Announcement: Quality Control

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Hello to my much-appreciated readers. I have an issue I feel I must address.

You may have noticed I am embarrassingly behind on my reviews. There’s a simple, perhaps unprofessional reason for that.

I simply don’t want to do them.

Twin Peaks: The Return has been groundbreaking television. It isn’t like Lost or True Detective or anything else that has emulated the original iteration of the series. It defies the isolation of a single episode, and therefore, in its incomplete state, is pointless (in my mind) to review traditionally. Analysis, even, is difficult, as it has become clear at this point in the series, that all the disparate threads are coming together slowly but surely, and the series has been so unpredictable that I think many theories are going to fall flat on their faces.

I have seen many theories popping up, from many sources. It’s great that Twin Peaks is around once more to make people think like they never have before. It’s difficult to wait each week for the new episode, and so speculation, I feel, has run rampant before all the information can be gathered. I, for sure, would have looked like an idiot had I put some of my theories out there before seeing the next episode. And that’s my biggest issue right now.

Quality control.

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Since its inception in 2014, I have held this blog to a very high standard. I attempt not to post information that has been covered ad nauseum before, at least not without having my own spin on it. I try to have original ideas that will help you see your favorite series in a new light, and hopefully get you thinking, too, about what all these mysteries and symbols could be. I don’t want to throw out half-baked theories that are disproved by the next episode. I don’t want to do a recap and tell you what you just watched an hour earlier. In sum, I don’t want to publish something that will insult your intelligence. I know that you can think for yourself, and I know that these posts will still be up years later, after the new series has aired and all these half-baked ideas look silly.

So, what? Do I wait until after the series airs to publish another theory? It may be worth waiting. I do have theories. I do have things I’ve noticed that seem important. Running themes, certain episodes that seem to focus on one recurring motif. I probably will not be able to wait the entire series to publish something, but if I publish something, I want it to be quality. I want it to be something that adds to your experience and makes you think. I don’t want to jump on the bandwagon and throw out what I think based on a single freeze-frame of a document that was shown for 1.32 seconds. (Although I’m also not putting anyone down who does so; I have jumped further lengths for theories.) So, what to do?

I may not focus on Twin Peaks for a while. I do have my Inland Empire analysis, which is proving as tortuous a journey as the film itself. Or, I may publish a brief list article doing a quick summary of things I find to be significant in the news series and what it might mean. But I don’t want to repeat things you already know.

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Twin Peaks is more popular now than ever. And that means we have many people covering it, from independent bloggers like myself, to bigger names like Slate and TV Guide. I, personally, have found discussion forums to be a goldmine of Twin Peaks theories, from Facebook to Reddit. If you’re looking to share ideas, or get your own brain working, I recommend checking them out.

I look forward to sharing my ideas with you soon.

ED

5 Final Predictions for Twin Peaks: The Return

 

Written by Eden H. Roquelaire for Twin Peaks Freaks.

Disclaimer: Contains spoilers for The Secret History of Twin Peaks.

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As we prepare to delve back into the strange and wonderful world of Twin Peaks, we all have our anticipations, our hopes, and our assumptions. If you are looking for some last-minute theories to get you revved up for the premiere this Sunday, look no further. Here are my final predictions for Twin Peaks: The Return.

ED

5. Big Ed stayed with Nadine

In the recent trailer released from Showtime, Big Ed is seen, presumably at the desk of his Gas Farm, looking pretty sullen. Many fans hoped that 2017 would see Big Ed Hurley finally united with his long-time sweetheart, Norma Jennings. But from the looks of this clip, either things have gone wrong with Norma, or he has stayed in his unhappy marriage to Nadine. Alternately, he may have lost both women. When Nadine comes out of her teenage fantasy, she finally realizes that she has truly lost Ed to Norma. She may have been too heartbroken to go back to Ed, and Norma may have been too tired of Ed’s inability to leave Nadine to stay with him.

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4. There are two Dale Coopers

“My name is Annie, and I’ve been with Laura and Dale. The good Dale is in the Lodge, and he can’t leave. Write it in your diary.”

-Annie Blackburn, Fire Walk With Me

At the end of Twin Peaks Season 2, viewers discovered the worst had happened when Agent Cooper, acting a little oddly after escaping from the Black Lodge, looked into the mirror and saw BOB in the reflection. This left us with an agonizing and iconic cliffhanger, and it would be a shame to not deliver on the 26-year-old promise of seeing an “Evil Dale Cooper.” This cliffhanger was referenced again in Fire Walk With Me when Annie Blackburn, who had also been in the Black Lodge with Cooper, appears to Laura Palmer and tells her that “The good Dale is in the Lodge and he can’t leave.” While it is a confusing situation at best, it would seem to imply that Cooper has become spiritually bisected, leaving his “good” self in the Black Lodge, while his body, possessed by killer BOB, returned to Twin Peaks.

There are many possible approaches that could be taken to this situation, as some fans theorize that the body we see possessed by BOB is actually that of Cooper’s Doppelganger, and not the original Cooper we know and love. Perhaps the Good Dale has finally escaped the Black Lodge, 25 years later, and is hunting down his Doppelganger, or perhaps he still needs to be rescued. If the body is his, and not the Doppelganger’s, then it is possible he will not be able to leave the Black Lodge until his body is returned to him. Perhaps, until that time comes, he will be exploring the various dimensions of the Lodges…

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3. Return to the Roadhouse

When the official cast list for Twin Peaks: The Return was released last year, it was obvious that the new series had enough musicians to fill their 18 episodes, and then some. These musicians include previous Lynch collaborators Julee Cruise, Chrysta Bell, and Trent Reznor, as well as some surprising newcomers like Pearl Jam frontman Eddie Vedder. While it’s not clear if these musicians are simply listed as collaborators on the soundtrack, or will be making an appearance in the show, it would be a lovely treat and in keeping with the original series to include some haunting musical performances on the stage of the Roadhouse.

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2. I’m not saying it’s aliens…

I don’t think we will ever see a spaceship in Twin Peaks. I do think further discussion of Project Blue Book, and blatant addressing of the subject of aliens, is unavoidable in order to progress certain plot elements. But Twin Peaks will never be a sci-fi story. I don’t think Mark Frost or David Lynch want to do that by any means. I don’t think we will ever hear it definitively said that the owls are alien spies, or that the Dugpas are from another planet, as some have speculated. In true enigmatic form, I think it will be left up for interpretation, and implied that the Dugpas are not spirits, or Native American gods, or extraterrestrials, but something beyond our comprehension, and far more terrifying.

