• Fresno Bob

    I took The Return’s finale as a statement on how we contextualize and mythologize our own stories. How we search for meaning and purpose, and how ultimately, such a search doesn’t amount to a whole heck of a lot in the vast expanse of the universe. We construct conceptions of heroism from the stories we tell, and we think and act out certain roles through affectations we learn through those stories. Twin Peaks, in The Return, essentially is a comment on fictional mythology and how we use it to apply meaning to our own life and struggle, and how we try to fit an indifferent existence into a narrative of sorts. If Dale is, in fact, Richard, perhaps he is a man that imagines a purpose from disjointed images and visions he has absorbed, be they from films or from his own dreams (that may be privy to some kind of extradimensional influence). Laura is a construct in Richard’s mind, just as much as Laura is a construct of Frost and Lynch’s mind.

    Ultimately, I think The Return is probably less defined by the meaning we may try to assign to it, and more a massive canvas where a whole slew of ideas are being worked out before our eyes. I went into this series with the assumption that I wouldn’t understand most of it on an intellectual or narrative level, but that I WOULD be made to experience things on a subliminal and emotional level. I got more than I could have ever imagined.

    • Rockingoodfun

      One theory I have is that the atom bomb creates two realities (splitting the atom splits reality?) and that Richard and Linda are Dale and Diane’s selves from the alternate reality, as Carrie is Laura’s alternate self. I’m not sure what wider significance Lynch would intend an alternative reality to have though, given that a lot of the same ideas could be explored through the concept of Tulpas.

      • Fresno Bob

        I think the possibilities are limitless and impossible to know. The Return is an effective abstraction of narrative rules. A show or a book or a movie tells a story, and within that story there tend to be rules that govern the world. Frost and Lynch have created an untethered universe that also somehow has a consistent tone and logic, but pretty much anything is possible. I basically abandoned trying to anchor myself, because I think that runs counter to what the show is trying to do.

  • Rockingoodfun

    I think one of the things Lynch is saying, particularly in the final episode, is that some traumas can’t be undone. Even though Dale goes back to save Laura, he fails. He goes to find Carrie to again try and “fix” what happened to Laura, but just succeeds in re-opening the wound in some way. In these last scenes Dale does appear more passive and Dougie-like, as if to emphasise his impotence in the face of historical forces. This seems to be a running theme throughout the series, with the atomic bomb and what it unleashes, both metaphorically and historically. Being locked into cycles of violence that appear to be ahistorical also crops up. 25 years later and Twin Peaks is still a small town plagued by drug dealing cops, violent youths, and some dark secrets (just how DID Mr C father Richard Horne….?). What annoyed me most is Lynch’s failure to tie it together meaningfully.

    • What year is it?

      • Rockingoodfun

        I’ll see you again in 25 years doesn’t necessarily mean 25 years in the future…..

  • Obviously, this essay is way too long and messy and unstructured and I don’t have any answers. there are many parts to grapple on here, feel free to rip it to shreds and point out any inconsistencies. It’s kind of a therapy blob meant to be challenged and wrestled with.

  • PCguy

    I felt much better about season 3 when I decided to leave the exegesis to the semioticians and teevee critics who have a legitimate motive to bother with Lynch’s convoluted layers of abstractions. The series was nice to look at and MacLachlan gave a fine performance. That’s about enough for me.

    This change in thinking, from someone who considers himself a die heard TP head, was definitely occasioned by the character of Margaret Lanterman. She’s the key to the whole season and I think it’s disingenuous of her to put the onus on Laura. In her death, and the preseason passing of Catherine E. Coulson the actress who portrays her, we get the essential focus that the series revolves around: the mortality and legacy of a quasimythical spiritually connected human being. Lanterman is doubled in this way by Diane whose unhealthy appearance and constant indulgence in vices grounds her in a earthy reality that belies her genesis as Cooper’s unseen muse in the original series. I think these characters come from their creator and biggest fan–an angry old guy at the end of his career who smokes like a tea kettle and is probably grappling, in a Picassoesque way, with the purpose of a life spent running around pursuing women and Art. It’s a simplistic explanation but I think it fits nicely as a skeleton on which to drape the rest of the crazy unexplainable shit that we can only theorize about.

    Getting back to the pilot, which any proper discussion of TP must always return to, I remember that before the series started I thought the most about how nu-TP would deal with the first two characters that we were introduced to. A fundamental question for me was how would the series deal with the untimely death/murder of Jack Nance? The character of Pete Martell (who in real life had been married previously to the Log Lady) was so integral to the pilot as a much needed beacon of innocence and goodness for the broken shadowy town of Twin Peaks. His absence looms over the third season and it’s not surprising that Lynch turned to MacLachlon, another muse in his career, to portray a character who embodied the strange sort of innocence that Pete Martell had in the original series. The essential problem of nu-TP is one anyone of Lynch’s age can relate to and it has nothing to do with art. How do you return to where you were 25 years ago? At some point you have to, like Jocelyn Packard the first character we see in the pilot and who was also conspicuously absent in the third season, put it away in some kind of ontological drawer and leave it the way it was. To physically revisit yourself a quarter century earlier is a momento mori at best or probably more like a feeling Laura/Carrie was yelling about in the final scene.

    • Fresno Bob

      There is definitely a lot of this happening in Season 3. It grapples with death and the passage of time, both within the show and in the real world. O’Neal actually wrote a lovely piece about this angle that I wish had an accompanying place to adequately discuss its interpretation.

  • pico79

    I shared your disappointment at Laura being elevated to some archetype of the Good Fairy in that mid-season reveal, but I’m still mulling over what the show does with it from there… It almost seems to abandon that idea? Or at least use it in ways that feel almost arbitrary? I really loved the last episode, but I’d be hard-pressed to explain why. It’s going to take a few rewatches for it to settle in, but I got the impression that Cooper’s obsession with bringing “Laura” back home is that he knows something’s wrong with Sarah Palmer and thinks Laura is the key to combating it, though, of course, nothing goes as planned. And Sarah’s voice is the one that triggers “Laura”‘s primordial scream at the end, so there must be something to that?

    The Dude with the Magic Green Fist I took as a kind of White Lodge doppelganger version/incarnation of MIKE: where MIKE chops off his infected left arm, Freddie comes out with a supercharged right. All these folks seem like mirrors and doubles in Twin Peaks-land.

    • Thinking more on this, I wonder if this is supposed to be a metaphor for how some victims form into their own coma or cocoon of sorts to the point they forget they exist. They turn into somebody else, watching the world go by as they hide in their own walled off world, shunning even their most intimate relations. This stasis keeps happening until the right stranger breaks that shell and they remember that their mother, who may have long since moved on, wasn’t all bad. And suddenly it’s time to fight.

      There isn’t much to go on for that reading, and it also isn’t as emotionally satisfying as seeing it worked out in real time. But, that’s about all I got right now.