“What is Your Name?” – Finale Analysis – Part 2

Written by Eden H. Roquelaire for Twin Peaks Freaks.

Disclaimer: Contains spoilers for Twin Peaks: The Return, all episodes. But you really shouldn’t be shocked by that.

The final episode of The Return was met with much controversy, with some heralding it as visionary, and others left feeling angry and cheated. Undoubtedly there were many vagaries and gray areas that people have been pondering ever since. Without further ado, let’s delve into the mysteries lying within Part 18 of Twin Peaks: The Return.

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Cooper’s Doppelganger sits in the Black Lodge, stiff, his eyes milky, his body smoldering and engulfed in flames, yet unburnt. He is trapped back in the Lodge and being punished for attempting to avoid returning to the Lodge, as his fate was meant to be by some unknown decree. Meanwhile, MIKE uses electricity to make a copy of Dougie from Cooper.

An important thing to note: The original Dougie was presumably made from the DNA of DoppelCoop, and took on his negative personality traits. However, this version of Dougie was made from the DNA of the Good Dale, and therefore we can conclude that he will be a better father for Sonny Jim and a better husband to Janey-E, who he returns to, as Cooper promised them previously. There is debate in the fan community about whether it really is Dougie who returns to the Joneses, or if it might be the real Cooper, leaving a tulpa in his place. I don’t buy into this theory mostly because I think it would be out-of-character for Cooper to abandon his mission. With all the Doppelgangers and tulpas running around, it can be difficult to keep track of who is who or what, but I think here is a moment where David Lynch was straightforward in giving us a conclusion to the Joneses story.

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Let’s take a moment to talk about the Golden Sphere, without going too deep into it as it could fill up several articles of its own. It is interesting to note that both Laura and Dougie are made from golden spheres, though Laura’s is much larger than Dougie’s (But does size really matter?). As Dougie is a tulpa, does this mean Laura is also a tulpa? Does that mean that tulpas can be born the same as ordinary humans? Or does the golden sphere not necessarily denote the creation of a tulpa? Can a being created by one of these spheres also be a human?

As Dougie is embraced by Janey-E and Sonny Jim, the only word he utters in his state of joy is, “Home.” This is a powerful underlying theme of Season 3; returning home. Going back to where it began. And it all began with Laura.

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We once again see Cooper leading Laura through the woods, only to hear the sound from Part 1, which heralds Laura’s disappearance. But why? What is this noise? In Part 1, the Fireman plays the sound for Cooper and warns him, “It is in our house now.” This suggests that the sound is caused by whatever is “in our house.” The house could either be the White Lodge, or the Palmer residence. I believe it refers to Judy/Joudy/Jowday being in possession of Sarah Palmer, the house being the Palmer house. If my hunch is correct, this further implies that Judy found Laura, and took her, rather than BOB finding her and murdering her. After Laura vanishes, we hear the same scream from when she vanished within the Black Lodge.

Next, Cooper is back in the Black Lodge, talking to MIKE, which suggests that a time loop is in play here. Has Cooper repeated this mission multiple times? “Is it future, or is it past?” That is the question. MIKE disappears, then reappears, or another version of him appears, in the corner of the room, beckoning to Cooper. They walk through the curtains and meet up again with the Evolution of the Arm, which asks, “Is it the story of the little girl who lived down the lane?” which is a repetition of one of Audrey’s lines, suggesting she has a bigger part in this than is immediately evident. Just what that is remains to be seen. It is also reminiscent of the line from Fire Walk With Me, when the man in the diner asks Agents Desmond and Stanley, “You talking about that little girl that was murdered?”

Cooper does not answer the Arm, and it presses on, “Is it?” We then see the scene of Laura whispering in Cooper’s ear. This might suggest that she is “the little girl who lived down the lane,” but it is not definitive proof. The phrase “little girl” could also be connected to Teresa, Annie, or maybe Audrey. The film The Little Girl Who Lived Down the Lane is about a young teenager who covers up the murder of her mother and lives by herself in an isolated house, until her landlord’s son discovers her secret and attempts to prey upon her. It contains the Lynchian themes of isolation, small-town mystery, and women in trouble who try to fight their way out. The little girl who lived down the lane could be a blanket statement referring to the women who were sacrifices to the Black Lodge. Audrey’s reference could be coincidental, otherwise she could know something about the Lodge’s rites.

Back in the Black Lodge, Laura vanishes, just like before, and Cooper runs into Leland, who implores him to find Laura. Cooper then walks down the hallway, his hand extended in front of him in a manner stunningly reminiscent of a similar scene in Inland Empire. He seems to be feeling for an exit. He finds one, and leaves the Lodge, emerging in Glastonbury Grove, where Diane is waiting for him. This is the “curtain call” Cooper referred to in the previous episode. He assures her that it is really him, and he asks if it’s really her. This really drives home the frightening fact that you don’t know who you can trust anymore, as there are so many duplicates of people including Doppelgangers, tulpas, and time travel replications. It has been suggested that there is some time-warping here, and this actually happens after the final events of the episode, and is the true ending of Twin Peaks.

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It suddenly feels like we’re in another David Lynch movie altogether. Cooper and Diane drive to a desert, and Cooper says he drove 430 miles (although he doesn’t specify the starting point, nor where they ended up). Diane is nervous and repeatedly asks Cooper if he wants to go through with what they’re about to do. Presumably, he told her everything during the car ride, but what we can’t be sure of is what exactly he told her or where he even got the idea from (I’ll get pack to that in a minute, though). He gets out and checks the area, seeming to be feeling the atmosphere for electrical pulses which would be indicative of the presence of a portal. Satisfied, he goes back to the car.

