The ending of Twin Peaks: The Return was perfect because it wasn’t perfect. The world is messy, ugly, and imperfect. Bad shit happens and it never really gets resolved. You can’t turn back time. You can’t just ‘return’ and make it so that what happened didn’t really happen. Existence is essentially a nightmare loop confined within parameters set by what did happen, not what could have happened, should have happened, or what anyone wants to happen.
At the end of episode 18, Dale Cooper and the older Laura Palmer he picked up in Odessa had just walked away from Laura’s old house in Twin Peaks when Dale stared at the road and asked her what year it was. Laura got a look on her face indicating she really didn’t know either and then let out a scream that could have been taken from Fire Walk With Me and then the screen turned black. The end. Over. No resolution.
Well, really, there was a giant resolution. David Lynch gave us the storybook ending in episode 17 when evil Cooper was shot by Lucy at the sheriff station and the good Dale showed up and they all watched Freddy use his green glove to punch the rocky floating orb containing Bob into scattered pieces that disappeared into the ceiling. Good Coop’s mission was not over, however, and he traveled back in time to find Laura. This is where things got messy and some fans are a bit, let’s just say upset by the events that took place in episode 18.
They shouldn’t be. The nuclear bomb can not be unexploded. Laura can not be rescued. Events that happen in the past can never unhappen. We can navigate through our lives with the intention to right past wrongs, resolve conflicts, and move in better directions, but what’s done is done.
Twin Peaks: The Return is above all a meditation on the relationship of past, present, and future in our lives. It’s about how one can not change the past, must always deal with the present in terms set by the past, and must face a future wholly dependant upon the interaction of past and present events. It is an enormously complex and deeply philosophical show that deserves and earns the effort necessary to unravel its mysteries.