With 5 parts now concluded, we are almost a third of the way through Twin Peaks: The Return. Here at TPG, we have been working at summarizing each episode and providing the occasional theory of what things could mean. With this review, we will discuss the different plot lines and characters from a high level trying to piece all of these puzzle pieces together. I’ve listed questions for each section that I personally will be looking to have answered.
THE GLASS BOX
In the first three parts, we learn that the Glass Box is important. It’s being carefully watched and videoed. The project is top secret and is being funded by a very wealthy person.
The box appears to be a portal connecting the spirit world with this world. In Part 3, Cooper escapes the lodge and arrives in the glass box. He floats into it and looks fairly normal. He is thrown back into space and arrives in a building that is floating in space. (Note – I mention “fairly normal” here because when he arrives in the real world in Vegas, he has lost himself. Landing in the glass box, it appears he is still himself.)
The box also brings for an evil spirit/creature (?) that kills Sam and Tracy. Before their murders, the security guard is missing suggesting that he was called away.
Some of the questions we have here are:
1. Where was the security guard and why was he not at his station?
2. Who is the rich person running the experiment?
3. What/who is the creature that killed Tracy and Sam?
4. What is special about this glass box – why did Cooper arrive here and not somewhere else?
ESCAPING THE LODGE
The first three parts is also about Dale Cooper escaping the lodge. He meets several familiar faces during these parts – including The Giant (credited as ???????), Laura, Leland, One-Armed Man/Gerard/Mike (we will abbreviate his name to OAM from here on out), and the Evolution of the Arm and the arm’s doppleganger.
The Giant gives Cooper several hints and then Cooper vanishes. We find Cooper in the Waiting Room next and he is ultimately led out by OAM where the Evolution of the Arm is discovered. After a bit more walking around, Cooper pulls back the curtain to see a deserted road with a single car on it. It belongs to Mr C. The Arm Doppleganger appears and Cooper falls into outer space where he lands in the Glass Box. He is thrusted again into space where he ultimately finds the woman with no eyes and the American Girl. From there he arrives in Vegas.
As I’ve thought back on these episodes, I get a sense that Mark Frost and David Lynch decided to let Lynch come up with the way to get Cooper out of the lodge. All of these scenes are very “Lynchian” and have moments of Eraserhead in them. As we have proceeded through the episodes, the “abstractness” like we saw with these episodes dramatically decrease.
The questions that I’m left with include:
1. Who is the woman with no eyes? And what is the room that they were in?
2. Timeline-wise, this entire encounter takes place at the same time that Tracy and Sam are killed by the creature in the box. What does this mean?
3. Who is “Mother” that American Girl references?
4. Who is Richard and Linda that the Giant tells Cooper?
5. What happened to Laura after she whispers into Cooper’s ear? Leland asks Cooper to find Laura – are these connected?
6. On the electrical control panel – what do 15 and 3 mean?
7. Did the doppleganger of the arm stop Cooper from arriving at the same location as Mr C? If so, then does this suggest the doppleganger of the arm and BOB are working together? Mike/OAM continues to appear that he is still opposing BOB and trying to stop him.
After Dougie throws up and is thrown back into the lodge, we learn that he was manufactured. Dougie’s left arm shrinks and the owl cave ring that we see in FWWM falls off his hand. His head explodes like a balloon leaving behind a floating golden ball. His body disintegrates and we are left with a golden marble that the OAM picks up.
Over the episodes we learn that Dougie has “had episodes” and has acted strange in the past. His wife specifically asks if he is having one of his episodes again. This also explains to a certain extent why people are sort of normal around Cooper as Dougie. All of this is likely due to the fact that he is manufactured – Dougie was always a bit “off.”
We also know that Dougie drank heavily and gambled and ended up owing people a lot of money.
1. How old is Dougie and when did Dougie appear on the scene?
2. Did BOB manufacture Dougie? (Assuming it was BOB)
3. How did Dougie get the ring? The last time we saw the ring was in FWWM when Laura was killed. In The Missing Pieces, the ring is stolen by a nurse from Annie’s hand (not sure if we should treat this as canon or not).
