Mysteries on the Small Screen: TWIN PEAKS

Mystery Month 2017Title: Twin Peaks

Starring: Kyle MacLachlan, Michael Ontkean, Sheryl Lee, Lara Flynn Boyle

First aired: 1990-1991; new season begins May 21, 2017

Where you can watch it: Netflix, Showtime

“So now the sadness comes, the revelation. There is a depression after an answer is given. It was almost fun not knowing. Yes, now we know. At least we know what we sought in the beginning. But there is still the question: why?” –from the Log Lady’s introduction to Episode 16

This short piece of text was written by Twin Peaks co-creator David Lynch as part of a series of short introductions for the show’s re-broadcast on Bravo in 1994. A mystery, it seems to say, can never truly be solved.

One constant in Lynch’s creative work is his absolute faith in the power and sanctity of the mysterious. For his part, co-creator Mark Frost has long been fond of labyrinthian conspiracies; his many novels, which include the recent series tie-in The Secret History of Twin Peaks, are proof of that. In other words, Lynch and Frost make a damn fine team. And they’re doing their damndest to keep all of us in the dark about what might happen in the new season. The show’s cast and crew (who all signed non-disclosure agreements, of course) have also kept their lips buttoned.

The White / Black Lodge

Twenty six years after the series originally went off the air, it’s tougher than ever to let the mysterious remain, well, mysterious. Fan culture, aided and abetted by the ceaseless cacophony of social media, conspires against it mightily. Yet despite all that, we know next to nothing about the new season. Speaking as one who loves a mystery, it feels mighty good.

Over the last few months, in the absence any hard evidence to the contrary, the most outlandish, implausible theories have percolated online. Sheryl Lee will be playing another lookalike cousin; the White / Black Lodge scenes will be broadcast in 3-D; Piper Laurie will pop up in disguise. Who knows! It’s delicious to suppose, and delicious to find oneself suspended, however briefly, in that wondrous state wherein nothing has been confirmed and everything is still possible. Probably, by the time you read these words, we’ll know a great deal more about the world of Twin Peaks, and some of its mysteries will have been solved. But can a mystery ever really be solved?

Rob Christopher is Marketing Coordinator for ALA Editions. In addition to contributing occasional reviews to Booklist, he’s also a writer and filmmaker. He is currently directing Roy’s World: Barry Gifford & Chicago, a documentary.

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