David Lynch’s ‘Twin Peaks’ Is Finally Headed Somewhere

Seven episodes into the return of Twin Peaks, even a devoted viewer might be forgiven for not knowing exactly what David Lynch’s 18-hour Showtime revival of his most beloved property is about. He’s unfurled dozens of story threads—including a murder investigation, various bits of small-town surrealism, and a magical glass box in New York—that all seem like possible red herrings. The most recent episode, which aired Sunday night, featured an unbroken three-minute shot of someone sweeping up at The Bang Bang Bar while “Green Onions” played on the jukebox. In another scene, Ben Horne (Richard Beymer) and his secretary Beverly (Ashley Judd) tried and failed to detect the origin of a mysterious humming noise in the Great Northern Hotel.

One can forgive the slight air of frustration that’s bubbled up in some of the critical coverage of the show, particularly around the character of Dougie Jones (Kyle MacLachlan), a dazed version of the show’s protagonist Agent Dale Cooper struggling to re-acclimatize to the world after being trapped for 25 years in the bizarre Black Lodge dimension. But the seventh episode confirmed that Dougie’s antics are not a sideshow, but rather the heart of the story Lynch is trying to tell, a sign that the show is building to some kind of grand reckoning between good and evil.

It’s perfectly possible that I’ll be proven wrong—Twin Peaks has been confounding enough so far that I wouldn’t be stunned if Dougie Jones got side-swiped by a car next week and never mentioned again. But Lynch, for all his inscrutable imagery and disinterest in traditional storytelling mechanisms, usually has fairly elemental themes at the root of his projects, be it “a woman in trouble” or our inherent, shared humanity. On one side of Twin Peaks:…

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