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.

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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!

Trapped Between Two Worlds: The Mystery of Deer Meadow

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Written by Eden H. Roquelaire for Twin Peaks Freaks.

Disclaimer: This article contains spoilers for Twin Peaks and Fire Walk With Me.

One of the main complaints any die-hard Twin Peaks fan might have against Fire Walk With Me is that much of it does not take place in our beloved town. Instead, the entire Teresa Banks investigation occurs in a strange, hostile place called Deer Meadow. Despite the pleasant and peaceful image this name might conjure up, Deer Meadow is a rather ugly place, filled with unfriendly townspeople. One could say it is the evil Doppelganger of Twin Peaks itself.

But why is Deer Meadow the way it is? In this article, I will analyze the town, its residents, and the rich symbolism that litters it, hopefully shedding some light on what is going on there.

First, let’s take a look at the diner, Hap’s. There is so much symbolism here, it’s difficult to know where to begin. Hap’s, of course, serves as the Doppelganger of the Double R Diner, making (the late) Hap and Irene potential parallels to Hank and Norma, and Jack, the man Agents Desmond and Stanley talk to, could parallel Ed.

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First notice the neon sign outside of Hap’s: It’s a clown face, which ties into the clown (or Sacred Clown) symbolism of Twin Peaks, as well as the recurring motif of electricity. One side of the clown’s face is burnt out, suggesting dualism. It also looks like tears might be falling from the clown’s face. This image reminds me of Laura, trapped in what Lynch refers to as the “suffocating rubber clown suit,” living the party girl life, acting like she’s happy, while in reality, she is being split in two, and inside she is crying.

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When the agents enter the diner, they go to the back room, where there’s an electrician working on a lamp, which is sparking dangerously. In a version of the script, Stanley asks Desmond about why there was someone working on a lamp in Hap’s Diner, and Desmond replies that it is due to faulty wiring. Of course, electricity, in the film, is connected to the Dugpas and, therefore, the Black Lodge as well. Notice also the odd, door-like recess in the wall: This implies an opening to the Lodge is present, or perhaps used to be. Sitting in the “doorway” is a man, possibly a lumberjack. He looks remarkably similar to the Jurgen Prochnow lumberjack seen above the convenience store. If this was intentional, it would imply that there is some interference here from denizens of the Black Lodge.

The agents speak to Jack, presumably the manager of Hap’s Diner (since Hap is dead, good and dead). Jack’s name tag reads, “Say Hello Goodbye, My Name is Jack.” He doesn’t seem to know much of anything about Teresa, and instead directs them to ask Irene. He warns the agents: “Now, her name is Irene, and it is night. Don’t take it any farther than that. No good will come of it.” This is, of course, a reference to the folk song, “Goodnight, Irene.” This reference also comes up in Mulholland Drive, which infamously takes place inside a dream (this is reminiscent of Philip Jeffries’ declaration that “we live inside a dream”), and features an elderly woman named Irene.

In the background, we can see some interesting decor. One item of interest is a tree stump, with two chainsaws sticking out of it (one red, one yellow). Wood and lumberjacks are two recurring motifs in Twin Peaks, especially as we are shown that spirits can reside in wood. The chainsaws suggest the act of cutting. Perhaps this is a place where spirits can cut through, into another dimension? Also, notice the big fish mounted on the wall here. It looks to be a bass, but it could be meant as a reference to Fat Trout Trailer Park. It could also be connected to Lynch’s concept of “catching the big fish,” which means (roughly) searching for profound truths or ideas. In a sense, the agents are looking to catch the big fish by looking for the answer to this intricate mystery.

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Then there’s a highly disputed scene: A middle-aged man sitting in the diner gets the agents’ attention, asking, “Are you talking about that little girl that was murdered?” When prompted, the man doesn’t have any pertinent information to offer the agents. Sitting with him is a young woman, who says something to him in what seems to be French. It’s hotly debated among fans what she says, although the most common consensus is that she is saying, “Nighttime is the right time.” This could be a prompt to her companion, telling him to wait until night for something. Whatever she means, the significance of nighttime in Twin Peaks is well-known, as all of BOB’s killings take place during the night. This could be when the Dugpa always strike. After the agents speak again with Irene, the man repeats the line: “Are you talking about that little girl that was murdered?” This could have many interpretations:

One idea is that it has to do with the murder of a “little girl” happening twice: Laura and Teresa. It could also have to do with the distortion of time associated with the Black Lodge. If there is a portal to the Black Lodge nearby, perhaps even within the diner itself, this pair could actually be Dugpas. For whatever reason, Desmond doesn’t want to interview either of them, and no one really acknowledges the French woman.

