Twin Peaks: Beyond Life And Death
Season 2, Episode 22
Andy and Lucy console each other after the chaotic Miss Twin Peaks contest where Annie was kidnapped by Windham Earle. Cooper, Harry, and Hawk stare at the map, as Cooper mumbles “Fire, walk with me.” Pete says the Log Lady stole his truck and drove off toward the woods. Cooper informs Pete that was Windham Earle in disguise. The Log Lady arrives, and says her husband gave her a bottle of oil from a “gateway” in the woods. The jar smells like scorched engine oil. Hawk brings in Ronnette Pullaski, who recognizes the smell from the night of Laura Palmer’s murder.
Windham Earle arrives in a dark, wooded grove with Annie, who says a prayer. They reach a circle of trees and vanish behind a red curtain.
Ed, Norma, and Doc Hayward bandage Nadine and Mike. Nadine suddenly regains her memory, and is horrified to see Ed with Norma. She hollers about the missing drape runners and bursts into tears.
Donna is distraught, having learned Ben is her blood father. Ben and Donna’s mother try to console her. Doc Hayward orders Ben out of his house. Ben’s wife arrives. Angered, Doc Hayward punches Ben. Ben slams his head on the fireplace.
Andrew grabs the safe deposit box key and sneaks off.
Cooper and Harry find Pete’s truck in the woods. They walk partly into the forest, when Cooper says he must continue alone, leaving Harry behind. Cooper hears an owl and sees the pool of oil ringed by rocks. Harry watches Cooper disappear behind a red curtain.
Cooper walks into the mysterious room from his dream. There are couches, a zig-zag pattern on the floor, and some statues. The midget dances into the room and sits in an old chair. A black woman sings a sad jazz tune as a strobe light flickers.
Andy arrives in the forest to join Harry. They wait all night, and Cooper doesn’t emerge.
Audrey walks into a bank and chains herself to the bank vault, in protest of the Ghostwood project and its environmental effect on the forest weasel. An old, slow-moving bank worker fetches Audrey a glass of water. Andrew and Pete arrive with the safe deposit key, intending to open the box left by Thomas Eckhart. Andrew asks the bank worker clerk for help in identifying the proper box. The clerk walks away as Andrew opens the box to find a bomb, which is triggered by the safe deposit box opening. It explodes, blowing out the bank windows. The clerks glasses and some money fall on a nearby pine branch.
At the RR diner, Bobby and Shelly smile at each other. Sarah delivers a message to Major Briggs, recanting in a garbled voice, “I’m in the Black Lodge with Dale Cooper.”
In the Black Lodge, the midget tells Cooper they are in a “waiting room” and offers Cooper some coffee. Laura Palmer appears, saying she’ll see Cooper again in 25 years. The elderly bellhop brings coffee to cooper. He is replaced by the giant who sits down, saying “one and the same.” The midget rubs his hands. Cooper starts to drink the coffee – only to find it frozen solid. He tips the cup, and some of it pours out. The last time it is like syrup. Mike says “wow, BOB, wow, fire walk with me.”
Cooper leaves the room, entering another one that looks exactly the same. He returns to the first room, where the midget says “wrong way.” Cooper goes back to the second room. He sees the midget laughing saying, “another friend” (this might be a doppelganger midget). Maddy appears, says “watch out for my cousin,” then disappears.
Cooper returns to the first room to find it completely empty. The midget says “doppelganger” and twitches. Laura says “meanwhile” and screams. Scared, Cooper runs out of the room, returning to the other one. He is bleeding from the chest and has trailed blood on the floor. He stumbles back to the first room, and sees a woman lying on the floor with his own body. The woman is Annie with her throat cut.
Cooper walks into a room to see Annie. She says she saw the face of the man who killed her: it was her husband. She doesn’t respond to the name Annie – it’s actually Caroline. Cooper is confusing the two.
Caroline is replaced by Laura, and then Windham Earle. Annie watches as Windham and Cooper face off. Windham laughs, and says if Cooper gives him his soul, he’ll let Annie live. Cooper says yes, and Windham Earl stabs Cooper. There is a burst of flame and the stabbing rewinds. BOB takes control of Windham Earle, saying he can’t ask for Cooper’s soul, and will take Windham’s soul instead. Cooper leaves the room and an evil doppelganger of Cooper appears from behind the curtain.
