Dragons, I have been thinking about the Twin Peaks finale ever since I first saw it. I watched it again. I watched Fire Walk With Me. I watched some scenes from the first couples of episodes. I’m trying to figure out what happened. Not sure I’ve succeeded. But before I get ahead of myself, let’s talk about what we actually saw on screen.
We open Part 17 with our Blue Rose Task Force. Gordon tells Albert and Tammy that there’s something he hasn’t told them. Major Briggs contacted Gordon and Cooper before his disappearance to tell them that he discovered “an extreme negative force” known as “Jowday” in “olden times.” That became “Judy” over time. The three put together a plan to discover Judy, and Jeffries was also onto the entity. They’ve all disappeared. The last thing Cooper said to Gordon was, “If I disappear, like the others, do everything you can to find me. I’m trying to kill two birds with one stone.” Gordon provides a bit more exposition before getting a call from Vegas that they’ve found Douglas Jones, but he’s gone. Mullins comes in to give Gordon the message from Cooper: “I am headed for Sheriff’s Truman’s. It is 2:53 in Las Vegas, and that adds up to 10, a number of completion.”
Gordon hangs up the phone. “Dougie is Cooper?! How the hell is this?” Same, Gordon. Same. But luckily, Gordon knows where he’s going.
And he’s not the only one heading there. Mr. C is also en route to Twin Peaks. We see him go to the place in the woods where Andy and Hawk were episodes ago – where they found Naido – marked characteristically with electrical noises and whooshing. We also see a portal open above Mr. C., and just like that, he’s gone. He gets transplanted to the black and white place where the Giant/Fireman lives from Episode 8 – we see that Briggs is trapped here, and we see that through this location, the Fireman can see through the portals – we see the spot in the woods and the Palmer household. The Fireman tosses Mr. C out through another portal – this one right outside of the Twin Peaks Sheriff’s Department.
Getting out of his car at that exact moment is poor Andy, who believes Mr. C is the real Cooper. Inside the station, our motley crew is still in the jail cells. Naido makes whining/squawking noises but can’t seem to talk. Her reactions seem to suggest that she can sense Mr. C. Andy leads Mr. C into the station, where they say hello to Lucy and Mr. C meets the new Sheriff Truman.
Before Mr. C can accomplish whatever evil deed he’s there to do, things pick up the pace. Chad breaks out of his jail cell but Freddie and his green fist stops Chad before he can kill Andy. Meanwhile, the real Cooper calls the station, and Sheriff Truman somehow is able to realize that the Cooper in front of him is an impostor. And how wonderful is Cooper over the phone? “Harry! It’s Coop! Federal Bureau of Investigation Special Agent Dale Cooper… is the coffee on?”
Mr. C pulls a gun, but before he shoots Frank, Lucy – LUCY – comes from out of nowhere and shoots Mr. C in the back. Frank tells Cooper that “this one” is dead, and Cooper warns them to stay away from the body. Meanwhile, Andy brings everyone from the jail cells up to Frank’s office, as if running on automatic. “I’ve got to get you all upstairs,” he says.
The scene darkens, and the Woodsmen from Episode 8 begin their ritual again to somehow save the entity that is BOB. They dig at Mr. C’s body, repeatedly rubbing his face, until an orb with BOB’s face – housing BOB’s spirit – emerges. Cooper calls out, “Are you Freddie?” And Freddie pummels the BOB orb with his green fist. The BOB orb fights back, but it’s no match for Freddie, who punches it so hard that it goes into the ground, bursting into flames. The orb revives one last time, but Freddie shatters it into pieces, which rise up and disappear.
Cooper stands over his doppelganger and puts the green ring on his hand. The body fades away, and the ring lands in the Black Lodge. Cooper gets the room key to 315 from Truman and then notices Naido. As he stares at her, the camera cuts, but his face doesn’t entirely fade – it remains superimposed on the screen during the rest of the scene in the station. Bobby shows up, as do the Blue Rose Task Force. (As Cooper puts it, Gordon “is here right on time!”) “Now, there are some things that will change. The past dictates the future.” Naido and Coop touch palms, and Naido transforms into Diane – the real Diane, who has red hair and black and white nail polish (as in, a visual representation of the Lodge). Cooper and Diane kiss, reunited. He asks Diane if she remembers everything, and she says yes. Cooper looks to the clock, and we see it stuck between 2:52 and 2:53, going back and forth between the minutes. “We live inside a dream,” Cooper says. For this line, his voice is distorted. Then it returns to normal: “I hope I see all of you again. Every one of you.”