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From Hap’s Diner, let’s visit the Sheriff’s station briefly. Here we see more parallels: Deputy Cliff is a reflection of Deputy Andy, the giggling secretary is Lucy, and Sheriff Cable is Sheriff Truman. The name “Cable” could be interpreted literally as referring to an electric cable, making it another symbol of electricity. On the wall of the Sheriff’s office is a large saw: Another symbol of cutting, as in, “cutting through.”

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Next, let’s take a trip to Fat Trout Trailer Park. This is another interesting and very important place. The people here seem harassed, afraid, and disoriented, almost as if they have just woken from a long and terrible nightmare. The superintendent, Carl Rodd (Harry Dean Stanton), has most likely had his run-ins with the Black Lodge.

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Mr. Rodd is a fascinating fellow. He seems to be having strange nightmares, which might be robbing him of good sleep (needing to sleep in might be a reason he doesn’t wish to be disturbed before 9am). He appears reluctant to leave his trailer or interact with the tenants. They have left many notes on his door, but he never seems to bother reading them. He is haggard, and there is a band-aid covering some unidentified injury on his forehead. As we’ll discuss momentarily, he might know a little more than he lets on.

Then there is the woman with the ice pack, who wanders into Teresa’s trailer while the agents are investigating it. I would like to note here that in an early draft of the script, this woman was leading Deputy Cliff to where the agents were. It could be that, originally, she had the ice pack because Deputy Cliff assaulted her to get information on the agents (it’s already established that the law enforcement in Deer Meadow is not well-liked by the townsfolk; this could be why). However, it is curious that, once the scene with Deputy Cliff was removed, Lynch and Frost would choose to leave in the scene of the woman with the ice pack, with seemingly no explanation. I believe that, in this new version, it is meant to be inferred that the woman has also been having experiences with the Black Lodge, possibly even BOB himself, and this is the cause of her injuries.

After seeing her, Mr. Rodd is noticeably disturbed. His eyes tear up, and he takes a nervous drag on his cigarette. He seems to think about the electrical pole, the one with the number “6” on it, just outside the trailer. He looks at Agent Desmond, and after much fruitless stuttering, he says,

“See, I’ve already gone places. I just want to stay where I am.”

He looks to Agent Desmond as if hoping he understands his meaning. He doesn’t want to explicitly state what he means, perhaps for fear of being thought of as crazy. Some people believe he means that he has spent time in jail or prison, and doesn’t want to go back. Perhaps he fears being accused of Teresa’s murder. However, this doesn’t completely fit. Why would the woman with the ice pack generate a fear of prison in Mr. Rodd? Why the shot of the pole, traveling up towards the electrical wiring? It would make more sense if Mr. Rodd is referring to having visited the Black Lodge.

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Mr. Rodd knows that strange things are happening in the trailer park. Strange beings appearing out of nowhere and attacking residents, electrical disturbances, voices heard out of thin air, bizarre dreams haunting the people in the trailer park, normal people suddenly acting strangely, perhaps other tenants that have disappeared. However, being a very simple man, he doesn’t understand any of this. He only knows what he’s seen, but fears that he is going crazy. He doesn’t want to tell anyone, because a) they might think he’s crazy, or b) it would mean having to acknowledge what is happening, which might mean confronting it, which would cause more trouble for him. Instead, he hides in his trailer and tries to ignore the bizarre nightmares and upset tenants. He has probably accidentally stumbled into the Black Lodge at some point, either in a dream or through a portal in waking life. The experience terrified him. He’s afraid of getting trapped there; he just wants to stay where he is.

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Also in an early draft of the script, Mr. Rodd says that he was having a dream of “a joke with no punchline.” Almost immediately afterwards, Desmond and Stanley discuss Deputy Cliff and refer to him as “a clown.” This ties in with the Sacred Clown symbolism that proliferates the movie. Essentially, the symbolism says that the Dugpas are (or are related to) Native American trickster spirits which sometimes use clowning to impart important knowledge to humans, but sometimes also just cause chaos for fun. This is yet another tie between the trailer park and the Dugpas. I would also like to make a brief observation in regards to Mr. Rodd’s name, which always made me think of a conducting rod. Could be another connection to electricity in the film.

