Twin Peaks Mythology and Cooper’s Katabasis

This arti­cle was writ­ten in Octo­ber 2017, when Twin Peaks Sea­son 3 impres­sions were extreme­ly fresh, the Inter­net was abuzz with var­i­ous inter­pre­ta­tions, and the author was feel­ing that there are too many peo­ple (at least on Russ­ian web) who are over­ly fond of deci­pher­ing some would-be clues or over­ly accus­tomed to the lan­guage and notions of mod­ern sci-fi pic­tures. This mate­r­i­al builds upon the assump­tion that the cre­ators of Twin Peaks (pri­mar­i­ly imply­ing Lynch) are employ­ing dream log­ic rather than using some code—yet the author tries to make sense of this log­ic by draw­ing upon Bud­dhist, depth psy­chol­o­gy and mytho­log­i­cal world­view asso­ci­a­tions.

It went through some lat­er edits, main­ly styl­is­tic; the author also drew jux­ta­po­si­tions with some works of his favorite Russ­ian avant-garde poets (cut down to one Kharms’ poem here, trans­lat­ed with a help­ful advice of Jen­na Moran). Much to the author’s sur­prise, the arti­cle has enjoyed a cer­tain pop­u­lar­i­ty in Russ­ian web. In the mean­time a sev­er­al fruit­ful and inter­est­ing inter­pre­ta­tions have emerged, some of these seem­ing­ly close to the out­look of this arti­cle.

Twin Peaks Mythol­o­gy and Cooper’s Kataba­sis


I love sto­ries, but I love sto­ries that can hold abstrac­tions, and cin­e­ma can say these too-dif­fi­cult-to-say-in-words things.

—David Lynch

There are clues every­where – all around us. But the puz­zle mak­er is clever. The clues, although sur­round­ing us, are some­how mis­tak­en for some­thing else. And the some­thing else – the wrong inter­pre­ta­tion of the clues – we call our world. Our world is a mag­i­cal smoke screen. How should we inter­pret the hap­py song of the mead­owlark, or the robust fla­vor of a wild straw­ber­ry?

—Log Lady, s02e20

What is this, kinder­garten?

—Coop­er’s Dop­pel­gänger, s03e13

A new Twin Peaks sea­son con­clu­sion once again turned out to be a blast; but when it was just a dyna­mite blast like the one which put Audrey Horne in a coma a quar­ter of a cen­tu­ry ago, now we’re talk­ing a nuclear blast like the one in the leg­endary eighth episode.  The сon­fused audi­ence des­per­ate­ly wish­es to com­pre­hend what’s hap­pened — espe­cial­ly con­cern­ing the enig­mat­ic finale.  I was voic­ing some con­cern when there were a few episodes left to go (know­ing I will feel shame for dis­trust­ing David Lynch lat­er). What did I fear? Twists like a) every­thing turns out to be a dream/fantasy/hallucination; b) time trav­el shenani­gans with time­line rewrites; c) aliens, mil­i­tary exper­i­ments etc. (obvi­ous­ly, cour­tesy of Frost); d) the infa­mous break­ing of the fourth wall, “it’s time to remem­ber this is a stage show for your enter­tain­ment, dear audi­ence,” and all that jazz. Any such twist could have under­mined the whole world of Twin Peaks — but every­thing turned out to be dif­fer­ent.

Sur­pris­ing­ly enough, Lynch and Frost employed all of these gim­micks (except per­haps the UFOs) to a cer­tain extent, but not in such a straight­for­ward way.  At least, they have left us with a wide range for inter­pre­ta­tions.  Aside from that, until the very finale I was miss­ing out on a sin­gle com­po­nent of «David Lynch ency­clo­pe­dia» the third sea­son became: that is, the same com­po­nent which makes his LA Tril­o­gy  (Lost High­way, Mul­hol­land Dri­ve and Inland Empire) so excep­tion­al.  I’m talk­ing about char­ac­ters” per­son­al­i­ty shifts, incom­pat­i­ble real­i­ties, same faces with dif­fer­ent names… Of course, the final episode gave me what I want­ed in spades  — the same final episode which became the most con­fus­ing if not dis­ap­point­ing for a lot of peo­ple.

I nev­er regard­ed David Lynch as an author of intel­lec­tu­al movies that bring puz­zles to be solved, pre­fer­ring to approach his films with an open heart and ready intu­ition; this was more than enough for me.  But Twin Peaks made me think hard about the rea­son Lynch’s films have this effect on peo­ple.  Yes, Lynch per­forms on an emo­tion­al lev­el in his «The­atre of Cru­el­ty».  Yes, he address­es the intu­ition.  But one of the feel­ings he employs mas­ter­ful­ly is a feel­ing of mys­tery and yearn­ing to gain an under­stand­ing.  Intu­itive­ly we feel that there’s some log­ic hid­den behind all the events, based on some prin­ci­ples we do not under­stand but want to elu­ci­date.  With the new Twin Peaks this feel­ing goes off the charts, and every­one devis­es their own way to deal with it.

Is it even pos­si­ble to find a prop­er inter­pre­ta­tion, one that would feel accept­able enough? I think it’s indeed quite pos­si­ble.  What’s impor­tant though is to avoid a num­ber of risky temp­ta­tions.  By ask­ing what was the author smok­ing, exclaim­ing that the emper­or has no clothes, stum­bling around while try­ing to inter­pret what we saw with the aid of famil­iar tropes of sci-fi and main­stream movies (all these Beau­ti­ful Minds, But­ter­fly Effects and Matrix­es) or see­ing a tale of some oth­er­word­ly bad­dies that con­spired to do some nasty things in the lit­tle town of Twin Peaks where «our guys» have kicked their butt but screwed up some­how we become like Jer­ry Horne who holds his binoc­u­lars the wrong way around, swears at the binoc­u­lars instead of him­self, and ends up up some­where over the hills and far away, naked, stoned and clue­less.

All the fid­dling with num­bers and names in attempts to «deci­pher» some­thing usu­al­ly leads to a notion that Lynch has told some triv­ial every­day life sto­ry with a touch of mys­ti­cal in it, just obfus­cat­ed it on pur­pose. Like what we have on our hands is some sort of Voyn­ich man­u­script that just needs a key show­ing it was a sim­ple herbar­i­um or a med­ical ency­clo­pe­dia all along.  It’s pos­si­ble to pick out any num­ber of such «keys» if desired, cre­at­ing the­o­ries of vary­ing degrees of inge­nu­ity and droll­ness, but it would leave out some­thing impor­tant.  The result­ing dis­con­tent can be eas­i­ly blamed on «drawn-out pac­ing», «abrupt clo­sure», «cliffhang­er deal» — yet I think that is the same as swear­ing at the binoc­u­lars while hold­ing it the wrong way around.

I’ll con­clude the intro­duc­tion by mov­ing on to my attempts to inter­pret what I saw; how­ev­er, I want to noti­fy the read­ers of a thing or three.  First, I emphat­i­cal­ly do not think that Lynch was imply­ing exact­ly what I have dis­cov­ered there.  Sec­ond, even if he did imply some­thing sim­i­lar, it’s not nec­es­sar­i­ly the case that he was con­scious­ly enun­ci­at­ing such con­cepts, let alone «enci­pher­ing» them.  Third, I respect every indi­vid­ual attempt to uncov­er mean­ing and treat such attempts as col­lab­o­ra­tive works of art of sorts — even if the the­o­ries pre­sent­ed seem far-fetched, if not plain­ly sil­ly.  Thus, I do not intend to claim any truth or «supe­ri­or­i­ty».


Don’t search for all the answers at once.
A path is formed by lay­ing one stone at a time.

 — The Fire­man, s02e01

Let’s start by turn­ing the binoc­u­lars around and con­tem­plat­ing what Twin Peaks the series is and the changes that were occur­ing to this series, start­ing with the first sea­son and end­ing with the third sea­son’s finale.  The first sea­son is first and fore­most a detec­tive sto­ry with a mys­ti­cal aspect.  It did employ many gen­res and lay­ers, but it was pri­mar­i­ly a sto­ry about mur­der inves­ti­ga­tion that involved some uncon­ven­tion­al means: prophet­ic dreams, med­i­ta­tions and so on.  Dur­ing the sec­ond sea­son the series trans­formed into a super­nat­ur­al show, with occult and mys­ti­cal aspects tak­ing the spot­light (bar­ring the mid­dle-sea­son soap-opera stuff etc.).

Next comes the movie, Fire Walk With Me, where the sto­ry adopts dict­inct­ly myth­i­cal aspects:  name­ly, the imagery of Lau­ra Palmer and the strange crea­tures dwelling inside the Black Lodge and the Con­ve­nience Store; var­i­ous new loca­tions and devices like the infa­mous ring.  A mys­tery tale of Twin Peaks became a mys­ti­cal leg­end, turn­ing into a full-fledged mod­ern myth by the third sea­son: mean­ing not only that over the last 27 years this sto­ry has become one of the impor­tant ele­ments of pop­u­lar cul­ture, but that the prin­ci­ples it is built upon — prin­ci­ples that gov­ern its effect on the view­er —  are very sim­i­lar to the prin­ci­ples of myth­ic nar­ra­tives.  Lynch once tried to turn some­one else’s myth (Frank Her­bert’s Dune) into a film and failed; he excelled at cre­at­ing his own myth in col­lab­o­ra­tion with Mark Frost, though.

If we regard the clas­sic myths sim­ply as fairy­tales, we are miss­ing what’s most impor­tant.  Myths are sto­ries about evo­lu­tion and devel­op­ment of the human spir­it, about the jour­neys of the mind, about the obsta­cles upon the path, framed as leg­ends and sto­ries of the super­nat­ur­al.  Myths fas­ci­nate us exact­ly because they touch upon some strings buried deeply with­in our minds, remind us of things we always knew deep down in our hearts but have for­got­ten or were unable to rec­og­nize.

