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The Relaxed Reassurance of Twin Peaks

I've been enjoying Showtime's revival of Twin Peaks this past month. We are now seven episodes in to an eighteen-episode season, and I am actually looking forward to a Sunday evening for a change. The mood created within the world of David Lynch's creation can at times be mesmerizing, and the plot is progressing, albeit slowly. It's that slowness that is perhaps one of the key reasons I'm enjoying the show so much.

We live in a fast-moving age. Our Internet connections move in the blink of an eye. The service industry caters to an ever-increasing society that is on-the-go. Movies and TV shows have all but done away with opening credits, fearing that a viewership with short attention spans won't want to wait through such tedious trifle. Camera shots in film and television are so fast now, down to low-end single-digit seconds. And the hype machines are out in full force. I never remember producers being interviewed about the shows they were in charge of, explaining what certain episodes of a TV program were about. Nowadays it is commonplace.

How refreshing, then, that we have in 2017 an eighteen-episode TV show that does none of the aforementioned things that are expected in today's pop culture landscape. David Lynch and Mark Frost do not sit down for interviews to explain what each week's episode of Twin Peaks is supposed to be about. They let the work speak for itself. Online magazines do not have their episode recaps ready to go mere seconds after a new episode ends. They are not given advanced copies, like they are with countless other shows. No, they watch it at air time like everyone else. We have been given no spoilers, so, just like in the old days that are just a couple decades ago, we don't know what to expect.

The pacing of the new Twin Peaks is very much welcome. True, some scenes are quick, harsh and terrifying, but most are slow and deliberate. We are required to pay attention. Some scenes, such as the one in episode six when Dale Cooper/Dougie Jones is filling-in insurance paperwork, are almost hypnotic in their languid pace. This is television that is not made of quick-cuts, that doesn't just cut to the chase. This is television that is confident in what it is doing and, if there is any one point that about season three of Twin Peaks that is the most reminiscent of the first two seasons a quarter-century ago, it is its pacing.

I recently watched the movie Indiana Jones and Last Crusade on the big screen again, a late-night special feature at the local art house cinema. It was great to see it again, but I was struck by how gradual it felt, compared to today's films. Here was a movie that, when it came out in 1989, constituted a summer blockbuster. And yet, amidst the action, adventure and amazing set pieces, it featured many scenes where characters just talked. The movie allowed itself room to breathe. We don't have scenes like this as much in today's blockbusters, and it's something I can never put my finger on, but always feel is missing from them.

So, if you're thinking of checking-out the new season of Twin Peaks, I highly recommend it. Just go in knowing that it's a throwback to another time, and I mean that in a positive way. Sometimes we forget how to just slow down and take our time with life. It is nice to be reminded of it with this show.


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