Well, it took two months, but I finished watching all of the episodes in the Twin Peaks box set a few weeks ago. To wrap things up, I watched Fire Walk With Me last weekend. I don't mean to sound like this was the equivalent of watching the ten-hour version of Greed or the eight-hour version of Birth of a Nation, but watching the whole thing seemed like quite an undertaking. Thankfully, it wasn't, even in the episodes after you find out who killed Laura Palmer.
Make no mistake, the show's momentum loses steam once that is revealed, but I didn't find the remaining episodes as bad as people made them out to be. To top that off, I found Fire Walk With Me to be a pretty enjoyable coda.
Just merely saying all that seems like I have to raise my defenses up high, but hear me out.
For a lot of directors, I tend to get into their filmographies in a real sideways fashion. In the case of Lynch, I saw Mulholland Drive first and not too long after it appeared on DVD. I didn't see any of his other work until last year, when I saw Blue Velvet, Lost Highway, INLAND EMPIRE, Eraserhead, and The Elephant Man, along with reading Lynch On Lynch and Catching the Big Fish. So with processing Lynch's themes and motivations, I have a bit of different perspective than say an audience member at Cannes in 1992 hoping Fire Walk With Me continued the story following season two's cliffhanger episode.
I understand people's frustrations with Lynch with how he tends to confuse more than clarify. Well, I actually like how he makes matters more obtuse and dream-like instead of abundantly clear. He's a rare exception for me.
But back to the show itself, I argue the series had breathing space following "Arbitrary Law." Pretty much every relationship (affair or non-affair) evolves and plays out, mostly to satisfying conclusions. But like in life, you take the good with the not-so-good. The not-so-enjoyable (but not horrible) is the camp factor being raised. Some recurring guest stars are great and some are not, but not to the point where I wanted to give up watching the show. I understood the show wasn't Mark Frost's or Lynch's at that point because they were busy doing other projects. So I gave everything plenty of leeway.
Fire Walk With Me, the prequel meant to be seen after the series, fills in a lot holes about Laura Palmer's final days. Sure, the stuff only alluded to in the show (drug-taking, promiscuity) is right there in front of you, but it was good to see that stuff. Sure, the quirky humor from the show is mostly absent, but this is Laura's story, not Cooper's story.
I could defend all this for on and on, but my point is, I did not find the show's decline as tragically bad as people claimed. The pilot, first season, and first half of the second season are the strongest, making things to be rather difficult to top. I would even go so far as liking the show overall more than the beloved Six Feet Under. That was a show I loved for its first two seasons, but soon lost interest shortly into the third season, and have never doubled-back to. Yes, I said that, but defending my reasons is for another time.