How Twin Peaks Changed My Life Forever

“My dream is to go to that place. You know the one. Where it all began, on a starry night, on a starry night, when it all began…”

Disclaimer: Contains spoilers for everything Twin Peaks, including the novellas The Secret History of Twin Peaks and The Final Dossier.

In a way, I grew up with Twin Peaks, even though I didn’t see a single episode until I was 17. It was mentioned in apprehensive tones between my family, as if it was almost too frightening to speak of. The terrifying visage of the Killer BOB’s smile, Agent Cooper’s demise (yes, they told me the ending), the grand tragedy of Laura Palmer, and the search to bring her murderer to justice.

Twin Peaks is eminent. Twin Peaks is a part of our culture. Twin Peaks has affected everything that has come after. Twin Peaks is everywhere.

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This is a very emotional post for me. As I write this, so long after my last real article posted on this blog, I am straining to hold back tears. Since I first started doing this blog for the Twin Peaks Freaks community, I have seen unexpected growth in readership, and I thank you all for that. Twin Peaks has been a part of my life, in ways both small and life-changing, since I can remember. It has spawned an amazing community that fought for years to get it returned to television. At last, all our efforts paid off.

The new Twin Peaks, and what may very well be the end of Twin Peaks, might not have been what was expected. It might not have been what you wanted. It was convoluted, it was horrifying, it was beautiful, it was brutal, it was awe-inspiring. It truly took us somewhere both wonderful and strange. Though we were granted some answers, more than anything, we were granted mysteries. Secrets. Clues. We were locked into a never-ending search for a truth that might not exist. So what did it all mean?

It showed us how nothing can ever be the same. Life does change, especially in 25 years. Cooper, Audrey, Bobby. They couldn’t be the same. That’s not how life works. While there are some constants, as we can very much be creatures of habit, the past inevitably gives way to the future, and we might not like where it goes. We may fear change. We may fear its uncertainty. But the journey that we took with our beloved characters marked us. Taught us something. We grew with them.

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Nadine showed us how to embrace the future. How to know that change needs to come, and for the better. How to affect that change with enthusiasm and joy for the possibilities.

Ed showed us how stagnation can wither our souls. It prevents growth, keeps is afraid, keeps us holding on to harmful things.

One of my favorite elements of the new Twin Peaks was the story of Nadine, Ed, and Norma. While some might see this part as fan service, I think it was important to balance out the wild surrealism and absurdism of the new series with actual resolutions of old story arcs. It also gave us something warm to hold onto in a cold, indifferent universe, and this is one of the main messages behind Twin Peaks. As vast as the cosmos is, as small as we are in the scheme of things, every individual life does matter. That is why Laura Palmer’s death was so tragic. It wasn’t just the implications of BOB’s existence and the interference of the Lodges with our own worlds: It was the fact that something horrible had happened to a living being.

I took particular interest in this particular scene in Part 13. Big Ed, after witnessing Norma moving on with another man, while he stagnates, holding onto his long-dead relationship with Nadine, sits alone in the gas station. He burns a book of matches, a symbol of destruction, then he sits in silence, for a long while, and watches all the cars passing in the night, not one stopping.

With a previous episode making recent mention of gun shots being heard at Big Ed’s Gas Farm, I felt a dread surge within me, watching this scene. In my head, after the fade to black, the scene that played out was a tragic one. Could Big Ed, in his despair, have taken his own life with a hand gun? Luckily, it was soon revealed that this must not have been the case, because, lo and behold, he and Nadine are free to be together at last! But, what if this happy ending was only afforded to them by the changing of past events by Cooper? What if, when Cooper intercepted Laura in 1989, it caused Big Ed to choose not to kill himself, and, instead, hang on long enough to be united with Norma at long last? In The Final Dossier, we explore how Cooper’s time travel has affected the town of Twin Peaks. To give a major example, Laura is no longer dead, but missing. She disappeared that night, instead of being murdered in the train car. However, where she went, not even would-be savior Cooper knew.

We once asked “Who killed Laura Palmer?” Now we ask, “Who is Laura Palmer?”

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Probably the most enigmatic element of the new series is Carrie Page. Is she Laura? Is she Laura from another dimension? Is she another identical cousin of Laura’s? Is she a tulpa of Laura? Is she Jowday’s ultimate nemesis? None of the above?

