Twin Peaks Season 3: What I Hope To See

Update: I’m here now.

As both a Twin Peaks fan and an indie filmmaker I’ve spent about a billion hours of my life being inspired by Peaks, in general and in my own work, and wondering deeply what a continuation of the series could/should be.

Peaks was an extremely layered and faceted program. There’s different levels, qualities, and characters that turned all sorts of people into all sorts of fans who’d crave different things for the series’ incredible return. But these are the three things I loved most about peak-quality Peaks and what I hope the new episodes dish up.

High-School Heartthrobs: Structurally, Twin Peaks was a classic soap opera, and that medium mandates beautiful people plummeting into ugly trouble with other beautiful people.

The original series discovered a bounty of stunning and brilliantly unique young stars, and watching them dreamily whisper and weep on Thursday (and then Saturday) nights when I was in jr. high while they skipped their senior high classes to solve murders then sing songs in demon-infested living rooms was definitely my favorite aspect of the show. It was teenager catnip.

Most, but not all, of those cover girl/boy hotties are returning for season 3, and I certainly want to know what’s up with their characters now in middle-age.

But Peaks was a multi-generational show, so I hope Lynch and his genius casting director Johanna Ray retain that aspect and have re-populated Peaks with a new generation of young, unknown, future stars who can sulk and slither through the Double R Diner and then end up on the cover of Rolling Stone or Vanity Fair magazine wearing flannels over Fendi come September 2017. Surely Audrey Horne could have a fascinating high-school aged son with killer eyebrows or Bobby Briggs would’ve, by now, fathered a head-turning daughter as hot-headed as her old man.

I don’t think the writers developed many (if any) winning new characters after the first 10 or so episodes of the original series (Lana, and Lucy’s knocked-up sister – I’m looking at you, and everyone else like you), but if Lynch and Mark Frost and Johanna Ray lovingly do what they’re easily capable of, I’m hoping Peaks season 3 spotlights some fresh new actors at least half as striking and talented as young Madchen Amick and James Marshall and Lara Flynn Boyle were.

Heartache: Structurally, Peaks might’ve been a soap-opera, but internally it played as a coming-of-age indie. All the characters, the young heartthrobs and their elders alike, were grappling with who they were and who they thought they should be in a tiny town that they now realized was blacker and bleaker than they ever would’ve believed.

I like quirk and I’m all for experimental esotericism, but none of that weird weirdness matters or moves us if it isn’t tethered to pain and people we know well and can see shadows of ourselves in.

I don’t want, for instance, twenty more “quirky” long scenes of 90-year-old men who can hardly hear or barely walk toward bank vaults taking up precious screen time.

I want to spend time with James Hurley and find out why he’s back in Twin Peaks and how that feels for him (cause everything always feels so dang intense for the guy). I want to spend time with Norma Jennings so I can find out whether she and Big Ed truly got their happy ending, and how she feels about the reality of that, since she usually keeps her feelings frosted behind her warm, waitress-y grin. I want to know how Cooper and Sarah and Benjamin and Shelly feel about the people and innocence they’ve lost and the new people and problems they’re now faced with.

Any absurdity needs to flow directly from the core characters and concerns, rather than get wedged in via fourth-tier characters whose only purpose is to be zany. Thusly, I most certainly don’t need Michael Cera or Eddie Vedder (two new confirmed cast members) showing up, probably briefly, just because they’re fans of the show so David Lynch can shellac some quirky quip or physical/social impairment over them and flex his comedic brainstorming muscles. It’s superfluous, stooge-y, guest-star-laden stuff like that where, I’m hoping, Mark Frost will crack his writerly whip and keep things tight and on track.

Horror: The final scene of the season 2 premiere where we get a flickering glimpse into that abandoned train car to witness Laura Palmer’s last moments alive – I wasn’t ready for that, all alone in my 9th grade basement bedroom. I’m still not ready for stuff like that, which is part of Peaks‘ power.

Once BOB was shown to be more than just a static head hiding behind a bed, but a vital, vicious, howling man/beast/demon/dirtbag that might show up in even the safest, warmest place you can think of, like atop your well-lit living room sofa, there was no guarantee for safety in Twin Peaks. Not the town, not the show.

Every episode and half the scenes had the potential for BOB to pop up or pop out, and whether he was just laughing, crawling or full-on face-bashing someone, it was always absolutely horrifying. His profane grin always let you know he might flick or fuck or finish you at any minute, or do all three in no particular order – and I can’t think of another grin on earth or in hell that could work in that exact same way.

BOB’s portrayer, Frank Silva, died in the 90s – so the exact BOB we knew and loved (to fear) can simply not return for season 3, sadly. But since smashing unspeakable horror into small town serenity was the very heart of Twin Peaks’ main mysteries, and since BOB was seemingly just a spirit who inhabited human hosts, surely BOB will be back in some way, shape, or form/s.

Now, if – SEASON 2 SPOILER ALERT…

If BOB is still inside Agent Cooper, or has hopped into someone else we know and love, his presence in one of these actors could deliver us all the BOB that the story would technically require.

But even if Kyle MacLachlan acts sinister and possessed at times a la white-haired Leland Palmer that’s not enough horror for me. Because Kyle is no Frank Silva. I think I still need some sort of snarling, long-haired, denim-clad boogey-man lurking behind every corner and underneath every scene to provide Peaks its full freaky power.

So I hope they re-cast BOB with someone able to channel Frank Silva’s sinister glee, or they re-shape BOB into a new male or even female form, one as wild and wicked and wrong as the original BOB.

Any other character could leave the show forever and it could survive narratively. Maybe including Agent Cooper. But you can’t make a sequel to JAWS without a shark, and you can’t return to Twin Peaks without the eternal, un-killable BOB.

So – I’m fully ready for Lynch and Frost to take me to fresh, new places and give me experiences and content I would’ve never imagined I had wanted, but I need them to do so while giving me recurring servings of new high school heartthrobs, tons of small town heartache centering on old characters we know and love, and the threat of a few BOB-y face bashings.

My next post will investigate the clues hiding inside the giant cast-list for season 3. First and foremost who’s missing from it, and what might that mean for Peaks?

 

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