The eighth episode of Twin Peaks: The Return is the piece of filmmaking that Lynch has been building towards for his entire career. It is a singular cinematic and artistic achievement, and the purest distillation of the multitude of ideas and concepts that live and breathe in the Lynchian universe. I believe that years from now we will be looking upon this single episode as one of, if not the single most, defining artistic achievements of Lynch’s unimpeachable career. Bare with me.
Ep. 8 Of 'Twin Peaks' Is David Lynch's Purest Marriage Of Television And Video Art (Adam Lehrer / Forbes)
How David Lynch's apocalyptic, Atomic-Age eighth episode of Showtime's revival broke the medium in half (Scott Tobias / Rolling Stone)
Twin Peak's co-creator and Kubrick are not often associated, but they have the same idea about violence and destruction as our defining traits, and "Part 8" could be seen as a continuation of 2001 in that respect – from the "Dawn of Man" to the sunset of the Trinity test. Lynch's films are often about the conflict between good and evil, but there was always some hope that his characters could pass through the flame (see: MacLachlan and Laura Dern in Blue Velvet, Nicolas Cage and Dern again in Wild at Heart). None of that optimism is present in "Part 8": The story of Laura Palmer and her killer "Bob" appears in an eerie vision of predestination, as two orbs shot through a pneumatic tube, recalling the levers pulled by The Man in the Planet in Eraserhead. And when the camera passes through the atomic flame, a photo-negative of American hell awaits on the other side.
David Lynch Upstages Nine Inch Nails With Sprawling Nightmare Sequence (Josh Wigler / The Hollywood Reporter)
Really, the eighth chapter of David Lynch's increasingly experimental revival can most accurately be described in two words: nightmare fuel. It begins with the aforementioned Cooper sequence, picking up where last week's prison escape left off, and ends in dark-and-disturbing enough territory all on its own. Somehow, Lynch and his crew make that tense thriller of a sequence look utterly clean and coherent when held up to the remaining 40 minutes of the episode: a veritable acid trip that completely upstages everything that came before, with all apologies to Trent Reznor.
Last Night's Nightmarish, Brilliant Twin Peaks: What Was That? (Scott Meslow & Joshua Rivera / GQ)
I have long marveled that the original Twin Peaks finale aired on ABC at all. That’s the now-legendary episode that spent much of its runtime on a surreal descent into the Black Lodge, and ended with the cliffhanger revealing that Agent Cooper had been replaced by his evil doppelgänger. On network television! In 1991!
In the 26 years since that finale originally aired, TV has changed so much that I didn’t think David Lynch would be able to pull off anything as audacious or surprising as that episode. Today, TV is more ambitious, audiences are savvier, and Showtime traffics in exactly the kind of high-end prestige dramas that court viewers looking for something a little deeper and weirder.
And then we got [...] almost indescribably unique Twin Peaks [Part 8] episode, which is already being lauded as an all-time classic. David Lynch literally just proved me wrong, so I don’t want to speak in absolutes—but I honestly can’t imagine I will see another TV episode so singularly bold and challenging on dramatic television in my lifetime.