4. Is Janey and Sonny Jim real? Have they been manufactured? (Something is strange with both characters.)
DALE COOPER RE-ENTERS THE WORLD
Upon arriving in Vegas, Dale Cooper is not himself. He is slow and doesn’t grasp the very basics of life – like urinating. He must be guided, but still has a love for coffee. In one scene, he sees the OAM show him the golden marble that Dougie left behind. This marble could represent Cooper’s essence that is missing. I hope not because this could mean we have an impaired Cooper for many more parts – or until he gets the marble.
1. How many drinks of coffee will Cooper need to become normal again? (joking…maybe)
2. Or maybe he needs coffee AND PIE in order to become himself again? (joking…maybe)
One note here – on Facebook I see a lot of people saying/suggesting that Cooper is **inside** Dougie or that they are one in the same. This is NOT accurate. Dougie’s body was removed from the world and Cooper entered it only afterwards. Dougie was dressed completely different than Cooper, and Cooper was wearing his black suit from 25 years ago. They are two separate entities – this is very different than what we saw in Season 1/2 in which BOB possesses Leland.
DOUGIE AND MR C
At the exact same time, three events are unfolding. Mr C is driving his car and begins to feel sick. Dougie is also sick and both are trying to stop from throwing up – esp Mr C who seems to have a better understanding of what is happening. Meanwhile, Cooper is in that strange room with the electrical panel. And depending upon the timeline, it’s possible this is right after (or the tail-end) of Tracy and Sam being killed.
Mr C makes a comment that he is trying to stop from going back to the Lodge. In talking with “Phillip Jeffries”, Jeffries makes a comment about him being sent back to the lodge to be with BOB. We learn that Mr C has a plan.
I think it’s safe to assume that Dougie was manufactured by BOB to “trick” the Lodge into taking Dougie instead of him. How this actually worked, I’ve not yet figured that out. But I do believe that whoever vomited their garmonbozia first was the one who would be sent back. Mr C knows this and holds back his vomit. Once he sees that Dougie is in the lodge, he begins to vomit creamed corn and what looks to be a black substance.
1. Is the black substance “oil” that we learn about from the original series? And why do people get sick around it?
2. How is Dougie manufactured?
MR C AND BOB
In Part 5, we get the scene that many of us have been looking forward to for a long time and it was absolutely brilliant. The slow fade from Mr C to BOB and back to Mr C was perfect. It confirms that Mr C and BOB are still tied together. But it answers no questions.
1. Does BOB always possess Mr C?
2. If Answer 1 is NO, then how is BOB and Mr C linked together?
3. If Answer 1 is NO, then where is BOB?
4. If Answer 1 is YES, then can he leave Mr C?
5. If Answer 4 is NO, then who/what killed Ruth Davenport and placed the headless body of a man in her bed?
BILL HASTINGS & THE DEATH OF RUTH DAVENPORT
One of my favorite storylines is that of Bill Hastings (Matthew Lillard is great in the part so far). Bill, the high school principal, has been arrested for the murder of Ruth Davenport – his fingerprints are all over her apartment. The problem is that her body is missing, and has been replaced by a male body whose head is missing.
In his jail cell, we learn through a conversation with his wife that they are each having an affair – Bill with Ruth, and his wife with their lawyer George and probably on more guy. Bill admits to having a dream of being in her apartment but not actually committing the crime. While in jail, we see a spirit two cells down slowly disappear, and his head floats away.
Upon further investigation, Constance at the Buckhorn Sheriff Dept discovers a golden ring inside the body of the male whose fingerprints are blocked from the national fingerprint database. The ring appears to belong to Dougie and has his name and his wife’s initials inscribed.
At the end of Part 5, we learn that it’s possible the body is that of Major Garland Briggs because the police ran his fingerprints and there was a database hit for Briggs. Now the Department of Defense is involved.
Also, Mr C killed Bill’s wife. The wife doesn’t seem too surprised by Mr C and talks to him like she knows. I tend to believe that Mr C and the wife were having an affair and this is what Bill was alluding to previously. Also, if you watch closely, when she is shot, it appears that her eye is blown out – just like Ruth Davenport. If that is the case her death may very well exonerate Bill as the killer (since he was in jail when his wife was killed in similar fashion). And since Mr C used George’s gun – George will end up in jail.
