We’ve reached the end of Twin Peaks: the end of Agent Dale Cooper (but also, thank god, the end of the perversity of 16 episodes of Dougie Jones) and Laura Palmer. Let’s get the main stuff out of the way: Bob is defeated and Cooper goes back in time to save Laura, but the world is forever changed, and we end up back where we started this season. That is, we really have no idea where we are, once again, left with Dale Cooper and Laura Palmer. This week is sure to bring analysis galore about what it all meant, but for now we are breaking down what was truly a WTF episode. Let’s also get out of the way all the red herrings that never got realized: Where was Audrey? What was the Experiment? Was Sarah Palmer possessed? Was Richard Horne Bob’s son? And who is the dreamer? We may never know the answers to those questions, but many more are answered below.
Just after Diane’s tulpa disappears, Gordon reveals a secret of his own: before Major Briggs disappeared, he shared his discovery of an entity, an extreme negative force, with Gordon and Cooper. It was nicknamed “Judy”. (Recall that Jeffries, in his machine-teapot state, mentioned this, too.) They put together a plan to discover it: Jeffries knew about it, too, but he disappeared, and so did Cooper and Briggs. Cooper apparently said, If I disappear, do everything you can to try to find me: “I’m trying to kill two birds with one stone.” Ray was in fact a paid informant, and passed on to the FBI that Cooper/Bob is looking for coordinates from Major Briggs. At the hospital, Bushnell Mullins passes on the message from Douglas Jones to Gordon about his identity.
“Dougie is Cooper?!” Gordon exclaims. And of course Lynch gives himself this line. “A blue rose case most definitely.” They head out to... guess where.
In the holding cells at the sheriff’s in Twin Peaks, Naido is freaking out and Freddie watches with interest.
At Jack Rabbit’s Palace, Bob/Cooper shows up. These must be the other coordinates that he got, and the same hole opens up in the sky that did for Andy. He arrives in a strange black-and-white realm with the Fireman, and a projection of Major Briggs—it appears to be the theater from episode eight where they created the orb of Laura Palmer. It picks up Cooper/Bob in one place and puts him down in another, at the sheriff’s. Inside the cell, Naido is freaking out; clearly, Bob/Cooper is the one who was after her. Andy runs into Bob/Cooper outside and takes him in. Chad, still locked up, has a key hidden in his shoe (why didn’t he use it before?) and busts out. Chad pulls his gun on Andy but Freddie (remember his glove?) punches Chad out, saving them all.
While Bob/Cooper meets with Sheriff Truman, with sinister vibes, Lucy gets a call at the desk from… real Cooper! Now the bit about Lucy having problems with the phone all makes sense. She calls in to Hank to put him through, and Hank figures it out, too. There’s a showdown as he and Bob/Cooper try to shoot first when, out of nowhere, Lucy, decked in a frosting-pink ensemble, shoots Bob/Cooper!
“I understand cellular phones now!” Lucy says. Ha! Cooper tells Hank not to touch the body, and Andy moves the inmates—most importantly, Naido and Freddie. Moments later, the Woodsmen come to try to put Bob back together again as they did in episode eight, and Cooper arrives just in time.
A black orb with the face of Bob starts attacking Cooper. Cooper calls for Freddie. “This here’s my destiny!” he answers. The orb attacks Freddy, and he punches the orb until it erupts into a ball of fire. The glove is still no match for Bob, who continues to attack. With a final, powerful blow, the orb finally breaks apart into tiny black pieces. I want to remind everyone that Freddie, the random character who's British and who appeared a few episodes ago, defeated the evil spirit of Bob with his magic green glove. Let that sink in. If only Freddie had been around 25 years ago, Laura Palmer would be fine! I’m personally disappointed there will be no showdown of the multiple Coopers. It feels like we jumped the shark here.
They put the ring on the doubled husk of Cooper that Bob had been using, and he disappears into the Red Room, as promised.
Everybody now! Bobby Briggs arrives, along with Gordon, Albert, and Tammy. And the Mitchums and Candie, Mandie, Sandie, etc, too.
“Now there are some things that will change,” Cooper says in a come-together speech. “The past dictates the future.” Cooper’s face is superimposed over the screen for this whole bit. He touches Naido, who you’ll remember he first met on his way out of the Black Lodge, and her face burns away to reveal the Red Room, and then the face of Diane, who appears in the flesh, with a red-fire bob. Naido was in fact Dian— the real Diane, who Bob replaced with a tulpa. They proceed to make out. Awesome.
“I hope I see all of you again,” Cooper says as we hear the line about living inside a dream, as the room turns to darkness. Diane, Gordon, and Cooper all walk into a dark night. Cooper has his key to the Great Northern back, and opens it goes inside a room, telling Diane and Cooper not to follow. He tells them, “See you at curtain call.” Mike is waiting for him, and brings him to the Dutchman’s, the motel realm where Philip Jeffries lives, in his machine-teapot form. “This is where you’ll find Judy,” Jeffries says and conjures something like electricity that spirits Cooper and Mike away. (Again, Judy is something we really only just found out about this episode.)