While just about any theory you could think of is as valid as any other, I can speculate one scenario for you. Consider this: When Cooper intercepts Laura in 1989, this allows the Fireman to whisk her away from Jowday, to hide her, give her a false identity to protect her, until the time was right. When the time comes, Cooper is sent to retrieve her, and take her to the Palmer house, which will jog the memories of her other life. Once she remembers, Carrie and Laura will be one, and she will be able to fulfill her purpose.

Of course, this still leaves plenty of questions. One of the most pressing of these questions is, what is Laura’s purpose? Why is it said that Laura is “the one”? There is much said in the fan community about Laura being the one who will stop Jowday, but there’s not really any evidence to support this in the series. It’s never said in the show that Laura will stop Jowday. It’s never explained what the relationship between Laura and Jowday is. We only know that, after seeing BOB being spat out of Jowday’s mouth, signifying the evil being’s imminent arrival in our dimension, the Fireman levitates and spits out an orb of his own, one which bears Laura’s face.

It seems like even the haunting song “No Stars,” sung by Rebekah Del Rio, warns us against wanting to return to the world of the original Twin Peaks, against looking at the past with rose-colored glasses. Cooper travels back in time to save Laura, and it’s almost a commentary on our wistful nostalgia. If only we could go back to Twin Peaks, bring the show back, we could resolve everything. We wish we could undo the things that went wrong back when the show first aired. Wish it hadn’t been cancelled, wish that Lynch and Frost had been able to use all their ideas, wish Lynch hadn’t departed during the second season, wish a million things about how it all could have been. We wish we could save Laura Palmer, somehow. But nothing stays exactly the way we remember.

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When I started writing this blog, the Twin Peaks blogging community wasn’t what it is now. You couldn’t go on YouTube, search “Twin Peaks Who Is Judy?” and get a fan made theory video. I’m not saying the material wasn’t out there at the time. I’m saying it wasn’t as prevalent and accessible as it is today. When I started this blog, it had weight to it. I had the platform to address things I thought deserved attention in the Twin Peaks universe, and to present other with my educated opinion on what it all meant. From the get-go, I had people try to steal my work, to take credit for it, and otherwise downplay my efforts. I asserted myself. I kept doing what I was doing. I kept doing what I loved.

With the return of Twin Peaks, so came a resurgence in its fan base, and a demographic that pop culture sites now needed to accommodate. Mainstream sites like IGN, GameSpot, and WhatCulture all had segments on Twin PeaksMore and more fans found a calling to voice their theories and opinions through articles and videos.

But with the new Twin Peaks answering many of its old and highly-speculated upon questions, while simultaneously forging even more inscrutable mysteries, and enough clever and dedicated bloggers out there to produce endless theories and perhaps get  as near to the abstract truth of things as one can get without being Lynch or Frost, I feel my time has passed. Not just for personal reasons, but because I feel I had a great run and nothing lasts forever, even things as wonderful as Twin Peaks. I’ve said about all I have to say, and there’s enough people out there, working on decoding the infinite mysteries of Twin Peaks, that I don’t feel my silence is anyone’s loss. So, it seems reasonable to say that, with the ostensible conclusion of Twin Peaks comes the conclusion of this blog. The announcement has been a long time coming, and I wasn’t even sure if I should bother making it at this point. But, ultimately, I figure there’s no harm in saying goodbye.

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There are pros and cons to division. You can still find my work over at my resurrected blog, The Unfamous Eden H, which I’m just now working on rebuilding. So far the main focus is reviews, but there are a couple of theory articles up now, and I plan to move more into that territory as I add to the page. I do not know yet whether my unfinished Lynch-related work will eventually pop up there, it really depends on chance. But the site will be regularly updated with articles on all manner of pop culture related subjects, so please do give it a look, if that intrigues you.

See you in the trees.

“But there are no, there are no stars. No stars.”

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“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.

Freddie

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.

ImaLilTeapot

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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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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“Just Like a Movie Star”: The Evolution of Lynch’s “Judy”

The Many Faces of Judy?

The many faces of Judy?

Written by Eden Roquelaire for Twin Peaks Freaks.

