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.

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Mulholland Drive: Dream a Little Dream of Me

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Written by Eden H. Roquelaire for Twin Peaks Freaks.

Disclaimer: This article contains spoilers for Mulholland Drive.

This is the second part in my Mulholland Drive series. In the first part, “Scream Blue Murder,” we examined the mystery of the Blue Box and Key, and analyzed the use of the color blue in the film. In this edition, we are going to take a look at the first Winkie’s Diner sequence, Dan’s dream, and the Man Behind Winkie’s.

“I had a dream about this place.”

“Oh, boy…”

“See what I mean?”

Perhaps one of the most enigmatic scenes from the mysterious Mulholland Drive is the first scene at Winkie’s Diner, wherein a man named Dan tells his companion Herb about a strange dream her had. We are given no explanation as to who Dan and Herb are or how they know each other. Herb never appears in the film again, and Dan only appears once and very briefly in the last half hour of the film, and has no dialogue. So who are these characters, and why are we treated to this scene, before we are even introduced to our heroine, Betty? What do they have to do with the main story?

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What may at first seem like a tangent may, upon closer inspection, turn out to have more relevance than we realize. First off, it tells us of the importance of dreams, and the idea that dreams and waking life are not so far removed from each other. It immediately makes us question the reality of these events, and whether what we see is really happening or not.

With that said, let’s examine what Dan says about his all-important dream:

Well… it’s the second one I’ve had, but they were both the same… They start out that I’m in here but it’s not day or night. It’s kinda half night, but it looks just like this except for the light, but I’m scared like I can’t tell ya. Of all people you’re standing right over there by that counter. You’re in both dreams and you’re scared. I get even more frightened when I see how afraid you are and then I realize what it is – there’s a man… in back of this place. He’s the one… he’s the one that’s doing it. I can see him through the wall. I can see his face. I hope I never see that face ever outside a dream.

-Dan, Mulholland Drive

Firstly, Dan says that he has had two identical dreams: This is, of course, a reference to classic Lynchian duality, exemplified beautifully in this film. It is also a reference to the actual dream that the movie portrays, and seems to imply that there are two dreams. We will revisit this possibility later. He describes the dream as taking place during “not day or night… kinda half night.” I don’t have a definitive answer for this, but I have a few ideas. Dan seems adamant about the importance of the quality of the light, to the point where he mentions it three times. This could connect to a much later scene, when Adam and Camilla are kissing onset, and Adam yells, “Kill the lights.” Diane stares on in silent rage as the lights fade. Also, the set is depicting a city at night, so, in a sense, it is portraying a false night… not day, or night.

He seems, oddly, to be surprised at Herb’s presence in his dream. “Of all people, you’re standing right over there, by that counter.” We aren’t given any information on Herb’s relationship with Dan, so we can’t do anything more than guess at why his presence would be perceived as surprising to Dan. Near the end of the film, we actually see Dan, not Herb, standing at the counter, while Diane is placing the hit on Camilla. This clues us in on the importance of Dan’s dream in the scheme of the film.

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Both Dan and Herb are afraid, for no reason that is explicitly given. Somehow, their fear is connected to the Man Behind Winkie’s. He’s doing something that is causing their fear. But what exactly is he doing, and why does it make Dan and Herb so afraid? Dan somehow perceives the Man Behind Winkie’s through the wall (either of the restaurant, or the wall by the dumpster), and his face disturbs Dan so deeply that he falls short in describing it. He says only, “I hope I never see that face outside of a dream.”

This feeling of dread, this “godawful feeling,” has followed Dan around ever since having these dreams. He is so nervous, he could not eat his breakfast. Herb prompts Dan to come with him to see if the Man is really back there. He gets up and goes to the counter, exactly where he is standing in Dan’s dream. Dan’s anxiety increases when he notices this, but he finally gets up and leads Herb outside the diner, despite his sense of dread.

As the two walk to the back of the diner, notice the two things Dan looks at: The “Entrance” sign, and the pay phone. This is exactly where Betty and Rita go to make the anonymous call to the police about the car crash. Lynch takes the trouble to show us the entrance sign again during the Betty and Rita scene. This further ties Dan’s experience with Betty/Diane. Dan then descends the stairs (you can read this as him descending into the subconscious) and he and Herb make their way towards the dumpster. To his horror, the “Man” from his dream drifts out from behind the dumpster. Dan collapses in shock (according to the script, it says he dies). Herb catches him, calling his name, seemingly unaware of the “Man.” Take note of the ringing that almost blots out Herb’s voice. We’ll get back to that.

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Even though we are led to believe that what we just saw takes place in reality, it is in fact, a dream. It takes place just after we see Rita going to sleep, and ends roughly a minute before we see Betty arrive at LAX (there is a short scene in between: The phone call chain, but to me this always seemed to be a precursor to Betty’s arrival). Everything we’ve seen since Diane’s head hits the pillow in the beginning of the film has been a dream. This scene with Dan and Herb is a cipher, put in place to help us decode the rest of the dream that makes up Mulholland Drive.

