Twin Peaks aired its (then) final episode over 25 years ago. Since then, fans have speculated what could have happened after Dale Cooper smashed his head into a Great Northern mirror and was seemingly possessed by BOB.
The film Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me provided a few tantalizing clues but no concrete answers.
With Twin Peaks returning on Showtime in May, we decided to take a close look at the original finale to figure out where season three could be headed. Could the mysteries presented in this episode contain the building blocks of season three? Well, let’s put on the coffee pot and grab some donuts folks. We’re going back to an episode of television that was both wonderful and strange.
It should be noted this article is spoiler free when it comes to the new series. This article doesn’t take any of the casting announcements into consideration.
It’s the easiest one to start with it, the final words of the show. What happened to Annie in the Black Lodge? She was taken there against her will by Windom Earle and while she wasn’t seemingly in control of what was happening like Cooper, something in her changed. In the film, we see that Annie is able to communicate with Laura in the past. The information Annie gives her could only have been obtained after she left the lodge, so does that mean Annie has some residual powers after traveling there?
Perhaps this connection to the Black Lodge will help the other characters in their attempt to save Cooper. Perhaps Annie will still be stuck in the hospital all this time, rambling about events currently taking place in the Black Lodge. Could she be Cooper’s only link to the outside world?
Was Cooper Possessed By BOB?
The series final image is a striking one, with Cooper looking into a mirror and seeing BOB reflected back there. The easiest interpretation of this scene is that BOB has possessed Cooper as he did Leland earlier in the series. If so, has Cooper been possessed all this time and has anyone noticed? It’s possible.
BOB had seemingly possessed Leland since he was a boy and no one caught on so BOB masquerading as Cooper for a long span of time is plausible. Perhaps Cooper will be the new killer. Who would suspect the FBI agent who solved the Laura Palmer case?
There’s another interpretation of this final scene that could make for an intriguing plot. Cooper wasn’t possessed but he was split in two. “The Good Dale,” as mentioned in Fire Walk With Me, and the “The Bad Dale” as seen in the finale. The Bad Dale isn’t possessed by BOB but merely working with him, perhaps to find fresh souls for BOB to toy with and exploit. Again, having an FBI Agent to work with would be very useful to the beings of the Black Lodge.
With these two Coopers, we could get a literal manifestation of the dualism in Twin Peaks. How we all have light and dark sides. Public and private lives. Good and bad in our souls. Support for this possible plotline is also glimpsed in the Log Lady introduction for this episode, when she tells us; “Where there was once one there are now two.”
Instead of simply getting rid of The Bad Dale, the two may have to be reunited in some way. The Good Dale might not be able to survive on his own without his darker side. Learning to work with one’s darker side was also a theme explored in The Secret Diary of Laura Palmer, so there is some precedent for this going forward.
As Hawk mentioned in the series, one needs perfect courage in order to survive the Black Lodge. By reuniting his two selves Cooper may finally gain that courage and discover the secrets behind the forces that have haunted Twin Peaks for so long.
The Black Lodge
The final episode contained the lengthiest exploration of the Black Lodge in the entire series and much of it is left open to interpretation. Is this what The Black Lodge really looks like, or is it simply the only way Cooper’s mind could process it?
What about the other beings that reside there, including the Giant? He had been helpful to Cooper in the past so why is he in this place of evil? Is the Black Lodge all evil? Will the Good Dale’s presence change it?
What about the White Lodge, the place of good? One of the characters trying to find and access it could make for a compelling storyline, as so little is known about either Lodge. My money would be on Deputy Hawk for that one. He seemed to know the most about it.
There’s also the matter of how the Log Lady’s husband got the oil that opened the gateway. Was it just scorched engine oil or something more? Perhaps residue from the Black Lodge? The oil could have some connection with the goopy substance that came out of Cooper’s coffee in the Black Lodge.
That’s Twin Peaks for you, a cup of coffee holds a world of possibilities.
Lest you forget, Twin Peaks isn’t totally supernatural. Its many soap opera-inspired plotlines will need resolutions as well. What will Lucy and Andy’s baby be like? The prospect of those two being parents does not bode well.
What about Nadine? With her memory back, did that put Ed and Norma’s relationship on ice? Does Ed really continue to stay with Nadine for over twenty-five years out of guilt? What about Mike? Could he still be pining after Nadine?
Leo, Shelly, and Bobby
Bobby declares he wants to marry Shelly and she seemed pretty happy about it, except for the fact she’s still married to Leo. Leo, who was left trapped with a nest of tarantulas about to fall on him. I don’t think Leo would die from a few spiders, so does he seek out Shelly? As big as Bobby talks I don’t think he’d be able to put up much of a fight against Leo. With 25 years passing, their confrontation surely will have happened long before start of the new season.
Perhaps Leo never made it back to town and was left to wander the woods, his brain permanently damaged thanks to Windom Earle. What if Leo was able to learn the same secrets about the Black Lodge as Earle did? All of Earle’s equipment was left in that log cabin with him, so Leo could go into the Black Lodge and try to get revenge on the last pieces of Earle’s soul.
With Leo out of the picture, Shelly will break off her marriage with him and marry Bobby who will be an aggressively okay husband. Not bad, not great, just kinda there. He certainly won’t be able to live up to all those promises he made her throughout the series.
