The two-part premiere of Twin Peaks’ long-awaited return is on YouTube to watch for free. That might sound like a gift for fans who don’t subscribe to Showtime, the premium network it now airs on. But having watched the episodes on both platforms, we have to warn fans not to bother with these hilariously edited freebies.
Twin Peaks: The Return, the name of the show’s new season, is way more graphic than the original series. While a spot on primetime broadcast TV limited the original Twin Peaks to psychological horrors, the new episodes combine the supernatural with straight-up sex and gore.
Anyone whose only exposure to the new Twin Peaks is through these YouTube versions won’t see any of that. To make the two-parter friendly to the YouTube audience, Showtime added huge black bars to some of the more explicit scenes. Ironically, that makes them even more distracting than in the original:
That’s from episode one, during a pivotal scene. What’s meant to be a jarring act that goes fatally wrong is instead ... a jarring act that got fatally wronged.
American film and television has an aversion to nudity, but this YouTube recut goes overboard with the edits. An already unrecognizable corpse becomes more so with the addition of these huge bars:
Even a topless marble statue gets the blackout treatment:
This scene is in the second episode, again during a moment of massive importance. We’re supposed to be paying attention to our hero, Dale Cooper, as he is reunited with the unforgettable Laura Palmer for the first time in more than 25 years. Instead, we can’t stop looking at that black bar.
There may even be a slight spoiler in how these YouTube editions were made fourteen-year-old-friendly. (Stop reading now if you don’t want to get spoiled — not that we really have any idea what any of this means.)
During that earlier sex scene, where breasts and butt are blacked out as much as possible, the young couple (played by Ben Rosenfield and Madeline Zima) are mauled by an unsightly, unknown being. In the original version, it’s really hard to make out who or what this thing is. Is it Laura Palmer? Is it Dale Cooper’s evil doppelganger? Someone else entirely?
Based on that black bar obscuring the being’s chest, one thing’s for sure: This creature is probably a lady. It’s got breasts, at least — or we can assume it (she?) does.
That opens up a Pandora’s box of questions that we can barely formulate and won’t get answers to for many episodes. We have a hunch that director David Lynch is using these outrageous edits to toy with us, anyway. Both of the episodes on YouTube open with a note from Showtime, which mentions that Lynch himself reedited these episodes.
The network also cops to the fact that the versions available on its channel and accompanying streaming apps are superior ... so if you’re a serious Twin Peaks fan who doesn’t already subscribe, just skip these YouTube edits and watch the real thing.