‘Twin Peaks’ Finale Recap: The Story Ends — Forever? — With a Mystifying, Entrancing Finish

Kyle MacLachlan and Sheryl Lee in
Suzanne Tenner

“What the f—k just happened?” asks one cowboy to another, when an FBI agent named Dale Cooper — or is it Richard? — disarms them, deep-fries their guns, and then at gunpoint, courteously asks the waitress to write down an address. It’s a question that applies to most of the “Twin Peaks: The Return” finale, which ended with a sky-shattering, ground-shaking, still-haunting scream. Sheryl Lee, who plays Laura Palmer and the woman who in this episode identifies herself as Carrie Page, has the look of a Hitchcock blonde — and the sound of one, too. In a way it feels like all of “Twin Peaks,” from its 1990 premiere to its Sept. 3 finale, is a journey of getting inside the unhinged, female terror of that scream. David Lynch has taken us on a circuitous journey towards the bloodcurdling — which has taken us both to the corrupted soul of Americana and across astral dimensions.

The two-part finale of “Twin Peaks: The Return” recentered the “Twin Peaks” story on its long-dead victim, Laura Palmer. Unlike most dead girls who become inciting incidents, Laura is the reanimated center of her own murder: Even though she is dead, she is also brought to life again and again by the camera, either as a spiritual being, in a flashback, or as a different person entirely. It’s one of the most beautiful and the most ultimately tragic elements of “Twin Peaks” — the show that gives such remarkable voice to its victim is also constantly reminding the audience of the unnameable horror of her final days.

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One of the reasons “Twin Peaks” is so persistently seductive is because it finds a way to inhabit American emptiness in a way few others can approach. Emptiness is a part of this country’s cultural heritage; driving through America, in “Twin Peaks,” feels as isolated and hair-raising as it might on a long stretch of two-lane highway through remote Texas. The gas station in the final episode is shrouded with darkness that looks ready to close in at a moment’s notice. Lynch’s art, at least part of it, injects meaning behind moments that would otherwise be stunning for their artifice. It’s like a reverse camp, and it’s especially apparent for any emphasis on Lee, who so thoroughly embodies his “Twin Peaks” aesthetic. The final hour of “Twin Peaks: The Return felt like it was the final stroke cutting through a shroud of illusion about America that the show has explored since the first episode. Underneath the artifice — the suggestions made by this soap operatic melodrama — is that endless, echoing scream.

That only scratches the surface of trying to explain what the hell happened in the finale, of course. After a Part 17 that served mostly to resolve the long-simmering storylines of the town of Twin Peaks, Part 18 is an eerie trip through a mirror universe where the mythology of the series is almost irrelevant. Almost, because there’s still something happening, but it’s so carefully unmoored from everything we’ve seen beforehand that it makes for one of the most truly terrifying moments on television, a disorienting cliffhanger that feels like a sickening blow to the chest. It’s incredible: Watching Laura Palmer’s house, now occupied by a woman with a meaningful name, flicker out and smash cut to a black emptiness, as Carrie’s scream reverberates through the darkness, is an image that is going to haunt me for a while. The whole adventure — even when Cooper realizes Diane has called them both Richard and Linda, even when the long drive to Twin Peaks becomes even eerier with two pairs of headlights thrumming closer to them — would have been somewhat innocuous if not for the moment at the end where Carrie remembers, or understands, or briefly becomes, Laura Palmer.

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But instead that final moment cuts through every quirky element of “Twin Peaks” to reveal a yawning pit of despair. The names have been changed; the circumstances have been altered; the people who call themselves Cooper and Laura Palmer don’t even exist anymore. And yet: Even in a world where every other marker of Cooper’s identity is gone, the only certain thing is the evil in that house, this foundational horror. In “Twin Peaks: The Return,” the boundaries of self cease to be relevant: Cooper multiplies into an increasing number of avatars, and people carry within them the memories of other identities. And yet no matter how universal the story becomes, the evil is immovable: Like it’s a simulation where every tweaked variable still produces the same result. (The Arm asked, “Is it the story of the little girl who lived down the lane? Is it?” And honestly, I thought it was, but I don’t know anymore.) Through the weight of 18 hours of storytelling — and technical mastery that makes nearly everything else on television look like mass-produced knockoffs — this show that rewards such close attention ultimately spits that attention back at the audience, with a brilliantly acidic death rattle. The closer you’re paying attention, the more you feel the rug has been pulled out from under you; because the final moment of “Twin Peaks: The Return” suggests with melodramatic hyperbole that all of Cooper’s work has been for nothing. There are great forces at work in the world — and the forces of evil are winning.

