So it’s over. I think it’s safe to say that my column this week will be a little different. Right now, my mind is not clear enough to process everything we have witnessed, and theorising all this will take many years, not just a few days. Nevertheless, I will share with you my initial thoughts, and these undoubtedly will change over time as we all have a chance to delve into the dream.
Sunday was an emotional day. I spent it crying on and off. I have loved Twin Peaks since I was ten years old. I waited over 25 years for The Return, and it exceeded my expectations completely and utterly. Television does not have this effect on most people, but Twin Peaks is different, and I know from my work as an administrator on the Facebook group, Twin Peaks 2017, that hundreds, in fact, thousands of people were feeling equally emotional, scared, celebratory, melancholic, not quite ready to say goodbye. Parties were happening worldwide, massive MASSIVE quantities of pie were being baked and eaten, Tulpa Diane manicures everywhere, houses were decorated like the black lodge, all happening in celebration. I made a last-minute decision to channel my inner ‘Gordon’s French Woman’ and dressed up in and drank the finest burgundy and had a party by myself. By 1 am I was sobered by my nerves. Let’s Rock…
Part 17, The Past Dictates the Future
In just the first few minutes of Part 17, we were hit with some revelatory news. Gordon Cole lamented that he couldn’t shoot the Diane Tulpa. Albert told him he was going soft in his old age, “Not where it counts buddy“. In a series of tremendous one-liners, this is up there with the best! You old dog Lynch.
Gordon ruefully admits to Albert that he has been keeping something from him for 25 years. Major Briggs had discovered an entity more evil than anything they’d ever come across before, named Xiao De (pronounced Jowday), which later became Judy. Now I don’t know for sure that’s how it should be spelt. This is my interpretation, which could be completely wrong, but, interestingly, the meaning of this word is ‘I understand’. The words we heard Cooper say in the ‘White Lodge’ just after The Fireman told him, “Listen to the sounds. Remember 430. Richard & Linda, Two Birds One Stone“. Was Cooper responding, “Judy”? He disappeared then, we assumed to the Black Lodge, but after seeing this episode, my mind has changed. I will explain more later.
Briggs, Cole, Cooper and Phillip Jeffries spent the last 25 years trying to contain this evil but have not yet succeeded. Contain is an interesting word. Is that what the Glass Box was about? Trying to trap her/it? Major Briggs left clues for them that could lead them to Judy. Phillip Jeffries disappeared while on the search and no longer exists in human form. Gordon then reveals that Cooper told him, “If I disappear like the others come and find me. I am trying to kill two birds with one stone.” So this suggests that either Cooper had spoken with the Fireman way back in 1989, before his disappearance, or he had dreamed this happening 25 years earlier. I think that what we saw in the very first scenes of The Return were the moments just before Cooper was transported from the White Lodge and into Twin Peaks on the night of February 23rd 1989. The night of Laura Palmer’s murder.
Gordon tells us then that Ray Monroe was a paid FBI Informant (!) and that he had been reporting back to him. Ray told him that the Cooper that they saw in Yankton Prison was looking for coordinates from a certain Major Briggs. So I think it’s safe to assume now that Ray was on the phone to Gordon in the moments after he witnessed the Woodsmen remove the BOB ball from Cooper/Mr. C and revive his body. It could also mean that the owl ring was given to him by Gordon to place on the finger of Mr C at the point of death. Ray, of course, lied to Mr C about it being a prison guard that gave him the ring; Gordon must have visited Ray while he was locked up.
Gordon apologises to Albert for not telling him about the plan. Albert says, “I understand” (Judy again?) Gordon says I know you understand, but I’m still sorry. Gordon reveals that he is worried that the plan is not on track as he should have heard from “Our dear Agent Cooper by now“. With that, the phone rings. It’s Las Vegas FBI. They ‘found’ Dougie Jones, but he’s disappeared. One last perfect quip from Albert Rosenfield to warm our hearts.
Bushnell Mullins is still at the hospital where the real Agent Cooper just left and asks to speak to Gordon to deliver a message left by Dougie Jones for him. The message reads, “I am headed for Sheriff Truman. It is 2:53 in Las Vegas. Combined total 10. The number of completion”. Let’s just stop for a minute here and focus on the number 10. It symbolises the completion of a cycle and is the number of heaven, the world and universal creation. In Buddhism, it is the highest level of enlightenment. This then may mean that when Cooper finally wakes up in that hospital bed, he has completed his journey through the Black Lodge with perfect courage, and his mind is entirely enlightened. But what do we hear the Evolution of the Arm tell us in Part 1? 253 time and time again. Completion over and over again. This is never-ending.