I think that all late David Lynch movies are made in such a man­ner.  We feel that there is a cer­tain depth, a cer­tain impor­tance behind the imagery: that’s the same effect as the effect of dreams, psy­che­del­ic trips or meta­phys­i­cal art of Del­vaux, Magritte, de Chiri­co. And it’s intrigu­ing to try to per­ceive this sto­ry not «straight up», not even through the Freudi­an lens (at it still was pos­si­ble with FWWM) but by employ­ing the out­looks of the transper­son­al psy­chol­o­gy, Jun­gian­ism, Bud­dhism, shaman­ism and sim­i­lar sys­tems.  When we try to approach it as a tale of var­i­ous states and temp­ta­tions of mind, of enlight­en­ment and endark­en­ment, of sin and sal­va­tion, of Time, Death and Love, every­thing (or pret­ty much every­thing) falls into place.  Let’s con­tem­plate the main sym­bols of Twin Peaks accord­ing­ly.


As above, so below. The human being finds him­self, or her­self, in the mid­dle. There is as much space out­side the human, pro­por­tion­ate­ly, as inside. Stars, moons, and plan­ets remind us of pro­tons, neu­trons, and elec­trons. Is there a big­ger being walk­ing with all the stars with­in? Does our think­ing affect what goes on out­side us, and what goes on inside us? I think it does. Where does creamed corn fig­ure into the work­ings of the uni­verse? What real­ly is creamed corn? Is it a sym­bol for some­thing else?

 — Log Lady, s02e02

Elec­tric­i­ty is prob­a­bly Lynch’s main recur­ring motif ever since the Eraser­head. Every­one tends to agree that the elec­tri­cal phe­nom­e­na in his movies sig­ni­fy the pres­ence of some­thing mys­ti­cal, the tran­si­tions between worlds, or, speak­ing more broad­ly, they are what eso­teric sys­tems call a «life­force», «ema­na­tion», «Uni­ver­sal mind» and so on. This clear­ly demon­strates the film­mak­er’s char­ac­ter­is­tic artis­tic device: he con­veys most abstract con­cepts and ideas with mun­dane, every­day imagery.  His super­nat­ur­al enti­ties are noth­ing but hobos, cow­boys, fire­men and woods­men; he rep­re­sents tran­si­tions between var­i­ous states of mind with ele­va­tors, film booths and the­ater cor­ri­dors.

Some oth­er direc­tor would have employed frac­tals or glow­ing orb visu­als to show a tran­si­tion between dif­fer­ent real­i­ty lay­ers, but Lynch uses com­mon elec­tric­i­ty: flick­er­ing light bulbs, crack­ling wires and short­ed cir­cuits.  This also applies to the image of fire: Lynch employs a hottest metaphor, com­par­ing intense emo­tions to fire (flam­ing pas­sion, anger and so on), but makes that metaphor as lit­er­al as pos­si­ble.  Yes, Lynch’s fire is affects, states of an aroused mind, but this fire marked­ly reeks of scorched engine oil.

This was present in Eraser­head and Wild at Heart, migrat­ed to Lost Hig­way and Mul­hol­land Dri­ve, yet only in Twin Peaks it devel­oped into a full-on myth­i­cal sys­tem; prob­a­bly thanks to Mark Frost who likes all sorts of occult con­cepts that seem to become a nice com­ple­ment to Lynch’s vision­ary intu­ition.  A per­fect exam­ple of such syn­er­gy is an image of gar­mon­bozia, «pain and sor­row», an essence of suf­fer­ing shown as creamed corn.  I sus­pect this is pre­cise­ly the result of their joint efforts; in any case, this image proved to be very mem­o­rable.

In the first sea­son Fire sym­bol­ism takes the spot­light: MIKE’s famous mantra, Fire Walk With Me; the smell of burnt oil… Elec­tric­i­ty comes up almost acci­den­tal­ly: there was a mal­func­tion­ing blink­ing lamp dur­ing the shoot­ing and Lynch asked to leave it as it was.  Dur­ing the ear­ly sea­sons creamed corn appears only once — in the sec­ond sea­son, in one of the most impor­tant episodes where Don­na con­fronts demon­ic Tremonds — and its mean­ing stays unclear or even unno­ticed.  Only in FWWM we learn of gar­mon­bozia (and Lynch gets excep­tion­al­ly blunt, adding a cap­tion that explains  it is «pain and sor­row»). Elec­tric­i­ty-laden imagery also becomes installed into the series” mythol­o­gy dur­ing that movie: a tele­graph pole bear­ing the num­ber 6, sparkling tele­por­ta­tion of agent Jef­fries, cam­era being fixed on elec­tri­cal out­lets… The third sea­son uti­lizes such sym­bols all the way through.

Thus, the cen­tral ele­ments of Lynch’s myth­i­cal sys­tem are images that denote «all-per­va­sive ener­gy of con­scious­ness», «affects of the mind» and «suf­fer­ing of the soul».  That adds up to quite a Bud­dhist set­ting, right?  All of this gets plain­ly told once again dur­ing the scene with Hawk’s «liv­ing map», and this inter­pre­ta­tion does­n’t leave much doubt. But this out­look could also be suc­cess­ful­ly expand­ed by close­ly observ­ing the Lodges and their dwellers, for instance.


My peo­ple believe that the White Lodge is a place where the spir­its that rule man and nature reside. There is also a leg­end of a place called the Black Lodge. The shad­ow self of the White Lodge. Leg­end says that every spir­it must pass through there on the way to per­fec­tion. There, you will meet your own shad­ow self. My peo­ple call it The Dweller on the Thresh­old. But it is said that if you con­front the Black Lodge with imper­fect courage, it will utter­ly anni­hi­late your soul.

 — Hawk, s02e11

The Lodge sym­bol­o­gy is among the most pro­found and inter­est­ing.  The meta­phys­i­cal mean­ing of these spaces seen as states of mind again res­onates with a Bud­dhist world­view.

The Black Lodge is a state of per­ceiv­ing all the worlds as real. It is pos­si­ble to step out of this space and into var­i­ous places «in the flesh» through the red cur­tains.  There the col­ors are vivid, it’s rich­ly dec­o­rat­ed with fine-look­ing stat­ues and fur­ni­ture, every­thing has very pro­nounced tex­ture, can be felt.  There all our fears and wor­ries come alive, there, under the sycamore trees, we meet the embod­i­ment of our Shad­ow.  The Black Lodge is «an abyss of hal­lu­ci­na­tions», the chapel per­ilous, the space of deceit and illu­so­ry glam­our.

The White Lodge is a state of per­ceiv­ing all the worlds as illu­so­ry.  Every­thing there is nom­i­nal, mono­chro­mat­ic, and those who enter the White Lodge see our real­i­ty and all the neigh­bour­ing worlds equal­ly as a record, an illu­sion: a movie on the sil­ver screen, a sound made by a record play­er…

There’s again the image of Fire; Hawk tells Fire becomes «good» or «evil» depend­ing on the intent.  Fire both bright­ens and burns things up, because fire, elec­tric­i­ty is a nature of mind and when fire goes wild, our mind gets drowned and eclipsed by affects, we mis­take illu­sions for real­i­ty and become absorbed by suf­fer­ing and pain.

One-armed MIKE, the Black Lodge’s host, is prob­a­bly the most enig­mat­ic char­ac­ter of the whole mythol­o­gy.  One should not ful­ly believe any of his words.  Con­sid­er the sto­ry where he «cut the arm off when he saw the face of God» to avoid doing evil so now he is alleged­ly out to stop BOB.  This he tells as far back as the first sea­son.  But in FWWM we see him «reunit­ed» with his Arm, demand­ing his gar­mon­bozia back from BOB, and his motives become much less clear.  Then again, MIKE is a divid­ed mind, lord of illu­sions, deceit, hal­lu­ci­na­tions. And «arm» stands not only for a body part, but for a tool.  MIKE is an ambiva­lent one; he is cun­ning rather than evil.  MIKE is an embod­i­ment of our many-faced mind. He helps and he dis­tracts, he makes and he destroys; he is who plays eter­nal­ly.  The Arm is our «false selves», ego­is­tic motives, our self­ish­ness, our ego that feeds upon suf­fer­ing.  MIKE’s Arm are the roles we can­not quit play­ing, the masks that fuse with our faces, cov­er­ing the pri­mor­dial light.

Over the past years the Arm has evolved into an elec­tric tree, no less; that prob­a­bly also applies to the dreams the Arm per­son­i­fies.  Isn’t that why Diane’s tul­pa utters the Arm’s catch­phrase, «Let’s rock», and the Arm repeats Audrey’s words about «the lit­tle girl who lived down the lane»? Isn’t that why what’s hap­pen­ing in Twin Peaks is some­times undis­tin­guish­able from a dream: one day beau­ti­ful, anoth­er day hor­ri­ble?

There are lots of beings aside from MIKE and his Arm in the Black Lodge: BOB, the spir­it of Fire; dop­pel­gangers; spir­its of the deceased; basi­cal­ly, this is a crowd­ed, noisy place.  Con­verse­ly, in the White Lodge we meet only the Fire­man and Señori­ta Dido. If the fire is a flame gone rogue, a mind that suc­cumbed to the affects, the Fire­man is a well­spring of the oppos­ing state, the one who dous­es desires, the one who brings aware­ness and peace.  Señori­ta Dido is an embod­i­ment of cos­mic love. Amidst the notion­al mono­chrome world of the White Lodge we see only one col­or, gold, a sym­bol that express­es itself.  It’s the glow of love and san­i­ty, the col­or of Lau­ra Palmer’s soul, the col­or of an orb The Fire­man used to bring Coop­er back to life at the begin­ning of the sec­ond sea­son. On the earth­ly plane, it’s the col­or of spades Dr. Jaco­bi offers for «Dig your­self out of the shit»  (such is his brand of twopence Bud­dhism that nev­er­the­less has brought hap­pi­ness to at least one fam­i­ly.)

Mov­ing on.  A por­tal lead­ing into the Black Lodge has the form of a pud­dle of scorched oil sur­round­ed by 12 black sycamore trees that could be inter­pret­ed as a sym­bol of numeros­i­ty of var­i­ous illu­sions (remem­ber also the 12-can­dle cir­cle set afire and extin­guished by MIKE in the unabridged ver­sion of FWWM), but near a por­tal lead­ing into the White Lodge that looks like a pud­dle of liq­uid gold we see only a sin­gle white sycamore.  Pret­ty much any­one can enter the Black Lodge: even The Fire­man can go down there, as we remem­ber from the sec­ond sea­son’s final episode.  Only the pure souls like Coop­er, Major Brig­gs or Andy are admit­ted to the White Lodge, though.  What hap­pened to Coop­er’s dop­pel­gänger there is a sep­a­rate top­ic which we’ll dis­cuss fur­ther.  What’s more, the Fire­man’s abode stands atop a giant rock amidst a bound­less ocean with some­thing that looks like a blur­ry image of an eye above this ocean; I don’t think I should even com­ment on that.