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1. The Blue Rose is code for Listening Post Alpha

More than anything else, when the photos for the Entertainment Weekly photo shoot came out earlier this year, I think I was most stunned by the appearance of a blue rose, right there on the table between Audrey and Shelly. One of the enduring mysteries of Twin Peaks is that of the Blue Rose. It only appeared in FWWM, but it made a huge impression on fans. Agent Cooper refers to Teresa Banks’ murder as “one of Gordon Cole’s Blue Rose cases,” and Agent Desmond says that he can’t talk about the Blue Rose with Agent Stanley. With no further information, fans analyzed the symbol as best they could, and came up with some interesting theories. The most popular and most believable of these theories is that the Blue Rose is code for Project Blue Book, due to 1) color association, 2) apparent ties to the government, and 3) the fact that blue roses do not exist in nature, suggesting an “otherworldly” element to them. After reading The Secret History of Twin Peaks, I am convinced more than ever that this theory is very near the mark.

While the Blue Rose itself is never mentioned in The Secret History, we are given more background on Project Blue Book’s connection with the rest of the Twin Peaks mythology. It turns out that newspaper mogul Douglas Milford was, in his younger days, an agent working on Project Blue Book under then-President Richard Nixon. He was, in a manner of speaking, one of the “men in black,” appearing to investigate UFO cases, and other bizarre phenomena for the government. After Nixon’s death, Milford was spurred to create his own successor to Project Blue Book in Twin Peaks itself, known as Listening Post Alpha (LPA). He also recruited Major Garland Briggs to help him, and this is most likely the job that prompted him to so commonly quip, “That’s classified.” Milford then dies, suspected to have been murdered by his wife, possible assassin Lana Budding. He leaves Briggs a letter, philosophizing about the nature of the strange phenomena surrounding Twin Peaks, and concluding by telling Briggs to wait until his “next control arrives.”

Briggs, now in charge of LPA, believes that Agent Cooper has been sent by Gordon Cole to be his aid in these endeavors. This raises an eyebrow. Also contained in the dossier that comprises The Secret History is a list containing the names of FBI agents Cooper, Cole, Desmond, Stanley, Rosenfield, and Jeffries. The nature of this list is never revealed, but it is clearly important. Briggs and Milford must have been working with Cole on some level, otherwise there’s no reason for him to believe that Cole would “send” anyone to Briggs.

Remember how Cooper referred to the Blue Rose cases as being Cole’s? And which agents has Cole assigned to his Blue Rose cases? Agents Cooper, Desmond, Stanley, Rosenfield, and, in all probability, Jeffries. So it isn’t that big of a leap to suspect that the Blue Rose cases are linked to LPA, if not specifically code for LPA and its interests. Adding to this connection is the discovery by one sharp-eyed fan of a blue flower prop in Major Briggs’ house. While it appears to be a tulip, and not a rose, the similarities are distinctly there.

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I could of course be wrong about all of this. After all, the owls are not what they seem, and Lynch and Frost have kept us guessing from the very beginning, and the mystery they created together has lasted 27 long years. Only time will tell what truths are to be unveiled, and what mysteries are to be left uncertain forevermore.

What do you think will happen in the new series? What’s your favorite mystery from the show or the movie? How will you be celebrating the return of Twin Peaks? Post a comment below!

The Mysteries of Love: The Transformative Nature of Sex in Lynchian Cinema

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Written by Eden H. Roquelaire for Twin Peaks Freaks.

Disclaimer: Contains spoilers for Eraserhead, Blue Velvet, Mulholland Drive and Inland Empire. Also, while not graphic, this article does deal with mature themes revolving around sex, so read at your own discretion.

Anyone who has seen David Lynch’s movies knows that sex has a potent presence in each one. Sometimes, it takes the form of beautiful love scenes; other times they are grotesque and debased, but they always have a purpose. Mulholland Drive, Inland Empire, and Eraserhead all use sex during vital transformative scenes, and The Diary of Laura Palmer draws a distinct line between Laura’s sexuality and BOB’s arrival. In this article, I will analyze the use of sex and sexual imagery in each of Lynch’s films, and uncover some of the secrets behind the Mysteries of Love.

Note: I will be excluding Lost Highway and Wild At Heart from this article, as those films, I feel, require very specific and individual analysis.

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One of the oldest forms of ritual is sex: In ancient Babylon, temples dedicated to the Goddess Ishtar employed “sacred prostitutes,” who were priestesses who doubled as sex workers, and often used sex as part of their religious rituals. These women would serve as representations of the Goddess when a new King was crowned, so that he might be wed to her and receive her divine blessing. Mother Goddesses, such as Ishtar/Inanna, were usually fertility Goddesses, presiding over sex and reproduction, so it only makes sense for the worship of such deities to be sexual in nature.

Aleister Crowley, who was recently mentioned in Mark Frost’s tie-in novel The Secret History of Twin Peaks, made sexuality a large part of his doctrines and rituals, in which the energy released during copulation is used to give power to whatever spell is being cast. Nontheistic Satanist Anton LaVey, founder of the Church of Satan, placed sex in high importance in his ideology. LaVey believed that discovery of one’s sexuality, and having full control over one’s sexual power and identity (whatever it may be) was the key to having agency over one’s life, and, ultimately, finding fulfillment and success. He believed that sex and ritual was one of the most powerful ways to affect an individual’s psychology and direct energy. Sex is a powerful force, easily able to raise emotional energy, which can then be utilized through ritual.

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Sex in the Lynchian Universe is used in a similar way: It commonly heralds a moment of profound transformation, where either two characters become merged, or a character moves into a strange, alternate dimension.

Throughout the first half of Mulholland Drive, it is clear that Betty and Rita are slowly merging into one being, but it is only after they make love that they become virtually indistinguishable. After they merge, Betty and Rita are able to enter the otherworldly Club Silencio and receive the answers to the mystery. In Eraserhead, a sex scene between Henry and the neighbor immediately precedes a disjointed dream sequence; a so-called “down the rabbit hole” moment. We see the couple sinking into a smoking pit of milk, and disappearing into another world. This relates to Henry’s desire for escape from the nightmare of his life.

