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‘Twin Peaks’: Dissecting the Finale

Cameron Lee ’20 / Emertainment Monthly Staff Writer

Spoiler Alert: This piece contains spoilers for Twin Peaks: The Return

After finally defeating Bob in the Twin Peaks Sheriff’s Station thanks to Freddie’s iron fist, Agent Cooper (Kyle MacLachlan) faces all of his friends. A half dissolved image of Agent Cooper’s face appears on screen.  Cooper then says, “There are some things that will change; the past dictates the future. I hope to see all of you again. Every one of you.” And that’s just the start of a finale that involves time travel, alternate dimensions, backtracking to the beginning of this season, and a completely different Agent Cooper now named Richard who displays both the personality of evil Cooper and good Cooper. The whole series ends on a cliffhanger that makes the original ending to Twin Peaks look like Return Of The King. So much for finding out what happened with Audrey.

There have been so many theories over the past week of what the finale of Twin Peaks: The Return means and what the series as a whole is supposed to mean. Now, there isn’t one right answer to any of this: most of Lynch’s films that he has done in the past 40 years have never been fully explained, especially his more recent work, like Inland Empire, Mulholland Drive, and Lost Highway. Lynch leaves many clues and hints in his work, but he wants the viewer to come to their own conclusions. That being said, there are some widely accepted theories for most of his films and Twin Peaks: The Return is no different. You may not agree with what I believe happened and that’s fine. Every person who watches Twin Peaks: The Return will take something different out of it. It’s not about the destination; it’s about the journey to get there.

I believe this whole series is trying to say that things aren’t what they used to be, we are destined to repeat our same mistakes, and you can never really go home or in this case return home. What happens to Laura Palmer (Sheryl Lee) was a tragedy, but Cooper’s attempts to time travel back to save her from her fate ultimately makes things worse for Laura and himself. Evil will always find a way to ruin people’s lives and plans. BOB may be gone but a worse evil by the name of Judy has taken its place. When Phillip Jeffries (David Bowie) in Fire Walk With Me walks into FBI headquarters and says, “We’re not going to talk about Judy,” he’s clearly foreshadowing what would happen to Cooper this season. Phillip points directly at him and says, “Who do you think is there?” referring to his eventual doppleganger.

Photo courtesy of SHOWTIME.

Now Judy may be inside of Sarah Palmer, who, just before Laura Palmer disappears from Cooper’s grasp in the past, begins smashing Laura’s homecoming photo with a pair of scissors. Sarah then immediately vanishes in the past and all that’s there is her bloodcurdling scream from the red room. Cooper and Diane (Laura Dern) travel to an alternate dimension from coordinates that the fireman told Cooper about at the beginning of the series. In this dimension, they are Richard and Linda, which is also something the fireman told Cooper. Diana sees another version of herself and after sleeping with Cooper, she leaves forever. Cooper is now Richard, but still believes he is Agent Cooper and goes to find Laura in Odessa Texas at a diner called Judy’s. He finds another version of Laura Palmer named Carrie Page, who has her own string of problems. She doesn’t know anyone named Laura or Sarah, but Cooper is certain that she is Laura.

Cooper takes her home to Twin Peaks but when he arrives, he discovers that the Palmer household is occupied by different owners with no knowledge of the Palmers. They got the house from Mrs. Tremond, a spirit from the black lodge. Cooper, confused, asks what year it is, and then Carrie hears Sarah Palmer’s voice calling Laura’s name and she screams the same awful scream as Laura did in the red room and the house goes dark.

The last shot is from part two, when Laura whispered something into Cooper’s ear in the red room, presumably telling him about how his future efforts are meaningless and they are bound to repeat this cycle for an eternity, which is a tragic and appropriate way to conclude this series.

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