For any TV viewers out there who have a sizable distaste for series that end runs without tying off storylines with neat and perfectly crafted bows, then Showtime's Twin Peaks: The Return was likely a powder keg, since it created far more questions than it eventually answered. In particular, the scenes between Sherilyn Fenn's Audrey and her "husband," Clark Middleton's Charlie, were mind-bogglingly confusing, given their mostly standalone nature. But don't expect to get any answers from Middleton, who recently spoke with CinemaBlend about his Twin Peaks performance. Here's why he thinks:
Whatever I think something is about is only relevant to what I think it's about, and it has nothing to do with what someone else thinks it's about. So, I think I would be doing a disservice to the show, or the intention of the show, if I were to explain that, or give the audience some sort of special code to understand things, because that's only relevant to me. I think with any great work of art -- and I think Twin Peaks is an extraordinary work of art -- it engages an audience. It asks the audience to actively participate in their own terms, and to answer those questions themselves. So I think the way the audience understands it, that's what it is. And what you may think it is, and what I thought it was when I was doing it, those could be completely different, but both completely relevant. So I guess what I'm saying is it would be unfair for me to explain what I think it is, and what I did as an actor.
With an answer as lofty and knotted as Twin Peaks itself, Clark Middleton makes a fine point there, as Twin Peaks is one of relatively few shows that exudes such an array of fantastical qualities and characters that trying to wrap it all up with a singular explanation would be a bad move. (Especially with that wacky finale.) Assuming it would even be possible in the first place. Twin Peaks has always had a plot, surely, with Laura Palmer's murder serving as a catalyst for TV viewers to enter this frightening, surreal and oddly vaudevillian world, but I don't think anyone would necessarily consider the drama as being "plot-driven" throughout any of its seasons.
Especially with this latest batch of episodes, Twin Peaks lives in its individual moments, whether those moments are offering a story about a dude with a green hand or showcasing an arm-wrestling match. Or, in the specific case of Audrey and Charlie: a series of confusing and angst-driven conversations that inevitably lead into a hypnotic dance scene, which then leads into a last-second shocker that turns everything on its head. Viewers were already filled to the coat collar with theories about what was happening between Audrey and Charlie, with some guessing that she was still in the hospital following that explosion that sent her there in the Season 2 finale, and that Charlie was her doctor. And others guessed different scenarios of all flavors.
Each explanation provides its own subset of questions and potential problems, though, and so even if Clark Middleton or David Lynch or anyone else actually did give a legitimate explanation, would it really make everyone content and happy? Or would viewers just continue questioning things to the point of frustrated absurdity? (Absurdity is quite the fitting destination for conversations about Twin Peaks, but only the White Lodge kind is preferred.) In that way, it's easy to understand Middleton's point about scenes being completely relative to the person who's watching them.
To that end, here's another fitting and poignant bit that Clark Middleton told me that will no doubt make some want set the world aflame.
I certainly make choices [as an actor], because I have to be able to get underneath the material, and the material was just extraordinary when I saw it on the page. So I had to fill it out; it was like a gateway to something I could fill out in my own imagination. But I wouldn't want to explain what that was that I did. I would want everyone else to try to figure out what the hell is going on. I think whatever you think, or whatever conclusion you or anybody else in the audience comes to, is right, But everybody can have a different opinion.
So basically, if you thought that Audrey was in some kind of hospital or psych ward and only having delusions about a husband named Charlie, you're right. If you think that she got stuck in some other-world after being impregnated by Evil Cooper, you're right. If you think that Charlie is actually the only person that actually exists in this world, with everyone else being a figment of his imagination, you're right -- you're also kinda weird and apparently comfortable with making hyperbolic creative leaps, but you're still right.
Without any more Twin Peaks episodes left to air on Showtime, apparently fans' own imaginations are the only way to learn what all of it was really about. (At least until the next Twin Peaks book comes out and possibly explains it.) While we're waiting for that, check out everything else that's coming to TV in the near future with our fall premiere schedule.