It’s scary. Above all, this is a scary episode, from Cooper leading Laura out of a scene from “Fire Walk With Me” to the final moments, where Lee appears to be in slow-motion, blinking with an unnerving languor. The scene offers the type of cold frisson that chills even the comfort of fandom, making coffee and pie and donuts feel as far away as Saturn. And maybe most terrifying, it’s a moment that makes watching TV feel different than what has preceded it. Suddenly it’s clear that Cooper is an older shadow of his former self, without the carefree presence of his avatar Dougie Jones or the cartoonish evil of his dark twin. Instead he’s just a broken hero, slightly pathetic, in a world that looks nothing like the one that he left. When Diane (Linda?) has sex with him in the motel, she presses her hands over his face, like she’s trying to unsee it, or change what’s there. Is he even really an FBI agent, as Richard? Did he just shoot a man in a diner and coerce a waitress at gunpoint because he was out of his mind? With just the slightest change in angle, he’s unrecognizable; with just the slightest shift in context, the apparent meanings laden in “Twin Peaks” drop away as if they never existed. In its place is a world full of strangers, a terrifying empty loneliness on the highway, and a certainty of violence lurking at the edge of consciousness. There is nothing cute here, just awful horror. That this finale utilizes so many shots that could be from Cooper’s point-of-view — and literally superimposes his gaze, as if he is watching on a screen and his own face is reflected back at him over the action, onto much of Part 18.

Unexpectedly, given that “Twin Peaks” was a show of misty forests and crisp mountain air, “Twin Peaks: The Return” was a perfect summer offering. By not competing with the chatter of other “prestige” TV shows, the show found a way to take its time with a mastery that feels transporting; David Lynch’s vision is so complete that it feels possible to relax inside of it, trusting a complete vision to emerge. Turning on the TV on Sundays this summer has felt like pulling up to a drive-in, to soak in the collective transport of reckoning with the strange.

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  1. Guest says:

    The Twin Peaks reboot was an 18 hour journey to nowhere.

  2. The ending of the latest Twin Peaks series was both incredibly frustrating and incredibly satisfying. I did not really want it resolved and that scream! Hairs on end !

  3. One thing that I dislike about Lynch discussions is that there is always a large contingent of people who will say season 3, or any Lynch production, is “beautiful and masterful at every point.” It is a form of confirmation bias. If you start with the assumption that Lynch is a genius and everything he does is pure genius, then in your eyes, season 3 can do no wrong, and anyone critical just doesn’t get it. As Shakespeare wrote, “love is blind.”

    If you admit that Lynch is *capable* of doing wrong, and that sometimes he is messy, indulgent, and even trollish, then discussion is possible. Similarly, if you admit that Lynch is capable of brilliance, then discussion is possible.

  4. Either that, or it was a jumbled mess with a few brilliant moments.

  5. C.C. says:

    Completely disagree with thos take.
    But the brilliance of Lynch, is that there is no right answer. No one can claim to have the definitive answer. And if they say they do, they are full of it. (And full of themselves)

  6. Stan Heck says:

    This was David Lynch doing what he does best. This his vision. Now I loved some of the new episodes but not all of them. The ending to me was “wrong” but I am not the creative force behind the show. Would I of liked “A Different Ending” well yes of course. What I am getting from this show (and its unresolved story-lines) is that this show mirrors life. WE never know all the answers. All of us have had people in our daily lives but for one reason or another they are no longer part of your life. You wonder what happened to them and the assorted problems they had . Then you ponder if they were resolved? Because they are no longer part of your life you never know That is how I am looking at this. I think the fans deserved a better ending than the one presented. Maybe David has something. I hope he does.

  7. Jan says:

    Every story I’ve read keeps saying the cooper at the end is Richard and his identity has been changed. But he presents his FBI badge and gives his name as “Dale Cooper” to the woman at Sarah’s house. So it’s more like it’s Cooper temporarily transported to some alternate reality and this switch had dulled his senses somewhat (Dougie-like).

  8. greatergood92 says:

    Great review, but I understand the end completely differently.

    First of all – Cooper saves Laura from being murdered by BOB an by doing so he alters the reality. Judy is pissed, she tries to destroy Laura’s portrait and then she snatches Laura from Coop (he knew that was going to happen, hence the “430” advice from the Fireman). She puts Laura in another dimension, some sort of a limbo. There Laura forgets her identity (in Richard and Linda fashion) and lives there for decades, as Carrie Paige. Time in Judyverse runs differently, years there is minutes in reality.

    In the meantime, in the “real” world Cooper won’t cease to bring her back. He comes back in Glastonbury Grove to a timeline in which Laura never died, she disappeard. How come Diane waits for him there? No idea. They immediately drive towards the crossing with Judyverse. Diane warns Coop that everything might be different there. They kiss for the last time as Diane and Cooper.