More whooshing, and Cooper, Diane, and Gordon are suddenly in some other, dark place. They’re somehow below (?) the Great Northern Hotel, and we hear that ringing that plagued Ben Horne and his secretary. They make their way to room 315. “Now, listen,” Cooper says. “I’m going through this door. Don’t try to follow me. Either of you.” To Diane, he says, “See you at the curtain call.”
Cooper sees the One Armed Man. “Through the darkness of future past, the magician longs to see. One chants out between two worlds, ‘Fire walk with me.'” He leads Cooper up the stairs of the Dutchman, where Cooper finds Jeffries. Jeffries tells him, “Please, be specific.” Cooper responds with February 23, 1989 – the date Laura Palmer died. “This is where you’ll find Judy. There may be someone — did you ask me this?” He shows Cooper the Owl Cave separates and becomes two triangles on top of each other, which morph into curved lines, forming an infinity symbol. Jeffries tells him he can go in now but warns him to “remember.”
And we’re back in a scene from Fire Walk With Me, before Laura’s death, all in black and white. James pulls up in front of the house and picks her up on his motorcycle. She tells him that Bobby killed someone, and she insists that he doesn’t really know her – even Donna doesn’t know her. She leaves James the same way, running through the woods. But here, she doesn’t make it to meet up with Jacques, Leo, and Ronette, because Dale Cooper is there, and he stops her. Laura tells him that she’s seen him “in a dream.” We see the scene of Laura’s body on the shore, wrapped in plastic, and her body disappears from the shot. When we cut back to Laura and Dale, we’re now in color. He tells her that he’s taking her “home.”
The next morning, in Twin Peaks, it looks like Dale has changed history and saved Laura. Or did he? At the Palmer household, there is an unearthly moaning, and we watch as Sarah Palmer smashes Laura’s homecoming photo. We hear noises that include the scratching sound the Fireman warned us about back in Episode 1. As Dale is leading Laura through the woods, we hear more whooshing and Laura’s screams – and then she is gone.
Part 18 opens with the body of Mr. C burning in the Lodge. We watch the creation of a new Dougie for Janey-E and Sonny Jim. At least someone gets a happy ending here.
Cooper is back in the Lodge, and these scenes play out almost exactly as they did in the first two episodes. Cooper’s with the One Armed Man, who asks, as he did earlier this season, “Is it future? Or is it past?” He once again meets The Arm. The Arm now quotes Audrey Horne: “Is it the story of the little girl who lived down the lane?” Again, we see Laura saying something to Cooper, and we hear her screams. We watch as Leland tells Cooper to find Laura.
Cooper makes his way out of the Lodge, where Diane is waiting for him. She asks, “Is it you? Is it really you?” The two of them drive into the middle of the desert. “You sure you want to do this?” Diane asks. “You don’t know what it’s going to be like once we–” He cuts her off. “I know that. We’re at that point now. I can feel it.” And at 430 miles, they cross something – through yet another portal, into yet another plane of existence. Cooper and Diane stop at a hotel, where they have sex. The Platters’ “My Prayer” plays, which was last heard in the show before the Woodsman arrived in Episode 8. Diane covers up Cooper’s face and fights back tears.
The next day, Diane is gone. She’s left a note addressed to “Richard” and signed by “Linda.” When Cooper walks out of the hotel, it’s an entirely different building than the one the night before. His car isn’t the same either. He learns he’s in Odessa, Texas, where he goes to a diner called Judy’s. He asks the waitress if there’s another waitress who works there and asks for where she lives. Cooper also takes care of some other patrons who are harassing the waitress by shooting one in the foot. Cooper gets the address he wants and heads out.
At the address, 1516 of that street, Cooper’s eyes also linger on a “6” on a nearby telephone pole. A woman answers the door who looks exactly like an adult Laura. But she insists that she’s not Laura Palmer – she’s Carrie Page. Cooper tells her he wants to take her to her mother’s house. “It’s very important,” he says. She says that normally she would slam the door in his face, but she’s gotta get out of town, so she figures that rolling with the FBI is the way to go. When Cooper goes into her apartment, we see that there’s a dead body in the living room. We also see a white horse on the mantle, a callback to both the season premiere and to what Sarah Palmer saw before Laura and Maddie both died.