And then, of course, there are the Chalfonts. Now, the Chalfonts are, presumably, the Tremonds. They are described as being a woman and her grandson, and they once again have a French surname. As we know from Twin Peaks the series, they are not humans. They seem to be spirits from one of the Lodges, acting in a manner similar to the Man From Another Place and the Giant: Appearing to humans and giving them clues to “help” them catch BOB. (Whether or not they are truly “helping” is a tricky question we will have to save for another article.) We also see a pattern in their behavior: They occupy a space, and take the last name of the people who live there, or used to live there, causing some confusion. Before, they seemed to change reality itself, altering the interior of the home of the real Mrs. Tremond and placing a fake order to Meals on Wheels the lure Donna there. This time, they seem to have waited for the real Chalfonts to vacate their space at the trailer park, then taken their own trailer to occupy that space. These spirits seem to only appear when someone is about to die. They appear to Laura in a dream shortly before her death, then they appear to Donna before Harold Smith commits suicide, and finally they turn up in Teresa Banks’s trailer park before her death. They may simply be appearing to predict a death, as with Harold’s, or they may actually aid in facilitating it, as they seem to have a suspicious level of involvement with both Laura and Teresa around the times of their murders. Or, perhaps they are chasing BOB?

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Later, Agent Desmond returns to the trailer park to see Deputy Cliff’s trailer, suspecting the corrupt deputy of having Teresa’s ring, but instead diverts his path. While looking at the electrical pole with the number “6” on it, he hears the Indian whooping call on the wind. He turns around and sees a trailer with its lights on, and heads over. He knocks on its door, but no one answers. Underneath the trailer is a pile of dirt and Teresa Banks’s ring: The one with the green stone and the Owl Cave symbol on it. Desmond reaches for the ring, and disappears.

When Cooper visits the trailer park later, he feels compelled to walk over to an empty space. This is where Desmond disappeared; now, the trailer is gone. We learn that this space was owned by the Chalfonts, which further links the trailer park with the Black Lodge. The space left by the vacant trailer seems to be soaked with engine oil: similar to the entrance to the Black Lodge found in Glastonberry Grove. A glance at Agent Desmond’s car reveals the words “Let’s Rock” have been written in red across the windshield. Of course, these are the first words spoken to Agent Cooper by the Man From Another Place. This would seem to confirm that Desmond has disappeared into the Black Lodge.

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But why is all this happening here?

Deer Meadow is riddled with portals to the Black Lodge. There are Dugpas all over the town, mostly unnoticed by residents. However, the trailer park seems to be a hotspot for attacks, particularly near the telephone pole bearing the number “6.” It would make sense that BOB, having had a fixation on Teresa, frequented this area, probably harassing her neighbors at the trailer park.

We’ve seen how much of Deer Meadow is a parallel of the more familiar town of Twin Peaks, and there may be a deeper reason for this than we at first suspect. Deer Meadow represents the dismal bitterness and distrustful nature that Twin Peaks itself might descend into as a result of its victimization by the denizens of the Black Lodge. After many years of torment, nightmares, and living in fear, one could imagine that even a town as idyllic as Twin Peaks could become a grim place, broken by crippling fear, and sacrificing its innocence to suspicion, cruelty and criminal behavior.

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Throughout the TV series, we fear our beloved town will fall prey to its dark side: Corrupt business men, drug dealers and pimps all populate the shadows of Twin Peaks. There is a battle, both literally and figuratively, between the light and the dark. Deer Meadow is a town that has been overcome by the darkness.

“With This Ring, I Thee Wed”

Written by Eden H. Roquelaire for Twin Peaks Freaks

The circle of Sycamore Trees at Glastonbury Grove, where the entrance to the Lodges is located.

The circle of Sycamore Trees at Glastonbury Grove, where the entrance to the Lodges is located.

“BOB and I, when we were killing together, it was this, this perfect relationship. Appetite, satisfaction; a golden circle.” -The One-Armed Man

A circle of trees… A golden ring… A spinning ceiling fan… A gem with a mysterious insignia… A phone with a little ring… A circle of burning candles… A beautiful girl’s ring… A cycle of appetite and satisfaction.

There are many rings, and references to rings, in Twin Peaks; The ring with the Owl Cave insignia on it (which for the sake of brevity we will call the “Owl Ring”); Cooper’s ring, which the Giant takes and returns to him once the killer’s identity is revealed; Audrey’s query to Cooper, “Do you like my ring?” But what does all that mean? Some of them are arguably less significant than others, but, according to my theory, any small reference to “rings” or “circles” is there to reinforce the importance of the more overt ring symbols. In this article, we will focus on the meaning behind these symbols, and what is perhaps the true meaning of the Owl Ring.

The Little Man From Another Place holding the Owl Ring.

