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Should ‘Twin Peaks’ return (again)?

“Someone we know who is ‘in the know’ just let something very interesting slip about the future of TWIN PEAKS—If it’s true, we’ll be squealing and giddy in 2020!” tweeted the Hollywood Horror Museum on Sept. 27. With Jennifer Lynch, daughter of “Twin Peaks” co-creator David Lynch, on the museum’s board, rumors of a possible fourth season for the cult classic television show quickly gained traction.

Shortly after the Hollywood Horror Museum took to Twitter, “Twin Peaks” cast and crew members began dropping their own hints on social media. Actors Michael Horse and Kyle MacLachlan alluded to a potential new announcement by posting suggestive screencaps and quotes from the series. At the same time, the program’s cinematographer, Peter Deming, began publicizing photos of the “Twin Peaks” filming location in Washington, and David Lynch himself sent out a tweet as well.

“We had a perfect place to shoot Twin Peaks and perfect people to work with,” Lynch wrote online. As a follower of his Twitter account, I noticed Lynch’s tweet on Sept. 19, but assumed it was an innocuous reference to his experience filming “Twin Peaks: The Return” only two years prior. 

“The Return” premiered in 2017 as the long-awaited third season of “Twin Peaks”, revisiting the titular town roughly 25 years after its initial debut. When Laura Palmer (Sheryl Lee), the character whose shocking murder accounted for the show’s central plotline, whispered “I’ll see you again in 25 years” in Agent Dale Cooper’s (Kyle MacLachlan) ear during a scene from 1991, she wasn’t lying.

Although an incredibly ambitious feat, “The Return” transcended television as a profoundly mind-blowing work of art. Prior to its release, I was willing to accept anything that felt unflinchingly true to Lynch’s vision, anything that captured and expanded upon the raw genius showcased in his earlier projects (e.g. “Eraserhead” and “Blue Velvet”). As a thematically rich, idiosyncratic masterpiece, “The Return” more than delivered. It was both a beautiful dream and a horrifying nightmare that I wished to stay inside for far longer than its 18 allotted episodes. 

Each second spent revisiting Lynch and co-creator Mark Frost’s “Twin Peaks” universe felt influenced by the spirit of its earlier seasons, but with a far more powerful approach. Upon returning, the fictional town is no longer what it used to be a quarter-century ago. Now, Lynch freely explores the concepts of time and change while writing a new story about inevitability and closure (or, rather, the impossibility of ever achieving it). As I watched Agent Cooper alter Laura Palmer’s original fate in the third season’s finale, I suddenly realized that this last scene could be the official conclusion of something very special.

At the end of “The Return,” Laura and Cooper find themselves outside of the old Palmer residence. They appear to be in another dimension, different from the one in which Cooper had just halted Laura’s death. He asks what year it is and in response, she screams, signaling their awareness of this unsettling change. As the credits roll, it appears as though Lynch has left his series fundamentally unresolved, with two primary characters trapped in a different reality, and what appears to be an utter lack of closure for both of them.

However, when we watch the pair stand horrified in front of Laura Palmer’s childhood home, perhaps they are learning the lesson of inevitability. No matter how hard they try, they can never escape the past that has haunted them, and us, for the last 25 years. The idea of destiny seems to work as the “Twin Peaks’” man behind the curtain, and—in my opinion—the finale spares no effort to confirm that. 

I finished “The Return” with the belief that it was really the end. There was no doubt in my mind that the series was complete, and I felt (almost) perfectly content. Another season may assuage my selfishly undying need for “Twin Peaks” content, but would I feel the same level of satisfaction at the end of a second comeback? In answering that question, I am torn. I know I would be overjoyed to continue experiencing the brain-child of Lynch and Frost, but a large part of me feels confident that “The Return” was truly the ending we deserved.

Regardless of my skepticism, if the rumors are true, then another return will be on the horizon and I’ll be counting down the days until it premieres. After smoothing out issues with Showtime’s proposed budget in 2016, David Lynch has had full rein over the future of “Twin Peaks” on the network’s platform. Therefore, the show will once again be under his complete creative control when the audience is brought back—this time only three years later—to the new “Twin Peaks” universe. No matter what, and despite the immense pressure on Lynch to follow up his prior masterpiece, I trust that my favorite director will not disappoint.

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