From an artistic standpoint, why was The Return needed at all?

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RetconMetatron
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From an artistic standpoint, why was The Return needed at all?

Postby RetconMetatron » Fri Sep 08, 2017 3:35 am

I thought Lynch and Frost were unhappy with the cliffhanger of Season 2, and that's why the whole endeavor was started in the first place.

Yet TR ends.. with a cliffhanger! It really is a cliffhanger, nothing is resolved, tons of theories floating around (are Cooper and Laura stuck in an alternative dimension, was it Judy, will they defeat Judy, was it all a dream, is Cooper still in the lodge, was the timeline altered or not, will Cooper's "what year is it"-epiphany help him solve it all ???????????)

NOTHING IS RESOLVED AT ALL.

So what was the point of doing this, if you end this like E29 again? Actually, it's more of a cliffhanger than E29! It was pretty clear what happened at the end of S2, but this? Now TWO classic characters are in limbo except of one. Just fabulous.

It also has nothing to do with "dark ending" as such - I actually would have prefered a defnitive super-dark ending (like the whole of Twin Peaks being nuked by the bomb from S3 E8) than a damn cliffhanger. At least there would be closure. But another cliffhanger after 25 years?! Really? We had this already for 25 years! This brings nothing new, clever or exciting to the table. It's not even a mindfuck, just an altered E29-like ending. Been there, done that.

I actually think that the "problem" of the orignal TP ending, at least according to Lynch, is that it was not cliffhangery enough and he had to top it with an even bigger one.
Last edited by RetconMetatron on Fri Sep 08, 2017 8:19 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Soolsma
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Re: From an artistic standpoint, why was The Return needed at all?

Postby Soolsma » Fri Sep 08, 2017 4:30 am

I've never heard of neither Frost nor Lynch being unhappy with the S2 finale cliffhanger. In fact, initially Frost, Engels and Peyton wrote the entire script for that episode. Then, David decided it was all wrong and rewrote most of the episode (a so called David-Walkabout); more specifically the part after Cooper entered the lodge. However, one of the things that was present in both versions of the script was the BOB in the mirror scene. I think you're confusing the fact that L&F weren't happy with most of the latter of S2 - stemming from the killer reveal- with the notion that they dislike the finale cliffhanger, which AFAIK simply isn't true. Actually, I think I've read one of them (I think Frost) state they watched the finale together and they were like: "Wow, now that's some pretty good stuff'', and that sparked their interest in writing S3 the way it now is.

I felt like countering the other points made in your post but frankly I don't even know where to begin. Let me just answer the question in the title of this thread:
For me the entirety of The Return was like an emotional roller coaster. Taking sharp turns, leave me hanging for a bit, just before dropping down full throttle again. There's also the many mysterious side tracks it took, at times dark, at times funny, even pretty annoying here and there, but also touching. That the Return stopped precisely in the middle of the final looping gave me such a jab in the lower stomach, leaving me bewildered. It is something that only Lynch can evoke in me. I am yrev, very grateful for it.
There's also this; a story often told by Lynch is what got him in to film making in the first place: he was in art school, painting as he suddenly saw the painting moving a bit, which made him say (or think, not sure): "Oooooh, moving paintings". If TPTR was not the very embodiment of that, I'm not sure what is. All in all, the artistic purpose of TPTR was fulfilled for a lot of us [the fans].
I believe all these phenomena that our putted-up egos and busy ant minds persist in trying to label, categorize, penetrate, and comphrehend, all spring from this same uncanny source. This is the mother of all "others".
RetconMetatron
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Re: From an artistic standpoint, why was The Return needed at all?

Postby RetconMetatron » Fri Sep 08, 2017 4:50 am

Somewhat off topic, but I always found Lynch's dismay about the killer-reveal pretty petty.

Leland's confession was one of the strongest episodes of the show, and apart from that: Never revealing the killer wouldn't work at all. I mean the core focus was Cooper's investigation all along! Maybe they would have been able to stretch it for two or three additonal seasons that way, but imagine super-detective Cooper in 1994 STILL not solving the case, despite the short list of suspects in a small town. And still hanging around Twin Peaks thinking about Laura and eating pie without making any progress. The character would be a complete laughing stock by then and the show completely unsatisfactory. Far worse than X-Files in its latter seasons.
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Re: From an artistic standpoint, why was The Return needed at all?

Postby Cipher » Fri Sep 08, 2017 4:57 am

With a sequel work like this, this is maybe the only question worth asking, but it involves a two-fold exploration:

1) Does the new material justify itself through its influence on the original? (I.e., does it create a more powerful ending to the whole?)

