Drink Full and Descend: The Secrets Revealed in Part 8 and What They Mean

Kyle MacLachlan in a still from Twin Peaks. Photo: Suzanne Tenner/SHOWTIME

Written by Eden H. Roquelaire for Twin Peaks Freaks.

Disclaimer: Contains spoilers for Twin Peaks: The Return Parts 1 – 8.

Since the airing of Part 8, the episode has proved to be the most divisive one yet among fans, with some citing it as the most revolutionary thing to air on network television, with others dismissing it as arbitrary nonsense. For those looking to delve deeper into the mysteries and coded messages of this episode, you’ve come to the right place. Let’s take this journey together, and see if we can’t make some sense of things.

01

The episode begins where the last episode left off, with Doppelganger Cooper riding in the car with Ray Monroe driving. They dispose of a police tracking device, DoppelCoop lies and says that Darya is waiting for them, tells Ray they should go to a place called “The Farm,” and they drive off the highway to a secluded area. DoppelCoop gets out a pistol with the intention of killing Ray, but Warden Murphy, who had the pistol placed in the glove compartment as part of their deal, has double crossed him, removing the firing pin from DoppelCoop’s gun. Ray pulls out a gun of his own and shoots DoppelCoop, who falls to the ground, fatally wounded. A fog appears, and out of the darkness emerges the soot-covered woodmen we’ve seen in the South Dakota murder mystery. Some begin dancing in a manner reminiscent of the Jumping Man from Fire Walk With Me and some begin pawing at DoppelCoop, digging through his guts and smearing his face with blood. They eventually pull a tumor with BOB’s face on it out of DoppelCoop’s stomach. It’s pretty safe to say this represents BOB himself, the “inhabiting spirit,” living like a parasite within his host. I don’t think he’s a literal tumor inside his vessels, but this is how it manifests to the terrified Ray, who watches, paralyzed with fear. Eventually he summons the strength to run to his car and drive off. The fog disperses.

Ray leaves a voicemail for Philip Jeffries (or who he thinks is Philip Jeffries). His speech is slurred with fear, and I had a hard time understanding, so I took the trouble of transcribing it for anyone who might need help.

“Philip? It’s Ray. Uh… I think he’s dead. But, he’s found some kind of help, so, I’m not a hundred percent. And I, and I, uh… I saw something in Cooper. It may be the key to what this is all about. …Yeah, I told him where I’m going, so if he comes after me, I’ll get him there.”

02

We then cut to the Roadhouse, where an Emcee introduces “The” Nine Inch Nails (I’ve been a fan of them for over ten years and I’ve never heard them referred to as “THE” Nine Inch Nails, so I’m wondering if this was a mistake by the Emcee). The lyrics are from a song written back in 2016 for their album Not The Actual Events,  so it’s possible it was written for The Return, as Reznor’s involvement had been announced by then. I love his performance here, because it seems animalistic and reminds me of the Jumping Man a little bit.

As with all of the band performances so far in the show, the lyrics seem to relate to occurrences in the episode. Here they are, for reference:

You dig in places till your fingers bleed
Spread the infection, where you spill your seed
I can’t remember what she came here for
I can’t remember much of anything anymore
She’s gone, she’s gone, she’s gone away
She’s gone, she’s gone, she’s gone away
Away
Away
A little mouth opened up inside
Yeah, I was watching on the day she died
We keep licking while the skin turns black
Cut along the length, but you can’t get the feeling back
She’s gone, she’s gone, she’s gone away
She’s gone, she’s gone, she’s gone away
She’s gone, she’s gone, she’s gone away
She’s gone, she’s gone, she’s gone away
Away
Away
Away
Away
(Are you still here?)
-Nine Inch Nails, “She’s Gone Away”

I’ll get back to these lyrics as the episode unfolds, but we’ll say for now that this is a dead on description of the relationship between Laura and BOB. Returning to the episode, we see the supposedly dead DoppelCoop suddenly sit up and open his eyes. What could this mean? DoppelCoop and BOB are now separated. Presumably, the woodsmen took him back to the Black Lodge (We’ll see later that they seem to be handlers for BOB). A few episodes back, MIKE told Cooper, “You’ve been tricked. Now one of you must die.” Does this count as a death? Does this mean we’ll see the promised return of Agent Cooper next episode? Will he finally wake up from his Dougie-induced stupor? We can only guess for now. Unfortunately, the episode cuts before we can find out more. Fortunately, we get a lot of back story in what remains of the episode. It’s just a matter of deciphering it, using knowledge gained from The Secret History of Twin Peaks, and a bit of educated guesswork.

03

July 16th, 1945. White Sands, New Mexico. 5:29 AM (MWT).

The Atomic Bomb goes off during its first test. Destroying the environment and murdering countless human beings, the A-Bomb is one of the greatest evils that men do. We travel inside the blast, going down to the atomic level and witnessing the explosion of atoms and particles. Space itself it torn open, and we see…

…a convenience store.

Yes, ladies and gentlemen, this is the famous convenience store we’ve been hearing about. It was mentioned by MIKE in the original series, and then we saw the Dugpas meeting above it in Fire Walk With Me. Now we see the exterior of it, through the newly torn rift in the dimensions. It’s teeming with the woodsmen. This tells us two things: 1) They are probably the same as the three woodsmen from Fire Walk With Me, and 2) They are probably Dugpas. Time distorts and lights flash as they move in, out, and around the convenience store.

04

We then see the Experiment, the monster from inside the glass box, floating in empty space. She vomits out a strand of what looks like creamed corn, inside which are little eggs and the tumor with BOB’s face. This seems to lend credence to the theory that the monster is BABALON, the “Mother of Abominations” which Jack Parsons wrote about. In The Secret History of Twin Peaks, Jack Parsons speaks to Douglas Milford, and mentions White Sands, Nevada, and how the Atomic Bomb tests made the area perfect for a ritual he plans to do, in which, at the behest of the Goddess BABALON, an Elemental Spirit will be summoned. Parsons calls this Ritual “The Working,” and planned to open up a “second” gate out in the desert. Where the first gate is, we aren’t told, but this Elemental could very well be BOB.

The creamed corn travels through the atomic blast and the tumor becomes a gold sphere, like the kind that emerged from Dougie. This object is directly linked with the creation of beings by the Black and White Lodges. We then overlook the same purple ocean which Cooper saw in Part 3. In the middle of it is a tall rock, atop which is a palace. We close up on a narrow window and look through it, into the palace. Inside we see a scene reminiscent of a hotel from the 1930s, which may be the same room we see the Giant and Cooper talking in at the beginning of Part 1, as we see the same gramophone sitting next to the sofa. There’s also another strange bell device, like the kind Naido threw the switch on before throwing herself into space in Part 3. A glamorously dressed woman named Senorita Dido sits on a couch, swaying to some music.

05

Quick aside on the correlations with the mythical character Dido: After being robbed of her inheritance by her brother, Dido fled to the land of King Iarbas, and asked that he grant her land to live on. He agreed to give her the amount of land that she could encircle with a piece of oxhide. So Dido cut the oxhide into fine strips, and surrounded a nearby mountain with it. There, she founded what would become the prosperous city of Carthage. So, here we can see some minor similarities, in that they both live in palatial buildings atop mountains. It’s not much, but it’s there.

