The one ‘Twin Peaks’ question that must be answered
Between now and sometime in 2016, fans and devotees of the TV masterpiece “Twin Peaks” will be going back over the show’s original two-season run. Questions are sure to be raised.
There were many questions left dangling by the ABC show’s abrupt ending in 1991. And now that it’s returning as a nine-episode limited series on Showtime, there will be even more questions.
How many of the original cast members will return? Will Laura Palmer still be a factor? What will happen to poor Agent Cooper, stuck in the Black Lodge with his evil doppelganger running free? Will the previously unseen footage in the “Twin Peaks” box set released this summer be used or ignored?
The questions are endless, and that’s really the point, isn’t it? “Twin Peaks” was a show about a mystery, and without those unanswered questions, there really is no mystery.
Which is why there’s only one question that co-creators David Lynch and Mark Frost need to answer: Will they commit to not giving us all the answers?
The new limited series will be co-written by Frost and Lynch, and the plan, as announced, is to have Lynch direct all nine episodes.
Frost has given several interviews since the announcement, but he is, understandably, reluctant to reveal many concrete details about a series that is still over a year away from premiering.
But he did tell The Times that Cooper’s fate was “not going to be something that will seem ambiguous when you see it.”
While fans may think they want clear-cut answers, they really don’t. They used to want to know who killed Laura Palmer. And then when they found out, interest in the series’ first run waned.
Time and again, mystery shows have entertained with tantalizing clues and heaps of unanswered questions, but when fans were finally given the answers they claimed to have been craving, they grunted and vanished and said, “No thanks.”
If “Lost” had ended without its final season, the amount of theories written about that show would have been never-ending. But fans got their answers, shrugged and moved on. “The Killing” attempted to both resolve its mystery and keep it going at the same time with the end of its final season, and fans rebelled.
Lynch himself has given interviews in which he admitted that the mystery of who killed Laura Palmer was always more interesting to him than the answer. And his original intention was never to solve the murder.
Part of what’s kept fans so enthralled by the show’s spell for more than two decades is the sense that, with a little more examination, the answers will be revealed. But again, it’s the fans providing their own answers (or their best guesses). Lynch has never descended from above and given the final word. And he shouldn’t.
So as the series gears up to return in 2016, here’s hoping that Lynch, Frost and company have learned from others’ mistakes and retain what made “Twin Peaks” great.
It’s not the town we want to return to but the great unknown.
Follow me on Twitter: @patrickkevinday
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