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A Valley Between the Peaks

Last night's episode of Twin Peaks, the ninth in the revival series, was without a doubt my least favorite since its return. There are many reasons for this, which I'll touch upon shortly. I want to be clear, however, that I didn't hate the episode, just that it frustrated me to no end. That's a mark of how good the show has been so far. Too bad last night's entry dropped the ball.

First, episode 9 contained a great deal of exposition, perhaps too much. Whenever a TV program or a movie chooses to tell and not show, it runs the risk of failing. I'm not sure if Twin Peaks failed last night so much as it clunked around. A lot of the dialogue just didn't come out right. It also doesn't help that many of the characters were playing catch-up with what we as the audience already knew. It's always best if characters and audiences find things out at the same time, though of course I realize that isn't always possible.

Probably the most frustrating aspect of the episode was its inconsistency with dangling plot threads. While I don't go into a show like Twin Peaks expecting razor shop plot development, if episodes like # 9 -- and even episode 7 a few weeks ago -- are going to present rat-a-tat-tat style plot progression, they need to do so evenly. While we saw the South Dakota investigation and the 'search for Cooper' quest in Twin Peaks focused on well, we saw other threads completely dropped.

For example: Episode 6 featured a horrific accident where a truck plowed into a kid. The next episode saw Deputy Andy investigating the incident by by talking with the owner of the truck, who was being evasive. He asked Andy to meet him later, but never showed up. Then, with last night's episode, the only thing Andy is doing is picking out what color chair he and his wife want. Perhaps Lynch could have edited-out the scene on the stoop of Buckhorn PD and instead given us something with Andy looking further into what happened to the truck owner?

We were also given pretty much the same exact scene between Ben Horne and his secretary, Beverly, that we saw two episodes prior, as they investigate a mysterious hum emanating within Horne's office. I hope they find out what's causing that room to hum soon, as two people standing around listening to a hum only works for so long.

Count me among those who is ready for Dale Cooper to wake-up from his Dougie Jones stupor. Just when you think he's going to (like when he took down Ike the assassin in episode 7), he reverts to his simple, mostly-mute state. It's time to move on. Same thing goes for Bad Cooper. When he was shot and appeared to die in episode 8, I thought it was a bold, exciting move. Then some Woodsmen came and revived him, and now we're left with the realization that he is some superhuman force that can be killed and brought back to life on a dime.

Finally, I want more from  Laura Dern's character, Diane. She dresses like a circus clown, and her shtick of using the word "fuck" is becoming tiresome. It was funny a couple of times during episode 7. Now her hard-as-nails-masking-vulnerability routine is wearing thin. Let's hope the cryptic message Bad Cooper texted her is the sign of something more interesting about to happen with her character.

Twin Peaks has been really good this year, that's why an anomaly such as last night's episode stands out so much. My only concern is, going forward, that there will be some consistency in its pacing. Episodes 1 through 6 were all a good mixture of (slow) plot progression along with typical Lynchian bizarre and quirky touches. Then, the seventh episode sped things up a bit with plot development. Episode 8 was a completely bonkers stand-a-lone story about the origins of BOB (and perhaps Laura Palmer?). Meanwhile, episode 9 was trying to cram-in as much plot exposition as possible. I hope things even-out in episode 10. The show deserves it.


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