The bell-device starts buzzing, and the Giant emerges from behind it. He examines it, checking the gauges on the side, and then pressed a button on it, which causes it to stop buzzing. I think of this along the lines of a phone, and the Giant basically just said, “I’ll take it in the other room.” He leaves the sitting room, goes up some stairs, and enters a theater which looks to be the same as Club Silencio (it’s the same shooting location, I believe). If you’re a fan of the Lynchverse theory, this should send chills down your spine. There’s another bell device in here. On the screen, the Giant witnesses the atomic blast, the  convenience store, and the Experiment expelling BOB. In response, he levitates and expels some golden lights from his mouth as Senorita Dido enters the room and watches on awe. A gold orb containing the soul of Laura Palmer floats down to her, and she kisses it and sends it on its way to Earth. This is a pretty clear sign that Laura was created in some way by the White Lodge in order to oppose BOB. She may have been destined to die all along, in order to enter the White Lodge and help stop him. Now, I don’t think Laura was “manufactured” like Dougie, but, rather, seeded. Laura was a real person who was born and lived and died, whereas Dougie probably sprang forth fully-formed, and disintegrated rather than dying normally as a human.

Now, back to the New Mexico desert. It’s 11 years after the atomic blast. One of the eggs released by the Experiment is now hatching. From it emerges a strange creature that is a fusion of a locust and a frog. It begins to make its way through the desert. This bug is, most likely, an embryonic BOB, searching for his first host. One resourceful Redditor made the connection between the creature and this legend from Chinook mythology, which lines up with much of the Twin Peaks mythos.

Meanwhile, two teens are walking home from a date.

06

Now, I want to address this once and for all. Despite popular theories, this cannot be Sarah and Leland Palmer, nor Margaret Lanterman, as Leland and Margaret are said to have been born, raised, and died in Twin Peaks. Leland’s whole family is from Washington state. All I can find out about Sarah’s background is that she went to college in Washington state, where she met Leland. There’s no reason for any of them to be in New Mexico at this time, and it makes even less sense that BOB would be possessing either Sarah or Margaret. It is far more likely that these are the Robertsons, who, when Leland Palmer is a child, have a summer house at Pearl Lake, and transfer the inhabiting spirit to him.

Anyway…

The girl finds a penny on the ground and gets excited because she says it’s good luck. We’ve seen quite a few coins of significance this season, and I can only guess what it could mean, if anything. It’s possibly all a coincidence. It’s worth noting, however, that the girl rubs her thumb over the image of Lincoln, and the actor who plays the main Woodsman, Robert Broski, specializes in Abraham Lincoln impersonations.

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Robert Broski, a.k.a. the Woodsman, as Abraham Lincoln.

Elsewhere in the same area, the Woodsman from the South Dakota jail cell drifts down from pure air. More appear, and they stop two cars on the highway, the sound of crackling electricity following them. What happened to the people in the first car, we don’t see. They approach the second car, and the Woodsman, unlit cigarette hanging from his lips, asks the couple, “Got a light?” This is similar to the phrase “Fire, walk with me,” as both are requests for fire. He repeats this question a few times, and time seems to slow down for the people in the car as the woman screams. Her slowed-down shriek of horror is similar to Maddy’s screams as she is being attacked by BOB in Season 2, suggesting that time distortions follow the Dugpas.

The man in the car seems hypnotized by the Woodsman, unable to move or stop from staring at him, until he manages to break the spell, and, wisely, drives out of there before the woodsmen can surround the car. They seemingly escape unscathed, as the woodsmen continue into town to fulfill their purpose. They take over a radio station, killing the only two occupants. The way the Woodsman kills the pair is similar to the old style of electric execution chairs. He grabs the top of their skull and an electric charge goes into their brain, causing it to bleed. He finishes by crushing their skulls. The Woodsman takes over the radio booth, and recites a spell over their air waves.

“This is the water

And this is the well

Drink full and descend

The horse is the white of the eyes

And dark within.”

This repeats several times, and let me come back to it in a moment. As he repeats the words, people listening to the broadcast collapse. Whether they die or simply fall unconscious, I can’t say. The girl from the date earlier, who is now home sitting in bed, goes to turn off the radio, but, seemingly hypnotized, just goes to sleep, allowing the flying frog to come in through her window and crawl down her throat, presumably to grow into the BOB-tumor inside of her. This is the story of how BOB came to our plain of existence in this era. This was the purpose the woodsmen needed to fulfill. They came to the desert to make sure BOB found a host, and, now that he has, they depart, for the time being. These creatures seem to be BOB’s caretakers in some way, as they were there when he found his first host, and they appeared when his last host died (or… nearly died). Do they answer to a higher power? Are they looking out for BOB due to the orders of the mother monster? Perhaps…

07

Now, let’s analyze some lyrics, which, as a music geek, I love to do. We’ll start with the spell the Woodsman recites. “The water” may be the inhabiting spirit, and “the well” probably means the source of the spirit, the Experiment we saw expelling the eggs from her mouth. The Woodsman gives the command to the host to swallow the frog-bug whole, so that it can take her over, and she can descend into darkness. The horse reference is harder to connect, and some theorize it has to do with the drugging of Sarah Palmer, as she is the one who saw the white horse in the original series. I am more wont to connect it to the white horse being death. The horse is white, like the pale eyes of the Doppelgangers, and it is a representation of death, so it is dark like oblivion. This part of the spell could be causing the death/unconsciousness of the non-host listeners.

Now, to the NIN song. This part, I don’t think is necessary, but fun to analyze. The act of digging in places “’til your fingers bleed” sounds a lot like hardcore drug addict behavior, which may tie in to Laura’s drug problem. The infecting and seed spilling is all about Leland and BOB’s attempt to jump from his body to Laura’s. And, of course, Laura’s gone away… or maybe the host is the one he’s talking about disappearing as BOB takes over? The mouth opening part is a nice foreshadow of the girl swallowing the frog-bug. “[T]he skin turns black” is a fairly good description of the monochrome woodsmen. The question ate the end, “are you still here?” I think is actually DoppelCoop wondering if BOB is still with him. And that’s a question we’ll all have on our minds until July 9th.

08

Well, that about sums up my analysis. What an episode that was! If you have any questions about something I missed, please post in the comments below!

Two Birds With One Stone: What is the Importance of Richard and Linda? (UPDATED)

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Written by Eden H. Roquelaire for Twin Peaks Freaks.

Disclaimer: Contains spoilers for Twin Peaks: The Return episodes 1 – 7.

In Twin Peaks: The Return – Part 5, we were introduced to a particularly despicable new character, who assaults and threatens a woman, is involved in shady dealings with a corrupt police officer, and, perhaps most devious of all, smokes in a non-smoking area. Many fans were shocked and dismayed to see this character credited as Richard Horne, the potential offspring of fan favorite Audrey. But is he really? What is the importance of Richard in the new series? Why does the Giant mention his name to Cooper?

The first question we have, of course, is, just how is Richard Horne related to the Hornes that we know? Let’s examine all the possibilities.