Cooper takes Carrie to the Palmer house, which she doesn’t recognize. They go to the front door, and the woman who answers says her name is Alice Tremond. She doesn’t know any Sarah Palmer. She asks someone inside the house who they bought it from, and the answer is a family with the name Chalfont. Tremond and Chalfont are both names used by known Black Lodge entities.
Cooper and Carrie walk away from the house. But Cooper stops. “What year is this?” Before we get an answer, Carrie stares at the house, that portal to another dimension, and we hear someone shout, “Laura!” Carrie screams, that same scream we’ve heard from Laura, and all the lights in the house go out.
- Ben Horne gets a call that Jerry ended up in Wyoming. Finally! Someone found Jerry!
- Lucy: “I finally understand cellular phones now!”
- Bobby: “What’s going on here?”
Bradley Mitchum: “Took the f****** words right outta my mouth.”
- Audrey’s storyline is not revisited, which is a bit disappointing. But if she is, in fact, in a mental hospital (which I believe), I don’t know that adding her to the last two hours would have added much.
So, what exactly happened? Here’s what we know. BOB, through Mr. C, was looking for the coordinates from Major Briggs, who was looking for (and perhaps found?) Judy, the source of all of these evil spirits. Perhaps Mr. C wanted to find Judy in order to find some sort of immortality, to stay within a body forever – remember, in Fire Walk with Me, we learn that BOB’s prime objective isn’t just to torture Laura – it’s to be Laura, to take her over.
We know from Lynch being Lynch that you can’t trust scenes to be in order (or to even really have happened). We know that the Fireman gave a message to Cooper about 430 and Richard and Linda. So, was the Fireman warning Cooper about what would happen if he saved Laura? Was it a warning? Or just guideposts to look at? Did that scene happen then or later in Cooper’s timeline? The scenes in the Lodge with Cooper, the One Armed Man, the Arm, Leland, and Sarah are almost identical. Did he really go through them twice?
Did he really go through any of this at all? Remember that being in a dream is a recurring theme of this season. There was an entire interlude where Gordon Cole, who is played by David Lynch, tells us about his dream. In other words, THE CREATOR HIMSELF IS TELLING US (well, through Monica Belluci), an old quote: “We are like the dreamer who dreams and then lives inside the dream. But who is the dreamer?” I am skeptical that any of what happened in the sheriff’s station actually happened. I’m more inclined to believe that this is Cooper’s dream – or perhaps a pocket world within the Black Lodge. Consider the superimposed image of Cooper’s face, the improbability of everyone being in one place at one time, the fact that a kid with a green fist is the one who defeats BOB, the clock on the wall, or how Dale, Gordon, and Diane are seemingly transported to a different location. These are things that don’t happen in the real world – they happen in the Lodge or in other portal-adjacent locations. And even though we saw a portal outside of the station, we have never had anything to suggest that the station itself is the site of supernatural activity.
If Cooper didn’t really experience that, so what? I would argue that Cooper’s entire time in the Lodge has been to find a way to save Laura. We can interpret “two birds with one stone” to mean finding Judy and saving Laura. If that’s the case, although destroying Mr. C is important to Cooper’s existence in our plane, it’s not really crucial to his ultimate plan if that plan is to destroy Judy.
So, if we are to believe that most of this was a dream, when does it stop being a dream? I think Cooper goes back to a form of reality when he wakes up in the hotel. Again, consider the significance of watching Cooper physically wake up. In this new reality that he’s created, there is no Laura Palmer. She doesn’t exist, because Judy (evidently through Sarah Palmer) has erased her from the timeline. If Laura was created as a foil to BOB, it follows that an evil entity like Judy would want to erase Laura from any narrative. Or Judy has at least erased the memories, the goodness, of Laura and what she represents. At the end, when we hear that voice shout, “Laura!” can we assume it’s Sarah? Perhaps it’s Judy, recognizing that the spirit of Laura has returned to this portal yet again?
I don’t know. And I don’t think we’ll ever really know. That’s the beauty and the madness of David Lynch.
Dragons, what did you think of the finale? If it’s a series finale, are you satisfied? Were we all part of Dale Cooper’s dream? Leave your thoughts in the comments!