The infa­mous Owl Cave Ring worn on «the spir­i­tu­al fin­ger» (the ring fin­ger of the left hand) is a branch of the Black Lodge in one par­tic­u­lar soul.  It allows one to trav­el straight into cor­ri­dors of devi­ous illu­sions dec­o­rat­ed by the red cur­tains — or to let MIKE and his Arm dom­i­nate one’s mind.  The same fin­ger, now charred, we see on the ghoul­ish hand inside Sarah Palmer as she open her face, and this tells us some­thing about the state she’s in.


Well now, I’m not gonna talk about Judy. In fact, we’re not gonna talk about Judy at all, we’re gonna keep her out of it.

 — Phillip Jef­fries, FWWM

Before he dis­ap­peared, Major Brig­gs shared with me & Coop­er his dis­cov­ery of an enti­ty, an extreme neg­a­tive force called in old­en times Jow­day. Over time, it’s become «Judy».

 — Gor­don Cole, s03e17

In the third sea­son of Twin Peaks the chief evil is some­thing known as Judy rather than the illu­sions of the Black Lodge and the spir­its like BOB that belong to it: some­thing long since famil­iar to Blue Rose agents, some­thing the Dop­pel­gänger seeks.  Lynch does not com­pli­cate the imagery con­cern­ing Judy; he some­what plain­ly tells us what Judy is.  Gor­don Cole tells that it is an «extreme neg­a­tive force», Mar­garet Lanter­man tells that «this you should be afraid above all», Hawk says that Sher­iff Frank «don’t ever want to know about that». The Dop­pel­gänger shows us a card that sym­bol­izes Judy, and this card is an ace of spades.  A famous sym­bol, isn’t it? So instead of beat­ing around the bush, we’ll state it out­right.

Judy is Death. Or Obliv­ion. Or Enthropy; or the destruc­tive aspect of Time, Chronos, the eater of life.  Spir­i­tu­al death, tri­umph of the cog­wheel world, of the decay.  Can­cer, cor­ro­sion, cor­rup­tion… When Dop­pel­gänger asks Jef­fries «what Judy is», Jef­fries tells him he has already met Judy; which is not a lie, as short­ly before that Dark Coop got shot by Ray and was dead for a while until the woods­men res­ur­rect­ed him. Fur­ther­more, Jef­fries sug­gests the dop­pel­gänger to com­mu­ni­cate with Judy in per­son, giv­ing him the req­ui­site coor­di­nates; and once again he’s total­ly hon­est, for the Dop­pel­gänger would have cer­tain­ly died there if he was­n’t so smart to send Richard Horne in his place.

Now it’s about time to remem­ber the con­cept of «two worlds» that per­vad­ed the whole Twin Peaks mythol­o­gy from the very begin­ning. As Jef­fries shows Coop­er in the final episode, two worlds are two sides of the same Moe­bius strip, and Judy’s world is the shad­ow side of our real­i­ty, so to speak. It could be said that these worlds are a liv­ing world and a cog­wheel world, an ani­mate world and a mean­ing­less world.  Infer­nal enti­ties — BOB, the Arm, the woods­men and so on — creep into our world because there is no food for them in their world; and this is hard­ly a new idea, as we’ve seen it ear­li­er, for instance, in Bur­roughs” nov­els with the virus­like par­a­sitic beings that can exist only by feed­ing off human suf­fer­ing and pain, act­ing «on their behalf» and adding to the evil that’s already there.

This is «the black corn» seen on Hawk’s map, «an inverse fer­til­i­ty» that is like a can­cer­ous tumor or a virus.  Life-devour­ing enthropy, rou­tine­ly repro­duced evil, grief and despair that turn soul into a dried husk.  The Kab­bal­ah calls it «qliphoth», lit­er­al­ly «husk», a shad­ow of the Tree of Life.  Cue the scene in the open­ing episode of the third sea­son where the shad­ow of this «extreme neg­a­tive force» caught in a glass cube minces a lov­ing cou­ple into meat.  It is not unex­pect­ed that Lynch choos­es the first atom­ic bomb test as the most pow­er­ful rep­re­sen­ta­tion of Judy, of the tri­umph of a mech­a­nis­tic night­mare over life.  As is com­mon­ly known, at this his­tor­i­cal moment the head of the nuclear pro­gram, Oppen­heimer, remem­bered the famous line from the Bha­gavad Gita: «Now I am become Death, the destroy­er of worlds.» (Trans­la­tor’s side note: the line is report­ed to be a mis­trans­la­tion of the orig­i­nal which speaks about Time that holds every­thing inside of it; after all, death is not exact­ly Vish­nu’s domain.)

Elec­tric poles with num­ber 6 on them are, in turn, Judy’s «ten­drils» of sorts reach­ing into our world.  That is demon­strat­ed in a scene where Richard Horne hits a boy with a car and the old Carl Rodd sees how the kid’s soul is being devoured through the wires.  The same pole appears dur­ing FWWM  in a town named Deer Mead­ow at a place for­mer­ly occu­pied by Car­l’s trail­er park, which is also where agent Desmond has dis­ap­peared. In a scene where Phillip Jef­fries appears and van­ish­es at the FBI office in Philadel­phia we see a sim­i­lar pole again after Jef­fries tells of the dis­cov­ery he made «at Judy’s» and his wit­ness­ing of the meet­ing above the con­ve­nience store.


Maybe that’s all BOB is. The evil that men do. Maybe it does­n’t mat­ter what we call it.

 — Albert Rosen­field, s02e16

As the night wind blows, the boughs move to and fro; the rustling, the mag­ic rustling that brings on the dark dream. The dream of suf­fer­ing and pain; pain for the vic­tim, pain for the inflicter of pain – a cir­cle of pain, a cir­cle of suf­fer­ing. Woe to ones who behold the pale horse.

 — Log Lady, s02e07

Par­a­sitic beings that dwell inside the Black Lodge, Death’s spawn and ser­vants, are var­ied, just as var­ied are the dis­eases that plague human soul.  Lynch presents us with a mod­ern take on clas­sic myths where var­i­ous demons embody var­i­ous states of mind.  We know that BOB is a spir­it of rage and lust that brings forth suf­fer­ing and pain the Arm and the oth­er dwellers of the Lodge feed upon.  We see anoth­er spir­it called Jump­ing Man in FWWM and two of the third sea­son episodes, and there is a num­ber of rea­sons to believe that the Frog­moth we saw in the 8th episode of the third sea­son is the Jump­ing Man lar­va pos­sess­ing poor Sarah Palmer. In a doc­u­men­tary titled  Mov­ing through Time: FWWM Mem­o­ries Lynch calls the Jump­ing Man  «tal­is­man come to life».. Where BOB is destruc­tion direct­ed at the oth­ers, the Jump­ing Man is self-destruc­tion, an embod­i­ment of despair, grief, trau­mas that devour souls from with­in.

Sarah Palmer is the most strik­ing rep­re­sen­ta­tion of this state: dis­con­so­late moth­er shorn of every­thing, liv­ing a veg­etable life, drink­ing and smok­ing non-stop, caught in a time loop (note the box­ing match on the TV, for exam­ple), dying alive.  The noto­ri­ous fan in her house is just anoth­er loop metaphor.  It’s no acci­dent that when the Jump­ing Man appears dur­ing one of the third sea­son episodes his face gets jux­ta­posed with Sarah’s face. As she opens her face dur­ing the creepy scene at the bar, amidst the dark­ness that fills her we can clear­ly see Frog­moth­’s stinger (also the Jump­ing Man’s nose).

It’s very pow­er­ful and very mor­bid imagery. The nuclear blast, as an embod­i­ment of mind­less Death force that resides in peo­ple, widened the rift between the worlds.  And Judy’s spawn — BOB and the Jump­ing Man, Anger and Despair — took hold of human souls. In this par­tic­u­lar case, souls of Leland and Sarah Palmer, but fol­low­ing the year 1945 the same was hap­pen­ing all over the civ­i­lized world.   Along­side these crea­tures upon the Earth descent the black Woods­men: charred spir­its devoid of their own light who ask the liv­ing for a light and crush their skulls, bear­ers of fear and ruin that make whole cities fall into a slum­ber, a dream­less sleep.  Water in the well men­tioned in a Woods­man­’s poem is a human soul these beings want to drink to the last drop, descend­ing into our world from their shad­ow world like a pale horse from Rev­e­la­tions rid­den by the one named Death.


We lived among the peo­ple… I think you say, con­ve­nience store?
We lived above it. I mean it like it is, like it sounds.

 — MIKE, s01e02

You stole the corn! I had it canned over the store!


So, there is a world of liv­ing and a world of shad­ows and there are spir­its trav­el­ling between these worlds.  The infa­mous Con­ve­nience Store with a pair of old gas pumps is a twi­light zone, a por­tal between these sides of real­i­ty.  We remem­ber from the first sea­son that MIKE and BOB used to live «above the con­ve­nience store», and in FWWM Phillip Jef­fries tells us how he wit­nessed one of the meet­ings held at that place.  In the cor­re­spond­ing scene we are shown an entire band of malign beings: the Arm, BOB, the Jump­ing Man, two Woods­men, Mrs.Tremond (a.k.a. Chal­font) and her grand­son sit around the table with gar­mon­bozia on their plates. The words these crea­tures utter deserve a spe­cial men­tion (it must be not­ed that in the orig­i­nal FWWM screen­play there were more lines and these lines were more exten­sive).   Here is the unabridged screen­play; lines that did­n’t make it into the movie are des­ig­nat­ed by bold ital­ics.  Man from Anoth­er Place gets occa­sion­al­ly labeled as MIKE in the screen­play.

MAN FROM ANOTHER PLACE: The chrome reflects our image

ELECTRICIAN: Elec­tric­i­ty

TMFAP (FIRST WOODSMEN): From pure air, we have descend­ed, from pure air.

