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Twin Peaks and the need for closure

in Film & TV Psychology by

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Do you think you’ll ever get a good answer for that dancing dwarf?

If you’re celebrating the return of Twin Peaks and the possibility of getting some closure to the weird, cult 90s series, then you might be a bit disappointed. Part of its charm was that it wasn’t about answers. And part of its longevity is that it left on a gripping cliffhanger with the fate of the favourite secret agent, Dale Cooper, left to our imaginations.

As an added insult, director David Lynch returned to Twin Peaks with Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me. This terrifying and gripping melodrama was universally panned. After all, it didn’t give us any answers. Lynch doesn’t do that. It explored what we knew in more depth and took us to something more surreal.

So, why do we need a conclusion? Human beings have an innate need for things to make sense. Loose ends make us feel anxious and frustrated because it creates uncertainty and ambiguity. Lynch is an expert in ambiguity. Take the red room.

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The zigzagging floor instinctively throws our perception. The red curtains remove the security of a solid wall and play to our childhood fears of monsters hiding in the shadows.

None of these fears are quite conscious. Lynch plays to intuition and, perhaps, gives answers to our intuition but not our rational mind–the mind that needs closure.

So, ask yourself if you are after closure or will you be welcoming the world of ambiguity and uncertainty into your living room? I’ll pick the latter. It’s more fun than getting answers.

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