What an incredible week in the world of Twin Peaks.
After a 25-year absence from our screens (small and big), our favourite cult show returned with a magnificent opening 4 hours that have, inevitably, asked as many questions as they have answered.
Now that all fans should be up to date after the broadcasts of episodes 3 & 4 that were previously available via streaming, it’s time to try to start figuring out what the hell is going on. While being mystified by the show’s happenings is all part of the fun, here at backtotwinpeaks.com we’ve been analysing the new episodes to give you fresh insights and essential background on events so far. We’ve also been scouring the net and social media for the best clues and theories that fellow fans have been spotting and conceiving to help give you the clearest picture of the television event of the year.
We were welcomed back to Twin Peaks by Laura Palmer informing Dale Cooper in the Black Lodge that she’ll see him again in 25 years… 25 years ago. Soon after, we see the Giant giving Cooper three clues (“430”, “Richard & Linda”, and “Two birds with one stone”) in glorious monochrome Lynch-o-vision as it appears those 25 years are up.
And Laura does indeed see Cooper again within the Red Room and by herself to be made of pure light under her face. This all but confirms that Laura is visiting from the White Lodge and has become an “angel”, something which was heavily suggested by the conclusion of Fire Walk With Me.
It seems there have been a few changes to the inhabitants and mechanics of the Red Room in the meantime. Firstly, MIKE (aka the One Armed Man/Philip Gerard) now seems to be the most prevalent of the Room’s residents with the former liaison and dancing dwarf, the Man From Another Place, having “evolved” into a fleshy blob on top of an electrified tree (obviously). This tree refers to itself as the “Arm” because the Man From Another Place once possessed Philip Gerard’s arm before the events of the original Twin Peaks.
Both seem to be advising Cooper on how to leave the Lodge in their standard non-sequitur style… but BOB has other ideas.
Current Theory: Almost certainly the talking trees that now reside within the Black Lodge are a very imaginative solution to overcoming the casting issue of replacing the sadly departed Frank Silva as BOB (the tree that attacks Dale is presumably the true form that BOB now takes). It is revealed that BOB is the doppelganger of the Man From Another Place and therefore has to take the same form.
What about BOB?
Perhaps the biggest question facing Twin Peaks: The Return was what had happened to Cooper in the real world under the possession of BOB. Turns out, he pretty much turns into Blue Velvet’s Frank Booth while adopting the look of Nic Cage’s Sailor in Wild at Heart (David Lynch is definitely playing his hits in these opening episodes).
BOB/Cooper has hooked up with a bunch of miscreants in South Dakota and is earning his keep by orchestrating horrific murders for vengeful wives before inflicting the same onto them and his double-crossing cohorts. It seems the demon formerly known as BOB has also mastered the digital age as he has an intriguing conversation with a man he believes is Philip Jefferies (more on him later) via some black box device.
However, BOB’s primary objective is carrying on his reign of terror in the real world and has put wheels in motion to ensure he doesn’t return to the Black Lodge. It also looks like he has made a considerable amount of enemies over the last 25 years as this new version of BOB is as paranoid as he has sadistic.
Current Theory: Although BOB/Cooper has yet to properly identify himself BOB, we have been given no reason to believe he has left the Special Agent and he has been using the relevant skills and position of his host to further his significantly bigger ambitions this time around. When the imprisoned BOB/Cooper calmly asks Gordon Cole to bring him in for debriefing after years of being “undercover”, it does suggest that this was his plan all along.
What’s in the Box?
What follows is possibly the most terrifying moment we have seen in Twin Peaks to date as a demonic creature brutally ensures there are no witnesses to the event.
Current Theory: The big question surrounding the high-tech set up is: who is behind it? The FBI are just as baffled by its existence as we are but there is a mention of a billionaire being responsible for it. Smart money would be on a certain Audrey Horne is funding the project since we know Sherilyn Fenn is returning in this season and the Horne heir always did have a flair for business (and trouble).