TMFAP: Going up and down.  Inter­course between the two worlds.

BOB: Light of new dis­cov­er­ies.

MRS. TREMOND: Why not be com­posed of mate­ri­als and com­bi­na­tions of atoms?

MRS. TREMOND’S GRANDSON: This is no acci­dent.

ELECTRICIAN: Ani­mal life

TMFAP: Gar­mon­bozia. This is a formi­ca table.  Green is its col­or.


TMFAP: With chrome.  Any every­thing will pro­ceed cycli­cal­ly.


TMFAP: Yes, find the mid­dle place.


TREMOND’S GRANDSON: Fell a vic­tim.

TMFAP: With this ring, I thee wed

BOB (Bob claps his hand and a cir­cle of fire appears in the room.)Fire, walk with me

THROUGH THE CIRCLE We see the RED ROOM. ON THE SCENE Bob crawls into the Red Room and Mike starts to yell and leaps in after him.

 SECOND WOODSMAN Thus time moves on.

A brief back­ground on this mythol­o­gy: Mark Frost with his pre­oc­cu­pa­tion with occultism has played a large role in devis­ing it.  In one of the inter­views he said that he was respon­si­ble for near­ly the whole of mythol­o­gy of the ear­ly sea­sons of Twin Peaks; among his sources of inspi­ra­tion were Dion For­tune’s Psy­chic Self-Defence (from this book, accord­ing to him, came the orig­i­nal idea of the Black Lodge), Hele­na Blavatsky’s Theos­o­phy (sev­er­al phras­es from the dia­logue quot­ed above are almost word-for-word cita­tions from The Secret Doc­trine, like BOB’s famous line about «the fury of my own momen­tum» and MIKE’s «going up and down; inter­course between the two worlds») and Tal­bot Mundy’s Theos­o­phy-based nov­el titled The Devil’s Guard (1926) which has enriched TP mythol­o­gy with Win­dom Ear­le’s dug­pa rhetoric.  Then again, Frost also said that they imbued all these sym­bols with their own mean­ings and look­ing for any answers in these books is a waste of time. In any case, the screen­play of FWWM was writ­ten by Lynch (and Bob Engels) with­out Frost, and even if he did uti­lize some of the old col­lab­o­ra­tive con­cepts it seems he was increas­ing­ly imbu­ing these with his own mean­ings.

So on a nar­ra­tive lev­el the con­ve­nience store is a por­tal between our world and its shad­ow side.  On a sym­bol­ic lev­el it’s an excel­lent metaphor of a struc­ture of the human soul.  A relo­cat­ing Con­ve­nience Store sus­pend­ed between life and death where canned suf­fer­ing and pain is stored, with a room above it where hun­gry spir­its of self­ish­ness, anger, fear and despair split their food as the wind howls, giv­ing birth to illu­sions and night­mares.  Gloomy cor­ri­dors above the store with fad­ed flo­ral wall­pa­pers (where Lau­ra wan­ders dur­ing FWWM  and the Dop­pel­gänger wan­ders dur­ing the third sea­son) come with visions of a thick for­est, a sym­bol of the uncon­scious.

What oth­er images are asso­ci­at­ed with this store? The Dutch­man’s Lodge «above» it where Phillip Jef­fries dwells: a part of the Under­world linked direct­ly to a por­tal in the world of the liv­ing; the har­bor for lost souls.  Asso­ci­a­tion with the Fly­ing Dutch­man, a ghost ship lost mid­way between life and death, is hard­ly ran­dom.  The charred woods­men, then, are the ship’s undead crew of sorts.

The Jump­ing Man, whom we dis­cussed ear­li­er, appears only in this store and the spaces relat­ed to it; isn’t that because he’s an embod­i­ment of sui­ci­dal dri­ves, these states of the soul that turn peo­ple into corpses while they’re still alive, as shown by the exam­ple of poor Sarah?

Anoth­er impor­tant char­ac­ters are a grand­moth­er and her grand­son, known in the sec­ond sea­son as Tremonds and in FWWM as Chal­fonts (and both these sur­names appear again near the third sea­son’s finale; we’ll elab­o­rate on that lat­er).  Every­thing we know about them sug­gests that they are her­alds of com­ing death, per­son­i­fi­ca­tions of male­dic­tion and doom.  When Don­na encoun­ters them, Pierre Tremond shows her a mag­ic trick: snaps fin­gers, say­ing «Some­times things can hap­pen just like this», mak­ing creamed corn appear in his hands.  «My grand­son study­ing mag­ic», says Mrs. Tremond and tells Don­na she should vis­it Harold Smith.  Her grand­son says: «I am a lone­ly soul.»; Don­na («very cute girl», as he says) leaves and after four days of con­ver­sa­tions with her Harold Smith hangs him­self, leav­ing a note that says: «I am a lone­ly soul».

In FWWM these two live as Chal­fonts at the trail­er park, near to Tere­sa Banks — short­ly before her mur­der.  And a week before Lau­ra Palmer’s death they hand Lau­ra a paint­ing (which, as we know, depicts labyrinthine spaces above the con­ve­nience store and acts as a por­tal), say­ing that «эThis would look nice on your wall». In some scenes dur­ing FWWM Pierre Tremond wears a mask and car­ries a sling­shot which makes him look like the Jump­ing Man; he imi­tates the Jump­ing Man’s move­ments.  It’s quite obvi­ous what kind of mag­ic he’s learn­ing: it’s black mag­ic, art of manip­u­lat­ing peo­ple into self-destruc­tion and death.  In the Secret Diary Lau­ra Palmer men­tions anoth­er event: as she was walk­ing from Harold Smith, Pierre Tremond approached her, pulled a coin out of her ear and ran off.  We can also recall one more mys­te­ri­ous char­ac­ter from the third sea­son: Red, played by Balt­haz­ar Get­ty.

We see him only three times.  The first time he is talk­ing to Jean-Michel Renault at the Road­house and upon notic­ing Shelly makes a gun ges­ture.  The sec­ond time is a strange scene with him and Richard Horne which lets us learn that Red seems to be the one respon­si­ble for the night­mar­ish drug epi­dem­ic that hit Twin Peaks.  Dur­ing the same scene Red shows Horne a mag­ic trick with a coin: «Heads i win, tails you lose ». The last time we see Red in episode 11, where he appears dur­ing the con­ver­sa­tion between Bob­by, Shelly and Becky, and Shelly looks ful­ly cap­ti­vat­ed by his charm.  And right after Red dis­ap­pears, all hell breaks loose. Many peo­ple assumed that Red is a grown-up Pierre Tremond. This seems quite plau­si­ble and even if that is not so, Red’s con­nec­tion to the sad state of the town’s affairs and to the infer­nal pow­ers is quite obvi­ous. All his behav­iour tells his ele­ment is manip­u­la­tion, push­ing peo­ple onto a track lead­ing towards cog­wheel exis­tence, towards death.


Hawk, elec­tric­i­ty is hum­ming. You hear it in the moun­tains and rivers. You see it dance among the seas and stars, and glow­ing around the moon. But in these days, the glow is dying. What will be in the dark­ness that remains ? The Tru­man broth­ers are both «true men». They are your broth­ers, and the oth­ers, the good ones who have been with you. Now the cir­cle is almost com­plete. Watch and lis­ten to the dream of time and space. It all comes out now, flow­ing like a riv­er. That which is and is not. Hawk, Lau­ra is the one.

 — Log Lady, s03e10

Watch for that one. The one I told you about.
The one under the moon on Blue Pine Moun­tain.

 — Log Lady,  s03e15

Now it’s the time to view all what’s hap­pen­ing in for­mer­ly very home­like lit­tle town.  Twin Peaks was a place har­bor­ing dark secrets 25 years ago, but now there’s some­thing real­ly hor­ri­ble going on.

Shelly repeats the mis­takes of her youth.  Her daugh­ter Becky ups the ante by repro­duc­ing the most awful details of both her par­ents” pasts.  Sarah Palmer stays in a very ugly state, lit­er­al­ly spin­ning in a loop of despair, going all out on vod­ka and cig­a­rettes, with an infer­nal pres­ence tak­en hold of her soul («It’s a god­damn bad sto­ry, isn’t it, Hawk?») Audrey has sunk into a swamp of night­mare she can­not man­age to get out of.  James and Ed are a bit more lucky to stay as we left them a quar­ter of a cen­tu­ry ago; that’s hard­ly an envi­able fate though. As for the «old-timers», there aren’t many who man­aged to keep their inner light undimmed.  There’s Mar­garet Lanter­man, dying, but wise and kind, and Carl Rodd, almost saint­ly old man tired of see­ing peo­ple giv­ing blood for food.  There’s the law enforce­ment crowd: Hawk, Tru­man broth­ers, Lucy and Andy.  There’s Bob­by Brig­gs who took their side, one of the most pos­i­tive char­ac­ters of the new twin Peaks: he clear­ly mend­ed his ways like Ben Horne. Then there’s a rat, Chad, amongst the police­men.  Town’s youth is addict­ed en masse to drugs that turn them into lit­er­al walk­ing dead, all thanks to Red and his emis­saries such as Richard Horne.

It’s as if the whole town is sink­ing in a moat, time turns to slime, human behav­ior gets machine­like, and Lynch shows it to us in var­i­ous ways: just rewatch the scene of the shootout Bob­by got into right after smil­ing Red’s appear­ance.  Old lady in the car honks again and again like a bro­ken device, rot­ting chap in jail repeats his phras­es like an automa­ton, a boy who shot a gun behaves like a creepy robot.  Drug addict Steven rush­es towards sui­cide as if along the rails, and Don­na’s kind and com­pas­sion­ate younger sis­ter can’t help him at all.  Beat­i­ful music plays at the Road­house, but anoth­er of the Renault broth­ers (nat­u­ral­ly, a human traf­fick­er) emerges as if out of thin air, and scum­bag Horne’s actions far out­match those of the detestable Leo John­son… Even the famous cher­ry pies face the threat of dis­si­pa­tion due to busi­ness arrange­ments Nor­ma’s present-day part­ner offers.  Nor­ma, how­ev­er, remains wise and makes a right deci­sion.  Seem­ing­ly mad Dr. Jaco­bi and his admir­er Nadine are in fact also try­ing to fight in their own way; but even a hun­dred gold­en spades seems not enough to dig the town out of trou­ble.