Let’s go ahead and answer the inevitable question now: Whose dream is it? It’s Diane’s. Despite the fact that the scene is preceded immediately by Rita/Camilla going to sleep, I believe all signs point to this being Diane’s dream. (Besides, according to my theory, Rita is just another projection of Diane, melded with Camilla, but I’ll have to address that in another article.)

Diane is dreaming about two men she noticed sitting behind her once at Winkie’s. From looking at a map of the tables at Winkie’s (put together by Lost on Mulholland Drive), we can guess that in waking life, Diane sat at the table next to these men, perhaps more than once, or perhaps just that one, all-important time, when she put the hit on Camilla. Diane notices Dan standing at the cash register. He happens to be looking back at her. Perhaps she feared he knew what she was up to? Had he possibly overheard from the next booth? She probably associates feelings of guilt with Dan because of this. Remember Dan’s words,

…then I realize what it is – there’s a man… in back of this place. He’s the one… he’s the one that’s doing it.

The one who’s doing what? Something nefarious, apparently. Like, maybe plotting murder? Of course, Diane isn’t a man, but then…. neither is the “man” behind Winkie’s.

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The “Man” behind Winkie’s is played by Bonnie Aarons, who, you may notice, is a woman. This strengthens my assertion that the WOMAN behind Winkie’s is a representation of Diane: How she feels, her guilt, her depression, her anger, jealousy, bitterness… all the things that being in Hollywood did to her. Lynch was adamant about being able to see Aarons’ green eyes. Of course, green eyes is a metaphor for jealousy. We see, many, many times in the last half hour of the film, Diane’s face, burning with jealousy. The dirt and grime on her face represents how “dirty” Diane feels, having gone through routine humiliation, until, eventually, she committed one of the ultimate acts of evil: Murder. She feels like she is a monster. She feels ugly inside, guilty for having had a human being she loved murdered. She can’t stand to look at her own face (“I never want to see that face outside of a dream…”)

But when is Diane ever behind Winkie’s? Well, she isn’t… except maybe when she was working as a prostitute.

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A common theory is that in order to pay bills while struggling to rise as a star in Hollywood, Diane took a job waiting tables at Winkie’s. We even see one of the Winkie’s coffee mugs on Diane’s table at her apartment. Did she steal that for work? Perhaps so. Perhaps she got caught, and was fired. Either way, Diane seems to have turned to prostitution, at some point. It is believed that the blond woman visited by the hitman is a representation of this period of Diane’s life.

Why is the Man behind Winkie’s described as a man? I admittedly don’t have a definitive theory on this. It’s plausible that Lynch wrote the part before casting a woman, and the name for the character just stuck. An alternative is that the use of the word “Man” as opposed to “Woman” has to do with Diane projecting her failures onto some shadowy conspirators controlling Hollywood, i.e., Mr Roq. So “The Man Behind Winkie’s” is a reference “the Man behind (controlling) Hollywood.” He’s the one who’s doing it; who’s making all these awful things happen to Diane. In her mind, it was all some grand conspiracy to keep her out of the Hollywood Elite.

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It’s no secret that David Lynch loves dualism. In every one of his works, you can find some instance of it, and Mulholland Drive is a prime example. Characters, objects and scenes all have doppelgangers, which help us to decipher the meaning behind them. The Winkie’s Diner scene has a doppelganger, but it’s not what you may expect: It’s the scene where Betty and Rita are investigating Diane Selwyn’s apartment. Let’s examine this scene in a new light:

Rita is shaken when she notices two people sitting in a car, apparently staking out the apartment complex. She and Betty duck to avoid detection, as Rita fears these men are looking for her, perhaps to finish the job. She and Betty exit the taxi, and begin to walk around the complex. They spot a suited man waiting outside one of the bungalows, and the two women hide behind a hedge. Betty comments to Rita, “Now you’ve got me scared.” This mirrors Dan’s words to Herb: “I get even more frightened when I see how afraid you are.” This is another connection between Betty/Diane and Dan.

Eventually Betty and Rita find the apartment they’re looking for, only to find out that Diane isn’t living there anymore. The new resident, a woman who looks oddly similar to Rita, grudgingly explains that she switched apartments with Diane. She says that Diane hasn’t been around for a while, and says she’ll come with them to the apartment. However, she is delayed by the ringing of the telephone, and while she is distracted, Diane and Rita go off to find Diane’s apartment. Betty knocks, but there’s no answer, so she breaks in through a window, and lets Rita in through the front door. It’s immediately clear from Betty’s expression that something is wrong: The apartment is permeated by an undeniable stench.