    As soon as they get to the Judyverse something changes. It’s not an alternate timeline. It’s not what the real world looks like after Coop changed history. It’s Judy’s locker, Judy’s microverse, Judy’s pocket dimension. And It’s absolutely empty. Coop doesn’t act like Coop. They check in the motel. Diane sees herself. I don’t think what she sees is a tulpa. My take is that she starts to question who she is, starts to lose her identity. Sex scene feels awkward and uncomfortable because they don’t know each other anymore. Cooper wakes to a letter addressed to Richard from Linda. Diane is gone, she forgot who she was.

    Cooper remembers, thanks to the Giant. He’s still on the mission. Exiting motel it’s worth to notice that it’s a different building. Coop’s car is also different, he notices it too. Judyverse keeps messing with his brain. He’s alone in the universe that wants him to lose himself. He stumbles upon “Judy’s Diner”, doesn’t get excited about coffee, shoots a dude and still holding his gun tells the waiter to give him Carrie’s address (totally not what Coop would do – but it’s still him).

    Carrie is Laura but she doesn’t know that anymore, she lives as Carrie for decades now. Body inside her house is yet another test for Cooper. Judy tries to show him that the life Carrie has is even more violent than the one from her past life, that he made a mistake. Coop mentions Sarah, something wakes up in her but it’s not strong enough.

    They drive to Twin Peaks. Next 15 minutes is heavily reminiscent of Lost Highway. They slowly succumb to the Judyverse, getting deeper into the dream. By the time Coop knocks on the door, he hardly remembers who he is. With uncertainty he presents the FBI badge to Mrs Tremont. He did what he could, but ultimately lost against Judy. Or he would if it wasn’t for Laura. Ultimately – and ironically so – her suffering, her infinite pain from another lifetime is what snaps her out of the limbo. She screams when she hears Sarah (or Leland) calling her. Lights flicker, electricity crackles, Palmer house goes dark. Judyverse is destroyed, Laura finally knows who she is. Cooper did it, he brought her back.

    Here it is, folks.

    Presented to you in a truly unnerving and terrifying package is The Return. To what world Coop and Laura wake up? White Lodge? Timeline in which Laura never died? Angels in the Red Room in the end of FWWM? It’s all up to you.

    • Tom Witherspoon says:

      I think the point that I missed where you really nailed it was enraged Sarah/Judy smashing that portrait of Laura – which I didn’t get at first – your interpretation makes sense all the way through, and is equally as disconcerting, mindnumbing and horrifying. And I never even considered that Cooper had accomplished what he set out to do… just that I never considered that Laura would wake up to the same horrors that she faced at the beginning

    • Bobby Peru says:

      I like your take, thanks for sharing. I also like what Sonia had to say above. So much to process, so many questions and many ways to interpret it. That’s DL for ya. I’ve really missed his filmmaking and I hope we get more soon, whether that’s a new film or more TP. His voice is unlike any other out there and that is such a rarity these days. Curious to see what The Final Dossier from Mark Frost adds to things.

  9. Jay! says:

    “The final moment of “Twin Peaks: The Return” suggests with melodramatic hyperbole that all of Cooper’s work has been for nothing.”

    Kind of like Alien3 when they killed the two people Ripley rescued. Made the previous film moot. And in this sense Lynch made three seasons of television moot. Not that I didn’t get it or didn’t like it, just now I wish I didn’t waste my time on it.

    Thx,

    Jay!

  10. Brian Heflin says:

    Insightful review. Thought provoking comments below as well. The key point on which I differ with the reviewer (Ms Saraiya) is the premise that evil is winning. It certainly exists, but I don’t believe that it is winning… not in real life and possibly not in this piece of film art, either. What if the real ending of the Twin Peaks saga continues to be the scene at the end of “Fire Walk with Me”?

  11. Lena says:

    something else to say: i am very disappointed to see nothing about audrey horne at all, I was waiting for her story line to be something more and it’s serious failure of this season that can’t be washed away

    • J says:

      If it’s true that Cooper was living in an alternate reality or dream world that he awakened from in the final two episodes, I’m assuming the same happened to Audrey, which gives us closure, even if it wasn’t as apparent.

  12. Cecil says:

    This is a great article. One of the best on season 3 & i have been reading plenty about it

  13. Fred Garvin says:

    I’ll just be the first to point out the emperor has no clothes.

    Zero, zilch, nada. There was no story here, no connection. Just a random series of disturbing vignettes with characters we used to care out 25 years ago.

    Sad, really, and disappointing. Every fan theory I ever read about what this third season was going to be was actually better than what it actually turned out to be.

  14. Evan M Haney says:

    I totally missed it at first, as did every critic who has written about the finale so far. A friend sent me enhanced images of the Palmer House from the final scene of the finale. There are three windows above the door. In the window to the viewers’ right, you can see the alien that appeared in the glass box experiment way back in episode one. If you just watch the scene without enhancing it, you can barely see some kind of shape in the darkness of that window. If you make a high def image of just that way and juke the contrast and brightness, you’ll see its face. Judy or joo-day, perhaps?