He asks Diane to kiss him, and says, “Once we cross, it could all be different.” After kissing passionately, they begin to drive forward slowly, and electricity begins to pulse and flash, and they go through the portal. Suddenly, it is night. They are driving along the same (more or less) stretch of road. Then, everything goes black. Fade in, exterior of a motel, night. Coop & Diane drive up. He gets out and enters the office, while she waits in the car. Staring out into the desert, Diane sees a duplicate of herself emerge from behind a pillar. Notably, this is another red-haired Diane, not the white-haired tulpa Diane. Could this be Diane’s Doppelganger? Diane seems quite unperturbed. It’s almost as if she knew this would happen. Perhaps because that is not a different Diane, but the same Diane we are following. Let me see if I can put this straight: This is Diane, looking at herself from either earlier or later in the timeline, and she knew this would happen because she has already experienced coming out from behind the pillar and seeing herself in the car. The Fireman very importantly told Cooper, “Remember Richard and Linda.” The word “remember” is important here, as it clearly specifies that this has happened before, and will happen again. Season 3 is one big time loop, everything is recurring and recurring and changing and doubling up on itself. This is most likely why Cooper and Diane know what will happen, they “remember” it from a previous time loop. They “remember” being Richard and Linda.

When Coop exits the office, the other Diane is gone. They then go to a motel and have sex while “My Prayer” by The Platters plays. It is theorized that Cooper and Diane are performing a sex magick ritual, a type of magick often utilized by Jack Parsons and Anton LaVey. In this case, Diane, with her shockingly red hair, would be acting as Cooper’s Scarlet Woman. Some have noted her resemblance to Parsons’s own Scarlet Woman, Marjorie Cameron.

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Diane Evans (left) and Marjorie Cameron (right), the Scarlet Women.

The inclusion of the song “My Prayer” adds a tinge of ritual here, and if you’re familiar with my theories on Lynch’s use of sex in film, then you’ll know that Lynchian love scenes have much more than what is on the surface. Obviously apprehensive, Cooper and Diane clearly knew what they were doing and what would happen. They knew they were performing a ritual, and that it would transport them to another world. The implication here is that everything happening in this scene is tied to what the Fireman says in Part 1. He bids Coop to “Remember Richard and Linda” and “430,” as in, remember this event that has technically already happened. This is what you have to go back and do (More confusing time paradox logic here).

Diane is understandably upset while she and Coop are having sex, and covers her face. This is because she remembers the trauma she suffered at the hands of his Doppelganger and is trying not to think about it, but the darkness seeps in, anyway. In the morning, she is gone, and Cooper finds only a note, which reads the following:

“Dear Richard, when you read this, I’ll be gone. Please don’t try to find me. I don’t recognize you anymore. Whatever it was we had together is over. -Linda.”

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The implication here is the following: Coop and Diane used sex magick to open a portal to a parallel world, in which versions of them exist, named Richard and Linda. By entering this other world, they have actually merged with their other selves, hence the loss of memory. Lack of recognition is a recurring element in The Return, as well as David Lynch’s other works, most notably Lost Highway where the Mystery Man asks point blank of the protagonist, “What the fuck is your name?” The Return shares many elements with Lost Highway which are worth exploring, but we don’t really have time to get into here. Just take note of the fact that both Lost Highway and The Return have shown us characters having sex in the desert and then switching with parallel versions of themselves. Loss of memory and the inability to recognize familiar people could point to characters merging with these other versions of themselves, causing them to become confused by memories of other lives in other realities. Linda doesn’t recognize Richard anymore because he’s not just Richard anymore, he’s also Cooper, and she’s now also Diane. Even “Richard” seems confused, probably by all these conflicting memories circulating in his mind. People who travel between dimensions, when not Lodge spirits, seem very confused. Just think of Philip Jeffries’ confusion when he appeared in Cole’s office.

[Note: To avoid further confusion, I will continue to call this version of Cooper “Cooper,” rather than Richard. According to the theory I just posited, both are technically accurate, so… let’s just go with that.]

Cooper leaves the hotel, which is different from before, and drives to Odessa, Texas, where he stops at a cafe called Judy’s. Inside, he asks the waitress is there’s “another waitress” who works there. The waitress says there is, but it’s “her third day off,” implying that she’s been missing for three days. Cooper then gets into a fight with three aggressive men with guns, and dispatches them by kicking one in the groin and shooting one in the foot. His behavior here is a bit confusing, as it’s hard to imagine Agent Cooper being so violent. However, he shows kindness to the waitress that is characteristic of Cooper, leading some to posit that this “Richard” version of Coop is a fusion of Agent Cooper and Mr. C. If true, this further suggests that all versions of Cooper are merging, perhaps including ones we’ve never heard of before, like Richard.

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Cooper then goes to visit the other waitress at her address (provided by the waitress at the diner). In front of the house is an electrical pole with the number 6 on it, just like the one at the Fat Trout Trailer Park, suggesting a sort of tie between dimensions. Perhaps this is the other world’s version of the Fat Trout Trailer Park? Or, could one use a portal at Fat Trout to get here? There are some odd objects in the front yard as well, including what looks like a noose and a small bronze orb. When Coop knocks at the door, it is answered by Carrie Page, who looks just like the older Laura Palmer we saw in the Black Lodge. Coop says he’s with the FBI and Carrie asks “Did you find him?” It’s never explained who she might be looking for, a lover, a family member, a friend… However, it’s very clear that she’s in some serious trouble, as, when she invites Cooper in, there’s the corpse of a man dead of a gunshot to the head sitting in her chair. She says she has no idea who Laura Palmer is, but seems to agree that her parents are named Sarah and Leland (though this is open to interpretation). Coop tells her he wants to take her to her mother’s house, which was her house, “at one time.” This reminds us of Ronette Pulaski/American Girl in an earlier episode warning Cooper, “My mother is coming.” This strengthens the idea that the “mother” is Judy, who is possessing Sarah Palmer. In any case, Carrie agrees to go with Coop because she’s “got to get out of Dodge anyway.”

