Like the spark that ignites a forest, Laura Palmer’s cold, dead body wrapped in plastic awakens the evil underlying the quiet town of Twin Peaks, Washington. Like Blue Velvet before, David Lynch looks to uncover the hidden malice that suburbia suppresses, investigating the macrostructure in order to gain entrance into the microscopic evil that resides within all.
As awfully pessimistic as that may sound, Twin Peaks is exemplary television that manages to balance its absurdist comedy, innate quirkiness, and investigation of evil and package it like no other show before it ever did. Twin Peaks is undoubtedly one of the most revolutionary series ever put on t.v. because of how perfectly it was able to tap into the social subconscious and exploit it in a cultish fashion. It’s truly fascinating to see something so specific appeal to so many people at once, something only Lynch and Frost could do by directly infiltrating our subconscious by slowly peeling away the superficial layers that keep society at the pinnacle of beauty and exposing us to the seedy underbelly that it actually is.
What makes Twin Peaks so great? Is it’s eccentric characters, masterful directing or its famous cherry-pie, surely all those things help, but what really makes it great is the way it treats the relationship between mystery and mystic. There’s a mystery lurking even in the isolated and remote locations, an even greater web of mysteries than any imaginable. From the outside, Twin Peaks looks like the ideal mountain village where nothing ever happens, but Lynch despises outside appearances and journeys to the very literal epicenter of evil in order to find truth. The problem is I don’t think Lynch really believes in truth which is why he cloaks it in mysticism. If anything, Lynch revels in the land of mysteries, forcing him to mystify everything with the intent of shrouding anything truthful and mystifying you, the audience as you try and navigate through the web of mystical-mysteries Lynch has weaved together with the same organization that forms a dream. It’s incomprehensible yet oh so divine.
As for the practical matters the show is comprised of, all I can say is there’s a definite downward slope in quality once the mystery that opened the show is revealed. There’s something extremely unnatural about this revelation, as Frost and Lynch’s motive was to never reveal the identity of Palmer’s killer. The revelation of the murderer feels like a cruel joke aimed at Lynch’s love of the mysterious, which explains the spiraling direction the series takes after the reveal. Are the episodes leading up to this reveal some of the best episodes of Twin Peaks ever? Yes, they most definitely are, the very episode in which the identity of the killer is revealed is one of the best in the entire series, but one can only go downwards after reaching the top of a mountain.
Twin Peaks is t.v. royalty, a rarity among the royals that exposes the cruel nature that allows them to maintain royalty. Luckily, Lynch and Frost understand a grueling examination of the evil that motivates the human psyche is something an audience would avert if confronted with directly, which is why they infuse it with rich characters, a quirky sense of humor and a cloud of mystery that heavily hypnotizes the viewer before he realizes what’s actually going on in Twin Peaks. But by that realization, the viewer is already addicted, pulled in by the aforementioned infused elements and forced to stay because of the truthful revelations, which is why I welcome the return of Twin Peaks with feverish excitement, because I cannot wait to chew on that precious gum that’s coming back in style.