Review Summary: "It's slippery in here." - teapot Bowie, circa 2017
I don't speak for anyone else but myself, but I always operated on the basic assumption that reality was more real than dreams. I mean, duh-doy, how could it not be? It's in the ***ing name, dude: 'reality'. Waking life was clear-cut, linear, tangible; dreams were impressionistic, ephemeral, gone as soon as they arrive. Things were binary and straightforward: I'm awake, then I'm asleep, then I'm awake. Why over-complicate things by believing otherwise?
If Twin Peaks: The Return
taught me anything, it's not to make sweeping statements that generalise anything, because that's how you miss the little things that make life so sweet. With that in mind, I'm not gonna claim The Return
opened my mind, or changed my life, or single-handedly gave me a new perspective of the way dreams inform my waking life and vice versa. Let's just say that binary line I mentioned, the one that separated my life into 'awake' and 'asleep', had already been eroding steadily as university/Aaron Weiss introduced me to tasty concepts I could pretend to understand, like solipsism and existentialism. It just took David Lynch and Mark Frost to fully destroy the line, and scatter the ashes over where it used to be. Thank god they gave us the perfect soundtrack to living inside a dream in the process.
From the jump, Music from the Limited Event Series
is deeply indebted to the original series' wistful, bittersweet tones. Ironically, this is only so obvious because Lynch cruelly withholds Badalamenti's new score (found instead on the companion CD Twin Peaks (Limited Series Soundtrack)
) for the first quarter of the season. Instead, gorgeous tunes from Chromatics and Rebekah Del Rio descended directly from the dreampop haze of Julee Cruise dominate, fleeting and half-glimpsed from the corner of an eye; Sharon Van Etten drops by with "Tarifa", reminding us from a real abuse survivor's perspective of the grit and grime underneath the pretty exterior of Twin Peaks (both town and show). "She's Gone Away" by The
Nine Inch Nails is completely re-contextualised; a classic Trent Reznor 'darkness hiding under pretty things' lyric seems to become an explicit ode to Laura Palmer and Twin Peaks (and maybe those two were always, to quote the Fireman, 'one and the same'). James Marshall's "Just You" is garbage, of course, an embarrassing relic of Season 2's most stupid indulgences revived in the finest troll moment ever executed by any director – or so it seems, until Renee's heartbreaking reaction changes the game completely and leaves you wondering if Lynch and Frost do genuinely believe that James was always cool. This abrupt tonal shift lands superbly, but as with the season itself that isn't always the case, with Lissie's "Wild West" and The Cactus Blossoms' "Mississippi" standing as proof positive that milquetoast alt-country does not belong in your surrealist director's toolkit.
When I think of The Return
in the future, my mind will wander to small, individual moments that have seared themselves to my memory – Laura Palmer's horrifying scream fading into the curtains of the Roadhouse to the "The World Spins", Agent Cooper's triumphant 'I am the FBI!', the faded footage of Philip Jeffries' 'we live inside a dream' echoing across time and beyond the grave. That last one, a seemingly throwaway line which then became the entire anchor of The Return
, leads me back to my vague existential ramblings at the start of this review. From the first time I heard Bowie say those words in his terrible Southern accent, it struck me as less of an earth-shattering plot twist and more a devastating, intimate revelation between four old friends, united by circumstance and their dark fates, a desperate warning from one who knows the others cannot possibly yet understand. I don't mean to be the guy telling you wake up and see through the illusion, man
after hitting too many blunts at 3am. If you've got the impression that I think I'm imparting some great learned wisdom here, I've completely failed, because knowledge and the concrete belief in knowledge are more of a dream than everything else. All it is is a feeling, a strange conviction – that reality is no more linear, straightforward or logical than dreams are, that dreams themselves are just a brain valiantly trying to sort and file the input it gets from an incomprehensible universe around it, only seeming to be impressionistic and non-linear because their real-world sources are exactly the same. Dreams feel real as anything while we're in them, after all, and if our brains can trick themselves into believing this random collage of images is the real deal, who am I, a sack of meat and synapses and bones, to disagree?