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How dare they?

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"It is happening again."

BLUF, or TL;DR, or however you want to put it: I loved the Twin Peaks third season return, I don't care who knows it, and to the many, many diehard fans out there who were utterly turned off by how bewildering it was, especially the resolution at the end, I say what I said the night of the broadcast: You knew what kind of bull you were getting on, and so now you're gonna be pissed off that it threw you?

All right. That was sensationalistic and exaggerated, and both how I feel and how you feel about Twin Peaks: The Return is likely more nuanced, and the rest of this post will also be just that: more nuanced. But my basic feelings remain the same. I appreciate the Return for the wonderful Twin-ny thing it was: a return to what David Lynch does best, with an ending whose only true claim to naughtiness is that now, 25 years after the first series, with none of the network and TV-Guide hijinks to blame for it, pisses people off just as expertly and deliberately as the "How's Annie" cliffhanger did. Yeah, I know a lot of folks are angry at that.

David Lynch and Mark Frost once again defied television's conventions, and I think they also defied the conventions of larger genres of mystery fiction and action adventure stories. Twin Peaks was a TV show in the way the earliest TV shows were TV shows: by being a show that's on TV. There were no expectations in the early days, and Peaks shocked us into letting our huge episodic TV expectations go, both in the early 1990s when it first became a hit, and now when it has returned to favorable literary reviews, a happy fandom, and the - very, very much to have been expected - collective audience "AAAUGH" along with Carrie Page when the story ended as it did.

By the way, isn't it marvelous that the person who answers the door at what Agent Cooper thinks is the Palmer house is the actual owner of the real property used as that iconic house all these years? If you didn't know that before, I saw it in the Peaks Wiki today, and the fact just adds to the perfection of the work as a whole. You can thank me or not.

We don't expect complete narrative sense and a neat sense of closure from our country songs. We don't expect them from more literary poetic forms. We don't expect TV shows, especially ones who raise so many specific, well-articulated questions early in their run, to be poetic in these ways in how and whether they answer those questions later in the run. There's not as much invested if you're just here to dance to it. I get that. Still, it's the artist's job to turn expectation on its ear, and as much of a pop-culture phenomenon the Lynch-Frost writing and directing team is, they're still artists.

And therefore, so much for expectations. Those and a couple of bucks will still get you a cup of coffee and a slice of cherry pie at Norma's (though not by name) Double R Diner.

Poetry deals in hints and inscrutable symbols. Secrets are what you learn, or what reveal themselves to you, after long study, some of it internal. Mysteries are what you missed figuring out because you weren't paying attention to the right details, or you were being too damned literal. Or maybe their answers were made on the spur of the moment and changed at the last minute by one or more brilliantly creative minds that - oh, I forgot to tell you - are not shackled to your own.

It's slippery in here.

As I've said in other posts, my second wife who died in a fire edited, before and during our marriage, a fairly large amount of unauthorized media (pop culture) fiction. I drew cartoons and wrote stories. My cartoons centered on the Twin Peaks world, as did Kimberly's fiction. But her fiction seemed to want to turn Twin Peaks into an episodic crime drama, with reasonable explanations of the mysterious elements and neat resolutions to the questions they, or in some cases the TV series itself, left unsolved.

And then I came along and messed it all up. I also wanted to write a piece of Twin Peaks fan fiction, one that dealt with lingering questions about Laura Palmer's death and about her family in general, as well as Major Briggs. I wrote a piece of fiction called "MEANWHILE . . ." that did just that. I gave it much more of a David Lynchian tone than Kim's stories, writing scenes that took place in (what would later turn out to be) Listening Post Alpha, the Black Lodge, and even a strange inversion of the latter, with black velvet curtains waving and fluttering over red-and-white tiles. You see, Major Briggs had gone in the wrong way - on purpose. "We're waiting for you" became fulfilled in my story, and Sarah Palmer, back at the house, freed herself from some of her inner demons. But I did not put easy answers in, not unless you count the easy stylistic conventions of how Twin Peaks itself flowed.

Kimberly did not like it.

Well, to be honest, she liked it fine, but she COULD NOT INCLUDE IT IN HER ZINE WITHOUT SOME SUBSTANTIAL CHANGES. I had given a nod to her own creative choices - Dale and Diane were twins, both Special Agents for the FBI; Audrey and Cooper eventually decided to get married, and bought the house Coop had initially investigated at the property known as Dead Dog Farm; Audrey had, in fact, survived the bank vault blast with her sanity intact - but had also framed my scenes in the deliberately disconcerting and dream-like storytelling style I saw as evocative of Lynch's direction. Kimberly wanted to give it an overhaul. To her credit, she kept most of my original text, and simply added some of her explanation and her own style of descriptive embellishing to make it fit more snugly with the fan-fictional universe she had created to keep the story going. We co-authored the story; I graciously accepted her edits because I so wanted the Power Star readership to get this important story of Major Briggs' and Sarah Palmer's better resolution, a la David Lynch's style. TWIN PEAKS FIRE WALK WITH ME was not yet out. Who knows what kind of "MEANWHILE . . ." I would have written had I waited.

Yeah, I know. Fanfic. Off the radar, out of consideration. It wasn't something, still isn't something, any of us are actually *supposed* to be doing. I had a friend tell me around the same time that J. Michael Straczynski absolutely despised and, in this friend's view anyway, discouraged fan fiction, didn't want to hear about it for fear of polluting the creative process. Yes. Okay. I get that. And I've not written fan fiction since my divorce from Kim and her later death. It's just that kind of weird world, and it does have taboos, and yes, we broke them. Not the first taboo for me, and not the last, either.

I told you that to tell you this: I tuned in to the poetry of Twin Peaks. Poetry is hard to get, by its very nature. It's individual revelation, which may have its full, clear meaning only to its creator - if indeed there! Sometimes we put down on paper what is beautiful even when it's not sensible. Raising concrete questions in our fan base and then, seemingly steadfastly and purposefully, refusing to answer those questions: Yes, poets get away with that far more often than TV showrunners do. But maybe they should all do it more. Doing that does not destroy the artistic quality of what you've done, and I'll argue it does not necessarily destroy the popular culture appeal of what you've done.

Twin Peaks: The Return exceeded my expectations and, more importantly, did Audrey's dance atop them, grinding them into the ground with its unexpected pirhouettes. One feature I loved was the incredulous and bewildered reactions of characters, Lynch's Gordon Cole among them, to what was going on.

That was truly funny, but also a truly significant key to the fact that Lynch and Frost knew what they were doing, and it's what they were always doing, what pissed off TV Guide and Cannes in turns, and what helps keep Twin Peaks such an eternally- and exquisitely-renewable classic.

Expectations. So-called Christian nation. Might as well be, Thou shalt kill.

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