Tammy briefs Gordon and Albert about everything Coop has been up to while playing Dougie, that a notorious hitman tried to kill him, and that he ended up in a coma after electrocuting himself by sticking a fork in a plug socket. Gordon tells Tammy and Albert to pack everything up; they’re leaving for Twin Peaks.
Will we ever know if Janey-E was really Diane’s sister? I think it’s likely not the truth. Pretty much everything Tulpa Diane said was programmed by Mr C. Texts controlled her. The last she received from Mr C was : – ) ALL. Note that the phone did not automatically change the ‘smiley’ into the emoticon. Diane used an iPhone, so it would have automatically done this. So there must have been gaps. Credit to my good friend Steven Brumwell for this interpretation:
Or it could mean:
: Time, – To, ) end, ALL Gordon, Albert & Tammy. Stop
My personal feeling is that Mr C, with this text, allowed Tulpa Diane to remember everything that happened to the real Diane. And so the real Diane was raped by Mr C. Why would Mr C want them to know that though? Was he hoping that they would be sympathetic in those last moments and not be prepared for her to take a shot at them? If so, he greatly underestimated Tammy and Albert.
Next, we see electricity pylons, Mr C driving closer to Twin Peaks and in the Sheriff station, Naido getting restless. She can sense him getting nearer. James and Freddie watch on, and the grotesque drunk continues to copy her like a myna bird (Waldo, is that you?). We may never find out who he was and why he had string wrapped around his face (which he pulled off to reveal some badly infected sore). Was he Billy? Does it even matter now?
Ben Horne has a phone call from the Wyoming Police Dept to say that his brother has been found naked there and is telling them that his binoculars killed someone. Now Jerry has been played for comedic effect throughout this series, and he did a brilliant job of it. We thought perhaps that he would have some revolutionary ending, would somehow save the day, but alas, the truth of the matter is a much sadder story. Jerry has lost his mind. He has smoked way too much potent marijuana and has slipped into psychosis. Perhaps it was likely; the Horne’s have a tendency for mental health problems.
Audrey—and I think this is perhaps one of the main reasons why there are many unhappy viewers out there at the end of this series—we just don’t know what happened to her. I still believe that she is in a psychiatric hospital, and her story may not be sad. She was likely raped and, as a result of that, bore a son, Richard, who grew up to become a sadistic and evil young man. She knows not of his death yet, but his death may have been what released her from her mental breakdown — her tie to the black lodge.
Mr C follows the one set of coordinates he had remaining. The two others he had led him off course to the rock where he sent his unknowing son to his electrified death. That would have been his fate. Now the one set remaining were given by Diane, sourced from the corpse of Ruth Davenport. These coordinates lead him to the place 253 yards east of Jack Rabbits Palace. There he finds the solitary sycamore tree and the golden pool. A vortex appears, and he is sucked straight up into The Fireman’s home.
Here he is caged up and suspended from the ceiling. The Fireman certainly had some special powers and was ready for his arrival. Of course he can; he can see the future and the past. But even so, being able to entrap Mr C so easily is impressive. Major Briggs’ head floats, almost filling the room; the Fireman floats up at the ceiling. The golden tube moves from the ceiling to Mr C who appears to sprout into a bale of hay. That’s a brand new sentence right there.
He is sucked up by the tube. On the screen, a picture of Laura Palmer’s House is shown. The Fireman swipes the screen, and a track road appears on the screen. Mr C is ejected from the tube into this new place. So Mr C was in ‘our house now’, but The Fireman did not do anything directly to harm him. Is this because he is a pacifist himself? The White Lodge does not inflict any pain directly but can manipulate outcomes for the greater good? Is this all one big experiment being carried out by The Fireman? Why was the Palmer house pictured? Do they know that is where they will find Judy? Of course they don’t want Mr C to head there, but to a place where he will meet his destiny.
The camera focuses closely on Mr C’s hairpin, something we have been trying to do all series. It does not appear to be the FBI pin after all, and I am not sure if it holds any importance after all that wonderment.
Mr C has landed outside the Sheriff’s Station in Twin Peaks, where Andy takes a picnic basket out of the car. Andy recognises him straight away and invites him inside, where he meets with Lucy and Sheriff Frank Truman. Mr C does not recognise Frank and was expecting to see Harry.