Or

2) Is it a stand-alone piece using the original as something to respond to -- as a source of inspiration to wrap itself around, to recontextualize?

I think from either standpoint, The Return is justified. We wind up with a more complete picture of Cooper's character, of this universe's approach to love and fear as manifest through Laura. And on the second, it certainly comments on the cult surrounding a twenty-five-year-old show and its mythology in interesting ways, though make no mistake, I think that's very much secondary, as it's less powerful. The Return's primary success is as continuation, rather than as commentary, in regard to the original run.

By the way, I think a lot more was resolved this time around. We understand it to be either the defeat of some negative energy in a way that depends on the total exploration of (and destruction/deconstruction of) its central characters, or understand that they've been explored to the point where their struggles will be ongoing -- walking slowly toward redemption and self-acceptance in a way we needn't witness. By comparison, while I think the Fire Walk With Me ending stands strong as an alternate finale, episode 29 is a pat cliffhanger.

I'm happy with this as an ending.
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Re: From an artistic standpoint, why was The Return needed at all?

Postby powerleftist » Fri Sep 08, 2017 5:08 am

I agree with everything you said.
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Re: From an artistic standpoint, why was The Return needed at all?

Postby Mr. Reindeer » Fri Sep 08, 2017 6:03 am

Soolsma wrote:I've never heard of neither Frost nor Lynch being unhappy with the S2 finale cliffhanger. In fact, initially Frost, Engels and Peyton wrote the entire script for that episode. Then, David decided it was all wrong and rewrote most of the episode (a so called David-Walkabout); more specifically the part after Cooper entered the lodge. However, one of the things that was present in both versions of the script was the BOB in the mirror scene. I think you're confusing the fact that L&F weren't happy with most of the latter of S2 - stemming from the killer reveal- with the notion that they dislike the finale cliffhanger, which AFAIK simply isn't true. Actually, I think I've read one of them (I think Frost) state they watched the finale together and they were like: "Wow, now that's some pretty good stuff'', and that sparked their interest in writing S3 the way it now is.


I think both were happy with the cliffhanger as a cliffhanger, not as an ending. Personally, I loved it as a full stop; but in the Rodley book, DKL is pretty upfront about the fact that he dislikes is as THE ending and never it intended it that way. Unclear if he feels the same way about the end of Part 18.
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Re: From an artistic standpoint, why was The Return needed at all?

Postby AgentEcho » Fri Sep 08, 2017 7:09 am

I've heard this comment before, there was a podcast guest who questioned the "necessity" of The Return, and to that I ask, how does one gauge how "necessary" or "needed" a work of art is? What's an example of a "needed" television show or film? Was the original Twin Peaks television show "needed"?

I think Lynch and Frost looked at the impact the season 2 cliffhanger had and probably were appreciating at the forefront how, so many years later, there was still such intense interest in this franchise that it made returning to it feasible. I don't think it's a stretch to say that the final cliffhanger was a central reason that such interest endured. Plus Lynch has pretty consistently expressed how much more interested he is in mystery rather than answers. And ultimately they decided they didn't want to return to Twin Peaks to close the doors on the mysteries. I think it was important to them to create something that people would continue to dig into for many years the same way we did with the original series and film.

I was surprised by the direction of the finale and in retrospect I probably should have anticipated something like this. I certainly knew Lynch's tendencies. I suppose I thought Frost might have some other ideas and that Lynch might do something different since he's never done anything quite like this before, but honestly knowing what Lynch has done in the latter half of his career and the ideas he has expressed about mystery (he once described "Lost Highway" as "a mystery without the clues"), it should have been obvious that Lynch would want to leave Twin Peaks with the mystery alive and vibrant.

Even if they end up doing more Twin Peaks, no one should expect anything other than an end where the mystery endures. As for what was "needed" about returning in the first place, I expect Lynch wanted to leave Cooper in a different place, which isn't to say it's a happy, settled place, but something that does not involve being trapped in a supernatural realm while and evil doppelganger possessed by Bob goes around causing pain and suffering to people he loves. And ultimately my response to the question would be the same if someone asked me why it was necessary to enjoy a slice of delicious home made cherry pie. Why not?
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Re: From an artistic standpoint, why was The Return needed at all?

Postby Castledoque » Fri Sep 08, 2017 7:20 am

I really can't see though how the placeLynch has left Cooper at is any better than the season 2 cliffhanger. Cooper now seems even more trapped and the integrity of his character is again poisoned by evil forces (albeit to a lesser extent) as traits of the character of his evil doppelganger have been imprinted on him. If Lynch was not happy with the cliffhanger from season 2 as an ending, how can he be happy with this? Unless of course he has changed his mind since then (or he knows for sure there will be more seasons - not very likely).
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Novalis
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Re: From an artistic standpoint, why was The Return needed at all?