Carrie Page’s name is very interesting, because it seems to be tied to the third still-missing page of Laura Palmer’s diary. In a sense, Carrie Page is “the missing page.” The identity of the dead man in the chair is up in the air. Carrie also mentioned to Cooper, “Somebody like you comes around, and I tell him to fuck off.” What does that mean? Who has been coming around? FBI agents? Have other parallel Cooper’s been showing up looking for her, from other dimensions? Or is someone else trying to hunt her down for unknown reasons? Have they been sending hitmen after her? Perhaps she told the man in the chair “to fuck off,” in a sense. It is worth noting that the dead man seems to have a mass on his stomach, which could be a BOB-tumor emerging, suggesting that the man was the host of this world’s BOB, meaning that BOB is potentially defeated in both Coop’s world and Richard’s.

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Here’s where things get very, very, very confusing. Very. Coop and Carrie drive to this world’s version of the Palmer house, only to be met by a woman neither of them recognize, played by the woman who owns the house in real life. She doesn’t know who Sarah Palmer is, and says the house was previously owned by a Mrs. Chalfont, and that her name is Alice Tremond. There are a couple of things to note here. Firstly, the name Alice is also used in Lost Highway for the parallel dimension version of Renee. The name is, in both cases, a reference to Alice in Wonderland, a story in which a girl named Alice travels to another, fantastical world, and has trouble holding onto who she is. The names further reinforce the importance of interdimensional travel, as the Tremonds/Chalfonts are heavily involved in characters traveling from their worlds into the Black Lodge. They give Laura the painting that makes her dream of the Black Lodge, they own the trailer under which Chet Desmond finds the Owl Ring before disappearing, and Donna speaks with them in what seems to be an alternate dimension version of a house she visits while working for Meals on Wheels. In short, the Tremonds/Chalfonts are proficient dimensional travelers, which is important here. Portals seem to be near whenever the Chalfonts and Tremonds are.

After chatting with Alice, Cooper and Carrie turn away and walk back towards the street. Cooper suddenly seems disturbed, and asks, “What year is this?” More of the confusion from traveling between dimensions, as this is highly reminiscent of Philip Jeffries in Fire Walk With Me, asking, “May? 1989?” Then, we heard Sarah Palmer’s distorted voice calling for Laura from the house they just left. Carrie turns and looks, and, in that moment, it seems that all of Laura’s memories come flooding into her, and she screams in horror at the revelation. All of the lights in the house go off, and fade to black.

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Now, what does this mean? Did Cooper succeed? Did he fail? Is Judy defeated? Is everyone a tulpa? Electricity is of course an important part of the Twin Peaks mythos, and the fact that the electricity shorts out the moment Carrie screams is significant. It implies a loss of power to the Lodge spirits. However, even inferring this leaves us with many questions. What is this dimension, exactly? Is it an alternate timeline? Is it a dimension created to trap Laura? Is it our world? An illusion? None of the above? The episode ends with Laura (or Carrie?) whispering in Cooper’s ear in the Black Lodge, and we still can’t hear what she said.

I think this finale was purposefully constructed to be confusing and inconclusive, to keep the mystery alive, and encourage us to believe that the spirit of Twin Peaks will never really end. I think Lynch and Frost want us to continue theorizing, and, especially in Lynch’s case, believe that what’s important is not definitive answers, but what the show means to us as viewers, as we are taking the journey with the characters, and experiencing their trials, their joys, their failures and victories, loves and heartbreaks, with them. Done right, film and television can change peoples’ lives, and I believe that this was Lynch’s true goal for The Return, and the finale in particular. I don’t know what my conclusive belief is about the ending. I have my clues, my leads, my theories, and here they are for you, to help guide you, should you want them to, to your own conclusions. This has been an incredible journey we have all taken, and, in our various ways, we have all been changed by it. Here’s to keeping the mystery alive.

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“The Past Dictates the Future” Finale Analysis – Part One

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Written by Eden H. Roquelaire for Twin Peaks Freaks.

Disclaimer: Contains spoilers for Twin Peaks: The Return.

The two-part finale for Twin Peaks: The Return left many fans reeling, whether thrilled or dismayed. It’s taken a long time to process it, but now that I think I have some solid theories to present to you, let’s not waste any more time, and jump right into my analysis of Part 17, with a separate article analyzing Part 18 to come.

The episode begins where we left off with Gordon, Tammy, and Albert after the disappearance of the Diane Tulpa. Gordon has a moment of exposition so that he can retcon the ending of Season 2. He talks about Judy, who’s actually Jowday, and Phillip Jeffries’ involvement with her, or it. This leads to some seeming inconsistencies with the way Judy is referenced in Fire Walk With Me and The Missing Pieces, where we are strongly led to believe that Judy is a human woman. A way of explaining this away is that Jowday was an inhabiting spirit, which called itself “Judy” while it was possessing a female body.

Gordon also mentions that Phillip Jeffries “doesn’t really exist anymore, at least not in the normal sense.” Of course we know that Phillip Jeffries is inside some kind of machine now. I think this has something to do with the altered timeline, which has all but erased Jeffries from existence. That’s why Albert and Gordon barely remember him, and why Jeffries will later mention something about Gordon remembering “the unofficial version.” I believe this indicates that Gordon is, to an extent, aware of the altered timeline. The “official version” of the timeline is the one we see in the show: “The unofficial version” is the one we saw in Fire Walk With Me, which is being erased.