In the cells, Chad waits for the drunk to fall asleep, then takes a key from the soul of his boot and releases himself. Naido is becoming increasingly restless as she can sense Mr C is there now. Andy remembers his vision when he met the Fireman and goes to find Hawk. Chad pulls a gun on Andy. In true Marvel hero style, Freddie punches the cell door open with his green gloved hand at precisely the right time for it to slam into Chad’s face, knocking him out. Andy leads Naido, Freddie and James out of the cells upstairs.
Lucy’s phone rings. Truman and Mr C sit in his office. Truman asks him why he’s there. “Unfinished business“. Lucy transfers the call to Truman. It’s Agent Cooper. Mr C senses it and shoots at Truman. He misses; the bullet flies underneath his hat. Mr C is shot; Lucy stands in the doorway, looking satisfied that she scored such a great shot. She tells Andy, “I understand cellular phones now!” It’s like she has been released from her brain fog too, after 25 long years. Of course, she doesn’t actually understand that Cooper & Cooper are not one and the same.
Hawk arrives, Truman tells him that Agent Cooper said not to touch the body. The room goes black as the Woodsmen come to remove the BOB ball from inside him. Now I’ll be the first to admit that I didn’t think that BOB was still with Mr C at this point. We hadn’t seen him as part of Mr C since Part 8, the last time the Woodsmen came to revive him. What is clear now is that it’s not about reviving Mr C so much as ensuring they place BOB back inside a living host. One he doesn’t have to groom for years.
BOB starts to emerge. Agent Cooper arrives along with the Mitchum Bros, and they all watch on in horror. The BOB ball rises into the air and with force slams Agent Cooper to the ground.
Freddie gets himself ready for battle. Cooper asks, “Are you Freddie?” The Fireman must have told him of his importance. He replies, “That’s right and this is my destiny“. BOB is angry and flies at Freddie knocking him down. Freddie is not deterred, and with that, he punches the BOB ball, eventually smashing him into the ground. Fire bursts out of the hole. A molten BOB ball arises and attacks Freddie. “Catch you with my death bag!” BOB screams, but he’s no match for Freddie, who, with one punch, smashes him into tiny pieces of rock.
BOB is dead. Wow! Who would’ve thought Freddie Sykes, an unknown character from London Town, would have been the hero in this tale? This moment perhaps tells you what you need to know about BOB. He wasn’t that special — no offence to Freddie. While he was the embodiment of evil, the entity that took the life of Laura Palmer, he was just one of many. The day his egg hatched, so did several others, millions probably all over the world. He may have crept inside Leland Palmer, and he was Leland Palmer’s evil inside. The girl in 1956 New Mexico may also have swallowed a similar evil. She is possibly out there doing her own evil right now. The Woodsmen helped plant them inside humans by lulling them to sleep and keeping an eye on them for their ‘mother’ ever since. We are that experiment too.
Agent Cooper places the owl ring on his doppelgängers finger, and his body disappears in black smoke. In the black lodge, the ring arrives on the chevron floor.
Coop asks Truman if he has the key to room 315 of the Great Northern, which of course he does. Briggs had told him that Sheriff Truman would have it. Coop was also expecting Harry and is disappointed not to see his old buddy. I am truly saddened that this never came to pass.
Gordon, Albert and Tammy arrive, having missed pretty much all of the action. Coop then notices Naido, and something strange happens. He remembers, it’s almost like he knows this is all a dream, his dream, and it’s about to end. His face remains on the screen as he tells Bobby about his fathers part in all of this. He tells them that “now there are some things that will change, the past dictates the future”. Hawk nods knowingly. “Frank give my regards to Harry”.
Naido approaches Coop, and they touch hands. She turns to smoke, her face becoming a vision of the black lodge, red, black and white. Her face cracks open and reveals a rotten egg type thing. The real Diane is released. She is like a physical representation of the Black Lodge. Bright red hair like the curtains, her nails painted black and white like the floor. Her face is the stage. They kiss passionately.
What did happen to Diane then? She told the story that Mr C took her to the gas station/Convenience Store. It is here that the Tulpa of her was likely made. Was Mr C able to entrap her in a body so different from her actual self that no one would recognise her? Her eyes were sewn over, so she could not communicate through them; her voice turned into a squawk, so there was no chance whatsoever that she could reveal the truth. Had Diane been trapped there in non-existence for 25 years? The Evolution of the Arm’s doppelganger sent Cooper when he tried to leave the Black Lodge? He would not have recognised or understood Diane when he met her there, but she did her best to help. In fact, what she did was electrocute herself back into the real world, just like Coop did. She knew what she had to do and she sent him that message, it just took him a while to finally realise! Don’t go through the socket; stick a fork in it! Electricity is all you need to travel.