Meanwhile in Twin Peaks
Due to the show enjoying a far wider geographical scope in Twin Peaks Season 3, the focus on the titular town has actually been quite minimal. We’ve had a brief catch up with the likes of Dr. Jacobi, James, Shelly, and the Horne brothers. But overall, maybe we haven’t visited the Washington town as much as some might like.
At least, though, the quirk-quota is being filled adequately by events at the Twin Peaks Sheriff’s Department. Whether it be Zen-like conversations about Native American heritage and chocolate bunnies between Hawk, Lucy, and Andy or meeting Waldo (Michael Cera), who’s taken his shared birthday with a certain legendary method actor a little too seriously. There’s also a new Sheriff in town in the form of Harry Truman’s brother, Frank, with Harry being signed off “sick” in the new season due to Michael Ontkean’s retirement from acting.
But unarguably the most moving return was Catherine E. Coulson’s playing our beloved Log Lady one last time before she sadly passed away last year. It is Margaret’s phone call to Hawk that has alerted the Deputy that the woods may not stay quiet for much longer and he holds the key to finding out why.
Perhaps the biggest revelation, though, was seeing an all grown up Bobby Briggs as a deputy (!?) before he dropped the bombshell that Dale Cooper was the last person to see his father, Major Garland Briggs, alive before the special agent, er, flew the coop himself.
Current Theory: Surely the town of Twin Peaks will soon form the focal point for the show once again as the scattered narratives draw in on each other. However, the biggest questions remain what is missing from Laura Palmer’s casefile, what’s with Jacobi’s gold-sprayed spades, and is that a pillow stuffed up Deputy Andy’s shirt?
Is it all adding up?
Today’s Twin Peaks has been brought to you by the numbers: 430, 253, 3, 15, 119, and 315. This slight sci-fi addition to the show has an almost Lost type feel to it and is perhaps a nod to the huge influence Twin Peaks had on that hit 00’s show. It is also possibly an attempt to make some of the clues easier to follow than the show’s previous abstract semiotics.
Whatever the reason for this newfound numeracy, we already know that “253” turned out to be the exact time when BOB/Cooper was due to return to the Black Lodge and 315 was the number of Dale Cooper’s room in the Great Northern hotel 25 years ago.
More tellingly, the numbers “3” and “15” that appear on the antique socket on the wall of the “space station” seem to be the designated numbers given to portals to the real world (Agent Desmond disappeared next to a number “6” in the opening act of Fire Walk With Me). What’s unclear about these is whether Cooper was tricked or helped to go into “3” instead of “15” by the eyeless lady (definitely NOT Josie Packard) who turned into the other lady with a striking resemblance to Ronette Pulaski.
Current Theory: The “119” which is uttered by the junkie girl as she downs a -presumably final- pill with whiskey could well be the US emergency number “911” in reverse. The playing cards on the table look suspiciously similar to the one’s BOB/Dale was playing with in the opening episode, so could it be she is on her way to the Black Lodge and is already speaking backward?
Just when you thought you were getting to grips with things, Lynch & Frost throw an audacious curve ball at us by introducing a THIRD version of Cooper. We meet realtor Dougie Jones being *ahem* entertained by a lady friend, Jade, in a vacant house just before the big “Cooper transition” begins. After throwing up “garmonbozia” and what looked like brain matter, he is whisked off to the Black Lodge to be greeted by a surprised MIKE who tells him he has been “designed” and his “purpose has been fulfilled”. Next, his body shrinks, his head pops off, and eventually, all that is left is a golden orb and a familiar looking jade ring (aka the Owl Cave Ring).
Meanwhile, back in the Las Vegas suburb, Special Agent Dale Cooper materialises in Dougie’s place via an electric socket before narrowly avoiding a hit job from waiting heavies whose motive and loyalty is unclear currently.
Current Theory: Dougie is certainly part of BOB’s plan to prevent his recall to the Black Lodge by using the philandering realtor as a substitute. The use of the jade ring is extremely interesting, though, since we last saw the same/similar ring used to prevent BOB from possessing Laura at the climax of Fire Walk With Me.