GordonThen comes a big reveal: The “two birds with one stone” line was actually said by Cooper 25 years ago to Gordon. He told Gordon that if he disappeared like Jeffries and Desmond, to do everything possible to find him. He said he was “trying to kill two birds with one stone.” This could mean Cooper was trying to take out both BOB and Jowday. This retcon calls into question just how much of the past events Agent Cooper has actually been in control of. It’s heavily implied that his entry into the Black Lodge was anticipated, and made part of his plan with Briggs and Cole. For unknown reasons, it was kept secret from Albert. However, Gordon says that he isn’t sure if the plan is unfolding properly, as he expected to hear from the real Cooper by now. I believe the setback to the plan was the unanticipated creation of Dougie by DoppelCoop, which hindered Cooper.

We return to the jail, where Naido and the drunk have finally fallen asleep, so Chad is able to execute his escape. Now, much has been made of the drunk and his potential connections to Chad, Billy, and Naido, and why he disappears later. I honestly don’t think we have enough information to go on with him. There’s a decent possibility that he’s Billy, but he may also just be a weird character put in by Lynch for his odd humor. Sort of like the sweeping scene, but a character instead. Admittedly, however, it is odd that, when the drunk wakes up, Chad is discouraged from his escape attempt, and, later, when the drunk passes out but everyone else is awake, Chad continues his escape attempt. Also, judging by his weird sores and injuries, he may be addicted to the Sparkle drug. It’s also very curious why he isn’t in a hospital…

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Meanwhile, Jerry turns up naked in Wyoming. This could just be for comedic effect, but the first thing it made me think was that he had been struck by lightning, which can sometimes knock the clothes off of people. Now, you may point out that, if it was lightning, there would have been obvious signs, and it would have been mentioned. I think there were no signs because it wasn’t literal lightning, but a spiritual lightning. In Native American lore, lightning represents a spiritual awakening, usually granted by a thunder bird. You can read more about the connection between the thunder birds and Twin Peaks here. Perhaps Jerry had an epiphany?

DoppelCoop’s coordinates take him to Jack Rabbit’s Palace. He approaches the pool of liquid gold next to the lone sycamore and time begins to skip as the portal opens. DoppelCoop makes it into the White Lodge, but Briggs has laid a trap for him. This is probably part of the plan he put together with Cooper 25 years ago. DoppelCoop is caught in a machine, and, instead of making it to the Palmer house like he planned, the Fireman sends DoppelCoop to the Sheriff’s Station, for the final confrontation. We see many of the dome-shaped machines working in a room, as DoppelCoop is transported away.

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As he arrives, Naido sits bolt upright. When Andy and Lucy see him, they assume he’s Agent Cooper and are excited, until Andy remembers his vision from his meeting with the Fireman, in which he’s leading Lucy down the hallway. However, he doesn’t seem to know what to make of this. But once Agent Cooper refuses coffee, I think that clues Andy in that something’s wrong. He runs to get Hawk and tell him. Meanwhile, Chad is executing his big escape in the jail. Naido wakes up the drunk, who begins tearing the tube out of his nose angrily. Andy enters the jail, looking for Hawk, and gets held up by Chad, only to be rescued by Freddy. Upstairs, Lucy gets a call from Agent Cooper, and figures out how cell phones work.

This ongoing gag about Lucy and cell phones, I think, is a joke about Twin Peaks, both the show and the town, being perpetually stuck in the 1950s. It’s also a little play on the existence of Doppelgangers, and a person being in two places at once.

Anyway, Lucy turns bad ass and guns down DoppelCoop, which is what Andy’s vision was foretelling. The real Cooper, via phone call, warns Frank Truman not to touch the body, while Andy brings the occupants of the jail cell, Naido, James, and Freddie, but notably not the drunk, into the Sheriff’s office. He was probably previously instructed to do so by the Fireman.  Then, three Woodsmen show up and begin trying to resurrect DoppelCoop. I believe that the blood they rub on his face is actually a representation of Garmonbozia (remember, it was represented as blood during the ending of Fire Walk With Me). This should revitalize him, but it doesn’t work. Instead, just as the real Cooper arrives, the BOB tumor erupts from DoppelCoop’s stomach and attacks Cooper. Freddy steps forward and challenges BOB, narrowly defeating him, fulfilling his destiny.

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One of the most commonly raised complaints about Part 17 is the showdown between Freddie and the BOB tumor. Fans complained that it was ridiculous and mindless — too easy for the big showdown with BOB himself. This uncharacteristic anticlimax led fans to wonder if Lynch was making a joke, perhaps about superhero franchises, where problems are often solved by punching things. An interesting theory says that, had the series continued in the 90’s, Nadine, who had super strength at the time, would have been to one to punch BOB out. Once her story arc was altered, Freddie was supposedly created to fill the void.

But why is Freddie, the chosen warrior of the White Lodge, from England? It’s so seemingly out of the blue. However, I think there’s a reasonable explanation.

In the past, the Black Lodge has made good work of removing the agents of the White Lodge. They took Agents Jeffries, Desmond, Stanley, and even Cooper. They killed Bill Hastings when he started to talk. They took the real Diane and replaced her with a Tulpa agent. They killed Laura Palmer. They even took Audrey, who was a close friend of Agent Cooper’s and may have had a larger role to play. They possessed Sarah Palmer. They killed Major Briggs. The White Lodge needed to find agents that the Black Lodge wouldn’t see coming. They used Andy and Lucy, two of the last people who might be perceived of as a threat to the Black Lodge. They may have brought Laura Palmer back from the dead. So someone far from Twin Peaks, who the Black Lodge couldn’t get to and corrupt, was an ideal candidate.