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If he’s not a cousin, related to some branch of the Horne family we’ve never seen before, then he must be the son of either Ben, Jerry, Johnny, or Audrey. Johnny is perhaps the least likely candidate, though not out of the question, as his mental condition complicates social interactions. Richard could always be a bastard son of either Ben or Jerry, as both are well-known philanderers, or Jerry could have had a child with a wife or girlfriend (Maybe Heba?) Of course, Ben and Sylvia could have had another child, but considering the state of their marriage, especially after the debacle at the Haywards’, I’d say this is even less likely than Johnny being the father.

The most probable situation is that Audrey is Richard’s mother, which leaves the question of paternity. The fact that Richard has his mother’s name implies an absent father. Audrey did have sex with Jack Wheeler before he departed for South America, but I find it hard to believe that she wouldn’t tell Jack he was a father, or that he wouldn’t come back for him. Jack seemed like an honorable enough guy, I doubt he’d abandon his child. Something could, of course, have happened to Jack, preventing him from ever returning. But there’s no way Jack was Audrey’s only suitor. Could Bobby be the father? He and Audrey did have some flirtatious moments in season 2. But, as bad as Bobby has been in the past, he seems to have turned over a new leaf, and I don’t think Bobby would be absent from his son’s life. It could also be someone we’ve never heard of, who Audrey met in the aftermath of season 2. But there’s one final, disturbing possibility.

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Sherilyn Fenn in a Twin Peaks photo shoot for Entertainment Weekly.

In Part 7 of The Return, Doc Hayward mentions that, after the events of the season 2 finale, he saw Cooper’s Doppelganger leaving the ICU. When questioned about why Cooper would be in the ICU, Doc says that he thought Cooper was visiting Audrey, who was in a coma after the bank explosion. Could it be that Cooper’s Doppelganger impregnated Audrey while she was comatose? The possibility is horrifying, but makes a lot of sense.

Before I continue, I want to address the idea that Cooper was actually visiting Annie, to steal back the Owl Ring, or try to kill her, and the mention of Audrey is just to throw us off. To me, this just doesn’t stand up to closer examination. Why mention Audrey, and not Annie? They had already talked about how Annie was with Cooper the night they both entered the Black Lodge, so why wouldn’t Doc think Cooper might be visiting Annie? I’m not saying that Doppelcoop didn’t want to get the ring back ( he obviously does get it, since Dougie has it later,) but, firstly, it’s no longer with Annie, it’s with one of the nurses, and secondly, mentioning Audrey then makes no sense. Why would Lynch and Frost bring her up for the first time in the new series if she was just a red herring? I don’t think that’s a good enough reason to mention her here and now. I think if he had been visiting Annie, it would have been a time to be direct. And if he had been trying to kill Annie, I think Doc also would have mentioned something about it, either that Annie was dead, or that there was trouble in the ICU immediately after, or something else. SOMETHING. No. I think Lynch and Frost mentioned Audrey because she is important here, and they want us to think about her.

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I think, especially in the scheme of the narrative, it makes the most sense for Richard to be the spawn of Cooper’s Doppelganger. It fits. It would explain Richard’s tendency for evil actions (although many characters are evil, without such an excuse), the fact that he has his mother’s surname, and why the Giant mentions him to Cooper in the first scene of the first episode. He is clearly important. All this would make sense if he was Cooper’s son. But, the Giant also says it is important to remember someone named Linda, who is mentioned in Part 6 of The Return. What does she have to do with Cooper and Richard?

For the sake of thoroughness, I want to throw out the idea that Richard is from a previously unseen branch of the Horne family, and Linda could be his mother. Someone has also suggested that Linda is actually Audrey in hiding, and that she was crippled after the bank explosion, hence why she needs a wheel chair. As of now, I don’t have a lot of evidence to support that theory, so let’s move on.

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My theory is that Richard and Linda are both the children of Cooper. They are the “two birds,” and Cooper is the “one stone.” Richard is the son of Audrey and Cooper’s Doppelganger, conceived when Audrey was in a coma after the bank explosion. Linda is the daughter of the Good Dale and Annie, conceived before they entered the Lodge at the end of season 2. I think Linda is also a soldier who was crippled in combat, explaining how she could be so young and need a wheel chair, and government assistance. That is also why Carl Rod says “F***ing war” while he and Mickey are talking about Linda, which otherwise is a non sequitor. It also falls in line with the later revelation that Frank Truman’s son was a soldier who committed suicide. He and Linda may have even known each other, both being soldiers from the Twin Peaks area.

Some have suggested that Linda is the result of Doppelcooper’s sexual assault on Diane, but it doesn’t make sense that she would end up in Deer Meadow when Diane lives in Philadelphia. It would be an odd coincidence, even if the child was given up for adoption. I think it’s far more likely that Annie is the mother, and this could possibly be a situation reminiscent of Clive Barker’s novel The Great and Secret Show, in which two opposing entities, one “good,” the other “evil,” sire offspring to battle each other. Incidentally, this novel has a lot of common themes with Twin Peaks: Small towns with many secrets, and lots of supernatural occurrences happening beneath it all. The sequel, Everville, even takes place in the Pacific Northwest.

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If all this is true, I think that Richard and Linda will be instrumental to the conclusion of the show. This would nicely bring things full circle, taking us back to that first scene between Cooper and the Giant. I cannot predict what will happen, but I think it will call for an emotional and profound conclusion, with Cooper facing the dark half of himself and having to reconcile with it.

UPDATE (08/04/2017)

It seems undeniable at this point that Audrey is Richard’s mother, and it’s probably only a matter of time before we get in-show confirmation. The only thing left to really prove is that DoppelCoop could be Richard’s father. Some fans have resisted the idea, finding it harder to believe that Richard is the spawn of DoppelCoop raping a comatose Audrey, rather than him just being the result of her fling with Jack Wheeler, or another man she might have met in the interim, which is, of course, still plausible. These fans ask the question, “Isn’t it much more likely that DoppelCoop went to reclaim the Owl Ring, rather than to sexually assault Audrey for some reason?”

Let me start by saying: I think he did both. It’s obvious he reclaimed the Owl Ring, but that doesn’t negate him visiting Audrey. Especially since many of us seem to be forgetting the most crucial element to DoppelCoop’s character: He is the Shadow Self of Dale Cooper, containing all his darkest, innermost thoughts and desires. It brings to mind the tagline, “In a town like Twin Peaks, no one is innocent.” Not even Dale Cooper. He probably had libidinous thoughts about Miss Horne, which is probably why DoppelCoop targeted her. Perhaps it was even part of DoppelCoop’s endgame to procreate, and Richard Horne may prove to be a bigger player than we might think.

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What are your thoughts on this theory? Where do you think Richard Horne’s character will go from here? What do you think this means for Audrey’s role in The Return? Comment below!

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.

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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!

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.

Beyond Life and Death, Part 2: The Return of Agent Cooper

Written by Eden H. Roquelaire for Twin Peaks Freaks.

Warning: Contains spoilers for Twin Peaks Season 2.

Note: This is the second part of a two-part article. To read the first part, click here.