Postby Novalis » Fri Sep 08, 2017 9:07 am

You can make an argument that the Return was wanted (not necessarily needed) from the point of view of fans. There was a demand, or desire for it.

The way the actual question is worded though is tricky -- what does it mean to say something is needed from an artistic point of view? If you're a relativist you're going to just argue that art is purely subjective and therefore always entirely contingent and valueless in itself. OTOH if, like me, you're an art nerd, you're going to argue that effective art always shapes the conditions in which it is received, and that therefore good art creates its own necessity.

It wasn't necessary, but now that it exists and has been so divisive and interesting, it retroactively justifies itself.
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Re: From an artistic standpoint, why was The Return needed at all?

Postby Ashok » Fri Sep 08, 2017 9:08 am

RetconMetatron wrote:NOTHING IS RESOLVED AT ALL.


That seems like a bit of a stretch. The Return is pretty much wraps up some of the biggest mysteries from Season 2 + FWWM. Who is Judy? What happened to Agent Jeffries? How do the Lodges work? Will Dale ever escape from the Black Lodge and stop Evil Cooper/BOB? Pretty much every question I've had spinning in my head for decades from the original run were fully answered in Season 3. Lynch brought closure to the original series and then brought Laura Palmer back to life and moved the goal posts.

From an artistic standpoint, when you have any show with a certain degree of mythology, series finales tend to function very differently in how they choose to wrap up their stories. If you look at other shows like The Prisoner, The X-Files, Millennium, Carnivàle, Lost, Fringe, The Leftovers, etc. some of these TV shows abandoned their mythology in their final stretch to focus strictly on bringing closure to the characters at a more emotional level. Others left the character's quests unfinished and focused more on bringing closure towards certain aspects of the mythology at a thematic level.

I don't think there is a "right" or "wrong" way to approach a finale when writing these types of shows. Obviously some fans are going to want total closure for every loose thread. Then again if you demystify a franchise too much i.e. George Lucas and Midi-chlorians it can actually be detrimental to the story. I think part of me wanted the show to just end with Coop and Freddie killing BOB, and then have Coop just ride off into the sunset with Janey-E and Sonny Jim. But at the same time, I think its fascinating to walk away from this show with the feeling that these characters stories are still very much in motion.
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Re: From an artistic standpoint, why was The Return needed at all?

Postby The Jumping Man » Fri Sep 08, 2017 9:39 am

How many threads complaining about the show is this same poster going to start? A poster who didn't join the board until Tuesday, for crying out loud. Can't we just have one "RetconMetatron's Complaint Thread"?
RetconMetatron
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Re: From an artistic standpoint, why was The Return needed at all?

Postby RetconMetatron » Fri Sep 08, 2017 9:51 am

Ashok wrote:
RetconMetatron wrote:NOTHING IS RESOLVED AT ALL.


That seems like a bit of a stretch. The Return is pretty much wraps up some of the biggest mysteries from Season 2 + FWWM.


Disagree. The only mystery left was "will Cooper escape the lodge"? That was kinda answered.. in an ultra-cynical cliffhanger way by placing him in another otherworldy confused state. Great.

Ashok wrote:Who is Judy?


I think that was actually one huge mistake to pick even up. I don't think anyone cared about Judy. That always seemed to be some kind of trickster lodge-gibberish, kinda like "ANIMAL LIFE!" and the like. I don't think Judy brought anything to the table. But that's subjective.

Ashok wrote: What happened to Agent Jeffries?


Did anyone care about Jeffries in the first place? I liked FWWM, but that's yet another "gone mad by lodge" throw-away character that didn't occupy the thoughts of most people until S3. Before S3, I would have placed him into the same importance-category as the clown-woman.

Ashok wrote: How do the Lodges work?


That was addressed?

Anyway, I hold the opinion that the "answers" you cited opened up a huge retcon can of worms. It sounded in S3 as if Cooper was always on an "X-Files" mission hunting Judy and friends, while in the original run he seemed to be surprised by all the lodge business. I actually liked the super-natural elements of the original run very much, but this time around it mostly led to retcons without much pay-off. The E29 supernatural scenes were incredible, this season less so.
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Re: From an artistic standpoint, why was The Return needed at all?