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Cooper puts the ring on his Doppelganger’s finger, and its body disappears. Cooper asks Frank for his old room key, saying that Major Briggs told him that “Sheriff Truman would have it.” This strengthens the idea that Briggs had some ability to time travel through his dealings with the White Lodge. As the FBI arrive, Cooper notices Naido, and his face becomes interposed over the following events. This is because Cooper, has dreamed all of this before. In effect, he already watched himself do all these things, that’s how he knows what will happen. The interposed face is the dreaming Cooper watching all of this happen.

Next is a moment that almost seems like exposition, but it’s all very confusing exposition. Bobby arrives, as do Albert, Gordon, and Tammy, and Cooper launches into a speech. He explains that Garland Briggs “was well-aware of what is going on today.”  He then says, “Now, there are some things that will change. The past dictates the future.” This is a fairly clear indication that Cooper intends to alter the timeline, or knows that someone else will. Naido runs over to Cooper and touches hands with him, and the curse placed on her by the Black Lodge burns away, with much black smoke. The facade cracks, revealing Diane, who has candy-red hair. It would seem that, after attacking her and taking her to the Black Lodge, DoppelCoop trapped Diane in the form of Naido, who could not communicate, and was disguised so Cooper couldn’t recognize her, then made a Tulpa to take her place in the outside world.

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People have drawn a connection between Diane and Jack Parsons’s second wife, Marjorie Cameron, who also had neon red hair. Parsons believed that Marjorie was an “elemental” created by a ritual he’d performed, who was destined to help him with his magic.

Cooper and Diane kiss passionately, and the interposed image of Coop’s face disappears, suggesting this is where his dream ended. However, the face reappears a moment later. Coop asks Diane if she remembers everything, and she says she does. To me, this implies that she is also part of Cooper’s plan. Time starts glitching, as if it is stuck in one moment. With much distortion, the Cooper face says, “We live inside a dream.” The “regular” Cooper says to everyone that he hopes he sees them again, then stresses, “every one of you.” This suggests that he knows some of these characters do not exist in other timelines.

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Then, everything fades to black. Coop and Gordon call out to each other, almost as if asking, “Are you ready?” because they next move is together, along with Diane. They walk through the darkness and enter what seems to be a basement, filled with machines, like James saw a few episodes ago. However, it’s all very dreamlike as this basement seems to be made up of various other environments. It’s reminiscent of the basement BOB appeared in in the original series, as well as the one James saw, and includes the door to Coop’s old room at the Great Northern. We also hear the hum that Ben and Beverly have been hearing, which apparently indicates the nearness of another dimension. Some have suggested that this is the basement of the Great Northern, and the old key was repurposed for a door down there once the switch was made to key cards.

Cooper’s face fades out, for good this time. We see many doors down here, which to me suggests different dimensions are accessible from here. Coop enters one door and tells Gordon and Diane not to follow him. He looks back and them and says, “I’ll see you at the curtain call,” a reference to his meeting with Diane at the portal of the Black Lodge, the “curtain call” obviously referring to the red curtains in the waiting room. It also has a more meta interpretation, as the curtain call can also indicate the part of a stage production, after the play when the curtains go down, and the actors come out to take a bow. I noticed also that the black paint near the door he enters is speckled with white and looks remarkably similar to the background when we see him falling through non-existence.

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Cooper meets up with MIKE, who recites the Fire Walk With Me poem, which causes electricity to flash. They are transported to The Dutchman’s to visit Phillip Jeffries. We see the Jumping Man leave down the stairway, which may suggest some collusion between he and Jeffries.

Cooper gives Jeffries the date of Laura Palmer’s murder, and MIKE begins shaking his head. Perhaps he is sad, thinking of what happened, or perhaps he sees the folly of what Cooper is trying to do. Jeffries says he’ll find the date for them, and says, “It’s slippery in here.” The way he says it makes it clear that the two statements are connected, but what does the latter mean? I think it means that time is “slippery,” that it often glitches and is hard to keep hold of. He tells Cooper to say hi to Gordon, who will apparently “remember the unofficial version.” Read this as: “He will have residual memories of me from the erased timeline.”

Jeffries begins to spout some confusing dialog here.

This is where you’ll find Judy. There may be someone. Did you… ask me this?”

I’ll get back to that in the next article, though. Bear with me. He then shows them the Owl Cave insignia, which turns into an eight, then an infinity symbol, with a small dot traveling along it. This suggests an infinite loop, that Cooper has done this before. After the dot moves along the lemniscate for a moment, there’s a mechanical clank and it stops, as Jeffries finds the right time for Cooper. He says, “You can go in now,” mirroring when, in the Lodge, MIKE tells him, “You can go out now.” He then implores Cooper to remember, probably, to remember the alternate timeline, which holds some pertinent information. MIKE, who has been shaking his head all this time, says, “Electricity.” Right on queue, electricity crackles and time jumps as the energy is produced to transport Cooper back to the night Laura was murdered.

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We see events replay. Laura leaving with James to the woods, then James leaving her. This time, Cooper is watching. He was all along. Laura even sees him, and screams. After James leaves and Laura is alone in the woods, Cooper appears to her. She recognizes him from her dreams, and takes his hand. Her body, wrapped in plastic, disappears from the shore. He tells her, “We’re going home,” suggesting that he plans on taking her back to her house.

We cut to the Palmer house in what seems to be the 25 years later time period, and Sarah Palmer, who’s been possessed by Jowday all along, grabs the iconic photo of Laura, and, wailing the whole time, attempts to destroy it with a broken liquor bottle. Time skips, and no matter how many times she tries to stab the photo, she can’t damage it. In short, Jowday wants Laura dead, but cannot harm her. Laura is protected.

