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.

Ed

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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Did You Know? Twin Peaks Edition

David Lynch and Michael Anderson, a.k.a. the Man From Another Place. Photo by Richard Beymer.

David Lynch and Michael Anderson, a.k.a. the Man From Another Place. Photo by Richard Beymer.

Written by Eden H. Roquelaire for Twin Peaks Freaks.

Warning: Contains spoilers for Twin Peaks (and also The Simpsons Season 7. Don’t ask why, these things just happen.)

So, it looks like Lynch and Frost have hit another snag in their most anticipated project, and the new season of Twin Peaks has been postponed until 2017. We Peakers have to put up with a lot sometimes, don’t we? But we’re patient people when it comes to our favorite series, and we’ve already waited 25 years, so what’s the harm in one more? To help you kill time and make it to 2017, I’ve compiled some fun facts that even you may not know about our beloved Twin Peaks.

Laura and her Doppelganger, Marilyn Monroe.

Laura and her Doppelganger, Marilyn Monroe.

Did you know? Before they began developing Twin Peaks, David Lynch and Mark Frost were attempting to do an adaptation of the Marilyn Monroe biography, which would have been titled Goddess. However, they could not acquire the rights, so some of the elements of their screenplay found their way into Twin Peaks, helping to form Laura’s character especially: She’s a blonde beauty queen, idolized by everyone but with many dark secrets including drug addiction and sexual abuse, who had an affair with a rich and powerful man, and it is suspected that she was killed because she possessed some sensitive information regarding him.

Did you know? Mark Frost comes from a talented family: The role of Doc Hayward is played by Warren Frost, his father, who also worked in theater as an actor and stage director. Mark’s sister Lindsay is an actress, and his brother Scott is a writer.

 

Did you know? Twin Peaks was partly inspired by the 1944 film noir Laura. Elements lifted from the film are, of course, the name Laura, the use of a murdered woman’s diary to solve a crime, the names Waldo and Lydecker, and a detective seeing a murdered woman in person after her death.

 

Did you know? David Lynch’s daughter, Jennifer Lynch, is a director in her own right. Her filmography includes Boxing Helena (1993), Surveillance (2008), and even an episode of The Walking Dead! Jennifer Lynch was also the one given the task of writing The Secret Diary of Laura Palmer, and as such, she was one of three people who were told the identity of the killer.

 

Did you know? Three Twin Peaks actors appeared in the 1987 movie RoboCop: Ray Wise (Leland Palmer) played Leon Nash, Miguel Ferrer (Albert Rosenfield) played Bob Morton, and Dan O’Herlihy (Andrew Packard) played the unforgettable character known as “the Old Man.”

Ray Wise with his buddies in RoboCop.

Ray Wise with his buddies in RoboCop.

Did you know? Sheryl Lee, who played Laura Palmer and Maddy Ferguson, makes a cameo appearance in the 2007 film Winter’s Bone. When she is first shown, a song is playing in the background, with lyrics that say, “I wonder if you still remember me, or has time erased your memory? As I listen to the breeze whisper gently through the threes, I wonder if you still remember me.” These lyrics are greatly reminiscent of the song Lynch and Badalamenti wrote for the final episode of Twin Peaks, “Sycamore Trees,” which features the lyrics, “and I’ll see you and you’ll see me, and I’ll see you in the branches that blow, in the trees.” Perhaps the director of Winter’s Bone is a Twin Peaks fan?

 

Did you know? The actress who plays Sandy’s mother in Blue Velvet is Hope Lange, who starred in the movie Peyton Place, which is credited as a source of inspiration for Twin Peaks: It’s about a small town that looks on the surface to be the American Dream, but in truth, it harbors many dark secrets.