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The two women venture cautiously into the apartment. Compare this to the scene of Dan and Herb walking out behind Winkie’s. Like Dan, the women are filled with an obvious dread, and move slowly. Also like Dan, Betty’s eyes move around frequently, examining her surroundings (recall how Dan stared at the entrance sign, the pay phone, and the railing). They both seem to want to look at anything but what is ahead of them. Then, Betty and Rita enter the bed room, and find a corpse lying in the bed.When Rita sees her face, she screams in horror. Her reaction is very similar to Dan’s reaction to seeing the Man Behind Winkie’s. Dan collapses, dead from terror, and Herb catches him, calling his name. When Rita (who represents a dead person) screams, Betty grabs her and covers her mouth. Though not identical, the similarities are clear.

At this point, the neighbor woman has arrived at the front door to the bungalow, and is knocking while Betty smothers Rita’s screams. We don’t hear the neighbor call Diane’s name, but one theory says that this is leaking into Diane’s dream from waking life: As she is sleeping, her neighbor is knocking on her door, calling to her. “Diane,” muffled by her unconscious state, sounds slurred, and becomes “Dan.” This is why, in the Dan and Herb scene, Herb’s voice is almost completely blotted out by a ringing sound.

Both the corpse in the bed and the Man Behind Winkie’s can be construed as representations of Diane’s suicidal thoughts and feelings as she is hitting rock bottom. At this point, to her, there is no life, no chance of happiness. It’s all over. Hollywood killed the person she was, and the person she wanted to be. Now there is only a sad shadow of Diane Selwyn left, and so, to her, her death is as real as if it had already happened. This is the reason for Betty being able to see her own corpse, before she has died.

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Analyzing the scene between Dan and Herb provides us with a bounty of keys to help unlock the mysteries of the film. Upon deeper analysis, what at first may have seemed like a tangent that, despite its intriguing elements, had very little to do with the actual movie, now comes across as a pivotal tool to deciphering much of the film. Dan has a certain kind of importance to Diane, as she associates him with her feelings of guilt in the moment she saw him, hence his presence in her dream. Whether or not Herb actually existed is less clear, as is his relationship with Dan, or his purpose in the narrative, other than being someone for Dan to talk to. Some theorize he represents Camilla, and there are a couple of parallels. However, when deciphering Mulholland Drive, it is important to remember that many things were intended to be elaborated upon over the course of the initially planned TV series, and many story-lines were cut when the pilot was turned into a feature film. Had the series progressed, we would have seen more of Wilkins, the Black Book, and perhaps Dan and Herb as well. As it stands, we can only speculate…

That is all for now. Please stay tuned for the next installment of my Mulholland Drive series, and, in the meantime, share your own theories about this scene in the comments. Who or what do you think Herb represents? What is the importance of the reference to the light in Dan’s dream? What does the Man Behind Winkie’s represent?

UPDATE: (3/5/2016)

I have amended my theory on whose dream Mulholland Drive is, based on Dan’s description of his dream.

“It’s the second one I’ve had, but they’re both the same.”

This line holds more importance than we may at first think, as it answers the hotly debated question: Whose dream is it? The answer is, it’s both Diane’s and Camilla’s. Remember in Twin Peaks, when Laura Palmer and Agent Cooper share a dream, but at different times? The same principle is at work here. Mulholland Drive is one dream that happens twice: Once for Camilla, and once for Diane. This would actually strengthen the idea that Mulholland Drive is actually a near-death experience, as both women die, and it is unclear when exactly this dream could have taken place, as various clues and symbols seem to imply that it happens after both women’s deaths.

In the diner scene, Dan says that he has had two dreams, but it is arguable that this scene is not a dream itself, which may shake the veracity of this theory. However, it is my belief that, starting with Fire Walk with Me, virtually every Lynch film has had a key scene placed near the beginning to help decode the rest of the movie. In Fire Walk with Me, the two agents analyze Lil the Dancing Girl. In Lost Highway, the Mystery Man drops some clues to Fred. In Inland Empire, Nikki’s new neighbor tells her a mysterious folk tale. All of these scenes hold obscure importance that connects to many points later on in the film. This is the purpose of the first diner scene in Mulholland Drive, whether it is a dream inside a dream or not. Through Dan, Lynch is telling us important things about the story we are about to experience, and any attempt that deciphering the film should pay the strictest attention to these clues.

Diane and Camilla have the same dream, but at different times, just as Cooper and Laura did in Twin Peaks. Both women’s psyches are influencing each other, although the bulk of the story is influenced by Diane. This, however, explains inconsistencies and otherwise inexplicable elements in the dream half of the film. We see, towards the end of the dream sequence, the two women becoming virtually the same, just like the two dreams.

AGENT COOPER: Laura and I had the same dream.

ANDY: But that’s impossible.

AGENT COOPER: Yes. It is.