We are returning now.
In Part 14, we returned to the woods, travelling through the mystical Pacific Northwestern hinterland via gorgeous, sweeping drone footage. Deputy Andy Brennan, sobbing sap, returned to a place of bravery and kindness. He was chosen as the agent of the White Lodge by The Fireman for confronting the swirling vortex with perfect courage. The FBI, through copper wires, returned to the town of Twin Peaks. The female characters, whose struggle and intrepidity was always central to the heart of the series but were maligned as objects in the immediate, violent wake of Part 10, returned to a position of agency. Tammy Preston passed a posing Blue Rose test. Lucy Brennan's powers of intuition led to the arrest of Deputy Chad; meanwhile, a (possible) flash forward framed her as a key investigative figure in the central mystery - a long way indeed from the dolt, trapped in amber, terrified of mobile phone technology.
Sarah Palmer, in that hour's incredible standout scene, reacted to the imminent threat of sexual violence and years of personal tragedy by ripping the throat out of her oppressor under either the possession of - or having channelled - a terrifying supernatural entity. The beautifully ambiguous scene was a dramatically incredible parable for the cyclical nature of abuse, as well as the difficult emotions generated by vigilante justice. It was its own return to the moral complexity of Fire Walk With Me.
Did we, in part 15, witness the most crucial return of all?
10. Oh, What A Wonderful World
Your writer is not quite a Twin Peaks apologist. Mid-to-late-period season two was at best confused, at worst cowardly. Some elements of The Return - the broadness of dialogue, character and mythology, in mercifully small pockets - have stupefied more than they have bewildered. But this is a four month long present - at its best, one of profound genius - and it would be almost churlish to err on the side of cynicism in the face of a microscopic flaw.
Which is why the opening sequence was received with no cynicism whatsoever. Nadine Hurley shovelled her way out of the sh*t that was her loveless marriage, allowing the barely-seen Big Ed to live out his life's one, humble dream. Norma gave up on the dream thrust upon her to reunite with him in an undoubtedly rushed but no less uplifting and emotional sequence. Ed, crushed, clenched his eyes shut on a diner stool - the viewer left to superimpose a better life for and with him. And then, as Otis Redding's I've Been Loving You Too Long rose in the mix in parallel with the hairs on your neck, Norma's hand emerged into the shot and into Ed's shoulder. It felt as much like Lynch and Frost service as fan service, so unashamed and beautiful was the whole thing. Was it an exercise in anti-drama, or anti-manipulation?
The 25 year shortcut meant Lynch got away with it, ultimately. Everett McGill's performance, all wilting pathos beneath the hard-nosed veneer, did much to sell it, too.