakest part of the current series. I think this may have something to do with it being the first episode not to be shown alongside another. The double bill feature of the first four episodes has helped to give a sense of structure to a very loose and free-form series.

This episode suffers from a lack of context. In the previous episodes, there were scenes that went nowhere, but then in the next episode they would be expanded upon and given a sense of belonging. Only occasionally would a “sketch” (like the one with Michael Cera) go nowhere and not be relevant to the episode that followed it. These non-sequitur moments were few and far between and gave a sense of scale to the world created. This episode just felt messy.

There was one standout scene. In the Bang Bang Bar, a group of women (including the brilliant Jane Levy as Elizabeth) are sat in a booth next to a creepy man played by Eamon Farren. He threatens them in a terrifying way reminiscent of Frank in Lynch’s Blue Velvet. It’s unpredictable, scary and inexplicable. Pure Lynch. There are other moments that stick in my head; Evil Dale Cooper’s face melding into that of Killer Bob is indelible.

However, everything is is far more disappointing. Cooper’s shuffling inertia is getting irritating. Everything his does is so slow, and everyone has the same reaction to him. It’s been like this since Part Three, and it doesn’t look like its going to change anytime soon. His scenes are no longer funny, they are now quite tiresome. It’s a minor niggle but it will get bigger if things don’t change in the next week or so.

There are so many characters in so many places that the focus of the episodes are spread across several different cities and around 30 different characters, and more are still being introduced. There is: everyone in Twin Peaks; Cooper and Naomi Watts in Las Vegas; Matthew Lillard and his murder case in Minnesota. I’m probably forgetting others because the ambition and scope of this series is so vast. Hopefully it boils down to something satisfying in the end, because this episode certainly wasn’t.

This episode has not put me off the series. I am hoping some semblance of focus returns next week. I want to see more Jane Levy and Naomi Watts and am excited to see what Laura Dern’s role is. Perhaps Lynch was given too much control and this has led to a series so expansive that it can only be binged. At any rate, double bill episodes should return, as they help to control all the insanity.

Join me next week as I review more Twin Peaks: The Return.

Twin Peaks: The Return Episode 5 aired on Sky Atlantic in the UK on Tuesday 6th June and is available to watch on various catch-up services. Image source: Vox.com