* * * SPOILERS for anything Twin Peaks and David Lynch related * * *
Twin Peaks: The Return
David Lynch has given quite an ending and it made me think about the way he chooses to end his other films. Usually he strikes a balance to where he finds that ray of sunshine to poke through the darkness. The final shot of Blue Velvet (with the bird) is a thing of beauty as is the "Silencio" that brings down the curtain on Mulholland Drive, putting all the pieces into your brain. Lynch realizes the power of letting an audience know there will be no more clues. My favorite Lynch ending is Fire Walk With Me. A two-plus hour film building to the brutal, inevitable murder of a beloved character, the film ends with Laura Palmer smiling, laughing. Happy to finally be released from her torment. Lynch has given the unhappiest character in his world a happy ending.
Compare that to the end of Twin Peaks: The Return. A finale that looks like it's going to right all the wrongs, including Dale Cooper preventing Laura's murder in the first place. An upbeat version of The Terminator, save the girl and save the world. The ending crushes that optimism, and while it initially felt like a punch to the gut, there were clues all during that final hour, starting with the big, obvious in hindsight one of Cooper walking Laura out of the dark woods only to realize (in a brilliant moment of camerawork and sound) that she is no longer with him. A subtle moment that keyed me in was at the diner, before Cooper takes down the cowboys. He sips the coffee and has no reaction to it. Like it isn't more than average. The final 15 minutes is perhaps the most maddeningly drawn out sequence in a series full of such time fillers, but it holds together by the nagging feeling that something ain't right. That evil is still just beyond the headlights.
The staging and editing of the cowboys scene shows Lynch has a good grasp for action, which makes the sequence of the power glove smashing Bob even more puzzling. That is one of Lynch's clumsiest scenes. This is what makes the series hard to give a single rating too. It was the best of Lynch, it was the worst of Lynch. Ultimately, I will treasure this as Lynch's final opus, and I bet on a rewatch I'll be more tolerant about Dougie Jones. I already smile at the way he holds coffee.
RATING: * * * - Good