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A Guide to the Unsolved Mysteries of Twin Peaks

What are those blue roses? Who's Judy? Why all the dancing? How's Annie?

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    twin peaks week final1 A Guide to the Unsolved Mysteries of Twin PeaksOn Sunday, May 21st, Showtime will take us back to the small logging town of Twin Peaks. In anticipation, Consequence of Sound will be reporting live from The Great Northern Hotel with some damn good features all week. Today, Kelly McClure looks back at several mysteries that never got solved in our first visit to Twin Peaks. Might some answers be coming shortly, or are some things better left unknown?

    Our last visit to Twin Peaks, the wooded wonderland of dark secrets and deep appetites created by David Lynch and Mark Frost, was on August 28, 1992, when Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me hit theaters. The movie followed the then-series finale of Twin Peaks, which aired on June 10, 1991, and served as a prequel, detailing the last seven days of the show’s main character from beyond the grave, Laura Palmer.

    On May 21, 2017, we’ll revisit the town again for the first time in 25 years with a brand-new season that Lynch refers to as an 18-hour feature. He argues that the 18 episodes should be seen as 18 “parts,” an important distinction in the mind of a man whose lake of consciousness is filled with so many themes and symbols, like jumping fish, that there isn’t a net large enough to catch them all.

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    While Fire Walk with Me tied together a few things left dangling after the series came to an abrupt end — namely, the specifics of how Laura died — many mysteries were left unsolved which, according to Lynch and Frost, was kind of their intention all along. When they first learned that the cord was about to be ripped on the show, the writer and director were forced to speed towards an ending that they never planned on, or at least not so soon.

    To Lynch, the act of revealing who killed Laura Palmer was akin to having a goose that laid golden eggs and then killing the goose (his words.) The process of feeding out a thread of just enough information to keep people safely moving forward in the darkness is as “Lynchian” as it gets. “People want to know up until the time they know, then they don’t care,” Lynch said in a recent interview with The Sydney Morning Herald.

    Frost, head writer and partner to Lynch on the series, seems to agree. In an interview with GQ, conducted by this very writer, Frost said, “…the show keeps its mysteries. It invites you in to participate in the puzzling and pondering of these mysteries, but it doesn’t offer you any easy answers.”

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    While the waiting has been wonderful, the desire to get to the bottom of things presses on, and, as couch-rooted detectives, we’re ready for some more light to be shed in a few dark corners. Starting chronologically with Fire Walk with Me, the original series, and a bit of knowledge pulled from Mark Frost’s new book, The Secret History of Twin Peaks, here are a few coconuts we hope get cracked in season three.


    What’s The Significance Of Different-Colored Roses?

    In Fire Walk with Me, we meet a character named Lil who emerges from an airplane hanger to deliver clues via a bizarre pantomime to Sam Stanley (Kiefer Sutherland) and FBI Agent Chester Desmond (Chris Isaak). One of the clues is in the form of a synthetic blue rose pinned to her dress, and when Sam inquires about it, Agent Desmond responds with “but I can’t tell you about that.” Later on in the film, Dale Cooper (Kyle MacLachlan) refers to the death of Teresa Banks (Pamela Gidley) as “one of Cole’s Blue Rose cases.”

    In season one, episode seven of the series, a character named Jenny, who works at the perfume counter in Horne’s Department Store, is being recruited as a “hospitality girl” at One Eyed Jack’s. She’s given a card and instructed to call the madam there, “Black Rose” (AKA, Blackie), to establish a start date. Is there any correlation between the blue roses and the mention of a black rose? Or is that coincidence?

    One theory as to the meaning of the blue rose is that it’s code for Project Blue Book, a real-life United States Air Force investigation that began in 1952 and officially ended in 1969, although carried on unofficially until 1989. In the series, Major Garland Briggs (Don S. Davis) was heavily involved in this investigation, which dealt primarily with UFOS, and (in the show) the search for the “White Lodge.”


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    Numb Arms And Shaking Hands

    hands A Guide to the Unsolved Mysteries of Twin Peaks

    In Fire Walk with Me, Sam and Agent Chester Desmond get a late night/early morning meal at a diner called Hap’s, where Teresa Banks briefly worked before her death. While seated at the counter, they’re told by Irene, the waitress, that three days before Teresa died, she complained that her left arm had gone completely numb and couldn’t be used. Sam guesses that this might have had something to do with her cocaine use, or some sort of nerve damage, but it’s not the only instance of something like this happening in the Twin Peaks universe. Later on in the film, Laura also appears to experience a problem with her arm while restless in bed after receiving visions from the Black Lodge.

    In season two, episode 20 of the series, Cooper’s right hand starts shaking while standing in the sheriff’s office looking through the blinds, and then, later, Pete Martell (Jack Nance) experiences the same thing while standing by his pickup truck waiting for Audrey. It seems as though these instances all preclude a visit from Bob (Frank Silva). They could also mean that the influence of the inhabitants of the Black Lodge is getting stronger. One of the main characters there introduces himself to Cooper as “The Arm” (Michael J. Anderson), and there’s a theory that he’s the physical embodiment of Mike/Philip Gerard/The One-Armed Man’s (Al Strobel) missing arm, which he cut off to get rid of a tattoo.