However, as Cooper is leading Laura by the hand through the woods, periodically checking to make sure she’s still there, we hear the sounds that the Fireman played for Cooper at the beginning of Part 1, and Laura vanishes. We hear Laura’s death scream, and Cooper looks despondent. Jowday couldn’t kill Laura, so she took her.

But, where is Laura now? Will Coop see Gordon and Diane again? What was Phillip Jeffries talking about? Find out in the thrilling conclusion, when I analyze Part 18 of Twin Peaks: The Return!

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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!

5 Final Predictions for Twin Peaks: The Return

 

Written by Eden H. Roquelaire for Twin Peaks Freaks.

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

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

ED

5. Big Ed stayed with Nadine

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

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4. There are two Dale Coopers

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

-Annie Blackburn, Fire Walk With Me

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

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

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3. Return to the Roadhouse

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

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2. I’m not saying it’s aliens…

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

Blue Rose

1. The Blue Rose is code for Listening Post Alpha

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Long Lost Phillip Jeffries – Explained!

Written by Eden H. Roquelaire for Twin Peaks Freaks.

Disclaimer: This article contains spoilers for Fire Walk with Me and The Secret History of Twin Peaks.

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One of the most enigmatic scenes in all of Twin Peaks is the brief but memorable appearance of the “long lost” Phillip Jeffries (played by the late great David Bowie, R.I.P.). The scene sparked so many questions with the very little it showed us, and almost none of it is explained or even referenced again in the film. It’s a bizarre aside in the larger story, but there is undoubtedly great importance to it. It features many integral characters and motifs, yet it is so hard to fit in with the rest of the movie. What is Jeffries doing in Buenos Aires? Why has he been missing? Who is Judy?  What is the relevance to the rest of the plot?

Jeffries’ appearance is one of the most hotly debated mysteries among Peaks Freaks everywhere, and, in this article, I will attempt to put the story as straight as possible for the benefit of both veteran fans, and the curious newcomer. First, we will go over the major points of interest from the main scene, then, in the end, we will construct the most coherent narrative we can from one of the most surreal moments in the film.

I’d like to cite that one of my major sources for this article is this enlightening post from the Above the Convenience Store blog, so go read it first. Also, I am drawing dialogue from The Missing Pieces, which contains an altogether different take of the Phillip Jeffries scene with bits of extra dialogue.

Phillip Jeffries appears, walking out of the elevator at and walking straight into Gordon Cole’s office. Agent Cooper spots him, along with what may be his own Doppelganger, on the security camera. He says he remembers this from a dream he had. Rushing into the office, Cooper meets up with Cole, and Albert Rosenfield, who have just come face-to-face with Jeffries, who seems anxious and confused.

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“Cooper, meet the long-lost Phillip Jeffries. You may have heard of him from the academy.”

We’ll start here, as it is the only back story we are really given to Jeffries. Given the reference to him being talked about by the academy, it’s safe to assume he’s an FBI agent, while he’s never explicitly called one. He is also associated with Dale Cooper, Gordon Cole, Albert Rosenfield, Sam Stanley, and Chester Desmond in The Secret History of Twin Peaks. He’s been with the FBI much longer than Cooper, as he was apparently being talked about at the academy while Dale was still training there.

So Jeffries has been on the case for a while. But what case?

The reference to Jeffries being “long-lost” is the most intriguing part here, and actually gives us a good idea of what has happened to him. We know of other FBI agents who have been “lost” — Desmond and Stanley are both missing by the end of the film, and Cooper can be presumed to be in a similar state in the aftermath of season 2These agents all have one thing in common: Involvement with the Black Lodge, and Gordon Cole’s “Blue Rose” cases.

The meeting "Above the Convenience Store"

“Listen to me carefully. I’ve been to one of their meetings. It was above a convenience store.”

Jeffries ignores all of the other agents’ questions and goes on a harried tangent about a “meeting” he witnessed, which we see overlapping Jeffries’ scene in Cole’s office. He says that this was a “dream” (and that we live inside a dream), and that he found something in Seattle “at Judy’s.” This “something” may be an opening to the Lodges, or it could be the secret meeting place of the Dugpa — the room above the convenience store. Or perhaps this “something” was an artifact related to the Dugpa, as he then babbles about “the ring,” before breaking down crying.

Jeffries also has some revelation or recollection about the date May, 1989, and subsequently disappears as if he was never there. What the relevance of this is is never elaborated upon, and the date is never reached during the course of the series. It was, however, important enough for it to warrant an appearance in the trailer for The Missing Pieces, and most likely has some connection to Major Briggs’ enigmatic “mayday protocols” mentioned towards the end of The Secret History of Twin Peaks. Could it be that Jeffries, Judy, and Briggs were all involved in some plot that was to take place on May 1st, “Mayday”? Are they all involved in the mayday protocols?

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“I’m not going to talk about Judy. In fact we’re not gonna talk about Judy at all. We’re gonna keep her out of it.”

Judy is one of the most talked about mysteries in the fandom, and more has been said and hypothesized about her than I can include here (a very in-depth study on the history of Judy as a character can be found here). Suffice to say, it’s probable she was Jeffries’ informant or partner, who was involved in the case with him. She’s important enough for him to tell the other agents that “Judy is positive about this,” as if her opinion holds weight with them. Albert Rosenfield even scoffs “How interesting. I thought we were going to leave her out of it,” as if he knows Judy and doesn’t approve of her in some way. This supports the possibility of Judy being Jeffries’ partner. But why is he reluctant to talk about her? Why does he want to “keep Judy out of this”? Was there some point of contention between himself, Judy, and the other agents? Did they not think he should be involved with her? Could it be that she was a person of interest in a case, and Jeffries became romantically entangled with her, in keeping with the classic film noir trope? What is she so positive about, anyway?

