Twin Peaks: Beyond Life And Death

October 30, 2008

Season 2, Episode 22

Twin Peaks: Beyond Life And Death

Synopsis

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.

Thoughts

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:

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.

Previous Episode: Miss Twin Peaks

Comments

  1. Erin says:

    I have always believed that the coffee was a representation of Cooper too. He looks strong in the beginning and then becomes weak. I also think that the last time we see the coffee it becomes the oil that is associated with BOB.

    You ask why BOB would trade Wyndham’s soul for Cooper, keeping Cooper alive. I think we have the answer in FWWM. This is hinted at during the ending of the TP series finale when we see Laura’s face in the coffee during the credits. If the coffee is representative of some test Laura is going to be facing it again. There are things in FWWM that happen at the end of this ep: Annie and Cooper in Laura’s dream. The script to FWWM also hints at this travelling between future and past.

    I think that BOB wanted Cooper to tell Laura not to take the ring that Mike wanted her to have. The ring saves Laura from possession and it was what saved her in the past. I think that she was meant to have the ring from the moment in her dream when she has it in her hands. However, because of her fear, Laura did not take the ring at this time, altering the past. BOB wanted one more chance at Laura and by Cooper being in the Lodge he got it. This is the canned corn that Mike/Phillip references being stolen during the traffic jam, the pain and sorrow caused by Laura’s death. Luckily, Laura did take the ring when Mike rushed to the traincar that night and threw it in. BOB/Leland was too busy assaulting Ronette and closing the train car doors to notice and the Angel freed Laura’s hands so she could take it.

    I think that BOB used Cooper’s regrets about Caroline and feelings for Annie to get him to tell Laura the wrong advice. Cooper was willing to sell his soul for Annie and vowed that another woman would never be hurt by him again. If he could get Laura to not take the ring and BOB to possess her he never would have come to Twin Peaks and Annie would be safe.

    There is also the darker reason that Cooper was a coward. He runs away from his doppelganger even when Hawk has warned him not to become afraid in the Lodge. FWWM has always been linked to the poem heard throughout the series to me. Cooper is the Magician, looking through future past for his one chance out between 2 worlds (Note the finale is called Beyond Life and Death: the 2 worlds) and BOB’s potential possession.

    • Erin says:

      Oops! I also meant to add that the coffee cup resembles the oil pool itself almost. We see Wyndham looking this way, face white/grey and mouth black as oil, in ep. 28. We see the faces like this in FWWM as well but with red mouths instead. I believe the red mouths are when the person is opened with fear etc… and is meant to be symbolic of the red curtains.

      Looked at this way, the coffee cup, when given to Cooper initially, is strong and closed off. Then it is weak and vulnerable to be opened. Leland said that BOB opened him, Leland invited him, and then BOB went inside. BOB uses fear to open people in order to get entrance. I think that the coffee also becomes oil to show that Cooper will be possessed by BOB. This is why the MFAP says “Wow BOB Wow” followed by “Fire Walk With Me”, which has always meant possession by BOB to me, because he knew from this that BOB would get Cooper. Of course, Laura already knew this when she told Cooper that she would see him again in 25 years and then gave the sign language for a tree, after having said meanwhile. After Laura’s face turned into these specific colors, while talking to Harold about BOB wanting to be her, she said “The trees, the trees”. The meanwhile she referred to was the 25 years Cooper would spend possessed by BOB. This is also why her doppelganger is screaming at Cooper. Laura hid for years her fear of BOB and his presence in her life from everyone. Cooper will soon be BOB. Dale also will attempt to change the past by making Laura possessed by BOB instead, something Laura was willing to die in order to prevent.