As Laura Palmer (Sheryl Lee) promised, “Twin Peaks” has returned after 25 years, and the Black Lodge is exactly how auteur-director David Lynch left it.
The premiere of “Twin Peaks: The Return,” a continuation of the ABC cult classic now showing on Showtime, opens with an image of agent Dale Cooper (Kyle MacLachlan). He appears to have aged remarkably little, sitting in front of the classic red curtains with his feet planted firmly on that zig-zag black and white tile that has haunted our nightmares for two and a half decades. Cooper has spent the past 25 years in the Black Lodge, and learns that only the return of his doppelgänger can release him.
It appears that the return of “Twin Peaks” will feature a splintering out from the small town of the show’s namesake, to cities within South Dakota, where Cooper’s doppelgänger is a leather-jacket-wearing murderer with long hair and a bad tan, and New York City, where a mysterious box that’s connected to the Black Lodge awaits further explanation.
It wouldn’t be a “Twin Peaks” premiere without a murder investigation: this time, a woman in Buckhorn, South Dakota, has been decapitated, her head placed with an unidentified man’s body — his own head not yet found.
The police have arrested the local principal for the murder because his fingerprints were all over the crime scene. He denies having been at the woman’s house at the night of the murder, but confesses to an affair with her, and appears to have had a traumatizing dream about her the night before.
It appears that he may be under the influence of a familiar possessive demon.
Meanwhile, in New York City, the mysterious box is being surveilled by a young man who hasn’t been informed on its purpose — and neither have we. While he watches the box, a young woman visits him and they begin kissing. Of course, just as they finish undressing, a ghostly and misshapen creature smashes through the box and slashes the young couple across the face, splattering blood across the room.
In true “Twin Peaks” fashion, much is left unexplained — or is downright confusing.
Back in Twin Peaks, the Log Lady (Catherine Coulson), somehow sensing the carnage left by Cooper’s doppelgänger, calls Deputy Hawk (Michael Horse) to deliver a message from her log: something is amiss with Agent Cooper. Hawk promptly leaves the station to go searching in the woods with only a single flashlight.
Meanwhile, inside the Black Lodge, Cooper flits between scenes with Laura Palmer — who explains that she is both dead and not dead — and The One-Armed Man (Al Strobel) and The Arm, which seems to have been growing in the Black Lodge during the show’s hiatus. Both characters feature the worked, undulating dialogue that’s characteristic of the Lodge.
Fans will expect the lack of linearity to the narrative and the return of the original cast. Shelly Johnson (Mädchen Amick), James Hurley (James Marshall), the Log Lady, Benjamin Horne (Richard Beymer), Sarah (Grace Zabriskie) and Leland Palmer (Ray Wise), Andy (Harry Goaz) and Lucy (Kimmy Robertson), Deputy Hawk, and of course Laura Palmer and Agent Cooper, all make appearances in the first installments of the new series. Which characters will be mainstays for the entirety of the season remains to be seen.
The premiere ends with a small concert performance by Chromatics that, like much of “Twin Peaks” itself, resembles the iconic Lynchian style of “Blue Velvet” (1986). For fans who can’t wait another week for the next installments, Showtime, in a surprise move, has decided to release parts three and four tonight as well.
“Twin Peaks: The Return” airs Sundays at 9 p.m. on Showtime.