The Troublesome Terminology of Twin Peaks
The terminology of Twin Peaks is both wonderful and strange. It can also be downright confusing and contradictory too as it perpetually shifts and transforms. When authoring the extensive Episode Summaries of Season 3 for Back To Twin Peaks, there were several terms and names that seemed to be in a permanent state of flux. But, by trying to assign to a definitive icon to characters and places that remained stubbornly nebulous, this process could lead one back to the whisp-like threads that hold Twin Peaks together.
Here is a handful of just some examples of the versatile vocabulary of Twin Peaks.
1. The Black Lodge/The Red Room/The Waiting Room
It is almost hilariously apt that the most iconic place within the Peaksverse is one that we still don’t have a definitive name for; however, this confusion over the chevron-floored room adorned with red curtains could be us fans’ fault. The phrase “The Black Lodge” was first mentioned (and seen in Cooper’s dream, possibly) way back in Season 1 and was cemented in the Twin Peaks lore in Season 2. Both Deputy Hawk and Windom Earle spoke at length about The Black Lodge during the second season and, at the time, the famous room supposedly represented this netherworld.
Over the last 25 years, however, fans started to become uncomfortable calling the red-draped room “The Black Lodge” and gave it a more neutral title: The Red Room. It has also become known as “The Waiting Room” thanks to The Man From Another Place telling Cooper that was his current location in the Season 2 finale, but it is most likely that this is just part of The Black Lodge. Indeed, a commonly held belief is that when the light strobes inside the room this signifies it is entering The Black Lodge.
The nomenclature of this sinister realm is still hotly debated among fans and commentators to this day. Season 3 seemed to want it to keep in the Black, so to speak, with Cooper’s doppelganger calling it The Black Lodge in the premiere when discussing his ambitions to stay out of it. Still, The Red Room persists, however, as the more formal term for the world’s weirdest living room in fans’ discussions and debates.
2. Mr. C. and Dougie Jones
The duo of Dale Cooper’s alter-egos, as well as Cooper’s stupified state for the majority of The Return, surely caused many a headache for writers trying to cover Season 3. Firstly, Cooper’s doppelganger went by so many names, it almost felt like a competition among fans and commentators as to who could mint the definitive term for him. Evil Coop; Doppel Dale; the Daleganger; Shadow Dale/Cooper were just some of the many names used to describe The Return’s rogue antagonist. The insidiously friendly title of “Mr. C.” was a debatable winner of the hypothetical contest, but a categorical name never seemed to adorn the character. However, at least Cooper’s Shadow-self managed to avoid misidentification, which is more than can be said for a certain Dougie Jones.
Although Dougie and Cooper’s transition was one of the more straightforward aspects of Season 3, people persistently referring to Cooper in his trance-like state as just “Dougie” started to cause confusion among viewers. Some fans became convinced that Cooper had inhabited the Tulpa’s body in a similar manner to that of BoB in Leland Palmer. In our Episode Summaries, we eventually adopted the rather cumbersome term “Dougie/Dale” to try to avoid said confusion, though perhaps “Stupor Cooper” would have been cuter in hindsight. Regardless, for all the platitudes and complaints directed at his name throughout The Return, the actual Dougie Jones only racked up a minuscule amount of screentime in Episode 3 before he popped off to The Black Lodge/The Red Room/The Waiting Room.
3. Judy/Jowday/The Experiment/Mother(of Abominations)/Babalon
For this particular entry, debate and confusion were less forthcoming, but the snowball of epithets given to the “negative entity” does demonstrate just how elusive the concept of the definitive can be in Twin Peaks. The name Judy first came to our attention in Fire Walk With Me in what initially appeared to be a non-sequitur during Philip Jeffries’ brief appearance; however, on viewing The Missing Pieces, it was revealed that there was more to this lady’s name than first met the eye as Jeffries’ rants about finding something at Judy’s in Seattle.
Next, the demonic figure who appeared in the Glass Box was credited as “The Experiment” in Season 3’s opening episode and in Episode 3 the same entity (we assume it is, anyway) is addressed as “Mother” by the Ronette Pulaski-lookalike as the entity bangs on the door. Fans were quick to point to the connection between this and “The Mother of Abominations” – AKA Babalon – from Mark Frost’s The Secret History of Twin Peaks who is believed to have been summoned forth by the rituals of Jack Parsons. This was all but confirmed in Episode 8 when The Experiment spewed out BoB during the 1945 nuclear test in New Mexico.
Furthermore, we see what bug crawled up Sarah Palmer’s butt (or into her mouth, perhaps) in Episode 14 when she cracks open her face to unveil dark forces within and is widely thought to be the host for the entity. Finally, Gordon Cole confirms that this dark being was once known as “Jowday”, but is now more commonly named “Judy”, and it is heavily implied that this title encapsulates both The Experiment and the entity possessing Sarah Palmer. And some people say our beloved show is hard to follow…
4. The Mauve Zone/The Fireman’s Home/The White Lodge(?)
Yet another contentious entry in the Peaks lexicon is the abode of The Giant (who also gave himself a new title in The Return because just having one name is so Season 2, darling). The big, supposedly friendly, giant is now known as The Fireman and we finally got to see him in his natural habit in Season 3, but we were never given any kind of term to address his extra-dimensional home by during our infrequent visits. The Fireman’s Home – as it has been assigned in the Twin Peaks Wiki – housed The Fireman, Senorita Dido, Naido, The American Girl (Ronette), and was briefly visited by Agent Cooper, Deputy Andy, and Major Briggs. It sits high above The Purple Sea in what has become known among fans as The Mauve Zone thanks to writings of the occult author, Kenneth Grant, which Mark Frost drew heavily on in The Secret History.
The real conjecture here is whether or not The Fireman’s Home is supposed to represent The White Lodge. Curiously, this antithesis of The Black Lodge was never mentioned in The Return and what we see in The Mauve Zone is a far cry from what was described by the Major in Season 2 – “Gentle fawns gamboled there amidst happy, laughing spirits” – and the short shot we saw of him covered luscious, green pines in the same season when supposedly in this heavenly place. However, Deputy Hawk’s description of The White Lodge in Season 2 – “My people believe that the White Lodge is a place where the spirits that rule man and nature reside.” – does appear to match up quite succinctly with The Fireman’s actions in his fortress.
Again, like The Black Lodge being supplanted by The Red Room, “The White Lodge” is a term that has become weighed down by assumptions when used and the more noncommital “Mauve Zone” has seemingly taken its place, or at least it has in describing this particular realm. There are also parallels here with The Convenience Store/The Dutchman’s/The ‘Zone’, which speaks perhaps to our language’s inability to interpret these otherworldly places and forces in an adequate manner.
5. The Roadhouse/The Bang Bang Bar
It doesn’t matter what the sign says, The Roadhouse has always been The Roadhouse and it will always be The Roadhouse.
What other phrases and terms from the terminology of Twin Peaks have had your mind in knots or frantically searching a Wiki to establish their meaning? Let us know below, and please like and share if you feel so inclined.