It’s as if the lit­tle town is being devoured by death and enthropy, cor­rup­tion and cor­ro­sion. Evil was always lurk­ing in the woods near Twin Peaks, reflect­ing in the souls of the towns­folk, but the events of a quar­ter of a cen­tu­ry ago, left with­out prop­er res­o­lu­tion, have brought a curse upon the town and the light may go out for­ev­er.


There is a sto­ry behind that. There are many sto­ries in Twin Peaks. Some of them are sad, some fun­ny. Some of them are sto­ries of mad­ness, of vio­lence. Some are ordi­nary. Yet they all have about them a sense of mys­tery – the mys­tery of life.

Some­times, the mys­tery of death. The mys­tery of the woods. The woods sur­round­ing Twin Peaks.

To intro­duce this sto­ry, let me just say it encom­pass­es the all – it is beyond the «fire», though few would know that mean­ing. It is a sto­ry of many, but begins with one – and I knew her. The one lead­ing to the many is Lau­ra Palmer. Lau­ra is the one.

 — Log Lady, s01e01 (pilot).

Albert Rosen­field once not­ed that wild lifestyle, alco­hol and drugs were char­ac­ter­is­tic for the half of Amer­i­can school­girls.  But there are many hints at the fact that Lau­ra was­n’t just anoth­er school­girl, and in the 8th episode of the third sea­son it is made so obvi­ous that some peo­ple will prob­a­bly even deem it overt.  Lau­ra Palmer is the sym­bol­ic soul of Twin Peaks that embod­ies both every­thing good and every­thing bad in this town.  One who helps every­one out by day and gets devoured by dark­ness at night.  A girl with a big heart and a keen mind with par­ents who turned out to be hosts to the dark­est urges and destroyed her life.   A mes­sen­ger sent by the White Lodge to oppose Anger and Despair and make Death itself avert its gaze, an appar­ent redeemer of all the sins of the res­i­dents of Twin Peaks, she is The One, the linch­pin of the town’s fate.  Those who remem­ber her, those who, like Bob­by Brig­gs, can­not hold back tears look­ing at her por­trait which now looks more like a sacred image are still able to take a stand against evil.  But there are peo­ple who have nev­er even heard of her.

Lynch shows us how her life’s jour­ney ends in FWWM. She is quite lit­er­al­ly beset by the forces of evil and every­one has their own designs on her: Tremonds palmed a paint­ing on her, BOB in Leland’s body vio­lates her, more­over, wants to poss­es her and «taste thru her mouth», MIKE needs her pain and sor­row.  Her moth­er goes mad, her friends and boyfriends do not under­stand or see her tragedy, only Harold Smith, «lone­ly soul», is able to hear her out, but in essence «your Lau­ra is gone». Lau­ra, the mes­sen­ger of the White Lodge, per­ish­es in evil’s clutch­es.  The final move­ment opens with a scene in a for­est where she’s talk­ing with James, her spir­it already bro­ken.  Its end begins in a train car where she puts on the ring thrown inside by MIKE.  Then she gets killed by BOB, her body gets dis­cov­ered by Pete Martell, pain and sor­row BOB extract­ed from her becomes food for the Black Lodge, and as the Arm, the lit­tle man, starts to gulp down gar­mon­bozia, the mys­te­ri­ous mon­key behind Pier­re’s mask utters the name Judy.

Then FBI agents Dale Coop­er, Albert Rosen­field and Gor­don Cole come to Twin Peaks, fol­lowed by Win­dom Ear­le, who has defect­ed to evil.  Coop­er and Ear­le get lost in the Black Lodge: Ear­le van­ish­es for­ev­er, Coop­er van­ish­es for 25 years — yet man­ages to drop a hint to Gor­don about his plans to «kill two birds with one stone» before van­ish­ing.  And as «The good Dale is in the Lodge, and he can’t leave» and his dark dop­pel­gänger runs free, the town sinks deep­er and deep­er into the depths of evil.

Lau­ra Palmer is a per­son­i­fi­ca­tion of the whole town of Twin Peaks.  With her dread­ful death the bal­ance has shift­ed towards dark­ness, and in a quar­ter of a cen­tu­ry the town has almost com­plete­ly suc­cumbed to the shad­ow.  That is why there is no home­ly atmos­phere many view­ers miss so much.  That is why there is a lack of beau­ti­ful music every­where except the Road­house which increas­ing­ly resem­bles some bor­der area ruled by the Arm.  The fall began with Lau­ra’s death and she’s also the only one to bring about the end to this hor­ror.  The cir­cle com­pletes 2 Octo­ber at 2:53 when Blue Rose agents return to Twin Peaks and Coop­er’s dark twin goes back to the Lodge — and when one oth­er impor­tant event is bound to occur.


Albert, I hate to admit this, but I don’t under­stand this sit­u­a­tion at all.

  — Gor­don Cole, s03e04

…The absurd mys­tery of the strange forces of exis­tence.

 — Albert Rosen­field, s03e03

Whoa! They are real!

 — Tam­my Pre­ston, s03e16

 Albert’s path is a strange and dif­fi­cult one

 — Dale Coop­er, s02e03

We live inside a dream!

 — Phillip Jef­fries, FWWM

FBI Task Force «Blue Rose»: they are the only hope now.  All the mem­bers of this group seem to be a bunch of freaks, yet in real­i­ty they are the few peo­ple who under­stand what’s going on.  To some extent.  In terms of Twin Peaks mythol­o­gy they are «the ini­ti­at­ed», or, as some review­er put it, tran­scen­den­tal secu­ri­ty agents, each inter­act­ing with the truth revealed to them in their own way.  Their path is a dan­ger­ous one.  One might get stuck in oth­er­word­ly spaces like Jef­fries and Coop­er. Or dis­ap­pear for­ev­er with­out a trace like Chester Desmond. And this isn’t the most ter­ri­ble out­come, as one might get on the path of serv­ing evil like Win­dom Ear­le.  Avoid­ing such temp­ta­tions is the hard­est of all.

In fact, Blue Rose is a more advanced ana­logue of Twin Peaks” «book­house» (a group of the ini­ti­at­ed, appar­ent­ly start­ed by none oth­er than Carl Rodd. Tom­my «Hawk» Hill, sher­iff Har­ry and his broth­er Frank, Big Ed; all these peo­ple are on guard for good).  Wise major Gar­land Brig­gs, whose biggest fear is «the pos­si­bil­i­ty that love is not enough», also plays a cru­cial role there. He is the con­nec­tion Twin Peaks has to the FBI super­nat­ur­al task force, and he is also, as a mat­ter of fact, a mem­ber of Blue Rose; it is explic­it­ly shown to us at the begin­ning and the end of the third sea­son.  His lis­ten­ing post was sit­u­at­ed on the same moun­tain that acts as a por­tal Judy’s forces come through, he offered the most valu­able keys and he has become a new res­i­dent of the White Lodge which he vis­it­ed dur­ing his life­time.  Paths of the oth­er agents — those who did not fall vic­tim to Evil — are unique; each one of them has their own des­tiny.

Albert’s path, as we remem­ber from the ear­li­er sea­sons, is love; the way he sees it always makes his col­leagues apol­o­gize, though.  On the oth­er hand, his scep­ti­cal out­look allows him to be firm­ly ground­ed in this real­i­ty; no won­der he is the sole mem­ber of the group who did not dis­ap­pear under mys­te­ri­ous cir­cum­stances.

Well, not count­ing Gor­don Cole whose path might be char­ac­terised by the famous phrase: «joy­ful par­tic­i­pa­tion in the sor­rows of the world». Cole, more knowl­edge­able than all the oth­ers, wise and expe­ri­enced, does­n’t hes­i­tate to take part in the sim­ple joys of life or to play­ful­ly pull pranks on his col­leagues, like a sly Zen mas­ter.

New recruit Tam­my is a text­book «dili­gent stu­dent» Phillip Jef­fries might have been until the search of mys­te­ri­ous Judy has led him to the place he now dwells in.  Come to think of it, where exact­ly does he dwell?  He’s some­where between the world of the liv­ing and the world of the dead, out­side both real­i­ties (or even both illu­sions), gone into a state that is more about detached con­tem­pla­tion than expi­ra­tion; while pow­ers of the day and night are for him now equal shite, on some more com­pre­hen­si­ble lev­el he still belongs to the notion­al forces of good and can now boast a pecu­liar sense of humor («Say hel­lo to Gor­don if you see him. He’ll remem­ber the unof­fi­cial ver­sion» — this seems self-mock­ing­ly sweet, con­sid­er­ing the «offi­cial» form Jef­fries present­ly takes).

Last­ly, we have the lead char­ac­ter amongst this com­pa­ny as well as the main char­ac­ter of the whole series (along with Lau­ra Palmer), Dale Coop­er.  One of the most pow­er­ful «dream­ers» who under­stands the dream­like nature of Reality/Maya like Cole, Jef­fries and Diane. One who present­ly has devel­oped his abil­i­ties to a very advanced lev­el, who is fair­ly good at nav­i­gat­ing the decep­tive labyrinths of the Black Lodge, the land­scape of detached con­tem­pla­tion of the White Lodge or even the infer­nal land­scape we see in the finale. Yes, one might see ego­ism and per­fec­tion­ism some­what man­i­fest­ed in his nature: instead of relax­ing, wise­ly tak­ing a back seat like Jef­fries, he just can­not sit still, he’s always in a rush — to whisk Audrey out of «One Eyed Jack­’s», to whisk Annie out of the Lodge, to whisk Lau­ra out of Judy’s world.

Yet it might be some­thing oth­er than ego­ism or fussi­ness some peo­ple are eager to ascribe to Dale.  It’s just that his path is a path of a Bod­dhisat­va.  He sees his duty in help­ing liv­ing beings, and per­son­al sal­va­tion for him is impos­si­ble as long as some oth­er souls are suf­fer­ing.  That’s why he becomes a new mem­ber of the Fire­man’s team along­side with Major Brig­gs.   Coop­er is a gen­uine Hero in a mythological/archetypical sense, he is a mod­ern take on Orpheus, The­seus, Odysseus (isn’t that where Odessa comes from?), a per­son over­com­ing one ordeal after anoth­er.  His main qual­i­ty is puri­ty of thought, which is high­light­ed by the image of Mr. C., his evil twin. As we know, before dis­ap­pear­ing Coop­er asked Cole to find him by any means nec­es­sary, men­tion­ing he wants to «kill two birds with one stone».