Now we’re in a black-and-white universe. It's season one, when Laura and James rode away on a motorcycle. But this time, Cooper reappears in the woods and follows Laura when she runs away to meet Ronette Pulaski the night she got killed. So instead of Laura going en route to her original fate, Cooper intervenes, and saves her. Laura remembers him from her dreams. Twin Peaks is Back to the Future.
Then, in the scene from the first season when we saw Laura’s body, it no longer exists: where it should be washed up on shore, water has been CGI-ed in. At the Palmer home, in what is the future (or is it the past?), Sarah Palmer smashes Laura’s portrait with a knife. Cooper is still leading Laura through the woods (how is this happening??) and they hear Sarah’s screams. The woods fade away into a performance by Julee Cruise, a David Lynch regular. End of act one. It’s all around a great episode. And really, things could have ended here and I’d be satisfied—with the major exception of Freddie, who beat Bob so easily.
Bob arrives in the Red Room, burning black smoke. Mike attaches Cooper’s hair to the seed from Dougie Jones, and we see how tulpas are created. A Cooper grows out of the gold ball, and gets sent back to Janey-E. Brilliant.
Meanwhile, the real Cooper leads Laura through the forest, but when he turns, she’s no longer there—only the sound of screams.
Cooper is back in the Red Room. “Is it future or is it past?” Mike says, just as in the first episodes of the revival. Cooper follows him into the halls, and back to the Arm. (This was in the second episode, too.) We have shots of Cooper seeing the 25-years-older Laura, when she whispers to him, but then she shrieks, spirited away. Leland Palmer is there, too—again, this is all from the beginning. Or was it really the end? This time, when Cooper enters a strange forest beyond the curtain, Diane is there. He assures her it’s really him, and the room melts away.
They drive down a highway in a bright desert daylight, to a place 430 miles away. Cooper stands beneath electrical towers– this is the place. “Once we cross it could all be different,” he says. They drive through and emerge on a dark road, eventually pulling up to a motel, where Cooper goes in. Diane watches and sees another version of herself appear and disappear. In the motel room, they have sex. This is about the last thing anyone expected (let alone, eh, wanted or needed?) from a Twin Peaks finale. Good thing it’s painfully long!
Cooper wakes up in blue sheets; we almost never see anything blue, a clear “blue rose” reference. Diane is gone but has left a note addressed to “Richard,” in which “Linda” describes leaving him. (At the beginning of the season, the Fireman told Cooper to remember Richard and Linda.) When Cooper (Richard?) leaves, he seems to be at a different motel. Maybe he’s in the future again. Or, rather, an alternate present.
He drives through what is Odessa, Texas, where he spots a coffee shop called Judy’s in front of a shipping yard, so he goes in. It’s an old-school diner, and when Cooper sits down for coffee, he asks the waitress about if there’s another waitress—after a series of hijinks, he ends up getting the other waitress’s address.
Cooper drives up to a rundown place near an electrical tower. And the house belongs to none other than… Laura Palmer. But that’s not her name. It’s Carrie Paige. Cooper says her parents’ names, Leland and Sarah, and that means something to her. She agrees to go with him to Twin Peaks, Washington, where he says he will deliver her to them. She invites him in while she packs; there’s a dead body (!) and, on her mantle, a white horse we’ve seen before in the Red Room and in Fire Walk With Me. They drive for a long time, long enough for me to scroll through images of many Twin Peaks finale-themed cherry pies on Twitter and actually miss that sex scene.
Brief breakdown: Laura Palmer, who lived, ended up waitressing in Texas, and is possibly a murderer. What sort of life did she get to lead? Did she really turn out that differently than we might have expected? We have A LOT to wrap up in 10 minutes. Or, given it’s David Lynch—not. They pass over a bridge and into Twin Peaks, where the Double R still exists. But Laura doesn’t remember anything. (By the way, what the hell happened to Audrey? WHO WAS BILLY? Ugh.)
They arrive at the Palmer house and—no kidding—the Palmers don’t live there. The new owners, the Tremonds, bought it from the Chalfonts. Note: Mrs. Tremond, aka Mrs. Chalfont, was an elderly woman who lived at the Fat Trout, and whose trailer was the place the ring was found when Desmond disappeared in Fire Walk; later, when Cooper goes to investigate, it appears she never existed. "What year is this?" Cooper asks. Laura starts to scream and the lights go black. We get a shot of Cooper in the Red Room, as Laura whispers to him. Roll credits.
It’s in many ways a perfect ending. These last few episodes have the gravitas so many this season were lacking. And it’s because they lacked Cooper and Laura Palmer, with whom this all began, at least for the audience. In the end, Cooper can’t figure out Twin Peaks or Laura Palmer all over again, in an alternate reality where the rules have changed. He’s fated to repeat the past and the future—in a larger sense, audiences are similarly meant to cycle back through the cultish show over and over looking for meaning, while enjoying the ride. And that’s always been the point. We’ve spent the whole season trying to follow, but viewers don’t watch Twin Peaks to figure it out: they watch to keep guessing amid utter weirdness, for its being like nothing else on TV, in the 1990s, today, or wherever we are.
Related: W's recap of Part 16 of Twin Peaks.
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