In Inland Empire, a particularly interesting scene is the love scene between Devon Burke and Nikki Grace, wherein they begin to slip into their alternate personae, Billy and Sue. Immediately afterwards, Nikki/Sue discovers the portal into the alternate dimension. She has undergone a ritual in which she allowed her Nikki persona to be consumed by the film persona. She was transformed into Sue, through a Sex Magick with Billy (or Devon, who thought he was Billy). A recurring motif of the film is prostitution. For the most part, in Inland Empire, this motif seems to represent sexual oppression and enslavement, as there are recurring references to rape through mind control. The prostitutes appear to be under the Phantom’s control. However, I believe they also represent various parts of Nikki/Sue’s psyche, voicing her internal dialogues and performing rituals with her, as she slowly builds up the power she needs to face the Phantom. They are the oppressed parts of Nikki’s personality, which are brought together to become stronger and eventually break the bonds placed on them by the Phantom. The dancing sequences in the film conjure up images of Pagan rituals and Faerie circles. In short, they tell us that Magick is being performed.

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Sex is a centrifugal element of the film Blue Velvet, and is the catalyst for Jeffrey Beaumont’s trip down the rabbit hole. Dorothy Valens has been transformed through the sexual abuse Frank Booth has subjected her to; he “put his disease” in her, infecting her with his violent sexual obsessions. When she and Jeffrey begin a sexual relationship, she asks Jeffrey to hit her, like Frank does. She has become so used to the abuse, that she cannot enjoy sex without it. Eventually, Jeffrey breaks down, and hits her. Later, he regrets his actions, and begins to cry in guilt. He is afraid of being turned into Frank Booth, being sucked into his darkness, ending up spiritually mutated and morally weakened. He does not want to wind up using Dorothy the way that Frank does. His salvation is the love he finds with Sandy, which goes beyond the basic lust he felt for Dorothy. And in the end, it is not through Jeffrey, or her husband, that Dorothy finds healing, but through her pure love for her son.

Blue Velvet serves, perhaps, as Lynch’s ultimate parable regarding the dichotomy between sex and love, and where the two meet. There is depraved sex, and there is sacred sex. There is selfish love, and there is pure love. Lynch has said in interviews that Frank Booth is a man in love, suggesting that his desire for Dorothy is not as black-and-white as it at first seems. It isn’t just lust that compels him, but a sick kind of love – the only way Frank can perceive it.

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“Do me a favor: Stay away from Dorothy. Don’t be a good neighbor to her anymore. Or I’ll send you a love letter, straight from my heart, fucker! Do you know what a love letter is? It’s a bullet from a fucking gun, fucker! You receive a love letter from me, and you’re fucked forever! Do you understand, fuck? I’ll send you straight to hell, fucker!”

-Frank Booth, Blue Velvet

In Lynch’s other works, sex has many different meanings, sometimes within a single film. In Twin Peaks, sex is not portrayed as bad nor good, but a facet of natural human life, though the circumstances surrounding it can be beautiful, or dire. However, a darker layer of this sexuality was hinted at even from the pilot, and as the mystery was slowly unveiled in Season 2 and Fire Walk with Me, the shadow of sexuality which loomed in the background was brought forward: A sexuality that, like Frank Booth, was all about possession, violence, and power.

The two sides of Laura’s identity are, in one way, portrayed by her dualistic relationships with James and Bobby. Her love for James is more of an idealistic, innocent love, whereas her relationship with Bobby is one of manipulation. On the same side of the coin as Bobby, though much deeper and darker, is her “relationship” with BOB; a shadowy, violent figure who Laura remains sexually attracted to in spite of the risk to her sanity and life. This lust is portrayed as a base desire, animalistic, like hunger, which drives its victims to endlessly consume, or die.

A Buddhist belief says that all acts are acts of either love or fear, and all other emotions spring from one of these two. In Twin Peaks, it is again told to use that love is the ultimate salvation, as Laura’s spirit forgives Leland, her abuser and murderer, upon his death — forgiveness, being an act of love. This is in keeping with the theme set by Blue Velvet. However, things are a little shakier in Mulholland Drive, wherein love can do nothing to save our heroines, and, in fact, pushes them closer and closer to the edge. Without going too far down the rabbit hole that is Mulholland Drive, notice the extreme differences between the two sex scenes: The first, between Betty and Rita, is tender, and very loving. The second, between Diane and Camilla, which is arguably the reality of the matter, is sleazy, with a definite tension between the two women. Diane is stricken with fear of losing Camilla, and this is what ultimately orchestrates their downfall. In a way, Diane is becoming like Frank Booth, Lynch’s prime representation of the evil that can seep into a sexual relationship — the need for dominance and power, above anything else.

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Well, that was some heavy content. If you need to lighten up, here‘s a link where you can watch Kyle MacLachlan’s Saturday Night Live monologue back in 1990. Until next time, make sure those grapefruits are freshly squeezed.

Moving Through Time: Discovering the Secret History of Twin Peaks

Written by Eden H. Roquelaire for Twin Peaks Freaks.

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The trailer for Mark Frost’s upcoming novel, The Secret History of Twin Peaks, is a journey in and of itself, starting in the distant past and working its way up to just three weeks ago. It has already presented us with some fascinating mysteries in the form of various pages. These pages give us a glimpse into the secrets in store for us. So, without further ado, let us examine these pages in more detail.

First, we are shown a photograph of a Native American man in a feathered headdress, which is our first indication the we will finally be doing more exploring into Twin Peaks’ distant past and its connection to Native history.

Two pages, seen immediately after the photo of the Native man, tell of two men, a few days’ walk from Spokane, searching for a mine full of gold with the guidance of a strange map, reportedly obtained from some “Injuns.” One of the men is called “Denver Bob,” which is abbreviated as “D.B.” This may be a reference to the infamous D. B. Cooper, who disappeared after stealing a large sum of money from a plane. The search for him, and the money he stole, became one of the most well-known mysteries of the 20th Century. Agent Dale Bartholomew Cooper was intentionally given the same initials and last name. With this in mind, “Denver Bob,” or, “D.B.,” seems an interesting amalgamation of Agent Cooper and Killer BOB. Perhaps Denver Bob will become an early vessel for Killer BOB, or perhaps he is an ancestor of the Robertsons. Perhaps both. Once these men find the mine, it may be that they find Killer BOB’s spirit dwelling there, and Denver Bob becomes possessed, and proceeds to pass the evil spirit on to his descendants, who become the Robertsons.

