The Silent Stares of ‘Twin Peaks: The Return’

When you look into an abyss, the abyss also looks into you.
By  · Published on May 25th, 2017

Allow me to paint you a picture: it’s last Sunday night at 5:59 pm PST, t-minus 60 seconds before the first new episode of Twin Peaks in 27 years. I am, understandably, beside myself with nervous anticipation. I have no idea what’s about to happen or how I will react to it. Will I be elated? Disappointed? Confused? All the above?

Then it starts, and like a character lost in a fugue state all I can do is stare, jaw gaping but silent, for two solid hours as the dark beauty unfolds. And you know what I discover? Besides my fears evaporating like so much mountain mist, I mean? A lot of the time, Twin Peaks is staring back.

That’s because the first two episodes of the series’ return were chock-full of characters staring silently at one another or nothing, six minutes and 39 seconds-full, to be precise, as evidenced by the following supercut from Niko Nawalany, which gathers every single quiet look from the relaunch and edits them together into a deafening display of confoundment, wickedness, and ennui. This is typical Lynch, to take awkward, silent moments and prolong them, to force us to remain in the awkwardness until we can feel it ourselves. The spectrum of complementary and contradictory emotions this conjures in we the audience – simultaneously, no less – is a prime facet of the perplexing state we can only call “Lynchian.”

If you haven’t seen the first two episodes of Twin Peaks’ third season, you might want to stay away from this until you have. Given the absolute lack of dialogue, there aren’t any major spoilers herein, per se, but there are a couple of images that might lead you down a rabbit hole or two.

Twin Peaks: The Return airs on Sunday nights on Showtime. If you’re not watching it, you’re missing out on the biggest event in television history, and a brand-new tipping point for the medium. No big deal.

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