As I finished watching season 3 of Twin Peaks, being a fan for so many years, I felt empty and dissatisfied. So many side stories left unanswered — Audrey’s story especially. And Dale Cooper’s failure to defeat Judy, the ultimate evil! Ouch.
A few days passed, and little by little, two questions started to form in my head:
And out of all the characters, it was Lucy Brennan (of course!) who sparked my interest.
In the finale, how come Lucy decided so easily to accept the fact that there are two Coopers whilst talking to Dale Cooper briefly on the phone, despite having difficulties with the concept of how cell phones work (let alone the concept of supernatural doppelgängers) — only to pick up a gun (she’s not a violent person, mind you) and just blow Mr. C away?
In my mind, Lucy would only use a gun to hurt someone who has hurt someone she loves.
And what could Mr. C have done to hurt Lucy — really bad?
When an actor portrays a bad actor it all gets strange
Above all else, Lucy and Andy Brennan love their son, Wally Brando. Wally did only make one appearance in the show, and gosh, what an appearance!
Wally is clearly inspired by Marlon Brando, which is quite the cliché for a Lynch/Frost character. And for some reason, it’s important for Wally to pay his respects to Sheriff Truman in a mannerism that could only be described as an attempt at acting out a bad script.
Why, why, and why?
The fake photograph on Lucy Brennan’s desk
In one of Lucy’s earlier scenes, we see a photograph on her desk portraying her family. Except it’s a family with poorly made cutouts of their heads, thus suggesting that something is false about their family — something that Lucy and Andy can’t deal with.
Now, we know that Mr. C wreaked havoc in Dale Cooper’s absence, right?
What if Mr. C killed Lucy’s and Andy’s real son?
I watched the Wally scene again with this new theory in mind. And it convinced me:
Lucy and Andy’s real son is dead — and Mr. C killed him
Now, suddenly, every line of dialogue in the Wally scene seems brimmed with unspeakable pain behind Lucy’s and Andy’s smiling faces. And the scene beautifully foreshadows Lucy’s bold actions in taking out Mr. C, the most central of the dark characters in the season:
“What year is this?”
In the Twin Peaks season 3 finale, here’s what I, at first, thought went down:
Dale Cooper has a plan, but it isn’t to defeat Mr. C. and send him back. As events unfold, Mr. C will be shot by Lucy and the Guy with the Glove will punch out the BOB orb. Cooper’s real mission in Twin Peaks is the key to his old room at The Great Northern; there, he plans to find the final piece of the puzzle and put his and Major Briggs’ original plan back into play.
Cooper finds Philip Jeffries in his “non-existent” state and Jeffries opens a doorway in the infinite time loop. Cooper travels back in time to save Laura Palmer from being murdered, but something happens and she disappears. Cooper travels back, meets up with Diane, and together they travel, as per The Fireman’s cryptic instructions, to a portal. They go through and in this alternate universe, they find Laura with a memory loss.
Cooper ignores the murdered man on “Laura’s” sofa, maybe because he understands that everything Laura does is on him, too, or because he got a bigger fish to fry; the evil Judy residing within Sarah Palmer, Laura’s mom. Cooper takes Laura to Sarah’s house, potentially to make sure that Laura destroys Judy. But neither Sarah nor Judy is there. Bummer.
By saving Laura, Cooper created an alternate timeline, and now he’s forever stuck there while Judy is still in the original timeline. Cooper slowly realizes that he seems to have ended up in the wrong place by asking:
“What year is this?”
Game over. Judy wins. Laura screams in terror.
But all of this is wrong, I think.
Enter the Fireman’s ultimate scream weapon
All the lights going out in the house suggest that both Cooper and Laura succeeded in fulfilling their arcs — to kill Judy.
I had to watch the Twin Peaks season 3 ending again:
Right before Laura screams, there’s a faint call, almost sounding as if Sarah is shouting “Laura” from a far distance (which she also shouts in the first season prior to meeting BOB). Whatever this makes Laura remember, it makes her scream at the house, completely knocking out all the electricity in the house. If Judy, in fact, was in the house, would this have killed Judy?
Yes. Yes, it would.
Laura was after all the Fireman’s weapon sent to Earth to kill Judy.
How does one kill Judy? According to many fan forums, Judy is derived from jiào dé, which is Chinese for “to outshout.” Maybe that’s why Laura’s been screaming throughout the series — it’s her weapon against the ultimate evil; all of her pain and sorrow compressed into a devastating blow.
Sound and sound waves are a recurring theme throughout the series. Maybe it’s the kinship between sound and electricity as wave forms that allows travels between worlds — and be used as weapons, as well.
Remember that bug in Sarah Palmer’s throat?
Did The Fireman foresee the coming of events and plant his weapon, Laura, on Earth?