Hope Lange in Peyton Place (1957)

Hope Lange in Peyton Place (1957)

Did you know? Pretty much every David Lynch film has featured a night club, usually with its own unique singer. Twin Peaks and Fire Walk With Me have the Roadhouse, where Julee Cruise’s band performs, and the Bang Bang Bar. Blue Velvet has the Slow Club where Dororthy Valens sings. Wild At Heart shows Sailor at a club singing Elvis Presley’s “Love Me.” In Lost Highway, Fred plays saxophone with a band at an unnamed club. Mulholland Drive features the infamous Club Silencio, where Rebekah Del Rio sings a Spanish version of Roy Orbison’s “Crying.” And in Inland Empire, Nikki/Sue runs into a night club where a burlesque dancer is performing.

 

Did you know? Clarence Williams III, who, in the second season of Twin Peaks, played Roger Hardy from Internal Affairs, appeared in the Mod Squad with Peggy Lipton (Norma Jennings).

Did you know? Alicia Witt, who played Donna’s little sister Gerstin (the pianist) is still acting. She has appeared in recent series such as Justified and House of Lies.

Alicia Witt, a.k.a. Gerstin Hayward, in 2015

Alicia Witt, a.k.a. Gerstin Hayward, in 2015

Did you know? Sheriff Truman has a mounted deer head in his office, beneath which is a plaque declaring “The Buck Stopped Here.” This is a reference to President Harry Truman’s motto, “The Buck Stops Here.”

 

Did you know? Frank Silva (who played Killer BOB) was originally just a set dresser for Twin Peaks. However, his reflection was accidentally filmed in a scene in the pilot, which led to Lynch, who often utilizes accidents creatively, conceiving of the character BOB, and cast Silva in the role.

 

Did you know? Nearly all of Lynch’s films have had at least one actor from Twin Peaks:

  • Eraserhead has Jack Nance (Pete Martell) and Charlotte Stewart (Betty Briggs), and Catherine Coulson (The Log Lady) was behind the scenes. (She was originally going to be in the movie, but her scenes were cut.)
  • Blue Velvet has Kyle MacLachlan (Agent Cooper) and Jack Nance. Lynch also planned to have Isabella Rossellini appear in Twin Peaks, but she turned down the role which afterward went to Joan Chen.
  • Dune has Jack Nance and Kyle MacLachlan.
  • Wild at Heart has cameos from Jack Nance, Sheryl Lee (Laura Palmer and Maddy Fergusson) and Sherilyn Fenn (Audrey Horne)
  • Lost Highway has Jack Nance in a brief cameo, which also happens to be his last appearance.
  • The Straight Story features Everett McGill (Ed Hurley).
  • Mulholland Drive briefly features Michael Anderson (The Man from Another Place) as the mysterious Mr Roq.
  • Inland Empire has a cameo from Grace Zabriskie.

The only feature film to not contain an actor from the Twin Peaks series is The Elephant Man, which also happens to be the only Lynch film not to feature Jack Nance prior to his death in 1997.

 

Did you know? Jack Nance and Michael Horse (Deputy Hawk) also appear in David Lynch’s short, The Cowboy and the Frenchman (1987). Nance’s character is also called Pete.

 

Did you know? Jack Nance and Catherine Coulson were married from 1968-1976. Coulson jokingly accredited their divorce to the fact that she was Nance’s hairdresser for Eraserhead.

How many happy relationships must this monstrous coif destroy before it is satisfied?!

How many happy relationships must this monstrous coif destroy before it is satisfied?!

Did you know? Jennifer Lynch was largely given creative control over The Secret Diary of Laura Palmer, aside from a few notes given by David Lynch and Mark Frost. Writing on a computer, she completed the first draft of the book in nine days, but, after flying to New York, found that the information was completely missing. This forced her to rewrite the entire thing, this time using a typewriter, to avoid any technical mishaps.

Did you know? Sherilyn Fenn insisted to the writers that it isn’t really possible to tie a cherry stem with with your tongue.

 

Did you know? Angelo Badalamenti has provided music for all of Lynch’s works from Blue Velvet (1986) to Mulholland Drive (2001). Inland Empire was the first film since Blue Velvet not to contain any work by the composer. Instead, Lynch drew mostly from pre-recorded materials by artists such as Nina Simone, Beck, and Ella Fitzgerald. Incidentally, Chrysta Bell, who co-wrote and sang “Polish Poem” for the soundtrack, has done a live cover of Beck’s “Black Tambourine,” which also appears on the soundtrack.