 

Judy is an enigmatic character, and a point of extreme interest for some die-hard Twin Peaks fans. Researchers have managed to uncover her original identity as Josie Packard’s sister and Phillip Jeffries’ informant, but is Judy more than just a character cut out of Fire Walk With Me for time? There are still many unanswered questions about her: For one, why does the monkey whisper her name? And how does she know about the existence of the Black Lodge? I have a theory that may explain this, and reveal the true face, or faces, of Judy. This theory also indicates that we have actually seen Judy much more than we originally thought. Let’s start with this quote from Inland Empire:

My friend Nico, who lives in Pomona has a blonde wig. She wears it at parties. But she’s on hard drugs and turning tricks now. She looks very good in her blonde wig just like a movie star. Even girls fall in love with her when she’s looking so good in her blonde star wig. She blows kisses and waves. But she has got a hole in her vagina wall. She has torn a hole into her intestine from her vagina. She has seen a doctor, but it is too expensive. And now she knows her time has run out. She [will] score a few more times, and then, like that, she will stay at home, with her monkey. She has a pet monkey. This monkey shits everywhere, but she doesn’t care! This monkey can scream. It screams like it in a horror movie. But there are those who are good with animals; who have a way with animals.

-“Street Person #2” (Nae), Inland Empire

Right off the bat, we can say that Judy and Nico have two things in common: 1) We know very little about them, but 2) we know they are both associated with monkeys, for whatever reason. That may not be much to go on, but the monkey connection is a strange enough one to merit some further rumination.

Nico has "a way with animals," one could say.

Nico has “a way with animals,” one could say.

So, who is Nico? According to her friend, she is a woman who turned to prostitution and drugs, but because of a perforation in her vagina wall, she will now live at home, with her pet monkey. Oh, and she wears a blonde wig, which makes her look “just like a movie star.” She is so beautiful, both men and women fall in love with her. It’s difficult to tell from the only shot we get of Nico, but the actress who plays her, Masuimi Max, is of Korean descent, which makes both Nico and Judy Asian.

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The monkey that mysteriously whispers the name “Judy” in Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me.

But who is Judy? Thanks to some very loyal Twin Peaks fans, we have more info on Judy: She’s allegedly Josie Packard’s sister, an informant and possible love interest to Phillip Jeffries, and she seems to know something about a portal to the Black Lodge that exists in Buenos Aires. Through Josie, she may also be linked to prostitution. And a monkey mysteriously whispers her name in Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me.

But what, if anything, does this mean?

Judy was meant to be a character in Fire Walk With Me, but when the script ran long, certain parts had to be taken out. And thus, poor Judy ended up on the cutting room floor… mostly. She’s mentioned, but never seen in the film, and never discussed at length. There are many theories about Judy, and whether or not the Judy mentioned in the final film product is still meant to be Josie’s sister, or a symbol for something else. According to my theory, it’s a little bit of both. Let’s look at another character, seen briefly in Inland Empire.

Although it’s Nico who’s described as blowing kisses and laughing, she does neither when we see her in the end credits. But someone does: Laura Harring, a.k.a. Camilla Rhodes, a.k.a. Rita, from Mulholland Drive. At first this may seem meaningless… until you realize that the character of Rita looks just like movie star Rita Hayworth, and wears a blonde wig. Even women have been known to fall in love with Rita when she’s looking so good in her blonde star wig. Now, because of the manner of storytelling utilized in Mulholland Drive, analysis gets a little tricky, but Rita may also be associated with the character of Diane Selwyn; a would-be movie starlet who had to resort to prostitution and maybe even drugs when her career fails. Many fans have debated about the film, its meaning, and the story behind its characters, and there are too many theories to recount in one place, but there is one I’d like to bring up at this point, and that is the theory that Camilla Rhodes was inspired by Lynch’s former girlfriend, actress Isabella Rossellini. Both Rossellini and Camilla are “exotic” actresses with dark hair, and they both dated well-known directors (Adam Kesher, played by Justin Theroux in Mulholland Drive, seems almost like a self-written parody of Lynch). Oh and as for the blonde wig…

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That’s Rossellini in Lynch’s film Wild At Heart, which he was working on concurrent to the second season of Twin Peaks. And if this isn’t building a clear enough pattern, it is known that Rossellini was originally going to play Josie Packard.

Before Josie Packard was played by Joan Chen, Lynch had written the part, originally named Giovanna, for Rossellini. She was, of course, Italian-American as opposed to Asian-American. But when Rossellini backed out of the project, Lynch re-worked the part and cast Chen instead. And Josie, of course, according to early drafts of the Fire Walk With Me script, is Judy’s sister, and is thought to have worked as a prostitute in Hong Kong.

But what does this all mean? Where is this going? To finally complete the picture, we need to look at another Judy…

Garland?

Garland?

Lynch’s fascination for the story of The Wizard of Oz is well-known among his fans, and it has been made evident again and again in his works. The motif of a girl traveling to a strange world, full of both magic and horror, is one that Lynch emulates in almost every one of his films. Sometimes the symbolism is even more blatant, such as having a character named Dorothy wear red shoes (Blue Velvet), or having Major Garland Briggs mention Judy Garland’s name in relation to his own (Twin Peaks). Women filling the role of “Dorothy Gale” in Lynch’s works include Laura Palmer, Nikki Grace, and Diane Selwyn: But the woman who most famously portrayed the original Dorothy Gale was Judy Garland.