Postby FlyingSquirrel » Fri Sep 08, 2017 12:52 pm

RetconMetatron wrote:Somewhat off topic, but I always found Lynch's dismay about the killer-reveal pretty petty.

Leland's confession was one of the strongest episodes of the show, and apart from that: Never revealing the killer wouldn't work at all. I mean the core focus was Cooper's investigation all along! Maybe they would have been able to stretch it for two or three additonal seasons that way, but imagine super-detective Cooper in 1994 STILL not solving the case, despite the short list of suspects in a small town. And still hanging around Twin Peaks thinking about Laura and eating pie without making any progress. The character would be a complete laughing stock by then and the show completely unsatisfactory. Far worse than X-Files in its latter seasons.


Yeah, I never thought that would have been a viable path for the series. The only way it could have worked is if the series had actually concluded with, for example, all the leads going nowhere and Cooper being recalled by the FBI because they no longer think the investigation is worth continuing. Could it have continued after that as more of just a surreal soap opera and Cooper no longer a regular character? I don't know, maybe. I kind of doubt that it would have been very good, though. Realistically, the best way forward was probably what they ended up doing: solve the case eventually and then have some other new mystery that's the basis for Cooper remaining in town. The "Cooper framed for drugs" plot was boring, but the Lodge angle was promising and could have served as a basis for continuing past Season 2 whether Cooper remained in the FBI or not.
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Re: From an artistic standpoint, why was The Return needed at all?

Postby Gabriel » Fri Sep 08, 2017 1:01 pm

FlyingSquirrel wrote:
RetconMetatron wrote:Somewhat off topic, but I always found Lynch's dismay about the killer-reveal pretty petty.

Leland's confession was one of the strongest episodes of the show, and apart from that: Never revealing the killer wouldn't work at all. I mean the core focus was Cooper's investigation all along! Maybe they would have been able to stretch it for two or three additonal seasons that way, but imagine super-detective Cooper in 1994 STILL not solving the case, despite the short list of suspects in a small town. And still hanging around Twin Peaks thinking about Laura and eating pie without making any progress. The character would be a complete laughing stock by then and the show completely unsatisfactory. Far worse than X-Files in its latter seasons.


Yeah, I never thought that would have been a viable path for the series. The only way it could have worked is if the series had actually concluded with, for example, all the leads going nowhere and Cooper being recalled by the FBI because they no longer think the investigation is worth continuing. Could it have continued after that as more of just a surreal soap opera and Cooper no longer a regular character? I don't know, maybe. I kind of doubt that it would have been very good, though. Realistically, the best way forward was probably what they ended up doing: solve the case eventually and then have some other new mystery that's the basis for Cooper remaining in town. The "Cooper framed for drugs" plot was boring, but the Lodge angle was promising and could have served as a basis for continuing past Season 2 whether Cooper remained in the FBI or not.


I always thought the strongest possibilities for the future of Twin Peaks came from Laura's diary itself. My hook for the continuation was that it was actually ironic that Laura was killed by her demonically possessed father, given, had he not done it, someone else would have. Laura, to me, was the thread that unravelled the lie that was the idyllic small town. Even after her killer was revealed, the diary left things open for more stories about people and crimes, perhaps as yet unseen, in the town. But I always approached the show as essentially 'real' with a supernatural undercurrent. The boys clearly decided they were more interested in turning the 'soap noir' into a balls-out fantasy series.
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Re: From an artistic standpoint, why was The Return needed at all?

Postby PDCampbell » Fri Sep 08, 2017 3:08 pm

RetconMetatron wrote:Somewhat off topic, but I always found Lynch's dismay about the killer-reveal pretty petty.

Leland's confession was one of the strongest episodes of the show, and apart from that: Never revealing the killer wouldn't work at all. I mean the core focus was Cooper's investigation all along! Maybe they would have been able to stretch it for two or three additonal seasons that way, but imagine super-detective Cooper in 1994 STILL not solving the case, despite the short list of suspects in a small town. And still hanging around Twin Peaks thinking about Laura and eating pie without making any progress. The character would be a complete laughing stock by then and the show completely unsatisfactory. Far worse than X-Files in its latter seasons.


Detective stories have always relied on the "one that got away" trope- the case that's never solved, that the investigator obsesses over to his or her own detriment (or sanity). Maybe it would've been unique in 1990, but just a few years later you had a show like Homicide and a unsolved case involving a murdered child that threaded through to the end of the series. Many other shows have played with this idea: in True Detective it took Rust Cohle 20 years to solve the bayou murders. I'm not saying it would've worked in the context of S2 Peaks, just that there is an established tradition of these kinds of stories in mystery/noir fiction.

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