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Without doubt, the most anticipated moment of the new season of Twin Peaks is the return of Agent Cooper. Speculations abound as to how this might go. Is Cooper still possessed by BOB? Has he killed anyone? Or was BOB cast out of him already? If the Good Dale is still in the Black Lodge, what has he been doing all this time? Is Laura still there with him? Is he still being pursued by the terrifying Doppelgangers? In this article, we will theorize how Agent Cooper might return to the series.

So we’ve journeyed through the Black Lodge, and analyzed the many symbols that confronted Agent Cooper during his pilgrimage to rescue Annie Blackburn. We have some idea of the meanings behind these symbols, but what does all this mean for the future of the Good Dale? What has happened to our hero?

As Hawk said in his description of the Black Lodge, any being passing through the Lodge will have their soul “utterly annihilated” if they do not demonstrate perfect courage. When Cooper is forced to confront all of his demons — his fears, his regrets, his desires — he keeps a cool facade, until the very end, when, shaken by his confrontation with Windom Earle, the man who tried to murder him, and whose wife he loved, Cooper sees the ultimate embodiment of all his weaknesses, and the evil that might dwell in his own heart: His Doppelganger. Instead of facing his Doppelganger, Cooper turns and runs from him.

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It is because he ran that he was overtaken. But in what way was Cooper’s soul “utterly annihilated”? Wouldn’t that mean his soul would cease to exist? Not necessarily. Legends are often mistranslated and/or misinterpreted, and this seems to be such a case. In reality, it seems that the soul is simply removed, rather than actually destroyed, leaving the vessel empty and able to be possessed by evil spirits. Based on the dream shared by Cooper and Laura, we know that Cooper’s spirit still exists in the Lodge 25 years later, and thus we know his spirit was, thankfully, not annihilated, but still exists somehow.

So why say that the spirit would be “utterly annihilated,” giving the impression that it would no longer exist at all? One could say that Hawk was just misinformed, and that is a possibility, but all the rest of Hawk’s information seems accurate. So why would this be wrong? Perhaps it is a case of mistranslation: “Utterly annihilated” could just mean it will be overwhelmed, defeated, and captured by the dark spirits within the Black Lodge. However this leads us to another question: What exactly is BOB doing to the souls of those he possesses?

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Knowing Twin Peaks‘s penchant for references to Tibetan Buddhism, I think this ties in with reincarnation. According to the Tibetan Book of the Dead, the afterlife must be strictly prepared for during one’s lifetime. If an individual fails to live by Right Thought, Right Action, Right Words, and goes into the afterlife unprepared, they will re-enter the cycle of reincarnation instead of ascending to a higher spiritual plain. The Tibetan Book of the Dead tells us that, as a spirit is leaving its body and heading into the afterlife, it will meet a series of entities in pairs of two, who will test the spirit. These beings are almost exact mirror images of each other, and laden with symbolism. One represents letting go of the physical plain, and the other represents material temptation. Choosing the correct one will lead your spirit towards a higher plain, while choosing the wrong one will lead you back into the circle of reincarnation.

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I believe that the Dugpas are purposely manipulating people to keep them in the cycle of reincarnation. Keeping them in their physical bodies, unable to reach the higher plain, keeps them in the cycle of pain and suffering (garmonbozia), which in turn feeds the Dugpas and continues their equivocal cycle of appetite and satisfaction (the “golden ring” described by MIKE). The Doppelgangers that appear in the Lodge are similar to the entities that appear to the spirit in the Tibetan Book of the Dead. In fact, I believe, in Cooper’s experience, that Laura is a prime example of this: Good Laura represents letting go and ascending to a higher plain, as she has actually transcended to the White Lodge (more on that in a bit), while her Doppelganger represents Cooper’s guilt, and his inability to let go of the past.

[For more analysis on the symbolism of rings in Twin Peaks, click here.]

So any body possessed by BOB is being made to suffer, and being fed off of. Perhaps being “utterly annihilated” takes time, as the soul is slowly feasted upon by the Dugpas. Note that Leland seems to not have become possessed by BOB by entering the Black Lodge and being overtaken, and he still had moments of being able to control his own body. However, Cooper failed his test in the Black Lodge, and so had his spirit “utterly annihilated”; in other words, his spirit is no longer able to occupy his body AT ALL. Instead, it is trapped in the Black Lodge to be food for the Dugpas, until it is completely devoured.

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Now, here’s a tricky part: What exactly does it mean when Laura says, “Meanwhile…”? I’ve got a theory, but it gets a little complicated, so hang in there.

I believe it is another allusion to the non-linear procession of time in the Lodge, and is a hint at the importance of its existence. The non-linear time flow can explain many puzzling elements of Twin Peaks. Think about what Laura’s Doppelganger is really saying to Cooper in the Lodge: She says, “Meanwhile…” and starts screaming. But that’s not just any scream; that’s her scream from the night she was killed in the train car. So what does that mean?

The Good Laura will see him again in 25 years. Meanwhile, she is still going to be murdered in the train car.

This event both has happened already, and hasn’t happened yet. Remember that the “25 years Later” scene is a dream that Cooper and Laura shared at different times. This dream is technically taking place in three different times: When Laura had the dream before her murder, when Cooper had the dream after the murder, and 25 years later, when it “actually” happens.

It is key to remember that the Black Lodge does not run by time as we perceive it. Because of that, time travel (for lack of a better term) is technically possible. This power could be used for both good and evil. If a powerful psychic on the side of Good, like, say, Agent Cooper, was able to harness this power, imagine the heroism they could achieve. Maybe saving a certain  character from a bank vault explosion? Or sending messages back through time to warn Laura about the ring? Who knows. We are getting into an area of total speculation, but there are some amazing possibilities when we consider the warping of time in the Lodge.

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So, what does this mean for Cooper in the aftermath of Season 2?

There are many signs throughout the series and in the film that suggest that Cooper will become a shaman. Keep in mind that, from the beginning of the series, we are shown that Cooper is special. He is highly intuitive, borderline psychic perhaps, describing himself as “a powerful sender” of mental images. So we know that Cooper has some mystic abilities already. But there seems to be evidence that these powers became stronger in the course of his hero’s journey.

In the episode “Traces to Nowhere,” we see Cooper fashioning a wooden whistle. Later, he stands in the doorway of his hotel room and blows on the whistle before smiling in satisfaction and entering the room. The subtext is that this whistle is meant to scare away any evil spirits that might be dwelling in the room. This is an old superstition:

“…the older belief that the friendly wind would blow if an evil spirit had not stifled it, and that whistling would scare the evil spirit and the kindly breeze would be able to blow.”

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Cooper is satisfied with his whistle.

Cooper is satisfied with his whistle.

So we can see Coop, in a small way, being connected to purification rituals. But big deal, right? That doesn’t make him a shaman. However, let’s move to our next example before you form your opinion:

In the episode “Arbitrary Law,” when it becomes apparent that Leland is dying, Cooper turns Leland onto his left side, and speaks to him, guiding him through his death experience, so that he passes into the afterlife safely. This is related to a Tibetan Buddhist death rite, which requires a shaman to accompany an individual during their time of death. The shaman is to turn the dying individual onto their side and talk them through the experience to help guide them successfully into the afterlife, and out of the cycle of reincarnation. This is exactly what Cooper does once he realizes that Leland is dying. Notice how he even makes a point to turn Leland onto his side.