Judy Garland, despite her tragic life, was forever immortalized as the hopeful and naive Dorothy Gale in the Wizard of Oz.

Judy Garland, despite her tragic life, was forever immortalized as the hopeful and naive Dorothy Gale in the Wizard of Oz.

Garland is, in many ways, the perfect symbol of the wonder and tragedy of Hollywood, a subject that Lynch is passionate about: Born Frances Ethel Gumm, “Judy” was signed to Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer when she was only thirteen, and played the famous role of Dorothy Gale three years later. She was originally supposed to wear a blond wig for the part, but ultimately the producers decided against it. Her many years in show business were plagued with woe: She suffered various heartbreaks, including a time when MGM forced her into a divorce, and potentially pressured her into having an abortion for the sake of her career. She eventually married director Vincente Minelli, with whom she had her daughter, Liza Minelli. The stress of living always in the public eye ate away at Garland, driving her to multiple suicide attempts, stays at mental wards, and addiction to morphine, alcohol and barbiturates. “All I could see ahead was more confusion,” Garland was quoted as saying, after one of her many career disasters. At the age of 59, Garland was found dead of a barbiturate overdose. According to doctors who examined her, she was already dying of cirrhosis, and only had a matter of time, anyway.

This dark, tragic life, full of turmoil and a sense of hopelessness, is such a jarring juxtaposition to the roles she was most famous for: Happy, bright young girls, always singing and dancing and full of cheer. This telling vision of Hollywood struck a chords with Lynch, and “Judy” has been a part of his films ever since.

Let’s look at the evolution of the character: Lynch, inspired by the story of Judy Garland, creates the character Dorothy Vallens, played by Isabella Rossellini, who notably wears red shoes. He writes the role of Italian-American “Giovanna” for Rossellini, but she decides to pass up the role. The role is rewritten as Chinese-American “Josie” and goes to Joan Chen. When Rossellini is cast in Wild At Heart, a movie filled with Wizard of Oz references, Lynch consciously or subconsciously dresses her in a blonde wig, a reference to the early wardrobe plans for Garland’s Dorothy. The early drafts of Fire Walk With Me are written, featuring a character named Judy; Josie’s sister, who seems to know the secrets of other worlds, and may even know how to get into them. After multiple drafts, Judy is mostly cut from the script, but in the film we still see the blue-lit face of a monkey whispering “Judy.” After a period of tempestuous reinvention, Mulholland Drive is released as a feature film, with Laura Elena Harring playing the exotic and seductive actress Camilla Rhodes, whose alter-ego “Rita” disguises her Hayworth-esque appearance with a short blonde wig. She is so beautiful, she both men and women fall head-over-heels in love with her. Naomi Watts plays Diane Selwyn, a failed actress who resorts to prostitution and possibly drugs just to survive in Hollywood. Years later, Inland Empire tells the story of Nikki Grace, a Hollywood actress, apparently past her prime and hoping for a comeback. She eventually slips into another world, where we meet her alter-ego Sue, who is a prostitute in Hollywood, and at one time opines “All I can see from here is blue tomorrows,” a possible reference to the Judy Garland quote. She is stabbed on the corner of Hollywood and Vine, where she staggers past a partially-obscured star on the Walk of Fame: Only the name “Dorothy” is visible. She collapses next to some homeless people and hears an Asian woman (played by Japanese actress Nae) talk about her friend Nico, a drug-addicted prostitute who wears a blonde wig, so she looks “just like a movie star,” and owns a pet monkey.

After initially being inspired by the story of Judy Garland, who was born Ethel, became Dorothy on the screen, and was Judy to the public, Lynch carried the character of “Judy” with him, and, as with any character that is destined to be, she took on a life of her own: Showing the dark, seedy truth covered up by the glamor of Hollywood and its promise of fame and fortune. It is a place where magic and beauty can be made, but it is at the expense of millions who try and fail to become a part of it, and often fall into the underground world of drugs and prostitution, and those who do make it have taken hold of a double-edged sword. It is a stark balance between light and dark, horror and beauty, power and poverty, fame and obscurity, painful truths and attractive lies. “Judy” represents the glory and tragedy of life and death, and a desire to enter another world: Through death, through magic, or through movies.