What exact­ly did he want?  Let’s try to fig­ure this out. First, he has devised a way to find Judy, the extreme neg­a­tive force that is devour­ing Twin Peaks, togeth­er with Gor­don and Brig­gs.  He has real­ized how to stop it influ­ence; not to destroy it, sure, but to with­stand it.  Major Brig­gs even knew the exact date when some­thing impor­tant was bound to hap­pen: Octo­ber 2 2016, at 2:53.

Sec­ond, Coop­er has a cer­tain «karmic con­nec­tion» with Lau­ra Palmer. Just like her, Dale Coop­er is inex­tri­ca­bly linked with the town of Twin Peaks.  He was assist­ed from the begin­ning by the Fire­man, the one who sent Lau­ra Palmer’s soul to this town. Coop­er want­ed to move there, he felt this was his dream town.  You might say that Lau­ra is the heart of Twin Peaks and Dale is its mind.  They shared dreams, appear­ing togeth­er in the Lodge.  They meet again and again amongst the red cur­tains: now Lau­ra whis­pers a secret into Coop­er’s ear, now Coop­er watch­es as she is car­ried off by angels.  It seems that the whole deal with Annie was meant to strength­en the bond between Lau­ra and Coop­er — and to make her write cer­tain words into her diary.

And now it’s Coop­er who must play an impor­tant part in the des­tiny of Lau­ra, who’s «I am dead, yet I live». I sup­pose his goal is not «sav­ing» her in the ordi­nary sense of the word, much less chang­ing the past (the lat­ter hard­ly makes sense).  No; he must find Lau­ra and bring her home. And this is the objec­tive giv­en to him by the Fire­man, not Leland.  Lau­ra is dead; yet she lives in a dif­fer­ent real­i­ty and should be brought home — mean­ing not Sarah’s house but her meta­phys­i­cal home, the White Lodge.  This will restore the bal­ance of pow­er for Twin Peaks, stop­ping the influx of night­mares.  Find­ing and bring­ing home Lau­ra and stop­ping Judy: such are «two birds» Coop­er wants to «kill».  His dark antag­o­nist Mr. C. wants just about the same, but «in reverse»; so he hunts for the same coor­di­nates with just the oppo­site inten­tions, and that, in a sense, is why he’s bound to fail.

This is splen­did­ly high­light­ed by his igno­min­ious end which heav­i­ly echoes the fate of Win­dom Ear­le, also Coop­er’s shade of sorts.  Ear­le want­ed absolute pow­er, longed to enter the Black Lodge — and was instant­ly destroyed there by BOB for bit­ing off more than he could chew.  So much effort, so much schem­ing, mask­ing, killing: all for being con­sumed by the hell­fire.

The Dop­pel­gänger far out­classed Ear­le in terms of ambi­tion and resource­ful­ness: he cre­at­ed the mys­te­ri­ous glass box, he seem­ing­ly financed var­i­ous research projects, he cre­at­ed a crime net­work, fab­ri­cat­ed tul­pas and brought much more evil in gen­er­al.  Avoid­ing every trap, he has found the entrance to the White Lodge; but to what end?  Dur­ing pure-heart­ed Andy’s vis­it to the Fire­man he was shown an inter­est­ing movie and brought back with an impor­tant mis­sion.  But when the Dop­pel­gänger made it there, he was instant­ly caged and thrown into the Sher­if­f’s Depart­ment where he was shot by Lucy of all peo­ple. The Dop­pel­gänger’s wicked heart is unable to see the White Lodge’s light, his mind remains inside a cage of dark urges, so he went over to MIKE, to the world of night­mar­ish illu­sions where he got burnt away.

What a con­trast to the real Coop­er who even learned to make good out of evil dur­ing his stay in the worlds beyond!  MIKE might be a lord of illu­sions and night­mares, a trick­ster and a dev­il, but even his pow­ers could be used for good: so Coop asks to cre­ate new Dougie for the fam­i­ly in Vegas.  Illu­sion? Yes. Deceit? Pos­si­bly. Black mag­ic? Hard­ly. Then again, the eth­i­cal­i­ty of this act is for every­one to decide on their own.  Just as every­one is free to decide what does the finale hold, a glim­mer of hope or noth­ing but an inescapable hor­ror.  Yet the finale should be inter­pret­ed first; now we’ll do just that.


HAWK: Black­feet leg­end.
Wak­ing souls that give life to the mind and body.
A dream soul that wan­ders.

COOPER: Dream souls. Where do they wan­der?

HAWK: Far­away places. Any­where U.S.A. The Land of the Dead.

COOPER:Is that where Lau­ra is?

 — s01e04

In the dream, the guy Bob­by shot stood up after the bul­let went into his chest, and he said that death had giv­en him six­ty sec­onds to tell us our future.

    He said, «You, with the gun … watch your­self. Those who die this way mem­o­rize the face of their killer, and tell Death about the face. Death comes look­ing for you. Takes your friends, or a par­ent. Death takes what you have allowed it to. Mur­der is just a way of shak­ing Death’s hand and telling him, “What is mine, is yours.” »

    In the dream, Bob­by looked at me and back to the guy he shot. The guy said, «You watch that girl­friend of yours. Some­one down here is sav­ing her a seat.»

 — Lau­ra Palmer, Secret Diary

Now there are some things that will change

 — Dale Coop­er, s03e17

Coop­er, as befits a myth­i­cal hero of his cal­iber, is des­tined to one of the most per­ilous and impor­tant deeds: kataba­sis, descent into the Under­world. The world of the dead.   He intends to find Lau­ra, which entails enter­ing her own Bar­dot, the world of her after­life ordeals, that shad­ow real­i­ty where Lau­ra is a guest and Judy — i.e. Death — is a host.  In many aspects it resem­bles the duty of shamans who descend into the Under­world to find one of the sick or the deceased per­son­’s souls.  Coop­er is a dream­er, but that does­n’t mean that «all the events of all three sea­sons were his dream», as some peo­ple are eager to assume.  He is a man with an abil­i­ty to trav­el through oth­er worlds, a dream­er in the same sense shamans and mages can be called dream­ers.

So we see an absolute­ly mar­velous «cur­tain call» scene with all the good guys meet­ing in the Sher­if­f’s Depart­ment (Lynch comes clos­est to break­ing the fourth wall here). «I hope I see all of you again, every one of you.», says Dale, and I think these words hold no hol­low reas­sur­ance and no cun­ning as he real­ly does believe suc­cess is pos­si­ble.  What hap­pens next? The crit­i­cal moment (2:53) is approach­ing, the moment when the Evil from the Blue Pine Moun­tain might take hold of the town.  But there’s also a chance to «find Judy» at this moment; Coop­er does exact­ly that, fol­low­ing the Fire­man’s direc­tions.  We hear the leg­endary phrase: «We live inside a dream!».  This is an incan­ta­tion need­ed to embark on a dream­ing jour­ney (once uttered by Jef­fries who unwill­ing­ly went to «the flip­side» and under­stood a great deal how the world is arranged thanks to this). Almost every­thing we see next hap­pens in var­i­ous dream­spaces, not in the «nor­mal world» of Twin Peaks.

Coop­er is accom­pa­nied only by a pair of his dream­er col­leagues: his wise men­tor and com­rade Gor­don Cole and his loy­al assis­tant Diane Evans who acts now as a com­pan­ion guide on his jour­ney through illu­so­ry realms (it’s no acci­dent that her hair and nails are in the col­ors of Black Lodge).  They enter a shad­ow ver­sion of the Great North­ern; for the record, in the orig­i­nal ver­sion of the sec­ond sea­son’s finale Coop­er was meant to fol­low Ear­le to the Black Lodge in the same man­ner.  Friends stay, becom­ing a cov­er­ing par­ty of sorts; Coop­er enters the met­al door in the base­ment (note how rich the scene is with sym­bols: the base­ment, a clas­sic sym­bol of the uncon­scious­ness; the key that can­not be used to enter the actu­al room that nev­er­the­less acts as an anchor, help­ing Coop­er find the way).

On the oth­er side of the door he’s greet­ed, nat­u­ral­ly, by sar­cas­tic and cun­ning MIKE who inim­itably chants the «Fire Walk with Me» poem, the mantra of a magi­cian who knows that both worlds are dreams or illu­sions sprung from the mind and both worlds are equal­ly real.  MIKE ush­ers Coop­er towards the space between the world of the liv­ing and the world of the dead, the Con­ve­nience Store.  We also see the wily Jump­ing Man run­ning down the stairs.

Next is the scene where Coop­er talks with Jef­fries: like a quar­ter of a cen­tu­ry ago, they meet under most unusu­al cir­cum­stances, but this time they are quite able to rec­og­nize and under­stand each oth­er.  Jef­fries shows Coop­er num­ber eight, the Mobius strip, which is also an infin­i­ty sym­bol, which is also a deformed sym­bol of the Owl Cave, a sym­bol of two worlds, our world and its shad­ow world.  Coop­er men­tions the date of Lau­ra’s death; Jef­fries says that’s where he finds Judy and warns him of a dan­ger by telling «It’s slip­pery in here!» Yeah, and he also tells him to say hel­lo to Gor­don: ergo, he also hopes his col­league suc­ceeds.

Then Coop­er trav­els with Jef­fries” assis­tance; where to? To the moment of Lau­ra’s death.  Not to her phys­i­cal past, but rather her carmic past, to the frozen moment of her per­son­al demise, the moment of her meet­ing with Death and her van­ish­ing.  All of this is shown to us in mono­chrome; Coop­er accom­pa­nies Lau­ra «home», he must bring her soul back from Judy’s real­i­ty.  Not by rewrit­ing his­to­ry: that is both mean­ing­less and impos­si­ble.  More like by mon­i­tor­ing the jour­ney of Lau­ra’s soul through after­life.  This inter­pre­ta­tion has more in com­mon with shaman­is­tic or Bud­dhist out­look con­cern­ing after­life expe­ri­ences than with pop­u­lar sci-fi tropes that belong to The But­ter­ly Effect or Back to the Future.  What might be con­fus­ing is «Pete Martel­l’s lucky fish­ing» thing, with both the body van­ish­ing from the shore and the events unfold­ing dif­fer­ent­ly.  I tend to think it’s a «what if», one of the pos­si­bil­i­ties that are kept at our con­ve­nience store; a pos­si­bil­i­ty made inac­ces­si­ble to every­one, burnt out on 23 Feb­ru­ary 1989.