The Fate of Ben Horne
After Donna learned Ben Horne was her real father, Ben tried to make things right with the family. Doc Hayward, infuriated by Ben’s presence in his house, punched him in the face, which sent Ben’s head slamming into the fireplace. Could this have killed Ben? The Secret History of Twin Peaks says he’s alive, but that book is full of inconsistencies with the show so anything is possible at this point. Ben could just be running the Great Northern as he always had but now with the inclination to do only good.
In this mission he could lend support to saving Cooper from the Black Lodge. I know not all the plots have to resolve around that, but Ben striving for good would make a perfect counter to the Bad Dale running around.
What Happened After The Explosion?
In the finale’s most explosive (heh) event, a bomb goes off at the Twin Peaks Savings and Loan. Audrey, Pete, and Andrew Packard were all caught in the blast and it’s hard to think any of them could have survived. The Secret History of Twin Peaks says Andrew and Pete died and Audrey was left in critical condition, but again, that book is dubious.
Audrey could have been far enough away from the blast to survive, but how badly injured was she? If she recovers, will she continue to be engaged in her activist work? Pete and Andrew are probably dead, since both of their actors sadly passed away long before shooting on this new series began.
Sarah Palmer’s Connection To The Black Lodge
“I’m in the Black Lodge with Dale Cooper.” What could this unknown message coming through Sarah mean? It had been shown in the first season that Sarah possessed some knowledge of the Black Lodge, albeit only through vague feelings and visions. Who was speaking through her, if it was another being at all? Why was she delivering the message to Major Briggs?
While Major Briggs’ absence in the new series is foregone conclusion, Don S. Davis sadly having passed away as well, Sarah Palmer could still be a key player. The being speaking through her could be a spirit or being from the Lodge that we have yet to meet. There are many spirits there and they could be friendly to Cooper, what with them going to Briggs for help. Sarah could take on the role the producers may have been envisioning for Briggs in the original third season by unlocking the secrets of the Lodge.
Leland In The Black Lodge
While trying to find his way out of the Black Lodge, Cooper meets a being that appears to be Leland. The being smiles and says, “I did not kill anybody.” One could assume that this was the good side of Leland that had been infected by BOB, but the Bad Dale soon passes by him and the two smile at each other.
There’s something more to this Leland. The series never provided a satisfying answer over who was really in control of Leland’s actions. Was it one hundred percent BOB and Leland was just a vessel? Or did BOB just amplify the feelings and desires Leland already had? If it’s the former, the “I did not kill anybody” could simply be Leland asserting his innocence. If it is, why would he smile at the Bad Dale?
This remnant of Leland could be right alongside the Good Dale in the Lodge and could be trying to make up for what he did to Laura. That, or he could be the part of Leland that was corrupted by BOB and now wants to corrupt the Good Dale.
Windom Earle’s Soul
Windom Earle, in attempting to take Cooper’s soul, has his own soul taken by BOB. What does that mean? Is Earle’s body now just an empty husk left in the Lodge? It didn’t reappear when the Bad Dale and Annie escaped.
Did BOB just absorb Earle’s soul, or is it now permanently trapped in the Lodge alongside the Good Dale? After seeing the world he so desperately sought powers from so quickly cast him aside, Earle could seek to redeem himself by working with Cooper again.
I’ll See You Again In 25 Years
What did Laura mean by that? Did she mean the Old Dale glimpsed in Cooper’s dream in the first season? Was it a message to the Bad Dale in Cooper? Was it an otherworldly fourth wall breaking statement to the audience?
The Black Lodge looks as if it exists out of time, what with Annie seemingly using its powers to contact Laura in the past. Why would the Laura in the Lodge even mention a set time?
There’s one possible explanation. In 25 years a climatic event will occur, one which could lead to the end of the world. Where the hell is this theory coming from? Well, at the start of the episode Cooper mentions to Truman,
“You and I have an appointment. At the end of the world.”
Now of course this could just be taken as the two about to head for the Black Lodge, but it could also be a clue to Laura’s cryptic statement. If she were now a being out of time, she would know when the world could possibly end.
You may question then how Cooper would even know about this before he entered the Lodge, but look at the series and film. Laura and Cooper have seemingly been linked for a long time, as Fire Walk With Me finally proved. His prediction about the end of the world could have been influenced by that connection.
Also, look at Cooper’s first scene in this episode. He accurately predicts the Log Lady would arrive in one minute. He has some sense of the future. The events of season three could all be leading up to that moment he sensed and Laura confirmed. The end of the world in twenty-five years.
It’s unknown at this point whether the new season will wrap all of these plotlines up or simply be used as a springboard for multiple seasons of stories. After so long, series creators David Lynch and Mark Frost could simply abandon some of these stories in favor of brand new ones that only lightly connect to the past series.
It would be a shame if that were the case, considering just how much groundwork this episode does for the future of the show. Not all of these mysteries and questions need concrete answers, but they do need to at least be addressed when the show returns.
But perhaps, like the owls, these mysteries and questions are not what they seem.
Big thanks to In Twin Peaks for their screencap archive of this episode.
Shamus Kelley gives himself a present everyday. Follow him on Twitter!