    • Evan M Haney says:

      Use the shot at 55:30 – 55:35. It’s right before you hear Sarah shout Laura’s name. Creepy as hell. I’m not going to bed til my dog comes inside.

  15. Wesley says:

    so whats the room in NY & who owns it is my only question? did I miss something there? otherwise, I loved this season. amazing work by Lynch

    • Doctor Amp says:

      Pretty sure Dark Coop owned it (FBI had a pic of him there, right?). The kid at the start said “some billionaire” owned it. Well Coop had the guy in the high rise in Vegas on his payroll, so obviously he had resources.

      It was basically a Ghostbusters trap or portal for stuff coming out of the Black Lodge / Waiting Room. Remember both the Experiment and Good Cooper fell into (and through it) at some point. My guess is Dark Coop was trying to trap them, or at least be made aware of their existence.

      Dark Coop had designs on staying in this dimension and the Glass Box was one of the tools he constructed to make that happen.

  16. Jacques Strappe says:

    “One of the reasons “Twin Peaks” is so persistently seductive is because it finds a way to inhabit American emptiness in a way few others can approach.”

    Well, okay, Sonia, you see deep symbolism, metaphor in Twin Peaks reboot…and I only saw pretentious twaddle that falls all over itself trying to be so bizarre and meaningful in its nonsensical absurdity. The first few episodes of the original series on ABC were an entertaining and fun trip into weirdness–it felt fresh and original. Everything after that, especially this reboot, feels like Lynch and company just threw some story concepts in a blender. Weird and mystifying only works for so long without looking silly and pretentious. Lynch should have stopped after his first season on ABC.

    • Joey says:

      “trying to be bizzare”

      That assumes that was the artists intention. Lynch has always said he follows the ideas he loves, and thats it. The human experience is not streamlined, nor does it fit into a kind of mold. Art has always been the attempt to communicate what cannot be said aloud. We have a nature and our art speaks to our nature. You’re merely using the flaccid artsy-fartsy argument without understanding what separates bad art from good art in an articulate manner.

      • Caitlin says:

        Fred Garvin – “Art’s in a museum, TV is a business.” Oh really?
        What a severely limited view you have. Art can be many, many, MANY things, and the small screen is a medium – like film is a medium, like watercolors are a medium. Yes, it is much more commercialized than museum art, but that doesn’t mean art can’t happen on it. It’s ridiculous to say that if it’s not in a museum, it’s not art. What does art become when it’s bought and hung in someone’s house, then, or is on a plane being shipped to another museum? What should we call the pictures on our walls at home?

      • James says:

        The best serialized storytelling makes a bargain with its viewers: invest an hour every week in us and in exchange we will entertain you with a mystery that may seem puzzling at first but will reveal all of its answers by the end. By contrast, bad serialized television makes no such bargain. Rather, it puzzles you only enough to keep you viewing indefinitely.

      • Fred Garvin says:

        “Art?” Haw haw haw. Art’s in a museum. TV is a business.

  17. KirkTV says:

    An insightful response to this extraordinary television experience, Sonia. Which is what it was, an experience. Those expecting a television program, even one as crafted as spectacularly as current excellent “binge-worthy” shows, missed the point of Lynch’s artistry and, it must be said, Showtime’s impressive patience and acumen. Just allowing us, the passenger decades into this journey, to drop in only on Sundays this summer (no binge drop, thankfully) forced us to simmer over mysteries, anguish over nightmarish imagery, linger in the melancholy of seeing aged or deceased friends, contemplate the magnitude of extremities and intimacies, lament what was as we lamented what was to possibly come. The only intermission a musical interlude that would haunt and underscore what we just witnessed.

    But on occasion, when Badalamenti’s transporting score would flourish, a nostalgic moment would soar – Ed and Norma, Audrey’s dance, Bobby’s breakdown seeing Laura’s iconic photo, Lucy and her phone, James’s pained singing refrain. Of course, just like cruel reality, those moments quickly juxtaposed with horrifying sequences of nothing less frightening than the birth of Evil. And, in the end, despite the best intentions, dreams and nightmares, realities and fantasies, real people and fake doppelgängers, Good and Evil cannot be erased. They exist together. Ying and yang.

    After all, “We’re like the dreamer who dreams and lives inside the dream…but who is the dreamer?”

    Thanks Mr. Lynch and Mr. Frost and Mr. MacLachlan and the astonishing cast for a memorable, incredible ride. Great Art provides questions, not answers. Twin Peaks:The Return dared to challenge the viewer at a time when answers can be Googled in seconds, when we do only to get results. They reminded us it is the journey, because the destination may not be what you think…it may not be there at all.

  18. SayWhat??? says:

    Never saw the original series….but all the big Twin Peaks fans I knew were on heavy drugs. I saw one of the new episodes. Now I understand.