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The mine they are searching for may be Owl Cave, and there is a possibility that the map they are using is the same or similar to the one seen on the wall of the cave. During their search for it, the unnamed narrator mentions seeing some “strange shit.” He specifically mentions raised wooden platforms, covered in leather, some of which have decayed corpses draped on top. Perhaps these were sacrifices to the Dugpas? Or were they harvested by the Dugpas themselves?

After the cup of coffee, there is a record of a car being sold to Douglas Milford back in 1947. Of course, he eventually becomes a respected news paper publisher in Twin Peaks.

The next two pages are of greater interest. They would seem to be from Project Blue Book, and they detail reports of UFOs, including their flight patterns, shapes, and colors. After the slice of cherry pie, we see another UFO report, this time regarding the historical sighting reported by Kenneth Arnold. Arnold claimed that, in the middle of the afternoon on June 24th, 1947, near Mount Rainier, he saw 9 UFOs flying in the sky.

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Kenneth Arnold with an artist’s rendition of the craft he reportedly saw.

Next is a doctor’s report, also from 1947, on a 7-year-old patient named Margaret “Maggie” Coulson. Maggie was found in the woods, with a “seemingly unquenchable thirst,” and a mysterious mark on the back of her right knee. This patient is the Log Lady, Margaret Lanterman, as a child, and is a reference to the incident she mentions where she was taken by some force in the woods, and afterwards found a marking of three triangles on her leg.

Next is an enlistment form for the U.S. Air Force, filled out by Douglas Milford. This lends some previously unseen intrigue to his character. If he was in the Air Force, he may have worked with Major Garland Briggs. They may have both been a part of Project Blue Book, and known about the strange goings-on in Twin Peaks.

Next, we jump to 1969 via a postcard from Hollywood, which, when flipped over, turns out to be from Norma to her parents, Mr. and Mrs. Lindstrom. However, this raises an interesting question/potential plot hole, as Annie’s last name is Blackburn. Annie is Norma’s sister, and was married, so she and Norma’s parents would, presumably, have the same last name. Perhaps their mother remarried after 1969, married Mr. Blackburn, and had Annie? Turning our attention back to the post card, Norma details her trip to Hollywood with Hank, possibly on their honeymoon. She mentions seeing Johnny Carson’s show live, and seeing Sammy Davis, Jr. perform there. This could be a point of interest, or probably at least a deliberate choice on Lynch and Frost’s part, since Sammy Davis, Jr. was a major part of the seedy Hollywood underbelly that Lynch loves so much to portray.

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Sammy Davis Jr. with Michael Aquino, founder of the Temple of Set, and Anton LaVey, founder of the Church of Satan.

The final page of the trailer takes us to modern day, with a letter written by Deputy Director Gordon Cole (who was played by David Lynch) to an unknown Special Agent who has been working a case. Cole mentions the recovery of a dossier from a crime scene on July 17th, 2016 (Just a few weeks ago!), which he says has some apparent connection to Agent Cooper’s investigation of Twin Peaks back in 1989. He tells the agent that this may have some bearing on his/her case, and, because of this s/he is being given access to Agent Cooper’s files. The agent addressed by Cole is most likely the agent reportedly played by Jennifer Jason Leigh. He also expresses the great need to discover who wrote the dossier, and says to take “Code Red measures.”

It has been speculated that the new season of Twin Peaks will involve time travel, and, while this trailer far from confirms the theory, it puts forth a potential date: 1947. While other dates are shown in the trailer, 1947 pops up multiple times. Harry S. Truman was president, the Black Dahlia murder (a point of fascination for Lynch) occurred, and there were multiple UFO sightings, including the famous crash in Roswell, New Mexico, as well as the first modern report of a “Men in Black” sighting. That seems to be fertile ground for some time travel.

Thus far, it’s looking like we’ll be delving deeper into Project Blue Book, Owl Cave, and Native American lore in this book.It will be hard to wait until October to find out the rest of it!

The Owls Are Not What They Seem

Written by Eden H. Roquelaire for Twin Peaks Freaks.

THE GIANT: I will tell you three things. If I tell them to you and they come true, then will you believe me?

COOPER: Who’s that?

THE GIANT: Think of me as a friend.

COOPER: Where do you come from?

THE GIANT: The question is, where have you gone? The first thing I will tell you is: There’s a man in a smiling bag.

COOPER: A man in a smiling bag…

THE GIANT: The second thing is: The owls are not what they seem. The third thing is: Without chemicals, he points.

COOPER: What do these things mean?

THE GIANT: This is all I am permitted to say.

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The phrase, “The owls are not what they seem,” is one of the most notorious and highly debated taglines of the Twin Peaks series. While most theorists are able to come to some general consensus about the meaning behind it, not everyone is able to agree on a deeper meaning. So, the owls are not what they seem… but what exactly are they? Dugpas? Demons? Angels? Aliens? Spies? Or something else? In this article, I will delve into the various theories and examine the evidence for each one.

After the Giant relays the ominous message to Cooper, it turns up again when Major Briggs arrives at Coop’s hotel room, bearing a piece of paper containing code. The code was read by “deep space monitors,” which we later learn are actually pointed at the woods in Twin Peaks. Most of the code is “radio waves and gibberish,” except for the phrase, “The owls are not what they seem,” and Cooper’s name repeated. This message was received at roughly the same time Cooper was shot, perhaps right as he was being visited by the Giant, who also relays the message. At first, we are sort of tricked into thinking this message came from aliens in outer space. We only later on learn that these monitors were actually pointed towards Ghostwood, which some branch of the government has apparently been researching as part of Project Blue Book. This last bit of information, of course, is revealed to us during the most hectic days for the Twin Peaks writing staff, about midway through season 2, when both David Lynch and Mark Frost were interested in other projects and the remaining writers were left to patch together the rest of the path based on rough drafts, guesswork, and their own ideas. This has caused certain fans to write it off, though it remains, in fact, canonical.

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Owl-like aliens seen on the cover of Whitley Strieber’s Communion

One popular theory, and the one that fits the best with the Project Blue Book storyline, is that the owls are aliens, as is written by Whitley Strieber in his novel Communion. In this novel, the author says he struggled with suppressed memories of alien abduction, and that, before he unlocked these memories clearly, all he could remember was the image of owls staring at him through his window. He later finds that the owls are a disguise used by the aliens, ergo, they are not what they seem.

