14 April 2007 | MisterWhiplash
Wow, Bob, Wow...
Twin Peaks, much like David Lynch's own Mulholland Drive and Blue Velvet, among other great works of his, examines the main notion, idea and scope behind what it is meant to conventionally be. Twin Peaks is a murder-mystery show, yes, but this is not even scratching the surface as an identifying measure to say what the show is. Another explanation, as if it were possible, is that it is ABOUT mystery, and in the case of murder of life. That might seem a little too preachy or didactic, but as one goes deeper into the series, and deeper into the Black Lodge, and deeper into every single backwards-ass character on the show, a pattern emerges. Abstractions are Lynch's life blood, and even in the weirdest moments of the show he and Mark Frost, along with their writers and directors, make Twin Peaks a collection of abstractions, but at the same time making them as much as possibly within reach of human emotion. It's one of the rare times that the kind of artful penetration into what is essentially good, essentially evil, and even essentially gray-in-area in human beings that usually presides in cinema is let out, practically in each episode, like some kind of feverish worm that crawls in your mind and won't stop...Maybe it's the owls.
But aside from the many, many, many layers to the show, to the dynamics between FBI Agent Cooper (Kyle MacLaughlin in his most recognizable role) and those he relates to everyday as well as in his dreams and Tibetan-inspired visions (the classic being the quintessential dream with the garbled-talking little-person), the teenagers with their own plots of neuroses and dramas and higher ambitions and darker demons, as well as those you'd least expect- the quiet ones- not to mention the ones residing on top in the little crevices we dare not usually seek out in small towns (i.e. the prostitution ring fronted by Mr. Horne), it's just a damn-well entertaining program. It's a superlative crossbreeding of the kind of inimitable melodrama that has the immediate feel of a soap-opera, but far more intelligent in the scope of acting and writing, and the classic absurdities that come up in the best of Lynch's work. Meaning that it will work, more or less, for two different audiences.
Fans of Lynch's will drink it up like damn-good coffee the endless quirks that become commonplace, where characters in any other show would get little no-note roles like the secretary Lucy, or the psychologist Jacobi, or even a classic nut-bar like the Log-Lady, who has the claim that the log is really her dead husband. This, plus enough dream sequences, elaborate lighting and set-design schemes, and the outrageous characterizations make it vintage Lynch/Frost work. For the other crowd, those who don't usually watch Lynch's movies and are more of just the regular TV potatoes, the series has an appeal for its more genuine side, the one that stays true to the ideas and dramatic tensions behind the characters. Even when it gets too weird, and especially in season 2 the feeling starts to get stronger and more nagging, one can't really totally pull away from it, like as if some old man with an old storybook was reading out something almost certifiable, but intriguing all the same. Laura Palmer's death brings out what her life was all about, and really what anyone connected to her is all about; there's an appeal to find out what's behind the lives of others, especially when it balances out between light and dark tendencies.
On top of this, the acting is par for the course top-notch. MacLaughlin, it seems could play this guy in his sleep after a while, and it doesn't take too long in the first season to get past his own odd-sense of awareness (and his regular reliance on dreams and visions) to get closer to solving the dreaded case of Laura Palmer. It's hard for me to think of any one performance that would be a bad one to knock-off, as even the more ludicrous ones- based on their characters- are played as believable as possible. Memorable guest appearances, however, are attributed to the likes of Michael Parks (known from the Tarantino/Rodriguez movies), David Duchovny (an excellent, far cry from Mulder) Frank Silva (as the one who, well, I won't say too much about him), and Lynch himself as the FBI regional chief who's a little hard of hearing. So much can be seen as the blackest of comedy, by turns very sudden and otherworldly and just plain strange (a signing and dancing Mr. Palmer and rows and rows of donuts just bits of what's in store), and it is often very funny. But there's also much in the way of what makes for the best TV: you want to keep watching each week, or now as is the case back to back on DVD, to see how this will turn out, however f***ed up it might get. Simply, it has something, if only in parts, for everybody/
So get yourself some pie and coffee, make sure to speak backwards and forwards again, and don't underestimate the power of a giant with some clues on hand. Twin Peaks is a world of secrets unveiled, and secrets that maybe shouldn't be unveiled yet sought after, and there's enough to keep fans talking for years to come as one of the great 'cult' show in modern TV.