“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.
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.
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?”
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.
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 Peaks. More 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.
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.”