As you may remember, Nick, at my insistence, told me who killed Laura Palmer before I began to watch the series. He did NOT reveal to me the way the series ended. He did not tell me that Cooper would be going into the Black Lodge. And he most certainly did not tell me about “How’s Annie?”
I’m very glad he did not, even though it resulted in my turning to him at the end of my original viewing and shouting, “WHAT?!” (Note: I do not remember precisely what I said. I may have said something like, “ARE YOU KIDDING ME?!”, “HOLY @&%*!!”, or, just maybe, “Gimme a donut.”)
As I am a semi-regular human being, the whole bit with Cooper’s journey through the Waiting Room and Black Lodge did not entirely make sense to me. Nick helped me understand a little more by giving me his own interpretation. Yet what really helped me solidify a comprehension of both what the narrative was trying to show–and what actually happened to Cooper–was the simple act of re-watching the series about ten more times over the next few years. As a result, most of this post is going to be a little bit different than the earlier ones. After a bit of reaction to the non-Lodge bits, I’m going to go into my scene-by-scene interpretation (explanation?) of what’s going on after Cooper slips between the red curtains in that circle of sickly sycamore trees.
So let’s get started on this final episode, shall we?
I always laugh at the opening scene with Andy and Lucy, specifically Andy,’s “Then I’d help you have that baby right there in that elevator, in front of God and everybody.” It’s a sweet moment, and their last one together in the original series.
Shortly thereafter, in a scene that’s filmed in Lynchian fashion entirely from the corner of the ceiling in the TPPD conference room, Pete bursts in and informs everyone that the Log Lady stole his truck. Did you know that, after Cooper says “The Log Lady will be here in one minute,” she does show up…in precisely one minute. (And yes, I timed it.) The Log Lady is there to bring some scorched engine oil like the stuff that’s on the ground in Glastonbury Grove, and Ronette Pulaski shows up as if to say both, “Yep, I smelled that when Laura was murdered,” and “Hi, I’m Ronette Pulaski and this is my finale cameo!”
Speaking of Glastonbury Grove, Windham Earle takes Annie there and uses her fear to open the door to the Black Lodge. Now, something weird happens to Annie once she’s pulled into the circle of sickly sycamores: She screams and suddenly falls silent, no longer struggling. I’m not really sure why this is, but I expect her fear made her particularly susceptible to…something in that close proximity to the lodge.
Meanwhile, in a nice little heartbreaking scene, Nadine regains herself, doesn’t know who the heck Mike is, and starts yelling about drape runners. And that’s the last time we see her, Mike, Nadine, and Norma until the revival. But at least that wound up having a happy ending. Or mostly, anyway, depending on how much Mike likes his car dealership job and whoever he did wind up married to. Maybe he hooked up with Mrs. Briggs.
Speaking of final scenes, we also get the wrap-up of the Donna/Ben thing. Or at least, it’s as wrapped as it gets. Lots of annoying yelling, Sylvia Horne pops in to remind us that she actually exists, Doc Hayward clobbers Ben (starting two and a half decades of arguments over whether or not he died), and we all breathe a sigh of relief that this subplot is over.
Meanwhile, back at Glastonbury Grove, Cooper and Harry catch up, and Cooper, after telling Harry to wait, slips in after Windham Earle and Annie. Harry watches, in standard wide-eyed Harry fashion, as Cooper disappears. Cooper enters the Waiting Room where the Arm is (I’m just gonna call him the Arm, because in the Fire Walk With Me movie, we learn that he’s Mike’s arm that he cut off, and it’s an easy shorthand. Get it? Shorthand? Arm?! GET IT?!), and also sees the jazz singer, who performs in a strobe light and then vanishes.
I actually have no theory on what that’s about. Is the singer a lodge spirit? Is he something just created for a bit of musical entertainment? Is Lynch just saying, “Hey, this place needs some atmosphere. Toss in a singer!”? I figure the latter, but who knows?
10 hours goes by, during which time Lynch goes all Lynchian on us by making us wait through Harry and Andy sitting and watching, and a very old man walking very slowly back and forth across a room while Audrey chains herself to a vault. Time lengthens in meditative examination of dull moments when we’re all dying to know what the hell is going on with Coop in the Lodge. Though we do get a shocking surprise when the bank blows up and we’re left waiting for 25 years to find out if Audrey survived. (Side note related to the revival: ARGH!!!)
