Twin Peaks Season 3: Has Lynch Already Peaked?

Ben Mueller | Sep 5, 2013

Twin Peaks

“Diane, I regret to inform you I have encountered enormous spoilers ahead.”

As the Twin Peaks Complete Series Blu-ray is prepared for late 2013 or early 2014 release, fervent fans keep the rumor mill abuzz for the revival of everyone’s favorite lumber milling town. David Lynch wrapped the second season of his iconic television series in 1991 to mixed reviews and an indefinite hiatus from ABC. With the show’s cult popularity only growing (stream every episode now on Netflix), is Twin Peaks season 3 still plausible, let alone possible? Well, pull up a chair in front of those red curtains and put on a pot of coffee, because CableTV is hot on the case.

Lynch commented on returning to TP just this past May. “The town is still there, and I suppose it’s possible that we could revisit it,” he told an audience at the Orange County Museum of Modern Arts. The writer/director even suggested resurrecting Ray Wise as Leland Palmer—the psychotic father of the deceased Laura Palmer (Sheryl Lee)—despite his character dying in season two. Of course, anything is possible in a town of the dream-obsessed where encounters with supernatural beings are regular occurrences. But how exactly would the series’ plot continue?

Last year, show co-creator Mark Frost told Sci-Fi Now magazine that the series could pick up right where Agent Dale Cooper (Kyle MacLachlan) and Laura Palmer left off: in the final Black Lodge dream sequence with the rootin’-tootin’ dancing dwarf. “I’ll see you again in 25 years,” Laura Palmer prophetically said. That means we’re only three years away! But picking up all the pieces is easier said than done. David Lynch still laments ABC pressuring him to quickly resolve Laura Palmer’s murder in season two. In Lynch’s words to Entertainment Weekly, he was forced to “[kill] the goose that laid the golden egg.” His original plan was to never solve the murder case until the very end of the series, which he imagined being about 10 years down the road.

Indeed, an enormous chunk of the show’s shadowy intrigue was abandoned when we found out Laura’s killer in clunky, hard-to-swallow fashion. Look no further than the series’ sagging ratings. Audiences were originally gripped by TP’s pilot episode (ranked #25 in the 100 Greatest Episodes of All Time by TV Guide) because their minds could soft-shoe across infinite explanations behind the town’s terror. Like Roman Polanski classically hiding Rosemary’s baby from the audience, anything viewers imagined behind Laura Palmer’s fate was far more horrific than anything Lynch could ever show.

But Twin Peaks can’t return by just serving us the same old mysterious slice of pie. If the 1992 feature-length spin-off prequel Fire Walk With Me taught us anything, it was the importance of expanding the tale to avoid feeling stale. Worse, it often felt sacrilegious to revisit so many characters and tropes we had come to love so much. Season two of the series proved that its writers could assemble entertaining, short-term characters and story arcs (Nadine (Wendy Robie) and her bout with superhuman strength, David Duchovny in drag). For Twin Peaks season 3, if Lynch supplies brand new plots that evoke that original sense of mystery—plus a huge dose of Kyle MacLachlan—we’d be right back in business.

Finally, there’s the issue of distribution. When asked whether Netflix would chomp at the bit for a TP reboot, Chief Content Officer Ted Sarandos answered, “Absolutely!” And just think of the possibilities if Lynch wasn’t saddled with major network censorship. The encounters at One Eyed Jacks brothel could finally stop being so coy (aka: more boobies). And the gore could be upped tremendously, just like Netflix’s original horror series, and Twin Peaks admirer, Hemlock Grove. Netflix’s sweeping success with the new Arrested Development seems to leave Twin Peaks as the next obvious choice in the line of fan favorites.

Twin Peaks was always a dark show. To revisit season two is to watch regular folks over and over again encounter the evil of the world—sometimes the very real, sometimes the totally surreal. Each character struggles to find the strength within themselves to confront it. Too often, what they find is more darkness. But when the good characters somehow find strength, we witness love beaming through like composer Angelo Badalamenti’s recurring themes. In a later episode, Sheriff Truman (Michael Ontkean) cries in Agent Cooper’s arms while grieving the death of a loved one. “There’s a whole lot I don’t understand,” he says. “We’re all like that,” Agent Cooper replies. And if Twin Peaks returns, we can all get back to trying to understand the pain of life together.

Should Twin Peaks return for another season? What might Agent Cooper and the rest of the town have in store? Leave your thoughts in the comments below!

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