Well, The Fireman did send a bug through time and that bug crawled down Sarah’s throat before Laura was born, remember? And this is probably why evil forces had Laura killed in the first place; after all, she was mankind’s only weapon against Judy.
With Laura dead, The Fireman had to orchestrate an elaborate scheme to outmanoeuvre Judy and her minions while at the same time guiding Cooper back in time to retrieve Laura (the ultimate scream weapon).
Laura Palmer is the dreamer of this dream
Cooper and Diane didn’t travel to another timeline, but rather into Laura’s dream.
It has been suggested that the Laura that Cooper and Diane goes to find is an alternate timeline version of Laura, but I don’t buy that for a second. First of all, that would be lazy storytelling and that’s not what Frost and Lynch are about. Secondly, Laura clearly gets her memory back in the final scene which means that she is the real Laura that Cooper went back in time to save.
In the forest scene, there’s a familiar sound right before Laura vanishes into thin air. It’s the sound The Fireman plays to Cooper while clearly instructing him (and us), “remember this sound.” The Fireman, who assisted in creating Laura, was the one who took her away in the forest.
Let’s look at Laura and Cooper’s journey again:
Laura gets murdered by evil forces in Twin Peaks. Cooper manages to disturb these evil forces to a degree, but he ends up being possessed by BOB turning him into Mr C. The Fireman “saved” Cooper by keeping his mind with him for the next 25 years. After 25 years, it’s time to deal the finishing blow to Judy. The Fireman reinstates Cooper into a doppelgänger, Doug.
After being quite disorientated for a while, Cooper travels back in time and he saves Laura from being murdered. But then, right there in the woods, Laura is taken away by the Fireman. Now, it’s her turn to be stashed away with a memory wipe for 25 years while everyone else’s life in Twin Peaks proceeds as if Laura’s body was never recovered instead of found wrapped up in plastic2.
All of this must have been foreseen by the Fireman. Laura even told this to Cooper in a dream — “I’ll see you in 25 years”.
rather than solving her murder, it seems like Cooper succeeded in saving Laura Palmer’s life. Not bad, right?
Wherever it is, it ought to be a place under the Fireman’s control, a place hidden from the world and from evil forces. This seems to suggest that they didn’t end up in an alternate timeline, nor in the Fireman’s dimension where Cooper’s mind resided, but rather in some other place linked to Laura herself — like her own dream.
Yes, we are like the dreamer who dreams
“Dreaming” is a familiar Twin Peaks concept and since they’re created by electric signals in our brains, it makes sense for them to be more easily accessible for spirits.
So, how does 25 years pass within a dream?
When Cooper wakes up alone and walks outside, the motel looks completely different. As if 25 years had passed! And when he meets Laura, she’s 25 years older, too. It’s difficult for The Fireman to manifest such time displacements in the real world, but in a dream where he’s in control? Well, that’s more likely.
The Fireman’s plan is audacious; have Cooper travel back in time and find Laura (the stone), use her as a weapon against Judy (bird one), and close the portal in the Palmer residence (bird two). But, and this is a tricky part, he also needs Judy to follow Cooper and Diane through the electric portal — into Laura’s dream.
This means that Judy isn’t inside Laura’s dream to begin with. Cooper and Diane must lure her in. How?
The painful Garmonbozia lure to attract Judy
Cooper and Diane must have sex with each other, even though it pains Cooper to ask this of Diane. She cares for Cooper greatly, but she was also raped by his doppelgänger, Mr. C. The Fireman’s idea is that their shared pain, in combination with sex, will lure Judy to follow them into Laura’s dream.
Sex and pain is the ultimate nourishment for all dark forces in Twin Peaks, including Judy.
In the opening of the third season, we’re waiting to see a glimpse of the supernatural in a big glass box, but it isn’t until a couple has sex in front of it until a female shadow appears — and kills them. Lodge spirits do feed on human fear and suffering; the negative energy is literally food to them, called garmonbozia. It’s a golden substance that looks like creamed corn and it’s mentioned in this scene:
Sex and pain seems typically linked to negative energy in Lynchian storytelling:
Both Laura and Ronette Pulaski were raped. And Mr. C is certainly no stranger to sexual abuse; he rapes Diane and he likely rapes Audrey Horne while she’s comatose in the hospital due to the explosion at the bank in the end of season two — and together they spawn a troubled son, Richard Horne (probably birthed by Audrey while still in a coma).
Waking up: Audrey Horne’s comatose state
The idea of living inside dreams could also explain Audrey’s story line:
We never get to see Audrey wake up from her coma. What if she gave birth to her son, Richard, while still comatose?
