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Week by Week TV: Twin Peaks: The Return Part 8

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.

This is a continuing series review. To read my reviews of Parts One and TwoParts Three and FourPart FivePart Six or Part Seven please click these links.

I know I am a week late reviewing this episode, but luckily there is a mid-season break to allow me to catch up and ruminate on this one. In my review of Part Seven, I applauded the structure of last week’s episode. That’s thrown right out of the window this week and we were on the back foot again. Only two of the recurring characters of this series appeared again. The rest was abstract, complex and very Lynch.

There isn’t much to talk about, but lots happened. Nine Inch Nails performed at the Bang Bang Club. That was pretty great, but its purpose is unclear as yet. Maybe there isn’t a reason! Who knows.

This episode pushed the boundaries of what television can portray. This felt like an art film on the small screen, an experiment that challenged and tested you as a viewer. I’ve never seen anything like it and it was really exciting. Legion thought it was outside the box, but Lynch has come to show everyone else how its done. No-one does weird like David Lynch.

We saw a nuclear explosion, which led to a wordless sequence which seemed to last for 10 mins. This is Lynch firing on all cylinders. I believed this sequence to be the origins of the Black Lodge. Its far out and exciting but inaccessible for those who want their TV to be linear and defined. I don’t blame anyone who says this series isn’t for them.

There are some unforgettable scenes in this episode. The ash-covered people, one of whom was seen most recently in the previous episode, re-appeared here. They skittered around in a time lapse and then had a more prominent role later on. As the action moves back in time to the 1950s, these ash-covered men creep through the remains of the nuclear blast, murdering everyone they come across, uttering only the phrase “Got a light?” in a modulated voice. These characters were terrifying and pure Lynch. They were even allied with Killer Bob which makes them even scarier in my mind.

This series has contained at least 50 key characters. The two who appeared this week were Evil Cooper and Ray (one of the people who hung out with Evil Cooper in the opening double bill). The episode opened with them driving away following their escape from prison. Once Evil Cooper had used some of David Lynch’s magic technology (there has been a LOT of insane gizmos in this series) to get rid of the tracking devices on the car, Ray double crossed him and left him for dead. However, the ash-covered men came back and protected him (I think). We saw Killer Bob’s face and then Evil Cooper sat up again. That’s how far the central story progressed.

I know I missed a lot from this episode. All the stuff with the Giant was a bit too abstract to describe. Overall this was one of the most extraordinary episodes of TV ever made. Nobody has pushed the boundaries of what we can portray and realise like this series. Its incredible but also difficult. There is a mid-season break now, but I’ll be back when the new series returns.

Twin Peaks: The Return Part 8 is now available to watch on various catch-up services. Image source: IGN.com