If the owls are aliens (of some sort), then the involvement of Major Briggs and Project Blue Book amidst Native American mythology and Tibetan Buddhist spirituality seems a little less inexplicable.

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Another theory is that the owls are possessed by BOB and/or other Dugpas. This theory fits the infamous image of BOB, crouched behind Laura’s bed, with an overlay of an owl face. It also nicely explains how BOB is able to learn some secrets of the townsfolk, as he would be able to spy on them in disguise. Some further supporting points can be discovered by delving into mythology and folklore, which may have been drawn upon by Mark Frost, who would commonly weave such symbols into the mythos of Twin Peaks.

At one point, MIKE refers to BOB as his “familiar.” In black magic lore, a familiar is a demon that takes the form of an animal. In this case, the demon is BOB, and the animal is an owl. Owls have commonly been associated with witches and demons, especially through the entity Lilith, who is a patroness of witches and often said to take the form of an owl, or as being a woman with legs and wings of and owl. This would make the animal a natural choice for a familiar. They seem to be BOB’s personal favorite animal to take the form of, or perhaps the only animal he can take the form of, since owls, and no other animal, are repeatedly warned against by multiple knowing sources.

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Wood cut by Hans Wechtlin

Almost every ancient culture has seen the owl as heralding misfortune and even death. They are associated with witches, graveyards and demons that lurk in the night. In Chinese folklore, owls are seen as an omen of death (as their “hoo” call sounds like the Chinese word “hu,” which means “dig,” i.e., “dig a grave”), and associated with ghosts. The Chinese also linked owls with thunder and lightning. This is significant to Twin Peaks‘s owls, due to the symbolism of electricity, heyoka, and thunderbirds of Native American folklore.

This supports the idea that the owls of Twin Peaks are spirits that spy on the townsfolk, either inhabited by BOB, other Dugpas, or being separate entities of their own. Evidence indicates that BOB utilizes the owls, or is taking the form of the owls, which also ties into the idea of him being MIKE’s familiar. One area of confusion for this theory, however, is when the Log Lady brings Cooper to the Roadhouse, telling him “we [my Log and I] don’t know what will happen or when, but there are owls in the Roadhouse.” However, BOB is not present: He is at the Palmer residence, murdering Maddy Ferguson. It should be noted that the Elderly Bellhop (one and the same with the Giant) is present, which lends credence to the idea that the owls are commonly used vessels for all Lodge spirits; not just BOB.

 

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If the owls are aliens, or if the owls are spirits, or vessels for the Dugpas, it is necessary at some point to question the distinction between each of these. According to writer Bob Engels, there were some rough ideas for Season 3 that involved the Dugpas being from a planet of creamed corn, which would make them aliens, and reinforce the Project Blue Book storyline. However, this would seem like some odd back-tracking, after the revelation that the message received from the deep space monitors came not from space, but from the woods. If this storyline is to be taken into consideration, though, it blurs the distinction between spirit and alien.

There is yet another theory that the owls are agents separate from the beings that we know, perhaps spirits of nature simply observing these events that pass through their woods. I would argue that this does little if anything for the story, and is contradicted by evidence that BOB is connected to the owls. Besides, most signs support the notion that the Dugpas are nature spirits of a kind, even if it is a darker side of nature.

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It’s most likely that no definitive answer will ever be given on the nature of Twin Peaks‘s owls, as final answers are so rarely given in Lynch’s surrealist world. There are so many theories to consider, each with their own set of compelling evidence. Which do you find to be the most convincing theory? Or do you have your own interpretation? What other mysteries from Twin Peaks still have you stumped? Let me know in the comments section below!

The Mystery of the Log and Its Lady

Written by Eden H. Roquelaire for Twin Peaks Freaks.

Warning: Contains spoilers for Twin Peaks seasons 1 and 2, and the film Fire Walk With Me.

Dedicated to the memory of Catherine E. Coulson, who lent her brilliance and uniqueness to Twin Peaks, which has effected and inspired all of us fans for decades. Rest in peace.

“Welcome to Twin Peaks. My name is Margaret Lanterman. I live in Twin Peaks. I am known as the Log Lady. There is a story behind that. There are many stories in Twin Peaks – some of them are sad, some funny. Some of them are stories of madness, of violence. Some are ordinary. Yet they all have about them a sense of mystery – the mystery of life. Sometimes, the mystery of death. The mystery of the woods. The woods surrounding Twin Peaks. To introduce this story, let me just say it encompasses the all – it is beyond the “fire”, though few would know that meaning. It is a story of many, but begins with one…”

CATHERINE E. COULSON

TWIN PEAKS – ‘Log Lady’ Gallery – Shoot Date: July 26, 1990. (Photo by ABC Photo Archives/ABC via Getty Images) CATHERINE E. COULSON

Margaret Lanterman, a.k.a. the Log Lady, is one of the most iconic characters from the series, along with Dale Cooper and Laura Palmer. She was the distributor of abstract wisdom, and had a strange connection to powerful forces. Her character is of a great importance that was never fully understood. David Lynch chose her to serve as a sort of guide to take us through Twin Peaks: Why is that? How did she obtain so much knowledge about the town and the woods? In this article, we will pay tribute to the wonderful Catherine Coulson by analyzing the character she so perfectly brought to life.

I carry a log – yes. Is it funny to you? It is not to me. Behind all things are reasons. Reasons can even explain the absurd. Do we have the time to learn the reasons behind the human being’s varied behavior? I think not. Some take the time. Are they called detectives? Watch – and see what life teaches.

When we are first introduced to the Log Lady in Twin Peaks, she is presented almost as a gimmick; something to laugh at. We learn rather quickly, as Cooper does, that this is a mistake. Margaret is a keeper of knowledge, and gives the protagonists essential clues in their mission. Her primary purpose is to serve as a link between the developed town and the spirits of untouched nature. The character is played by Catherine Coulson, who, you may know, has been a close personal friend of David Lynch’s since his film school days in the 1970s. You might not know, however, that at the time Twin Peaks was first written, the concept of the Log Lady was not a new one to Lynch: As early as the 70s, he had planned to make a series called I’ll Test My Log with Every Branch of Knowledge. The character was written for Coulson, who Lynch met while working on Eraserhead.