    Who Is Judy?

    bowie A Guide to the Unsolved Mysteries of Twin Peaks

    Exclusively in Fire Walk with Me, we meet a character named Phillip Jeffries (David Bowie), an agent who trained with Gordon Cole at Quantico. He had been missing for two years and then reappeared in Cole’s office in Philadelphia at 10:10 a.m. on February, 16th — the exact time and day that Cooper saw the event happening in a dream. Jeffries mentions a woman named Judy and says, “I’m not gonna talk about Judy.” If you listen closely, at the end of the film, when a monkey face briefly appears on the screen, the name “Judy” is whispered, and it’s the last bit of dialogue in the movie. Bowie was supposedly set to return in the third season as Phillip Jeffries, and hopefully explain who Judy is, but, sadly, he passed away on January 10, 2016 from cancer.


    What Is The Full Backstory Of Mike And Bob?

    The first proper appearance of Bob happens early in the series, specifically in season one, episode two, when Sarah Palmer (Grace Zabriskie) sees him creeping around in her sitting room. The first appearance of Mike/Philip Gerard/The One-Armed Man also happens in this episode. What we can piece together about these two based on what we know so far is that they lived above a convenience store, that Mike/Philip Gerard/The One-Armed Man cut off his left arm to remove a tattoo once he “saw the face of God,” and that they used to kill together but now Mike/Philip Gerard/The One-Armed Man is the one thing that Bob fears most.

    According to Leland Palmer (Ray Wise), Bob used to live next to his grandfather’s cabin in Pearl Lakes, where he would flick matches at him. When Leland was 12, Bob took over his body and used it as a vehicle to commit horrible crimes. Bob is sometimes thought to take over the body of an owl when he isn’t using a human host, which is where the phrase “the owls are not what they seem” is thought to come from. Bob eventually leaves Leland’s body and takes over Cooper’s, causing the real Cooper to be trapped in the Black Lodge. When Bob and Mike/Philip Gerard/The One-Armed Man are nearby, people claim to smell burnt engine oil. These things comes together to tell a pretty vivid story but, similar to Laura’s secret diary, there are pages missing.


    Will We Ever See Diane?

    Agent Cooper is often seen dictating his thoughts into a handheld tape recorder, and, when doing so, he addresses a woman named Diane. The Autobiography of F.B.I. Special Agent Dale Cooper: My Life, My Tapes points towards her being Cooper’s secretary, but he doesn’t know her last name, and she’s never shown on screen in either the series or Fire Walk with Me. There is quite a bit of Internet hopefulness that Laura Dern, who’s listed as a cast member in the new season, will play Diane, but we won’t know till we know.


    What Becomes of Donna?

    donna hayward A Guide to the Unsolved Mysteries of Twin Peaks

    Donna Hayward (played by Lara Flynn Boyle in the series and Moira Kelly in Fire Walk with Me) was Laura Palmer’s (Sheryl Lee) best friend and daughter to the town’s doctor (Warren Frost — Mark Frost’s dad). Donna forms a romantic relationship with James Hurley (James Marshall) who Laura used to date, and looked up to Laura. In the series, she begins wearing Laura’s sunglasses, and in Fire Walk with Me, she steals her sweater at the Roadhouse and puts it on, which makes Laura upset. It seems as though she takes on characteristics of Laura when she wears her things.

    In the last episode of the series, it’s heavily suggested that Ben Horne (Richard Beymer) is Donna’s real father. Ben and her mother, Eileen (Mary Jo Deschanel, AKA Zooey’s mom), have history together, and, after Laura’s passing, Ben seems to make his way towards righting the wrongs of his life, which may include Donna’s birth and, possibly, how her mom ended up in a wheelchair. Neither Lara Flynn Boyle or Moira Kelly are listed in the cast for the new season, so we may never know if Donna pens her own book of memoirs called Chug a Lug Donna or if she furthers her musical career by co-performing another hit like “Just You and I”.


    What’s The Significance Of Dancing?

    dancing gif A Guide to the Unsolved Mysteries of Twin Peaks

    Throughout the series, Leland Palmer is shown dancing several times, and it’s usually right before he has a freak-out of some sort. In season one, episode three, he’s shown dancing in his living room to “Pennsylvania 6-5000” (the Jerry Gray version) and picks up a framed photo of Laura off the side table, swinging it around saying, “We have to dance for Laura.” Sarah tries to take the photo away from Leland, and there’s a struggle, resulting in Leland accidentally smashing the photo and cutting his hand. He rubs his blood (Wise really cut himself here) on the photo while crying. Several other similar instances happen at the Great Northern hotel. The Man From Another Place (AKA, The Arm) is also often seen dancing in the Red Room, which is the waiting room of the Black Lodge. Is there some correlation here?


    What’s The Significance Of The Owl Cave Ring?

    owl cave ring A Guide to the Unsolved Mysteries of Twin Peaks

    In Fire Walk with Me, we learn that Teresa Banks had a gold and jade ring, indicated by a pale mark on her dead finger, which is now missing. We see the ring on her finger in a photo on her fridge at the Fat Trout Trailer Park. This very ring, which has the Owl Cave symbol on the face of it, pops up many times during the movie, as well as in the series, and it’s indicated that it brings death to whoever wears it. According to Mark Frost’s The Secret History of Twin Peaks, this ring dates back to the days of Lewis and Clark. In season two, episode nine of the series, Mike tells Cooper, “Bob and I, when we were killing together, it was this perfect relationship of appetite and satisfaction … a golden circle,” and then makes a ring out of his pointer finger and thumb. Will the Owl Cave ring wind up on a new finger in season three?


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