Twin Peaks

Twin Peaks Blu Ray Box Set Broken Down by The Reasonable Critic

This is not a review of the series (click here for the series review) but a review of the new blu-ray collection, Twin Peaks: The Complete Mystery.

First, the packaging. I feel like I’m handling a Faberge egg while wearing mittens. For the record, you flip up the bottom of the set, and a flimsy ribbon of cloth holds the box in an open position. Aesthetically the collection looks great, but from a practical standpoint I’m already anticipating the day it breaks, and it’s an expensive set I bought for posterity.

Second, the transfer. I am happy to report that Twin Peaks has never looked better, and the remastered audio does total justice to the sound mixing, which is always half the experience in a work by David Lynch. In short, I don’t feel fleeced, even though this marks the third time I’ve bought this series in disc form.
But let’s be honest: the thing that has everyone talking is the 90 minute chunk of deleted/extended footage from the Twin Peaks movie prequel, Fire Walk With Me. And I must report that FWWM would have been much, much better if at least some of these scenes had made the cut. While Fire Walk With Me has its fascinating moments, the actual entertainment value has always been kind of low, because of the hard-to-watch subject matter. These deleted scenes would have given the audience much-needed chances to smile from time to time; there is one scene in particular that manages to lighten the mood and provides a serious respite, without letting you forget for a minute that evil is in the air. In short, FWWM would have been easier to take if the lighter moments had remained, but I suspect Lynch did not want his movie to be remotely easy to take.

Some spoilers follow.

Anyone who embarks on this new footage expecting a lot of answers is only fooling themselves. Some of the scenes, while great to finally see, are extraneous, referencing events that we always knew had to have happened before the show’s pilot. But other scenes are intriguing, and we now have a bit more to ponder if we are obsessive fans of the show.

For one thing, there is more of Agent Jeffries, memorably portrayed by David Bowie. And if you’re a fan of both Bowie and Twin Peaks (I know I am), you’ve always cherished his place in the mythology. His role is still a near-cameo, but between the extra moments and the much-longer glimpse into a certain meeting over a connivence store, we learn some more about what happened to him, even if the why remains murky.

My favorite scene of the bunch concerns the great Agent Cooper, apparently in the FBI headquarters in Philadelphia, taking to an offscreen presence and addressing her as Diane. Fans of the show know Diane as an administrative assistant at the FBI; we never see her in person in the show, but whenever Cooper speaks into his handheld tape-recorder (which is often) he addresses his ruminations to her.  After seeing this bizarre deleted scene, I now wonder if Diane is even real. Maybe she’s just a figment of Cooper’s imagination, or a private joke on his part. Stranger things have happened in David Lynch movies. This scene is so lighthearted that it’s out of place, but it’s great to see more of Cooper, who was not in the movie much because of a rift between Kyle MacLachlan and David Lynch following the cancellation of the series.

There are a few utterly superfluous but entertaining scenes, one involving FBI special Agent Chet Desmond as he boxes the creepy sheriff of Deer Park (the town where the first victim of Laura Palmer’s killer turns up, a year before the timeline of the series). Butthe award for most-tangential scene goes to the one starring the late Jack Nance as the genial Pete Martell. The scene finds Lynch in one of his lighter moods, and is a joy.

There are sequences set in the Lodge that shed a bit more light on Cooper’s ultimate fate, but let’s face it, I would watch Cooper brush his teeth for 90 minutes.

Best. Character. Ever.

None of the scenes will change how you view Twin Peaks, but they enrich the mythology. The hitherto uninitiated will not be won over by the bells and whistles of this collection. A simple, ancient VHS recording of the pilot episode will tell you everything you need to know about the series.

Prepare the black coffee, slice the cherry pie, and pop in that strip of chewing gum before it goes out of style. Christmas came early this year for fans of cutting-edge television.



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