Before we head back to Cooper, there’s one final visit to the Double R Diner, where Sarah Palmer finds Major Briggs and tells him in a dark, distorted voice, “I’m in the Black Lodge with Dale Cooper. I’m waiting for you.” Now, the subtitles say it’s Earle’s voice, and so I’ve always come to view this as Earle managing to find some way in the Lodge to harness Sarah’s psychic sensitivity in order to taunt his former Project Blue Book colleague. The revival series may open this moment up to some different interpretations, but I’m sticking with this one.
But now we’re back in the Waiting Room/Black Lodge. I slash it like that because I’m really still not entirely decided if the Waiting Room is a part of the Black Lodge, or between the two Lodges. Or possibly it’s both? But let’s get to the nitty-gritty…
Between this bit and the next–and for most of the rest of the time Cooper is in this place, really–Cooper appears much less phased than one would expect the average person to be. He’s not showing much emotion, he’s not asking all of the questions you or I might (“No, seriously: What the fuck??”). I’ve usually taken this to mean that Coop is trying his best to keep his emotions in check, knowing that fear makes you vulnerable here. Tiny chance Lynch just forgot to give him any direction at all, I suppose. 😉
Laura walks in again, in the same dress as from the dream Cooper had. She snaps her fingers (no idea why), and utters the unintentionally prophetic line, “See you again in 25 years.” And then there’s this before she disappears…
Laura’s gone, and then, in what isn’t entirely surprising, given his being around at some key supernatural moments, Senor Droolcup appears, apparently in a celebratory mood.
Based on this–and admittedly this may be a bit of a leap–I think the denizens of the White Lodge and at least some in the Black Lodge were in something of an anti-BOB faction. SDC is the Giant’s host (see below), and the Giant has always been nothing but helpful to Cooper in his search for Laura’s killer. Thanks to Fire Walk With Me, we know that the Little Man is also Mike’s arm, which he cut off to rid himself of its evil. BOB was Mike’s familiar, until they parted ways when Mike turned good, and I think BOB has therefore been something of a loose canon since then, against the wishes of some other members of the Black Lodge. Granted, a lot of my basis for all of that is from FWWM, but I do think the “Hallelujah” here is an indication of it. Cooper is finally here in the Lodges, and a milestone toward dealing with BOB has now been reached.
Not that I’m any major authority on this, but that’s what I choose to think. At any rate, SDC has helpfully brought Cooper some coffee. After he hands it over, the Giant appears in his place.
Incidentally, the Giant’s appearance here is also why I think the Waiting Room is, at least sometimes, between the Black and White Lodges. It feels like something of a neutral ground, where both Lodges can hang out.
The Giant then vanishes, and the Arm rubs his hands together. Does this herald something new happening? Cooper goes for the coffee. It’s solid. Then it’s liquid. Then it’s somewhere in between. I’m given to think this may be BOB’s doing, given the Arm immediately saying the lovely palindrome…
Suddenly the Arm spouts off, “Fire walk with me.” We’ve got fire, screaming, and a strobe light. The Arm is now gone, and things are definitely creepier. I think it’s here that Cooper is now heading into the Black Lodge, with the Arm having opened up the metaphysical passageway via those four words.
Cooper gets up and starts exploring, but winds up in the waiting room again…
Cooper heads back, soon running into a shuddering, kinda freaking out Arm in the double of the Waiting Room. But that’s not actually the Arm (“When you see me again…”). Maddy then steps out…
Notice that Maddy doesn’t get a close-up here, and she fades away quickly right after she says the above line. I’ll come back to that. Cooper, meanwhile, turns back around back again, and where the first Waiting Room was is now an empty room. Suddenly the Arm is there again, but with white, clouded eyes, and gives Cooper and us the explanation of what these weird, white-eyed people are:
Laura’s doppelganger immediately shows up on a double-sided chair, screeching to make Mrs. Palmer proud, and she gets a LOT closer than Maddy did. Cooper, understandably, runs the hell out of that room. But during DoppelLaura’s closeup, there are a few flashes of Windam Earle:
Cooper retreats, then finds he’s bleeding from the abdomen. From this point on until BOB shows up, I think that everything that happens is due to Earle messing with Cooper. Again, Earle, having gotten here first, and having studied the Lodge for decades, has managed to exercise a bit of control over the place. Cooper wanders more, soon finding himself on the floor with Caroline, both stabbed. Caroline becomes Annie, there’s more strobe lights, and suddenly stabbed Annie and Cooper are gone. As Cooper calls out for her, we seem to be moving deeper into the Lodges.