  19. Raja Balqis Raja Norddin says:

    boring ending…such a waste of time to watch the sequel like this..no fun at all

  20. gordon mckenzie says:

    Lynch is way ahead of anyone else writing for TV. The Return was so satisfying in so many aspects that I’ll be smiling for months to come. Genius.

  21. I admire Lynch this side of idolatry and (as someone on another forum commented) I definitely think he makes it up as he goes along. I also think there has been an Emperor’s Clothes effect with this series and maybe with time it will sink a little in critical estimation. We’ve been so wanting it to be good but David has deliberately toyed with storylines like a cat with a mouse, showing his ultimate contempt for them. The original Twin Peaks (seasons 1 AND 2, for the record) was such a rich and rewarding series for both actor and viewer, the actors in season 3 must secretly be disappointed with how disjointed and isolating this one is. And to what end? I think there was plenty of room for him to be arty and engaging but he just went for the former most of the time.

  22. tony says:

    Something is nagging at me, Laura is actually this Judy evil (or one of its avatars like bob). The names change, but she is evil (and brings evil to wherever she is, whenever she is).

    You see a little glimpse when she leaves the house in FL and you see the dead guy on the seat, you see it in cooper at the diner when he shoots the cowboy and acts all weird and finally she brings it back to the house it all started in (story comes full circle) to start infecting the town all over again. Coop starts to realise it as he asks what year it is – he knows he has been played by Judy as bob and evil coop were just decoys and it fades to black

  23. Gary Grant says:

    My overall take: 25 years later, in the real world, Donald Trump is president of the United States. I think what we saw in The Return, was what does the unbelievable insanity of our reality look like in the world of Twin Peaks. Pure nightmarish horror.

  24. Mark Adsett says:

    Typo alert….
    “And yet: Even n a world where every other marker of Cooper’s identity is gone”
    come on, Variety proof read……

  25. Nick says:

    Thank you for an article that helps explain the vast emptiness of the last episode where “storytelling” is the ripping to shreds of the story itself. It was hard to watch and that was precisely the intent. If you feel wounded, then this “story” gets an A.

  26. Ufologist says:

    You just describe for a lot of self indulgent arthouse nonsense searching for a coherent plot. No wonder no one but a tiny minority of critics and Lynch Kool aid drinkers are watching this pretentious odyssey from a man more PT Barnum than Kubrick. Wide eyed Suckers!

  27. Mitsu says:

    This was an 18 hour David Lynch film, beautiful and masterful at every point. What I think many people miss is that the work isn’t about the “plot” and “resolving” the story: it is about every moment, the individual scenes, the beauty and intensity to be found in the contradictions of every living breath. The original show wrapped with the destruction of Bob, if what you care about is a resolution, then stop watching there. The last episode is the beginning of a hunt for Judy; it’s not an ending but a teaser to a possible next season, pregnant with possibilities but ultimately just another set of mysteries to set up. The pleasure and depth is not, however, in trying to figure out “what just happened” but in reveling in the moments, every moment.

    I will say this, however: if the world that wrapped up in episode 17 was destroyed by Cooper going back in time to undo Laura’s murder, then there would have been no point in returning Dougie Jones to his home in Las Vegas. That world continues on, without Cooper who has traveled into another reality to search for a deeper darkness. That search will never end, of course, but it doesn’t have to end. The “end” isn’t the point.

  28. You know, I don’t need a season 4 of Twin Peaks. When Twin Peaks came on I was 25 years old and had my whole life ahead of me. By the time it returned; 25 years HAD PASSED. I was old, the people in the show were old, and it was sad to realize that if they looked like that…the old lady in my bathroom mirror at night is NOT a creepy spook; it is ME. The show, much like the last 25 years of my life, were a let down. Not what I hoped or dreamed of 25 years ago. Lessons learned, yes. BUT, not ever what I planned or wanted for myself…and HOW THE HELL DID I GET TO NEW JERSEY? (The sad part is I KNOW how I got here and WHY I came here-again not in my plans). Sitting here and thinking about Twin Peaks ending made me realize you CANNOT go back. It makes you sad.

    • Sarah says:

      I understand feeling sad about the passing of time and what age does to us, however just as Twin Peaks may have a season four so do you. Perhaps it’s time to check in with the dreams you have left inside and make a few of them come true, there’s no wall around New Jersey keeping you in and another 25 years can go by pretty fast.

    • HillsW says:

      Hi Brenda: Your post touched me and resonates. I’m around your age and it was definitely a major existential jolt to “return” to Twin Peaks, to see how much time has passed, and then to have such a heartbreaking ending for a beloved character who made us as an audience feel “safe” in this weird and complicated world. I found myself strangely gutted by it, for similar reasons as you mention and for some I haven’t worked out yet. All this is to say that you are not the only one feeling off kilter and the yoyoing of past and present lives.
      PS: Some of my best friends live in New Jersey :)

    • Evan M Haney says:

      Brenda, maybe there is some hope of radical reinvention in Part 18? We’re all at the mercy of incomprehensible forces that, at best, are indifferent to our concerns. But maybe it’s possible to wake up one day and realize that the narrative of your life has shifted. You’re right – you can’t escape the past. But maybe the meaning of the past isn’t fixed or known. I dunno…. I respect your comment and I’m wondering too where the end of TP might lead me. I imagine Dale Cooper might say that one should never give up.

