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'Twin Peaks: The Return' Reviews - Critics Puzzled But Pleased By David Lynch's Tireless Imagination

It's been more than a quarter of a century since the show began.

22/05/2017 07:57

After nearly a quarter of a century, it’s back. ‘Twin Peaks’ finally made its way back onto US television screens last night, and it was soon clear that auteur David Lynch’s imagination was as fertile as ever. 

From the start of the long-awaited ‘Twin Peaks: The Return’, he took us back to the familiar, if surreal, territory of the Red Room, the hub of Agent Dale Cooper’s alternate universe. Strange people around him were talking in tongues, even as he looked as deceptively serene as always. And we were off.

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Agent Dale Cooper (Kyle MacLachlan) is back on screen, and back in the Red Room

New viewers who weren’t around to watch the first series of the genre-changing TV show and have to admit they don’t understand a word of it can take comfort: it was ALWAYS completely baffling. And don’t expect staying with the show to satisfy your confusion either. If it’s anything like the previous incarnation, David Lynch will delight in posing more questions than he can ever answer... even if he returns in another three decades to do it.

The first two hours of the new series were shown last night in the US. Here’s what the first critics have to say...

Mark Lawson in the Guardian missed the central crime drama that provided at least a narrative backbone the first time around...

Anyone coming fresh to the cult is likely to have been utterly bewildered. But they can take comfort that, by the end of the opening two episodes, both veterans and newbies will have been huddled together in Camp Bafflement. When Cooper says, early on, “I understand”, it’s a dark in-joke from Lynch.

Filled with giants, dwarves, monsters and ghosts, Twin Peaks most resembles a modern fairytale written on LSD then heavily redacted by the CIA. But at least the original series had the viewer-friendly structure of a whodunnit to glue the peculiarities together. The start of the new run is more of a what-is-it?

James Poniewozik of the New York Times noticed the two different moods apparent on screen, with the story’s many nods to times gone by, but also to puzzles ahead...

At times it feels as if it were a nostalgic 1990 version of the show is alternating scenes with a colder, harder-edged 2017 version.

He also admired the fact that, even now he is no longer the pioneer of the potential of small screen entertainment, David Lynch still has the power to keep us on our toes...

in its familiarly inscrutable first two hours.. it still has the ability to turn your TV into that box — a quietly menacing portal through which something horrifying or wondrous might burst at any moment... even after nearly three decades, Mr. Lynch’s visual imagination remains inimitable.

 Over at Variety, Sonia Saraiya applauds the huge ambition of the thing, while wondering whether some of the charm of the original series may have been lost to big budgets and giving David Lynch so much free hand. However, she too applauds the unique and tireless vision on display here... 

The show is very stubbornly itself — not quite film and not quite TV, rejecting both standard storytelling and standard forms. It’s not especially fun to watch and it can be quite disturbing. But there is never a sense that you are watching something devoid of vision or intention. Lynch’s vision is so total and absolute that he can get away with what wouldn’t be otherwise acceptable.

Twin Peaks will air in the UK on Sky Atlantic on Tuesdays at 9pm. Episodes one to four are now available on demand on Now TV.

 

'Twin Peaks': Where are They Now?
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