Cooper finds Annie, who then tells him, “I saw the face of the man who killed me. It was my husband.” Annie turns into Caroline, with doppelganger-eyes. Then she’s back to Annie, in Caroline’s dress… It’s a wild, wacky, Windam Earle mindscrew! And then WHAM:
Then suddenly Windam Earle appears in Laura’s place. (Again, this leads me to think he’s been orchestrating this whole bit to mess with Cooper and weaken him with fear.) Annie fades in between them, then fades out, as if Earle is showing Coop that he’s got her.
Earle offers to let Annie live if Cooper gives Earle his soul. Cooper agrees like the white knight he is, and so Earle stabs him. And here’s about when I think the Lodgefolk–or at least BOB–have had enough of this upstart Earle guy showing up in their house and messing around with the thermostat. Flames! Reverse-stabbing! Coop is fine! And suddenly we’ve got BOB throwing the penalty flag on Earle:
BOB takes Earle’s soul as a penalty, and then laughs at Cooper, who…calmly…walks out…kinda…then runs. Then, fighting its way through the curtains behind BOB, perhaps in its first moments of being born due to Cooper’s fear here, a doppelganger of Cooper emerges.
Out in the hallway, Cooper runs into Leland’s doppelganger! (Boy, these guys are everywhere!)
So here’s where I want to talk about my big ol’ theory of the doppelgangers, based on everything seen here so far. BOB possesses people, right? When he is possessing them, he’s able to pass as them pretty darned well. It’s my thought that in order to do so, he needs a doppelganger of that person. The doppelganger’s purpose is twofold: A) It acts as a key or conduit to let him out of the Black Lodge and into the body of the person the doppelganger represents. B) It gives him sort of a mask that allows him to better act like the possessed person, know the things they know, etc. It’s as if BOB has to put on his doppelganger-Leland mask (figuratively speaking) before he can jump into Leland’s body. But I also think that the creation of a doppelganger takes time. He has to get to know them, which is normally done by spending time with them, either via real interaction via another possessed person, or appearing to them in dreams and visions.
He spent a LOT of time crafting Laura’s doppelganger–years, over the course of her life. He had her doppelganger all ready to go (though he still needed her to let him in, which she fought). I think this is shown with how much we see DoppelLaura in the Lodge. She’s loud, she’s in Cooper’s face, she moves around, etc. Compare that with Maddy’s doppelganger, who only appears briefly, barely moves, and swiftly fades away. BOB wanted Maddy like he wanted Laura. He was working on Maddy, but she was only around so briefly that he didn’t have much time with her. Leland’s doppelganger is of course, fully formed as well.
The fact that DoppelCooper appears so quickly would seem to violate this, but consider that Cooper was IN the Lodge. BOB had far more direct access to Cooper, and thus could skip pretty much all of the real-world legwork, so to speak. I believe that DoppelCooper is also the only doppelganger that was actually able to get OUT of the Lodge and act independently, while DoppelLeland was ever only just a conduit to jump in and out of Leland when BOB wanted control.
Yeah, I know, I’m using way too many analogies while I try to explain this. Analogies are often the tools I use to try to grasp a new concept, and Twin Peaks is so freaking weird sometimes that I need a lot of freaking tools. 😉
Anyway, back to the narrative! For the first time, Cooper sees his double, and he starts running for the exit, chased by Doppelcooper. Cooper is freaked out now, and despite his efforts, he’s failed at facing this place without fear. And so, because of that fear-induced vulnerability, Doppelcooper catches up to Coop just as he’s trying to leave, grabbing him, and getting out of the Lodge in Cooper’s place. Just after, BOB checks out the camera.
And from here, the rest is pretty much history. Cooper. (Or is it?) In the Great Northern. “I wasn’t dreaming.” So we know it was real. “I need to brush my teeth.” Good oral hygiene is important, folks. So is getting all of the bad toothpaste out of the tube before you brush. So is seeing BOB in the mirror…
Least Favorite Moment:
“My parents? Who are my parents, anyway?” (lousy delivery, lousy sub-plot, lousy lousy lousy)
DoppelCooper in the Lodge with Leland, pausing to look directly into the camera.
“Then I’d help you have that baby right there in the elevator, in front of God and everybody.”
“I need to brush my teeth.”
Things I noticed for the first time:
I suppose you could put Annie not having doppelganger-eyes in Glastonbury Grove here, oddly enough…
Sparkwood & 21 traffic light count: 8
Waterfall close-up shot count: 14
Windblown trees shot count: 17
How’s Annie: She’s gonna be just fine. She’s over at the hospital. She’ll even have a movie cameo and a very brief mention in the revival series before she’s pretty much utterly forgotten about.
Perhaps someday soon I’ll be able to put into words how I feel about the revival series.
But not yet.