    • Austin A. says:

      I’ve read most of these comments Brenda and you really struck a nerve with me. I totally agree with you, especially the hope and dreams. Although we cannot change what has already happened, we can try to find some, any kind of happiness and peace to fight the sadness.

  29. Dubb says:

    I give The Return a C+. It added some cool elements to the mythology, but most of it was terribly boring and disjointed. It lacked the soul and charm of the original series. The benefit of making something deeply bizarre is that you can use that to mask bad storytelling and pseudo-intellectuals will eat it up and try to find meaning in the randomness. Storytelling really took a back seat to shock value in The Return, and I think most real fans of the original series are left feeling unsatisfied by the entire season, and particularly so with the final episode.

    • Alejandro says:

      It’s perfectly fine that you didn’t like this iteration of the show, but your suggestion that people who enjoyed it are somehow not real fans is very unfair.

    • Daryle Gardner-Bonneau says:

      C+ is generous…but I agree with your assessment. I only watched the first four or episodes and gave up. Nothing made sense…too disjointed. In effect, its meaning “was” whatever each viewer concocted it to.be; thus the pseudointellectuals can each blather on about their “take” on it.

      • Mitsu says:

        Haha, no. If there was randomness in Twin Peaks it was more in the second season of the show, not in The Return. The plot, while mysterious, was pretty straightforward if you carefully watched the entire series from episodes 1-17. It was not “random” at all, it made sense.

        I admit to not understanding much of episode 18, however, but Lynch obviously did that on purpose, he’s setting up new mysteries to either ponder forever (if another season never materializes) or to set up new material (film? series?) However, episodes 1-17 make pretty good sense, overall, though there are some loose ends it isn’t random in the least. Most people agree on the same interpretation of most of it.

    • Gary Jackson says:

      Finally, somebody said it. Thank you, Dubb.

    • Babs Mountjoy says:

      YES. Thank you.

  30. Piggy says:

    Laura is the dreamer as are we all. This has been an elegy on ageing for those of us who have survived 25 years. We can now really identify with the characters as we are also now middle aged or older. However, this is just my response to it. What I think this is about is spirits in the Eastern/Buddhist tradition. The idea that unless one is a pure soul one is reborn again and again and again. From Western psychological perspective it’s about PTSD of life. It should be viewed as art that disrupts our post post modern ennui. It is what it is for whoever watches it. It gets us out of our ordinary thinking in our boxed in algorithmic world. Thank you David Lynch and Mark Frost.

  31. Not now not ever says:

    More stories from creative artists don’t ruin anything. I bet they have plenty of ideas where they want go take it, and I’m ready to see where. Whereas you? You’ve never entertained me and I don’t have faith in your judgment or creative abilities.

  32. E.P. Scott says:

    The arrogance of man. That’s the premise of the entire show. Lynch fed it to you on a silver platter while spoon feeding it to you during the atomic bomb scene. Men have the innate ability through the noblest of intentions to murder the world. Men have a special irreverence towards women. Our noble Agent Cooper, embodied the arrogance of man through his will to resurrect Laura. Laura’s scream at the end is her screaming that while she had a really screwed up alt-life, she was better off dead. The horror she endured in her former life is now there again. And it came to her at the hands of a noble man.

    Read Robert Oppenheimer’s quote after the atomic bomb test.

    “We knew the world would not be the same. A few people laughed, a few people cried, most people were silent. I remembered the line from the Hindu scripture, the Bhagavad-Gita… “Now, I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds.”

    And another…

    “There are no secrets about the world of nature. There are secrets about the thoughts and intentions of men”

    And another…

    “It is perfectly obvious that the whole world is going to hell. The only possible chance that it might not is that we do not attempt to prevent it from doing so.”

    And that fellow readers is the arrogance of man.

  33. Stefania says:

    I really loved your review, I agree with your opinions about the last hour of the show and the feeling of failure against evil forces even after all those attempts to know, to change things. It is without a doubt a masterpiece and taking a step back, seeing the whole picture come together makes it truly compelling.

    • stone says:

      Our noble director Lynch embodied the arrogance of man through his will to resurrect Twin Peaks.

      • E.P. Scott says:

        It’s an artful way of hitting you over the head whilst screaming stop looking for answers and listen to the message. Seeking answers to art is Lynch’s condemnation of the modern day viewer. Cooper’s will to find justice for Laura is our arrogance and Laura’s scream is the response…stop trying because you’re making matters worse. We diminish art by seeking answers to it.

