What's the Deal With the Second Season of 'Twin Peaks'?

It mostly sucks? Some of it is great? The finale is worth watching? Wait, there's a movie, too?

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May 18 2017, 2:00pm

Image courtesy of Showtime

In just a few days, the much anticipated and incredibly mysterious third season of Twin Peaks will arrive. Given how most beloved TV revivals have turned out, there's plenty of reason to think it won't be any good, but I'm a sucker for cultural moments, so I've been anxious to catch up and join the fever dream. Given the first season's expertly tight eight episodes, I figured the second would be a breeze, but I was quickly rebuffed by Hulu informing me it's 22 episodes. It got even weirder when most of the Internet told me I could skip half the season? What the hell??

Between my devotion to other shows full of weirdness and purposely dense mythology, it always strikes me as weird that I never became a card carrying Twin Peaks devotee. It's not that I avoided Twin Peaks, per say, but the series never hit my radar, so it never occurred it would probably be my kind of show.

The first season definitely proved it was my kind of show, too, which is why I've been excited to see what the second had in store. And yet, despite my desire to soak in as much of the world as possible, it's balanced against wanting to be there when everyone is losing it on Twitter, as the third season begins. It's clearly a show that's going to be play with audience expectations after decades away.

So when folks proposed a compromise, a form of Twin Peaks escape hatch, I was intrigued. To paraphrase many loud and vocal fans, the second season falls off a cliff nine episodes in, when the main mystery driving the plot—who killed Laura Palmer?—is abruptly solved. Then, for some reason, the show goes on, becoming, in the words of Polygon writer Justin McElroy, "like if a corpse was a tv show."

If that's not a ringing endorsement, I don't know what is! The vast majority of people told me I'd be fine with skipping everything post-Palmer, encouraging me to tune in when the finale comes around, then indulge in the movie. Plenty of others, though, said there was worthy weirdness in the other episodes. I'm sure they're right, but in the interest of catching up, I'd rather go back and see those episodes later, rather than subject myself to a curiosity so many diehards disavow.

It's a convenient plan, anyway. Now, I get to skip half a season! Am I doing this right? Let me know in today's open thread.

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