Leland – with brown hair – appears in the hall between the two rooms, and says “I did not kill anybody”. The doppelganger Cooper comes into the hall and laughs with Leland. The good Cooper runs back and forth between rooms – it seems he can’t get out. The doppelganger Cooper catches Cooper, and BOB’s face briefly appears.
Harry finds Cooper and Annie’s bodies lying in the forest.
Cooper wakes up in his bed at the Great Northern. He tells Harry and the Doc that he needs to brush his teeth. Once in the bathroom, he begins to put toothpaste on a brush, but then squeezes the tube’s contents into the drain. He looks in the mirror and smashes his head into it, bloodying the glass. BOB’s face appears in the mirror. Cooper maniacally repeats, “How’s Annie?” and laughs uncontrollably.
A real mind-blower episode. My favorite Twin Peaks episodes bear the David Lynch influence, meaning dalliances with the unexplainable, strange visuals, and surrealist situations. This episode is a long overdue return to that mood, after a nearly unbearable stretch of soap-opera-like meandering.
The liquid in the wooded pool at the opening of the Black Lodge is revealed to be oil. Throughout the show, a “scorched engine oil” smell was reported by witnesses whenever BOB was afoot. Ronette links the odor to Laura’s murder, and Dr. Jacobi also noted the smell in the hospital when Jacques Renoir was murdered. This is another way the second season plot line of Windham Earle and the Black Lodge is linked to the murder of Laura Palmer. BOB – Laura’s killer – is from the Black Lodge, and was also present at Josie Packard’s death.
This episode confirms a theory that the elderly bellhop and the giant are the same. The elderly, slow-moving bank clerk behaved similarly to the elderly bellhop, making me wonder if he was yet another familiar that would have been explored in a third season, and possibly saved the lives of Audrey, Pete, and Andrew. As this episode stands, it’s implied they perished in the bank explosion.
Then there’s all the nuttiness in the Black Lodge, a place not seen since Cooper’s dream. My personal interpretations:
- The midget calls the room in the Black Lodge a “waiting room,” between life and death and maybe heaven or hell. The elderly bellhop makes “whoo” noise. Both ideas are expanded upon in the Twin Peaks movie, Fire Walk With Me.
- The “duality” idea permeates Twin Peaks. In the Black Lodge, we have two rooms, a zig-zag pattern (with twin “peaks” of black and white), Laura and Maddie, Caroline and Annie, the bellhop and the giant, heaven and hell, solid and liquid, and doppelgangers galore.
- The slow-moving coffee – between liquid and solid, was an indication that Cooper was “between” two poles – not completely afraid but not completely confident either, initiating a series of tests of his fear / courage. He is first scared by Laura’s screams, and starts to bleed. He’s then confronted by his feelings for Caroline and Annie. Eventually he starts to panic, which is when he becomes trapped in the Black Lodge. Why fear? It’s something BOB feeds on, a concept again explored further in the Twin Peaks movie.
- Windham Earle found Cooper in the lodge and killed him. BOB then “traded” Cooper’s soul and killed Windham instead. Why exactly, I’m not sure.
- After Cooper became trapped in the Black Lodge, and an evil “doppelganger” of Cooper escaped into the real world. The “doppelganger” equivalents of the characters wear grey contact lenses, and are connected to BOB. The evil familiars seem to tie in with the “duality” of Twin Peaks.
Ultimately, while mesmerizing, this season finale episode is frustratingly unsatisfying. The townspeople now must deal with this “evil” Cooper, and ultimate fate of the real Agent Cooper, trapped in the Black Lodge, is unclear. Meanwhile, Nadine is pissed, Donna in tears, Audrey presumed dead, and Leo probably has spiders all over his face. The only bright spots are Shelly and Bobby, and Lucy choosing Andy as the father of her child.
I presume David Lynch was setting up a litany of subjects and plot lines to explore in season three. Unfortunately, there was no third season of Twin Peaks.
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