  34. Parkour says:

    Wow . Twin peaks – what a stunning finale .Can’ t wait to see it again .
    Pure genius . We want more twin peaks !!!!!! Make more ,please.

  35. I am the Paw says:

    Insult to the original show although Laura Palmer’s scream might be the most chilling sound I’ve ever heard. Had the 18 episodes had a decent plot the ‘return’ might have been worth it but the plot was all over the place. Absolute garbage from start to finish.

    • Judy says:

      For me, the distant “Laura!” was the most haunting part. Can’t get it out of my head

      • Nattypoos says:

        And what exactly was “the plot” of the original series supposed to have been? Straightforward “plots” are not what Lynch is about at all – and you really should know that by know. Lynch is actually all about how life and our subconscious responses and attitudes towards it HAVE NO PLOT. At least not the simple, straightforward kind generally dished up by the film and TV industry for people who simple-mindedly think the world is actually like that. That’s as true as the original series of Twin Peaks as it is of the latest one. And it’s a very profound point to make – which Lynch does beautifully and with a rare mastery for such a slippery, ineffable subject matter.

  36. Richard Cooper says:

    Tonight has been quite a journey for me. Watching the last episodes and having a visceral reaction, then going online and reading every single review and fan theory and reddit thread, trying to put it all together. Finally, reading this review, which puts a positive spin on the finale, I feel like I’ve finally reached acceptance. I look forward to watching it again in a few sittings in order to put all the pieces together. There are still lots of loose ends (Audrey??) and things I don’t understand (the bug and the ’50s girl?) and so many mysteries in between (how’s Annie? did Leo ever make it out alive? is Josie still a knob?) which will hopefully be solved by the Final Dossier coming out next month.

  37. CattyGrabber says:

    Ah Horseradish! You’ve been had. And Lynch loves that, as much as you do. Who do? You do.

  38. Gregor Byrd says:

    Sara Saraiya is entrenching herself as the worst critic giving negative reviews to such a great season of Game of Thrones only to praise the unmitigated mess that is Lynch’s Twin Peaks Returns like a junkie needing a fix from some misbegotten local pusher. This tiresome mess of a series tried every ounce of my patience while delving into every form of debauchery imaginable for the sake of simple shock value. Everyone was some sort of caricature, not a real relatable person in the entire waste of a mini series. What a sordid waste of my time I’ll never have back.

    • Judy says:

      We live on a placid rock of ignorance. Sometimes you need to be shocked to think new thoughts. Something outta shock you out of your ignorance and into an open mind…

    • Travis says:

      The current season of GoT deserved every negative critique it received. Piss poor dialogue that sorely missed the poetry of Martin’s pen, awful hyperspeed pacing that took all the patience and realism out of the series, baffling characterizations (including the intellectual slowing of Tyrion, a once brilliant character that’s fading into the background), one deus ex machina after another, I could go on. It felt like reddit theories and fan fiction picked up the slack that D&D couldn’t handle.

      This season of Twin Peaks was everything GoT failed to be: patient, startling, funny and full of legitimate surprises. Nothing about Twin Peaks has or ever will feel inevitable, except that Lynch will never indulge the obvious. Tune in to GoT to watch your favorite online theories brought to life with a million dollar budget per episode.

  39. Matt says:

    Beautifully written recap. From someone that has watched (even in person) parts of the original being filmed – you do justice to the world that we’ve come to love, Twin Peaks.

    And like a little brown mouse with a cookie, we’re gunna ask for milk. I’m praying Lynch continues ..

  40. Mark Byers says:

    You nailed it. Everything Cooper accomplished was in vain. We were teased all season that he held some mystical, righteous ability to let nothing get in the way of his charge. The attempted poisoning, the assassination attempt, the cafe rednecks, the car bombing–he dodged it all (even in a catatonic state!). Then we are left an impotent little man in the middle of the street staring at his shoes, wondering what year it is.

    • twsiebert says:

      But that’s why it fails and the whole series falls apart. If all the mystical righteous guidance in the end proves to be a cosmic joke, why do it to begin with? Why subject the audience to all of it, only to twist the knife at the end?

      What i see here is a guy who hates his audience. Without all the “Twin Peaks” fans, there never would’ve been another season. Lynch spent 16 weeks working his way to negate everything that’s come before–even removing the murder of Laura Palmer from the equation. “The Return” was a great journey, but it was a lie. Those last two hours make me never want to think about the previous 16 again, or the original 30. And I’ve got the sick, sneaking suspicion that might be how Lynch wants it.

      Maybe it’s evil genius. But it feels misanthropic and soul-sucking. Left a lot of people feeling like shit, I’m sure, and that’s going to linger for days. Perhaps there’s a conjuring here of some kind, and I don’t like it and will do my best to shake it off and reject it. But I invested a lot of hours in that series, only to get sucker-punched by a guy who apparently holds me in contempt for liking “Twin Peaks.” It’s perverse.