“I had this idea during Eraserhead that I described to her and Jack (Nance) and and whoever would listen. And it was called I’ll Test My Log with Every Branch of Knowledge! It’s a half-hour television show starring Catherine as the lady with the log. Her husband has been killed in a forest fire and his ashes are on the mantelpiece, with his pipes and his sock hat. He was a woodsman. But the fireplace is completely boarded up. Because she now is very afraid of fire. And she has a small child, but she doesn’t drive, so she takes cabs. And each show would start with her making a phone call to some expert in one of the many fields of knowledge. Maybe on this particular day she calls a dentist, but she makes the appointment for her log. And the log goes in the dental chair and gets a little bib and chain and the dentist X-rays the log for cavities, goes through the whole thing, and the son is also there. Because she is teaching her son through his observations of what the log is going through. And then sometimes they go to a diner and they never get to where they’re going.”

-David Lynch (Source: Lynch On Lynch)

Right away, from this synopsis, we can see the connection between the Log Lady and obscure knowledge, told in strange ways. But what is the truth behind the Log Lady? Why does she carry a log in the first place? Why does the log seem to communicate with her? And how? And what is the point of her transmitting these obscure clues to people?

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So, let’s begin taking our closer look into Margaret, a.k.a. the Log Lady. She clearly knows more than we know:

I grew up in the woods. I understand many things because of the woods.

So right away, we get the idea that she has lived in Twin Peaks for all of her life, at least since she was a little girl. Through her extensive experience with it, she formed a sort of intimacy with the woods, and learned some of its secrets. However, she also says that there are many things she “mustn’t say,” and then directs the viewers’ attention to the fact that her fire place is boarded up, so there will never be a fire in there. Of course, fire, in Twin Peaks, is virtually synonymous with BOB. So just what did she learn from the woods? Perhaps she was privy to the comings and goings of Dugpas? Did she maybe meet BOB? We aren’t given any real evidence that she did, but her husband most likely has.

The Log Lady explains, in bits and pieces, how her husband, a logger, was killed in a fire in the woods the day after their wedding. It was “not a friendly fire.” Because of this, she has a deep fear of fire. She says that “fire is the devil, hiding like a coward in the smoke.” One night, before his death, her husband brought a jar of scorched engine oil, and told her it was “an opening to a gateway.” He may have gotten this from the woods, or he may have been taking it to the woods, instead. Either way, whatever he was doing with the oil must have been what triggered his meeting with “the devil.” Most likely, he was trying to open the gateway to the Black Lodge, for whatever reason, and seems to have succeeded. From the Lodge came BOB, who killed the logger with fire.

It may be that after his death, the Log Lady’s husband became trapped in the Black Lodge, or otherwise entered this realm in spirit form. A popular theory says that he is one of the lumberjacks seen above the convenience store in Fire Walk With Me.

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The lumberjack (played by Jurgen Prochnow) seen above the convenience store with BOB, Mrs. Chalfont, and the Man from Another Place. Is this the Log Lady’s husband?

If this is the Log Lady’s husband, it suggests some intriguing things: Firstly, it implies that he plays a larger role than we might suspect. Rather than being a hapless logger who was in the wrong place at the wrong time, he could be a wise man or even an occultist with great knowledge of the woods and the goings on therein. Most likely, his meeting with BOB was intentional. Could he have been attempting to make a pact with the Lodge beings, similar to what Windom Earle was attempting? Only, perhaps he wasn’t planning on making this pact for evil, as Earle was planning on doing. Perhaps he wanted to deal with the Lodge beings in order to learn more about them, and use that information positively.

Another common theory is that the Log Lady’s husband is inside the log that she carries. When you consider the fate Josie met at the hands of BOB, this makes a lot of sense. It seems that in Twin Peaks, wood can be used as a receptacle for spirits. Notice the name of an important patch of woods in town: Ghostwood. That about sums it up, doesn’t it? If we know that Josie was trapped in the wood of the Great Northern Hotel after being murdered by BOB, it only seems reasonable to conclude that the Log Lady’s husband could have become trapped in the wood of a nearby tree. Likely, BOB came upon him in the forest, while he was chopping wood, killed him, and perhaps trapped his spirit in one of the logs that was left behind. The Log Lady, having a deep connection to the woods, was able to sense this, and took the log with her. Through it, he is able to psychically communicate with her, providing her with crucial information, which she passes on to the appropriate source.

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Another interesting connection is between Margaret and Major Briggs. Both seem to have been abducted by aliens/angels/beings from the White Lodge, and left with interlocking symbols on their skin. This implies that Margaret, her husband (through the log), and Major Briggs are being used as agents by the White Lodge: The log (Margaret’s husband) tells Margaret to tell Briggs to deliver the message he received from the deep space monitors, which is a warning to Agent Cooper (“The owls are not what they seem”). This would make all of them agents of good, influenced and aided by the White Lodge.

As for the markings or “tattoos” left on the Log Lady and the Major, it would seem that they, too, are meant as clues, to help lead Cooper (or another agent of good) to the map within Owl Cave, and in turn give them the location of the opening to the Lodges.

An interesting point of note is Margaret’s surname: Lanterman. It sounds similar to “lantern,” implying illumination; someone who lights the way.

Margaret’s dwelling place in her cabin in the woods made her an excellent person to keep watch over anything taking place there: The actions of the Dugpas, the movements of the owls, and other strange phenomena. Perhaps she had experiences similar to Leland’s as a child, and this began her lifelong connection to the nature spirits around her. Through this, she was able to achieve her own kind of zen, and learn many secrets. However, she could not pass on all of these secrets, as not all knowledge is meant to be passed on at once. After all, a path is formed by laying one stone at a time.

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Notice the little cabin built from tooth picks by Margaret’s right hand.

Margaret seems to have been chosen by the White Lodge, through her close relationship with the woods. Both she and her husband developed a deep connection and understanding of the woods and the spirits that dwell there, and, in turn, the woods and the spirits became familiar with the two of them. Perhaps the White Lodge spirits sensed a purity of heart in Margaret and her husband, and that is why they were “chosen” to help act against BOB. Margaret understands the dangers of the owls, the power of nature, and the terror BOB’s fire. This made her a powerful agent of good for the White Lodge, and a valuable ally of Cooper’s. Her participation will be sorely missed in the new season, but her presence will continue to be felt in Twin Peaks.

