5 Final Predictions for Twin Peaks: The Return

 

Written by Eden H. Roquelaire for Twin Peaks Freaks.

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

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

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5. Big Ed stayed with Nadine

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

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4. There are two Dale Coopers

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

-Annie Blackburn, Fire Walk With Me

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

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

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3. Return to the Roadhouse

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

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2. I’m not saying it’s aliens…

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

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1. The Blue Rose is code for Listening Post Alpha

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

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

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

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

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

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

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The Owls Are Not What They Seem

Written by Eden H. Roquelaire for Twin Peaks Freaks.

THE GIANT: I will tell you three things. If I tell them to you and they come true, then will you believe me?

COOPER: Who’s that?

THE GIANT: Think of me as a friend.

COOPER: Where do you come from?

THE GIANT: The question is, where have you gone? The first thing I will tell you is: There’s a man in a smiling bag.

COOPER: A man in a smiling bag…

THE GIANT: The second thing is: The owls are not what they seem. The third thing is: Without chemicals, he points.

COOPER: What do these things mean?

THE GIANT: This is all I am permitted to say.

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The phrase, “The owls are not what they seem,” is one of the most notorious and highly debated taglines of the Twin Peaks series. While most theorists are able to come to some general consensus about the meaning behind it, not everyone is able to agree on a deeper meaning. So, the owls are not what they seem… but what exactly are they? Dugpas? Demons? Angels? Aliens? Spies? Or something else? In this article, I will delve into the various theories and examine the evidence for each one.

After the Giant relays the ominous message to Cooper, it turns up again when Major Briggs arrives at Coop’s hotel room, bearing a piece of paper containing code. The code was read by “deep space monitors,” which we later learn are actually pointed at the woods in Twin Peaks. Most of the code is “radio waves and gibberish,” except for the phrase, “The owls are not what they seem,” and Cooper’s name repeated. This message was received at roughly the same time Cooper was shot, perhaps right as he was being visited by the Giant, who also relays the message. At first, we are sort of tricked into thinking this message came from aliens in outer space. We only later on learn that these monitors were actually pointed towards Ghostwood, which some branch of the government has apparently been researching as part of Project Blue Book. This last bit of information, of course, is revealed to us during the most hectic days for the Twin Peaks writing staff, about midway through season 2, when both David Lynch and Mark Frost were interested in other projects and the remaining writers were left to patch together the rest of the path based on rough drafts, guesswork, and their own ideas. This has caused certain fans to write it off, though it remains, in fact, canonical.

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Owl-like aliens seen on the cover of Whitley Strieber’s Communion

One popular theory, and the one that fits the best with the Project Blue Book storyline, is that the owls are aliens, as is written by Whitley Strieber in his novel Communion. In this novel, the author says he struggled with suppressed memories of alien abduction, and that, before he unlocked these memories clearly, all he could remember was the image of owls staring at him through his window. He later finds that the owls are a disguise used by the aliens, ergo, they are not what they seem.

If the owls are aliens (of some sort), then the involvement of Major Briggs and Project Blue Book amidst Native American mythology and Tibetan Buddhist spirituality seems a little less inexplicable.

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Another theory is that the owls are possessed by BOB and/or other Dugpas. This theory fits the infamous image of BOB, crouched behind Laura’s bed, with an overlay of an owl face. It also nicely explains how BOB is able to learn some secrets of the townsfolk, as he would be able to spy on them in disguise. Some further supporting points can be discovered by delving into mythology and folklore, which may have been drawn upon by Mark Frost, who would commonly weave such symbols into the mythos of Twin Peaks.

At one point, MIKE refers to BOB as his “familiar.” In black magic lore, a familiar is a demon that takes the form of an animal. In this case, the demon is BOB, and the animal is an owl. Owls have commonly been associated with witches and demons, especially through the entity Lilith, who is a patroness of witches and often said to take the form of an owl, or as being a woman with legs and wings of and owl. This would make the animal a natural choice for a familiar. They seem to be BOB’s personal favorite animal to take the form of, or perhaps the only animal he can take the form of, since owls, and no other animal, are repeatedly warned against by multiple knowing sources.

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Wood cut by Hans Wechtlin

Almost every ancient culture has seen the owl as heralding misfortune and even death. They are associated with witches, graveyards and demons that lurk in the night. In Chinese folklore, owls are seen as an omen of death (as their “hoo” call sounds like the Chinese word “hu,” which means “dig,” i.e., “dig a grave”), and associated with ghosts. The Chinese also linked owls with thunder and lightning. This is significant to Twin Peaks‘s owls, due to the symbolism of electricity, heyoka, and thunderbirds of Native American folklore.

This supports the idea that the owls of Twin Peaks are spirits that spy on the townsfolk, either inhabited by BOB, other Dugpas, or being separate entities of their own. Evidence indicates that BOB utilizes the owls, or is taking the form of the owls, which also ties into the idea of him being MIKE’s familiar. One area of confusion for this theory, however, is when the Log Lady brings Cooper to the Roadhouse, telling him “we [my Log and I] don’t know what will happen or when, but there are owls in the Roadhouse.” However, BOB is not present: He is at the Palmer residence, murdering Maddy Ferguson. It should be noted that the Elderly Bellhop (one and the same with the Giant) is present, which lends credence to the idea that the owls are commonly used vessels for all Lodge spirits; not just BOB.

 

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If the owls are aliens, or if the owls are spirits, or vessels for the Dugpas, it is necessary at some point to question the distinction between each of these. According to writer Bob Engels, there were some rough ideas for Season 3 that involved the Dugpas being from a planet of creamed corn, which would make them aliens, and reinforce the Project Blue Book storyline. However, this would seem like some odd back-tracking, after the revelation that the message received from the deep space monitors came not from space, but from the woods. If this storyline is to be taken into consideration, though, it blurs the distinction between spirit and alien.

There is yet another theory that the owls are agents separate from the beings that we know, perhaps spirits of nature simply observing these events that pass through their woods. I would argue that this does little if anything for the story, and is contradicted by evidence that BOB is connected to the owls. Besides, most signs support the notion that the Dugpas are nature spirits of a kind, even if it is a darker side of nature.

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It’s most likely that no definitive answer will ever be given on the nature of Twin Peaks‘s owls, as final answers are so rarely given in Lynch’s surrealist world. There are so many theories to consider, each with their own set of compelling evidence. Which do you find to be the most convincing theory? Or do you have your own interpretation? What other mysteries from Twin Peaks still have you stumped? Let me know in the comments section below!