Agent Cooper talks Leland through his death experience.

Agent Cooper talks Leland through his death experience.

Finally, let’s look at the ending scene of Fire Walk With Me, where we have the rare experience of seeing Laura Palmer and Agent Cooper, the two heroes of Twin Peaks, together. It was recently rumored to be of particular significance as some sort of foreshadow to what would happen in season 3. Whether this rumor is true or not, I believe it gives us a clue about Agent Cooper’s character development. Let’s re-watch this beautiful scene:

It looks like Cooper is doing the same thing for Laura as he did for Leland. If you subscribe to the popular theory that this scene depicts Laura ascending to the White Lodge, then think about what Cooper’s presence during this scene means. He has a hand place comfortingly on her back as the angel appears. Perhaps he brought the angel to her? But how did Cooper acquire a skill like that?

We can theorize that Cooper and Laura have already been in the Black Lodge for a while by this scene, since Laura appears resigned to being stuck in the Black Lodge, whereas Cooper seems to be endowed with renewed hope of escape; very different from how he appeared when he was talking to the Man from Another Place. This idea would give Cooper time to investigate the Black Lodge, perhaps to realize why he failed his test, and to learn and grow from his near-fatal mistake. Perhaps he found a way of communicating with the angels of the White Lodge. Cooper is no fool, and as powerful as the Black Lodge is, I believe there’s no way it could continue to outsmart him; especially since he is known to already be gifted with some form of psychic abilities.

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But if Cooper can aid people in escaping the Black Lodge, why has he himself not left yet?

The first possible answer to this is that Cooper has only found one way out, and that is into the White Lodge. Perhaps one cannot enter the White Lodge unless they are truly dead. In this case, it’s not the exit Coop is looking for. Another possibility is that he actually did go with Laura into the White Lodge, and met with the good spirits that live there. Perhaps he even ran into Major Briggs while he was there, and learned how to escape the Black Lodge for good? Either way, what this scene implies is that Cooper has grown and become more powerful while he has been trapped. I believe that, the next time we see Agent Cooper, he will be a fully-fledged shaman, capable of using his powers to overcome the forces of the Black Lodge.

So, in sum, what does all this mean for the fate of Agent Cooper, both in body and soul?

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It means that, in the last 25 years, Agent Cooper has most likely sharpened his psychic abilities, and is now an Agent of the White Lodge. 25 years is a long time, and it’s plenty of time for an inquisitive and determined soul to evolve and become stronger than ever. If this is true, Cooper could be as powerful (or more powerful) than BOB, especially if we consider the non-linear procession of time in the Black Lodge, 25 years to us may be an eternity to someone trapped in the Black Lodge. And I doubt Cooper would just be sitting idly by in all this time.

Until next time…

“All things considered, being shot is not as bad as I always thought it might be. As long as you can keep the fear from your mind. But I guess you can say that about almost anything in life. It’s not so bad as long as you can keep the fear from your mind.”

-Agent Dale B. Cooper

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Beyond Life and Death, Part 1: Cooper’s Voyage Through the Black Lodge, and What It Means

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Written by Eden H. Roquelaire for Twin Peaks Freaks.

Warning: Contains massive spoilers for the final episode of Twin Peaks Season 2.

“The shadow-self of the White Lodge. The legend says that every spirit must pass through there on the way to perfection. There, you will meet your own shadow self. My people call it ‘The Dweller on the Threshold’ … But it is said, if you confront the Black Lodge with imperfect courage, it will utterly annihilate your soul.”

-Deputy Hawk

We all know that the final episode of Twin Peaks Season 2 revolves around Agent Cooper and his exploration of the other dimension known as the Black Lodge. What you may not know, however, is what, exactly, it means. In this first segment, we will do a scene-by-scene analysis of Cooper’s pilgrimage through the Black Lodge, and attempt to shed some light on the mysteries that lie beyond life and death.

Evil Doppelgangers of Cooper and Leland.

Evil Doppelgangers of Cooper and Leland.

The journey through the Black Lodge is, ultimately, a test of one’s true character. Cooper must face his “Shadow,” or, in Lynch-Frost language, his “Doppelganger,” or “the Dweller on the Threshold.” He must confront everything he feels guilty for, particularly all the deaths he could not prevent: Laura, Maddy, Leland, and Caroline. He also encounters a specter of Annie, whose death he fears he will not be able to stop. He also faces one of (if not the) most traumatic events of his life: The murder of Caroline Earle, his illicit love, and the attempted murder of Cooper himself. This is similar to many accounts of NDE’s (Near-Death Experiences), wherein people say that they go through a “Life Review.” In this Life Review, they experience everything that has happened to them in their lives, and not only feel all their own emotions again, but feel the emotions of the people whom their actions affected, making them aware of the consequences to their choices in life. With this in mind, let us proceed with our scene-by-scene analysis of Cooper’s journey through the Black Lodge.

The entrance to the Black Lodge, surrounded by Sycamore Trees.

The entrance to the Black Lodge, surrounded by Sycamore Trees.

First, Cooper enters the Lodge, and the lights begin to flicker in a strobe effect, mirroring the black and white/dark and light pattern on the Lodge floor. Cooper stares, wide-eyed, as the Man From Another Place dances by, and seats himself in the black chair. Jimmy Scott sings the final lines of “Sycamore Trees,” then vanishes.

Let’s talk about this song for a moment. It is given prominence, as it is playing when Cooper first enters the Lodge, but what is its significance? Of course sycamores are the kind of trees that encircle the portal to the Lodges in Twin Peaks’ woods, and these trees have an intriguing symbolism in the lore of Ancient Egypt:

“In Egypt the Holy Sycamore is said to stand on the threshold of life and death, connecting the worlds.”

(Source: Ancient Wisdom Foundation: Tree Lore)

That’s a bit on the nose, I would say, and most likely why Mark Frost chose to use them. However, with David Lynch, it might be another story. Lynch has always been inspired by music, as most famously seen with Blue Velvet, and music is most likely a source of inspiration for him here, as well. There is a classic standard from the 1930s, entitled Dream a Little Dream of Me. Here are the lyrics:

Stars shining bright above you, night breezes seem to whisper, “I love you”.
Birds singing in the sycamore tree, “Dream a little dream of me”.
Say “nighty-night” and kiss me. Just hold me tight and tell me you’ll miss me.
While I’m alone and blue as can be, dream a little dream of me.

Stars fading, but I linger on, dear.
Still craving your kiss, I’m longing to linger till dawn, dear.
Just saying this: Sweet dreams till sunbeams find you.
Sweet dreams that leave all worries behind you.
But in your dreams whatever they be, dream a little dream of me.

Stars fading, but I linger on, dear.
Still craving your kiss, I’m longing to linger till dawn, dear.
Just saying this: Sweet dreams till sunbeams find you.
Sweet dreams that leave all worries behind you.
But in your dreams whatever they be, dream a little dream of me.

