The return of Twin Peaks is a lot to process. After each episode, Uproxx‘s Alan Sepinwall and Keith Phipps attempt to hash out what we all just watched.
Keith: So how do we do this? That’s my first question after watching the first two episodes of Twin Peaks: The Return. (Actually, I couldn’t wait and watched the third episode too, but I’m going to leave that out of this discussion.) Whatever Twin Peaks was before and is now, it’s not a Rubik’s Cube of a mystery show that if we fiddle enough we can eventually make all the pieces lock into place.
That said, it’s quick to establish that this isn’t a show wholly removed from the one that ended two and a half decades ago. The opening moments are closely connected to the second-season finale, opening on the unmistakable zig-zag tile and red curtains and then dropping us once again into the moment when Laura Palmer promised Agent Cooper she’d see him again in 25 years, then offering up some familiar images from the old show: the mill, the trophy case, the panicked girl running in the courtyard, then that Angelo Badalamenti theme song.
But it’s not the old show. The first thing that struck me as different about this Twin Peaks was the rhythm. Where the original Twin Peaks at least mostly moved to the pace of a prime time network work soap opera — visiting this sub-plot, then this one, then this one — our first scene in Twin Peaks proper involves Dr. Jacoby receiving some shovels, and it lasts two-and-half minutes. And I’m fine with that!
Alan, I know from your review that you’re fine with that too, but did the pace of this show surprise you? And what else set this apart from the original show for you?
Alan: We’ve still got 16 hours of this to go, Keith — and I thought we had a pact to not watch past these two before chatting, sir! — and I think at a certain point, if the pacing stays like this, it will drive me up a wall. For last night, though, I was just so happy to be back in this universe — and, more importantly, to see that Lynch hadn’t lost his fastball, despite his thin and increasingly alienating directorial resumé this century — that I went along with the shovel-unpacking, the belabored business with the apartment keys, all the lingering shots of the cameras surrounding the glass box, etc. Lynch has described the new season as “an 18-hour movie,” which is a concept and a structure I hate — episodes are important for a reason! — and I will not be shocked in the least if we get the Netflix sag on steroids by the middle of it. But this made me feel like I’d been shot through whatever electricity was coursing through the arm-tree in the Black Lodge.