This article contains spoilers throughout for Twin Peaks: The Return, which wrapped up its run on Showtime this past weekend
After 26 years away and 15 weeks back, on Sunday night, Twin Peaks once again reached its stunning conclusion. For fans of Twin Peaks, fans of its mad genius visionary David Lynch, and fans of prestige television in general, it certainly was quite a ride. 15 weeks is a long time—how long ago does even hearing May twenty-first feel?—and the reaction from those fans, generally, seems to be mostly the same: the great highs were great, but there were moments that dragged, moments that lagged, and moments that went forgotten. I wouldn’t know, personally, because over a five-day stretch, I super-binged the entire 18-part limited-event series, and I strongly recommend that you do the same.
A friend who experienced the show live pointed out one particular puzzle piece that many watchers found almost tortuously slow—the Dougie Jones plotline. Seeing our beloved hero, Special Agent Dale Cooper (Kyle MacLachlan), essentially serve as a semi-sentient insurance-selling blow-up doll grew frustrating as it played out over the course of a few months. By contrast,I saw the storyline build at my own pace, reaching the immensely-satisfying return of the real Agent Cooper (in Episode 16) just a few days after beginning my binge through the long-awaited series revival.
While watching this way wasn’t my intention initially—I was trying to catch up on the original series for quite a while, but kept getting caught in the dredges of the original series’ notorious second season—I’ve come to think that an immersive binge was the perfect way to watch, and the way that best fit with David Lynch’s vision. He described his series as a film broken down into 18 separate parts; if you’re captivated by the series, you’ll ingest it quickly, as I did. Everything important—or, at least, seemingly important—will be fresh in your mind from the start through to the end. But if you’re watching Dougie Jones burn his tongue on coffee and scribble notes on insurance forms for four months, you may not exactly recall the intricate details that a David Lynch work will inevitably demand.
Now, this doesn’t clear anything up by any means—ha—you’re still going to have to figure out on your own what exactly is happening at the end (and middle, and, beginning, I guess). What the hell is happening with Audrey? What was JUDY? WHAT YEAR IS THIS? But you’ll reach the end, and your means to solving that end in your own regard, with details and plot points fresh in your mind. It (almost) makes too much sense that way.
One other note—I am not typically one who does this type of thing. One of my downfalls, when it comes to watching TV, is that I am straight-up bad at the kind of hardcore, back-to-back-to-back binge-watching that’s become so popular in the age of Netflix and Amazon Prime originals. But with Twin Peaks: The Return, my typical weakness became a strength; the power of watching this mesmerizing and riveting piece of art unfold in front of my eyes, at my own pace, was simply captivating. This wasn’t the same as just binge-watching, say, House of Cards (a perfectly fine show, by the way). No—this was a masterpiece transpiring in real time.
Of course, there are certainly other ways to watch it, and in my binge through the series there are certainly things that I missed out on—weekly reaction and speculation of what was to come with podcasts, friends, and more—but there’s little doubt that in terms of narrative fulfillment, a dedicated power-through of the series is undoubtedly an experience that proves true to the vision of the legendary director that all watching have placed their trust in.
Photos courtesy of Showtime