Leave them wanting more (and Why Twin Peaks probably won’t be returning)

<<Spoilers for Twin Peaks, Twin Peaks: The Return and Steins;Gate are included and discussed within this post >>

It has been 24 hours since Twin Peaks: The Return ended. After a 25 year (25 years, 11 months, 3 days for those counting) wait, Twin Peaks returned to television screens across the globe, this time armed with a new audience that joined the world of Twin Peaks along the way between the original run and the new series.

After that long wait, the season felt like it lasted just moments in comparison. 18 episodes equating to 18 hours of Twin Peaks felt like just moments. I have spent the day studying the reception of the finale of the recent season. Believe it or not, David Lynch (being David Lynch) left the story on yet another cliffhanger.

This has provided a mixed reception from the Twin Peaks community. A lot of people wanted resolution, they wanted answers. They wanted an end to the mystery that has been haunting them for years upon years. In my eyes, the season couldn’t have ended any other way.

Twin Peaks: The Return ended in a confusing, mysterious manor. Image source: Showtime

This is not my opinion on solely the story of Twin Peaks but my opinion on stories in general. You should leave your audience wanting more, needing more. That strange feeling of loss and mourning you feel after being ejected from the world you’ve invested so much time in? That should be a goal of your creative work, not a pitfall you should fight to avoid.

Don’t get me wrong — I have felt these same pains after falling in love with the world and the characters inside. I think most people have. For me, the main ones that stick out are Twin Peaks, Danganronpa, Steins; Gate and Death Note. Each of these stories gripped me so tightly than when it was time to get off the ride, I wanted to run back, begging to keep going.

There are a wide variety of people who hate this feeling. To be honest, you could be seen as strange for liking the feelings of loss and mourning. However, in most cases, this is essential for (at least, how I see them) good stories.

I remember the feeling after watching the finale of Steins;Gate. It hit me on an emotional level due to how engrossing the world and the characters were. Looking online, it seems I was not the only one. Image source: White Fox

I am sure you have seen a movie, television or games series that have overstayed their welcome. From Call of Duty to 24 to Dragonball Z, there are plenty of cases where audiences get fatigued and disinterested with series. Just like eating too much cake, it is entirely possible to get bored of a story, no matter how much you love it.

This is why I believe stories like Steins Gate, Twin Peaks, and Death Note work. Your stay in their world is limited and yet this, in turn, means you’re not oversaturated to the point of boredom or disdain.

Thanks to this, even though you’re left wanting more, your mind fills with possibilities. “What happens next?” is a question your mind starts filling in with plausible (and implausible) scenarios. But you’re never given the answer. Usually. This alone is one of the many reasons that stories that end “at the right time” end up being more memorable and cherished amongst communities.

“How’s Annie?” ate into the mind of many Twin Peaks fans for just over 25 years. This creates a more memorable story in my opinion than a story which gives the fans all the answers. Image credit: Lynch/Frost Productions

As previously alluded to, Twin Peaks: The Return ended on a cliffhanger. Questions went unanswered and a new mystery began forming just prior to the ending credits rolling. This infuriated fans that have been waiting 25 years for a resolution to the original mystery but because of this, I feel Twin Peaks: The Return will not be forgotten for a long time to come.

People have already put calls out online for another season of Twin Peaks and I would be lying if I said I did not want one also. However, I understand that at this point it can go either way. Forst and Lynch can come back to answer the call for a new series or they can leave the story as it is, forever left to be finished in fan’s minds.

Both situations, in my eyes, are acceptable solutions. Even though I have previously said that stories should finish before the world becomes oversaturated and the story beaten like a dead horse, I really want a new series of Twin Peaks so I can continue living in that world. However, what I want and what I should get are two different things.

From my research, stories seem better recieved when left in the sea of time instead of letting worlds become over-explained and oversaturated in story. Series in the above image: 24: Legacy, Image credit: Fox

Even though I would happily enjoy another series of Twin Peaks, it runs the danger of overstaying its welcome. There was a 25-year wait before the answers of season 2 became even close of being concluded. Imagine if Twin Peaks turned into a show like The X-Files, which constantly had a bucketload of new episodes almost yearly to the point that not only critics but seemingly the actors grew tired of the world.

If Twin Peaks did not have the 25-year delay, I do not believe the show would be seen in as passionate of a light as it has been. The series return was seen as special, a unique, unexpected event. But, instead of offering answers, new questions were posed.

And I think this was essential to Twin Peaks. In an effort to not let the world become oversaturated, boring and not as special as the 25 years of aging had let it become, we were hardly given answers. We barely saw the characters that had become our friends and the locations featured did not feel nostalgic, they felt isolating and unknown. They continued the mystery just long enough to get people salivating for more once again.

To date, there have been 201 episodes of The X-Files. Many fans have left or grown tired of the series. I believe it would’ve been better if they had left many questions unanswered and leaving us wanting more instead of spoiling us to the point of not being able to take another bite. Image credit: Fox

When that point came, the curtain was closed and the people left hungry for more. Literally begging for more. They were not oversaturated with the story, they were not satisfied. Their dinner plate was cleared before they were ready and they are not full to the point of being sick. They were left with those feelings I alluded to earlier. Of loss and mourning.

This, again as previously stated, creates a more memorable story that plays on people’s minds. This story isn’t over and is unfinished. What is the resolution? How will it end? This is what, in my opinion, is good storytelling. It is what separates a story from something you ingest to something you experience.

Like Alice leaving dreamland, you want to go back but you know it is for the best. What would it have been like to have stayed? Surely, it is better to imagine than to live in it at the risk of tainting your perception over the whole place. I would imagine if Alice stayed in dreamland, she would have grown bored of the unique quirk of the land, wishing she was home, tucked up in bed.

I am sure dealing with chesshire cat on a daily basis would get tiring quickly. Image source: Disney

Imagine the last time you saw a friend you hadn’t seen in a long time. I’m sure the time was a positive experience and you wished they would’ve stayed around for longer before going home. Now imagine them moving in. I’m sure that whilst it might be alright for a while, eventually, you’ll both annoy each other to no end and you would wish they had never moved in.

This is why I feel stories should end without all the plotlines answered. This is why I do not feel Twin Peaks will return for the fourth time. We are at a sense of loss, a strong want for more. But at this point, Twin Peaks is burnt in our minds. We haven’t got all the answers and thus it is always a possible topic of conversation or a late night thought when we can’t sleep. It is an experience we went through, not just a story waiting to be forgotten.

If Twin Peaks does return, it could not match up with what we hoped. It could get boring, the story stale. At this point, Twin Peaks is at the peak where people are clammoring for an encore. They want more but do not need it. I have tried my best to explain my viewpoint and I hope it has come across.

Season 2 of Twin Peaks is already a sore spot for some people. They felt it lost direction and dragged on. Perhaps it is better to leave people wanting more than giving them too much? Image source: Lynch/Frost Productions

As you can tell, I am still shaken from how powerful the ending was in regards to Twin Peaks: The Return. However, I hope the points I wanted to raise came through efficently enough.

If you agree or disagree, I’d love to hear your viewpoint so don’t be a stranger. Thanks for reading and I hope I’ve left you wanting more.