Ruminations on the Season Finale of TWIN PEAKS
I spent all last week traveling. I wasn’t home to watch the season three finale to TWIN PEAKS, and the hotel where I stayed that night didn’t have Showtime, even if I had arrived in time to watch it, which I didn’t. I had to wait an entire week to see the finale, a week spent, in addition to the aforementioned traveling, avoiding the Internet so as to also avoid spoilers. Despite my best efforts I did see, while quickly checking my phone for messages, some people were complaining, offering various WTF?! reactions to the show. I knew, then, that SOMEthing outta left field was going to happen, or HAD happened. But with David Lynch, this is kind of expected and came as no surprise. Last night I finally got to see it for myself. I finally learned what those folks were bitching about.
Was the season three finale–and note that I am NOT referring to it as the SERIES finale, but more on that in a second–worth the wait? Did I find it satisfying, or disappointing? Was it all I hoped it would be, or nothing I had hoped for? Yes. It was. To both questions. To all of the questions.
Episodes 16 and 17 were the culmination I wanted. I loved it, fully and completely. At last, Cooper was back. The storyline was completed. DoppelCoop was confronted and sent back where he came from. Naido/Diane was freed. (Yes, it WAS her!) We learned the purpose behind Freddie’s magical green glove: Freddie had to punch out a disembodied Demon BOB, several times, in fact. (There were some surprises, too; I loved that it was Lucy who shot down DoppelCoop.) Coop even went back in time and prevented Laura Palmer’s murder! It was the ultimate resolution. The series came full circle–but then it kept going.
The ACTUAL finale, episode 18, was as maddeningly open-ended as the finale for season two was, 26 years ago. For that matter, the season one ending was likewise a composite of cliffhangers. It seems that a season of TWIN PEAKS is required to end with a lot of questions and unresolved plotlines. Coop found Laura, but he had never crossed back over from the parallel dimension into which he and Diane had crossed. Or did they travel through time instead? Coop’s final words had a double meaning. “What year is this?” The same question as was posed by the One-armed man: “Is it the future or is it the past?” Indeed, didn’t we all feel a little disjointed in time? Is it 1991 or is it 2017? Why did Laura scream there at the end? (By the way, what an underrated, powerhouse of an actress is Sheryl Lee. She is fantastic.) Was it because she remembered everything? And while we’re talking about Laura: all those scenes with a young Laura and a young James. Were they all CGI-rendered? Or did Lynch film those scenes years ago, and has been holding onto them for all this time? Don’t put it past him!
The big question, though, the one on everybody’s minds, is, will there be a season four? Lynch has said that he has no plans to revisit TWIN PEAKS. But then he said that exact same thing before, and we now know he had planned all along to bring us a third season 25 years after the ending of the second. He had Laura Palmer tell us as much. “I’ll see you again in 25 years.” It was always his plan. Kyle McLaughlin has said that nothing has been discussed. THAT I believe. Showtime has said that, while there is no season four currently in the works, “the door is always open.” So, then, WILL there be a season four?
Lynch is enough of a sadist to leave us with all those unresolved, unanswered questions. But that doesn’t mean he will. I don’t think he will. (He’ll give us all new questions left unresolved!) I think he already has a plan. With Lynch, you have to read between the lines. As with Laura’s promise at the end of season two, “I’ll see you again in 25 years.” Look to the words of the characters for the answers.
Did Coop not say to the gathered cast members, most of them originals, “I hope to see you all again, every one of you”? Invested with far more weight, though, are his words to Gordon and Diane: “See you at the curtain call.”
There are so many unresolved plot points. Who is Judy? Is it Laura, is it Sarah, or is it someone or something else? Was Becky murdered? Where in the blue hell is Audrey? And while it was hinted at just how important Laura was/is in the first place, and why she HAD/HAS to be brought “home,” she isn’t there yet, is she? Did that look of despair on Cooper’s face, superimposed over the action at the end of episode 17, mean that he realizes that she never will be? Is THAT why Laura screamed, there at the end? Maybe. It would be just like Lynch to leave us hanging like that. But I can’t help but suspect that there’s something more going on in his deranged mind. I just can’t get past that one thing: “I’ll see you in 25 years,” Laura said, and then 25 years later we got another season of TWIN PEAKS. Lynch KNEW. He knew all along.
A “curtain call” is when, after the final bow of a stage production, the audience demands with their applause that the players return to the stage for one final ovation. The “curtain call” of TWIN PEAKS has not happened yet. Whether the story is continued or not, that fact remains. There WAS no curtain call for season three. And that gives me hope.
I believe Lynch has a plan, one that he isn’t telling anybody (except Mark Frost, maybe), just like Gordon confessed to Albert that he’d had a secret plan that he hadn’t told anybody. And I believe there WILL be a curtain call. I don’t know what form it will take. Will it be a fourth season? Will it be a movie, another FIRE WALK WITH ME? Will it be a novel? THAT I do not know, and I would be foolish to hazard a guess. But I believe it will come. For me, the bigger, more tortuous question is, WHEN?!?! We can’t wait another quarter-century, David!