 

Did you know? Twin Peaks has a real-life connection to Marilyn Monroe: Actor Miguel Ferrer (Albert Rosenfield) was held by Marilyn Monroe as a baby, when his mother, actress and singer Rosemary Clooney, attended one of Monroe’s parties.

 

Did you know? Both Kyle MacLachlan and Lara Flynn Boyle actually hate cherry pie.

It kind of ruins the fantasy to realize that, behind that thumbs up, he's revolted.

It kind of ruins the fantasy to realize that, behind that thumbs up, he’s revolted.

Did you know? The character of Maddy Ferguson originally wasn’t part of the plan: Lynch and Frost invented her pretty much at the last minute as a way to keep Sheryl Lee in the show. The character’s name is a blatant reference to one of Lynch’s favorite films, Alfred Hitchcock’s Vertigo, which stars Jimmy Stewart as Scottie Ferguson and Kim Novak as Madeleine Elster.

 

Did you know? Jack Nance’s real, full name is Marvin John Nance.

Did you know? Mrs Tremond’s grandson was, in the series, played by David Lynch’s son, Austin Jack Lynch. He also showed up seventeen years later, in his father’s feature film Inland Empire (he is sitting on the couch in Devon’s dressing room). Austin Lynch also works as a director, though with a much smaller filmography than his dad: He filmed “The Making of…” documentary for the DVD extras for the film The New World (2005).

Austin Jack Lynch, all grown up.

Austin Jack Lynch, all grown up.

Did you know? Angelo Badalamenti sings on the track “A Real Indication” from the Fire Walk With Me soundtrack. The song was invented on the spot, inspired by Bobby and Laura’s interaction at the school.

Did you know? To keep information from leaking to the public when the identity of Laura’s killer was revealed, different versions of Maddy’s murder were filmed: One with just Leland, one with just BOB, and one with Ben Horne. The Simpsons later parodied this in their episode “The Simpsons 138th Episode Spectacular,” which shows a alternate outcomes for the episode “Who Shot Mr. Burns Part 2,” wherein Mr. Burns’s assistant Smithers is revealed to be the killer. This was also allegedly created to keep the real killer’s identity from leaking to the public. Also, “Who Shot Mr. Burns Part 2” contains two Twin Peaks parodies: Its title is a play on the tagline “Who killed Laura Palmer,” and there is a scene where the police chief dreams of a Black Lodge-like place, where a “backwards-talking [girl] with flaming cards” gives him obscure clues. He awakes from the dream with his hair stuck in a cowlick, the same way Cooper awakes from his Black Lodge dream.

Did you know? References to Twin Peaks have appeared in countless shows. Psyche had its own Twin Peaks tribute episode which guest-starred many of the cast members. Adult Swim’s The Eric Andre Show parodied the Twin Peaks opening and used the tagline “Who Killed Hannibal?” (Hannibal Buress is the show’s co-host.) The Simpsons have referenced it three times (two are listed above), the third time showing a flashback of Homer watching Twin Peaks in the early 90s. Comedian Eddie Pepitone, in his special In Ruins, Laura Palmer’s murder as a key reference in one of his jokes. Even Buffy the Vampire Slayer has referenced Twin Peaks twice (arguably): One episode takes place in the characters’ dreams, which are being controlled by a supernatural entity, and one dream features the character Willow walking down a hallway of red curtains. In another episode, Buffy references Lynch’s nonlinear film-making with the line, “Is that why time went all David Lynch?”

Buffy Summers has good taste in cinema.

Buffy Summers has good taste in cinema.

Did you know? Twin Peaks was nominated for the 2014 TCA Heritage Award, along with Lost, South Park, Saturday Night Live, and Star Trek. It lost to Saturday Night Live.

Did you know? Speaking of Twin Peaks and Star Trek, many actors from Twin Peaks have also appeared on the various incarnations of Star Trek, including Ray Wise (Star Trek: The Next Generation and Star Trek: Voyager), Madchen Amick, (Star Trek: The Next Generation) Wendy Robie (Deep Space 9), and Miguel Ferrer (feature film Star Trek III: The Search for Spock).