Evil Doppelgangers of Cooper and Leland.

 

“Who do you think this is there?”

Near the beginning of the scene, Jeffries points to Cooper and asks Cole, “Who do you think that is there?” No one has any idea what he is talking about, and Jeffries never elaborates. However, I have an idea. We might presume that for the past two years, Jeffries has been, like Cooper, lost in the Black Lodge, which as we know operates in nonlinear time. Just as young Laura was able to meet an old Cooper and transmit a message to the past through him, it is not far-fetched to believe that Jeffries, during his wanderings in the Black Lodge, came across Cooper’s Doppelganger, and now that he is out, believes that Cooper is still not who he seems. In effect, this is more or less a “foreshadow” of Cooper’s possession by BOB at the end of season 2.

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“He’s gone.”

Before anything can be done, there are electrical problems, and Jeffries vanishes. This is a pretty clear indication that the magic of the Black Lodge is at work here. He reappears at his hotel in Buenos Aires in a burst of flame, much to the shock of his bellhop. Now here, I’d like to bring up the subject of Buenos Aires and why Jeffries is there. If you watch The Missing Pieces, we find that Jeffries arrives at his hotel to receive a message from a woman, presumably Judy. This suggests that they were investigating something there together, or, that they had run away together. Possibly both. In either case, something strange is definitely happening to Jeffries, possibly as a consequence of wearing or proximity to the Owl Ring. It appears he randomly phases in and out of dimensions, possibly by way of the Black Lodge. I suggest that after disappearing in Buenos Aires, he briefly went through the Black Lodge and emerged in Philadelphia. This explains his panicked but determined demeanor: He understands that he has been given a chance to warn Cole, but also that he has little time before he phases out again. He tries to alert Cole about to the relevant points: BOB’s leaving the Black Lodge to go on a murderous rampage, the ring, and even “Evil Cooper.”

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Conclusion

Well, I want to tell you everything, but I sure don’t have a lot to go on. But I’ll do the best I can to construct the most likely narrative:

Phillip Jeffries is an FBI agent, working closely with Gordon Cole, and possibly also with Major Garland Briggs. He takes on a “Blue Rose” case, which, most likely, marks the case as involving the supernatural. In keeping with the recurring motif in Twin Peaks, we might presume there was the murder of a young woman involved. Jeffries goes to Seattle to investigate and meets Judy, who is a person of interest in the case. He and Judy become romantically entangled, to the disapproval of Jeffries’ peers. He meets her at her house, and she shows him the Owl Ring and possibly gives it to him. He sleeps over that night and (“I found something… in Seattle, at Judy’s.”) has a dream, caused by the Owl Ring. In this dream, he sees Dugpas, and follows them to a meeting in a room above a convenience store. Upon waking, he discovers that he now phases through dimensions in a burst of flame, something which he has no control over. In order to help him, he and Judy investigate the ring and the Dugpas, an investigation that takes Jeffries away from his previous assignment in Seattle, and causes him to go off the radar for two years. This leads them to Buenos Aires, where they believe there is another opening to the Black Lodge. They plan to meet up at the hotel, but when Jeffries arrives, Judy is gone, and she left a note. He then disappears from the hotel, enters the Black Lodge, and re-emerges in Philadelphia, where he attempts to warn Cole of the horrors he has discovered before disappearing again in a burst of flames and reappearing in Buenos Aires.

There are still many loose threads and exact details missing, like the involvement of Windom Earle, who was allegedly in Buenos Aires with Jeffries and Judy, and the bizarre security camera phenomenon, but I believe my proposed scenario fits in well with the overarching story and helps explain some of the non sequitors that proliferate this scene. For sure, there are still more mysteries to be uncovered, and hopefully we will learn some of the answers when Twin Peaks returns this May.

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

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Written by Eden H. Roquelaire for Twin Peaks Freaks.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

-Frank Booth, Blue Velvet

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

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

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

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

Ghostwood: Angry Nature Spirits in Twin Peaks

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Written by Eden H. Roquelaire for Twin Peaks Freaks.

“My people believe that the White Lodge is a place where the spirits that rule man and nature here reside.”

-Deputy Hawk

Throughout Twin Peaks the series and the film Fire Walk With Me, we repeatedly encounter the symbol of wood, and cutting through wood. The sawmill, the Log Lady, Josie being trapped in a drawer knob at the Great Northern, and, of course, the ever-present trees. Hidden in the plot is an environmental message: The preservation of Ghostwood, which is threatened by industrial development. In Fire Walk With Me, woodcutting tools like axes and chainsaws are recurring motifs. All of this suggests something: Could the Dugpas be some form of angry nature spirits, attacking the humans who threaten their home?

Twin Peaks‘ symbolism encourages us to connect spirits with nature, which is an element seen in every ancient culture’s lore. In Greek myth, Nymphs known as Dryads live in trees, and have been known to attack humans who attempt to cut down their home. In Egyptian mythology, two turquoise sycamores stand at the Eastern gate where the Sun God Ra rises each day. A key aspect of Native American cultures, whose symbols permeate Twin Peaks‘ mythos, is that every aspect of nature has a spirit, and is connected to the Earth Mother. The Cherokee tribe tells a tale of how humans and animals came to possess fire. It was granted to them by beings known as the Thunders, who sent down a bolt of lightning, which struck a hollow sycamore tree, causing it to catch on fire. From there, the animals were tasked with collecting the fire. Among the animals who attempted to retrieve it were three owls.