The Little Man From Another Place holding the Owl Ring.

We already know that the Owl Ring is associated with BOB, MIKE and their victims: Both Teresa Banks and Laura Palmer were wearing it before they died, and Annie Blackburn returned from the Black Lodge with it on her finger. Agent Chester Desmond, in his investigation into Teresa’s murder, discovers the Owl Ring, and afterwards, disappears. In Agent Philip Jeffries’ flashback, we see the Little Man from Another Place put the Owl Ring on the green Formica table and say: “With this ring, I thee wed,” after which Mrs. Tremond’s Grandson/the Chalfont boy points at BOB and says “Fell a victim,” which may be an order, or a statement. I believe it was an order.

The Chalfont boy telling BOB to "fell a victim."

The Chalfont boy telling BOB to “fell a victim.”

Mrs. Tremond expresses her dislike of creamed corn to Donna.

Mrs. Tremond expresses her dislike of creamed corn to Donna.

It is my theory that the Chalfonts are the Black Lodge Dopplegangers of the Tremonds: The Chalfonts are working only to aid in the collection of more Garmonbozia, manipulating Laura and making it easier for her to slip into BOB’s clutches (I believe the painting they gave her is designed as a kind of trap), while the Tremonds give Donna clues about the identity of Laura’s killer. In Jeffries’ vision, we are seeing the Chalfont boy participating in the Black Lodge ritual and commanding BOB to go fetch them more Garmonbozia. We know that circles are often used in real-life rituals, and we even see MIKE ritualistically chanting “Fire Walk With Me” as he lights a circle of twelve candle, mimicking the circle of twelve sycamore trees surrounding the entrance to the Lodge in Glastonbury Grove; an entrance which can only be opened by a ritualistic act of either Love or Fear. It seems to me that the multiple mentions of “rings” and “circles” implies a cyclical nature to these ritualistic killings: In these almost ritualistic murders, there is always a Killer (BOB inside of a Vessel) and a Victim, to whom he is wedded. As long as Laura did not put on the ring, she would not be the Victim: She would be the Vessel for the Killer. However, once she put the Owl Ring on, she was ritualistically wed to Killer BOB, and thus had to be murdered, in order to faithfully complete the ritual. It appears that there is some law that the denizens of the Black Lodge must follow, binding them to the rules of this feeding ritual. Once the Owl Ring has been placed upon the chosen Victim’s finger, the Killer must execute them. Agent Chet Desmond finds the Owl Ring in a mound of dirt underneath the Chalfont’s trailer, so presumably another ritual was taking place, had taken place, or was about to take place there. This may have been where Teresa’s sacrifice was made, as she was killed very nearby in her trailer, or it may have been set in order to sacrifice Desmond himself. But if Desmond was not sacrificed, then what happened to him? Why did he disappear after finding the Owl Ring? Judging by what we already know about the Black Lodge, he most likely slipped into that world, and became trapped there, as Agent Cooper eventually would. This is, perhaps, also part of the ritual cycle: A detective investigates the murder of a woman, and the detective goes missing. Theoretical examples of this would be Teresa Banks/Chet Desmond and Sam Stanley, Laura Palmer/Dale Cooper, and Judy(?)/Philip Jeffries.

MIKE performs the Fire Walk With Me Ritual.

MIKE performs the Fire Walk With Me Ritual.

Taking this theory further, it is a possibility that Audrey’s reference to her ring may have been an early foreshadow to the purpose of the Owl Ring: To indicate who BOB’s next victim would be. This was meant, according to my theory, to reference early on the fact that Audrey would eventually be BOB’s intended victim, after he had possessed Evil Cooper (This is before the character of Annie was made up to take Audrey’s place).

The question is where MIKE fits into this ritual. He refers to BOB as his partner, and says that they killed together, which implies that they both played the role of Killer. Another possibility is that BOB was more of a servant to MIKE; he executed the Victim on behalf of MIKE, and delivered the Garmonbozia to him. In Cooper’s dream-vision, MIKE portrays himself almost as having been enslaved to the killing impulse until he cut his left arm off. The left arm may be a significant choice here, as it references not only the “Left-Hand” or “Sinister” Path, but also the ring finger, which in American tradition is on the left hand. In the final episode, as the path to the Black Lodge is opening up, Cooper, Pete, and a woman at the Double R experience tremors in their hands as a sort of presentiment. Major Briggs also, arguably, experiences this hand tremor when he is picked up after having been injected with truth serum: Both hands (and indeed his whole body) are shaking, but, when he is in the sheriff’s department, he is holding up his left hand, with his wedding ring on it, against his face, which may be reinforcing the significance of the ring finger in Twin Peaks’ symbolism. (Interesting note: Cooper, Pete and the woman at the diner all experience tremors in their right hands.) We have seen that MIKE wore Owl Ring on his right pinky finger while showing it to Laura: Is it possible that, before he cut off his left arm, he wore the evil ring on his own left hand during these times? And is it possible that wearing the Owl Ring is what allowed MIKE to possess Philip Gerard in the first place? We can only speculate.