So many questions in this storyline:
1. Who killed Ruth? Bill? Bill/BOB? Bill/Some Other Spirit?
2. How did the male body appear in the room?
3. Where is Ruth’s body?
4. Why kill Ruth?
5. If BOB killed Ruth and dropped off Briggs’ body — why? This would alert the FBI/DOD to his presence. Does he have an ulterior motive?
6. If BOB didn’t kill Ruth, who killed her and why?
7. Where has Briggs been for 25 years? (more on that below)
8. Where is Briggs’ head?
9. Why did Mr C kill Hastings’ wife?
THE DEATH OF GARLAND BRIGGS
Bobby Briggs shares that his dad died in a fire at the station. The day before, Cooper came to their house and the two men talked. This conversation would have likely been between Evil Cooper and Briggs.
Bobby does not say if a body was found. We know no other information. The new information is that Briggs’ body has potentially showed up in Buckhorn, SD in a murder investigation. His body is not burned and Constance, the coroner, has told us that the individual hasn’t eaten for a few days and has a ring that appears to belong to Dougie. All of this suggests that Briggs may have been alive for the last 25 years (or some version of Briggs). We could be looking at him being recently captured and tortured and starved?
1. Did Briggs die in the fire at the station? Was a body found or was he presumed dead?
2. Did Briggs attempt to save Cooper from the Lodge before his “death?” (We know that Sarah Palmer gave him a message that Cooper was in the lodge at the end of season 2)
3. Assuming he has been alive and Buckhorn SD storyline is on the same timeline, where has he been?
4. Who started the fire at the station?
5. How did the ring get into the body that may belong to Briggs?
THE BLUE ROSE
Introduced in FWWM, the Blue Rose has always been a mystery and has already come up in these episodes. Briggs said “BLUE ROSE” while his head floated in outer space. Albert and Cole both discussed the case of Mr C/Cooper as being a blue rose case. It’s always been assumed that the blue rose refers to a case involving the supernatural. There is nothing to tell us differently at this point.
1. What does BLUE ROSE mean?
Side note – there’s been a lot of talk about the coloring of this scene. The world has that blueish tint. After Tammy leaves, Cole and Albert talk and refer to the blue rose which we learned about in FWWM. It only recently occurred to me that this scene raises several important questions in a world of blue………..as in the song “Questions in a World of Blue.”
We see Laura in the the waiting room with Dale Cooper. It’s been 25 years later. They have a similar conversation that we have seen before. Cooper asks if she is Laura Palmer and she says that she feels like she knows her and her arms bend back.Cooper is smart and asks “Who are you?” She now admits to being Laura Palmer. Cooper reminds her that Laura is dead. “I am dead…yet I live.”
At this point she removes her face and a white brilliant light shines out of her head. After putting her face back on, Cooper asks if he can go now. She stands up and walks to him – just like in his dream. She leans down and kisses him. She then whispers into his ear. She stands upright and looks up. Her body begins to shake and she screams. Suddenly she is pulled out of the Red Room. Soon after the curtains begin to blow around Cooper. They then lift and it feels like we glide along the lodge floor and pass by the horse that Sarah Palmer had seen in Season 2.
Even in the original 2 seasons, the dialogue from the lodge is always difficult to digest. We can’t be sure of what we can and cannot believe because it is spoken cryptically. The same is true here. Laura’s whisper into Cooper’s ear is important for the first 2 seasons. Ultimately we learn that she whispered that her father killed her. I presume that her whisper this time around will be just as important for the story.
1. What did Laura whisper?
2. Where did she go?
3. Is she dead? Or is she alive?
4. Is Laura represented through another character this time around?
5. Will Cooper find Laura, as Leland asks?
In the run up to this season, the Internet was already buzzing about the character that Amanda Seyfried may be playing. Her looks are very similar to Shelly’s so it was assumed she would play Shelly’s daughter. That seems to be the case. There were also news stories suggesting that she was going to play an important role.
