Phantom Sway

The Return to Twin Peaks is a return to event television

You’ve been lying awake for 8 weeks wondering “Where are Phantom Sway’s recaps of ‘Twin Peaks: The Return’?” And we’re sorry. That must have been really hard on you.

The truth is, it feels gross to do an episode recap for art. The original series, with its homage to the soap format, almost lends itself to the recapping culture of the internet, but ‘The Return’ does not. It is not premium television programming so much as an experience.

One is reminded of the first time at any visual art exhibit, particularly mixed media. Does your eye go to the sculpture right in front of you first, the 9′ x 11′ canvas to your left, or the giant television screen in the back showing random pictures of women in papier-mâché bulls’ heads (which is an actual thing the author once encountered at Bergamot Station)?

It’s not that David Lynch (and Mark Frost, who is usually more responsible for the snappy dialogue) intends to be weird, as neophytes frequently think. Lynch doesn’t edit out the quirkiness of reality and never has. Where something like “L.A. Law” or even “Star Trek” will only show you the heroic or dramatic parts of the story, Lynch leaves in the lighting issue they had during shooting, or a character finding a fish in his percolator, or a guy sweeping for 90 seconds. This isn’t weird; this is life. This is what we actually do, but don’t see on television or film because we get a stylized, edited version of life from most writers and directors.

“Um, there’s no floating old-timey space giant, frogbug, hobo demons, or backwards-talking dwarf in reality,” you protest, and maybe not in your reality, no. These elements are where we have to take Lynch’s beginnings as a painter and adherence to transcendental meditation into account. He has openly said he enjoys exploring the dream state in his work.

So why would we mar that experience with pedestrian episode recaps? It is enough to say that, so far, we have witnessed the most elegant, brutal, moving, amusing, perplexing, challenging, and sometimes nostalgic eight hours of television, ever. This is the grown up version of the show we all loved as teenagers.

And we get ten more before it’s all done. How beautiful is that?

Kellie Jane Adan

KJ Adan is a writer in Los Angeles. She likes cats and tea length party dresses and Jesus and hugs and coffee and music. Turn offs include sensible mid priced sedans, monkeys, and Tom Cruise.

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