In a nutshell:
- Bad writing. Characters were severely underdeveloped, infodump dialogues, and many random storylines that either went nowhere or were lazily resolved.
- Poor direction. Shoddy mise-en-scene, cheesy special effects that jarred, weirdness for weirdness' sake. It felt like a David Lynch self-parody at times.
- Self-indulgence. The ego of Lynch was very visible throughout the work (e.g. making his quirky side-character Gordon Cole almost a main character, claiming he can still get it up).
- The mythology. The narrative felt on the one hand deliberately obtuse, on the other hand it felt needlessly overcomplicated judging from all expostion of the FBI.
- Deconstruction. The whole season felt like a dismantling of the original run, just for the sake of dismantling it. A condescending attitude towards the audience, just for the sake of it.
In the end The Return felt meaningless. There is nothing deeper to gain from it. It's as much a vacuous mess as Godard's Week-End.
here's the thing. I agree with all your criticisms ( apart from the last one), those things annoyed me too. I could even add a couple of other ones.
But i don't agree with yr last sentence. For me the pros outweigh the cons, there are more things i liked than things i didn't like, and there have
been deeper things to gain from it: it connected ( very unexpectedly) in a way that no other film has for at least ten years, after every episode i found myself making associations between this and that several days later. For me, it's been a programme that lives/d in the mind for days or weeks afterwards, which is very rare for TV and quite rare for film. I found myself coming back to parts like I would with an absorbing piece of music or a book. I am still circling round it. Having said that, I agree that it was a mess. But not ( for me, anyway) a vacuous one.