MIKE wearing the Owl Ring.

MIKE wearing the Owl Ring

Two more important elements to note are the cycle of the planets and time loops. The cycle of the planets is of great significance to the Lodges and its residence, as it is by watching for certain alignments that one may know when the portal to the Lodges will open. We may also speculate that it was important to them because certain rituals could or should only be performed during certain alignments (think of the Pagan Sabbats, for example, which are celebrations taking place during certain planetary alignments). Time loops are also a noticeable aspect not only of Twin Peaks, but in many of David Lynch’s films. Fire Walk With Me is notoriously both a prequel and a sequel to the series, as events that occur both before and after the events of the series take place in a very disorienting manner. How is Annie Blackburn seen in Laura’s bed, speaking words she says after the events of the series finale? How is Dale Cooper already in the Lodge, speaking to Laura in her dream? How is Cooper an old man in the Lodge, while Laura is still a young woman? The answer is: Because time is not linear in the Lodges, as it is in our world. When it comes to the Black Lodge, time twists and turns, and when it interacts with this world, it may be that time loops and warps are a symptom of its interferences. This may be how Cooper and Annie are able to speak to Laura across time, and Cooper is seen as old, while Laura appears to still be young (although there may be other explanations for these instances). Hence the “ring” symbolism could also refer to the all-important cycle of the planets, as well as the bizarre time loops cause by the Black Lodge.

The full Owl Cave symbol.

The full Owl Cave symbol.

A final question: What is the significance of the symbol emblazoned on the ring, and why is it the same as the petroglyphs in Owl Cave? Well, it seems that the Black Lodge’s occupants have been crossing into this world for some time: They seem to have had encounters with the Native Americans, working their way into their folklore, which Hawk recounts to Agent Cooper. In the early days of their journeys into this world, the Dugpas may have had encounters with early humans, who then drew what they had seen onto the walls of what would become Owl Cave. Another possibility is that an early incarnation of the Bookhouse Boys is responsible for the drawings and strange mechanisms in Owl Cave. It is implied that the Bookhouse Boys have known about something deep in the woods for some time now, though they may never have been entirely sure what it was. They may have learned about the Black Lodge and its occupants, and hidden the information in Owl Cave, so that future initiates could find it if need be, and so the information could not be misused by those with an evil heart, such as Windom Earle. Whatever the reason was, it is most probable that the symbol has been used by the Dugpas for ritualistic purposes for centuries. It looks like a stylized owl, and though that interpretation is accurate, we all know that the owls are not what they seem, and therefore, neither is the symbol. I believe that the symbol can also be interpreted thusly: The “wings” are the Twin Peaks which give the town its name, and the diamond shape between them is the portal to the Lodges.

Another important thing of note: Tibetan Buddhism uses the idea of karma, which, among other things, plays a large role in the death experience, and controls what happens to a person when they die. If you are a good person, who chose wisely, acted kindly, and chose the path of love and light, then you would ascend to a higher level when you died. If, however, you lived as a cruel, ignorant or violent person, you could get caught in a karmic circle of pain and suffering, and be forced to reincarnate over and over again, until you evolve spiritually and become a better person. By choosing not to face his shadow self, and instead running from him in fear, Cooper was choosing the lower path; the path of fear and ignorance. Thus, instead of finding his way safely through the Black Lodge, he was trapped in a loop, unable to escape.

In summary: The Black Lodge denizens participate in an ancient ritual; a cycle of blood sacrifices. As part of the ritual, they created a special ring (the Owl Ring) to mark their chosen sacrifices. These sacrifices result in the production of Garmonbozia (pain and suffering), which the Dugpas feed upon. The various ring and circle symbols scattered throughout Twin Peaks reinforce the significance of this object to the central storyline. By taking Cooper’s ring, the Giant was not only giving him a sign that he’d finally found the killer, but was also giving him a visually key with which he could decipher the rest of the mystery. Too bad he didn’t get the chance before the series was cancelled. But with Showtime’s revival of Twin Peaks in 2016, there is a chance the Giant’s clue may not go entirely unnoticed.