This classic has similar lyrics to the Lynch/Badalamenti penned song, Sycamore Trees. Notice also certain elements that coincide with imagery from Twin Peaks: Sycamore trees, dreams (The Lodge is seen in the dreams of Cooper and Laura), kisses (Laura kisses Cooper before she tells him the identity of her killer), the stars (celestial events are connected with the Lodges), and birdsong (“Where we’re from, the birds sing a pretty song.”) Have a listen to this version by Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong, because this sounds like it could be the version that inspired David Lynch to create the first scene where Laura meets Cooper in the Black Lodge:

Returning to our analysis, let’s take a moment to examine the Waiting Room decor:

There is an oddly specific lamp sitting on a small table in this room: A 1939 World’s Fair Saturn Lamp. Saturn is the Roman God of the harvest, and, as such, was considered to reign over the cycles of time as well. Time is shown to be non-linear in the Lodge, and the presence of this lamp could be referring to this fact. Perhaps a more important point, however, is the identity of Saturn as the lord of the harvest, as the Dugpas harvest pain and suffering to feed on. In mythology, Saturn was also known to have devoured his children, which is similar in the way that Leland murdered his daughter Laura and niece Maddy, and BOB devoured their pain and suffering. Also consider that the people BOB inhabited were “his children.”

Notice the Grecian-style statue in the background: It is called the Venus Pudica and I shall return to it later.

Cooper sits in a black chair, across from the Man From Another Place. The Man From Another Place tells him, “When you see me again, it won’t be me,” a foreshadow of the later appearance of the Man From Another Place’s Doppelganger. He asks, “Would you like some coffee?” (which doesn’t come right away) and informs Cooper that some of his friends are there. This indicates that Cooper will have to meet the spirits or representations of important people in his life. Cooper looks up and watches as Laura walks in and sits down in the black chair next to the Man From Another Place. She winks at Coop, and snaps her fingers, leaving her middle and index fingers pointing sharply downward. In Lynch’s later film, Inland Empire, snapping is used almost as a magical gesture by Laura Dern’s characters, and her sex worker friends. (I will cover magical gestures in a later article.) Laura then tells Cooper, “I’ll see you in 25 years,” referencing the eventuality of Cooper being trapped in the Black Lodge for 25 years. She then says “Meanwhile…” (remember this for later) and holds her hands up in a cryptic pose.

“Meanwhile…”

Meanwhile: Also seen during the waiting room sequence, and accompanied by the words “meanwhile”. The gesture is later mirrored by the “doppelganger Laura” during Cooper’s Black Lodge test, before she starts to scream hysterically. The exact meaning of the sign is controversial, but allegedly refers to a vedic mudra meaning “do not fear”. Other theories suggest that she is holding an imaginary object, like a picture, a vase, or (my interpretation) perhaps a pillow. The pose looks similar to that of a person asleep holding their pillow, but upright. It is interesting that Laura makes the sign after saying “I’ll see you in 25 years“. It has been suggested that the sign foreshadows what Cooper will experience in between, that is, being trapped inside the Red Room, or as Jeffries puts it: “[living] inside a dream“.

-From the Twin Peaks Gazette

Laura’s hand gesture is similar, though not identical, to the vedic abhaya mudra, or “Do Not Fear” hand gesture. This fits so well with the circumstances and symbols of Twin Peaks that I feel we should overlook the slight variation of the pose and consider them to have the same meaning. Laura’s spirit is appearing to Cooper to remind him not to fear the Black Lodge, as that would ensure his demise. Laura’s expression in this scene also seems to be blissful, or aloof; much like depictions of the Buddha. Notice also that this is actually Laura, not her Doppelganger.

The vedic abhaya mudra, or

The vedic abhaya mudra, or “Fear Not” pose: One palm facing forward, and the other facing upward.

Laura disappears, and a moment later, the Elderly Bellhop is sitting in her place, holding a cup of coffee. The Bellhop makes the “Indian Whooping Call.” The significance of the whooping call may be one of two things: 1) It has to do with interactions between the Dugpas and the Native Americans in the past, since, based on what Hawk tells Cooper, the Native Americans had knowledge of the Black and White Lodges, or 2) it represents the wind whistling in the trees; Considering the statement in The Missing Pieces, “We have descended from pure air,” spoken by the Man from Another Place during the meeting above the convenience store, as well as other references to air and wind in the series, such as the repeated imagery of the wind blowing through the trees, we can associate the Dugpas with this element.

The Bellhop says, “Hallelujah,” and the Man From Another Place says “Hallelujah” back. “Hallelujah” originated as a command to a congregation of people to praise the God Yahweh. Its significance here, I cannot say, except that it is yet another example of ritualistic behavior exhibited by the Dugpas (For more analysis on this subject, review my article “With This Ring, I Thee Wed”). It may, however, play into the theory that the Giant and the Man From Another Place have been wanting to put a stop to BOB’s antics, and Cooper may be the savior they’ve been waiting for: The one who can reign in the rogue agent who has the fury of his own momentum.

The Elderly Bellhop serves Cooper coffee, then turns into the Giant. The Giant sits down in the chair next to the Man From Another Place and says with a smirk, “One and the same.” This is to say, the Giant was most likely possessing the Bellhop in the same way that BOB possessed Leland, and the spirit MIKE was possessing Philip Gerard. Similar antics are most likely also in play in the cases of Mrs Tremond/Chalfont and her grandson. It is also possible that the Log Lady’s husband is similarly possessing and speaking through her log; we see these similarities again with Josie being trapped in the wood of the Great Northern Hotel. The famous line, “The owls are not what they seem,” may allude to the owls being used in this same manner, being possessed by Lodge spirits in order to watch the human world. The Giant is finally letting Cooper in on his secret.

BOB with an Owl overlaying his face, suggesting that he might be possessing the owls to disguise himself.

BOB with an Owl overlaying his face, suggesting that he might be possessing the owls to disguise himself.

The Giant then disappears, and the Man From Another Place begins rubbing his hands together. This may mean that he is satisfied with the way things are going, or it may be one of the mysterious “magical hand gestures” that I have noticed occur in many of David Lynch’s works. Cooper looks at the steaming cup of coffee left by the Elderly Bellhop. He attempts to drink the coffee, only to find it solidified. He shows it to the Man From Another Place, who looks pleased. Cooper looks at his coffee again, and tips the glass. This time the coffee spills like normal. Cooper is confused, and looks to the Man From Another Place for answers, only to have him look off in another direction, seemingly angry. Finally, Cooper tips the mug again, and it pours out slowly: It seems to have transformed into something like tar (perhaps oil?). The Man From Another Place looks unhappy, and, looking off at some unseen thing or person, says, “Wow, Bob, wow,” and “Fire walk with me.”

There is an interesting theory about this scene, and it goes as follows: The coffee is a sort of fortune telling device that the Dugpas are using to predict how Cooper will fare in his test. At first it is solid and unmoving, and the Man From Another Place looks satisfied. This means that Cooper, at first, will be steadfast and brave, and potentially defeat BOB. Then, it takes a darker turn, when it transmutes into the motor oil, suggesting the presence of BOB. Then, finally, the coffee runs, predicting that, ultimately, when Cooper faces BOB and his evil Doppelganger, he will run. The Man From Another Place then looks angrily at perhaps an invisible BOB and says to him, “Wow, Bob, wow,” as in, “Impressive, BOB: Looks like you win, again.” Other theories related to this scene are that the changes in the coffee represent the manipulation of time — slowing down, or freezing entirely, and that the hand rubbing motion made by the Man From Another Place represents the conjuring of heat or fire by use of friction. Another interesting thing of note: Both the words “Bob” and “Wow” are the same backwards and forwards. This could suggest the mutability of time, and linear events.