Wendy Robie in Stark Trek: Deep Space Nine.

Wendy Robie in Stark Trek: Deep Space Nine.

Did you know? Twin Peaks has inspired a number of songs, including “Wrapped in Plastic” by Marilyn Manson, “Spark” by Tori Amos, and “Nadine Hurley” by London punk girl band Skinny Girl Diet.

Did you know? The actors who played Ed and Nadine Hurley, Everett McGill and Wendy Robie respectively, also played a husband and wife in the 1991 horror film The People Under the Stairs.

Did you know? Twin Peaks has inspired many television shows, including Psyche, American Horror Story, Wayward Pines, Lost, True Detective, Louie (which had David Lynch himself guest-star in two episodes) and Hemlock Grove, to name just a few. Feature films inspired by Twin Peaks include Lake Mungo, Requiem for a Dream, and Donnie Darkko.

Did you know? Twin Peaks has also inspired several video games, such as the Silent Hill series, and the supernatural detective game Alan Wake. Even the popular game series The Legend of Zelda has drawn from Twin Peaks: Its 4th installment, Link’s Awakening, takes the protagonist to a dream world full of strange individuals who speak in cryptic phrases. It even includes a mysterious forest and an owl that is not what it seems. Some of these Twin Peaks-inspired elements would go on to recur throughout the series. In one of the games, the mysterious owl serves as a disguise for a wise old man who aids the protagonist. It seems even in video games, the owls are not what they seem.

 

Like BOB, the wise man in the Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time disguises himself as an owl.

Like BOB, the wise man in the Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time disguises himself as an owl.

That’s all for this edition. I hope you learned some interesting new info. Know any more fun facts about Twin Peaks? Post them in the comments below! I’ll see you again in 25 years. Meanwhile…

LauraScream

Why Donna and James Were Integral to Twin Peaks

James and Donna.

James and Donna.

Written by Eden H Roquelaire for Twin Peaks Freaks.

Warning: Contains spoilers for Twin Peaks Season 2.

James and Donna are two characters who get a lot of heat from fans, mostly for their naivete; but that naivete may have been a saving force in the series. They certainly have a lot of scenes that are rather difficult to defend (such as James leaving Donna alone in the woods after hearing that there is a murderer still on the loose, who just killed their friend), but it is necessary to remember, when considering James and Donna, that they are the absolute archetype of the young and naive, who believe love will solve everything, and who behave selfishly without realizing it. While some find these characteristics to be irksome, I believe, ultimately, it helped with creating the overall ethos of Twin Peaks, which we all love so much. Without a little light in the darkness, the atmosphere of Twin Peaks would be too oppressive: That is why it was so important to have small points of light peppered throughout the darkness, including the offbeat humor, Cooper’s strict morality, and the little bits of tender sweetness displayed by the characters.

Donna, inconsolable after hearing of Laura's death, with a circle of comforters.

Donna, inconsolable after hearing of Laura’s death, with a circle of comforters.

Out of all the characters, Donna and James, along with Mr and Mrs Palmer, are probably the most devastated by the loss of Laura, and their grief moves them to the conviction that, as the only ones who really loved Laura, they are the only ones who can properly investigate her murder. This conviction can be attributed to the belief that love can and will solve everything. It is important to note that this is how the characters start out, and the progression of their arc is affected by the way this conviction is slowly destroyed through the course of the series, as more and more horrible things come to light, and James and Donna must face that their love cannot save their world.

Donna and James are a representation of what the town of Twin Peaks is at its heart, and what it stands to lose if Cooper does not save it from BOB. They represent innocence, naivete, and love. Both make many bad and rash decisions, but that is characteristic of being young and inexperienced. Their love story was purposely schmaltzy and over-the-top because it had so much darkness and brutality to balance out. I also took it as a bit of a parody of the over-the-top drama of teen exploitation classic Rebel Without a Cause.

