Just as suddenly as it returned, Twin Peaks has gone again, leaving audiences in more or less the same boat that we’d been in before the show’s revival.
Here we are again, trying to piece together what on Earth happened, and what mysteries the show’s cliffhanger ending might actually mean when everything’s been untangled. Apparently, closure is for losers.
Perhaps the biggest question that needs answering isn’t about the show’s story itself, but about the new episodes’ existence as a whole.
Was it worth it? Have Twin Peaks fans really gained anything worthwhile from seeing a cult favorite show dug up and resurrected for a few hours of surrealism and confusion?
That probably depends on how much you actually like Twin Peaks.
There’s a danger with a lot of these kinds of revivals that they may spoil cherished memories of their older source material. Watching Fuller House, for example, may sound like a good idea in theory, but once you start watching, you remember exactly why television sitcoms moved away from this particular format over the years.
What makes Twin Peaks really interesting is that, unlike a lot of modern day revivals, the new stories aren’t built around ticking nostalgia boxes and delivering an identical experience to what we’ve already seen.
Perhaps the unexpected genius of this new version of the show is how far David Lynch was willing to go in challenging audiences, pushing his own creation further than would have ever been allowed in its original run.
This, no doubt, is why some oldschool fans haven’t taken kindly to new Peaks. If you were hoping to settle into a comfy chair and enjoy a blast from the past, too bad – this show is about moving forward and experimenting in weird ways of visual communication, not soothing viewers with retro glimpses of a past that has long since come to an end.
If you’re game for some experimentation and for some textbook David Lynch weirdness, then the show’s revival definitely has merit – in fact, it might be the most potent, meaningful revival on television.
Where X-Files plays out like a Greatest Hits series, touching on a few new ideas while mostly getting bogged down in the show’s inescapably dense canon, Twin Peaks moves forward, putting familiar characters in new, increasingly bizarre scenarios.
If every popular TV show of the past is to be brought back, we need more like Twin Peaks. It’s done something different and weird, and it’s refused to play nice with twee nostalgia-bait when it could be brutally, uncompromisingly original, cynical, and modern.
It seems fitting, really, that the ultimate message of the Twin Peaks revival has been that you should be careful what you wish for. You may dream of returning to happier days long past, but any attempt to catch up with old friends from this time will leave you, if anything, disappointed to discover that your youth is truly over.
If you’re willing to look forward, though, you’ll find an emotional, powerful, engaging experience that reminds you why you loved a TV show so much when it originally aired, while simultaneously pointing you to the future of the television medium.
Was Twin Peaks worth it?
From an artistic, narrative, and emotional perspective? Absolutely.
If you’d rather have something nostalgic, maybe check out Thimbleweed Park instead.