After Part 5, the discussion seems to be around the idea that Becky will be this season’s Laura Palmer. We already see her with a good-for-nothing boyfriend (Laura’s Bobby) and taking drugs (like Laura). There is a beautiful scene in Part 5 in which Becky and her boyfriend drive off and the camera zooms in on Becky who appears to enjoying her high and her facial expressions feel very much like Laura.
If the rumors are true and her character is important, then we will be seeing lots more of this young actress.
1. What role will Becky play in this story?
2. Who is Becky’s father?
I’ve already covered Mr C in a variety of ways above. He is integral to the entire season. He appears to be involved in multiple levels of crime and mayhem. He has probably manufactured Dougie to stay out of the lodge. He probably killed Ruth (or BOB and he teamed up and used Bill to do it). He absolutely killed Bill’s wife. He has killed multiple people in just a few episodes. He has connections to Jeffries and Argentina. He probably has at least 1 group of individuals after him – but likely more than that. All of this leads me to one question:
1. What is Mr C’s end-game?
2. Did Mr C know that the real Cooper would come back to the real world? and if so, is he setting up the ultimate trap for Cooper to forever be free from the confines of the lodge?
- Will we talk about Judy this time?
- Who is “she” that Cole and Albert talk about at the end of Part 4?
- Will we see Diane?
- How did the ring go from Laura to Dougie? (In The Missing Pieces, Annie had the ring and the nurse stole it from her so we could also ask – how did it go from nurse to Dougie?)
- What is the missing piece that Hawk and the others are searching for?
- Will Harry S Truman feel better?
- Will Lucy ever understand mobile phones?
- Will Wally change his mind about his room and want to move back?
- Whatever happened to Little Nicky?
- What is inside the picnic basket that Andy is holding in the previews?
- Why does “Cooper” not look too happy in the scene of him driving? Is that even “Cooper?”
- Can OAM also manufacture people?
- Do the red balloons mean anything (Sonny Jim’s party, drug-addict mom’s house has a red balloon, there are balloons in the background while Cooper is looking at the statue)
- Will Steven find a job?
- Are Nadine and Ed together? Or is Norma and Ed together? Are any of them together at all?
- Is Richard Horne Audrey’s son? Who is the father? Is Richard the Richard that that Giant references?
- Dr Jacoby has always been an eccentric – but has he really gone off the deep end?
- Cooper once told Hawk that if he was lost, he would like for Hawk to find him. Will Hawk find Cooper?
- Speaking of Hawk – he was at Glastonbury Grove and may have seen the red drapes – did he see anything else?
(Okay, I admit we don’t really care about Little Nicky or if Steven finds a job.)
Here are the titles of the first eight parts of the season:
Part 1: My log has a message for you.
Part 2: The stars turn and a time presents itself.
Part 3: Call for help.
Part 4: …brings back some memories.
Part 5: Case files.
Part 6: Don’t die.
Part 7: There’s a body all right.
Part 8: Gotta light?
Each title is a pretty good description of that part.
Part 1 – this is a line from the Log Lady to Hawk
Part 2 – this is also a line from the Log Lady to Hawk
Part 3 – this is in reference to the comment about “Dougie” calling for help
Part 4 – the very first episode that feels more like the original series – Bobby is reminded of Laura Palmer and it brings back some memories.
Part 5 – Case Files is a phrase used between Cooper and Dougie’s boss
Part 6 and Part 7 interest me. By themselves they are intriguing but together they could be huge. If Lynch/Frost follow the standard writing flow, then Part 5, 6 or 7 is the end of Act 1. These titles are consistent with quotes in each part. Someone must tell a person to not die. It’s possible we could see a death that will conclude Act 1 and fans will be dying for Part 7. Since Part 7 is about finding a body (sounds like something Cole would yell), then we could either be seeing a newly dead body (from Part 6) or someone just discovered the dead body of Bill’s wife. Looking forward to these next two parts.
Part 8 is a line we have already heard. Richard Horne is introduced and one of the girls in front of his booth ask if she can have a light. Maybe it’s a return to Richard’s story and the introduction of Audrey?
For more theories and analysis, there’s a great Twin Peaks site out there. Check out their recent article.