TORONTO — Kyle MacLachlan isn't surprised to hear viewers were confounded by the finale of "Twin Peaks."
"You heard the collective fork drop with the pie," says MacLachlan, who over a span of 28 years has enjoyed damn fine desserts and coffee as eccentric FBI agent Dale Cooper.
The 58-year-old Washington state native was in Toronto Tuesday to talk about — but not exactly decipher — Sunday's final episode of the series. Viewers who missed Showtime's continuation of "Twin Peaks" can catch up with all 18 new episodes, as well as the original ABC seasons, on streaming service CraveTV.
While CraveTV makes binge-watching possible, MacLachlan cautions some viewers might find screening several episodes in a row as disorienting as a trip to the series' nightmarish Black Lodge.
"Take a break between shows," he suggests. "It's a lot to absorb."
SPOILER ALERT: The final scene finds Cooper — or an altered version of the steadfast FBI agent — standing on a darkened, residential street with a look-alike of the woman he's been tracking all along: Laura Palmer (played by Sheryl Lee). Cooper's original mission was to investigate Palmer's murder. Their bizarre journey seems to come full circle 28 years later — or does it? Facing the house, now occupied by different owners, a bewildered Cooper staggers forward and asks, "What year is it?" Palmer lets rip with a loud, long, blood-curdling scream. Fade to black.
"We shot that very early in the production, we were in Seattle," recalls MacLachlan of the shoot, which wrapped in April 2016.
"I had never been to the Palmer house," the actor continues. "There was a wonderful little crowd of interested locals and neighbours who were gathered around. It was a little chilly; I remember because it was October by them. When Sheryl let out that scream, the neighbourhood cleared. It was frightening."
MacLachlan, who saw the finale a day after it premiered, says he is still processing the message behind the madness. He thinks Lynch is asking a simple question: "Where are we now in this world? What year is it, where are we? It's that simple a question."
He admits the finale brings up a whole host of other questions, "which I'm not qualified to answer, I'm afraid." That there is an ongoing conversation about the ending will likely please Lynch, says MacLachlan.
"It's going to be like this itch that you will continue to have to scratch, I think."
The actor hadn't spoken with the director since seeing the ending, or heard from Showtime about any possible extension of the series.
"I love working as the character and I love David," says MacLachlan. "But beyond that, I don't know."
The two began their collaboration with "Dune" in 1984 and continued with "Blue Velvet," the original run of "Twin Peaks" and the followup feature "Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me." MacLachlan is also known for roles on "Sex and the City," "Desperate Housewives" and more recently he's been seen as the mayor on "Portlandia." The actor, who lives with his family in New York, spent a few days in Sault Ste. Marie, Ont., this summer working on an independent movie.
He was just 30 when "Twin Peaks" first aired. The actor could just as easily be asking, "What year is it?" as the character. A few cast members, including Miguel Ferrer, lived just long enough to reprise their scenes from the original. The nearly three-decade production span "does make you think about your own mortality," says MacLachlan. "That in itself is pretty profound."
He compares the process to the "Up" series of documentaries made by Michael Apted over the course of seven-year intervals. "To see people transform after all these years was very interesting."
Most of the cast reunited for "Twin Peaks," but MacLachlan was even better acquainted with one actress who wasn't in the original series: Laura Dern. They dated for several years in the '80s.
"I was on board with that," he says of Dern joining the series. "The hardest part was keeping her casting a secret."
His last word on the finale? Don't look for answers from Lynch.
"David is quite happy letting the work be his voice."
— Bill Brioux is a freelance TV columnist based in Brampton, Ont.
Bill Brioux, The Canadian Press