Editor’s Note: Spoiler’s Alert of the second season of Twin Peaks and the finale
The first season of Twin Peaks was a tense, thrilling ride. Director David Lynch had created a titan of television that was exciting, horrifying, and funny all at the same time. The first few episodes of season two continued the show’s mood, but once Laura’s killer was unmasked, the show lost much of its edge. Lynch and co-creator Mark Frost apparently never wanted to reveal Laura’s killer, but ABC forced them to do so in the middle of season two. This isn’t necessarily a bad decision on ABC’s part, since a series cannot keep teasing its audience (The Killing recently proved that). But still, after Leland was unmasked, the show lost much of its intrigue. The plot about Windom Earle wasn’t nearly as intense, and Cooper’s relationship with Annie felt very forced. I was hoping the finale, directed by Lynch, would resolve season two’s problems. The idea of the Black and White Lodge was interesting, and I was hoping that it would be expanded.
Unfortunately I felt very disappointed by the finale. Lynch went all out on the episode, going where no director has gone before. Lynch must have taken inspiration from the ending of 2001 for the Black Lodge, which is what made it so intriguing when it was shown briefly in the first season. But in the finale Lynch has about a good half an hour of Cooper exploring the Black Lodge, meeting the Giant, Killer BOB, and the dancing dwarf, plus Laura and Leland (or whatever they were supposed to be). I didn’t really understand anything what was happening at all. I have defended ambiguity before and have done so for Lynch’s own Mulholland Drive, but I felt cheated here.
The end of the episode relies on a big cliffhanger, that the doppelganger Cooper has entered Twin Peaks and the real one is still trapped in the Black Lodge (I learned that from the Wikipedia page). This was made undoubtedly to help the show get a third season, which unfortunately didn’t happen. I admired Lynch’s intentions in the episode, but was unsatisfied. I’ve heard Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me resolves many of the episode’s cliffhangers, and I plan on seeing that soon.