Nobody likes stiff coffee.

That coffee might be a little stale…

The idea of the coffee being an important fortune telling device is not as far-fetched as you might initially think, especially considering David Lynch’s (and Cooper’s) obvious adoration of the beverage. It actually reminds me quite a bit of the concept of reading tea leaves.

When the Man From Another Place says “Fire walk with me,” it is almost as if he is resigned, as if to say that BOB is on his way, and the ritual is about to begin, whether Cooper is destined to persevere, or not.

Flames explode in the darkness, announcing the approach of BOB and the Doppelgangers. The light begins to flicker. This strobe effect, I believe, is a variation on the Black Lodge carpet – the black-and-white chevron pattern. Hence, I believe they both represent the duality of light and dark within everyone, as well as referencing the Black and White Lodges. We also hear Laura’s dying scream in the distance, as if it is “moving through time” to reach Agent Cooper. Cooper gets up and walks out of the room. The Man From Another Place has disappeared. Cooper enters the hallway and walks toward the Venus DeMilo statue, parts the curtains next to it, and walks into another room, identical to the first.

Let me break here and talk about the two statues in the Lodge. There are a few points to make. First let’s note that these are both depictions of the Goddess Venus, and thus are another planetary reference (along with Saturn) within the Black Lodge. Another thing to note is that this is another example of Doppelgangers in Twin Peaks.

The first is the Venus DeMilo, which has a couple of connections to Lynch: Gordon Cole refers to it as “the babe with no arms” when comparing Shelly to the statue. Incidentally, shortly after Twin Peaks ended, David Lynch’s daughter, Jennifer, put out the movie Boxing Helena, which was built entirely around the symbolic connotations of the Venus DeMilo. The film also starred Sherilyn Fenn, a.k.a. Audrey Horne, as the Venus figure.

The Venus DeMilo as seen in the Black Lodge.

The Venus DeMilo as seen in the Black Lodge.

The other is Venus Pudica (meaning “modest Venus”). This represents the “Virgin” archetype, the dual half of the more sensuous Venus DeMilo.

The Venus Pudica seen in the background of the Black Lodge.

The Venus Pudica seen in the background of the Black Lodge.

It’s probably my imagination playing tricks on me, but from a certain angle, it almost looks as if she looks like she is pointing with her right hand into the empty space of the room, perhaps at the same unseen thing that the Man From Another Place is gazing at when he says “Wow, Bob, wow.” Or, as seen above, she may be pointing to Laura, who is, in a way, the “Venus” of the Black Lodge.

These statues are another reference to duality, being two different depictions of the same Goddess. On the one hand, Venus brings loving couples together, but on the other hand, the word “venereal” (as in “venereal disease”) is derived from her name. Through Venus, we can be shown both the light and dark sides of love and lust. Being a Goddess of sex, Venus could be thought to represent Laura and her own struggles with the contrasting personality traits, particularly her sexual relationships. Another way of looking at it is that the DeMilo represents Laura, and the Pudica represents Maddy, her more timid lookalike cousin.

Venus Pudica could also be related to the story of Eve and the apple in the garden on Eden, as she is covering her nudity as if in shame. This could tie back to those feelings of disgust and shame that Laura felt when she prostituted herself and did drugs. In The Secret Diary of Laura Palmer, Laura wonders if it was her discovery of her own sexuality that brought BOB to her, as a form of punishment.

Returning to the narrative… Cooper enters another room, which looks just like the first, except it is devoid of life. He leaves, goes back down the hallway, and enters what may be the first room, again. The Man From Another Place is there. He points toward Cooper (or in the direction he should be going) and says “Wrong way.” Cooper turns, goes back down the hall, and enters what should be the room he left earlier. It looks the same, only empty of any occupants, but we soon hear the Man From Another Place laughing maniacally. He appears out of nowhere, and dances in reverse to his chair and sits down. This is not the normal Man From Another Place, this is his Doppelganger, and this is what the Man From Another Place means when he tells Cooper, “When you see me again, it won’t be me.” The Doppelganger says, “Another friend.” This relates to the Man From Another Place’s earlier statement to Cooper, “Some of your friends are here.” The Doppelganger then laughs and hides behind the chair he was sitting in, right as Maddy walks in.

Maddy tilts her head coquettishly and says, “I’m Maddy. Watch out for my cousin.” Of course it refers to Laura, but not the Laura we’re thinking of: Her evil Doppelganger. I think this indicates that this Maddy is also a Doppelganger, and not her actual spirit. However, as we do not get a close look at her eyes, we cannot tell for sure where she is or isn’t. Cooper turns away and Maddy vanishes.

Cooper returns to the other room. This time, the room appears completely devoid of any people, spirits, or furniture. Then Cooper sees something out of the corner of his eye and turns his head to the left, where he sees the Man From Another Place’s Doppelganger, who says, “Doppelganger.” This can be construed as a warning, or an announcement: We are here, and we’re coming for you.

Doppelganger.

Doppelganger.

Cooper then looks to the right, where he see Laura’s Doppelganger (this is the cousin Doppelganger Maddy was warning Cooper about), holding the “Meanwhile…” pose. Only now, instead of an expression of aloofness or bliss, she looks angry.Her hands shake with rage, and her lips curl into a sneer as she says, “Meanwhile…,” then begins to scream. Of course this is Laura’s death scream. She backs up and steps behind a new chair, one that is particularly unique: It is red, with two conjoined seats, both facing opposite directions. This of course is another representation of duality.

A unique chair in the Black Lodge.

A unique chair in the Black Lodge.

She then runs up and screams in Cooper’s face, as if mocking him with her death, as he will never be able to save her. Cooper, frightened, turns and runs. Note that after Cooper leaves, we see a shot of Doppelganger Laura’s screaming face. This particular shot is not a continuous one, using the strobe light; it is actually two different shots of Laura’s face, interchanging. Another example of duality.

Cooper enters the other room, but begins to stagger. Confused, he looks down to see blood running from his torso. This is because the Doppelgangers have succeeded in frightening him, and now he is slowly being drained by them. Of course, this wound also mirrors the one dealt to him by Windom Earle in Pittsburgh, when Caroline Earle was murdered. Cooper looks at the trail of blood he has left, and follows it back out into the hallway. Judging by the trail, he has been bleeding since he left the room with Laura’s Doppelganger: Notice that that was also the first instance he showed obvious fear.

Cooper peers into the room, clutching his injury, and sees himself, lying wounded on the floor, holding the murdered Caroline Earle. When she sits up, however, we see that she is actually Annie in Caroline’s dress.

Annie replacing Caroline in her murder scene.

Annie replacing Caroline in her murder scene.