A blue rose was on the table in that purple place in space. When Naido/Diane fell, she was replaced by another who looked almost exactly like Ronette Pulaski. Does this mean that Ronette too had a Tulpa? Was that the original there in non-existence? Is this where the originals are kept or where they are created?
Diane says with a smile, “Cooper, the one and only“. Coop asks her, “Do you remember everything?“, she replies that she does. The rape really happened.
The hands on the clock on the wall stutter. They can’t quite reach 2:53 in Twin Peaks. Completion cannot happen. Cooper turns to all his friends and says, “We live inside a dream. I hope to see all of you again, every one of you.” Everything goes dark, and Coops superimposed face disappears now. Is the dream over or just beginning?
Coop, Diane and Gordon walk now in the darkness to the basement at the Great Northern Hotel. This is not room 315 as we knew it, but the hum is still present. Coop takes the key and unlocks the door. “Don’t try to follow me either of you“. He turns to Diane and says, “I’ll see you at the curtain call“. He walks alone for a while in the dark until Phillip Gerard/MIKE appears.
“Through the darkness of futures past, the magician longs to see. One chants out between two worlds, Fire Walk With Me“.
“Electricity” buzzes, and the two of them walk through the trees, down the corridor to the stairs of The Dutchman’s. The same place Mr C was taken to see Phillip Jeffries. So the humming has been what? The opening to a portal? This place can be entered in three different locations, at The Zone where Bill Hastings led Gordon and the Team, at the Convenience Store and now via the Great Northern. It may be this time that MIKE needed to be present and to chant out for access. The pair walk up the stairs, the Jumping Man appears; this time, his face flickers, possibly with the image of Cooper himself. He is perhaps the physical embodiment of electricity itself, the gatekeeper, the medium in which they all travel through space and time.
MIKE and Coop meet with Jeffries. Coop recognises him despite him being a steaming kettle. Have they met here before? Jeffries tells him to be specific. “The date, February 23rd 1989“, Coop says. “I’ll find it for ya. It’s slippery in here“. So he’s trapped inside there? Just his spirit, maybe? Is he the steam? “It’s good to see you again“, Coop tells him. “Say hello to Gordon for me. He’ll tell you the unofficial version. This is where you will find Judy. There may be someone. Did you ask me this?” The owl cave symbol appears in the steam and morphs into a figure 8. Infinity. A ball within the eight rolls and then stops. “There it is. You can go in now“. MIKE says, “Electricity“, and he and Coop disappear.
Gordon will tell you the unofficial version of what? It appears that maybe Gordon has chosen not to travel through space and time on this mission. He did a good job of not being sucked into the vortex at The Zone, albeit with a bit of help from Albert. Does he know that travelling through time will leave an impression? Just look at the effect it had on Briggs after his disappearance all those years ago. Gordon chooses to stay put and keep a handle on reality, on the original timeline, so he can piece together the puzzle maybe?
Cooper is back in Twin Peaks now, in black and white. The night of Laura Palmer’s murder. The ceiling fan in her house spins. Laura runs from her home and jumps onto the back of James’ bike. Leland/BOB is outraged as he watches her leave. We have seen this all before as it’s footage from the final hours of Laura’s life in Fire Walk With Me. Laura and James talk in the woods. Coop hides behind a tree in the distance. I can’t quite explain the chills I got when Laura screams. I have seen it happen so many times; there was never any reason for it, no one there. We just put it down to her being very high on cocaine and intuitively knowing that this was her last night of life. Perhaps a vision of BOB in her mind. This time though, we see what she sees; it’s Cooper. She sees him! Did she always see him? If this is the case, we know that this has happened before, perhaps even time and time again and no matter what Coop does, it makes no difference to the outcome in the bigger scheme of things.
Laura and James talk, she tells him that Bobby killed a man. “Open your eyes James, you don’t even know me. There are things about me, even Donna doesn’t know me. Your Laura disappeared, it’s just me now”. She tells him to take her home. At the traffic lights, she jumps off the bike and disappears into the woods forever. Leo, Ronette and Jacques are waiting for her to go party with them.
But this time, she bumps into Coop. “Who are you?” she asks. “Do I know you? Wait, I’ve seen you in a dream. In a dream”. He holds his hand out to her, she accepts it. They walk, and the scene changes from black and white to colour. “Where are we going?” Laura asks. “We’re going home”.
Josie Packard paints on her lipstick and hums a familiar tune. Pete and Catherine are in their kitchen. “Gone fishin!“. We have travelled full circle right back to the beginning. My heart is pounding. Pete walks that all too familiar walk over the beach verandah. There’s no body laying there next to the felled tree this time. She’s not dead, wrapped in plastic. Pete fishes without a care in the world. This is how I will picture Jack Nance forevermore now; God rest his soul.
