Director and all-around artist David Lynch is known for creating some of the most surreal Americana films ever made. Fans of the show Twin Peaks have been noting for several weeks that Lynch upped the ante on surreal weirdness in the new season, Twin Peaks: Th Return. However, the newest episode (“Part 6 – Don’t Die”) has fans reeling with one particularly gruesome scene.
Carl Rodd (played by Harry Dean Stanton) witnesses a young boy becoming the victim of a high-speed hit-and-run accident. The man behind the wheel, Richard Horne (played by Eamon Farren), speeds off, later parks and cleans off the grill on his truck, and shows no remorse for what he did.
Some viewers feel that Lynch has gone too far. The playfulness in the original two seasons of Twin Peaks seems to be giving way to Lynch’s gritty portrayal of dark Americana. Lynch has constantly shown the darker side of humanity and certainly rattled viewers of the show in 1990 with the discovery of teenager Laura Palmer’s body (“Dead – wrapped in plastic” as character Pete Martell says in the first episode).
Many directors shy away from horrific child death scenes on television. Lynch, however, forces his audience to see the terrible things that happen in reality and consider why these awful things occur. Unlike Laura Palmer, there is no mystery as to how this boy died. Horne, who is shown in previous scenes partaking in drug deals (something which teens seem to commonly do in Twin Peaks), is high out of his mind when he runs over the child.
Lynch was recently honored with a standing ovation during the show’s reveal of the first two episodes at Cannes. On the weekend Showtime premiered the first two episodes, it received its highest number of membership enrollments. Despite its nitty-gritty depictions of the American underbelly, Twin Peaks: The Return is being hailed as one of Lynch’s most thought-provoking and entertaining artistic endeavors.