If you’re following the show closely, to the point of trying to figure out what year we are in, then you know the dates so far in Twin Peaks The Return haven’t made a lot of sense. As we have gotten further into the season, the days and dates are becoming more obvious and yet more confusing. (If you’re looking for a possible timeline, check out White City Cinema.)
The only thing any of us are sure about is that we just don’t know…yet.
But let’s put some of the dates together and a possible theory that might fit. This article is not intended to piece together all of the scenes, but instead, focuses on a global theory when it comes to The Return. If we are seeing scenes out of order, we may not be able to figure out their true placement until the credits roll in Part 18.
But before we do that, let’s first quickly review a couple of scenes from one of Lynch’s other works – Lost Highway.
At the beginning of the movie, Fred gets a strange message over the intercom that Dick Laurent is dead. This message begins Fred and Alice’s journey into some pretty extreme scenarios. But at the end of the show, we see Fred return to his home, push the intercom and say, “DIck Laurent is dead.” He then jumps back into his car, ends ups driving down a desolate road with the police in hot pursuit.
I think it’s likely we are seeing the same thing in The Return.
In the Purple Room with the electrical outlet, the American Girl has a watch that reads 2:52 on Saturday, the 1st. No month and no year. Lynch focuses on this watch to make sure we get the time and day. It’s at this point that Cooper goes through the electrical outlet.
But everything outside of this Purple Room seems to happen before October 1 (except for the “other worldly scenes” and maybe the day that Andy is wanting to meet with the farmer).
We learn that Ruth is killed on a Thursday and Bill Hastings is arrested on a Saturday (he’s at home in the middle of the day). The body of Ruth is found on Friday.
We also know that Beverly has been hearing the humming “since last week” and that the Great Northern received the hotel key the day of looking for that humming. We saw Jade dropping the key in the post office box 2 parts before suggesting the timeline is in sync (or close enough). The conversation between Beverly and Ben happens mid-week placing the humming starting sometime in the week before (maybe the day that Sam and Tracy are killed – Day 1).
In Part 9, Hastings circles the Major Briggs picture and appears to write “9/29” with a very sloppy 9 (fans have also said this is a 0 but I disagree because you can make out a line coming from the loop).
Meanwhile in Twin Peaks, Truman, Hawk and Bobby receive a message from Briggs with the dates 10/1 and 10/2 and it’s referenced that 10/1 is in a couple of days.
All of this suggests that Twin Peaks and Buckhorn are also on the exact same timeline.
Las Vegas news shows an extended forecast of the weather also suggesting that Las Vegas is on the same timeline as Buckhorn and Twin Peaks — or very close (maybe an extra day behind since extended forecasts don’t normally show the day of). The newscasters also mention Ike the Spike having been arrested that day after an incident the day before suggesting that Ike The Spike attacked Cooper on Wednesday, September 28th or Tuesday the 27th.
We also know that Dougie had a “3 day bender” where he missed Sonny-Jim’s party. His party would likely have been a Saturday. “3 day benders” are usually on the weekend suggesting Dougie disappeared on a Friday (or Saturday morning) and was meeting with Jade on Sunday or Monday.
Almost everything that we have seen in Buckhorn, Vegas and Twin Peaks appear to be on the same timeline — or very, yrev close. But for our conversation, all that matters is that all of this occurs before October 1 which is likely the date on American Girl’s watch.
The only explanation for this at this point is something like a mobius timeline. We started “in the future”, and then went back to the past about 10 days, and now we are finally back to where we started (October 1).
Truman, Hawk, Bobby (and maybe other Bookhouse Boys like Big Ed and James) will be at Jack Rabbit Palace on 10/1 at 2:53 and something will happen. Maybe they will see something like a vortex opening in the sky. Maybe they will do something that has lasting affects. And this date and time will actually initiate Cooper’s escape from the Lodge — much like how Future Fred initiated Past Fred’s experiences with the Dick is dead quote in Lost Highway.
If we are seeing a mobius loop, then I have no idea where we go after October 1. At this point everything converges together. Does Cooper wake up at 2:53 on Oct 1 or 2? Does he get pulled back into Lodges or pulled into Twin Peaks? Does the head of Garland Briggs appear? Does the body of Dougie appear? Do they find a golden marble? Or a large orb? Or do they enter another world?
We do know from Good Morning Interview that at some point in the future there will be a hectic party scene involving Jim Belushi’s character. My impression from the interview is that Kyle MacLachlan may also be in the scene. After Part 11, I believe that the Mitchum brothers will invite Cooper (and maybe Janey-E) to a party and all hell may break loose. Maybe it will be a mid-afternoon party around 2:53 or a party in which Hutch and his wife show up for a “double-header.” Or since Anthony failed at getting Cooper killed, he will have to do it himself. (It should be noted that the “party” scene Belushi referenced may have actually been the at the end of Part 11 — not really a party – or a hectic party – as I was thinking but could be nonetheless).
If this is the case then we may very well see this mobius loop quite clearly in the upcoming parts.
If you’re trying to designate a year to these events – I believe the evidence points to September/October 2016. And after Part 11, I think the lack of a year is on purpose — Lynch and Frost do not want us to know a specific year. They tease us with this information in Part 11 in which Deputy Jessee comes in to see if Truman wants to see his new car. “It’s a two thousand–” he says before being interrupted. Maybe it’s a new car to him, but it’s also possible it’s a new, new car and we could learn the exact year.
A lot of fans are stuck on the concept of precisely 25 years. I believe taking such a direct 25 year approach doesn’t necessarily fit all other facts if we are trying to determine year. To accept a precise 25 years would require us to believe that these events (or at least some events) are happening in March 2014 and absolutely nothing indicates that at this point. For those struggling with the 25 years precision, here’s two options:
1. Laura says she will see Cooper in “25 years.” That doesn’t mean all of this will happen in 25 years. The Red Room events in Parts 1 and 2 may have taken place over a 2 year period. Time is very fluid in this other world.
2. When we speak in real life, 25 years could mean 23, 24, 25, 26, or 27 years. It’s rare anyone actually says, “23 years ago….” – no we round up or down when we talk.
As with any theory or guesses when it comes to The Return…..I’m not betting on anything. But the mobius loop does begin to make some sense. But I think when the credits roll in Part 18, the “messy” timeline of The Return will suddenly make total sense.
Note – there may be some individual scenes that take place at different times. For example – Hawk walking to Glastonbury Grove could easily be a scene out of order. This article is attempting to explain a more general theory of time and what could about to happen.