      • C.C. says:

        “Why subject the audience to all of it, only to twist the knife at the end?”
        Um, that was Shakespeare’s bread and butter.

      • Jay Taylor says:

        I agree. Whether not Lynch is a “genuis”…whatever that means…is beside the point. If we’re going to be asked to spend money and time (eighteen hours!) watching Audrey Horne kvetch and then dance, a giant give clues and a man without an arm keep trying to wake up a character in order to…apparently…save the world–then have a big, “Oh never mind” twist at the end, why should we bother? I don’t need Lynch telling me life is chaotic and random, that evil is rampant, yada yada; I know that. I expect him as an artist to help me make some sense of it.

      • Piggy says:

        He has achieved what he set out to do. Make you react and talk about it. The guy is a genius

      • dennis says:

        “If all the mystical righteous guidance in the end proves to be a cosmic joke, why do it to begin with? Why subject the audience to all of it, only to twist the knife at the end?”

        Well said, totally agree.

      • Travis says:

        “But that’s why it fails and the whole series falls apart. If all the mystical righteous guidance in the end proves to be a cosmic joke, why do it to begin with?”

        It’s existentialism. We watch these stories because we see something of ourselves in them. Some bullets are dodged, but failure and death is an unavoidable part of the human experience. It’s the small victories, the “mystical righteous guidance” that serves as a balm for the inevitable. I don’t get out the red pen because Lynch used beloved characters to illustrate this.

      • It´s a horror story. Horror stories end that way.

      • Chris Austin says:

        Perhaps Lynch is really onto something here… When you think about our lives here on earth, isn’t it all a cosmic joke? Everything we do, everything we care about, all our endeavors and dreams, all our words, don’t add up to anything. We all die and we think we leave behind some kind of legacy, but there is no legacy. Maybe a legacy that lasts a half century and then dies and fades into oblivion, You see, even when we die, the people that knew us will die as well, along with all those memories they had of us.

        Yes, this ending left me feeling like shit too. But even if Cooper succeeded in altering the past by erasing Laura Palmer’s murder, allowing her to grow older, does it really change anything?

        The final two hours of Twin Peaks: The Return had a profound effect on me also. I had a feeling something bad was about to happen. It all seemed too perfect, like your typical happy Hollywood ending with the family walking into the sunset and living happily ever after. I especially felt some unease when Cooper returns to the “Red Door” of suburbia to be with Naomi Watts and Sonny Jim.

        I am glad I got in front of the TV every Sunday to watch Twin Peaks: The Return, even if the finale left me feeling empty and hopeless. I think Lynch has done a great job of showing us just how absurd life really is. The past dictates the future.. Indeed. But life, in its entirety, has no future. And perhaps this is the scariest part of it all. Everything that is done here on earth is all in vain; not just for Dale Cooper in the fictional Twin Peaks universe, but everything here for us in our own time and place.

  41. 10 a.m madrid spain,im just filled with irrational fear,all that happyness of the reunion in the sheriff station as turned in pure silent horror at the end,no words to express that feeling inside mt chest after seeing that mindbending finale and thats scream…. wll done Mr. Lynch :D

  42. Keith Roskydoll says:

    JUST WOW! When you think Cooper is finally won. He tries to fix Bobs murder and it backfires? Maybe Cooper has just dreamed all of this and Richard is like Duggie and stuck in a Suburban world. His wife go to the hotel to have sex and become somebody else. So many thoughts so many reasons why it needs to continue on!

    • Grinsnchuckles says:

      I think you’re closer to the truth than anything else I’ve read. The dream within the dream. Richard is the dreamer – half Coop and half evil Coop – a real human being. Amazing how Kyle incorporated the mannerisms of both Coops – with a touch of Dougie – in his portrayal of Richard.

  43. JD says:

    Well said. The finale affected me viscerally. The streets outside were quite,and my dog was whimpering. I wondered if I was suddenly put in a different place by David Lynch. My house looked different and my past seemed non-existent. No one but David Lynch could make me feel this way. Thank god that feeling is fading, I think.

  44. Sensible Enough says:

    I hope not. I want seasons 4 and 5. It makes plenty of money worldwide and the merchandise seems to be selling, so give us some more, CBS/Showtime!

    • Andrew Dorie says:

      I would watch infinite seasons of Twin Peaks, but the show’s revenue will never determine its longevity.

    • Nathaniel Drake Carlson says:

      You don’t need a season 4. That would just ruin it. It has to end somewhere and this ending is a fabulous one, powerful and potent, though finely and precariously balanced. Lynch is never going to resolve or address everything anyway, thank God. That flies in the face of his art, reducing and diminishing it.

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