So we see how Sarah Palmer, mad with despair, smash­es Lau­ra’s por­trait (greet­ings, Jump­ing Man) in the unchanged future, the only future that’s real.  Lau­ra screams, like she screamed in the moment of her death, and van­ish­es.  This scene sure­ly brings the sto­ry of Orpheus to mind, except it seems Coop­er did every­thing right. He doesn’t bring Lau­ra back from the Under­world, con­verse­ly, he traces her path to the Under­world. The past dic­tates the future, so he brows­es Lau­ra’s per­son­al past to find her.

And he gains some sort of knowl­edge, «gets a fix» on Lau­ra’s loca­tion, gains entrance to her per­son­al post­mor­tal night­mare.  Then Coop­er walks again through the cor­ri­dors of the Black Lodge, this time leav­ing it via the famil­iar 12 sycamore cir­cle; it seems that he trav­els not to the «real» Twin Peaks but its «tilt­ed», «liv­ing-in-a-dream» ver­sion.  Note the way Diane is dressed, note their mutu­al «iden­ti­fi­ca­tion» («Is that you? Is that real­ly you?») They are about to embark on a grave and dread­ful jour­ney; and they both know every­thing might become dif­fer­ent after the tran­si­tion.  Fol­low­ing the Fire­man’s direc­tions, they dri­ve 430 miles to the elec­tric­i­ty pylons (this place is an enhanced ver­sion of the poles with num­ber 6 on them) and trav­el to the flip side.  The tran­si­tion is sta­bi­lized by creepy rit­u­al sex act in the hotel; it some­how helps to focus for trav­el­ling through the shad­ow realm.  Coop­er suc­ceeds at keep­ing his own per­son­al­i­ty intact, Diane, it appears, gets quick­ly swept away.  In any case, Coop­er starts his quest alone.

«Odessa» is nei­ther an alter­nate time­line, nor a par­al­lel uni­verse; it’s an Under­world, just like The Dutch­man’s Lodge motel acces­si­ble via the con­ve­nience store.  There’s not a soul out­side.  Lit­er­al­ly no one’s there, except for the staff and the din­ers inside «Eat at Judy’s» that behave strange­ly to say the least: for instance, they roll on the floor for a while and rise as if noth­ing has hap­pened after being shot by Coop­er. Coop­er strug­gles to main­tain focus as if it were a lucid dream where you can for­get your­self and start «liv­ing in a dream». The uncan­ny scene with pis­tols being dunked in oil per­fect­ly illus­trates this point.  Dale final­ly finds Lau­ra who does not remem­ber her­self and lives under the name of Car­rie Page.  He wants to dri­ve her home but does­n’t exact­ly imag­ine how it should be done, where to dri­ve her.  To the White Lodge? Or to her actu­al house?  He may have some clever plan, though…

There’s a pen­dant on Car­rie Page’s neck depict­ing an upside down horse­shoe or a cres­cent moon: that’s one of sin­is­ter sym­bols of Judy sim­i­lar to the one on Hawk’s card.  There is a white horse fig­urine in Lau­ra-Car­rie’s house.  There’s also a dead body frozen in the air but both Car­rie and FBI agent Coop­er pay no atten­tion to that.  As they trav­el to Twin Peaks (across the coun­try by car, no less), they encounter an auto­mo­bile that fol­lows their car for a while but sud­den­ly pulls out: and don’t know about you but I felt an extreme anx­i­ety, para­noia, ghast­ly stalk­er vibe dur­ing this scene.  Nev­er­the­less, Dale-Richard dri­ves Lau­ra-Car­rie to Twin Peaks; nat­u­ral­ly, the town is emp­ty and the RR din­er is closed.  A knock on the door of the Palmer house is the cli­max.

In an unset­tling rev­e­la­to­ry moment (it’s more of a rev­e­la­tion for the obser­vant view­ers that are well versed with the series” mythol­o­gy than for the char­ac­ters) we are told that this house was for­mer­ly owned by Chal­fonts and now is owned by Tremonds. Do us, the view­ers, need any more hints at this real­i­ty’s nature? These names are famil­iar for Coop­er, of course, despite him exert­ing a tremen­dous willpow­er to main­tain his mem­o­ry and per­son­al­i­ty in that world.  So he asks: what year is it?  Then comes the moment of Lau­ra’s real­iza­tion; she hears the voice, she under­stands every­thing and lets out a hor­ri­fied scream.  And the lights go out in the Palmer house.  The last thing we see, watch­ing cred­its, is that Coop­er and Lau­ra are in the Black Lodge and she’s whis­per­ing some­thing in his ear once again.


I’ll see you at the cur­tain call!

 — Dale Coop­er, s03e17

One for the grand­kids!

 — Rod­ney Mitchum, s03e17

So what’s the result: a total hope­less­ness?  Are Dale Coop­er and Lau­ra Palmer doomed to mean­der through post­mor­tal visions and hell­ish red cur­tain cor­ri­dors?  Or one can hope Coop did help Lau­ra and the «sym­bol­ic soul» of the town of Twin Peaks went home, to the White Lodge, and its life will return to nor­mal?  Lynch and Frost do not give us a def­i­nite answer, leav­ing the finale open-end­ed and allow­ing every­one to inter­pret it as they see fit.  I per­son­al­ly think that the finale is opti­mistic.

We were shown a clas­sic hap­py end­ing in the 17th episode. BOB is defeat­ed, the Dop­pel­gänger went back to the Lodge, Coop got to hang out with his old friends, even if for a lit­tle while, with­out a chance to drink a cup of cof­fee.  We do real­ize the scope of the hor­ri­ble events that have already tran­spired in Twin Peaks: Bob­by and Shel­ley are in for a dark time since their daugh­ter Becky might be dead; the future won’t be sweet for Ben Horne and his kin… Yet Dale did every­thing he could on this side so no one is left aggriev­ed.  And as the hands of the clock are frozen at 2:53, what can you tell? What if in a mere sec­ond Coop­er returns from his descent to the Under­world and reunites with his friends?  What if the light­ful FWWM finale with Lau­ra car­ried away by angels is a meta­phys­i­cal con­clu­sion of the whole sto­ry that fol­lows the finale of the third sea­son — as there should be a rea­son the Fire­man shows Andy the same angels among oth­er things? Maybe Lau­ra real­ized her own nature, that being a clear light, and went back home?  There are many options.

It is worth not­ing that David Lynch, at least as a film­mak­er, does not praise hope­less­ness.  If any of his movies might qual­i­fy for the over­whelm­ing imple­men­ta­tion of the nev­er-end­ing cycle of death and rebirth, this would obvi­ous­ly be «Lost High­way».  Yet regard­ing this movie Lynch once said: Fred/Pete did get caught in a carmic loop, but he’s not nec­es­sar­i­ly stuck with­in in for­ev­er.

«It’s a frag­ment of the sto­ry. It’s not so much a cir­cle as like a spi­ral that comes around, the next loop a lit­tle bit high­er than the one that pre­cedes it.» Mul­hol­land Dri­ve finale isn’t unam­bigu­ous­ly som­bre, too (the same might be also said about the most pop­u­lar inter­pre­ta­tion of this movie); and the Inland Empire ends with a very lumi­nous cathar­sis.  That is what we see, so to speak, at the nar­ra­tive lev­el.  What’s worth con­sid­er­ing here is: for what pur­pose did Lynch and Frost make the third sea­son?  At any rate, what did it become for David Lynch, a man in his eight­ies who has buried a lot of his close friends dur­ing past few years, many of them killed by accursed can­cer (remem­ber those ded­i­ca­tions to the deceased half of the episodes)? What did he wish to tell us in the first place?

Many peo­ple have sensed, of course, (as it’s hard not to) that the third sea­son is first and fore­most a sto­ry about time, age­ing and death.  Lynch exam­ines the destruc­tive effect of Time in vary­ing aspects, from dif­fer­ent per­spec­tives, at dif­fer­ent angles, giv­ing no quar­ter to both char­ac­ters and the audi­ence.  He places empha­sis on the years that passed, he shows how our mis­takes fol­low us to the end of our days, how chil­dren repeat the mis­takes of their par­ents, he shows the decay of once lov­able town, the per­pet­u­a­tion of the cycle of vio­lence, drug addic­tion, malig­nant delu­sions, mur­ders and abuse.

Yes, in this regard the cre­ators are mer­ci­less, not tak­ing com­pro­mis­es.  But we should not for­get that David Lynch is a great artist, and, judg­ing by var­i­ous inter­views, a man with a great and kind heart. And it’s not that hard to see in his (like­ly farewell) cre­ation an attempt to bring us not con­so­la­tion, but a deep, meta­phys­i­cal hope and mean­ing.  Like a gueril­la fight­er throw­ing his last grenade, he strives to over­come evil by ful­ly employ­ing his tal­ent, by mus­ter­ing his favourite actors, putting togeth­er his paint­ings, works of artists pre­cious to him, the music: every­thing he deems impor­tant and gen­uine.

Yes, Death, Enthropy, Judy is an extreme destruc­tive force that devours all.  But there are extreme cre­ative forces: Love, Under­stand­ing, Imag­i­na­tion, Beau­ty.  And the actors who have died stay for­ev­er alive on the screen: that’s why Lynch is so deter­mined to avoid recast­ing, that’s why David Bowie can be replaced by a sur­re­al­is­tic device but not anoth­er actor, and BOB is meant to be played by Frank Sil­va, and even the inci­den­tal char­ac­ters like Don­na’s younger sis­ter or that gig­gly Ger­man girl should stay the same as they were. The bond must not be bro­ken, the world cre­at­ed by Lynch and Frost’s imag­i­na­tions must stay alive.  It’s also a way to say good­bye, pay last respects to friends, leav­ing them not in the depths of obliv­ion but in the eter­ni­ty’s radi­ant light.