“There is a sadness in this world, for we are ignorant of many things. Yes, we are ignorant of many beautiful things – things like the truth. So sadness, in our ignorance, is very real. The tears are real. What is this thing called a tear? There are even tiny ducts – tear ducts – to produce these tears should the sadness occur. Then the day when the sadness comes – then we ask: ‘Will this sadness which makes me cry – will this sadness that makes my heart cry out – will it ever end? The answer, of course, is yes. One day the sadness will end.”

-Margaret Lanterman, the Log Lady

Trapped Between Two Worlds: The Mystery of Deer Meadow

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Written by Eden H. Roquelaire for Twin Peaks Freaks.

Disclaimer: This article contains spoilers for Twin Peaks and Fire Walk With Me.

One of the main complaints any die-hard Twin Peaks fan might have against Fire Walk With Me is that much of it does not take place in our beloved town. Instead, the entire Teresa Banks investigation occurs in a strange, hostile place called Deer Meadow. Despite the pleasant and peaceful image this name might conjure up, Deer Meadow is a rather ugly place, filled with unfriendly townspeople. One could say it is the evil Doppelganger of Twin Peaks itself.

But why is Deer Meadow the way it is? In this article, I will analyze the town, its residents, and the rich symbolism that litters it, hopefully shedding some light on what is going on there.

First, let’s take a look at the diner, Hap’s. There is so much symbolism here, it’s difficult to know where to begin. Hap’s, of course, serves as the Doppelganger of the Double R Diner, making (the late) Hap and Irene potential parallels to Hank and Norma, and Jack, the man Agents Desmond and Stanley talk to, could parallel Ed.

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First notice the neon sign outside of Hap’s: It’s a clown face, which ties into the clown (or Sacred Clown) symbolism of Twin Peaks, as well as the recurring motif of electricity. One side of the clown’s face is burnt out, suggesting dualism. It also looks like tears might be falling from the clown’s face. This image reminds me of Laura, trapped in what Lynch refers to as the “suffocating rubber clown suit,” living the party girl life, acting like she’s happy, while in reality, she is being split in two, and inside she is crying.

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When the agents enter the diner, they go to the back room, where there’s an electrician working on a lamp, which is sparking dangerously. In a version of the script, Stanley asks Desmond about why there was someone working on a lamp in Hap’s Diner, and Desmond replies that it is due to faulty wiring. Of course, electricity, in the film, is connected to the Dugpas and, therefore, the Black Lodge as well. Notice also the odd, door-like recess in the wall: This implies an opening to the Lodge is present, or perhaps used to be. Sitting in the “doorway” is a man, possibly a lumberjack. He looks remarkably similar to the Jurgen Prochnow lumberjack seen above the convenience store. If this was intentional, it would imply that there is some interference here from denizens of the Black Lodge.

The agents speak to Jack, presumably the manager of Hap’s Diner (since Hap is dead, good and dead). Jack’s name tag reads, “Say Hello Goodbye, My Name is Jack.” He doesn’t seem to know much of anything about Teresa, and instead directs them to ask Irene. He warns the agents: “Now, her name is Irene, and it is night. Don’t take it any farther than that. No good will come of it.” This is, of course, a reference to the folk song, “Goodnight, Irene.” This reference also comes up in Mulholland Drive, which infamously takes place inside a dream (this is reminiscent of Philip Jeffries’ declaration that “we live inside a dream”), and features an elderly woman named Irene.

In the background, we can see some interesting decor. One item of interest is a tree stump, with two chainsaws sticking out of it (one red, one yellow). Wood and lumberjacks are two recurring motifs in Twin Peaks, especially as we are shown that spirits can reside in wood. The chainsaws suggest the act of cutting. Perhaps this is a place where spirits can cut through, into another dimension? Also, notice the big fish mounted on the wall here. It looks to be a bass, but it could be meant as a reference to Fat Trout Trailer Park. It could also be connected to Lynch’s concept of “catching the big fish,” which means (roughly) searching for profound truths or ideas. In a sense, the agents are looking to catch the big fish by looking for the answer to this intricate mystery.

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Then there’s a highly disputed scene: A middle-aged man sitting in the diner gets the agents’ attention, asking, “Are you talking about that little girl that was murdered?” When prompted, the man doesn’t have any pertinent information to offer the agents. Sitting with him is a young woman, who says something to him in what seems to be French. It’s hotly debated among fans what she says, although the most common consensus is that she is saying, “Nighttime is the right time.” This could be a prompt to her companion, telling him to wait until night for something. Whatever she means, the significance of nighttime in Twin Peaks is well-known, as all of BOB’s killings take place during the night. This could be when the Dugpa always strike. After the agents speak again with Irene, the man repeats the line: “Are you talking about that little girl that was murdered?” This could have many interpretations:

One idea is that it has to do with the murder of a “little girl” happening twice: Laura and Teresa. It could also have to do with the distortion of time associated with the Black Lodge. If there is a portal to the Black Lodge nearby, perhaps even within the diner itself, this pair could actually be Dugpas. For whatever reason, Desmond doesn’t want to interview either of them, and no one really acknowledges the French woman.

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From Hap’s Diner, let’s visit the Sheriff’s station briefly. Here we see more parallels: Deputy Cliff is a reflection of Deputy Andy, the giggling secretary is Lucy, and Sheriff Cable is Sheriff Truman. The name “Cable” could be interpreted literally as referring to an electric cable, making it another symbol of electricity. On the wall of the Sheriff’s office is a large saw: Another symbol of cutting, as in, “cutting through.”

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Next, let’s take a trip to Fat Trout Trailer Park. This is another interesting and very important place. The people here seem harassed, afraid, and disoriented, almost as if they have just woken from a long and terrible nightmare. The superintendent, Carl Rodd (Harry Dean Stanton), has most likely had his run-ins with the Black Lodge.

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Mr. Rodd is a fascinating fellow. He seems to be having strange nightmares, which might be robbing him of good sleep (needing to sleep in might be a reason he doesn’t wish to be disturbed before 9am). He appears reluctant to leave his trailer or interact with the tenants. They have left many notes on his door, but he never seems to bother reading them. He is haggard, and there is a band-aid covering some unidentified injury on his forehead. As we’ll discuss momentarily, he might know a little more than he lets on.

