by Emily Dietrich

Dancing in Dark Times: Twin Peaks: The Return Finale

* spoilers*

I watched every minute of Twin Peaks: The Return, but I experienced a few of those moments in what felt like an altered state. Those moment took me into a surreal world, where I lived for moments. The Convenience Store’s flood of woodsmen entered the place in my brain and being where nightmares are made and believed. My disbelief was not suspended, but consumed, negated, by the power and threat of the images and sounds Lynch and Frost showed us. That amorphous badness, the moving, evolving, elusive kind expressed a sense the world I feel I live in right now, one that relentlessly pumps wicked goo into the lives of earthlings.

Only an equally amorphous moment can combat that feeling and experience, and Lynch and Front provided two of them from in the finale. Throughout the season, music offered respite during every episode. At the Bang Bang Bar, people forget their troubles as they drink and sway to songs.Watching, Lynch, I have learned to surrender to not knowing what’s going on. It’s useful for me, since, no matter how many papers and posts I read, I will never know what’s going on.

First, Audrey’s dance expressed freedom, beauty, creativity, hope, and love through her gentle, graceful movements, representing a whole body feeling music and creating movement from it. Audrey herself gained no lasting comfort from it, seeming terrified after a brawl broke the spell and she rejected herself in the bright light and mirror. Yet I was transported by her movement, the music, and Audrey’s temporary release from her grinding, confusing reality.

Second, Diane’s quiet dance of lovemaking with Coop healed her rape and added justice and pleasure into humanity’s power to confront toxic greed and violence. Diane wasn’t Diane, it’s true, but she looked like Diane to us, and she had control and serenity while making love. She was not a victim, but a participant. Their moving together was the point–we aren’t shown climaxes–the human act of physical connection that we can do even after atomic evil has entered our soil.

There is no final healing in the finale, I admit. Even after 25 years, even if Laura had never died, we can’t erase the pain in her life. She found some other pain. Cooper wanted to erase it, believed he could as he walked up to the house thinking he Laura would finally be home, but that’s not how it works. Lynch won’t let it work that way; neither will life, the universe, or everything.

But the finale was enough for me. Those two scenes were truth-telling poems, telling truths just as decisive as the bomb’s evil. Lynch and Front created an altered state for me, one in which I plombed the depths of our world’s putrefaction, but where I could also receive a message of humanity’s tiny, momentous acts of love and art.

Author: Emily

Emily Dietrich is a poet, novelist, and mystery writer.