If so, Audrey would still be living inside her own comatose state. A dream in which she’s gone just a little bit crazy — not unlikely given her family history. Also, nothing in Audrey’s “reality” seems to suggest that she’s living in a real, modern world — nor does she seem aware of having a son:
Audrey tries to get to the Roadhouse, a common portal in the world of Twin Peaks. She’s anxious and eager to get out of her state, but she, like Laura, must wait for 25 years before she can move on.
At the Roadhouse, she needs garmonbozia to “break the spell” — her sexy dance, the bar fight, and her panic. When she says to Charlie (likely a watcher commissioned by The Fireman), “Let me out of here!” she wants out of her comatose state. This is why she wakes up in a clinical environment wearing white; she just woke up at the hospital after being comatose for 25 years.
Who answered the door in Laura Palmer’s dream?
Now, let’s leave Audrey and get back to the final scenes with Laura and Cooper standing outside the Palmer residence inside Laura’s dream. Judy is likely to have followed Cooper and Diane into the dream “between two worlds”.
The woman who opens the door to Cooper and Laura seems like just a random person. But two names are disclosed, Tremond and Chalfont. In Twin Peaks lore, those are not just random names; they are thought to be lodge spirits. Maybe The Fireman had them take turns in guarding the portal — or preventing Laura from going through and putting herself at risk?
I think that Mrs. Tremond knew exactly who Cooper and Laura were when she opened the door. And I think she knew, as per The Fireman’s instructions, that Judy would soon appear in the house and that their own sacrifice is near. Together, they only have “one chance” for Laura’s scream weapon.
Why isn’t Cooper in on the exact details of The Fireman’s plan? Well, the Fireman isn’t exactly known for speaking plainly. He’s a need-to-know type of guy. He probably just instructed Cooper to go through the portal, have sex with Diane, and take Laura to her house — all of which he did.
What happened in Twin Peaks when Laura disappeared in the forest?
What happened in the real-world Twin Peaks if Laura disappeared in the forest instead of being found murdered?
Well, Pete Martell didn’t find her laying dead and wrapped in plastic on the beach, but instead, Laura just vanished in the forest that night after her fight with James on the motorcycle. Leland Palmer never murdered her. Things would sure be “different,” as foreshadowed by Cooper in his final visit to the Twin Peaks sheriff’s office. Not perfect, but a lot better without Judy — all thanks to Cooper, Laura, Major Briggs, and The Fireman.
If anything, my sincere hope is that Lucy and Andy’s real son is alive and well in the new version of Twin Peaks.
If two people ever deserved a good life, it’s Lucy and Andy!
The fate of Coop, Diane, and Laura
It seems as if The Fireman has placed doppelgängers for both Cooper and Diane in Laura’s dream. Diane already saw her doppelgänger outside the motel and somehow figured out their names — Linda and Richard. The Fireman mentioned Linda and Richard to Cooper early on in season 3, so these doppelgängers are there by The Fireman’s design.
Since Diane’s doppelgänger was waiting for her at the motel, it’s plausible that Diane went out to speak with “herself” later that night when Cooper was asleep. It’s fair to assume that Diane’s doppelgänger instructed her to write a note to Cooper with The Fireman’s second clue.
Finally, will Cooper, Diane, and Laura with the aid of The Fireman ever be able to return to the real world? Well, Cooper doesn’t even know what year he’s in right now (although he might suspect that they are standing outside Laura’s house at the beginning of what we know as the beginning of season one), nor that he’s inside Laura’s dream, nor that they just killed Judy and closed the portal. He’s been in and out of lodges, dreams, and time loops for a quarter of a century now; he’s understandably a bit confused. However, I’m not too worried.
The portal might be closed, but if anyone can find a way out, it’s Coop. Even if it takes him another 25 years.
Bringing it all together: The Lynch/Frost way
Lynch and Frost shows us that a story can be told without lazy shortcuts and without editing out all the idiosyncrasies of a narrative. Because those small idiosyncrasies are the interesting stuff, the stuff that truly matters. After all, Lynch and Frost could’ve just brought Cooper back in the first episode of season 3. But in this universe, traveling between worlds is no easy feat.
I understand now that not a single frame in Twin Peaks is out of place or superfluous — they all serve a central purpose for the plot. The next step? Figuring out that scene where someone sweeps the floor of the Roadhouse for several minutes.
Promotional photo from Twin Peaks.
- Lynch has allegedly stated that Lucy is not a dimwit.
- This explains why the diner in this version of Twin Peaks has the original sign when Cooper and Laura drive by on their way to Sarah’s house: Being “tucked away” for 25 years, Laura wouldn’t know about the diner’s franchise efforts, and thus wouldn’t know about the new sign. (We wouldn’t either if Lynch and Frost hadn’t shown us the story of Norma’s expansion plans.)