Then there is the woman with the ice pack, who wanders into Teresa’s trailer while the agents are investigating it. I would like to note here that in an early draft of the script, this woman was leading Deputy Cliff to where the agents were. It could be that, originally, she had the ice pack because Deputy Cliff assaulted her to get information on the agents (it’s already established that the law enforcement in Deer Meadow is not well-liked by the townsfolk; this could be why). However, it is curious that, once the scene with Deputy Cliff was removed, Lynch and Frost would choose to leave in the scene of the woman with the ice pack, with seemingly no explanation. I believe that, in this new version, it is meant to be inferred that the woman has also been having experiences with the Black Lodge, possibly even BOB himself, and this is the cause of her injuries.

After seeing her, Mr. Rodd is noticeably disturbed. His eyes tear up, and he takes a nervous drag on his cigarette. He seems to think about the electrical pole, the one with the number “6” on it, just outside the trailer. He looks at Agent Desmond, and after much fruitless stuttering, he says,

“See, I’ve already gone places. I just want to stay where I am.”

He looks to Agent Desmond as if hoping he understands his meaning. He doesn’t want to explicitly state what he means, perhaps for fear of being thought of as crazy. Some people believe he means that he has spent time in jail or prison, and doesn’t want to go back. Perhaps he fears being accused of Teresa’s murder. However, this doesn’t completely fit. Why would the woman with the ice pack generate a fear of prison in Mr. Rodd? Why the shot of the pole, traveling up towards the electrical wiring? It would make more sense if Mr. Rodd is referring to having visited the Black Lodge.

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Mr. Rodd knows that strange things are happening in the trailer park. Strange beings appearing out of nowhere and attacking residents, electrical disturbances, voices heard out of thin air, bizarre dreams haunting the people in the trailer park, normal people suddenly acting strangely, perhaps other tenants that have disappeared. However, being a very simple man, he doesn’t understand any of this. He only knows what he’s seen, but fears that he is going crazy. He doesn’t want to tell anyone, because a) they might think he’s crazy, or b) it would mean having to acknowledge what is happening, which might mean confronting it, which would cause more trouble for him. Instead, he hides in his trailer and tries to ignore the bizarre nightmares and upset tenants. He has probably accidentally stumbled into the Black Lodge at some point, either in a dream or through a portal in waking life. The experience terrified him. He’s afraid of getting trapped there; he just wants to stay where he is.

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Also in an early draft of the script, Mr. Rodd says that he was having a dream of “a joke with no punchline.” Almost immediately afterwards, Desmond and Stanley discuss Deputy Cliff and refer to him as “a clown.” This ties in with the Sacred Clown symbolism that proliferates the movie. Essentially, the symbolism says that the Dugpas are (or are related to) Native American trickster spirits which sometimes use clowning to impart important knowledge to humans, but sometimes also just cause chaos for fun. This is yet another tie between the trailer park and the Dugpas. I would also like to make a brief observation in regards to Mr. Rodd’s name, which always made me think of a conducting rod. Could be another connection to electricity in the film.

And then, of course, there are the Chalfonts. Now, the Chalfonts are, presumably, the Tremonds. They are described as being a woman and her grandson, and they once again have a French surname. As we know from Twin Peaks the series, they are not humans. They seem to be spirits from one of the Lodges, acting in a manner similar to the Man From Another Place and the Giant: Appearing to humans and giving them clues to “help” them catch BOB. (Whether or not they are truly “helping” is a tricky question we will have to save for another article.) We also see a pattern in their behavior: They occupy a space, and take the last name of the people who live there, or used to live there, causing some confusion. Before, they seemed to change reality itself, altering the interior of the home of the real Mrs. Tremond and placing a fake order to Meals on Wheels the lure Donna there. This time, they seem to have waited for the real Chalfonts to vacate their space at the trailer park, then taken their own trailer to occupy that space. These spirits seem to only appear when someone is about to die. They appear to Laura in a dream shortly before her death, then they appear to Donna before Harold Smith commits suicide, and finally they turn up in Teresa Banks’s trailer park before her death. They may simply be appearing to predict a death, as with Harold’s, or they may actually aid in facilitating it, as they seem to have a suspicious level of involvement with both Laura and Teresa around the times of their murders. Or, perhaps they are chasing BOB?

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Later, Agent Desmond returns to the trailer park to see Deputy Cliff’s trailer, suspecting the corrupt deputy of having Teresa’s ring, but instead diverts his path. While looking at the electrical pole with the number “6” on it, he hears the Indian whooping call on the wind. He turns around and sees a trailer with its lights on, and heads over. He knocks on its door, but no one answers. Underneath the trailer is a pile of dirt and Teresa Banks’s ring: The one with the green stone and the Owl Cave symbol on it. Desmond reaches for the ring, and disappears.

When Cooper visits the trailer park later, he feels compelled to walk over to an empty space. This is where Desmond disappeared; now, the trailer is gone. We learn that this space was owned by the Chalfonts, which further links the trailer park with the Black Lodge. The space left by the vacant trailer seems to be soaked with engine oil: similar to the entrance to the Black Lodge found in Glastonberry Grove. A glance at Agent Desmond’s car reveals the words “Let’s Rock” have been written in red across the windshield. Of course, these are the first words spoken to Agent Cooper by the Man From Another Place. This would seem to confirm that Desmond has disappeared into the Black Lodge.

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But why is all this happening here?

Deer Meadow is riddled with portals to the Black Lodge. There are Dugpas all over the town, mostly unnoticed by residents. However, the trailer park seems to be a hotspot for attacks, particularly near the telephone pole bearing the number “6.” It would make sense that BOB, having had a fixation on Teresa, frequented this area, probably harassing her neighbors at the trailer park.

We’ve seen how much of Deer Meadow is a parallel of the more familiar town of Twin Peaks, and there may be a deeper reason for this than we at first suspect. Deer Meadow represents the dismal bitterness and distrustful nature that Twin Peaks itself might descend into as a result of its victimization by the denizens of the Black Lodge. After many years of torment, nightmares, and living in fear, one could imagine that even a town as idyllic as Twin Peaks could become a grim place, broken by crippling fear, and sacrificing its innocence to suspicion, cruelty and criminal behavior.

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Throughout the TV series, we fear our beloved town will fall prey to its dark side: Corrupt business men, drug dealers and pimps all populate the shadows of Twin Peaks. There is a battle, both literally and figuratively, between the light and the dark. Deer Meadow is a town that has been overcome by the darkness.