I don’t know about you, but my YouTube algorithms can act like a nagging friend, suggesting a video for days until I finally give in. Such was the case with this video essay with the tantalizing title: “Twin Peaks ACTUALLY EXPLAINED (No, Really)”.
First of all, before, during, and after 2017’s Twin Peaks The Return, theories were as inescapable as the cat memes on the Twin Peaks Facebook groups. After the mindblowing Episode 8, they went into overdrive, including the bonkers idea that the final two episodes were meant to be watched *overlayed* on each other. And I highlighted one in depth journey through the entire three decades of the Lynch/Frost cultural event for this very site.
So when I finally clicked on the link I balked immediately: Four and a half hours? Are you kidding me? (You might be saying the very thing to yourself now.) But just like the narrator says, bear with me. Over the week, I watched the entire thing in 30 minute segments, not because it was grueling, but because time is precious and there is a lot to chew over. By the end I was recommending the video to friends only to find some of them were already deep inside Twin Perfect’s analysis.
So here we are, with me highly encouraging you to invest the time (providing you have watched all three seasons of Twin Peaks and Fire Walk With Me), but also not wanting to ruin some of Twin Perfect’s theories, which he lays out like a prosecutor, walking us through a general theory of Lynch.
However, I will make a few points:
- Just last week we posted a video in which Lynch explains both the Unified Field Theory and Transcendental Meditation. There are at least two major sequences that Twin Perfect suggests reflects the Unified Field.
- Lynch’s obsession with electricity and fire are both essential to the theory.
- The One-Armed Man’s quote “I mean it as it is, as it sounds,” doubles as Lynch’s approach: Twin Perfect does a masterful job showing many, many examples where Lynch is directly explaining his use of metaphor and symbol to us. Sometimes that is straight into the camera.
- We now know why Season Three featured a three minute shot of a man sweeping up peanuts from a bar floor.
- I’ve always felt that The Return was an exploration of the dangers of nostalgia, and this essay confirmed it for me. There was something missing at the center of the Third Season, indeed.
- Twin Perfect reads all quotes from the director in a mock-Lynch voice. For some this will grate; for me it was A BEAUTIFUL THING (wiggly finger gesture).
I have been working on this video for two years, writing and researching and editing. I've been reading and watching and listening to every creator interview and AMA, every DVD extra and featurette, every TV special, every fan theory, blog, and podcast - any and all Twin Peaks-related posts I could find - trying to hone and polish my script to be the best I thought it could possibly be. I focus-grouped my video with people, challenging them to poke as many holes in my arguments as they could so that I could better illustrate my ideas. I tried my best to create something others would find of value, something that would add to the ongoing mystery and spark new discussions about my favorite series.
Are there some problems with the theory? Sure. But for every “I don’t know, man,” I said to myself, he immediately followed it up with something spot on. I think he deserves that MFA in Twin Peaks Studies.
So brew up some strong coffee and cut yourself a slice of cherry pie, and get stuck in.
Ted Mills is a freelance writer on the arts who currently hosts the artist interview-based FunkZone Podcast and is the producer of KCRW's Curious Coast. You can also follow him on Twitter at @tedmills, read his other arts writing at tedmills.com and/or watch his films here.