TWIN PEAKS: “The Missing Pieces”
I only own a blu-ray player so I could watch the new Twin Peaks box set, specifically so I could see the 90 minutes of deleted scenes from David Lynch’s prequel film, Fire Walk With Me.
First of all, this box set is great. The original episodes look awesome, and for the first time ever, they’ve included the “previously on” and “on the next Twin Peaks" segments, the latter of which were really an essential part of the series when it originally aired. (They start out fairly conventionally but by Season Two, they are increasingly cryptic little tone poems— snatches of audio that make no sense out of context played over a series of still images that reveal nothing. They are essentially spoiler-free teases that suit the mood of the series wonderfully.)
I haven’t pored over everything but I’ve read that the box set failed to include the Japanese coffee commercials that Lynch did after the series ended, which is I guess my only real complaint. I jokingly consider them canon— a Season 3 in miniature— and the official “end” to the Twin Peaks saga.
But the main attraction here is The Missing Pieces, which is basically a Wake Up, Ron Burgandy-style feature film edited by David Lynch by cobbling together 90 minutes of the best scraps from FWWM.
How is it? Well, it doesn’t “wrap anything up” but I didn’t expect it to. What it does do is offer a return to Twin Peaks, and it revisits some characters I thought I’d never see again, and that’s more than any fan has any right to expect.
There is another special feature produced for this release that has Lynch interviewing the Palmer family in the present day, and while it is interesting, it also points out why you “can’t go home again.” Those fans clamoring for another season of Twin Peaks or another movie will find that the moment has probably passed. FWWM was really one last chance to grab some of that magic while those characters all looked and felt the same, and to return to that world now would probably offer diminishing returns. (Having said that, I still would wish to see the return of Agent Cooper in some form or another. Kyle MacLachlan is still awesome and seeing Old Cooper would be fun in any context. Am I contradicting myself? Perhaps.)
But that’s what is so great about The Missing Pieces: it is a chance to see some of these characters one last time, and there are some great moments. There are scenes with Andy and Lucy and Sheriff Truman here that would have been irrelevant to the main plot of FWWM, but are a delight to see here. It’s nice to see Pete and Josie and the old man from the bank who appeared in the series finale, arguing about wood. There is a scene with Leland Palmer arriving home at night that, had it been included in the film, would have been the single scariest scene in it. There is even a little more David Bowie, which is fun but still manages to make almost no sense to the viewer.
A handful of Twin Peaks actors opted not to appear in FWWM, and they probably would have been on the cutting room floor if they had. When the movie bombed and most of their fellow cast members were cut out, they probably breathed a sigh of relief that they weren’t involved, but I wonder if they now feel a twinge of regret that they aren’t a part of this final grace note for the world of Twin Peaks.
I’ve never been a big fan of FWWM, though some people love it. For me, it was always a little too unpleasant— it took things that were left unspoken in the TV series and it put them front and center, and I felt like it lacked some of the mystery and wonder of the series. But I like a lot of its parts— the opening scenes with Chris Isaak and Kiefer Sutherland are great, and there are bits and pieces throughout that were enough to scratch the itch.
But in some ways, I think The Missing Pieces is more satisfying to me. It’s not a “movie” but it is an experience, and I think it functions like the endnotes in Infinite Jest— there is a lot there, and it illuminates what came before it. I feel like these are more than just outtakes or alternate versions, to be viewed as curios, these are now canon— these things happened and are part of the Twin Peaks story.
Just like that 3rd season where they drank a lot of Japanese coffee.