The following essay contains spoilers for the finale of Twin Peaks: The Return
The titular “return” of Twin Peaks: The Return, I always thought, was Dale Cooper’s return, not only to reality, but to the town of Twin Peaks, in order to battle the evil force of BOB, the occupying entity who inhabited his original body and wreaked havoc on the world for 25 years.
It turns out, the return was Laura Palmer.
How often does a decades-too-late sequel, reunion or follow-up ever work out? It does, sometimes. Fury Road, the fourth Mad Max movie, for example, was the fun bit of mayhem everyone expected it to be. Usually, though, the results are something more like the second Dumb and Dumber… not terrible, but something better left alone. The problem is that the characters are old now. You look at Jeff Daniels and Jim Carrey goofing around and you’re like, man, this is all kind of sad.
Twin Peaks had an excellent first season, a second season that started off great, got lost along the way, and found itself near the end—too late for audiences, because the show was canceled. A movie was made, but the movie was not interested in wrapping up loose ends, and was instead a prequel. People hated it.
At the time of its release, Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me was dismissed for a number of reasons. Namely, it was a prequel at a time when the series on which the movie was based ended on a cliffhanger. People wanted to see the story continue, not regress backward and tell us what we already know. It lacked the humor of the show, taking the world of Twin Peaks onto a much darker trajectory. And the final blow was that there was hardly any Special Agent Dale Cooper of the FBI.