Annie looks confused, scared, and seems to be unable to speak. The strobe light begins again. The next few seconds are actually a continuous shot of the Lodge’s chevron floor lit by the strobe light. This shot fades into a view of the red curtains as Cooper walks through the hallway again. I believe this indicates a time lapse: He’s been wandering around for a while. Things get a bit more confusing here. Cooper looks into the room and sees Annie, wearing her black dress from earlier, standing there. She walks up to him and says, “Dale. I saw the face of the man who killed me.” Of course, this is referring to Windom Earle. Cooper does not understand this. She tells him, “It was my husband.” Again, this means Windom, but it could be a foreshadow to something we may see in the new season. I’ll get back to that in the second part of this article. Everything here has a dual meaning: Some of it just relates to Caroline’s past, but it is also playing on Cooper’s anxieties over Annie’s potential death.

Confused, Cooper says Annie’s name again, only to have her respond with, “Who’s Annie? It’s me.” She then turns into Caroline, who continues to say, “It’s me.” However, notice the appearance of Caroline’s eyes: They are the same as the Doppelgangers of Laura, Maddy, Leland, and the Man From Another Place. To me, this suggests that Caroline herself is not trapped in the Black Lodge. We are only seeing a sort of “puppet” of her, created by the Black Lodge to test Cooper.

Caroline Earle in the Black Lodge, with eyes similar to those of a Doppelganger.

Caroline Earle in the Black Lodge, with the eyes of a Doppelganger.

She then turns back into Annie, but wearing Caroline’s dress. She touches Cooper’s face lovingly and says, “You must be mistaken. I’m alive.” This is actually Annie responding to Cooper earlier, when he asked, “The face of the man who killed you?” Suddenly Annie’s hand is gone from Cooper’s face, and she has turned into angry Doppelganger Laura, who continues to scream, before stopping abruptly and standing, staring angrily at Cooper. Cooper then flinches as she turns into Windom Earle.

Now, it must be noted that this scene has played a large part in shaping people’s interpretation of Cooper’s journey through the Black Lodge. Many people take this scene as an indication that the interchanging Annie, Caroline and Laura were all just Windom Earle using the power of the Black Lodge to shape-shift, and scare the wits out of Cooper. Some even believe that all the spirits that we see in the Lodge are Windom in disguise. I don’t believe this for several reasons. First of all, there are too many bits of hidden wisdom spoken for me for think that Windom could pull off imitating the Lodge spirits all this time. Windom, no matter how evil he may be, is just an arrogant human who went insane. He’s too weak to control to Black Lodge’s magic to this extent. Also, Windom has not made any sacrifice yet, thus has harvested no garmonbozia, and so has most likely not received any power from the Lodge. And finally, everything thus far has gone according to Hawk’s descriptions of the Black Lodge, and what one must go through within. Therefore, it is my opinion that Windom had nothing to do with any of the events, between him taking Annie and entering the Lodge, and his reappearance in front of Cooper. I even believe that Windom was not aware of Cooper’s presence until that moment, and has no idea that the Black Lodge is also playing tricks.

Windom addresses Cooper, and then Annie, wearing her own black dress, materializes. She is breathing heavily, as suggested by her movements. She looks from Cooper to Windom, then disappears again. This implies to me that Windom is holding her captive, in a sort of psychic cell, and he is only showing her to Cooper to prove that he has her. She is his bargaining chip.

In the corner of this room, we in fact see the table from Fire Walk With Me (The one in the Lodge, when the Man From Another Place shows Cooper the ring). This table has golden wings holding it up, perhaps connecting it to the Angels of the White Lodge. However, because the Owl Ring is seen on it in Fire Walk With Me, it is also connected to the sacrificial rituals the Dugpas of the Black Lodge perform.

Windom laughs maniacally and says, “If you give me your soul, I’ll let Annie live.” Of course Cooper consents unflinchingly. Here’s where things start to get even more confusing.

Windom stabs Cooper, right where he stabbed him in Pittsburgh, and Cooper falls. However, the wound is bloodless: It is actually a psychic attack, and Windom is taking Cooper’s soul. Then everything explodes into fire, announcing the arrival of BOB. The scene where Windom stabs Cooper is played in reverse, suggesting that it has been undone (this would mean Cooper got his soul back). The strobe begins again, and Windom cries out for help as BOB gets a hold of him and begins torturing him. BOB says “Be quiet,” which mutes Windom’s screams. BOB then tells Cooper, “You go. He’s wrong. He can’t ask for your soul. I will take his.” This indicates again to me how powerless Windom really is.

BOB takes Windom Earle's soul.

BOB takes Windom Earle’s soul.

Windom begins to scream again, and we see fire go into his head, seemingly at BOB’s beckoning. Windom then goes still and quiet. BOB has presumably taken his soul. Cooper walks slowly out of the room. As he does, however, another figure comes running up behind the red curtains. It is Cooper’s Doppelganger. Even if BOB told him to go, it isn’t that simple: There is still another trial that Cooper must pass. The Doppelganger laughs with BOB, who still has Windom.

(This is the last we see of Windom Earle.)

Leland's Doppelganger tells Cooper,

Leland’s Doppelganger tells Cooper, “I did not kill anyone.”

Back in the hall, Cooper is about to enter another room when Leland Palmer’s Doppelganger steps out, laughing, from an area where there should be nothing. His hair is its original brown shade. Doppelganger Leland tells Cooper “I did not kill anybody,” which is a reference to Leland’s role as a pawn in BOB’s murders, and Cooper’s guilt that he could not save Leland. He steps toward Cooper, seemingly trying to intimidate him, but Cooper avoids him and parts to curtains to enter the other room. However, he steals one last look backward at Leland’s Doppelganger, and sees his own emerge from the other end of the hall. This is a continuation of his mistake of not facing his Doppelganger, but instead continuing to search for Annie. Cooper steps into the other room, and the Doppelganger enters the hallway. He and Leland’s Doppelganger smile and laugh.

The appearance of Leland’s Doppelganger is significant because of what is about to happen to Cooper: He is about to be a vessel for BOB. The only other vessel for BOB that we have met is Leland, hence his Doppelganger’s appearance at the end of the Black Lodge sequence.

Now, instead of going back and forth down the hallway, Cooper is running consistently through the rooms of the Lodge, most of which are empty. Doppelganger Cooper laughs as he pursues Cooper, and as he finally catches his quarry, the strobe light once again begins to flash, and we see BOB’s face smiling into the camera. The scene in the Lodge fades into the scene of the entrance – red curtains hanging in the circle of Sycamore trees. There is a spotlight on the curtains, and it become brighter right as two bodies suddenly materialize outside…

Cooper made the fatal mistake when he ran from his Doppelganger: He had already shown fear, but I believe that, if he had ultimately faced his Doppelganger, the “Dweller on the Threshold,” he could had succeeded. The fact that he ran at that crucial moment is what spelled demise for Cooper, and why he ended up trapped there for 25 years, while his Doppelganger and BOB run amok.

So that is the sum of what, exactly, happened to Cooper inside the Lodge. So what does that mean for the future of Agent Cooper and Twin Peaks? We will explore that in the second part of this article; Beyond Life and Death, Part 2: The Rebirth of Agent Cooper.

To Be continued.

To be continued.