My heart feels like it’s dropped out of my mouth. I feel joy, but I can’t help but feel sad too. Of course I wanted her to be saved. Laura is ‘The One, and her death was a tragedy, but with BOB dead in the present, but not the past, there is no reason why her suffering doesn’t continue. It is inevitable, isn’t it? Laura’s death doesn’t need to be prevented; it’s what leads up to it that does, but without Leland as her father, she wouldn’t exist at all. So how far back do you have to go to stop this? The possibilities are literally endless, infinite.
Back in the present day as we know it, a wailing, howling beast inside Sarah Palmer grabs a picture of her daughter, smashes a bottle and frantically stabs at it. She can’t puncture it, but she does something. Coop leads Laura through the woods. Then we hear the sound, the strange scratch/squeak that The Fireman told us to look out for in Part 1. “Listen to the sounds”. Coop recognises and feels that his hand is empty. He looks for Laura in the trees and hears a piercing scream. Laura is gone. ‘Mother’ may not be able to kill Laura, but she’ll sure find another way to get rid of her. By flinging her into another time and space.
In the Black Lodge, Julee Cruise sings ‘The World Spins’ almost exactly like she did 25 years earlier. The world does continue to spin, but it’s changed now.
What have you done Cooper? Did he think that travelling back to the moment of her death and preventing it would somehow change the story? Does he know that Judy is inhabiting her mother? In this timeline on this date, Judy was not inhabiting Sarah Palmer as far as we know. She may have been a bit neurotic even at this point, but it was her only child’s death at the hands of her husband, the realisation that he had been abusing her precious daughter right under her nose and she was unable to stop it, that’s what turned Sarah Palmer into this beast. Years and years of regret, guilt, pain, suffering turned her into a monster. It has consumed her, and she has given into it. She didn’t have the strength to fight that her daughter did.
If Coop had been able to return Laura home that night, what would he have succeeded in doing? He would have returned this girl to an abusive father, a man inhabited by BOB who would still end up killing his daughter. Laura chose to die over being inhabited by BOB. Would she always make that decision? If she lets BOB in, what happens then?
Coop told Laura not to take the ring. It makes sense now. If she died and didn’t wear it, she would be just that, dead. No travelling to the Black Lodge, none of this would ever have happened. She just needs to listen next time. But she does have to die. She has to die and arrive back at her home, the White Lodge, where she belongs.
There is an endless list of things that don’t happen because Laura doesn’t die at this point. Cooper’s actions here determine the future, and that might be why we do not learn of anything more of the characters we so love in the world of Twin Peaks, because why would we need to know? We only learned about them because they knew Laura. Their timelines have maybe only slightly changed, just like the Secret History of Twin Peaks showed us. Some things are just destined to happen. Nadine has to have her eye shot out. Audrey always ends up in the bank explosion. Ed & Norma are always in love, and maybe they do always get together finally. Margaret Lanterman always loses her husband but finds him in her log. But those events created purely by the death of Laura Palmer in Twin Peaks, such as Agent Cooper arriving in town on February 24th, do not happen. No Donna and James, no Bobby & Shelly as Leo doesn’t end up with the spiders, Becky never exists.
We don’t need to know about Audrey or any of the Horne’s or the Hayward’s, no Hawk, no Lucy or Andy. None of them matter without Laura. We could never forget them though, and this is the genius of it all. It’s totally up to us what happens to them now. We can decide who exists, who falls in love, what their destinies are. We are the dreamer.
What was Briggs doing all this time? Similar work to Cooper? Travelling through different times trying to find Judy. Did he make huge changes to the world as we know it too? Annie doesn’t exist in the Secret History of Twin Peaks. Did he at one point think that removing her from history would set things straight, lead him to Judy? Was he trying the, ‘If Annie didn’t exist then Cooper wouldn’t have followed her into the Black Lodge’ path?
It’s no coincidence that the book’s cover is made up of thousands of triangles, the shape of 10 — completion. How many realities/times do they need to travel to try to solve the puzzle? Like in Jeffries’ case, the travel of time has an effect; you lose your humanity. Briggs now is just a floating head. Jeffries is perhaps just steam. This doesn’t bode well for Cooper, and we are already beginning to see a change in him. I will talk more about this shortly in the second part of my Finale review. Until then, sweet dreams and goodbye, my dear friends; I hope to see you all again soon.
All images courtesy of Showtime/CBS unless otherwise stated