Up until now, the ring has been synonymous with MIKE and seen by fans as a form of protection from Black Lodge denizens. Could it be that the ring also makes beings hidden from the Black Lodge and BOB put the ring on Dougie to ensure his secrecy of his plans? This would explain why MIKE was so surprised to see Dougie at first but also why MIKE quickly ascertained Dougie’s origins.
Dale & Confused
Just as we thought we were going to get Special Agent Dale Cooper back on the case, our hopes are dashed as it turns out the FBI agent has returned somewhat worse for wear. Coop’s first foray back into reality sees him shuffling around, barely able to follow or repeat even the simplest of phrases. The disheveled Cooper is simultaneously reminiscent of both the brain-damaged Leo Johnson and the Waiter but he does a mean Rain Man impression at his local casino, with a little help from the Red Room.
It’s likely the casino scenes are an inconsequential aside but it’s Cooper’s return to Dougie Jones’ family home that may require further consideration. It seems Dougie’s wife (Naomi Watts) and son are unperturbed by his reductive state, suggesting that such behaviour was quite common and whoever created Dougie did not do a particularly convincing job of making a functioning human.
Likewise, in the FBI interview with the incarcerated BOB/Cooper, there is an apparent flattening of his vocal tone and a considerable drop in his articulation. Could it be there was a very high price for defying the rules of the Black Lodge?
Current Theory: Is Cooper finally back?! As soon as Naomi Watts puts a cup of coffee down in front of him, there is a noticeable uplift in tone and interest from Cooper and after a swift gulp, he seemingly bursts back into life. It was too fleeting a moment to be sure, but what better way to reawaken Cooper than with a damn fine cup of coffee?
First mentioned in Fire Walk With Me, “blue rose” has always been presumed to be the FBI’s codeword for the supernatural/otherworldly phenomenon of Twin Peaks and has been mentioned several times in episodes 3 & 4.
It’s becoming increasingly apparent that the FBI, Gordon Cole in particular, have more prior knowledge and experience of “blue rose” type happenings than they have been admitting previously.
Current Theory: Could the phrase have a literal origin? Not only does the disembodied face of Major Briggs utter the words as he floats underneath the “space station” but there is also clearly a physical blue rose on the table by the socket in said trans-dimensional abode.
The Man Who Fell to Earth
The name Philip Jefferies has come up surprisingly frequently in these opening episodes. The name will be familiar to seasoned Peaksies as the character was played by none other than David Bowie in Fire Walk With Me’s most frustrating/profound scenes. With the devastating loss of the iconic singer last year, it seems doubtful that we’ll be seeing the character again but that hasn’t stopped Lynch & Frost suggesting that himself and BOB are involved in a deadly game of cat and mouse.
What was always the most chilling aspect of Jefferies’ brief appearance in FWWM was he had foresight into Cooper becoming two separate entities, even before the events of the original Twin Peaks. According to Albert’s confession in Episode 4, there was also some crucial and lethal communication between Cooper and Jeffries about an agent in Columbia before Jeffries disappeared in Buenos Aires in 1987.
Current Theory: The Jeffries’s scene in Fire Walk With Me always felt like David Lynch was leaving a bookmark in case he ever returned to the world of Twin Peaks as it had almost no bearing on the rest of the film. While it is very unclear how Lynch & Frost intend to follow through on what is becoming an increasingly major narrative thread in the new season, the sudden prominence of a previously minor character suggests almost any event that has gone before in Twin Peaks could prove to be vital in uncovering the secrets of the new season.
So, 4 down and 14 to go. Twin Peaks: The Return now settles into a weekly pattern with Episode 5 debuting in the US on Showtime at 9pm EST and in the UK at 2am on Sky Atlantic. Please check back with us next week to see our take on the latest revelations, mysteries, and theories based on the happenings of Episode 5.
How are you finding Twin Peaks: The Return? Let us know in the comments below and please Like and Share if you have enjoyed our recap of Season 3 so far.