”Donna was a small sad, dull, boring, routine and comatose,” says Lara Flynn. ”But there’s a lot of glow underneath. She’s one of those girls who took her teenage years a small bit too seriously. Everything Donna does is unequivocally urgent. It’s life or death. Like Natalie Wood in Splendor in a Grass.”

-Lara Flynn Boyle (Source: Breaking News Today)

James Dean and Natalie Wood in Rebel Without a Cause.

Dean and Wood, Rebel Without a Cause.

James Dean and Natalie Wood in “Rebel Without a Cause.”

Natalie Wood and Warren Beatty in Splendor in the Grass, a tale of teenage heartbreak.

Natalie Wood and Warren Beatty in Splendor in the Grass, a tale of teenage heartbreak.

James was not necessarily your classic “James Dean – Rebel Without a Cause,” nor was Donna his Natalie Wood to a T, but both were obviously built off of these classic, stereotypical roles: The Bad Boy Biker, and the Good Girl in Love Gone Bad. James slowly becomes disillusioned with his home town and eventually drives away, while Donna becomes more and more distrustful as the boy she loves leaves her, and she finds out her parents have been lying to her. Their characters fit into the neo-noir/neo-50s style that David Lynch is so fond of, and their character progression reflects the way the town itself is slipping from innocence as this dark force begins to corrupt it.

James and Donna with Maddy (dressed as Laura)

James and Donna with Maddy (dressed as Laura)

When Maddy starts to “come between them,” it is another symbol of the corrupting force of evil dwelling within the town, which is turning Maddy into Laura to cause strife, and eventually kills her before she can escape. Maddy’s arrival also stirs up feelings of jealousy in Donna, who unconsciously starts to see her as Laura, and thus as someone who could steal James away from her. In her desperation to keep James, Donna begins to try and act more like Laura — almost as if she is trying to “Out-Laura” Maddy. The consequence is oddly humorous, especially as a woman who has done something very similar and equally as foolish. People like to exasperatedly look down on her character for this arc, but it always served as one of my favorite Donna story-lines, as it represents a phase that many young women have gone through during the desperation of young love.

Badass Donna.

Badass Donna.

James and Donna also keep us tied to Laura, who is arguably the main character of Twin Peaks, or at least the beginning and the end of its story. More importantly, James and Donna keep us connected to the Light side of Laura, the part of her that was innocent and longed to do good, and to be loved and helped. Characters like Jacques, Ben Horne, Blackie, Leo and BOB remind us of the Dark side of Laura, all the secrets she kept, all the reprehensible things she got into and that eventually killed her. If Twin Peaks was only the story of a bad girl who was murdered as a consequence of being lewd or doing drugs, it would be depressing, and rather shallow. However, when you also pay mind to the sweet and loving side of Laura, the side that Donna knew best, the side that James loved, the story becomes more compelling, and more of a debate not about what is good and what is bad, and not a tale of punishment for perceived wrongdoings, but a story that delves deep into human nature, and the constant battle in our psyches between our light (public) selves and our dark (secret) selves.

What makes us who we are? Is it how we act when no one is there to tell us not to? Or the way we act when we are moved by the presence of our loved ones? The answer is, both, and more. Everything we do makes up who we are as a whole, and Twin Peaks is a work that brilliantly investigates this identity crisis, and the striving for wholeness.

When Twin Peaks was prematurely curtailed in 1991, James was out exploring the world and perhaps discovering the light again for himself, while Donna was facing more of the harsh darkness of the truth, learning that her real father is the despicable business man Benjamin Horne, whom her mother was having an affair with. Donna’s father, enraged, shoves Ben, who falls and hits his head. Afterwards, we see Doc Hayward tending to the injured Cooper, and not in jail for murder, which is a good indication that Ben is probably still alive. However, what this means for the future of the Haywards is debatable. The last we see of Donna, she is screaming hysterically, halfway out the door to leave her family home. Was Donna going to find James? Would she stay in Twin Peaks, or would she go on travels of her own? Would she end up getting back together with Mike? Hopefully we will get some answers soon…

James and Donna.

James and Donna.