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This story is a fascinating read, considering how many key symbols it has in common with the mythology of Twin Peaks. As we all know, at Glastonbury Grove, the entrance to the Lodges is inside a circle of sycamore trees; very similar to the divine fire being lit inside a hollow sycamore tree. The Egyptians closely associated the sycamore with the Goddess Hathor, and it was seen as a symbol of both life and death. The tree was thought to grow in the underworld where its fruit was food for departed souls.

Some Native American tribes refer to the Sycamore Tree as “the Ghosts of the Forest,” and tell sinister tales about them, such as this example:

Probably the most notable Sycamore Indian lore stems from along the Little Kanawha River valley near Freeport. The Wyandotte’s spoke of twin Sycamore trees that stood along the old Indian trail near the Hughes River. As legends states, the great chief of the Evil Spirits became angry at two of his followers and cast them out along the water. These two evil spirits that had been cast across the water ended up colliding against two stately sycamore trees. All at once, the evilness spread into the trees causing them to become deformed with the limbs becoming grotesque. The Indians always believed these two trees were inhabited by the evil spirits and would be very careful when passing by. When settlers arrived and heard these tales, they would often laugh. That is until one of the settlers was found dead under one of the trees with the horrified look of having been scared to death frozen upon his face. Occasionally a defiant settler would scoff at the “haunted” trees and brag that he would cut them down for firewood. Usually after these threats were made…ill misfortune would occur to the unlucky boaster. One of the last known attempts to cut the evil trees down was made in 1840. This gentleman grabbed an axe to hack into one of the vexed trees and missed. The axe glanced off the tree and ended up lodged inside his leg. An artery was struck causing blood to spew at the base of the trunk where he promptly bled to death.

(Source: Fireside Folklore: Sycamore Trees

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Daphne transforms into a tree. Painting by Nicolas Poussin.

The idea of cast out evil spirits as seen in this tale is eerily similar to the backstory of BOB, and his Lucifer-like nature. It also plays along nicely with Twin Peaks‘ narrative of “evil in the woods.” But there isn’t just evil lurking in the woods: In fact, all kinds of spirits are dwelling in wood in Twin Peaks. The fact that Josie is trapped in the wood in the Great Northern Hotel, where she died, and the implication that the spirit of the Log Lady’s husband resides in the log she carries, is just another example of spirits in wood seen in the series. This idea is common in mythology, where we see cases of people dying and becoming flowers, or being transformed into trees to escape unwanted pursuit (such as in the case of Daphne).

From these myths, we can see the concurrent themes of spirits, nature, and the life and death cycle. With such evidence, it is not outrageous to believe that the forest of Twin Peaks, so aptly named the Ghostwood, would possess some manner of sentience.

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An intriguing subplot in Twin Peaks which was never properly explored was the Ghostwood Development Project, originally conceived of by Ben Horne, and later spearheaded by Catherine Martell. Had this plot continued, it might have revealed an intriguing, environmental message: Nature spirits angered by the imminent destruction of their home, as more and more incursions are made upon the woods, by the townsfolk, the sawmill, and the looming Ghostwood Development Project. This would provide greater meaning for  the latter two within the story, and elaborate on the backstory of the Dugpas.

Native American teachings emphasize the importance of nature; that plants and animals have spirits just as human beings do, and thus we should treat nature with love and respect. These spirits, if not treated respectfully, can turn on people, and cause them varying degrees of trouble. This message, when applied to Twin Peaks, provides the Dugpas with another, deeper motive, rather than just doing evil for evil’s sake, to feed off the suffering of humans. What makes a nature spirit angry? When its home is threatened. Certainly, that sawmill must cause the Lodge spirits some grievances… Perhaps they only decided to interfere with humans once their home began being trespassed upon? This would provide a compelling motivation for these supernatural villains, making them more complex and almost sympathetic.

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The portrayal of Dugpas as Nature Spirits is further supported by their shapeshifting abilities; an attribute commonly associated with nature spirits such as the Norse Vættir or the Horned God Cernunnos. Furthermore, Hawk describes the White Lodge as being occupied by spirits that control nature. This by itself is a fairly vague statement, however, if we provide this statement with the proper context, it becomes reasonable evidence for the “angry nature spirit” idea. Of course, this is referring to the White Lodge, but the Black Lodge being the “shadow-self” of the White Lodge, it is not illogical to believe that it possesses an equatable concept. From this, we can infer that the Black Lodge contains the spirits of the darker side of nature: Those associated with death and decay, which are both necessary for the existence of nature, but are cause of much grief for those living in it.

This reminds us that nature is amoral, and dualistic. Alongside great beauty is terrible ugliness. However, it is only the human mind that provides this context. Nature by itself is neither ugly nor beautiful, neither kind nor cruel. Much like entering the Lodges, what you see depends on your own mind, and your own spiritual well-being. An animal carcass is sorrow for its kin, but bounty for those who will feed on its meat. In this way, the Lodges reflect Nature in its purest form: To Annie Blackburn, the Black Lodge is a place of horrors, but to Windom Earle, it appears as a place of bountiful power, until, of course, those powers of death and decay claims him, as well.

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Whether or not you subscribe to this theory, it is undeniable that the forces of nature pose as a powerful presence in Twin Peaks, from the eerie wind blowing through the Douglas Firs, to the ominous hooting of the owls in the night. The powers of Earth, Air, Water, Fire, and Spirit are all prominent, and play a role in this story. And in the town of Twin Peaks, there may very well be a war between the forces of nature and human development.

“There is only one way to save a forest, an idea, or anything of value: and that is by refusing to stand by and watch it die. There is a law of nature which is more fundamental to life than the laws of man. And when something you care about is in danger, you must act to save it, or lose it forever.”

-Audrey Horne