So Gor­don wor­ries about aged Albert (and we know we won’t ever see Albert in the new footage) but Albert stays alive, and Gor­don him­self stays young at heart — and there’s a wor­thy suc­ces­sor, beau­ti­ful Tam­my, in the Blue Rose team.  And Mar­garet Lanter­man whose mem­o­ry one of the episodes is ded­i­cat­ed to reminds us before depart­ing that death is just a tran­si­tion, though there is some fear in let­ting go.

And if agent Coop­er was able to make it out of the abyssal red cur­tain illu­sions, sure­ly he would be able to make it out of Judy’s dev­as­tat­ing illu­sion?  By the way, many peo­ple have noticed that the «shad­ow real­i­ty» seen in the 18th episode resem­bles our mun­dane life a lot more than the real­i­ty of Twin Peaks: here we see a lot of famil­iar brands, gen­er­al dull­ness and bleak­ness… This being so, that seems a harsh diag­no­sis Lynch makes con­cern­ing our world which regret­ful­ly lacks under­stand­ing, imag­i­na­tion and love.

On the oth­er hand, as everуone must have been noticed, Lynch tries to erase the bor­der between the movie world and so-called real­i­ty, as if mak­ing the impos­si­ble by his pulling mirac­u­lous uni­verse into ours.  And as we take into account that the sto­ry (both on the screen and in real life) spans over a quar­ter of a cen­tu­ry, bear­ing in mind its enor­mous fan­base and the most pow­er­ful medi­um used, it turns out to be a gen­uine mod­ern col­lec­tive mag­ic rit­u­al: the Psy­chick TV meant to change the world in some way.  I per­son­al­ly can say Sum­mer of 2017 was accom­pa­nied by such tor­rent of syn­chronic­i­ties and odd ter­ri­fy­ing phe­nom­e­na that came at some points with a pecu­liar crack­ing and spark­ing for me that it’s easy to believe this mag­i­cal hyper­sig­il has start­ed to make an impact.

Will we be able to get out of the entrop­ic des­o­la­tion, will we find the path lead­ing, if not to the White Lodge, then to the home­like and won­der­ful town, even if it will exist nowhere else but with­in us?  It seems that Lynch has found that path long ago and now reminds us of it.  So even if agent Coop­er has made some mis­take, well, only the one who takes no steps does not stum­ble.  And with­out such dar­ing dream­ers as Dale Coop­er (and David Lynch him­self) we’re doomed. But we’re not gonna talk about Judy any­more. Let’s drink to the Bureau.


Let’s go back to start­ing posi­tions. It’s real­ly more com­fort­able

 — Coop­er’s Dop­pel­gänger, s03e13

 The world is as you are.

 — David Lynch

Well, this was the only cor­rect inter­pre­ta­tion of Twin Peaks, approved and cer­ti­fied by Agent Phillip Jef­fries him­self.  Just kid­ding, of course.  This is just my hum­ble and sub­jec­tive attempt to inter­pret this great work of art.

So did we explain every­thing down to the tini­est details? Of course not: there is a lot left to pon­der — and those who hope for the fourth sea­son might expect a con­tin­u­a­tion of some plot­lines. I left out many issues: what exact­ly was a space where Diane-Nai­do dwelt, who is the Amer­i­can girl giv­ing Coop a warn­ing about her moth­er, who hid the pages from Lau­ra’s diary in the toi­let door, how did the Dop­pel­gänger make the glass box, how did Dougie’s ring end up in Major Brig­gs” stom­ach and what was that strange box lying there in Buenos Aires. It’s easy to come up with a plau­si­ble answer to the last ques­tion, though; it almost cer­tain­ly is Phillip Jef­fries” fan­cy tul­pa­phone he uses to make calls to the world of the liv­ing from his oth­er­word­ly abode.

The sit­u­a­tions with Red or Audrey also were left unclear… But I think these are the details that aren’t real­ly impor­tant in the grand scheme of things.  The impor­tant thing is that it is pos­si­ble to find an inter­est­ing inter­pre­ta­tion that does not entail uti­liz­ing pop­u­lar sci-fi tropes (as David Lynch isn’t real­ly fond of sci-fi), let alone stat­ing that «all of this was a pipe dream» or «gramps is mess­ing with us/gramps went mad»:  an inter­pre­ta­tion that elu­ci­dates many of the artis­tic solu­tions and the authors” intent.

What­ev­er the case, my per­spec­tive obvi­ous­ly should not be held as the sin­gle pos­si­ble, much less as the sin­gle pos­si­ble «truth».  Lynch him­self would prob­a­bly just smile and shrug upon look­ing through all of this.  And if a new sea­son comes out, every­thing might turn out to be not what it seemed.  So, if every­thing said above appears far-fetched, ques­tion­able and unfruit­ful to you, just get back to where it start­ed and devise your own sto­ry explain­ing all the whats and whys.  But in any case, please do not swear at the binoc­u­lars too much.

There’s one more thing I want to men­tion.  Even when we take all the Amer­i­can­ness of both Lynch and his extrav­a­gant movies, espe­cial­ly Twin Peaks, into account, it’s sur­pris­ing­ly easy to find deep par­al­lels with a cer­tain cul­tur­al phe­nom­e­na known to Russ­ian audi­ence.  And I’m not even talk­ing of the fabled chthon­ic­ness of Rus­sia or «absur­di­ty of being» per­vad­ing our lives.  It suf­fices to pay atten­tion to the lit­er­a­ture.

For exam­ple, there is a famous Russ­ian writer with a vast ros­ter of books devot­ed to just about the same themes, I think, as the most «weird» works of Lynch: the sphere of per­cep­tion, jour­ney of the soul, the illu­so­ry world, Bud­dhist phi­los­o­phy.  This author get blamed for the same things as Lynch in the same terms: «what was he smok­ing», «Post­mod­ern rub­bish», «out­ra­geous mock­ery» and so on.  I am talk­ing about Vic­tor Pelevin, of course.  Those wish­ing to look into this sub­ject are free to check out his nov­els and dis­cov­er many par­al­lels with the third sea­son.  For instance, some­thing sim­i­lar to the Black and White Lodges could be found in Bud­dha’s Lit­tle Fin­ger; and in Bat­man Apol­lo we get almost the same cos­mol­o­gy with «div­ing into death», tul­pas, split indi­vid­u­al­i­ties, fac­to­ries of cos­mic suf­fer­ing and so on.

There is also a par­al­lel with Russ­ian poet­ry I find even more inter­est­ing.  In fact, the third sea­son of Twin Peaks might be per­ceived as a cin­e­mat­ic poem, and it would prob­a­bly be the most prop­er course to take.  And if we wish to find its clos­est ana­logues among the works of the famous word­smiths, whom we should remem­ber first?  I believe the clos­est to Lynch’s cre­ation in terms of seman­tics and expres­sive means are OBERIU poets of the ear­ly 20th cen­tu­ry, name­ly Dani­il Kharms and his lit­er­ary dop­pel­gänger Alexan­der Vve­den­sky, an «author­i­ty on the absurd» who claimed to be inter­est­ed by three themes: Time, Death, God.

I won’t go into details, as this sub­ject calls for a sep­a­rate large essay.  I’ll just cite a poem which is remark­ably con­so­nant with Lynch’s mas­ter­piece.  It’s writ­ten in the ear­ly 1930s.  This bril­liant poem by Kharms sounds like a por­tray­al of Lau­ra’s fate, and every time I read it I see Dale Coop­er and Lau­ra Palmer among the red cur­tains and angels car­ry­ing her soul into the eter­nal light:

Dani­il Kharms


Friend, upon your facial sur­face
Two wood-fet­ters traced their way,
Leav­ing hun­dred and two cir­cles,
Num­ber sev­en, let­ter Kay.

Soar­ing sea­sons pass you idly,
Key-cold lips got tinged with green,
Cru­el weath­er popped your eye­ball,
Nos­trils ring with chill­ing wind.

Work­ings of your soul are hid­den
From my mind. Yet it might snap,
Crack and open, all unbid­den,
Cof­fer where your thoughts are kept.

Mean­ing of your dul­cet dream­ing
Will be known to all the rest.
And your gaslike spir­it-steam­ing
Will then whirl out of your chest.

Do you wait for tan­gling plan­ets,
Stars embroiled in cos­mic brawl?
Or for man­gling fate­ful tenets —
With your hand against the pole?

For a zeal that just like blos­soms
Falls from skies into your reach
And a breath inside your bosom
To con­vert your thoughts to speech?

We don’t take our days for spend­ing,
We don’t switch into full gear;
Yet our min­utes keep extend­ing,
Elon­gat­ing, year by year.

Greed and ire every hour
Cir­cle us with their bleak embrace;
Fatu­ity, long since sour,
Goes and turns to us its gaze.

So we’ll tune our­selves a lyre,
Hear it ding and start to sing,
For the whole world to admire
All the dream­ing it would bring,

All the rivers run­ning wild­ly;
And from banks that tow­er high
You, both eye­lids opened wide­ly,
As the ages keep march­ing by,

Will with eye by cold­ness halt­ed
Watch our glo­ry every day.
And upon your brow exalt­ed
Shade will nev­er ever lay.

Text: Ibso­rath

Eng­lish trans­la­tion:
Dali Lama XXIII

All pic­tures by
Cris­tiano Siqueira
(aka @crisvector)

*  *  *

Note by author:

At the end of the Russ­ian ver­sion of this arti­cle, not one, but two poems are cit­ed: the «Female Friend» by Kharms, and the «Mean­ing of the Sea» by Alexan­der Vve­den­sky. Unfor­tu­nate­ly, nei­ther the author nor the trans­la­tor of the arti­cle could find or cre­ate ade­quate poet­ic trans­la­tion of Vve­den­sky’s poem into Eng­lish. Nev­er­the­less, those who inter­est­ed can eas­i­ly find the inter­lin­ear word-by-word Eng­lish trans­la­tion of “The Mean­ing of the Sea” on the Web and see how much the images of the poem echo the Twin Peaks eerie mythopo­et­ic uni­verse.

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